May 26, 2022

The “fatherhood bill” of Florida governor Ron DeSantis is predictably attacked by the radical left.  This is because the left is clever and the right is foolish.  That is why the left is in power.  Leftists attack even their own policies in order to skew the public agenda ever farther left.  The right defends anything the left attacks, however misguided or counter-productive (or even leftist).

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DeSantis has impeccable credentials as a defiant conservative.  The fact that even he was hoodwinked demonstrates how conservatives are outmaneuvered on many issues, but especially the family.  The bill exemplifies how Republicans are routinely fooled into enacting Democrats’ measures.  In fact, it lays the groundwork for understanding how they invited the extreme left to seize control of the U.S. government two years ago.

The bill can do nothing for either fatherhood or the family.  It is modeled on useless programs devised by the Clinton administration based on the distorted research of liberal house intellectuals like David Popenoe and especially David Blankenhorn and his federally funded Institute for American Values.  Blankenhorn describes himself as a liberal Democrat.  His background is in Saul Alinsky community organizing (quasi-communism).  Yet for years he dominated family advocacy groups like the Family Research Council and Heritage Foundation before endorsing the redefinition of marriage. 

These programs did not and could not ameliorate the fatherhood crisis.  Later rebranded as “promoting marriage” by the Bush administration, they proved equally ineffective and even counterproductive.  Several conservative politicos were implicated in financial scandals involving federal funds.

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The bill defies common sense.  How does government “promote fatherhood” and “encourage good fathering” (or later, “promote marriage”)?  The programs distribute government largesse to psychotherapists, most of whom are hostile to both fathers and marriage and keen to “redefine” both out of existence.  Anyone who trusts “parenting education” (Sect. 5[1][d]5) from professional therapists and social workers to be anything other than ideological indoctrination is ignorant of what happened under Clinton and Bush.  (Programs also inculcated “relationship skills” and “child behavior management.”)

But the larger purpose was and is to deputize private groups with lucrative grants to collect child support — a program predicated not on children having fathers, but on children being separated from their fathers, often forcibly.

Should nonprofit groups, including “faith-based” organizations, really be recruited as agents of federal law enforcement? 

If this is worthy, why is it being disguised?  In fact, child support enforcement has repeatedly been exposed as a dishonest and destructive bureaucratic boondoggle that creates the very problem it claims to solve by encouraging more fatherless homes with all the social pathologies that ensue.  The system has been plagued with numerous ethical improprieties, conflicts of interest, and scandals, including criminal fraud, as well as unconstitutional and authoritarian practices that violate Americans’ constitutional rights.  Advertised as a program to provide for children whose fathers have “abandoned” them, the reality is a system where “a father is forced to finance the filching of his own children.”

Child support enforcement was Bill Clinton’s answer to welfare and promoted to save taxpayers’ money.  In fact, the program consistently loses billions.  Moreover, no need for it has ever been demonstrated, since the preponderance of child support is paid automatically by wage withholding.

Far more serious, the money subsidizes and therefore proliferates single-parent homes.  Numerous scholars (at least those not profiting from the system) have demonstrated that livelihoods of child support officials depend on broken homes and that “child support enforcement policies have a negative effect on contact between non-custodial parents and their children.”  Attorney Jed Abraham describes the apparat as “a veritable gulag, complete with sophisticated surveillance and compliance capabilities such as … license revocation, asset confiscation, and incarceration.  The face of this regime is decidedly Orwellian.”