Thursday, January 25, 2018

Metrosexuality and Family Values

Bilawal Bhutto's selfie with Paris Hilton.
In the light of my limited experience with the Western culture, I have come to realize that a fully functional family is hard to find in the modern Western societies. Coming across a functioning family unit is more of an exception than a norm in the Western culture.

Most Western women with whom I have interacted are generally divorced, single mothers who are raising their children all by themselves; while the men folks either don’t get married at all, or even if they do get married under some momentary impulse or infatuation, they tend to leave their wives and kids behind them and either run away with their newfound girlfriends or they are otherwise non-committal in their relationships.

Although this behavioral infidelity can be found in both genders but it is much more prevalent in metrosexual men of modern societies. Since women are physiologically built to raise children and since they occupy a comparatively insecure position in male-dominated cultures, therefore they generally take their relationships seriously.

Unlike the traditional Eastern societies which are family-centric, the Western societies are mostly individual-centric. Reductive individualism and runaway hedonism might sound theoretically alluring but this unnatural state of affairs cannot last for long.

Birth rates all over the Western world are already dwindling, and in some countries, population growth rate is in negative. There was a time that population growth rate in Europe was so prolific that the Europeans had to colonize Americas and Australia to settle their surplus population. But now, the only thing sustaining their population growth rate is not their natural birth rates but the immigration of people from the developing world to the Western countries.

The institution of a fully functional family is the cornerstone of a healthy society and if the social environment is not conducive to the development of such a pivotal institution, then there is something fundamentally wrong with our social axioms.

Marriage is basically a civil contract meant for the purpose of raising children and family; and if one of the partners leaves the other midstream, it creates an unmanageable burden on the other partner (generally women) to raise children single-handedly. Sweeping such serious issues under the carpet that affect every individual and family on a personal level by taking an evasive approach of ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ will only exacerbate the problem.

Individualists generally posit that an individual holds a central position in society; the way I see it, however, being human is inextricably interlinked to the institution of family. The only things that separates human beings from the rest of species is their innate potential to acquire knowledge, but knowledge alone is not sufficient for our collective survival due to excessive and manifest intra-special violence in the form of conflicts and wars. Unless we have social cohesion -- which comes from love, compassion and empathy -- we are likely to self-destruct as specie.

The aforementioned empathy and altruism, however, are imparted by the institution of family, within which spouses love each other and their children, and in turn, children love their parents and siblings. This familial love then transcends the immediate environs of family and encompasses the entire humanity.

Thus, without the institution of family, there will be no humanity, or individual, in the long run. In order to reap the fruit of love, one first needs to sow the seeds of love. One cannot expect to raise loving and caring human beings with authority and teaching alone, only the institution of family has this unique gift of teaching love by practicing love.

Although family life in the Eastern societies isn’t as perfect as some of us would like to believe, but they are traditional societies based on agriculture-era value systems. Industrialization and consequent urbanization is the order of the day. These rural societies will eventually evolve into their urban counterparts.

My primary concern, however, is that the modern paradigm that we have conjured up is far from perfect in which divorce rates are very high and generally mothers are left alone to fend for themselves and raise their children single-handedly; consequently, giving rise to a dysfunctional familial and social arrangement.

Paradoxically, some social scientists draw our attention to the supposed ‘unnaturalness’ of the institution of family and the practice of polygamy and polyamory etc. in primitive tribal societies, but if we take a cursory look at the history of mankind, there have been two distinct phases of cultural development: the pre-Renaissance social evolution and the post-Renaissance social evolution.

Most of our cultural, scientific and technological accomplishments are attributed to the latter phase that has only lasted for a few centuries, and the institution of family has played a pivotal role in the social advancement of that era. Empirically speaking, we must base our scientific assumptions on proven and verifiable evidence and not some cock and bull stories peddled by self-styled anthropologists.

Regarding the erosion of the institution of family, I am of the opinion that it has mainly been the fault of the mass entertainment media that has caused an unnatural obsession with glamor and consequent sexualization of modern societies.

Regardless, modern liberals generally are educated and pacifist people. They abhor violence in all its forms and manifestations; so much so that they are appalled by the mere thought of murder, even if it is justifiable and legally sanctioned execution such as capital punishment. Some of the more ‘tender-hearted’ sorts go even a step further and give up eating meat by becoming vegetarians, whether as a matter of moral principle or for reducing weight is anybody’s guess.

I find it curiously intriguing, however, when some ‘bleeding heart’ liberals blatantly violate their own sacrosanct tenets by endorsing the practice of feticide in the form of abortion. What moral high-ground do they have despite their revulsion at capital punishment and animal slaughter when they endorse the gruesome practice of killing unborn babies?

Finally, it would be unfair to lay the blame squarely on the Western culture. The reason why people shy away from getting married and raising children has partly been the doing of modern economics. Industrialization and capitalism have created an unnecessary burden on the lives of individuals and families in modern times. The agriculture era used to be a labor-intensive epoch. Back then, a household with large number of children used to be a boon because the manpower was utilized for cultivation and farming.

After the industrial revolution and consequent urbanization, however, most of the physical labor is being performed by machines. Thus, the cost of raising and educating children in the post-industrial societies outweighs their utility and benefits, that’s why many middle-income families keep the number of children to a bare minimum to avoid financial burden.

Moreover, it has also been the preferred state policy of many Third World countries with large populations and meager resources to restrict the number of children to a minimum in order to reduce the burden on their developing economies, such as the one-child policy of China and the two-child policy of India and Pakistan.