A review of “Fatherless America”

A review of “Fatherless America” by Chester E. Finn in Commentary: 

And as for the now-absent biological father, even when he provides financial support and regularly visits his progeny, Blankenhorn is brutally candid: “The end of co-residency and the rupture of the parental alliance mean nothing less than the collapse of paternal authority. Visiting fatherhood almost always becomes disempowered fatherhood, a simulacrum of paternal capacity. . . . [O]nly wishful thinking permits us to continue viewing him as a parent at all. At bottom, he is no longer a father. A second reason for the low visibility of the type of fatherlessness arising from family breakup has to do with social class. Whereas illegitimacy happens mostly among people who live on the other side of the tracks, much divorce and separation take place in “our” own neighborhoods, indeed among our friends and relations, and sometimes even ourselves. If we are honest, we will acknowledge that this makes it harder to condemn the practice, or even to depict it as a pressing social problem. We are engaged, in Senator Daniel P. Moynihan’s evocative phrase, in “defining deviancy down.”

The entire review is here. Please note that the book is not new. Fatherless America and this review were written in 1994.

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