The individual as the foundation for society
That a pastor can so succinctly summarize my thoughts on the condition of the family doesn't really surprise me. The 1861 date did a little. It sounds so much like today (emphasis mine):
It is a fact conceded by all, that the constitution of the Christian family, and its social and spiritual relations, are not as fully developed as they should be. In this age of extreme individualism, we have almost left out of view the mission of home as the first form of society, and the important bearing it has upon the formation of character. Its interests are not appreciated; its duties and privileges are neglected; husbands and wives do not fully realize their moral relation to each other; parents are inclined to renounce their authority; and children, brought up in a state of domestic libertinism, neither respect nor obey their parents as they should. The idea of human character as a development from the nursery to the grave, is not realized. Home as a preparation for both the state and the church, and its bearing, as such, upon the prosperity of both, are renounced as traditionary, and too old and stale to suit this age of mechanical progression and 'young Americanism.'

The Christian Home As It Is In The Sphere of Nature And The Church, Reverend S. Phillips, 1861
One of the greatest debates in America today is what even lies at the foundation of society: the individual or the family?

Since Rousseau at least, western culture seems to hold that society is based on the individual. Consider these well-known sayings and what they communicate to us:
To each his own.
To thine own self be true.
Look out for number one.
Families get in the way of this view of society because families have the habit of passing on traditions, patterns of behavior and ways of thinking to their offspring.

It entails a view of liberty, but very different from our historic conceptions. It is more closely related to the libertine, also known more recently as the freethinker.
1. One who acts without moral restraint; a dissolute person.
2. One who defies established religious precepts; a freethinker.
We have replaced the mission of home as the first form of society. Hence the need to separate the child from the parent and teach him "different points of view." In other words he must be liberated from the tyranny of the family, as Aldous Huxley did in his final work Island.

Home is no longer necessarily viewed as a haven, a sanctuary or a refuge from the world. Instead, the state is viewed as a haven from the family.

As Allan C. Carlson and Paul T. Mero put it in The Natural Family,
Public authorities actively subvert parental rights and authority, substitution a state morality. Children learn that their futures lie with the modern State rather than the pre-modern family. (p. 70-71)
We are quickly setting a new foundation for society, and its effects are being felt.

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