To Make Families Good for Democracy, Broaden the Notion of Family Itself

An Insular Focus on Our Closest Relations Can Distort Our View of One Another and the World

Since at least the time of Aristotle’s Politics, families have been considered the building block of society. Strong families produce the stability—and reproduce the future citizens—needed for society to flourish.

But the inverse can also be true. When members of insular nuclear families lose understanding and empathy for those unlike them, the family can threaten liberal democracy itself.

This threat intensifies when citizens feel left behind, economically or otherwise. When a family’s own economic survival appears to hang in the balance, voters can ignore the interests or rights of groups of …

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92

To be understood words are objective
yet we understand them subjectively.
When Willa Cather writes, “The long main street
began at the church, the town seemed to flow
from it …