When Britain’s most senior family judge welcomes the collapse of the ‘nuclear’ family (which is to say the family), you know it’s the end of the world.
It’s beyond belief that a man as manifestly unfit, morally and intellectually, to head the High Court’s Family Division as Sir James Munby got the job.
In his recent speech Sir James made the most subversive attack on the very notion of the family ever launched by a public official, this side of Lenin at any rate.
He began in a way that raised expectations. Finally someone in charge of family law realised the social, demographic, economic and moral catastrophe that had befallen the family. Sir James Munby-Punby certainly got his facts right:
“People live together as couples, married or not, and with partners who may not always be of the other sex. Children live in households where their parents may be married or unmarried.
“They may be brought up by a single parent, by two parents or even by three parents. Their parents may or may not be their natural parents.
“They may be children of parents with very different religious, ethnic or national backgrounds. They may be the children of polygamous marriages.”
He left out babies conceived and gestated in a test tube, but otherwise the dystopically nightmarish picture is complete. We’re witnessing the collapse of society’s cornerstone and therefore of society itself.
After all, it would be tedious to cite the masses of statistical data directly linking the offspring of such families to high levels of crime, joblessness, alcoholism, drug use and just about every type of sociopathy known to man.
Surely Sir James has all such data at his fingertips, and thank God here’s a man in a position to do something about it.
The reality, summed up Sir James, is that many Britons “live in families more or less removed from what, until comparatively recently, would have been recognised as the typical nuclear family.”
And then came a thunderous fist banging on the table, with the listeners made to jump up and hold their breath. This was followed by a rise of 20 decibels in Sir James’s voice and a mighty roar: “THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!!!” Right? Alas, no.
No fist banged down; no roar came. What came was a Munby-Punby squeak: “This, I stress, is not merely the reality; it is, I believe, a reality which we should welcome and applaud.”
Since one can’t think of anything more diabolical than the situation Sir James described in such loving detail, the inference has to be that any reality, especially a new one, must be welcomed and applauded.
This is in line with the current thinking on just about every issue of import. One hears such progressivist twaddle everywhere, from Parliament to the Cabinet to a run-of-the-mill dinner party. “Things change,” mouth nincompoops who think they are actually saying something.
The implication is that every change and every new reality resulting therefrom is for the better, and hence none should be decried or resisted. This sort of thing confirms the Darwinist fallacy of man descending from lower organisms.
For such inane thinking wouldn’t be out of place in a conversation between two amoebas. Their presumed descendants couldn’t have evolved all that much, since they can neither acknowledge the facts nor draw proper conclusions.
If all change were for the better, today’s philosophy dons would be an improvement on Aristotle or at least Collingwood, the Beatles on Bach or at least Handel, Damien Hirst on Vermeer or at least Chardin.
More to the point, Tony-Dave-Theresa would be an improvement on Burke, Wellington or Churchill. Even more to the point, a pygmy like Sir James would tower over giants like Lord Chief Justice Holt (d. 1710), King’s Serjeant Davy (d. 1780) or Lord Chief Justice Mansfield (d. 1793).
Those great lawyers made a vital contribution to the abolition of slavery, and all three cited a ruling from a 1569 case, that “England is too pure an air for a slave to breathe in.” Lord Holt also stated unequivocally that “as soon as a negro comes to England he is free; one may be a villein in England, but not a slave”.
I can just hear what Munby-Punby would have said in similar circumstances: “The reality is that many English families own slaves, which, I stress, is not merely the reality; it is, I believe, a reality which we should welcome and applaud.”
Slavery was reprehensible because it struck at the foundations of our society: treating men as livestock makes mockery of the very essence of humanity as established in the founding documents and events of our civilisation.
The disintegration of the family is just as, if not even more, reprehensible. For the family isn’t just a building block of society – it’s also the model on which many traditional institutions were built. Welcoming and applauding its demise is either cosmically stupid or deliberately subversive.
I don’t know which of those possibilities apply to Sir James, some combination of the two most likely. What I do know is that the very fact that he occupies such a position says a lot not just about him but also about every one of us.