Quote note (#193)
Carle C. Zimmerman, the Harvard historian and sociologist, was not a religious man, but in his book Family and Civilization, which examining the history of the decline and fall of ancient Greece and Rome, and looking at medieval and modern European history, Zimmerman found that the presence of 11 factors preceded the dissolution of those civilizations — factors relating to the atomization and fragmentation of what he calls the “domestic family” (one man + one woman, exclusively). Those factors include widespread divorce, the loss of a sense that the domestic family is normative, and the general acceptance of sexual diversity (called “perversity” by Zimmerman, but he wrote in 1947).
In Zimmerman’s view, the family is the basis for civilization, and “familism” — an ideology that in general puts the family’s needs above the needs of the individual — is necessary for a healthy, stable society. A society that has lost familism will follow customs and impose public policies that work against the domestic family, thereby eating its seed corn. Fertility declines, and with it, the civilization’s ability to thrive.
So says Zimmerman. If he’s right … this is us.
(Yes, the first sentence of this quote is a grammatical train wreck — beyond anything I could work out how to fix. Read Dreher’s intro. to the article for a — partial — excuse.)