What's a Father For?

Helen Alvare, a law prof at George Mason in D.C., has this article about the role of fathers in the family and society. I appreciate in particular the section at the bottom on the need for “father conscious” men who act and think like fathers in their lives outside the family. Imagine what would happen if men ran businesses, engaged in negotiations, and even entered politics with a fatherly mind. I think we would be in a much different place. (That is, as long as “fatherly” entails the self-giving love described in Theology of the Body that Alvare referenced. A fatherhood based on mere progenitive power is no fatherhood at all. Rather, true Catholic fatherhood is based on the giving of self, the union of yourself with Christ as servant and least of all.)

A book worth reading with similar themes, though from an economic point of view, is Jennifer Roback Morse‘s Love and Economics. In that work, Morse explains how the family is integral to an ordered society and how libertarian economic theory cannot adequately account for love and altruism. Nevertheless, love is essential to the unique “familial economy” that develops devoid of claims of rights against one another or forming contracts with each other. Great book, and a quick read.

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