3.a.8 – The state is based on the family?

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March 12, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

famiglia

The state is based on the family?

Exploring the paths of life we cannot forget our parents, even if maybe they have now the role of grandparents; a large part of what we are today comes from them, even if we are independent and adult, they still give us much both as advisers and as grandparents of our children. In agricultural societies grandparents are generally figures socially very important, around which the families of the sons meet in the most important social events, such as religious festivals. In the tribal society, the oldest members of the group often have a political role, such as members of a council of the elderly, a kind of senate of the tribe in which decisions important for the community are taken, creating a kind of government on family instead of on popular basis.
There is therefore an extended concept of family, not a simple family nucleus but a group of more families with grandparents or even great-grandparents in common, a community that, to avoid confusion, we could call family or family clan. The social importance of the family has always been very high and this is easily justified by the logic of tribal life: cooperation and organization within the tribe and other human communities are resources crucial for survival, that are better guaranteed and practiced in the presence of blood ties. Helping between relatives also means protecting the genes in common, which is the reason why extending the family, and with it its hierarchy and its solidarity ties, has been the main strategy used by nature to create large groups of social animals. The ancient tribal villages, composed by no more than a hundred individuals, were formed from the combination of a very small number of family clans, in turn related to one another; in an agricultural society, many of the production activities were formed by small family-run farms based on the work tradition of the family.
We know that the human being has an almost total dependence by his community, in fact to him is extremely difficult to survive outside of it; if human society is then based on family, family clan and then on the village, it is obvious that these are very important values and indeed it was ever thus until the tribal society lasted, but that world today has disappeared.
The social structure of the village began its decline with the ancient agricultural society that, with the considerable increase of its members, led to the creation of different social classes; in these new communities were also used large numbers of slaves to whom, as we have said before, could not be allowed to have their own social organization because they could use it to rebel; the family maintained its economic importance in the free population dedicated to industries and trade, but lost its political role that was reserved to the ruling class. In the western Middle Ages, the lack of social structure of the slaves was inherited by serfs, which were then in a subordinate role in society; in the same way, the clan maintained its economic importance in a community dedicated to the craft and trade, but remained without a political role in society; only in the aristocratic class, clan maintained all its value, indeed was strengthened as an element to distinguish from the other social classes. Still today noblemen are proud of their family history that is handed over by them in the centuries and this is the only thing that still distinguishes them from plebeian.
In today’s world the mass of citizens, in turn, has inherited the social disorganization of serf, keeping the mentality and their subordinate role in front of the authority of the State in spite of all the democratic laws; the great industry has drastically stripped the craft and family-run trade and, with them, their cultural tradition based on small families; in democratic republics, the rich industrial bourgeoisie has taken the political leading role of the noble class and thus, also for the nobles, the family has lost much of its importance and remained an empty tradition.
The familiar clan is then today as a value in agony, no longer having any official political function; the economic and cultural function has disappeared or nearly and the social, intended as a guide to public relations between relatives, is no longer feasible as the children often move to other cities in search of work. The natural social structure of humanity not only has been lost, but it seems that it cannot even be rebuilt anymore. This phenomenon has also damaged the family, which has maintained its cultural and biological function, but has lost the political and social function had when it was inserted into a clan: once, living in the same village, everyone knew and frequented all of his relatives, his reputation was linked to that of family and the elderly were the natural representatives, from which derived the prestige of which they enjoyed; the family was a sacred value and was actually the basis of the society. Today, when it is claimed that the state is founded on family, it is simply said something false: the state is no longer a federation of families as it was the old aristocratic class or the tribal village, and this is proven by the fact that when measures to encourage family are invoked, the political authorities can regularly ignore those requests without harming themselves.
It must however be noted that the loss of the old social structure has also remarkable positive aspects: it was a very solid structure, but also very authoritarian, and the subordination of the individual to family was virtually absolute, particularly for women; all were required to maintain a publicly acceptable behavior not only because it felt right, but to protect the honor of the family. The famous history of Romeo and Juliet, or the practice of arranged marriages in use particularly among the nobles, give us an idea of how could be harsh and intrusive the control of the clan on its family members. The figure of strict grandfather, whose word was indisputable, and that of the father-master is part of a very recent past and is certain that the ancient world was far from the concept of democracy. With the decline of old system, also some of its worst aspects have failed.
The loss of the political role of the clan, which began with the advent of the agricultural society based on slavery, has however opened a chasm of separation between the individual and the state authority; it is a wound that never healed and indeed, with the creation of large cities, today we lost the social role of the village, that is a community united by deep bonds of kinship, friendship and deep knowledge due to cohabitation; today we live in a society of strangers. We must therefore conclude that the family is a politically maimed value and therefore vulnerable; for this reason it must be protected with special care; the family clan is instead a value that has been lost and cannot be protected because it no longer exists, and also the concept of community should be reviewed, having undergone profound changes.

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