On Thursday, Washingtonian columnist Bill O’Sullivan penned what may go down in history as the apex of leftist stupidity: a column titled, “Loathsome Phrase of the Day: ‘Start a Family.’” What, pray tell, is wrong with the phrase “start a family”? Let O’Sullivan explain:
What this euphemism means is get pregnant—or try to get pregnant, or have a baby, or adopt. So say that. Start a family devalues any couple who doesn’t happen to have kids, for whatever reason. It even sells single people short, who may not have children but do have “chosen” families of friends—not to mention families of origin (the ready-made kind, no assembly required). Twenty or more years ago, I would have said this expression was heterosexist, but now it’s in the everyday lexicon of LGBT people as well. (Though I have to say I still hear it more often from straight people. Just saying!) For the sake of all the ways to be in the world, it’s time to put an end to start a family.
Now, this is insanely dumb stuff. But it’s also the logical end-point of the left’s crusade to redefine family to mean any two people who have sex with each other, or any people who “care” about each other, or any people who see each other in a subway station. In Mrs. Doubtfire, the scriptwriters defined “family” for a whole new generation this way:
There are all sorts of different families, Katie. Some families have one mommy, some families have one daddy, or two families. And some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents. And some live in separate homes, in separate neighborhoods, in different areas of the country – and they may not see each other for days, or weeks, months… even years at a time. But if there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever.
It was only one step more to say that families don’t need the kiddies at all. After all, are you going to discriminate against the single? Or against childless couples?
Traditionally, the phrase “start a family” has been used in order to cast a warm glow on procreation and raising of children within a stable heterosexual monogamous couple. That’s what it means to most people. That’s a good thing. Not all human relationships are equally valuable to society. I was married to my wife for six years before we had our first child. We were a married couple before that. Now we’re a family. That’s because the purpose of a family isn’t just sharing emotional ties with another person, but building a unit, tied together by both emotional connection and shared values and – most importantly — capable of passing those values down across generations. This is why heterosexual relationships are objectively more valuable to society (not to the individuals involved, but to society) than homosexual ones.
But the goal of the left is always to undermine family by redefining it into meaninglessness.
This author has some other terms he doesn’t like: “congressmen,” because it includes women; “female,” because it “sounds like a biology class.” And then he has this final note on “starting a family”:
Which brings me back to start a family. It sounds innocent enough. But why would you want to turn off a whole chunk of your readership when the solution is so simple? Let your language reflect, and be sensitive to, the world we live in.
The point here isn’t sensitivity. It’s to rip the implicit linguistic bias in favor of marriage and children away, and replace it with a meaningless term that dumbs down human relationships to the point of vacuity. No wonder a plurality of young men are living at home. No wonder marriage rates are dropping. No wonder fewer Americans are having children. After all, if there’s nothing good about starting a family — if we’re all told to stop treating such activity as morally superior to not doing so — why bother? Kids cry and poop and take up your time. Why not just “start a family” by nailing every hot person in sight, and calling each coupling a “family”?
That’s the goal. So maybe this column isn’t stupid at all. Maybe it’s just an indicator that the leftist project never reaches fruition until basic societal institutions like family are destroyed.