This blog will tell you about the growing family crisis throughout the Western world. It will concentrate on the increasingly dangerous divorce machinery being operated by Western governments, as described in my recent book, Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family (Cumberland House, 2007).

I will continue publicizing these abuses in established, mainstream publications (see more than 80 published articles and studies on my internet site). But I also want to highlight here the increasingly totalitarian trajectory of the divorce regime, which I don't think is being emphasized adequately by others. What Frederick Douglass once observed of the slave power’s menacing expansion throughout the political system can now be seen in the cancerous spread of the divorce machinery: It is “advancing, poisoning, corrupting, and perverting the institutions of the country, growing more and more haughty, imperious, and exacting.”

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review: Carle Zimmerman, Family and Civilization

My review of Carle Zimmerman's classic Family and Civilization, recently reissued by ISI Books, has just been published in Society, a very prestigious scholarly journal. Society is not esoteric or highly specialized, and so it is very influential. Unfortunately, it is not online, and Society is very scrupulous about guarding its copyright. Information on how to obtain a copy and the first page are on the links below.

Unlike today's advocates for the family, Zimmerman (writing in 1947) has a lot to say about divorce and its role in family deterioration. He also emphasized the direct role of government in destroying families, arguing in effect that the state and the family have been on a collision course throughout modern history. Occasionally, he even takes a dig at family court, which even in his day was engaging in abuses that have since become much more widespread. I highlight these aspects in the review.

Stephen Baskerville


Carle C. Zimmerman, Family and Civilization
Edited by James Kurth. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2008. xiii + 337 pp. $18.00. ISBN-10: 1933859377; ISBN-13: 978–1933859378

Stephen Baskerville

A society grappling with a declining birthrate, proliferation
of single-parent homes, and government policies that
undermine parents and families will find it sobering to learn
that some were sounding the alarm decades ago, even in the
apparently family-friendly post-war years, and that the trends
were developing long before that. Even more disturbing is
that the same ills plagued ancient civilizations—shortly
before they collapsed.

A publishing event of major importance is the re-issue of
Family and Civilization by Harvard sociologist Carle Clark
Zimmerman (1897–1983). Originally published in 1947,
the book is a classic of family scholarship, though as Allan
Carlson explains in the introduction, it has largely been
ignored by the academic elite.

Zimmerman demonstrates how the fragmentation of the
family in Greece and Rome preceded the disintegration of
those civilizations and how similar trends now threaten our
own. Writing as the post-war baby boom (a temporary
aberration, it turns out) was just beginning and the family
appeared to be on a major upsurge, Zimmerman identified
long-term trends that are only now reaching general

Polybius noticed “a low birth-rate and a general decrease
of the population” in Greece during the second century BC.
In modern Europe birth rates have been falling since the late
nineteenth century and were below replacement level by
1930. This falloff reflected a larger renunciation of the
family as a social and personal institution, what Zimmerman
calls “familism.” “The extinction of faith in the familistic
system in Europe in the last two generations is identical with
the movements in Greece during the century following the
Peloponnesian Wars and in Rome from about 150 AD to 250
AD,” he wrote: “In each case the change in the faith and
belief in family systems was associated with rapid adoption
of negative reproductive rates, increased acceptance of
perverted forms of sex behavior, and with enormous crises
in the very civilizations themselves.”

One can come away from Zimmerman’s book very
pessimistic—from the realization that today’s trends have
been developing not for decades but for centuries, from
knowing that our Greek and Roman predecessors were
unable to prevent similar crises, and because the demographic
and cultural trends seem beyond the reach of public
policy. Readers witnessing continuing family deterioration
six decades later may conclude that the prognosis for
Western civilization is bleak indeed.

And yet while demography and culture are major
themes, they are not wholly determining. While he does
not state it explicitly, a striking feature of Zimmerman’s
analysis, and one that offers some hope, is that the decline
of the family—really, the attack on the family—is not a
matter simply of impersonal forces but the direct and
conscious work of the state. Over and over, Zimmerman
points out how the state views the family as a threat, how
the state eviscerates the family, the state sponsors antifamily
intellectuals, the state seeks supremacy over the
family and society in general.

Zimmerman writes of the “relation between the type of
family and strong central governments,” arguing that
historically it was in their absence that the family developed
most extensively. Later, “Strongly developed central governments
made the internal cohesion of family groups less
and less necessary.” Whenever the family shows signs of
dysfunction, “the state helps to break it up.” The state...


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Powerful Letters in Touchstone Magazine

The letters below were published in the April issue of Touchstone magazine. They were never posted online, but the editors have graciously granted permission to circulate them by email and for posting. They are in response to my article, "Divorced from Reality", in the January-February issue (which is online, below, so please continue to circulate it).

Notice this striking line from the first letter:

"Before my own experience, my tendency was to look down condescendingly on divorced people and, for the most part, blame the men. My attitude, of course, changed drastically when it happened to me."

There are other similar statements in these letters. Note that the only negative letter is from a divorce lawyer, to which the editors kindly permitted me to reply.

Touchstone is a prestigious and influential magazine of Christian thought. Please circulate these letters among your pastors, priests, and congregations. We really do have a lot of good will for our cause out there among pro-family groups.

Similarly powerful testimonies can be found in the 5-star Amazon reviews of my book, Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family.

To send more letters to the editor, go to: http://www.touchstonemag.com/docs/navigation_docs/contact.html

Thanks once again to all who wrote in.


Touchstone magazine, vol. 22, no. 3 (April 2009), pp. 8-9.


As one who has been through an unwanted divorce, I especially appreciate Stephen Baskerville’s “Divorced from Reality” (January/February 2009). Before my own experience, my tendency was to look down condescendingly on divorced people and, for the most part, blame the men. My attitude, of course, changed drastically when it happened to me.

The message of the article is one the Church needs to hear, since the general churchgoing public no doubt shares the understanding I once had. We need to understand how the corrupt divorce-court system paved the way for the present push by homosexuals to “marry” and adopt children. The Church needs to consider that, while it’s great to work toward ending abortion and preventing homosexual “marriage,” it might be better to back up and take more preventive measures. What must be prevented is the divorce mentality that reduces marriage to a trial-and-error game that causes innumerable problems for the children involved.

Saint Clair, Missouri

Thank you for publishing Stephen Baskerville’s article on divorce. I want to emphasize that men and women are unjustly losing custody of their children in family court systems gone mad. Lawyers who teach their clients to falsely cry “abuse” not only destroy innocent parents, but also destroy the credibility of true child abuse cases.

When my husband was in the throes of his affair, churches I turned to for help did nothing. But going to social services for help tore our family apart. Instead of getting my husband the help he needed, they threatened to take my daughter and 4-month-old twin sons away from me and place them in foster care if I didn’t agree to leave my husband. The judge overseeing our case was a friend of my husband’s family, and he took my children away from me for getting social services involved in the first place. I lost temporary custody of my children; my husband continued his affair; and the churches in our community stood by and simply watched my family fall apart.

Thanks again for publishing Dr. Baskerville’s plea for churches to get involved in doing what they can to prevent the divorce epidemic, because once a family gets involved in the legal system, you can count on that family being destroyed.

-- Mary C.
By email

I’ve just read Stephen Baskerville’s article on divorce. Its description of the role of government in breaking up families, the farce of it, and the role that economics plays in it, were very accurate. The role of the Church needs addressing as well.

I’ve just experienced just this. I am angered and frustrated at the general public’s lack of awareness on this issue, and the betrayal of our institutions by those who gain by it. I’m angered and frightened as I realize the malevolent power the government has over us. We need to find a way of undoing this destructive process.

Marlboro, New York

In response to “Divorced from Reality” by Stephen Baskerville: I am getting divorced in Texas and the experience is shocking. There are no issues like drugs, alcohol, extramarital partners, or financial misbehavior. She does not want the life I offer her. I am out of my home, paying children support plus mortgage, and living in an apartment with rented furniture. I see our girls on alternating weekends.

This experience is common for a large number of men that I’ve recently met. Family laws in Texas encourage divorce. The women know they will easily get the house, the neighbors, most of the time with the kids, child support, most of the property, and perhaps even spousal support, even if their husbands did nothing wrong.

The divorce process encourages conflict between the parents and promotes a “winner” versus “loser” conflict, with the children as the main losers. The children are denied their intact family and their rightful access to their father. A father’s ambitions to be an equal parent are unlikely to be met, given the strong bias to the children’s mother. Our children deserve equal access to both parents.

A good starting point in a divorce involving minor children would include the presumptions of: (1) equal parenting time with the children, (2) equal or proportional division of the community property, and (3) child support specifically for child care costs and not to subsidize a parent.

By email

Thank you for finally breaking the silence about the devastating effects of divorce with Stephen Baskerville’s “Divorced from Reality.” Although situations of divorce can be touchy, and feelings tender, and there are no unforgiveable sins or unredeemable situations, we have no right to change the Word of God and ignore rampant sin.

We publicly oppose gay marriage on the grounds that a child needs a father and a mother, and then often ignore the needs of children suffering from divorce. How could we be more hypocritical?

Look at what the Bible says: “For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel” (Mal. 2:16). And: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse” (Mal. 4:5-6).

One of America’s many sins right now is that the hearts of fathers are being torn away from their children, and the children away from their fathers. As America is now staggering under the evident judgment of God (with the hope it will turn us toward repentance and healing), how can we ignore this clear warning? He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Southport , North Carolina


I didn't think it was possible to overstate the evil of no-fault divorce, but Stephen Baskerville managed to do it in “Divorced from Reality” (January/ February 2009).

Although I got out of divorce practice 15-20 years ago, in no small part due to the evils of a system that did essentially end marriage (thanks, Maggie Gallagher), I don't know what jurisdiction and what process Baskerville has in mind (and I suspect that he has none distinctly in mind) when he paints this picture: "the father is...simply sitting in his own home minding his own business. The state seizes control of his children with no burden of proof to justify why. The burden of proof (and the financial burden) falls on the father to demonstrate why they should be returned." Again, "Once arrested, the
father is summarily jailed" and "he…loses his children summarily and often permanently."

Maybe Baskerville is using "summarily" and "no burden of proof" as fundamentalist pastors in my youth used "literally" – as in "college students today are literally raising Cain on campus." I know what "burden of proof" and "summarily" mean, and I don't think Baskerville was telling the truth. If he was telling the truth, his readers deserved more than rhetorical incendiary devices lobbed without explanation.

I hope someone with more time than I responds in more detail, but I'll close summarily with "shame on Touchstone" – something I don't say or think very often – insisting that it's now your burden of proof to show that Baskerville wasn't just shilling for his shrilly-titled book.

Lafayette, Indiana


Roger Bennett, by his own admission, does not take the time or trouble to challenge any specific points in my article. Yet he accuses me of untruthfulness. This in itself should alert Touchstone readers to the logic of divorce law. “No-fault” divorce means that the outcome of every case is predetermined. No evidence, no arguments, no facts will make any difference. In every case, the “defendant” will lose, the “plaintiff” will win, and the divorce will be granted. Even if the defendant is legally unimpeachable, he is punished and can be punished further. The state then claims the power to seize control of his children – without giving any further justification than “divorce”, the divorce it has just granted without explanation. The innocent parent is then criminalized for unauthorized contact with his own children. So he is indeed “sitting in his own home, minding his own business,” and he may no longer see his children without government authorization.

He is also criminalized for failure or inability to pay the state money he has done nothing to “owe”. Parents are incarcerated for these matters, and there is almost never a trial. That is what I meant by “summarily.”

No one denies this is what happens. Unlike Mr. Bennett, most divorce operatives simply reformulate them into legal jargon that makes them appear innocuous: “divorce,” “custody,” “child support.” Mr. Bennett simply calls me a liar without evincing a single inaccuracy in my article or bothering to provide any evidence. His letter itself demonstrates the modus operandi and rules of evidence used in divorce court.