[315] Sociology of Disorder III
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[315] Sociology of Disorder III

I have been reviewing Mary Eberstadt’s article in the December edition of Firstthings.com, entitled “The Fury of the Fatherless,” in which she looked at the summer 2020 protestors who generated mass disorder in US cities.

Eberstadt uncovered two characteristics: fatherlessness and Fatherlessness (absence of religion).  From those two comes a detachment from country. More particularly, Millennials and Gen Zs are characterized as low in patriotism, having a distrust of traditional institutions.

Eberstadt sees this distrust as a logical progression from the first two. In short, weakened bonds in one sector leads to a weakening in another.  Eberstadt cites Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism, by sociologist Paul Vitz, in which the author argues that anger at the absence or abuse of fathers results in an anger toward God.

In any case, fatherlessness and Fatherlessness breed alienation and isolation.  There are fewer attachments and a tendency toward unhealthy connections among those that are made. There are fewer people from which one “might learn essential skills such as negotiation, diligence, compromise, teamwork, delayed gratification, and self-control.” Eberstadt writes. “This much we do know. The streets of Portland–and Kenosha, and Baltimore, and Rochester, and all the other cities serving as proscenia for today’s mob explosions—are full of [people like these].”

Eberstadt sees this sociology of disorder as a growing US crisis. She quotes Catholic theologian Deborah Savage’s description of this population: “They have been left alone in a cosmos with nothing to guide them, not even a firm grasp of what constitutes their basic humanity, and no means of finding the way home.”  Furthermore, Eberstadt sees this group as resentful and envious of those “born to an ordered paternity, those with secure attachments to family and faith and country.”  Hence the movement of disorder to suburbs.

With growing gun sales and a divisive election, Eberstadt sees the US at a watershed, one much larger than Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, or Mitch McConnell. In Shakespeare’s King Lear, Edmund, the disaffected brother of Edgar calls upon the gods for resolution. We need to do a lot of God calling over this country. DC


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