Chesterton: Capitalism Killed the Family

The family is dead meat in capitalism (Pieter Aertsen, Still Life with Meat and the Holy Family, 1551; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100).

The family is dead meat in capitalism (Pieter Aertsen, Still Life with Meat and the Holy Family, 1551; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100).

You, no doubt, have heard it said (totally out of context) by Chesterton:

Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.

But he also said in “Three Foes of the Family” (442-445):

It cannot be too often repeated that what destroyed the Family in the modern world was Capitalism. No doubt it might have been Communism, if Communism had ever had a chance, outside that semi-Mongolian wilderness where it actually flourishes. But, so far as we are concerned, what has broken up households and encouraged divorces, and treated the old domestic virtues with more and more open contempt, is the epoch and Power of Capitalism. It is Capitalism that has forced a moral feud and a commercial competition between the sexes; that has destroyed the influence of the parent in favour of the influence of the employer; that has driven men from their homes to look for jobs; that has forced them to live near their factories or their firms instead of near their families; and, above all, that has encouraged, for commercial reasons, a parade of publicity and garish novelty, which is in its nature the death of all that was called dignity and modesty by our mothers and fathers.

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Don’t miss The Fatal Errors of Capitalism: Laudato Si’ & the Economy.

See why atheist philosopher Slavoj Zizek, who is something of a Chesterton fan and follower himself, thinks that traditional marriage is an act of rebellion in a time when alternative forms of marriage have become the norm.

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About Artur Rosman

Artur Rosman was born in Warsaw, but is secretly Krakovian.
He is husband, father of three, professor, public speaker, book translator, and a onetime television personality on Polish TV. He recently completed and defended a dissertation on the Catholic imagination of Czeslaw Milosz at the University of Washington. He was the Channel Manager of Patheos-Catholic.