A Father's Fiery Rage Against the Cold Machine

This sad conclusion is more than merely a case of one broken marriage. It seems emblematic of a wider spiritual vacuum: a loss of any vision for human life beyond the mechanical and defensive. The words of Proverbs 29:18 spring naturally to mind: "Where there is no vision, the people perish." One thing the last half-century makes plain is that government programs have no power to endow us with a transcendent vision. Human government is limited in the same way all law is. It does not articulate a vision of the good that will animate its people. It can only define mistakes, and then go on the hunt for them.

Ironically, the Thomas Ball family is a triumph of the family-law paradigm. Within the context of that paradigm, everything in the Balls' case went according to plan. The family's fate is not a failure of state policy. It's the best the state can do. That should impress upon us two things: the urgent wisdom of putting less faith in law and government, and the paramount need to cultivate—by other means—a motivating vision of marriage and family for our society.

7/3/2011 4:00:00 AM