The other day I blogged about a programme on BBC3 presented by pop singer Alesha Dixon called ‘Who’s your daddy?’ The programme was excellent in terms of recording the pain felt by children who have never known their fathers. It was very poor in terms of analysis.
The best Alesha could offer was that there are now lots of families in this situation, people should use condoms, and we can’t let history repeat itself.
But there was a failure to ask basic questions. For example, why are so many children now in this situation? Why is it that so many children either don’t know who their father is or have no contact with him?
Above all, why is it that this was once very rare – fatherless children – is now very common? The most obvious answer is that between past and present, the sex revolution happened.
The sex revolution destroyed traditional sexual morality which was aimed above all else at making sure couples were married before they had children. In this way a child would have a father and a woman would have a husband. Traditional sexual morality placed huge value on commitment.
The sex revolution did the opposite. It emphasised freedom and de-emphasised commitment. The result is that men are now free to impregnate women and then walk away from them and their children.
This is why Alesha Dixon never really knew her father and has several half-brother and sisters. It is why there are tens of thousands in her situation.
Until we begin to connect the dots, until we link the problem of fatherless children to its cause, the sex revolution, we won’t even begin to find the solution.
And as the authors of a new report from the left-of-centre Brookings Institute said in a slightly different context, if this is against modern attitudes, then modern attitudes are against children.