Nuclear Family

The Necessity of the Nuclear Family

By Elise DeYoung

Many say we are living in an age of progression. However, our modern age could accurately be titled “The Age of Regression.” Morally, socially, economically, globally, educationally—we have allowed the poison of individualism and secularism to sweep across our nation, removing tradition in its wake.

Possibly the most invaluable tradition that the Left has banished from its self-proclaimed “progressive utopia” is the family—specifically, the nuclear family. This has resulted in extreme social consequences because the family is the fundamental building block of society.

How did we get here?

George Murdock

George Murdock reached this exact conclusion in his book, Social Structures, published in 1949. His work studied hundreds of diverse civilizations across time in order to understand the “science of human behavior.” Even today, it is considered one of the most comprehensive works on the subject.

The first chapter deals specifically with the nuclear family, which he defines as “a married man and woman with their offspring.” In it, Murdock observes that “the nuclear family is a universal human social grouping… it exists as a distinct and strongly functional group in every known society.” He concluded that after examining over 250 cultures, no other social structure could replace the nuclear family on a fundamental level. 

How does Murdock measure the success and strength of this family structure? He evaluates the four vital functions of the nuclear family: the sexual, economic, reproductive, and educational functions.

The Sexual Function

The sexual function, fulfilled through the sexual union (marriage) of spouses, aligns sexual desire with morality and decreases cultural perversion.

Regrettably, we now live in a deleterious society that shames all sexual restraint and celebrates sexual promiscuity. Murdock warned against forsaking the sexual function, saying, “Sex cannot safely be left without restraints.”

Clearly, we are suffering from the consequences of disregarding this warning. Whether it be the entertainment industry, sex education for minors, pornography and prostitution, immodesty, reproductive control, LGBTQ+, or the internet, sex is being promoted without restraint and consequences, completely divorced from marriage.

What were the results?

  • In 2015, the Supreme Court enshrined the contradiction “gay marriage” into law with Obergefell vs Hodges.[1]
  • 60–71% of children have sex before graduating high school.[2]
  • 15.2% of young adults aged 18 to 24 identify as LGBTQ, a stark contrast to older generations who rank below 5%.[3]
  • In 2017, OnlyFans had 100,000 users, and in 2021, the number skyrocketed to 187.9 million users.[4]
  • 45% of American adults are married, down from 50% in 2015.[5]

This is an extreme problem, not only for the poor people who have fallen prey to these statistics but also for the overall health and sustainability of our society. We have ostracized sexual restraint through marriage, and instead, invited both sexual perversion and promiscuity to rule our minds, lives, souls, and civilization.

The Economic Function

The economic function establishes the division of labor and ensures that each family member is fiscally cared for. Murdock describes the division of labor as follows: the husband takes care of the wife, the wife takes care of the husband, and together, they take care of their children until they are old enough to take care of the parents. This charitable model creates a “gridlock of caretaking” where each member’s needs are accounted for.

This gridlock does not ensure that the nuclear family will be wealthy. However, the statistics prove that it is more likely for a nuclear family to be better off fiscally compared to single-parent homes. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) found, “Children in single-parent families are more likely to live in poverty.” In 2021, 9.5% of children living with two parents lived below the poverty level, compared to 31.7% of children living with a single parent.

However, if American leaders, laws, and voters are genuinely interested in solving poverty or helping young people reach success, they must return to promoting and protecting the nuclear family.

Let me clarify that these general findings are not meant to discourage single mothers or fathers in America. However, if American leaders, laws, and voters are genuinely interested in solving poverty or helping young people reach success, they must return to promoting and protecting the nuclear family.

Melissa Kearney said it well in Time Magazine, “The economic data is clear: to make our nation’s economy stronger for all men, women and children, marriage and family structure must be acknowledged as a driving force of economic well-being. And we must promote positive, shame-free ways of changing our social and economic views on marriage to make improvements that help the nation now and, in the decades, ahead.”[6]

The Reproductive Function

The reproductive function replenishes society by procreation.

It is no secret that for a society to survive, let alone flourish, the members of that society must make more babies. This is arguably the most important aspect of the nuclear family, because it’s the only family structure that can naturally result in the reproduction of children. But, what happens when we abandon this model?

Having children is not only a matter of their own flourishing or society’s; this is about survival.

The immediate effect is birth rates plummet. The birth rate in America has dramatically decreased from 14.3 births per 1,000 people in 2007 to 11.1 in 2021.[7] This is partially due to the decreasing pregnancy rates which, in 2017, reached an all-time low among women aged 24 and younger. This decline has been consistent since the 1980s.[8] Furthermore, since the 1970’s, millions of babies have been murdered in the womb through abortion. In 2021 alone, 626,000 unborn babies were killed.[9]

These two factors result in a rapidly declining birth rate. These numbers are clearly not sustainable for any civilization. Once again, the solution is clear. We must stop killing babies, and encourage young people to get married and have a lot of children. This is not only a matter of their own flourishing or society’s; this is about survival.

The Educational Function

The educational function, fulfilled when parents teach children values and ideals, will result in their flourishing.

We’ve established that the nuclear family provides children with the best fiscal position in society. Not only this, but children within the traditional family structure statistically perform better educationally.

“A new study finds that that by the age of 24, individuals who live in single-parent families as teens received fewer years of schooling and are less likely to attain a bachelor’s degree than those from two-parent families.”[10]

This fact is undeniable in our current age. However, while graduating high school is invaluable in society, it is not the main purpose of the educational function of the family. This is because graduating with a piece of paper does not equate to a good and true view of the world.

This is clear in our current age with the poison of progressive ideology seeping into our schools and corrupting the minds of our youth. It not only leaves destructive effects on the children, but it also threatens to derail our society at large.

Because of its ties to tradition and reality, the nuclear family is the family model best equipped to teach children ideas that will help them flourish in society. The values of marriage, love, charity, hard work, and child-rearing—among many others—are all fundamental to the four functions of the nuclear family.

The Necessity of the Nuclear Family

“In the nuclear family or its constituent relationships, we thus see assembled four functions fundamental to human social life—the sexual, the economic, the reproductive, and the educational. Without provision for the first and third, society would become extinct; for the second, life itself would cease; for the fourth, culture would come to an end. The immense social utility of the nuclear family and the basic reason for its universality thus begin to emerge in strong relief.”

The nuclear family is the fundamental building block of society. It is not only essential for our society’s survival, but is also the best solution to the problems of sexual promiscuity, economic collapse, declining birth rates, and other harmful ideas permeating our current climate.

Murdock said, “No society, in short, has succeeded in finding an adequate substitute for the nuclear family.” I suggest that we not even try.

Read more of Elise’s blogs.

Elisa DeYoung headshot smiling at the camera

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations® graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. Elise is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey towards the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!


[1] “Obergefell v. Hodges,” Oyez. www.oyez.org/cases/2014/14-556. Accessed March 21, 2024.

[2] Ethier K. A., Kann L., McManus T. “Sexual Intercourse Among High School Students—29 States and United States Overall, 2005–2015,” Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm665152a1.htm

[3] Flores, A. R., Conron, K. J. “Adult LGBTQ Population in the United States,” The Williams Institute. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/adult-lgbt-pop-us/

[4] Daniel, C. “OnlyFans Users and Revenue Statistics (2024),” Sign House. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.usesignhouse.com/blog/onlyfans-users

[5] Han, Z. “Fewer than 50% of U.S. Adults are now married. It’s time to give more legal and financial breaks to single people, a law professor says,” Market Watch. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/fewer-than-50-of-u-s-adults-are-now-married-its-time-to-give-more-legal-and-financial-breaks-to-single-people-law-professor-says-11664992681#

[6] Kearney, M. “The U.S. Economy Needs More Two Parent Families,” Time Magazine. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://time.com/6317692/u-s-economy-two-parent-families/

[7] Fitzpatrick, A., Beheraj, K. “The birth rate ticked up in 2022. Can the reversal last?” Axios. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.axios.com/2023/10/04/birth-rate-fertility-rate-decline-data-statistics-graph-2022

[8] Maddow-Zimet, I., Kost, K. “Pregnancies, Births and Abortions in the United States,1973–2017: National and State Trends by Age,” Guttmacher Institute. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.guttmacher.org/report/pregnancies-births-abortions-in-united-states-1973-2017

[9] (n.d.). “Number of legal abortions reported in the U.S. From 1973 to 2021,” Statistica. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/185274/number-of-legal-abortions-in-the-us-since-2000/

[10]Harrison, R. “Teens From Single-Parent Families Leave School Earlier,” NYU. Retrieved March 20, 2024, from https://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2015/february/teens-from-single-parent-families-leave-school-earlier.html

Feminism: The First Wave

Feminism: The Radical First Wave

By Elise DeYoung

“What began as a movement with the principled intention of equality for women has turned into an abstract ideology that is seeking to overthrow all traditional structures under the guise of women empowerment.”

I wrote this over a year ago for a thesis project, which I titled “Behind the Veil of Feminism.” My goal for the assignment was to look beyond the boss babe propaganda and the gender pay gap debate to answer the deeper question, “What is the ideology of feminism?”

After researching its ideology and those who have historically promoted it, I firmly concluded, and still believe, that feminism is, in fact, “an abstract ideology that is seeking to overthrow all traditional structures under the guise of women empowerment.”

However, I excused first-wave feminism, arguing that feminism fell short of its original, righteous design during the third and fourth waves. It wasn’t until recently when I revisited the first wave, that I became convinced that feminism has never been “a movement with principled intentions.”

Feminism, from its conception, has always been a dangerous ideology, designed to destroy all traditional structures and ways of life.

The Origin of Feminism

The ideology of feminism was born out of the minds of women like Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These women were discontented with the status of women in 19th century America. They worked to revolutionize the relationship between women and the broader society.

The movement was officially conceived in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention with the signing of the Declaration of Sentiments. The first wave ended in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

This period of feminism is largely looked upon with approval by both conservatives and progressives because it resulted in a woman’s right to vote, which in turn led to educational, vocational, and political equality between the sexes. Surely, with these results, we must conclude that first-wave feminism was principled and beneficial. Before we come to this conclusion, we must challenge ourselves with the question, why didn’t feminism dissolve after these political wins? Why have we continued to see a second, third, and fourth wave (each more radical than the last)?

Because the feminist mission was not complete after the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The amendment was only a means to an end to the early feminists. So, what then, is their end? Thankfully, we do not have to ponder this question long because the early feminists clearly laid out their radical intentions in the Declaration of Sentiments. After examining exactly what the first feminists wrote, I believe it will become clear that the end of feminism has always been social revolution through the reproach and replacement of men and the rejection of the family.

Social Revolution

Leftist movements always have a shared value of revolution. Whether it is climate change, critical race theory, or the LGBTQIA+ movement, all progressive movements call for the dismantling of the past to prepare for the restructuring of the future. Feminism is no exception to this rule.

In the Declaration of Sentiments, Elizabeth Stanton makes the case that in order for women to have the rights they deserve and the positions in society that they desire, a political and social revolution is required. Stanton writes that such a revolution “Has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.”

Stanton wrote revolution into the fabric of feminism. The ideology itself demands the overthrowing of systems, ideas, and traditions which constrain it. Revolution—the foundation of the philosophy—has manifested itself largely in feminism’s insistence on the reproach and replacement of men in society and the rejection of marriage.

All progressive movements call for the dismantling of the past to prepare for the restructuring of the future.

The Reproach and Replacement of Men

We are never surprised today when we hear feminists complaining about the so-called “patriarchy” and expressing their disdain for men. However, this argument has been made since the founding of the ideology.

Stanton wrote, “The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.” She continues by saying, “He has endeavored, in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.”

The brash claim that all men have “an absolute tyranny” over all women is not new. From the beginning, feminists have implanted a disdain for men into their followers. They have done this largely by convincing women of a long list of grievances that men have committed against them. Stanton included such a list in her declaration and used it to justify the destructive nature of the ideology of feminism against men. In short, she argued that men have conducted the government, conditioned society, and instituted religion in order to oppress women. You may be more familiar with this concept as it is known today—the patriarchy.

The feminist solution to this alleged problem is for women to stand up and overthrow men’s tyranny over them. Or as we hear it today, “women need to be empowered to rise up and overthrow the patriarchy.” The effects of this thinking have been women replacing men in almost all spheres of life. Husbands and fathers have been replaced by single mothers or unconventional family units, the universities have been dominated by women, the military has manipulated its standards to uphold women over men, and the workplace has been radically reworked to value women workers over men. The list goes on.

Whether you support these social trends is irrelevant. The fact that cannot be denied is we are seeing the replacement of men in society, and this is all by the first feminists’ design.

The Rejection of Marriage

The most destructive war that feminism has waged since its founding is the war against the traditional family. Some may be tempted to believe that the feminist attack on the family began in 1963 when Betty Friedan published her book Feminine Mystique. In it, Friedan argued that the station of a wife and homemaker is equivalent to that of a slave—where the home is a prison, children the chains, and the husband the jailer. Sadly, this flawed thinking dates back much farther than the 20th century.

The most destructive war that feminism has waged since its founding is the war against the traditional family.

The Declaration of Sentiments reads, “In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master—the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement.” From its beginning, feminism has ruthlessly attacked the institution of marriage by degrading and misrepresenting it.

Not only this, but the early feminists have always fought to loosen divorce laws to favor wives over their husbands. “He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes of divorce; …the law, in all cases, going upon the false supposition of the supremacy of man, and giving all power into his hands.”

A world in which men “lose” and women “win” in a divorce was the world that the early feminists were seeking to create. Thanks to legislation like no-fault divorce, we are living in the first feminists’ imagined utopia where marriage vows are easily broken, and families are routinely torn apart.

The Results of Feminism

Feminism is arguably one of the most powerful leftist movements in history. This is partially because it has had over two centuries to do its damage and also because it has wrongly been accepted as a societal good.

Feminism is arguably one of the most powerful leftist movements in history.

Whether you consider the decline of masculinity, the rise of “boss babe” culture, the acceptance of abortion as a “Constitutional right”, the rejection of marriage, and the rise of divorce—it cannot be denied that we live in a society today that has been gravely affected by the ideology of feminism.

While we cannot attribute all these civil illnesses to feminism alone, we must recognize that this was the future that the first feminists envisioned. Elizabeth Stanton closes her feminist declaration with the words, “We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and national Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions, embracing every part of the country.”

Congratulations, Elizabeth, you got your wish.

It should not surprise us when we see modern feminism bent on destruction. The first feminists planted these seeds of destruction and revolution from the beginning. They only needed time to grow.

We need to stop excusing first-wave feminism as a “principled movement” because once we accept that premise, we lose the fight. Feminism has always used corruption and destruction as its means to its end—and that end has always been a revolution of society, the reproach and replacement of men, and the rejection of marriage.

Read other articles by Elise here.

Elisa DeYoung headshot smiling at the camera

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations® graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. She is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey towards the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!

Wedding rings in the middle of an open book

Stand Firm Against Legislation Attacking Religious Freedom & Marriage

The Christian Employers Alliance issued the followed statement regarding HR 8404, or the inappropriately named “Respect for Marriage Act,” a bill that endangers our religious freedoms:

“House of Representatives voted to pass the (dis) ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ that expressly overturns the Defense of Marriage Act, passed overwhelmingly in 1996, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Unfortunately, the Leader did not whip the vote, and 47 Republicans voted in favor of the legislation along with all Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Schumer announced the use of Senate Rule XIV last night – meaning it skips committee and can be called up at any time. He has announced his intent to bring the bill to the floor when he is assured of the ten (10) Republican votes he needs to win a cloture vote with a 60-vote threshold. Sources are telling us he could bring up the bill next week.”

Below are four arguments from our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom against the RMA. 

Under the Respect for Marriage Act (the “RMA”):

The federal government would be forced to recognize any marriage as valid by a state, including polygamy, which would also have significant impacts on tax and welfare provisions.

Granting “full faith and credit” to same-sex marriage, the RMA is a declaration by Congress that failure to recognize same-sex marriage is functionally no different than censoring free speech or denying someone their right to free speech. It places same-sex marriage on par with other fundamental rights. (Remember fundamental rights are those rights with the highest protections, such as free speech, freedom of religion, etc.)

During the Obergefell oral argument, then-U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli “candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage.” The RMA makes that threat more concrete because it creates a private cause of action for activists to sue anyone “acting under color of state law” – which in certain circumstances could include individuals and private organizations. In other words, RMA potentially opens up religious individuals and organizations to harassing lawsuits and legal liability if they decline to recognize same-sex marriages or grant them the same rights as opposite-sex marriages.

RMA lays a foundation for the IRS, or other federal agencies, to strip tax-exempt status from religious non-profits that do not affirm same-sex marriage. If RMA is passed, it would represent a clear statement that Congress believes opposition to same-sex marriage is against public policy. That could allow the IRS to point to the RMA, Supreme Court cases recognizing same-sex marriage, and numerous administrative actions from the Biden Administration (and the Obama Administration before it) as evidence that all three branches of the federal government uniformly believe that everyone—both government entities and private individuals and organizations—should recognize same-sex marriages and grant them the same rights and benefits as opposite sex couples. The IRS could argue that an organization that fails to do so should not be tax-exempt.  

https://www.christianemployersalliance.org/

Read the letter sent by ADF and more than eighty allies to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asking him to oppose the misnamed “Respect for Marriage Act.”

There are countless other reasons to oppose the bill, some of which are expressed here, here, and here.

Five senators have announced their intent to support the legislation:

  • Collins (ME)
  • Murkowski (AK)
  • Portman (OH)
  • Tillis (NC)
  • Johnson (WI)

According to CNN, eight senators have announced their opposition to the legislation:

  • Cassidy (LA)
  • Cornyn (TX)
  • Cruz (TX)
  • Graham (SC)
  • Hawley (MO)
  • Inhofe (OK)
  • Rubio (FL)
  • Wicker (MS)

Contact your US senator to ask that he or she oppose this legislation and keep it from reaching the sixty-vote threshold.

Please thank your senator if they have already announced opposition to the bill.