Economist Philip Pilkington interrogates the idea of the “longhouse,” and demolishes the socialist left’s radically subversive view of the family.
Excellent article. At some point, the Postliberal Order must address the role of the extended family.
When we talk about 'the family', most people will likely think of the typical nuclear family. I lived with an Italian family some time ago, and they were surrounded by the members of their own extended family, with my hosts' brothers and sisters and parents all living in very close proximity. Aunts, uncles and cousins were not much further away. This "mini-village" actually did provide many of the benefits of the longhouse you describe, especially collaborative child and elder care, but also food preparation, carpooling, and, of course, entertainment. The mutual support available in such situations relieves many of the pressures and stresses experienced by the atomized families in today's society.
"Families founded in sin run aground in the first gale, or else, like a ship abandoned to the mercy of the waves, drift towards doctrines which, through the very freedom they proclaim, lead to the worst kind of slavery. Those who debase the family will have no peace; only in the Christian family, obedient to the laws of the Creator and the Redeemer and aided by grace, is there a guarantee of peace." Pope Pius XII, "The Treasures of Intimate Union with God," July 19, 1939, in "Dear Newlyweds: Pope Pius XII Speaks to Married Couples," St. Marys, Kansas: Sarto House, 2001. Pp. 20-21.
Liberalism has indeed failed. The feminized longhouse of modern liberalism hangs like a millstone around the necks of young men. While traditional and flourishing societies have a domestic sphere--the hearth--that is attended to and given life by the female, today the female influence has exceeded its proper bounds, extending outward and overly-feminizing broader society.
But I think you miss the mark about the right-wing neo-pagan / Nietzschean reactionaries. They too have an incomplete anthropology, as you say. Today, they are impotent and may legitimize a liberal police state. But their vision and understanding of human nature is far from feminized or liberal. If you read writers like Spangler and Evola, you will see that they are indeed different types of thinkers than secular materialist communists, who think that utopia is just a matter of resource management.
The appeal of a true right wing with an authoritarian emphasis on order, a natural hierarchy, a spiritual dimension that transcends the material universe, a stoic disposition, and a belief in the survival of the fittest will become increasingly apparent in the face of the blatant disorder caused by an over-feminized and liberal spirit that seeks material pleasure as the highest end of man, that seeks equality rather than greatness, that fails to acknowledge natural hierarchies, that praises the weakest at the expense of the strongest, and that worships individual freedom in the very face of mankind's great limitations. Such a vision is to the right of traditional Christian society; it indeed sees in Christianity the seeds of liberalism. Christians and postliberals would do well to treat this as a serious threat rather than as the basement-dwelling cruft of modern-day liberalism.
In other words, Dugan is right: liberalism and socialism have failed.
In other words, return to true anthropology: Christianity.
This reminds me of Peter Gray's "Free to Learn" since he claimed that, in our evolutionary environment (hunter-gatherer) parenting was indeed communalized and that this was actually an excellent setting for child-rearing. Being a voluntaryist/anarcho-capitalist type, my initial reaction was incredulity because of my knee-jerk rejection of any suggestion of collectivism/communism, but it ultimately comports with my experience of reality and is consistent with libertarian principles. And before people pounce on me for being a libertarian, I should point out that my reasons for being libertarian are rooted in valuing property, decentralization, localism, family/children, (genuine) diversity, and low-time preference while being opposed to all the distortions of the state (e.g., welfare, corporations, schools, zoning, monopoly, etc.).
With that out of the way, it's worth pointing out that acknowledging that child-rearing is best when in a communal setting with significant latitude for children to do what they want and without unilateral control by their parents does not imply that the socialization of child-rearing via the state was ever going to work. The key was that you had a community that was invested in each of the kids, which can only be maintained at a relatively small scale. The issue with liberalism as a goal to be pursued by the state is that it creates an artificial independence from others while the reality is that people naturally have a myriad of connections with people which are in no need of severance — even when they get mildly uncomfortable. But to say that means people should be forced into maintaining certain types of relationships considered as sacrosanct by conservatives seems to me to be taking it to the other extreme, which inevitably will come with its drawbacks and backlash.
In other words, subsidiarity.