The Public Interest

The Helping Hand Strikes Again

Brigitte Berger

Fall 1981

IN the war that is currently waged over the American mind, the family, no doubt, plays a pivotal role. It is here that today’s most controversial issues-human sexuality, teenage pregnancies, abortion, gender roles, women’s rights, socialization and education of children, their care as well as that of other weaker members of the familyare turned into fierce strategic battles that go well beyond their proclaimed causes. In so far as these and related matters are no longer held to be primarily of individual concern and personal responsibility, but have become public issues demanding public attention and governmental action, the family has been politicized to a degree heretofore unknown in American society. A monumental avalanche of publications attests to the degree of politicization, just as it attests to the futility of attempts to solve, through political mechanisms, symptoms of problems whose causes are only dimly perceived.

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