We may shake oil and water together, but the mix doesn’t last. They are both solvents, but for different things. Only something else—like soap—can make them work together. The oil of mutual need and support kept my sisters and me from trying to out-vote Mom and Dad in the United States of Jenkins. Neither did Mom and Dad try to keep us kids stuck on a Jenkins Family Plantation, since the water of freedom would have dissolved the glue anyway. Family and Democracy don’t mix well because families are an oligarchy (rule by a few). But as we kids left home one by one, we were all still a family. This paradox happened due to the soap of mutual acceptance and shared virtues.
Socialism and Democracy are also like oil and water because families are the oldest socialist group and are usually run by an oligarchy which may be as small as one parent. The more Eastern a society is, the more its families tend to be larger and deeper. Eastern peoples are more comfortable with community-oriented value systems where decisions are made by a few who have respect. The farther West we go, people are more likely to contest traditional authority while valuing individualism and the freedom to express it. So, democracy is more likely there.
The operating principle of families (and socialism) is: From each according to abilities, and to each according to needs. When questions about ability and need arise, there is no vote of the people. The oligarchy decides.
Like families, socialism works well in small homogeneous groups. But the more members there are, and the more diverse they are, and the more areas of life the oligarchy sticks its nose into, the more friction there will be. To say it simply: The more socialism we have, the less it works. …Unless we banish, jail, or kill dissidents.
Even though the nuclear human family is the oldest and most stable unit of socialism, the Socialists and Communists fight against it for two main reasons.
First: Although a solid family is usually socialist and run by an oligarchy, the political Left disparages, stifles, or redefines “family” wherever possible because it is not their oligarchy. One thing an oligarchy cannot tolerate is a competing oligarchy. Instead, the State is declared to be the Family. All citizens belong to it, so the oligarchy has the right—the duty—to withhold and grant rights, and to enforce its decrees. Note that in a modern Socialist system, rights are not something people are born having, and this is true whether it is the national socialism of the political Right (Nazism, Fascism) or the international socialism of the political Left (Socialism, Communism). All of these use the same formula: a one-party system; suppress opposition; total control of media, police, education, etc.
Incidentally, the cause of the eternal conflict between Church and State now becomes obvious: They are competing oligarchies. Each always strives to absorb or control the other, or at least protect itself from the other.
Second: The values of any group—from a culture all the way down to a single person—are rooted in the shared ideas and character of its god. The political Right usually claims its god as God. But, as with competing oligarchies, the political Left cannot accept the idea of a competing God who might meddle in issues of abilities and needs. I say “competing God” because socialists and communists do have a God even though they say they don’t. Only an all-seeing God could accurately say, “There is no God.” But that is a logical and practical impossibility. So, whenever gods—or humans—make that claim, what they mean is, “There is no God except Me.” Most of those who act as gods are too humble to admit being God, and they may be too savvy to completely do away with God. Instead, they may claim to be agnostic, or say that we must all be obedient to History (as if it were the Supreme Guide or Prophet).
It takes faith to believe in some Creator God from beyond our space and time. It takes at least as much faith to believe in a God called History that sprang up with the Big Bang from God knows where, and determines a future it whispers to its prophets of the Left so they feel drawn to force their oligarchy, their ideas, and their God on everyone else. But that’s nothing new. Tyrants throughout history with other ideas and other Gods have done the same, whether their God agreed with the ideas and the doings or not.
Each person belongs to various communities by genetics, circumstances, and choice. One may live more happily in communities, while another lives more happily in solitude. Human society is a multi-dimensional continuum, and its proportions and qualities differ by genetics, culture, and place. Some socialism is a necessary soothing oil in any State today to offset bad luck and the universal human tendency to selfishness. But freedom is like fresh water in human affairs, and History shows that the bigger the State, the better a regularly elected representative government works. Danger comes when we learn neither a respect for others nor any of the virtues necessary for getting along with neighbors and family members while we are children when those things are easiest to learn. Without that childhood learning, there will be problems later making democracy and families work, because when society values self-expression more than self-restraint, activists turn personal preferences into law.
I submit that most extremes, such as warrior versus pacifist, or epicurean versus stoic, or individual versus community, or Socialism versus Democracy, are essential in society, and that balance is only possible when common consent allows no extreme to suppress its opposite. So, just as Nature needs both oil and water, any balanced society must have socialism in families as well as free speech and multi-party representative democracy in the body politic. Only the soap of mutual regard and common virtues can keep each extreme in its proper place and working together.