The Institution of the Family

April 15, 2013

Dr. Plinio 

(based on a talk by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira)


Painting by Albert Anker

Painting by Albert Anker

Tradition and heredity communicate a vital warmth to family life. They make of it a natural fact. They develop the psychological and affective orders. In turn, this helps enormously to accomplish the family’s goals.

The Golden Anniversary, painted by Hermann Bethke

It is normal for relatives to have affinities, and therefore also to have similar professions. It is normal that, having similar professions, for this very reason, they go in to business together, and it is normal that the family, in many cases, moves to become a unity of economic production. In the past, there were families that formed true dynasties throughout the course of centuries and the length of many generations. Not just dynasties of kings, hidalgos, potentates, but much more modest dynasties: watchmakers, crystal manufacturers, professors, magistrates, artists, intellectuals. Those dynasties contributed powerfully towards the development of European life before the French Revolution, and in many cases they continued the same after the French Revolution.

The Birthday Celebration, painted by Anton von Werner

From that unity of production, in a kind of domestication of all social life, beginning with and through the family, the city was formed. The city, so often identified by groups of families who were linked to other groups of families, and all of whom made up the small city—a family of families.

Painting by Leopold Löffler

In consequence of this, family life is full of potentiality and germinative strength. It constitutes the very soul of the State and the very soul of society. If this is not taken into consideration, one does not understand well the benefit that the family brings to the individual, nor the benefit that it itself gains from those factors, nor the real service that it lends to the State.

Celebrating the arrival of the new baby. Painting by Arturo Ricci

Today’s nuclear family—which bases itself merely on affective ties, always the most fragile—is more susceptible to dissolution. Sociologists affirm that the unity of interest in the means of production was what most favored family unity.



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