Dr. Ben Carson & The Effects of Individualism

This insightful guest post is from Regent Law alumna Amy Hilton:

Dr. Ben Carson, renowned surgeon and Republican presidential candidate, addressed the Christian Legal Society’s national conference in New Orleans this weekend. The theme of the conference was “Hearing God in the Storm: Practicing Law in Turbulent Times.” The goals of the Christian Legal Society include the protection and defense of life and religious liberty.

Dr. Carson was a natural choice for the CLS conference, because he recognizes the threat posed by the philosophy of Individualism. Individualism is a belief-system that “rejects a transcendent morality and Higher Authority in favor of the exaltation of the individual and the submission of law and religion to individual desires.” When the individual is supreme, the family suffers. Politico reports that

Carson [has] beat back criticism of earlier comments in which he suggested that the "women's lib movement" helped contribute to a more entitled "me generation" of Americans.
The fact of the matter is, you know, the family structure is one of the foundations of a strong country. And when we begin to … move it apart from the family and say, 'no, it's about this specific member of the family and it's about their rights and how they feel,' that's problematic," he said. "It has nothing to do with the women's movement, although I know a lot of people on the left have tried to make it sound that [way]."

            Dr. Carson also understands that Individualism leads to father-absence, which has devastating results on children. (Previously discussed here on this blog). He pointed to father-absence as a factor that contributes to violence among youth. Bloomberg reports:

"Usually the father figure is where you learn how to respond to authority," Carson said in an interview last week with American Family Radio. "So now you become a teenager, you’re out there, you really have no idea how to respond to authority, you eventually run into the police or you run into somebody else in the neighborhood who also doesn’t know how to respond but is badder than you are, and you get killed or you end up in the penal system."

            The Fatherhood Initiative confirms Dr. Carson’s point: “Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds.”

            It is encouraging to see that a person of great influence understands the effects of over-emphasizing the individual. Lynne Marie Kohm, professor and dean at Regent University School of Law, wrote an excellent book entitled Family Manifesto: What Went Wrong with the Moral Basis for the Family and How to Restore It that studies Individualism very carefully and offers practical solutions to help protect and restore families.

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