Conservative Spotlight: Dr. Stephen Baskerville

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Those who believe in Holy Scripture, and those who just believe that the family must be the basis of any good society, have reason to fear the onslaught of revolutionary forces that have torn apart American families through easy divorce, social acceptance of promiscuity and illegitimate birth, a feminist ideology that sows discord between man and woman, and a popular culture that instructs children to despise and disobey their elders. Dr. Stephen Baskerville, a political science professor at Howard University and the new president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children (ACFC), believes that the usual targets of conservatives’ ire–the ’60s cultural revolution, the liberal media, the depraved marketers of corrupt entertainment to youth–are not inclusive enough.

Baskerville, whose articles have frequently appeared in HUMAN EVENTS, specializes in research on and activism in how public policy affects fathers and families. He believes that the government began the disintegration of the American family. “The family crisis is caused by a government assault on the family,” he said. “The position of the father has been weakened. The two big things that have weakened fathers have come from the government. One is the welfare state, which replaces the father’s income….The other, which grew out of that, is the change in divorce laws–no-fault divorce since about 1970.” He noted that divorce law is the province of state governments, not the federal government. “If you go back and look at it, it’s amazing how much culture follows law,” he said.

Other trends have developed out of these, said Baskerville: “Abortion. Day care, which becomes the way of further increasing institutional and government control over children. Perhaps also the massive growth of fast-food restaurants and even the obesity epidemic.”

Social thinkers throughout history, including the most influential thinker of the 20th Century, Sigmund Freud, have affirmed that the patriarchal family, with the father at its head, is the basis for civilization. It is now the exception, not the rule, for children to spend all their growing years in an intact, two-parent family. “I don’t think anti-male bias is the main problem,” said Baskerville. “I see the growth of government power as the main problem. After they take away the fathers, they’ll take away the mothers next.” In George Orwell’s 1984, the Fascist-Communist party in power wishes to abolish the family in order to increase its control over each individual person.

“I do think there are well-intentioned liberals out there, but I am also surprised at how many leftists are honest about their desire to destroy the family,” said Baskerville.

Baskerville’s group, ACFC, advocates granting equity to fathers in divorces. Currently, divorce courts favor mothers in granting child custody and often grant child support payments that cripple the divorced man’s finances. Feminists use false statistics on domestic violence and child abuse to demonize fathers. A few examples of corrective statistics: “Single mothers are the most likely physical abusers of children,” said Baskerville. “Of child murders, 55% are done by the children’s own mother, only 6% by the children’s father. Most child sexual abuse in the home is by boyfriends and stepfathers.” Thus, he said, “divorce greatly increases the risk to children.” And who wants all these divorces? The stereotype of the man leaving his faded middle-aged wife for a younger woman is false, at least when children are around. “At least two-thirds of divorces when the couple has minor children are desired by the woman and not the man, and things like violence, adultery, or abandonment are rarely the reason for these divorces,” said Baskerville–who added that women have more incentive to divorce because they know social workers and courts will grant them custody and child support.

“Some of these professionals chide us because (they say) we are looking out for our own interests, our own families,” said Baskerville in a statement when he became president of ACFC last month. “They seem to claim moral superiority because they concern themselves with other people’s children. It is true that we have a personal interest in preserving families. Because we–and we alone–are defending our families.”

In article for, Baskerville wrote: “G.K. Chesterton argued that the most enduring check on government tyranny is the family. Ideological correctness notwithstanding, little imagination is required to comprehend that the household member most likely to defend the family against the state is the father.”

Baskerville may be reached at ACFC, 1718 M St. N.W. #187, Washington, D.C. 20036 (800-978-3237; e-mail:; website: