Perhaps at the core of conservative beliefs is the family unit. I've heard numerous times that the key to fostering a "good" society all stems to family. Strong ties between parents and children and siblings teach kids the traditional values that are so vital to society. If we encourage family, then we will have a well-bred country in future generations. I've looked at this issue a few ways. Is family a bad thing? I'd say no. But to me, the family is not the core of our society-- the individual is. That's why we're the land of opportunity-- every person can make of him/herself what he/she wants. In high school I was familiar with two or three kids from my school who were brought up in strong families. They were close with their parents, always respectful to them, and were warm people in general. The problem, though, was that when it came time to face the reality of school life-- bullying, drugs, fights, etc.; they had little understanding of how they should deal with these issues. They had been so sheltered that they could not face the real world head on. Now, I come from a really screwed up family unit (hence the liberalism?) and I've done a lot of stupid, self-destructive shit in my life, but I've never feared the real world and I've always embraced it and accepted its challenges because I had to go through it when I was quite young. I guess you can say that through the fractured family unit that I had, I was hardened at a young age. Does that make me a better person than those who come from strong families? No, but I feel as though it allows me to grapple with reality with more ease than others. The reason why I post this is to hopefully hear some views on how much we should value family in American society. Is it really as important a value as the conservatives would have you think? Or is it just something that leaves us aloof to adulthood?