‘We are in a fight’: Dr. Ben Carson says America needs a revival of traditional nuclear families

The front cover of Dr. Ben Carson's book 'The Perilous Fight,' officially released on May 14, 2024.
The front cover of Dr. Ben Carson's book "The Perilous Fight," officially released on May 14, 2024. | Courtesy Katie Bell

Accomplished neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson had written a new book in which he stresses the need for the United States to have more traditional nuclear families.

Titled The Perilous Fight: Overcoming Our Culture's War on the American Family, the former United States Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary’s latest book was released Tuesday by Zondervan.

In an interview with The Christian Post in advance of the book’s release, Carson said he wrote it because “I was extremely concerned about what's going on in our country.”

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“I don't want to just sit around and complain about it. I want to make sure that people understand that we are in a fight,” Carson said. “This country was born in a crucible of controversy and violence, and it was a very difficult fight. And it was very unlikely that we were going to win, but we did, because of our value systems, because of our faith that we had.”

“What is the foundation of our strengths? It’s our families, and we cannot be brought down militarily, but we can be destroyed from within, and that's exactly what's happening to our society. I want people to see what's going on.”

In CP's interview with Carson, he also spoke about his time in the Trump administration, and why the nuclear family is under attack in America. The following is an edited transcript from that interview.  

CP: Many conservative social commentators have written books warning about the decline of the traditional family unit in America. What makes your book different from these other works? 

Dr. Ben Carson, former Republican presidential hopeful and former head of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Dr. Ben Carson, former Republican presidential hopeful and former head of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. | Courtesy Katie Bell

Carson: Because I encourage people to use their influence. 

Everybody has a sphere of influence. And we've been told, for instance, from the time that you were a child, there are two things that you don't talk about in public, that's religion and politics.

Those are the very things we need to be talking about, because if we're going to be fundamentally changed into something else, they want to do that in darkness. They want to do that under the cover. They don't want you talking about it and exposing what they're doing. 

I talk about in the book, for instance, if you look at the congressional record of January 10, 1963, and Congressman Herlong from Florida read into it the 45 goals of Communism in America. 

This was over 60 years ago, and a lot of the stuff you see going on like gaining control of the school systems and the teacher's unions, so you can indoctrinate the kids, gaining control of the media and Hollywood, so that you can manipulate the thinking of the people, driving wedges between parents and children, taking authority away from parents, it goes on and on.

People, I think, don't really understand that this has been going on for a long time, it’s the reason that [Nikita] Khrushchev [the first secretary of the Communist Party] told [President] Eisenhower over 60 years ago, "Your grandchildren's children will live under our system and we won't have to fire one shot." That's what's going on. 

If we don't understand what's going on, how are we going to fight it?

CP: In the book, you talked about the dangers of government overreach when it came to the traditional family unit. You were in the Trump administration. Do you believe that administration made any good headway in helping to counter the attacks on the traditional nuclear family?

Carson: Absolutely.

The first thing we had to do in the Housing Department is create some fiscal responsibility. There had not been an audit for eight years, you couldn't do an audit, even though it's required of every federal agency of every year because there were so many material defects.

We had to fix that. You probably noticed about a year-and-a-half into the administration we started hearing those stories about fiscal mismanagement at HUD. That then allows you to do things, to enhance the programs for self-sufficiency.

There are a lot of people on Capitol Hill who don't want people to be self-sufficient. They want them to be dependent on the government. So, that's part of the fight right there; but a lot of our efforts were directed toward helping people to become self-sufficient. They look at the opportunities on how somewhere between 500,000 to 1,000,000 people were lifted out of poverty. 

When you get the private sector to actually invest and ameliorating those deteriorating environments. Those are the kinds of things that actually work. 

CP: Along those lines, you talked in the book about a program you helped oversee at HUD that involved giving grants to churches located in needy communities, known as the Mustard Seed program. What do you believe makes a local church a better helper to the poor than the government? 

Carson: Remember, before the government became big and invasive, who took care of the indigent? Who took care of the widows and the disabled? It was the churches, and they did a very good job of it, probably a much better job than the government.

So, we recognize that and we said, "there are some churches that are doing very good work, let's help them." Instead of going in and requiring them to jump through a lot of hoops and making life difficult for them, and making them competitive, let's support what they're doing and expand it.

CP: In Chapter 9, you outlined certain things that parents should do to help protect their children from harm, one of them was "minimizing outside influences." Are you concerned that such advice could lead parents to keep their children away from external ideas that might actually be beneficial? 

Carson: I've visited a lot of private schools — which are exploding right now, as you probably know — and homeschool networks. And, they're concerned about the very negative influences that coming into children who have undeveloped brains, children who have a natural tendency to be curious, children who are very suggestable. And when you take in those children and you're feeding ideas into their head that "you might not actually be a girl" or "you might not actually be a boy," that "you are a racist no matter what you do," that "you're an oppressor," "you're a victim," those are extremely unhealthy things to do to a child who has a developing brain. 

I think many parents have rightly discerned that and decided that they want to keep their children away from those kinds of influences. 

But, at the same time, they're exposing their children to a lot of good things. They go on field trips, they have all kinds of people come in and talk to the children. And they're able to control that, and that's the difference: parental control. Because what's happening in our society right now is the Marxist philosophy that children also belong to the government, and they get to control what's going on. That's ridiculous. 

I read a story just yesterday about an Indiana couple where the courts decided that even though they were not abusing their child, they were not neglecting their child, that the child could be taken away from them because the parents refuse to use the child's preferred pronouns. 

This is crazy and these are the kinds of things that destroy society. There's just no good thing that comes from that, and these are the kinds of things that I pointed out in the book.

Traditional nuclear families that work the right way have tremendous benefits for the children.

CP: What do you hope readers take away from your book? 

Carson: I want them to recognize that we are in a fight, who we're fighting, and that they are an important part of that fight. 

Don't stand on the sidelines. You cannot be the land of the free if you're not the home of the brave. You can't be afraid to be canceled, you can't be afraid to have somebody call you a nasty name, but if we're going to succeed as a nation, we need to recognize that we became the pinnacle nation in the world because of the values, the Judeo-Christian values that we have. The family values that we have, the community values that we have.

It is not a coincidence that we're declining very rapidly as we throw those things away. We have a choice to make, but everybody has to be involved, not as a spectator, but as a participant. 

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