For once, it really is about the children

(This is the first in what I hope will be a series of very civil essays examining marriage.  Suek got me started with this idea based on a comment she wrote saying that, well, we need to figure out what marriage is all about.  Planned future essays will involve separating the religious aspect of marriage from the civil strand, examining polygamy and polyandry, the effect of feminism on marriage, the Hollywood culture and marriage, and, possibly, the economic benefits that flow from marriage.

I am not writing these posts to oppose gay marriage.  I am writing them because I still want to do what the courts have prevented me from doing:  I want to take a good, analytical look at our social institutions and determine how proposed changes will affect them.  The changes may be good, bad or neutral.

Please do not take this post as an opportunity to engage in attacks against gays or even against gay marriage.  On the other hand, please do use this post as an opportunity to give your views about the core nature of marriage in American society.)

Long-time readers know that I tend to be suspicious of Democratic initiatives that start off with something being “about the children.” Illegal immigration should be allowed because it’s about the children of illegal immigrants. The corollary is that deporting illegal immigrants should be disallowed because it’s about the children of illegal immigrants. Socialized medicine should be created because it’s about the children.

For every Democratic initiative, children are the wedge. If you’re against the Democratic viewpoint, you’re obviously a monster who is against children. This is not reasoned argument. This is emotion-based demonization of the political opposition, and I don’t like.

Some things, however, really are about the children, because children are central to the issue. I’ve been worried — not adamantly opposed to, but worried — about gay marriage because I’m unclear whether its existence, which takes marriage away from its procreative function, will affect the children.

I’m no fool, of course. I know that not all heterosexual marriages result in children. Heck, I don’t even know if half of the heterosexual marriages end in children. However, I’m firmly convinced that the heart of marriage, going back into the dim recesses of pre-recorded time, is about a man’s ability to recognize his own children without a DNA test.

Marriage, regardless of the society or the time in which it was created, either gives the man an assurance that the child from his wife’s body is in fact his, or it forces him to accept that child as his (placing on him the burden to police his wife’s access to or desire for other men). This worldwide, time-long societal construct, which has men either know that a child is actually theirs or be forced to pretend that it is, places on men an overriding obligation to provide for that child, so that the state doesn’t have to.

The socialist state, of course, flips that pattern on its head, by substituting the State for the father. (Just the father, not the mother, because of the direct biological connection of pregnancy, childbirth and lactation.)  We’ve now seen “the socialist state as father” play out three times, and none of the results have been pretty.

In America, the test case for socialized fathering, starting in the 1960s, was the African-American community. Up until social workers with the welfare state actively convinced African-Americans that they’d do better to place their faith in government than in African-American men, the community was making great strides. Despite racism in the North and Jim Crow in the South, black families were nuclear and were seeing solid economic progress. Crime rates were only slightly higher than among white families who were similarly situated economically.

Thus, while life in a very- to semi-racist country was not easy, it was getting better. What changed all that was the Nanny State. Well-intentioned social workers, trained in Marxist doctrines of reallocation of wealth, poured into the black communities, and bullied, cajoled and blackmailed families into applying for welfare. And the deal with welfare was that you got more of this “free” money if (a) there was no bread winner and (b) you kept having children. Being economically reasonable people, the women kicked their men out and kept having babies. And being equally reasonable, the men got free sex and no responsibility. Sounds good.

Except it wasn’t good. It was awful. It turns out that men aren’t useful just to bring in the money. Instead, it’s actually very positive to have them around, serving as a role model of male maturity for both boys and girls. Children need those models. And if they’re absent, they’ll start seeking them wherever there is an alpha male. In the ghettos, sadly, that alpha male was likely to be the corner drug dealer or the gang banger — and the latter could hang around being tough because he didn’t have to work to bring home the bacon for his one wife and his children.

As to that latter point — his children — the situation worsened as the women started having children by multiple fathers. When a mom does that, no one father has an interest in providing for that family, since he knows that, even though he may earmark funds for his child, those same funds will inevitably benefit the other man’s (men’s) children as well. In any event, the Nanny state provides, absolving him of all responsibility.

What happened to African-Americans was not some fluke, unique to America. Precisely the same thing happened in England, as Tom Bethell details in an article that discusses myriad areas in which Britain — which has traveled quite far down the path on which Obama wishes to place America — has collapsed. It’s a long and excellent article, with a lengthy discussion about the effect the welfare state has on families.  I’m going to quote from that section at some length here, since it so precisely parallels what we in America, with our “Great Society,” did to blacks:

The ruling-class embrace of semi-capitalism has brought about the rise in prosperity, but this has been accompanied by mounting social chaos. One of the main indicators is the rise of family breakdown (or non-formation) and out-of-wedlock childbearing. The key enabler of this change has been the transfer of tens of billions of pounds to fatherless households. Only a society wealthy enough to collect and redistribute revenue on this scale can sustain widespread illegitimacy. Without the tolerance of wealth-creation, redistribution on this scale would not have been possible. Traditional families and moral standards were undermined in consequence.

Melanie Phillips, a Daily Mail columnist and a refugee from the left (formerly she was with the Guardian newspaper), wrote recently that the “overclass” has “deliberately and wickedly created over the years a legal and welfare engine of mass fatherlessness and child abandonment, resulting in a degraded and dependent underclass and a lengthening toll of human wreckage.”

A couple of sensational crime stories were in the headlines when I was there, illuminating this “welfare engine of mass fatherlessness.” The rot beneath the surface became conspicuous.

One involved a 15-year-old girl named Scarlett whose hippie mother had taken her to the drug infested beaches of Goa, a former Portuguese colony on the coast of India. The mother then headed off to other Indian beaches with her other children, leaving Scarlett behind. A few days later the young girl was raped and murdered on the Goan beach.

The amazing part of the story was that the mother had nine children by five men, lives in two trailers in Devon, and receives government “benefit” (welfare) for each child, adding up to about $50,000 a year. Having saved about $14,000, she was able to take eight of her children on a six-month holiday to India, and return, sadly, with seven of them.

The mother was shocked to find that the Goan police seemed to be protecting the guilty parties, but then (when the tabloids got hold of the story and ran with it) was even more shocked to find that, instead of being regarded sympathetically, a few residual bluenoses and moralists in England viewed her conduct with some opprobrium.

The second case involved a nine-year-old girl called Shannon who was reported missing by her mother and then found, 24 days later, hiding in the house of one of her numerous step relatives. She may have wanted to escape from the chaos at home, but one of her step-relations was charged with kidnapping. Shannon’s mother, it turned out, had seven children by five different men. The shocking detail in her case was that she referred to Shannon and another of her children, born a year earlier, as “twins.” She actually thought that they were twins because they had the same father.

The truth is that decades of intervention by social engineers who either do not understand the importance of fatherhood and family, or, more likely, think they ought to be undermined, is reducing British society to something barely recognizable.

As for Scarlett’s mother, her “whole lifestyle has been one from which the words responsibility or judgment have been excluded,” Melanie Phillips commented. People have been increasingly encouraged to think “they have an absolute right to live exactly as they want without anyone passing judgment on them.” Further, “our deeply irresponsible overclass has put rocket fuel behind the exponential growth [of broken family life] through tax and welfare incentives.”

Now we have an “N” of two, both showing the devastation the Nanny state creates when it makes fathers superfluous, whether in African-American communities or traditional white British communities.  Let’s add a third “N” — this time, the whole of Europe (h/t:  Danny Lemieux):

There is one marital breakdown and one abortion in Europe almost every 30 seconds, a report that claims to chart the collapse of family life said yesterday.

In a survey of life in the 27 European Union countries, the Institute for Family Policy said that pensioners now outnumbered teenagers, and more people were living alone.

The report, The Evolution of the Family in Europe 2008, which was unveiled in the European Parliament in Brussels, described the European birth rate as “critical”.

It said that almost one million fewer babies were born in the 27 EU countries last year than in 1980. There were six million more over65s than under14s in Europe last year, against 36 million more children than pensioners in 1980.

The institute said: “Europe is now an elderly continent.” Almost one in every five pregnancies ends in abortion. The marriage rate fell by 24 per cent between 1980 and 2006. Two out of three households have no children, and nearly 28 per cent of households contain only one person.

The report urges national governments to set up a ministry for the family.

That’s kind of “N” squared, isn’t it?  Family hasn’t just been damaged, it’s been destroyed entirely.  With the government inserting itself as a wedge between man and woman (essentially by emasculating men), and with its ability to infantalize both men and women by making it unnecessary for them ever to grow up and take responsibility either for themselves or for another, Europe has simply disintegrated entirely.  It’s citizens are no longer capable of or interested in fulfilling their primary biological functions.

I want to see marriage restored to preeminence in America, not just because I’m a stubborn reactionary, but because I think it’s an absolutely necessary thing for a high functioning society, with a thriving “next” generation.  If gay marriage will reignite the excitement about marriage for everyone, then I think gay marriage is a good thing.  However, if it devalues marriage, I have a problem.

Fundamentally, I’m a pragmatist, and I don’t think marriage is about true love (which should be available to all), or financial benefits (which should be available to all who wish to partner permanently in a society), or about registration at Williams-Sonoma (which should definitely be available to all).  Marriage should be about children:  having them and raising them in a way that is best for them and best for the larger society.  (Incidentally, as a pragmatist, if gay marriage is a wash, neither helping nor harming a fatally wounded institution, I also think citizens, not courts, should be in favor of it.)

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  • Scott in SF

    The social problems you have described are not the result of less (or less serious) marriage. They are the result of a population which does not feel enough guilt.
    I am not married and I see no reason to get married. I’m thinking seriously about having children with my female co-pilot but I understand that is a completely separate issue from marriage.
    Marriage has had many different functions in different societies. The marriages of the aristocracy and the marriages of red-necks had quite different meanings and characteristics. In China a whole family was married to another whole family through the couple, and men were allowed to take second and third wives.
    At forty, I now understand that the central motivator for my behavior is GUILT. My divorced parents and grandparents were perfectly capable of passing on this marvelous gift.

  • 11B40


    Sounds like a noble effort, but I think I have some hesitancy concerning the conspiratorial nature of the devolution, as opposed to the mindlessness of following an incorrect ideology.

    One of my pet peeves about the anti-family aspect of our current day society has to do with the commercialization of Sundays. Growing up, back in the Bronx of my youth, there were “blue” laws which prohibited most forms of commerce on Sunday. I seem to remember little more than restaurants and gas stations being allowed to operate.

    In our home, Sunday was church in the morning, a big breakfast and off to the relatives for a visit in the afternoon. Obviously, the opportunity for family cohesion was there to be taken advantage off.

    Subsequently, the “blue” laws were attacked on constitutional grounds and overturned by the courts. The results were many more businesses wanting to operate on Sundays which drew not only its customers but its employees away from the previous opportunity for family time.

    Myself, I never quite understood the economic logic of opening a business on a Sunday. The customers didn’t have any more money than they had on the other six days and there would obviously be a increase in costs but once one business did it, all its competitors seemed to follow.

    I am sure that my analysis of the problem was not addressed by the courts or by our legislators. I also remain convinced that there was an anti-religion aspect to the initiative, but I also think that passing a law to declare Sunday, or even Saturday, a weekly “Family Day” and minimizing forms of commerce would be a step in the direction of re-establishing the importance of the married family unit.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Excellent post, Book…and quite a bit of thought-provoking material to digest.

    I agree with 11B40 with much of what was said. Churches and Sunday play a very important role that has been eroded with time.

    We have an elderly black gentleman at our Church who grew up in the South as a Baptist (his father was a minister). As he described it, Sunday Church gatherings were all-day events back then, in large part because people might have to walk an hour our two to get to Church and only an all-day event would make it worth-it. It had a tremendous bonding effect on the community, especially the kids, who knew that they had an adult community that loved them. The adults, meanwhile, enjoyed a community that held them accountable for their actions.

    This is much more difficult to do today, where people try to get in and out of Church as quickly as possible for any number of reasons…when they go at all.

    Second story: a number of years back I had the pleasure and privilege of doing some work in a tiny Mormon community out in the Utah desert. I was hosted by a wonderful Mormon farming family that boasted many successful kids (doctors, lawyers, business people). Those kids were loved in a community they knew cared about them.

    I learned that the Mormon Church (whether local or national, I don’t know) had decreed Wednesdays to be family day – their flock was expected to turn-off all TVs, radios and outside distractions to focus on family activities with the kids.

    What a great idea!

    Of all the religious groups that I have met, none does “family” quite as well as the (many) Mormons I have met and worked with. (full disclosure – I am NOT LDS!).

    We could learn a lot from them.

  • Ymarsakar

    Nice examples in your essay, Book.

  • Ymarsakar

    Or rather, horrible examples

  • wc

    Interesting post. It brings up the question for me: how do people form lasting bonds with each other? I’d venture to say that two sexually active adults are more likely to form bonds with people to whom they are sexually attracted. So if there is an institution such as marraige that socially sanctions these types of relationships over ones where there is no attraction, I’m all for it. It becomes more crucial to socially sanction these relationships if this bond will become the foundation of a family with children. I’d say that good bonds with children are more likely to flow from a situation where there are good bonds between adults, especially in the first years of a child’s life where there is a lot of interplay between attachment and development.

    It is easier for a dad to come to care for a child, whether it carries his genes or not, when the person that child it attached to , ie Mom, is also an object of affection. It the father is indifferent toward the mother, or even hostile, or vice versa, then the bond with the child will be more likely suffer or not form at all.

    But would a boy with 2 Dads have trouble bonding with a woman sexually later in life? I’d like to see info on that.

    My wife and I adopted a baby girl from China. SHe was 16 months old and had not really had contact with a man while in the orphanage. She was very scared of me, though that has changed now. But what if 2 Dads had adopted her. China doesn’t allow that , but imagine the fear that would provoke in her!

    Each situation is so unique. Creating a homelife/relationships that provides some semblance of what life is like out in the wider world should help prepare a child to live and thrive in that world (reflect a moment on the FLDS kids in Texas). The orphanage obviously didn’t prepare our daughter for men, but we have been able to compensate. Beyond that, my wife and I (both caucasian) have been encouraged in various trainings to expose our daughter to diverse kinds of people, including Chinese.

    Would gay couples be able to compensate for their own lack of diversity and differences with a heterosexual child?

  • bse53

    One of the effects (benefits?) of marriage is the forced maturation of the male. While most males are more than content to remain ‘boys’ (just look at male recreational sports leagues), the responsibilities of marriage sometimes produces ‘men’.

    I define men as those males who are capable of delaying gratification or putting the needs of others above themselves.

    This is mostly a male problem, since I believe the hormones swirling around in females produces a strong desire to procreate (which as I consider it, doesn’t automatically turn a girl into a woman).

    You merely have to look at the 17 year old girl with an infant standing in line at Walmart to get the impression that the baby is merely a super-sophisticated version of the dolls of their childhood. And of course, the infant gives unconditional love (until about the age of two.)

    I believe the strong message of hedonism that started in the 60’s, waned slightly in the 80’s and roared back to life in the 90’s with an intensity that has produced a popular subculture of “Girls Gone Wild” is also to blame.

  • Mike Devx

    Wow, those are simply stunning examples of the breakdown of the family and its correlation to the decline of the society or culture in which it is occurring.

    I have a lot of conflicted opinions I won’t pretend to be absolutist about, but I do want to say this:

    One goal of female sexual liberation has been to be as free to have sex with as many men as they want. This has in fact led to a larger and larger number of children being borne out of wedlock.

    In any sufficiently large population (such as our USA 300 million) you can always pick and choose particular example persons for any possible point. But I think the overall statistics make it clear that children out of wedlock are nearly always to be at a disadvantage. Any truly worthy society would take care of its children well. The fact that we have a society set up that actually encourages children to be treated poorly, out of concern for the sexual freedom of the woman, is very troublesome.

    I don’t think the answer is to roll back these changes, however. I do think women and men, particularly as mothers and fathers (and as voters) should come up with better solutions. These would DEFINITELY involve compromises and sacrifices that go against anyone’s philosophical principles.

    Women: You’re free to have sex, but once you’re pregnant, you have definite responsibilities that you will honor. You MUST identify the father of that child or there will be legal consequences.

    Men: You WILL be identified as the father of any child that you are responsible for procreating, and there will be definite responsibilities that you will be legally subject to.

    Both Men and Women: You WILL be absolutely responsible in many ways, legally responsible in many ways, for your children up to the age of at least 16, and in some manner until 18.

    Perhaps it is time to accept that at birth your DNA is strongly typed, software encoded, and available. One use of the availability is a definitive identification of the parents of any child.

    As I said above, each of these is philosophically problematic to some degree to many particular philosophies. The shared compromise, in the interests of promoting strong families as a critical component of a strong society and civilization, may very well be worth it.

    The scope and range of the legal responsibilities of the two parents would need to expand enormously from what they are now, with definite law enforcement responsibilities laid upon city/state/federal policing entities. If the government is to have law that places an importance on families as essential components of a great civilization, then it must absolutely enforce those laws at every level, aggressively. Else, you’re just mouthing words.

    Finally, another effect of the strengthing of responsibilities and rights for father and mother is the inevitable strengthening of the father’s identity in relation to his children. The mother must inevitably tie each child more closely to his or her father, and the father will absolutely know which children are his. It certainly does appear that the vast majority of men will sacrifice a great deal for their own children, and DO powerfully resent being forced by law into taking care of other men’s children. Since this appears to be simple human nature – with as always a FEW exceptions – we must account for it and ensure its importance as well.

    (By the way, the usual caveats are totally reasonable in the cases of rape and incest, to any of my thoughts.)

  • Bookworm

    I think you’re on to something, Mike, but does it run the risk of substituting the police state for the nanny state?

    As it is, I think it’s wonderful that all of you are joining me in thinking seriously about core issues involving marriage, society, children, feminism (and you’re right, Mike, that feminism struck a devastating blow to traditional families), etc.

    These are discussions that society should be having outside the confines of mine and a few other blogs. It’s disturbing that we’re not.

  • Mike Devx

    I guess I’d add one more thing: I’ve been deliberately vague about specifics because there can be hundreds of specifics. I see this issue as one for the states, where each state is as usual a laboratory for the specifics.

    The national government would be responsible for the collection, typing, and control of DNA and the identification of parents.

    The states would each have to pass their own laws, rules, and regulations regarding the responsibilities of each parent.

    Aside from that, the other role of the national government is to ensure, in whatever manner is necessary, that NO STATE is allowed to pass any law that prevents or inhibits either parent from contributing to the health and welfare of any child of those two parents. If that makes this Constitutional, then so be it.

    Certainly the issue of abortion is raised by family and parental rights and the government having a compelling interest in strengthening families. There is in fact room in my thoughts to allow for abortion to remain legal. However, if either parent wants that child, it MUST be brought to term. That is certainly one unfortunate effect of the government having a compelling interest in protecting not only the rights of children, but the rights of children as it relates to their belonging to a family and having two parents.

  • bse53

    I attribute most of this to the lack of SHAME in our society, which in my mind is slightly differenct than feeling guilty. Guilt, I think, is internal– shame shapes our actions when we care what someone else thinks about us.

    And of course, I believe the 60’s were when society began shedding itself from the belief that we would at some time answer to God for our actions.

    If we no longer had to concern ourself about God, and we could find a large enough segment of the population that held us to no standards of conduct– we were pretty much home free.

    There was a slight blip in the 80’s when everyone was scared by AIDS, but that seems to have passed– evident by an article elswhere on this blog suggesting that abstinence education is in fact harmful by warning kids that condoms aren’t the solution.

    That segment of the population twisting what is moral and immoral now in control– defining what is appropriate and not– is the MEDIA and the INTELLIGENSIA.

    Sounds pretty conspiratorial, but nontheless true.


  • bse53

    Mike Devx–

    What God and SHAME did in controlling society is now going to be replaced by laws attempting to do the same thing.

    The ultimate effect will inevitably lead to a very rigid state (I’m avoiding the word totalitarian).

    I certainly agree that we need to force responsibility on those who refuse to accept it voluntarily, but many of the kids producing more kids have no jobs, or at best, entry level minimum wage jobs.
    I’ve heard, and I’m sure you have also, of cases where higher wage earners structure their earnings under the table to avoid reporting it.

    Maybe we need to introduce forced debters camps, where individuals can pay for their children (being facetious here, but I hope you get the point).


  • suek

    >>That is certainly one unfortunate effect of the government having a compelling interest in protecting not only the rights of children, but the rights of children as it relates to their belonging to a family and having two parents.>>

    Wow. I totally disagree with this, but had to think a moment as to why. The why is that while it’s in the interest of society (which I think you’re equating with government) to protect the rights of all of the above, transfering that obligation from the individual to the society by way of giving that society punitive rights is _really_ hazardous. Right along with some of the protective devices used by government today, it almost transfers the ownership of children to the society, with parents just the handy incubators, to which society deigns the privilege of enjoying those children – should they do an adequate job.

    Ok. Now let it be known that I’m Roman Catholic. I’m well over 50. My entire education less two years was in private or parochial schools until I completed my first year in college. My high school years and one year of college were in all girls schools. I married after completing a BS degree, and have 5 children, plus one foster daughter(who came to live with us when she was 16). If you haven’t already figured out what my basic philosophy is, that should help clarify it for you!

    Catholicism teaches that the _primary_ purpose of marriage is the procreation of children. That doesn’t mean that you have to have as many as possible – though it _has_ been interpreted to mean that! – it means that you give birth, and raise the children you have to responsible maturity, teaching the child what is necessary to be a mature responsible adult in the society in which it lives, which encompasses morality and the skills to earn a living in that society. That, plain and simple, is the purpose of marriage. The fact that some people can’t have children is irrelevant. In order to have a valid marriage, the couple has to have the_intent_ to have children. In fact, if one of them enters marriage with the _intent_ of _not_ having children, it’s grounds for nullification of the marriage.

    That being said, one of my teachers in high school – which was during some period of the cold war – discussed Communism with us, and the likelihood that the communists would infiltrate the US with the intention of bringing down the US government. She said that their primary means of doing this would be through the use of sex. She said that the goal would be to destroy morality, because without the objective morality of religion, the morality of the State could be substituted. Communism requires absolute obedience to the State – which means there cannot be any conflicting standard of right and wrong. Since sex is our most powerful drive, it is the one that religion most affects, and the one which could be most readily used to tear down the authority of the church. It was also necessary to destroy the family – once again, so that the individual would have it’s first loyalty to the State – the primary family. Encouraging free sex would also contribute to breaking down the family – both through the breakdown of the authority of the family and through the breakdown of the cohesiveness of the family. I thought she was nuts. So…here I am, all these years later, and not only was she not nuts, she was right. And I have seen society gradually falling into the easy arms of socialism and immorality – which has been the framework on which our society was built. We have as a major party candidate for the presidency a man who is a Marxist. Communism may not exist as it did during the cold war years, but the Marxism on which it was built is here and apparently thriving.

    So…I believe in traditional marriage and family. I think that society enforces this by carrot and stick – not by carrot alone, and not by the stick alone. The society offers the carrots of benefits to those who commit to marriage. To those who make children without the benefit of a state recognized marriage, it should offer the stick of non-support. If you want your genes to thrive, you should marry and take advantage of the carrots. If you intend on not having children, then do as you will. If you have children anyway, then your children will suffer. But the suffering is _your_ doing. Keep the government out of the penalty business and the child rearing business. Give the government the right to penalize those who don’t raise children as the government sees fit, and pretty soon, you’ll have the government also deciding who should have children and by whom.

  • suek

    >>What God and SHAME did in controlling society is now going to be replaced by laws attempting to do the same thing.

    The ultimate effect will inevitably lead to a very rigid state (I’m avoiding the word totalitarian).>>

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….!

    Religion establishes the ideals of behavior that a society would like to attain. Law establish the minimal behavior that a society will accept. When either becomes the only standard for a society, you have a major problem. Witness shari’a. Witness USSR. Two opposite extremes, both problematical.

    We need both.

  • suek
  • bse53

    Well said Suek.

    And certainly the points made by 11B40 and Danny are contributing factors to the decline of marriage (and society in general).

    It would be interesting to know if there is any difference in the divorce rates between marriages with children and those without.


  • suek

    >>in large part because people might have to walk an hour our two to get to Church >>

    Now doesn’t that say something right there!

    How many people do you know who would walk to church today if they didn’t have a car?

    One of my treasured books is “Foxfire”…a compilation of interviews done by high schoolers in the Appalachians with their older friends and relatives. It was published in the early 60s, I think, and the older generation they were interviewing grew up between about 1900 and 1930 in the mountains.

    You have no idea how _happy_ I am that I was born when I was and have lived when I have. We are _so_ lucky!!!!

  • Marguerite

    The very different natures of men and women would seem to me to make the presence of each extremely important in the raising of well adjusted children. To have single parent households due to divorce or death is bad enough, but to deliberately choose a national standard of no standard places our whole social structure in jeopardy.

    I give just one statistic: 24 scholarly studies covering 22,300 separate sets of data published in between 1987-2007 report essentially the same finding – active fathers are absolutley essential in preventing behavioral problems w/boys and psychological problems in girls. This is from a February 2008 article by Janice Shaw Crouse entitled ‘The Incontrovertible Facts About Fathers’ at I could not find it, but perhaps a google of her name would bring results.

    A generation of self-absorbed ‘adults’ have indeed been raised to think it’s all about wonderful me and my choices (a nod to an earlier Bookworm post) and there’s nothing I should not be able to have or do. For the story of a woman raised in a homosexual household, read ‘Out from Under’ by Dawn Stefanowiez.

  • Mike Devx

    bse53 said (and others agreed)
    “What God and SHAME did in controlling society is now going to be replaced by laws attempting to do the same thing. The ultimate effect will inevitably lead to a very rigid state (I’m avoiding the word totalitarian).:

    And I agree completely with both points: This is an issue perhaps best left to the culture itself, and government involvement in enforcement (the compelling interest issue) can easily lead to totalitarianism.

    I have continued to think about BOTH of these alternatives myself as well. So I’m relieved that others, including Book, have raised the issue with alarm.

    I suppose the problem is: If you leave it to the culture, well, then we will simply have to hope that our American culture will somehow right itself. And perhaps that is the best result. But we right ourselves via the ballot box, and via laws, right? So why shouldn’t, within states, we pass laws that explicitly strengthen families?

    I guess that answers both concerns: culture and government enforcement. Perhaps I didn’t make it clear that I never envision a fiat via judicial activism or some tyrant. I envision people achieving a majority to effect a common cause. In this effect it would be the recognition that families are crucial to civilization.

    Then we hit the conflict between individualism and families. My post envisioned that the importance of families would WIN OUT, among the voters. And therefore everything else follows.

    I’m speaking to a cultural revolution recognizing the worth of families, and all the laws (most at the state level) enforcing that. It is both cultural and government-enforced via the will of the people.

    It is, truth, anti-individualism, in that parents would be compelled to take care of their children in ways they don’t like.

    Perhaps it was the mandatory DNA testing and collection that fired off the idea of “totalitarianism”? I see via the advance of technology that DNA replaces fingerprints and footprints in any case. It’s inevitable. It’s not a violation of privacy, I don’t think… just modern technology.

    But I understand the concerns. I’ve actually gone back on forth on dismissing my own idea several times today. Interestingly, I keep arriving back at it. And I consider myself a libertarian! (Though one that holds extremely to the ultimate value of communities and families as superceding the worth to society of simply myself.)

  • Mike Devx

    I’m sorry, I’d better explain this:
    “Though one that holds extremely to the ultimate value of communities and families as superceding the worth to society of simply myself.”

    I moved six years ago onto a block in a neighborhood in a community.

    At that point in time there were many families, and in particular there were a few that were devoted to the community aspects of what was happening on our block. It truly was wonderful, and joyful. As an individual, I participated and was rewarded, but I did not lead.

    Some families have left. The community organizers have in one case, left, and in another case, suffered death and medical tragedy.

    The community on the block has died. The sense of family and belonging has died. The community is dead. It took only four people out of about eighty to cause this, with their sudden absence or tragedy and personal sorrow, to the point where they withdrew.

    And yet individualism remains completely unaffected.

    That is why I say that I VALUE the worth of community and families more than I value simply myself. There are lessons here, I think, about what makes a worthy neighborhood, a worthy civilization.

    But again perhaps everyone is right: We must keep government completely out of it, in every way, no matter what, because the cure is worse than the solution.

  • Mike Devx

    Sigh. Actually of those four, it was the loss of TWO that led to the collapse of our neighborhood. To me the loss of our community is simply incredible. Perhaps those who live isolated in apartments would not understand?

    It also speaks to the power of individuals! Just two (or perhaps four) persons, whose sudden loss affects dramatically the lives of many! But it also speaks to the power of community and families, doesn’t it? That the very quality of my life I see as suffering because we all have broken apart into distance, in my neighborhood?

  • suek

    It sounds like your problem is no leaders. You’re not willing/able to step up?
    In the”old days” in the military, we had active wives clubs…Officer’s wives clubs, NCO wives clubs, and Enlisted wives clubs. The wives clubs were responsible for providing that feel of community you mention, and for providing assistence when it was necessary.Wives were expected to take on various responsibilities as was appropriate to the rank of their husbands. In my early days as a military wife, that was accepted. In the later days, there were questions raised as to why it was appropriate for a wife to have “rank”, as it were. Disregarding abuse – there are always one or two – the reason it was appropriate is that otherwise the necessary leadership roles simply wouldn’t have time to develop. We moved around too often. A three year tour or less was normal, and it takes time for a need to arise and for the person capable of addressing the need to develop the skills necessary. Having a routine of things that needed to be done, and over the years developing the skills needed to _get_ them done – by virtue of assignment rather than by volunteer – resulted in a smooth flow. Everybody knew their job, and mostly, it got done. Some were better than others, but most at least made an effort and got some semblance of the job required done. In the civilian community, you just have to wait for someone to decide to step up to the plate. Nobody “assigns”, nobody says “it’s your job” – PTA is probably as close to that as it gets.
    So – if you think there’s a need…fill it. That’s the only way the job gets done. Even if you start by just talking to people…talking about how it isn’t the same…what can we do?…do you feel a loss? If you don’t want to step forward, maybe if you talk to enough people, someone else will…maybe someone just needs a bit of a push.

    Keeping the government out is good – but that means that _we_ the people have to do what needs to be done. We rarely have church suppers any more, but block parties are good! I think I even have some old magazine articles on organizing block parties step by step that I could scan and send you!!

  • bse53

    Proverbs 29:18 says “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.” (NLT)

    Popular music is vulgar bordering on obscene. Girls are merely sexual objects.

    Middle school girls show sexually suggestive videos of themselves on Youtube, acting out the fantasies of vulgar boys, looking for the approval they didn’t receive from their absent fathers.

    Discussions of sexuality are thrust on kindergarten students.

    In this hyper-sexual society, the mall plays a instrumental version of the Rolling Stones, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” as background music– the lyrics of which include ‘I’m trying to get some girl pregnant’.

    I used to work with junior high school students in a church progam. I remember once the subject of sex came up, the kids very honestly asked if I believed that a person could refrain from sex until marriage. They certainly didn’t think so.

    I think Margeurite’s points are dead on.

    If these attitudes weren’t enough to deal with, the homosexual agenda adds another dimension to the problem.

    A strong community- family, extended family, ‘the neighborhood’ can help, but the solution is really spiritual.


  • suek

    >>Girls are merely sexual objects.>>

    And isn’t this odd – given that the whole basis for the women’s lib movement(as opposed to women’s equality movement) was supposed to be that women didn’t want to be viewed as “just” sexual objects! So in order to achieve “equality”, women think they should be as sexually promiscuous as men choose to be, and men then lick their chops with a “please don’t throw me in the briar patch” attitude, women become sexual objects, and the family does down the drain! Great progress.

  • suek

    >>I’m thinking seriously about having children with my female co-pilot but I understand that is a completely separate issue from marriage.>>

    How so?

    Does your “female co-pilot” _want_ to have your children? Is she committed to a (minimum) 20 year dedication of her life to raising these children? Actually more, if you plan on more than one. What do you plan as your involvement with your children? How will you guarantee that involvement? How do you insure that you have some involvement if she decides to make other choices? Do you consider her free to make other choices? What happens to your “co-pilot” and your children if something happens to you – if you have a lasting disability or die? How about your parents? do they have any connection with you at this stage of your life? would they want a connection to their grandchildren? What about hers?

    You may have guessed that I find your statement bizarre…

    Women who don’t demand marriage before agreeing to have babies are nuts, imo.

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