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New Family Structures
[+Father Vincent, %George and &Ben are talking with Nanook]
+"Let me read from an old sage named Rousseau from his book The Social Contract.”
- “The social order is a sacred right which serves for the basis of all others. Yet this right comes not from nature; it is therefore founded on conventions.
+"The EARLIEST and the only natural societies are families: yet the children remain attached to the father no longer than they have need for his protection. As soon as that need ceases, the bond of nature is dissolved. The child exempt from the obedience he owed that father, and the father, from the duties he owed the child, return equally to independence. If they continue to remain together, it is not in consequence of a natural, but a VOLUNTARY union; and the family itself is maintained on by a CONVENTION.
One of the biggest changes will happen with families and the community. George. Do you want to talk about this?”
%"Sure. If we comply with the Club of Rome model, in a few years we will have to start tailing off to a replacement fertility rate. But that is just the overall society average. Which means some families will have two or three kids, and many will have none. To manage this, society can no longer rely on individual choice because biology will drive to multiple children. Society will have to develop rules to make this choice. It can be done with financial incentives. It can be done based on principle. But, whatever way it is done, the society will be in turmoil for awhile.
From the standpoint of the individual, I think the biggest implication of this commandment is it’s effect on the family of the future. The new world will be RADICALLY different from the old world. And that word RADICALLY is not an exaggeration. The new society will include a smaller but stable population, stable employment, knowable social goals, understandable environmental threats, elimination of supernatural fears, understandable and reliable food sources, greatly expanded life security, and much longer life spans, just to name a few changes. To fit in that new world, how society defines the family must also radically change.”
"You mean, like single child families?”
%"Actually, it’s much more complex than that. Let’s say people live to be 200 years old. Once the population becomes stable, the model has to provide a stable replacement rate. That is, as two people die, two additional people could be born. But it’s not like the family is just kids, parents and grand parents. If couples have a child at around 20 years of age, then with a 200 year life span, there would be 9 levels of grand parents living.”
%"Do the math. If you were born, at age zero, your parents would be 20 years old. Your first level grand parents would be 40; your second level great grand parents would be 60; your third level great, great grand parents would be 80 etc. So there would be a period of time that the society is getting filled up with all these adults where the birth rate might have to be less than one child per family. It depends on how fast the life span grows. And since we already have over 5 billion people on earth and we need to go back to around 2 billion, there could be a time when the rate might be one child per two, three or four families. To deal with this, it’s better to clear the slate and start from scratch about the family.
Just think about an extended family with 9 generation levels. On a personal basis, what relationship would your 7th level grandmother be to you?”
"OK. I can see where this is going. Even if none of these pairs were ever divorced and remarried, there would be so many levels between us that to have any personal attachment, I’d have to know the family dynamics between all the generations. Then, bring in divorce and remarriage, and it’s like tracking your whole family tree.”
%"Exactly! Because in addition to 9 levels of grand parents, you have 9 levels of aunts and uncles.”
"What? But don’t we already have something like that?”
%"Sure. Great aunts and uncles. But now there would be 9 levels of them.”
"OK. This is too bizarre.”
%"That was my point. There are so many alternatives. Like one woman birthing 5 children and 4 other women not birthing any, but all of them living in an extended family.
Most people immediately jump to the idea of a single child per family model. But in a single child world, there are no more brothers or sisters; no more aunts or uncles or cousins. The family tree becomes a bean pole. All of this goes against human nature. So, to keep Maslow’s hierarchy in check, society will probably have to be creative with extended families. That means living in communes will have a come back. A workable alternative might be, for example, for every third woman to have six children. She would stay home to raise them. But the home would also have two additional adult couples living there and sharing the kids as ‘aunts and uncles IN-LAW’ “.
"You’re not kidding about this stuff, are you? I mean, you really believe it will happen.”
%"There’s no other alternative. Unless you think the Club of Rome people made up the whole story?”
"I’m sure they didn’t. And, I guess, we’re not going to stop the depletion of oil, depletion of fish, depletion of fresh water, pollution etcetera. All these are coming as surely as the year 2000. But what about all the religious issues?”
+"That’s actually not as bad as you might think. You are stuck with the Catholic model. For example, when we talked about adultery, we talked about marriage. One issue that always comes up with that is a negative view about polygamy. The usual basis given for that is the Bible. But, polygamy was quite common in the Old Testament. And, even if the New Testament is used, the prohibition against polygamy is only a Western Christian rule.”
%"There is actually an absolute principle to steer this with that might be accepted by all parties. The word family will still probably be used to indicate a collection of males and females that raise children. An ABSOLUTE, in regard to the ratio of males to females in an extended family does exist. It is determined by the total ratio of males to females in society. This does not prescribe a ratio that is required for all units. Rather it states that NO preference can be claimed as an ABSOLUTE that would NOT match the defacto ratio of people in society.”
%"For example, let’s use an Amazon female society as an example. Let’s say there are twenty women for each man. Then this logic would say that no law should be set in such a society that claims a ratio other than twenty to one to be absolute based on reality.”
&"Do you get it? Let’s say that some group of Amazons with a ratio of 20 women for each man formed a religion and their holy book said that monogamy was the only way. If they went to the leaders and said they wanted a one to one man - woman ratio to be the law of the land for everyone, the leaders should tell them to go take a hike. That’s the reason Polygamy, multiple women for one man, can be discouraged in this country. Not because it has any moral fault. But because it doesn’t match the natural biology. But it also doesn’t have to be a hard restriction. It just can’t be a universal. If you match polygamous groups, say with four women and one man, with polyandrous groups, which have four men and one woman, it can work out.”
Marriage - government role only domestic contracts
+"Once you bring up words like polygamy, you also have to address group marriages.”
%"And gay marriages.”
+"Precisely! I think there is a simple solution to these situations: GIVE THE WORD MARRIAGE BACK TO THE RELIGIONS. The government should limit itself to DOMESTIC CONTRACTS. And the goal of those contracts should be to encourage extended families to care for children.
With the issue of population control certainly going to become major, I think the adult domestic contract issue ought to be separated from the child birth issue. That is, you need one license to have a domestic contract. But you need a totally separate license to have a child.”
%"Whoa! Where did that come from? Are you holding out on me? I never heard that before. It’s BRILLIANT! And it makes a lot of sense in the face of a sky rocketing increase in divorces. And with the equally sky rocketing rate of out of wedlock children, this would make even more sense.”
"What???? So, what happens if a girl has a baby without a license? Does she go to jail?”
They all broke up laughing again.
&"I can see it now. A mother and her two week old infant being led out of the hospital in handcuffs! The late night comedy shows would have a field day with that.”
%" The mind of an authoritarian. No, you can be sure the girl would not go to prison. But, with widespread birth control available, and such a critical social issue as population, a birth without a license would be a very big issue. The child would probably be taken away from her. She would surely enter a long period of counseling.”
Quality of life in child raising
"But, won’t society rebel at the thought that government would limit births?”
%"Our current society surely would. But that’s why we said we didn’t think our current society could adopt our new model. But a new society could. Remember the primary goal: life, liberty, happiness for EVERY individual. What quality of life do you think a kid born, say, into poverty in a ghetto with no father around has? The chances for black males in the U.S. are like 1 in 3 that they will end up in prison.”
"What??? Did you say 1 in 3 ???”
%"Right. 1 in 3. What does U.S. society have to say to those kids? If you walk into a first grade classroom in the inner city with 30 boys in it, are you going to accept that society has already failed 10 of those boys? In a typical high school, 400 are headed for jail? This is failure. In the new society, if there was a birth license requirement, before a woman could have a child, she would have to demonstrate that she can provide an adequate environment for the child to grow up in. And if there were situations in society where some type of affirmative action was deemed needed, then society could provide special support for that situation. With this kind of system in place, a girl would already know, based on the rules, that she couldn’t keep the child. Most important, it would bring any shortcomings in the system out into the open for resolution.”
"But isn’t this a situation where people would object and say that government shouldn’t be involved with this kind of issue?”
%"You just said essentially the same thing. Think about it. Do you think you have any denial in that statement?”
"Huh! Wow! Ok. All over the place. Single Sentence Logic. Sure, society could rebel against the government controlling birth. But then they face right into the hypocrisy of denying the child a good quality of life. What about housing and food. What about a good environment. I think what you are saying is that the same people will then demand that society help them support the baby with welfare, medical care etc.”
%"Exactly. They are in denial about the larger problem.”
Forced mobility - breaking down family structure - restored by stable population - social security
There is an interesting irony in all of these child limitation models. They have an ability to bring back multigenerational families. That’s a good thing because older generations have important wisdom to contribute to early childhood development that young parents don’t have. Let me read something about that from Marquis Childs. Let’s see, page 54.”
- “In the past, the family looked after its own members who may be sick or old or destitute. But the family has undergone a SWIFT transformation in recent decades, above all in response to the demand from industry for UNFAILING MOBILITY.. . It has not been easy to accept a system of social security under which many of the family responsibilities of the past are assumed by the state…
- “… both the clan-family of primitive society and the stem-family of a primarily agricultural society ( in which the elder married child maintains the family farm while the others go into commerce and industry ) provided a fairly good social security system. There was always the old homestead to return to in time of need. But with modern industrial and primarily urban society, there has arisen what sociologists call the conjugal-family which preserves the close parent-child relationship only to the point of the child’s marriage.”
"So, he’s implying that we need to force more stability into our family structure?”