Family vs. State

1997 10 09 The history of the conflict between church and state is well documented and is not, like so much else in history, kept secret in the schools. However neither our free speech nor our free press (nor our expensive schools) make much mention of the battle that’s been going on between family note and state. note

The Church of old ruled how we behaved in the family. The Church played an aggressive role in the training of the young. A free, secular society doesn’t need the state taking over those roles. A free, mature people should determine their own behavior, especially within their families. A wise people would themselves take the responsibility for training their young, choosing their own teachers and curricula guides for parts they chose to shop out. (See FLEX materials, deschooling: some at the InfoAll blog, all to be moved here.)

Unfortunately modern states have already commandeered note the training of the young, with little accountability and less responsibility. The state has long monitored the forming of new families while supervising (or blocking, or forcing) their dissolutions. Now, more and more, the state is interfering with behavior within the family.

These tricks of the state are accompanied note by escalating vows to protect the family. Their words promise respect, even reverence — protect and serve; but their actions militate against both the family’s structure and its function.

Do away with marriage Bonding is enough

I’ll be listing specifics shortly. My list will be ad hoc, what I have time for at the moment. I invite you to email (button below) your own examples for possible inclusion. But, apart from hints already given, such as compulsory schooling, I’ll start with one example. Doctors find a child’s bones to be broken. The parents are accused of abuse. HRS takes the child. The parents are additionally punished. Time passes. Other doctors diagnose the child as having a genetic disorder, one that breaks bones. The parents are released.

I report from memory without confirming details. You should recognize the picture as basically accurate, true in pattern if not in every fact.

What’s HRS’s accountability? Was no harm done because they “meant well”?

Parental rights must not be taken away,
and parental responsibilities must not be foisted upon others.

Benjamin Tucker

2002 07 13 insert:

The state is devoted to protecting the family
The way the state is devoted to protecting the environment
The way the wolf is devoted to protecting the sheep

Actually, a smart flock might do best to hire for its protection a smart pack of wolves. The emphasis is on smart: meaning ecologically illuminated. Meaning: The wolves must never exceed a population value in excess of three percent that of the sheep. The wolves must feed on the weakest, most foolish sheep first.
In short, the wolves must keep the flock alive, healthy, prosperous …

When the day comes that some of the children taken by HRS start winning Nobel Prizes, get full scholarships to Ivy League colleges, write moving poems, or meaningful plays, I’ll start agitating for them to take more children, even ones whose bones aren’t broken.

When the day comes that I believe that the state knows best, I’ll agitate for the total dissolution of the family. I’ll recommend that Harvard University cease its posturing and be absorbed by the state system. I’ll want the churches to sweep their beliefs out the door and embrace the state.

Similarly, were the day to arrive that a church could introduce its god to all [my god piece got recreated at the PaulKnatz blog: I’ll move it here.], could demonstrate that s/he really does create, control, infuse, or own the universe, could pass muster before the Amazing Randi and the investigators of The Skeptical Inquirer, why then the-state-that-knew-best would want to merge with the-church-of-the-true-god. Wouldn’t it? shouldn’t the family too merge right in? Wouldn’t we then be one family? Or no family: no family needed? Wouldn’t god or his true priests then be the best ones to train the young?

Hell, what would we need young for? We’d already be in heaven. Life would have found its goal. deChardin’s omega point being reached, striving should cease.

I wish any of those days would arrive. But they haven’t. In the meantime, all we have is our own minds, our own souls, our own sense: aided of course by some mix of tradition, learning, and reason.

It’s important to note that the underlying premise of Prussian schooling is that the government is the true parent of children — the state is sovereign over the family. At the most extreme pole of this notion is the idea that biological parents are really the enemies of their own children, not to be trusted.

John Taylor Gatto

You will have your own view. I doubt that it will be as radical as
note But I’ll tell you mine. It may guide you. At the least, it should amuse. Or shock.

We have to decide where our best chance of survival lies. (Or have it chosen for us. Perhaps it’s already been chosen for us. Perhaps we’ve chosen to have it chosen for us (me dissenting).) The family has long been full of ills. Mine was quite dysfunctional. The evolutionary advantage to the family is in its being many and diverse, a diapason: from transcendent to lethal. The state puts all eggs into just a few baskets: with risk to all the baskets. And all the eggs.

I say let life itself sort out which families are survivable. The family is one (of many) things the state should keep its hands off of. Even if the parents were breaking the kid’s bones.

It’s not possible for everyone to survive. Interference muddles, it doesn’t correct. Leave it to the family itself to interfere. A grandfather who kidnaps his child’s child, regardless of the soundness of his forensics, is committing far less of a crime than a kidnapping HRS. A neighbor taking the child suspected of abuse, thereby adding to his family or creating a new family, is committing a “crime” that may actually be more of a blessing. A “good” parent may succeed in kidnapping the kid back. How hard will the bad one try?

Other articles getting resurrected soon:
Family Scrapbook
Stars & Starlets


Family: Mating Behavior

We humans are conspicuous among mammals, and even among primates, for our inconsistent mating behavior. For more than the forty-five millennia that chronologs our species, we (and our antecedents) have been evolving, both genetically and culturally, toward monogamy. There are other mammal species that are monogamous.

(There are far more that aren’t: not at all. The harems of baboons are to some degree duplicated among, for example, some Arabs. Scattered humans of both sexes are as “promiscuous” as chimpanzees. The latter are of course active only in concert with the seasons of the individual females. Apart from humans, sexuality out of season is either non-existent or mono-sexual. A male dog doesn’t hump an out of season female — out of season, she’s just neuter — he humps other males. Or a human leg — more often human male than human female.)

We are inconsistently monogamous. Even trend-followers can’t know what will be so in the future. The course of evolution is like the Mississippi of Mark Twain; not like the Mississippi of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Our ur-mother learned to keep one mate coming back to her. She gathered food while nursing; he gathered from further afield. Where he helped feed her, the progeny benefited. That pair out-produced, out-survived the others. It had more successful offspring. The real economy is the economy of nutrition.

As with the deformed Aesop,
morals are the memory of success
that no longer succeeds.

William Carlos Williams

We humans are also conspicuous (though not unique) for the mass of our brains relative to our body mass. Recent studies of dolphins, the brainiest of the cetaceans, conclude that their intelligence evolved in tandem with their complex mating behavior. I believe that the same analysis can be applied to us. Our intelligence developed, male and female intelligence overlapping but with different specialties, to aid us in our ever-escalating, ever more expensive mating displays. Male stags butt heads for only a few weeks a season. Even that knocks hell out of them and they need the long off-season to recover. The six and a half pound largemouth bass I caught this May had lost at least a fifth of her body mass in the labors of spawning. Eight pounds, I am confident she would have been ten or eleven days earlier. Still, that’s nothing compared to working two jobs and maxing your credit cards to drive a Corvette to a bar where the girls work two jobs for plastic surgery and a closet full of no-longer suitable dresses.
Full-time sexuality now taxes the biosphere with upwards of five billion avid new breeders. What got us here may be the same thing that puts an end to us. A blessing no doubt for anything else surviving.

But Homo sapiens, fueled by the overproduction of food that came with agriculture [my Magic piece got recreated at PaulKnatz blog, will get imported here], was over-populating long before governments formed to protect that overproduction, to defend the land subtracted from nature’s commons from the ire of other would-be users, and to conquer the overproduction of other states.

Politics is an accessory after the fact.
It comes along after the fact of evolution.

Bucky Fuller

Neither governments nor churches invented the family. They came into existence with the family already long in place. Governments should get no credit for the family; only blame for their interferences.

Do away with divorce Bonding is enough

Or: How about we mind our own business?

The family is of course not any specific easily definable thing, but a catch-all word encompassing any of a variety of social, economic, and reproductive alliances. Blood-relatedness is one of its products; non-blood-relatedness is its origin.

Churches can take credit for some channeling of what the family is in that culture. The Roman Catholic Church didn’t invent monogamy. But it did make life a torment for those imperfectly monogamous. I’ll bet there have been plenty of Arabs who would have preferred monogamy but who took harems for the sake of appearances. Many of our oldest laws are descriptive in origin; prescriptive (and often perverting) in result.

If marriage were outlawed,
only outlaws would have in-laws

Robert Anton Wilson

The ideal state for a philosopher, indeed, is celibacy tempered by polygamy.

H.L. Mencken


State: Coercion & the State

Government is socially-approved coercion.

Classical Liberalism believes that government should minimize its interferences, and, in the case of the citizenry, should minimize it to zero.

How did those of us who have supported government’s invasion into every nook and cranny ever come to be called liberals?

This is important enough to need an essay of its own. See God & Country.


Commandeered: Thief in the Night

Passive Slaughter

Unfortunately, in the battle between family and state, the state is the only side doing any fighting. There are I believe a series of reasons for this. One is that’s we’re so accustomed to being interfered with. If you throw a frog into hot water, he’ll jump out. If you gradually heat the water that the frog is in, he’ll boil to death and never jump. Gradual incursions avoid triggering response.note

We’ve adapted to being told what to do since the inception of civilization nine and a half to ten thousand years ago. The cattle in Kansas City cooperate in being slaughtered. You couldn’t get wild mustangs to climb those ramps so docilely.

Mifune roped

Toshiro Mifune, Roshomon

The Laps are all that’s left of what were once numerous nomadic peoples. The Laps follow the age old migrations of their reindeer. But as time passes any once clear distinction between them and herders who “own” their flocks blurs. For many generations, the Laps have been castrating the alpha-male reindeer who try new paths. The Laps are used to the old route and that’s the route they insist on. The present reindeer perhaps couldn’t survive if their “wilderness” lost the administration of the Laps.

In Pavlov’s Trout Dr. Paul Quinnett proposes the delicious theory that the reason some of us so love to fish is that in the fish’s wild struggles to regain its freedom we sense something of what we’ve lost. How cooperative do we wish to be as we continue to lose what’s left?

They could see themselves clearly, two adults, sitting there, tame, domestic,
even pitiable in their distance from wildness and freedom.

Lessing, The Fifth Child

Toshiro Mifune in Seven Samurai

Toshiro Mifune, Seven Samurai

This society hasn’t actually castrated me yet. There’s been no need. Those of you who were following me finally noticed how adamantly set against your own best interests the rest of you are. Me, you’ve just let starve unpublished, my work negatively compensated.

Another reason the family hasn’t defended itself is that we’ve been grateful to the state for getting us out from under the medieval abuses of marriage that the Church had enforced. Out of the frying pan and into the sauce pan.

But the main reason is that we don’t realize it’s happening. Hence, this essay. The family isn’t a conscious enough aspect of our behavior to know that it’s being attacked (any more than nature
seems to be aware of the ten thousand year long subtractions of property from it).


Accompanied: Politics of Illusion

Politicians are illusionists. If you sit where they tell you, watch their motions, listen to their every word, you will, like any magician’s audience, see the prepared illusion. If you wander backstage at a magic show, you’ll see something very different from what the magician intended for the audience. When the magician invites you to see that there’s nothing up his sleeves, you may be sure the trick is elsewhere. Who cares where the magician’s trick is; but with politicians, look where they’re not telling you. Look in their pants.

In fact, the trick may be in your pants. It’s wonderful how deeply Uncle Sam got his hands in your pockets while you watched him point at the communists. Might I say that his siphon is sutured right into your tissues. The permanent parasite.

Magicians don’t even call themselves that any more. “Illusionist” is the new word. They know that illusions are their trade. Changing the name even makes it true advertising.

What about politicians? Surely some of them are sincere.

It would only make a difference if what they were saying either was true or came true. I’m sure there were plenty of sincere rain dancers.
But did their dancing have anything to do with ending the drought?

Those of you who think it did — after all, all droughts do finally end — won’t be reading this far.

I’m looking forward to drawing this out much further, particularly to drawing comparisons between stage illusionists tricks and the devices used by our most basic institutions, from schools and churches to courtrooms and legislatures, to keep us fooled and happy. Happily foolish? Foolishly happy? Something like that.

(Since writing the above, there’s been a start under Illusion.


Mine: Big Brother

I am the more aware of the supervised erosion of family utility because it is a struggle in which I’ve changed sides. More than once. As this escapee from a dysfunctional family came more and more to love the writings of George Bernard Shaw, he became increasingly tempted to believe that he’d have fared better with Big Brother than with big sister. It’s easy to imagine that intelligent, well-intentioned people ought to be able to organize a better system for making and training new humans than the one we inherited from the accidents of our not very well organized past. I started to drift from right wing anarchism toward left wing socialism, before turning and running back the other way.

(Now you could say I’m where right and left pass each other going around the back side of the bend. You could say that, that is, if you wanted to limit your metaphor to the inadequate single dimension of our convention.)

But things that are easy to imagine may turn out, with experience, to offer no firm basis for continued belief. (To be continued.)


Protection by Wolves:

When I was in college I goofed around Greenwich Village a lot. I met a guy who explained to me why the Village was a good place to hang out. It’s safe, he said. It’s safe because it’s protected not by the police but by the Mafia. The protection is pleasant because it’s invisible. Somebody mugs somebody, that somebody turns up with his legs broken. No arrest, no accusation, no trial: just break his legs. Whether he’s guilty or not, there are fewer and fewer muggings. The Mafia has the monopoly on crime. No amateurs allowed.


Informational Triggers: Frog Boil:

There are a half-dozen repetitions of this point at The ever-alert billy mac shared a link to a supposed “refutation”.


This module at K. had shown some images of Toshiro Mifune that I’d gotten from the theater debuting Yojimbo in 1960, the Little Carnegie was it? I kept them neat, scanned them, posted them; but now I bet I can get better scans. Bear with my editing here.

Social Survival

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
This entry was posted in family, pk Teaching, social survival, society. Bookmark the permalink.

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