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Thread: Obligation to support the nuclear family?

  1. #31


    I tend to not be a fan of huge expansion of social programs-except when to comes to the support of children. Children should never be held to the poor choices their parents make. I believe they are the future and we should do everything we can to give them access to forge their own future. This includes food, health care and an education. I am also a strong fan of student loans (although very concerned about abuse of student loans by for-profit groups.)

    Programs like WIC and free immunizations and children's CHIP are minute in comparison to the behemoths of social security, medicare and obamacare, and they at least give children in poverty that chance to be on an equal footing from a health perspective.

    I am a huge advocate of charter school and giving parents in poor performing schools, the chance to place their kids in more optimal settings-why punish the children for our failure to build a robust education setting...allow the parents the chance to try and find something better for their kids.

    Pragmatically, having more than one parent is just easier and gives more time to really enjoy the fun time with your kids. With my older son, I worked two jobs and was a full time student-from 1 to 5, his grandparents had a huge part in helping raise him. I dont understand how single parents without a support system can manage...I am a fan of anything you can to do to help them gain an education as that is the single biggest thing on can do to help them become self-supportive in the long run and make enough money to not have to be concerned about their kids future.

  2. #32
    Meat Tornado Array DiscoBiscuit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009


    From Rod Dreher at The American Conservative:

    What’s Wrong With The Freakin’ Show

    Many years ago, there was a Simpsons episode — the “Poochie” one — in which the Itchy & Scratchy cartoon makers did a focus group among kids to see what they could do to revitalize the cartoon, which was flagging in the ratings. Here’s how the scene played out:

    Focus Group Guy: [after showing the kids some Itchy & Scratchy cartoons] Okay, how many of the kids would like Itchy & Scratchy to deal with real life problems like the ones you face every day?
    [the kids cheer]
    Focus Group Guy: And who would like to see them do just the opposite, getting into far-out situations involving robots and magic powers?
    [the kid kids cheer again]
    Focus Group Guy: So you want a realistic down-to-earth show that’s completely off the wall and swarming with magic robots?
    [the kids all chat at once about it being a great idea]
    Milhous: And, also, you should win things by watching.
    Focus Group Guy: [sighs]
    Roger Myers Jr.[I&S show executive]: [turns off the mirror disguise in the window] You kids don’t know what you want. That’s why you’re still kids, ’cause you’re stupid. Just tell me what’s wrong with the freakin’ show!
    I thought about that scene this morning after finishing David Brooks’s column on “The Age of Possibility.” Brooks writes about how the world of choice and plenty in which we now live has occasioned the rapid decline of the traditional family. Excerpt:
    These are all stunningly fast cultural and demographic shifts. The world is moving in the same basic direction, from societies oriented around the two-parent family to cafeteria societies with many options.

    This global phenomenon has been expertly analyzed in a report called “The Rise of Post-Familialism: Humanity’s Future?” written by a team of scholars including Joel Kotkin, Anuradha Shroff, Ali Modarres and Wendell Cox.

    Why is this happening? The report offers many explanations. People are less religious. People in many parts of the world are more pessimistic and feeling greater economic stress. Global capitalism also seems to be playing a role, especially, it seems, in Asia.

    Many people are committed to their professional development and fear that if they don’t put in many hours at work they will fall behind or close off lifestyle options.
    Brooks — who, recall, has written a popular book about what science tells us about the social and psychological conditions under which humans thrive (so his opinion is highly informed) — calls this an “Age of Possibility,” and says it’s based on a false premise:

    People are not better off when they are given maximum personal freedom to do what they want. They’re better off when they are enshrouded in commitments that transcend personal choice — commitments to family, God, craft and country.
    He goes on:

    The surest way people bind themselves is through the family. As a practical matter, the traditional family is an effective way to induce people to care about others, become active in their communities and devote themselves to the long-term future of their nation and their kind. Therefore, our laws and attitudes should be biased toward family formation and fertility, including child tax credits, generous family leave policies and the like.
    And finally:

    The problem is not necessarily a changing family structure. It’s people who go through adulthood perpetually trying to keep their options open.
    In other words, it’s that many of us want to be like the kids in the Itchy & Scratchy focus group. This is how you get anguished essays like the much-commented-on piece by Ann-Marie Slaughter, complaining that women can’t have a satisfying, high-achieving career and also a satisfying home life — and saying that society has to change to accommodate the desire to have a realistic down-to-earth show that’s completely off the wall and swarming with magic robots it all.

    To some degree, we’re all implicated in this mindset — in this idea that life should be a buffet of choices, and that we shouldn’t be bound too tightly to any particular choice, because that limits our freedom to act to maximize our own happiness. It is a well-known paradox that the happiest people are the ones who don’t pursue happiness for its own sake. This is what Brooks is getting at by saying that people are better off when they are embedded in a structure of commitments that limit their freedom. By closing off their ability to move laterally, they have the capacity to dig deeper.

    As longtime readers will remember, it was the death of my sister Ruthie that caused me to rethink the way I was living in this regard. Ruthie stayed in our hometown, and in fact built a house with her husband right across the yard from where she had grown up. I left, in pursuit of a career and happiness. To be clear, I don’t think there was anything wrong with leaving, per se, and in fact if I had made Ruthie’s choice when she made it, I would have been miserable, given the kind of person I am. But watching her die put the commitments she made in this community, and nurtured over the course of her life, in a certain light. She bound herself early on by informal commitments to this place and these people, and they were present for her and her family when she got sick in a way that somebody like me, who chose instead to move around a lot, could not expect if he woke up one morning to find he had terminal cancer. This all ended up with my family and me moving back to my hometown, a story I tell in my forthcoming book. The thing is, it’s not like I only recognized my problem in this regard when Ruthie died; I’d been thinking about it and writing about it for almost a decade, but lacked the courage to accept the implications of my own thinking about place and commitment.

    The thing is, there’s no escape from struggling with commitments, no matter where you are. It’s simply the social and psychological landscape all of us live in. Have people ever lived under conditions in which so many people had so much freedom of choice, where the direction of their lives was in profound ways contingent on the exercise of their own free will? This is what we all think we want, because many goods come with that freedom. But we know, or ought to know, that it won’t make us happy, not permanently so.

    This is one reason why lottery winners are often so miserable. They don’t know how to deal with the freedom all that money buys them, and it ruins them. People who don’t have much money love to imagine that if only their financial problems were taken care of, they would be happy. More often than not, they just exchange one set of anxieties for another. Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.

    Research by leading social psychologist Roy Baumeister has found that the act of choosing depletes our brain’s ability to exercise self-control. We become less discerning and less disciplined when our brains are tired from having to make a large number of choices. This implies that when we embed ourselves within a context of binding commitments — that is to say, commitments we don’t have to think about honoring — that may free our minds to focus on other things. When we experience everything, or nearly everything, as contingent on choice, it exhausts us mentally, and makes us more undisciplined — and, in turn, makes our lives more chaotic. Chaos, in this sense, breeds chaos.

    Freedom is a blessing, but freedom cannot be an end, only a means to an end. It is, in a way, our curse to live in a society in which nearly all the focus is on choice, and not on what is chosen, and how we may know what to choose. We must have liberty if our choices are to have meaning. But we must also have order if we are going to sustain the conditions under which we may have liberty.

    What’s wrong with the freakin’ show? We are kids who don’t know what we want, and who want perpetually to keep our options open. With me, this is perhaps the greatest challenge of my spiritual life. It’s part of the “everydayness” challenge. The way through the world really is more difficult to find than the way beyond it — and we are trying to make our way through this disorienting territory, having ceased to believe in the reliability of maps we have not drawn ourselves.
    Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
    - Edmund Burke

    8w9 sx/so

  3. #33


    do I think two parents are better then one? yes*, at a larger margin then is currently looked for:
    a single parent can have self doubts, but his/her ego will always play a role in determining whether they are doing the best for their child, and the ego wants to answer yes, no matter the truth. with two parents, there's a dialogue, an external thought process of back and forth, where people can examine an area from various perspectives and both of them can question whether the other person is making the right call, thus on each issue, there's at least one where's the ego has to potentially play a contrarian point of view.
    another big way the ego comes to play into parenting is "i was raised like this and i turned out fine, so i should raise my kids way". when you have two people who where (at least in some areas) where raised differently, you can marginalize the affect of it, so even as the stone of generations get passed down, it is more likely that the people will be able to "throw a lighter punch".
    another factor is socializing, with two parents of one child get to know the two parents of another, there's a better chance that at least one of them will be able to get along and become friends, which while seemingly unimportant (this is mainly for the kids ofcoruse), also creates an added layer of pressure for the kids to maintain long lasting friendships. in addition, there's double the extended families and friends - the two parents will have access to a much bigger village.
    and ofcourse, there's plenty of the obvious: you have double the role models for the child to explore himself through, double the emotional and mental toolsets, etc, and be as anti materialistic as you'd like, two incomes can give a child a better starting point in life then one, both by increasing the socioeconomic standing of the family and thus the location and education facilities available for the child to socialize through, and enable one or both parents to work less and spend more quality time with the child growing up.

    does this mean that we as a society need to support it? i am no quite sure i got that part of the question... support it with what? tax cuts? supporting marriage as an institution, as if that's going to prevent people from stopping to love each other*? when its there in all directions, love provides for its own support network, institution or not. its when its not there that there's a problem, and i think the best we can do is to support child-parent access rights, to safeguard the two parents relationship with the child for the child regardless of the feelings between the two parents*.

    ( * marks the things i am obviously exceptionally biased about)

  4. #34
    Blah Array Orangey's Avatar
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    Jun 2008


    I think it's pretty intuitively clear that families with a larger amount of adults around stand the best chance of helping children to become well-adjusted. Two-parent runs the risk of fostering individuation problems in children due to the absence of one or more parents for work purposes (or, if the mother stays home, mother-child individuation problems that have ramifications for both genders.) The same applies to single parents in isolation from extended family (a good argument for why single mothers should not be stigmatized and felt to be shameful.)
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

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