Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chimeria Family Values: Guest Post by Dez

In a previous post, Dez left a comment that I thought contained so much input, I wanted to make sure it got noticed. I asked him for permission to bring it forward, and here it is:

I like the idea of keeping laws to the minimum standard of "do as thou wilt, as long as it doesn't hurt others".

But, divorce is often a sticky issue, especially in regards to child custody. Someone is going to get hurt in some way, such is the nature of breakups. The trick is to minimize the impact on the little ones. (The adults have made their bed and should have to sleep in it; the children, however, have no choices in the matter.)

Personally, I like the idea of making such decisions on a case-by-case basis, rather than using some all-encompassing policy that tries to make everyone happy, and fails.

On the subject of abortion, I believe in everyone taking responsibility for their own actions. Here again, the trick is to minimize the hurt for all concerned.

And let me take the time here to point out (what should be) the obvious: A fetus is not a baby, but could be a potential future citizen of Chimeria, and as such deserves some consideration under the law. This is obvious to any woman who has ever had an abortion (I've known a few), in that none have ever made the decision lightly. This is a HUGE decision on the woman's part, and she always knows it. I believe her right to make that decision must be protected. If she decides to get the abortion, she should not be given any further grief from that choice.

On the other hand, if she decides to go to term, she takes full responsibility. If she can convince someone to assist with the parenting job, such as the father-to-be, that's great. I don't think it is the state's job to interfere with that.

If, for whatever reason, she is not expecting any parenting assistance, that also needs to be decided up front. Some people can handle the solo-parent thing, and some can't.

Have we talked about CPS yet? Child Protective Service is one of those controversial government agencies that you either hate or love. My opinion is that, if government has any responsibility AT ALL, it has the responsibility to protect the helpless.

I've seen it happen. A single parent is overwhelmed by the huge task of caring for an infant while holding down a job, or a couple is too busy fighting with each other to notice the little one needs to be fed. Or, sometimes, there is deliberate abuse.

The decision to remove a child from the home should never be made lightly, but sometimes it needs to be done. There are a lot of people willing and competent to raise a child - hopefully more than those who can't.

Please note: there should be no government support for raising children. No state-supported foster homes. No welfare mothers. Nobody makes money from the government by raising a child. You can either foot the bill yourself, from your own (or your family's, with their consent) pocket, or you don't get to raise a child. Period.

And that needs to be made clear before the first trimester. The ability to support a child for 18 years needs to be part of the decision to abort or not abort.

I suspect this will result in an increase of abortions. Also, eventually, an increase in adoptions.

Ah well.

This is the kind of thoughtful feedback I'm seeking. What would it take to actually fulfill the fantasy of creating your own country? What kind of structure would you want? Who would live there? And why would they want to? And why would you want them?

Money no object...thank the gods! Wouldn't it be embarassing to create a place in which you couldn't afford to live?


Blogger Chimera said...

Dez, I really like the part about child rearing being a do-it-your-own-self type project. No government handouts. No taxpayer-funded babysitting services.

However, don't give up entirely on the idea of fostering as a way to do things. I don't mean government-paid fostering. I mean reciprocal families type fostering.

It's an ancient Celtic tradition, and from all accounts, children raised under the fostering system were not only healthy and well-cared-for, but they grew up without thinking that any one of them was any better than anyone else. The chieftain's kids grew up alongside the farrier's kids, and they grew up together as equals...brothers. They stayed brothers (and sisters) all their lives, always being able to empathize with more than one point of view. Their sense of "family" and community was awesome. They didn't need false patriotism and constant harangues from the government on their patriotic duty. They looked out for one another.

And the divorce/child custody thing is something to chew on. I'm one of the lucky ones in that my divorce was extremely amicable, and I'm still great friend with my ex. And I never had/didn't want kids, so I don't have a lot of experience in that department.

But to my way of thinking, a lot of the hostility in a divorce comes from the pressure to "conform" to certain standards (ie, "take the bastard for what you can get"), the huge expense involved, and just plain ol' friends-and-neighbors induced stress. If we can eliminate all that crap by making it finger-snapping easy to get a divorce without great expense, I think a lot of the child custody crap should disappear, also.

Whaddaya think?

Thursday, September 27, 2007 3:35:00 PM  
Blogger Dez said...

I didn't mention fostering, because our current definition of it implies government support. A community/charity supported foster care system would fit perfectly with what I was saying.

Essentially, when CPS removes a child from a home, there needs to be a minimum amount of time spent looking for a replacement home. If no relatives, or other interested party, is found suitable, then a community fostering system should be available as an alternative.

Like any charity, it should be supported by the local community, not government taxes.

Divorce is really a separate topic. But, if marriage is as easy as signing a piece of paper, then divorce should be just as easy. Deciding who gets what needs to be worked out by the individuals involved, but if there is a dispute that needs to be resolved in court, then it should be done as a property dispute - divorce is not a legal issue in that sense.

Children are not property, but deciding who gets custody is also not relevant to the divorce itself, and should be decided separately. If the "former couple" want to argue about who gets to raise their children, they can take that to court, but child custody should not be a condition of the divorce.

Marriage is basically a legally-binding contract between two people who want to share the responsibilities of living together. If they don't want to live together anymore, there is no question that the contract should be dissolved. Dealing with the fallout of that needs to be done separately, on a case-by-case basis.

I've never been divorced, having been happily "relationshipped" for almost 30 years, but we do have a child. She's 23, and we could not be prouder parents.

But, I am also the product of a failed marriage. My folks got married "...because that's what people did in the '50's...", but neither one was mature enough to handle marriage or raising a family. It took them a painfully long time to decide they needed to give up on it, and in the meantime had 4 boys. I grew up seeing what happens to people who have to live together but don't get along. Not a pretty sight. I was 16 when they finally split, and there was a sigh of relief from everyone involved.

People should live together because they want to. If they don't want to, they shouldn't have to. Simple.

Friday, September 28, 2007 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Everything -- from the terms "fostering" to "marriage" and all else involved in family matters -- will be redefined from the current uses.

I had hoped you'd pick up on the term "reciprocal family fostering." It's sorta like an exchange student program, except it begins at a much younger age and continues throughout life. Essentially, every child ends up with more than one family group to go to for support and safety in times of need. And it's not government-sponsored, funded, or regulated.

There will be no Child Protection Services because there will be no need for it.

All the baggage of our current system of marriage, divorce, custody, support, welfare, etc. will be gone.

The trick now is to take all your (our) own personal baggage, examine it thoroughly, decide why you're (we're) carrying it around, and then not only get rid of it for yourself (ourselves), but also figure out how to prevent anyone else from having to carry it around, to boot.

Ninety percent of the time, the baggage will be a direct result of too much government interference on one level or another. Most of the rest of it can be laid at the door of organized religion. If we can get rid of the government interference by limiting the scope of government, we'll be a long way on the road to actually having the life of which most of us can only dream. And I've already pulled the fangs of organized religion.

Incidentally, I thought about getting rid of the formality of marriage entirely. But some form of it will be a necessary evil for paperwork purposes. Passports, y'know. Other countries tend to want all kinds of "proof" of entitlements, and all that. But marriage will be as soluble as each person needs it to be. For some, the security blanket of that meaningless "contract" will be necessary, at least for awhile.

Saturday, September 29, 2007 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Dez said...

Replacing many of the current functions of government with an interactive community of friends (or at least "people who share similar ideals and a common bond of trust) is only practical on a village-sized level. Once Chimeria gets larger than the number of people who can hold a meeting in a school auditorium (not that its likely to get that big at first), the bonds of trust get stretched thin, and people start doing things that can cause the community to break apart.

The Celts never had to deal with settlements larger than a few hundred adults because of that very process. When the village population became too large, it split like a paramecium, with the disgruntled members forming a new village down the road a bit.

If you are talking about a village of like-minded friends, then everything you mentioned would work beautifully. The community would interact enough to get things done, but not so much that they step on each others toes. Everyone has an equal say, and everyone's opinion is respected. Anyone who doesn't want to fit into the community, or wants to tell others what they "should" do, would be gently encouraged to find another place to live.

Communities grow, at least the healthy ones do and this one sounds like it would be very healthy for all concerned, but eventually the community of friends would encounter problems that would be beyond their capacity to cope without starting to act like a government.

The simple rules that work fine on a village-sized group start needing some revision. Social discipline starts to break down. Volunteer patrols are organized to keep the peace and protect the people. This eventually leads to police.

Community resolutions start to need arbitration by an impartial authority, which leads to a court system.

Ideals and principals of social interaction become laws.

Eventually you get a government, which is a thing like unto organized religion, or any other means of getting a large group of life forms to work towards a common goal, like a herd or flock or hive - it has a power beyond the abilities of any one life form working alone. The more numbers you control, and the more influence you have over them, the more power you have.

Any time you have a thing of such power, you have those who want to use that power for themselves. Power does, indeed, corrupt. Corruption is built into any government by definition. In fact, the proper purpose of a legal system is not to control the population, but to limit the ability of government to arbitrarily dictate their own laws (but like any other aspect of government, laws and the courts can still be corrupted).

Thus, I recommend that we keep an eye on the size of Chimeria. When it grows beyond the village level, we gather volunteers to form Chimeria 2, a little ways down the road.

How long can we keep that up? Well, how big is Canada (assuming that's the area we have to work with)?

Monday, October 01, 2007 1:00:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Good thoughts, and most of them already considered, just not yet written down. Stay tuned. It takes a lot to plan a new country...

Village-sized towns are what I was thinking about. I need to rough in a few thoughts before I publish them. And there will be a population cap on the entire country.

Government and court system can stay small because we won't have anywhere near the baggage that larger countries have.

And we will have one answer that other countries do not have to the question of serious crime and recidivism: deportation. Screw up bad enough or often enough and your Chimerian citizenship gets yanked and you have to go away to be somebody else's problem child.

As for size, no, not nearly as big as Canada. More along the lines of Vancouver Island. Large enough to be self-sufficient, but small enough to be manageable.

Monday, October 01, 2007 12:12:00 PM  

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