Monday, September 24, 2007

Personal Choice In Chimeria: Social Structure And Family Values

I really, really, hate social engineers who love nothing more than to trample everyone else's lives with their own interpretation of How It Should Be. In Chimeria, this intrusive kind of social engineering will not be allowed.

Those who believe that a marriage can only consist of a man and a woman are free to live their own lives by that standard. Even if they are brother and sister. But in no way will they be allowed to interfere with the marriages of two men or two women.

And while we're at it, let's get rid of that number, "two." Any number of intelligent, consenting adults have the capability of forming a marriage and raising kids in a cooperative setting. And children are not a necessary feature of the family structure, either. In another post, I'll be talking about population control and capacity.

Families, for the most part, will consist of whatever individuals decide makes them a family. A single parent with children is no less a family than two adults without kids or several adults. It will be up to the family itself to define its own membership. Those who disagree are free to disagree, but not to interfere.

Marriage will be regulated by the government. And since the government will be small, I anticipate very little interference toward those who wish to be married. But it will make little difference, since there will be no discrimination against those who simply wish to live together and avoid the hassle of meaningless paperwork. Religious marriages will be allowed, but not officially recognized.

Offspring should probably be registered at birth, listing both biological parents for the purposes of genealogical, genetic, and medical history only. Male parents of children born of an AID process will be identified by the file number at the sperm bank. Adoptees will not have access to any personal information regarding their birth parents. Parents who give up children for adoption will not be able to contact them later. For all practical purposes, adopted children will become the biological children of the adopting family.

Unwanted pregnancies will be terminated at the request of the pregnant woman. And only the woman will have both the burden and the freedom to make the final decision. I hear too much about the "rights" of fetuses and the "rights" of fathers. Forget it. Fetuses have no rights because they have no individuality. They are not persons. "Fathers" (who, until the birth process is complete, should really only be known as sperm donors) who do not have to force their bodies through the process known as gestation will have no voice in the disposition of the body that does have to endure it. Any potential father who wants to have children can bloody well find a woman who is willing to have his children for him.

And that throw-away comment above about brother and sister? That wasn't completely a throw-away. Genetics aside, what are the real objections to brother/sister relationships?

Religion. And "culture."

But there were (and maybe still are in some small corner of the world where the fucked-up missionaries haven't had a chance to demonstrate their positions) cultures in which it was necessary for certain family lines to be passed on only through brother-and-sister unions. And they were doing just fine until Christianity came along and killed them off.

I'm not saying that sibling sexuality will be the norm. Speaking from personal observation, I think there is probably nothing in this world less likely to engender a sexual interest than in growing up under the same roof with someone. The phrase, "it's like kissing your sister" had to come from somewhere! But there will be those who want to travel that path. And if you think about it, who will it hurt? Really?

Thoughts, ideas, objections...all welcome.


Blogger Howlin' Hobbit said...

Fathers have no say re: have the baby or not, eh? OK.

Then later, when Sue decides Joe is a much better lay than Fred (the father) and packs up everything and the kids while Fred's at work, does Fred have to keep sending money to Sue or go to jail if he doesn't?

Maybe Fred has some, you know, emotional attachment to the kids. Does he get to see them on a regular basis?

There's a lot more to that issue than just "I gestate, I make the decisions."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 7:58:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Don't be so tetchy, HH. I know where you're coming from on this, and you're a lot more raw than you need to be. Once the kids are born, it's a whole different situation than trying to force an unwanted pregnancy on an unwilling woman.

I haven't gotten to the individual family structures yet, and I really hesitate doing so. I don't like someone else's trying to micromanage my life, so I'm trying to avoid having it happen at all.

People tend to live by what they know from either their own culture or the rules as set down by a new culture. Sure, there are some exceptions, but for the most part, people generally like to go along with the group.

How about coming up with some guidelines for what you think would make a good family structure? Think of it as a social studies course for grade school. Start by insisting that the known birth father cannot be prevented from having contact with his existing children...

This is your chance to design a system that would be better than the present one. How 'bout it?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Dez said...

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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 5:35:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Dez, WOW! You sure put a lot into a comment!

If you don't mind, I think I want to lift this out of comments and make it a "guest post," because it will make it easier to address some of the issues you've raised.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007 6:49:00 PM  
Blogger Dez said...

When I go on a rant, I go on a freakin' rant. Wheee!

Go for it. I would be honored to be a guest on your blog.

I really should post something on my own blog sometime...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:31:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

...yeah, "sometime" would be nice...;)

I'll probably do it tomorrow. It's gettin' kinda late out tonight, the Denizens will be comin' in hungry, and it's my turn to make a mess in the kitchen.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 8:52:00 PM  
Blogger Howlin' Hobbit said...

"Don't be so tetchy, HH. I know where you're coming from on this, and you're a lot more raw than you need to be."

Don't be so tetchy?!? I have spent the last nearly 3 years of my life scrabbling desperately to stay out of jail.

The woman intentionally stopped taking her birth control without telling me. I could've used a condom had I known. She then lied to me about being pregnant until I finally had to say, look, there's been no tampon wrappers in the bathroom garbage for months, was I born yesterday or something?

Then, after "the talk" about the situation I agreed to stay around and be the daddy. I was stay-at-home daddy while she wented and wasted her second opportunity at college.

Then I dropped all of my dreams for the future and went to work for corporate amerika. I started paying ALL the bills (not some, not most, ALL) so she could stay home and bring over this other guy to drink my whiskey and talk her into leaving me.

After a bit she decided she couldn't keep the kids and get her own (and new beau's) shit together so, with two weeks warning, she dropped them on me. I took time off from work to get the boy into school and the girl into daycare and then fed them, clothed them and took them on my own dime every weekend to visit her (and picked them up, of course).

Then, when she decided she'd gotten things together she calls up and says "my turn now, right?"

When I didn't agree she went to court. The initial conversation (I read the transcript) went something like this:

Judge: Has he ever hit you?

Her: No.

Judge: Has he ever threatened to hit you?

Her: No. But I'm afraid he might.

Judge: Slap a restraining order on the bastard! (A paraphrase there.)

Meanwhile, I'm still taking care of the kids!

Every time something didn't work she'd come up with a new lie until, finally, she just took them out of day care and school one day and called me to tell me I was hosed, too bad, so sad.

Then she got 'em to do the child support thing. The state didn't even bother to send me a "you now have to pay child support letter" and let me know. Oh no! The first I heard of it was when my boss calls me in to tell me my wages had been attached.

And it's gone downhill from there.

I can't sleep. My gut aches every day. I haven't seen my kids in YEARS. You might also say that I've pretty much torn up my "feminist" card.

So, Chimera, I'm terribly sorry but you don't know where I'm coming from here and I feel that my original comment was not nearly as "tetchy" as it could have been.

(P.S. I agree... nice rant there, Dez. You'll get a similar chance on my blog soon re: your latest comment.)

Saturday, September 29, 2007 12:34:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Ah...I already knew most of this, my friend. Some of our mutual "friends" have unhinged tongues that are not attached to any brain tissue. (Don't look at Dez, though -- he's like a bloody clam! His favorite response is changing the subject.)

But this post wasn't aimed at you or your situation, either. And I know others who have an ongoing similar nightmare. Emotional triggers of human beings aside, most of the grief actually comes from a rotten system that has set up an imbalance that cannot be corrected. The game is rigged, the dice are loaded, and you can't win. You can't break even. You can't even quit the game.

What I'm proposing is to raze everything and start over from scratch. Leave no shred of the currect travesty of justice. Come up with a new system that would not set the players against one another from the get-go.

I would especially like to hear some thoughts from you on this. If there were no current system in place, what would you like to see, and how would it be governed? What would have been fair to everyone involved?

Start with the idea that there should be a population cap, that comprehensive sex education and the teaching of contraception will begin in the lower grades at school, so that it becomes closer than second nature -- it would actually have to be a deliberate and unusual act to have sex without taking all the precautions. Then think about the idea of community parenting for the children that do get born. Lower costs for post-secondary education. And much less stress on the idea of grabbing everything for yourself (whether you actually want it or not) before your neighbor can get any of it.

Anger about your situation is healthy. Anger can fuel you for the battle. But choose your targets carefully, okay? I'm not the one who is causing your pain.

Friday, October 05, 2007 1:37:00 PM  
Blogger Karen & Miko said...

Damn, HH, you really did get hosed. The fact that she left the children with you should have counted for something. And the hell of it is, if you fight it, it will cost you a fortune in attorney's fees. The fact is that the mother is not always maternal and not always the best nurturer. Courts have been slow to recognize that.

The stricture on close kin mating does have sound genetic reasons. We certainly don't do it in horse and cattle breeding. Too risky.

I agree it's certainly not the government's business to regulate who marries whom. However, there are two things I think might be useful to restrict. The marrying parties have to be of the age of consent. If not, there has to be parental permission. If the party is underage, however, even with parental consent, if the child doesn't want to marry, then that should be it. The other is that marriage perhaps should be confined to humans as the parties, for legal reasons. Until aliens arrive from outer space and we start interbreeding with them.

As far as polygamy or polyandry, that's fine by me, so long as government benefits such as social security go only to the offspring of one mate. This could be declared in SS papers. I frankly have no desire to pay for the children of multiple partners.

Sunday, October 07, 2007 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Excellent points on the age of consent, and the right to refuse. Also a good point about confining it to humans. I've seen the news stories in which someone actually got permission...and then subsequently married...a goat?

And I'm leaning away from "social security" until I can find a way to incorporate both it and the population cap. The current structure of social security (as well as EI and other insurance-type schemes) depend heavily upon a population base that constantly increases. It's a pyramid scheme, and if anyone except the government were doing it, they'd be in prison.

Chimeria will have a population cap, an ideal number beyond which we would no longer be self-sufficient. I do not want us to fall into the trap of having to depend upon the vagaries of other countries for our own survival. That way lies loss of independence.

Sunday, October 07, 2007 1:29:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Sunday, October 07, 2007 1:29:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

My last comment double-posted, so I removed the duplicate. Blogger sure has some interesting features these days.

Sunday, October 07, 2007 1:31:00 PM  

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