Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."



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Comments

meade

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRCYMou-aQM&mode=related&search=

at 5:30

Dan

Leading social conservative intellectuals -- particularly Maggie Gallagher, but also many others such as George Gilder, Robert George, etc. -- long have argued that no fault divorce destroyed marriage as we know it.

"like it's gay people who are making us run out on our mates?"

No intelligent opponent of gay marriage is arguing this (not even dumb ones are to my knowlege -- it is something I hear only from those who support gay marriage). The primary concern with gay marriage is that it would deprive the state of the ability to privilege the family in which both biological parents raise their children. The logic of gay marriage is that laws that assume a child is best off with his biological parents are disriminatory and "bigoted."


amba

I have Maggie Gallagher's book, The Abolition of Marriage, and was very impressed by it. I also met Maggie when she wrote a positive column about a conservative book I helped with, Dear Patrick (originally A Return to Innocence). I don't mean to say that no social conservative has spoken seriously about the harm of easy divorce. I mean to say that so many are fervent and emotional about hating the sin of homosexuality, and talk about divorce almost as an afterthought. It doesn't get them going the same way.

amba

Then too -- a child is best off with his biological parents presuming they're not crazy or killing each other. The question of who's to have the power to decide that is a very touchy one; obviously the State is not all-wise and all-knowing (see the post on William Ayres). Ultimately there's no hard-and-fast rule about who a child is best off with. A child is best off with stable, loving, committed adults. As Beau Weston says at Gruntled Center: the biological parents are "best." If that's impossible, a single mother or a gay couple is "good enough." To equate them helps destroy marriage, but to rank them this way gives kids from really terrible marriages someplace safe and loving to go.

amba

Says Beau:

"For liberal egalitarians having any kind of second class status is unacceptable.

"For conservative perfectionists permitting any but the preferred way is to connive at social breakdown.

"The primary political and philosophical problem of centrism is legitimizing the distinctions among the good, the bad, and the good enough."

Peter Hoh

"The primary concern with gay marriage is that it would deprive the state of the ability to privilege the family in which both biological parents raise their children"

Does the state really privilege such families? Would I face some loss of state-granted privilege were I to conduct an affair and then divorce my wife, leave her with our children, and marry my affair partner?

Yes, I would lose, but state privilege is not among the things I'd lose.

My position is that it's not so much no-fault that has undermined marriage, but rather a culture that has taken no-fault to the place we're at today, a time in which prominent politicians no longer need to hide from the public eye when they repeatedly divorce and marry their affair partners.

In such a climate, same-sex marriage is inevitable. If support of marriage is tied to opposition to same-sex marriage, then marriage will lose in the end.

Dan

"I mean to say that so many are fervent and emotional about hating the sin of homosexuality, and talk about divorce almost as an afterthought." I agree that divorce does not get enough attention. It sure would help if the left joined the likes of Maggie Gallagher, Mary Ann Glendon and other conservatives who want to strengthen marriage. (Don't hold your breath.) Part of the reason there is the focus today on homosexuality is that that is where the attack on marriage presently is coming from.

Of course another huge problem is that people now don't even bother to get married in the first place. One third of all births in the U.S. are out of wedlock -- a huge factor in the cycle of poverty. By the logic of gay marriage though this is no biggie. Lesbians will assure you that Dad is fully dispensable.

I have no problem with a gay couple raising a child who no other heterosexual couple will take. Such children are rare to nonexistent however.

Gay marriage does not tolerate a preference for Mom & Dad. Where gay marriage is the law -- Massachussetts -- the state swiftly barred Catholic Church, which was the largest provider of adoption services in the state, from limiting adoption to heterosexual couples. England has just adopted the same type of law. This is where gay marriage leads. With gay marriage Mom & Dad is not the model anymore and it is illegal for the state to promote that model. Sodomy becomes a supreme value that trumps childrens' needs and religious freedom.

Many people argue (mainly for the purpose of justifying gay marriage) that kids really don't need a Mom and a Dad, that any combination of adults will suffice. To be honest, that there are so many people who feel this way I find disheartening. It makes me sad.

Even single-mother-by-choice Annie Leibovitz (who had her first daughter at age 51 and then twins 4 years later using a surogate) told an interviewer from the Guardian she "imagines that one day her children will rage at her for their unconventional beginnings.” But does she care? Nah.


amba

So, you think it's impossible to prioritize the way Beau Weston recommends? That it's all or nothing? Your emotional-religious use of the word "sodomy" (which had broader meaning in the Bible and in those old state statutes; it was pretty much anything out of the missionary position) is the kind of reaction I'm referring to. You find divorce sad and selfish; you find homosexual love disgusting and evil.

I also find it sad that "Mom and Dad," which seems so cosmically right when it works well, is no longer highly honored. At the same time, I can't see gays wanting to get married as "an attack on marriage." It's more of a tribute to it. Making a commitment to each other does not turn two men or two women into a man and a woman, yet making a commitment is much to be desired. So maybe the word is the problem.

Homosexual commitments are always going to be a minority; it seems like the more commitments, the better -- being a single parent (unless you have an extended family or unlimited means) seems desperately difficult and insecure to me.

Dan

What I said largely, although not entirely, accords with what you attribute to Beau Weston (the biological parents are best and if that's impossible, a single mother or a gay couple is good enough). Here is where I differ: I think it is wrong to use technology to deliberately bring a child into the world with the intent of raising the child without a biological parent (as happens with sperm donation, etc.) I also think it is wrong to block a charity from giving preference to heterosexual couples over same sex couples.

"Sodomy" is a perfectly good word unless, of course, you wish to remove the stigma from sodomy. That stigma however cannot be removed even if we ban the word "sodomy" and legalize gay marriage. The entire gay rights movmement is premised on the belief that the morality of homosexuality (and hence all morality) is entirely subjective and that, therefore, homosexuality can be converted from being wrong to being right by just declaring that it is right. I think this is the basic problem with the movement. As a great thinker put it: "Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. And right is right, even if no one is." If there is an objective right and wrong (and I believe there is) and if homosexuality is wrong (and I believe it is), declaring homosexuality to not be wrong is not going solve the problems that being homosexual poses. On the contrary, it is going to make them worse by leading people further down the path of falsehood and self-deceipt.

"You find divorce sad and selfish [true]; you find homosexual love disgusting [whether I do or not is irrelevant] and evil [sinful; evil is too strong a word]." My issue is not with the personal lives of others. My issue is with the laws by which we shape the conditions for raising our children. Half of all American children growing up now will live without a biological parent for a substantial part of childhood. This is not an economic problem. It is a moral problem and it is a moral problem that gay marriage will exacerbate by, among other things, valuing adult sexual desires over the welfare of children.


Dan

Would you accept this deal as a way to resolve the gay rights controversy:

1. We legalize gay marriage.
2. We however also enact a set of laws that are designed to ensure that children are, to the maximum extent possible, raised by their biological parents and, if that is not possible, by a heterosexual couple, and if that is not possible, then, and only then, by a same sex married couple.
3. We outlaw the use of reproductive technologies by non-married people and by married gays. (Married heterosexuals too if you want.)
4. We reintroduce fault into the divorce laws.

I would entertain this compromise, if it settled the issue (i.e., if it wasn't used as a first step toward the abolition of preference for the traditional family). Obviously gay rights activists would not accept it.

Peter Hoh

Dan, help me out here: was the Mass. ruling about what Catholic Charities could do, or was it about what Catholic Charities could do with the state's money?

amba

Again, you're using "sodomy" in a narrower sense than the Bible does.

You believe homosexuality is wrong. I believe promiscuity is wrong. If you separate promiscuity from homosexuality, all that's left is love. When you know the people involved, you see that love is love. It's not about the plumbing.

It's important to stress that we're talking about a small minority of the population, and we always will be. What you do about those individuals, whether you punish and marginalize them or accept and integrate them into society -- which would include holding them to the same bloodied but unbowed standards of conduct to which you hold everyone else -- in my view does not affect the conduct of the other 90-something percent whose inclination will always be to form heterosexual families. That's why I consider it a red herring.

"Valuing adult sexual desires over the welfare of children" was predominantly a heterosexual phenomenon and problem when it swept across the culture in the 1960s. I don't think you can blame gays for that. It remains a problem all across society. Adult sexual desires, pursued for their own sake, are exactly like an addictive drug that is not labeled as such.

Your compromise ain't half bad. I think reproductive technologies are extremely problematic (and that people can be as narcissistic in their desire to become a biological parent as in their pursuit of "adult sexual desires"). I also wonder whether gay marriage should have legal parity (in terms of wills, etc.) but a different name, as an institution in its own right with its own tradition.

What would you do about a kid in the case where one of the biological parents is gay?

Peter Hoh

For those who can't stand to think about sodomy, but can't seem to stop thinking about it, I recommend Bill Maher's suggested compromise on same-sex marriage: we only let the hot lesbians get married.

Peter Hoh

Amba, way back in '87, at a party in New Haven, I tried arguing that I had no problem with homosexuality but I did have a problem with promiscuity and anonymous sex. This position was unacceptable to my hosts. To accept homosexuals, they argued that I would have to accept promiscuity and anonymous sex, as well.

amba

Those people were the worst enemies of their own cause.

Tom Strong

I have no problem with a gay couple raising a child who no other heterosexual couple will take.

Really? What if the hetero couple have a history of domestic violence? Or drug/alcohol abuse?

What if they work 100-hour weeks, and would abdicate most caretaking to a daycare center or babysitter?

Would you extend foster care for children to avoid their being adopted by gay couples? For how long?

Or how about kids with developmental disabilities. They're certainly less likely to be preferred adoptive choices. Maybe gay people should be limited to adopting them?

Such children are rare to nonexistent however.

Rare, yes. Nonexistent, definitely not.

Tom Strong

Many people argue (mainly for the purpose of justifying gay marriage) that kids really don't need a Mom and a Dad, that any combination of adults will suffice.

Oh, please. As many people are making this argument as are arguing outright that "it's gay people who are making us run out on our mates."

Meanwhile, you completely ignore amba's actual argument - that being raised by a pair of loving, responsible adults matters more than the biology of those adults.

If you want to argue that the biology of the parents is the most crucial input into a child's development, then make that argument. Everything else is a strawman.

Tom Strong

Or arguments by assertion. For example:

The entire gay rights movmement is premised on the belief that the morality of homosexuality (and hence all morality) is entirely subjective and that, therefore, homosexuality can be converted from being wrong to being right by just declaring that it is right.

Evidence, please.

Dan

Here are my response to (some of) Amba's comments:

1. "It's important to stress that we're talking about a small minority of the population, and we always will be."

I agree. So why alter (permanently dismantle, actually) the institution of marriage -- which many great thinkers believe is the cornerstone of civilization -- to accomodate this small minority which cannot naturally have children, who are the prime reason for the institution? It's really insane.

2. You argue again that gay marriage will not affect the conduct of heterosexuals. Again, niether I nor anyone else I know of is arguing that gay marriage will cause already married people to run out on their spouses. The problem with gay marriage, rather, is a legal and cultural problem. With gay marriage society says it is officially OK not have a father -- a terrible social problem -- and makes illegal all laws and policies that would seek to promote children having both a mother and a father. Culturally, law has an important teaching function. Gay marriage teaches that it is not important for a child to have a father. This is a terrible and destructive (as well as untrue) message for the law and the culture to send. With this message being sent, you can totally forget about ever solving the problem of the black underclass.

Gay marriage also further embeds in our laws the view that marriage is merely a contract -- a view that has had a big part of getting us into this mess in the first place.

3. "'Valuing adult sexual desires over the welfare of children' was predominantly a heterosexual phenomenon and problem when it swept across the culture in the 1960s. I don't think you can blame gays for that."

I agree with you 100% on this one. But gay marriage pushes further down the wrong road when we should be trying to get off that road.

4. What would you do about a kid in the case where one of the biological parents is gay?

I'm not sure what you're asking here.

Here are my responses to Tom Strong's comments:

1. Obviously I would not advocate that heterosexual couples be allowed to adopt regardless of their fitness to adopt.

2. The waiting list for couples who want to adopt developmentally disabled children is quite long. Your assumption that there are not sufficient married heterosexual couples to take them is wrong. (I know this because in the pro-life work I do I have contact with adoption agencies.)

3. I would not extend foster care to avoid adoption by a gay couple.

4. "As many people are making this argument as are arguing outright that 'it's gay people who are making us run out on our mates.'" Who, precisely, do you claim is making the latter argument? I've never heard anyone oppose gay marriage based a claim that gay people are making others run out on their mates.

5. "being raised by a pair of loving, responsible adults matters more than the biology of those adults." This statement is plainly false. There is abundant social science that shows that children raised by a step parent and a natural parent fare far worse than children raised by both natural parents. There is very little research on what happens when same sex couples raise a child. So, to satisfy the sexual desires of adults, we are rushing off into radical social experiment at best blind about its impact on children -- and when common sense tells us the impact will be negative. Social science cannot measure the size of the hole in a child's heart that results from not knowing, and not being loved by, a biological parent. Gay couples are inherently less secure for a child because a gay couple never includes both the child's father and the child's mother.

6. "If you want to argue that the biology of the parents is the most crucial input into a child's development, then make that argument." I do make the argument that it is best for a child to be raised by his or her biological parents and, if for whatever reason that is not possible, at least to have a father and a mother.

7. Objective moral standards derive from revelation (i.e., the Bible) and natural law. Both sources condemn homosexuality. Homosexuality also is, objectively speaking, a perversion. Freud (who is not typically associated with the religous right) defined perversion as, basically, a sexual act that does not lead to procreation. Words like "sodomy" have the bite of stigma precisely because they remind that homosexuality is a perversion. Gay marriage won't a change a thing in this regard.


amba

Gay marriage teaches that it is not important for a child to have a father.

Lesbian marriage and single motherhood teach that it is not necessary for a child to have a father.

4. What would you do about a kid in the case where one of the biological parents is gay?

I'm not sure what you're asking here.

I'm asking which takes priority, in that case: biological parenthood or heterosexuality. Presumably, if there is another parent who is straight, that parent would be awarded custody?

Social science cannot measure the size of the hole in a child's heart that results from not knowing, and not being loved by, a biological parent.

That's a rough statement for someone involved in adoption.

amba

Lesbian marriage and single motherhood teach that it is not necessary for a child to have a father.

Something I don't agree with, I should make clear.

Peter Hoh

Dan wrote: The entire gay rights movmement is premised on the belief that the morality of homosexuality (and hence all morality) is entirely subjective and that, therefore, homosexuality can be converted from being wrong to being right by just declaring that it is right. I think this is the basic problem with the movement. As a great thinker put it: "Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. And right is right, even if no one is." If there is an objective right and wrong (and I believe there is) and if homosexuality is wrong (and I believe it is), declaring homosexuality to not be wrong is not going solve the problems that being homosexual poses.

Good thing the divorce advocates got in under the wire, eh?

Peter Hoh

Dan, as for the status of law as "cultural teacher," what does the law care if tomorrow I decide to ditch my wife and kids and head off to Tahiti with a barmaid? Does the law insist that I play a role in my children's lives? No.

Now I might get in trouble if I failed to pay court-ordered child support, but I would not incur the wrath of the law if I never visited my children again. My wages would not be garnished for failing to show up for viists, for instance.

Therefore, it's hard for me to ccept your assertion that the law currently values the role of fathers in the lives of their children.

Peter Hoh

And Dan, any response to my question about the religious liberties of Catholic Charities in Massachusetts? Was the case about their religious liberties, or about their ability to exercise those liberties while spending the state's money?

Dan

Peter, the Massachusetts law requires any adoption agency to place children with same sex couples, regardless of whether the agency takes money from the State. Catholic Charities was thus forced to withdraw from the adoption business.

Amba, why do you say single motherhood teaches that a father is not necessary? I think you know that there is overwhelming evidence that children raised by their mother alone fare much worse than children raised by both their mother and father. Yes, it's true that children don't literally need a father in the sense that they don't necessarily die without one but obviously we are not talking about "needing a father" in such a literal way.

As to your question, you're positing, I assume, that there is a divorce, and one parent is homosexual and the other is not, and the question is: should the law favor the heterosexual parent in awarding custody? My answer is: what is relevant is not the sexual orientation of the parent but the parent's behavoir. A chaste divorced homosexual parent is better than a heterosexual parent who immediately remarries (remarriage is bad for the child) or starts dating right away (dating is also bad for the child).

As for what you call the "rough statement," it is merely an observation of fact: many (not all) adoptees long to know their biological parents. The longing is not something that I wish upon them. It is however something that gay marriage produces (there is much anecdotal evidence of this) and it is a longing that I could easily immagine myself feeling if I were deprived of knowing one of my parents. Note that in the case of adoption the parents who have adopted are not at fault whereas in the case of gay marriage the parents who raise the child deliberately created the situation that produces the longing. Hence in gay marriage, unlike traditional adoption, there is the potential for rage against the adults who raise the child (see Annie Liebowitz quote above).

Amba, we really aren't very far apart on these things. You recognize that we should organize intimate relationships to benefit children, to the extent those relationships implicate children. I submit that if you logically and rigorously apply this principle -- a principle which is honest and good and right, even if it does call for sacrifice from adults -- you too should come out against gay marriage. If you did it might strain a lot of your friendships, like it did mine (most of my friends are liberals and several are gay), but, hey, a principled stand that doesn't cost you much isn't much of a stand.

karen

I know i'm kinda intruding here; but, i have been married twice, have a split family and can tell you 1sthand that even in a ~perfectly blended~ family there are always a few pieces missing in the puzzle- unless one is really in denial.

Divorce sucks. Sometimes divorce is absolutely necessary and sometimes assholes run off w/barmaids- maybe to the next town(no one i know will end up in Tahiti.) My ex did just that and the state may not have minded his absence, but my kids always knew.

Oh- and single Mom-dom sucks, too.

I've decided to give a talk at pre-Cana this month on divorce and the effects on family- as well as on Faith(it's, like, prep time for those desiring marriage: required classes). Being Catholic, we have to get our failed marriages annulled, which i did. It's Sacramental marriage and this throws a monkey wrench into the gay marriage desires because ~it's wrong~ for gayfolk to marry. I don't see anything ~wrong~ w/folks(anyone) living their lives as they wish and w/whomever they wish- but, my Faith takes issue w/marriage. Of course, in VT we were kinda led to believe that a Civil Union was THE pinnacle to be reached and all would be well w/the Universe.

I knew that it wouldn't be enough because of the equality issue.

karen

2 Peter- i am not saying you are an a**hole, but if you run off to Tahiti w/that barmaid, THEN you will become one.

That's just how it is :0).

amba

Dan --

Amba, why do you say single motherhood teaches that a father is not necessary?

I was just trying to qualify your statement that gay marriage teaches that a father is not important. You could say that the child of a gay male couple has a redundancy of fathers, provided you regard gay men as men. I was being nit-picky. In reality, single motherhood probably teaches how important a father is.

Many adoptees want to know their biological parents, but if they've had a good relatonship they consider their adoptive parents their parents. I really need to reread and review a friend's wonderful memoir/essay about adoption that makes the exact opposite point to today's obsession with biological identity: that it is not the biological generation of a child but the emotional commitment to it that initiates parenthood.

amba

I don't think either my sister's kids or my brother's stepdaughters, all of whom developed very close relationships with their stepfathers, would say "remarriage is bad for the child." I think they'd say divorce is, but given the divorce I think they were better off with a good stepfather, even if in some cases the adjustment was turbulent.

So much depends on the individuals involved.

Tom Strong

Dan,

Thanks for your reasonable response!

2. Thanks for the correction

4. Who, precisely, do you claim is making the latter argument? I've never heard anyone oppose gay marriage based a claim that gay people are making others run out on their mates.

That was exactly my point. Read your own first comment again.

5. This statement is plainly false.

Perhaps it is - but nothing you've written actually contradicts it.

There is abundant social science that shows that children raised by a step parent and a natural parent fare far worse than children raised by both natural parents.

Irrelevant. This is not the same as children being raised by adoptive parents. You're conflating different situations.

There is very little research on what happens when same sex couples raise a child.

Yes. And therefore, it is reasonable to assume that, all other things equal, there is in fact no difference between same-sex couples adopting and hetero couples adopting. Unless you can demonstrate what that difference would be?

So, to satisfy the sexual desires of adults,

Again, you haven't demonstrated that this is relevant at all. Does conventional marriage not "satisfy the sexual desire of adults?"

we are rushing off into radical social experiment at best blind about its impact on children -- and when common sense tells us the impact will be negative.

Common sense tells us nothing negative about this "experiment," because children have been raised by adoptive families for many centuries. I don't see anyone claiming that we should be banning adoption.

Gay couples are inherently less secure for a child because a gay couple never includes both the child's father and the child's mother.

I fail to see what the biological sex of a child's parents has to do with that child's security. Again, if you can explain how that securing effect is formed, please do.

6.I do make the argument that it is best for a child to be raised by his or her biological parents and, if for whatever reason that is not possible, at least to have a father and a mother.

Again, please feel free to explain how having a father and another father (who presumably take on different roles in raising their child, as gay fathers have been known to do) would harm the child's development in comparison with this minimum standard.

Tom Strong

7. Objective moral standards derive from revelation (i.e., the Bible) and natural law. Both sources condemn homosexuality.

Ah, well now we're getting into a different kettle of fish. I would say that objective moral standards derive from the harm principle, as elucidated by John Stuart Mill. Catholic moral teachings (which you seem to be proposing as fundamental) strike me as an impressive but ultimately flawed application of the harm principle - one which in this case and in others, ironically ends up creating harm rather than preventing it.

As for Freud, I'm amused that you think his opinion is relevant here. Freud is rarely regarded as an authority on anything nowadays, even within psychiatry. Moreover, you seem to be misapplying his writings. Freud saw the very act of childrearing as perverse, most famously in his now-derided Oedipus Complex. That he should see homosexuality as perverse as well is mere consistency on his part.

Joared

After reading this whole exchange, the bottom line is your last sentence, amba:

"So much depends on the individuals involved."

Knowing what we do about the biological differences in human beings, do we relegate a whole segment of the population to a life without a loving relationship because they're biologically different from the majority?

A committed relationship is a committed relationship. Heterosexual couples seem to be just as capable of being poor parents as any of the single or paired combinations described in this whole exchange.

Without knowing specifics, too many "studies" so often cited as supportive for positions, upon close examination prove to lack credibility and reliability, are based on poorly worded hypotheses, have failed to isolate variables, use study groups too small, so that conclusions are at best questionable.

Perhaps we would be better off focusing our attention on the individuals involved -- the child and the adoptive parents(s) whatever their sexual orientation, the individual(s) desiring to bear a child. Even with common sense and our best judgments about those to be assessed, recommendations for suitability, mistakes will be made, just as with traditionally acceptable heterosexual couples, as to who should parent and who should not; what child fits with which parents. Remember some of the children of non-biological parents may have gene variables which limit the effects of environment despite parents best efforts. The decision makers need guard against projecting their own biases on those they wish to serve.

Stephen A. Meigs

Methinks, Amba, you are too cynical about love. You should see that the religious right's emphasis on the importance of marriage is against love. Ideally, a woman should be able to choose for herself the extent to which she requires commitment of a man with whom she chooses to mate. Just because it is unselfish for a woman to choose love or sexual pleasure over the pleasure of obtaining a claim via marriage on all her mate's resources doesn't mean that it is stupid.

I know the standard justification for such selfish resource-based mating is that it is more important to be unselfish to the children that might be created, but this is a bogus argument. Society can shower children with all the resources and money that it can offer, but ultimately what will determine whether humanity moves in the right direction is whether the genetic predisposition of humans to goodness and virtue increases. I would argue that it is not a good thing for humans to get more knowledgeable unless they also become more moral. Perhaps someday it will get to the point that any human with just a little study can get to the point that he is sufficiently knowledgeable to easily kill people by the dozens and rapidly destroy ecosystems with easily available machines or chemicals. Knowledge is no real gain to humanity unless there is a concomitant increase in morality.

There is no teaching method that can make a selfish person unselfish. True, one can teach a naturally good person so as to recognize his true nature if he fails to recognize it, but it won't work with a naturally selfish person. In fact, having a selfish male showering a child with caring and advice likely will make that child more dangerously selfish. A rich wicked person is more dangerous than a poor one, probably. For instance, weren't most of the 9/11 hijackers from fairly well-off families? And if money makes people more good, why do we have so many Enron-like scandals. If one strips marriage of the veneer of lies that mercenary women have painted it with over the generations, one readily sees that a woman who is regardless of the male only willing to reproduce with him if she gets total or almost total commitment from him is just a prostitute who happens to be very expensive (because she bundles all her sexual favors into one everlasting bunch, and so she can set her price higher). I think it is insulting, really, to suggest that giving children advantages is so important to developing character that it is better to force women to behave like expensive prostitutes than to mate mostly from love. It is insulting to children without parents or who live in single-family homes, suggesting that such disadvantaged people are especially likely to be immoral, and it is insulting to women, suggesting that they shouldn't be trusted enough to decide whether love is leading them into stupidity.

Natural selection selects for skill and craftiness. It doesn't select for morality or unselfishness. Sexual selection can and does select for morality, because moral people by choice tend to love best those that naturally are moral and loving. So good people are loved unselfishly (by fellow good people) while bad people aren't, and so people become more good as good people prosper more. And sex is the place where love works most naturally. Why? Because when someone tricks someone into unselfishly behaving so as to have more mutual children or more successful mutual children, the insensitivity of the person tricked will be reflected genetically in the children. As long as love is mainly through sex (e.g., by a female deciding to have male-commitment-free sex or by a male deciding to mostly forego mistress-chasing in order to care especially well for a well-loved woman’s children), there will be a correlation between moral sensitivity and good moral character. And this is very useful because it is much easier to judge moral sensitivity in another (by judging the extent to which he understands one's own character, which one knows best) than to judge good moral character directly. I think marriage should entail of the male commitment of resources and time and of the female sexual commitment unless she should later love someone else much more. But the reason I believe in marriage in this sense is that males typically marrying before caring for a female encourages selfish people to more easily (without stigma) be selfish with one another (as is bad for selfish people), not because it forces unselfish people into something they don’t need to be forced into.

A large part of the problem, actually, is that too many people think that the depravity that is in skanky females is natural to them, where as in fact it is mostly caused by men having done depraved things to them, and so is no cause for blanket cynicism regarding female love. So those on the religious right who think discouraging depravity (sodomy) is not as important as preventing females from engaging in loving behaviors are the worst conservatives of all. But that would be another post.

amba

But when good-hearted women willing to give it away for love mate with opportunistic men who are willing to take advantage of that, doesn't it cancel out genetically?

;)

wj

For those who think that the state discriminates in favor of families with children: do a little research into the fact that having children RAISES the amount you will have to pay in AMT. (Until you get to $500K per year, at which point even AMT drops off substantially. Whether you have children or not.)

Dan

I'm not intending to revive this discussion -- everyone seems to have had their say -- but I happened to run across this when reading an article about a totally different subject (the article from which the quote below is taken is about Shusako Endo's book "Silence"):

"Therapist Erich Fromm
says that a child from a balanced family receives two kinds of love. Mother love tends to be unconditional, accepting the child no matter what,
regardless of behavior. Father love tends to be more provisional, bestowing approval as the child meets certain standards of behavior. Ideally, says
Fromm, a child should receive and internalize both kinds of love."

I don't have any opinion as to whether this is a correct statement of the difference between a father's love and a mother's love but common sense always has told me that the generalized conclusion -- that the ideal is for the child to have a father and a mother and each has a unique contribution -- is obviously correct. Yes, a child can turn out fine if circumstances deprive him or her of a parent or even both parents (my mother was an orphan, for example, and she turned out fine (although she did feel anguish about having lost her parents)). But the ideal is obviously that the child have both his or her mother and father. Gay marriage orients law away from the ideal situation for children.

Stephen A. Meigs

So far as daughters are concerned, I'd say a better way of looking at it, Dan, is that mothers tend to judge their daughters' behavior by judging their daughters' boyfriends, while fathers tend to judge their daughters directly from their impression of how innocent or screwed-up they look. It seems to me that mostly girls seek approval of themselves (and by extension, their general attitude about relationships with males) from their fathers and approval of their boyfriends from their mothers. This is appropriate because people presumably have evolved mostly to be more sensitive about the opposite sex than about their own sex, since that sensitivity is what in mating they most need to possess. Especially, come to think of it, in the case of good people judging whether bad qualities be present, since from looking within one can only gain familiarity with those qualities one possesses oneself.

Maybe fathers should always be willing to give their impression of their daughters' respectability; it's not difficult.

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