When the Christian "Right"
demands a return to their so-called "family values," what they are
really demanding is a return to the era of good feelings in the 1950s.
But the post-war economic expansion which provided the abundance
necessary for that era of good feelings is something which we can only
recreate by initiating another great war. I do not believe anyone
seriously wants to repeat World War II just to get a repeat of the
post-war economic expansion.
I would propose a return to more traditional family values. Say, those family values which existed before Queen Victoria became the world's social engineer, ushering in the "Victorian" era. Perhaps, those family values which the majority of the world's cultures have found to be acceptable, and which are truly tested by time.
Or best of all, why can't our modern day social engineers pick and choose from among those family values with which mankind has experimented in the past in order to improve our modern day life? Why can't we pick some family values which would truly address the social ills of our own time? Let's at least try.
first "family value" which we must change is the idea that boys and
girls are natural enemies of one another. We have a number of family
values which are based on the concept that boys and girls are natural
enemies of one another, and thus need to be kept apart from one another
as they grow up. To some extent, this is a hang-over from an
unliberated era where women were essentially property and a man's first
duty was as a soldier for the state. Depending on whether a particular
culture viewed its potential brides as desirable possessions, or as
undesirable things which must be disposed of in some way, the culture
would usually require either the prospective husband (or his family) to
pay the "bride price" for the right of marriage, or else the family of
the prospective bride would be required to pay the prospective husband
a dowry so that he would take the prospective bride off of their hands.
Either way, women were viewed as equivalent to property.
It is only in the last two hundred years that we have widely promoted the concept of equality among all peoples, including equality between men and women. Thus, Western Civilization is the first to be confronted with this need to eliminate the "war between the sexes" in order to continue to have viable families formed by the men and women of our society. When women are viewed as property, then women go along with what their husbands wish out of a sense of duty to those husbands, and to the families who married them off to these men. But when women are created equal to men, there is no loyalty to husband or family to keep a woman obedient to an oppressive husband.
In prior times, the so-called "war between the sexes" was lost by women before it began because they were automatically viewed by society as subservient to their father or their husband. The modern day "war between the sexes" is in essence mankind reaping what it has sewn through centuries of oppression of women. Men mostly feel that they are losing the "war between the sexes" because they no longer have the built-in advantages they once had. Many men rebel against losing those advantages, and some take it out physically on women. Because most men enter a marriage thinking they will naturally be "in charge," while most women enter a marriage thinking that they are now "liberated women" who no longer need to be subservient to anyone, the battle lines are clearly drawn from day one.
To boil this down to its simplest terms, we have altered our social contract to make men and women equal to each other, but we have not altered our training of young people to foster this sense of equality. We still train men to be the soldiers and leaders, but we no longer train women to be subservient to their men. I strongly feel that much of the mess in modern family life has its roots in the fact we foster inconsistent expectations in our young as to what to expect from each other. Women now expect equality in their marriages, while men still expect to be "in charge." Those expectations clearly cannot both be fulfilled, and just as clearly are inconsistent with one another. The modern day "war between the sexes" is thus a natural battle for control of the marriage relationship.
The "winners" of the "war between the sexes" are those couples who can form some sort of working relationship which allows them to get along well enough for the marriage to survive. The "losers" are those who separate and/or divorce one another. The real losers, however, are the children of the "losers." There is virtually no argument over this. So, what is the single greatest step we can take to help prevent more "losers" in the "war between the sexes?" Simply declare peace, and stop training our youngsters for doing battle in this war. How do we do this? By changing how we train our kids. I would suggest the following:
The best first step is to start training our youngsters to pick a "best friend" from among the available members of the opposite sex. Stop segregating boys and girls from one another. Instead, encourage them to form together as couples at as early an age as is possible.
simple, doesn't it? Presently we encourage our youngsters to pick a
"best friend" from among the available youngsters of their same sex.
Most organized sports and similar activities for youngsters are all
segregated by sex, whether there is any reason to do so or not. We
encourage little girls to play with jacks, while we encourage little
boys to play with marbles. This segregation encourages the formation of
friendships based on same sex relationships. Is that how we really want
to raise our kids? Should they look to same sex relationships in
preference to opposite sex relationships? I don't think so, and I know
that the Christian "Right" loudly proclaims opposition to all forms of
homosexuality. But if you look in the preschools and schools managed by
the Christian "Right" you will find the same encouragement of same sex
relationships, as well as discouragement of opposite sex relationships,
among those children of the Christian "Right" as you find almost
everywhere else in our modern day society. This is near lunacy!
One or two generations after we start training our youngest children to love and form friendships with those of the opposite sex, in preference to those of the same sex, we will see the end of the "war between the sexes." This is a goal for which we all ought to strive.
the first part of this book, I pointed out that the long history of the
English common law had developed a tradition of allowing marriage
between youngsters as young as age seven. If we are going to begin
encouraging our youngsters to form close friendships with members of
the opposite sex, and to eventually pick a best friend from among the
available members of the opposite sex, then we ought to be prepared to
also encourage the formation of committed couples at an early age.
It is not reasonably subject to dispute that the best and longest lasting marriages are those in which the participants are "best friends" with each other. These marriages are rare now because our present society has been remiss by failing to encourage kids to form "best friend" relationships with members of the opposite sex, and has instead been doing the opposite. It appears obvious that if you want more marriages that are stable and long lasting, we ought to encourage the formation of "best friend" relationships between members of the opposite sex. This is what is proposed in the previous Sub-Section of this Section.
Thus, it is quite natural to state that, once these "best friend" relationships are formed, and have survived for long enough for the participants and their families to all agree that it ought to last, then it ought to be formalized with a marriage. Under the English common law, that could happen as soon as the youngest participant attained the age of seven. In the absence of scientific findings to the contrary, that would certainly seem a decent place to begin to encourage marriage between committed couples. And all of the classic arguments apply, in spite of the young age of the participants. The parents of the participants are not each losing a child, they are gaining members of their own extended family.
And wouldn't things be better if we return to an era when the parents had some sort of say-so in the choice of a spouse? With prepubescent marriages, that say-so amounts to an absolute veto power. And encouraging prepubescent marriages will exclude masses of raging hormones from consideration in the choice of a mate. Virtually by definition, there will not be any real sexual attraction between prepubescent humans. But it is just as certain that they will be "best friends," again, almost by definition.
a. A Personal Story
In February, 1955,
my family moved two miles up the hill, from Newport Beach, California
to Costa Mesa, California. This naturally involved a change of schools
for me. I spent the first half of second grade in Newport Beach
Elementary School, in Newport Beach, while the remainder of my second
grade schooling occurred at Harper Elementary School, in Costa Mesa.
During the Winter and Spring of 1955, I met a girl, Joyce Edwards. I cannot speak for what her feelings towards me really were, but I would say that we fell in love with one another. But we were only in the second grade! During recess, we would seek each other out, and do things together, as opposed to finding our respective boy-girl groups in which to play. While the other kids would taunt us to some degree, even challenging us to do such things as kiss one another (we did), we really didn't care; we were happy just being with each other. Even though Joyce gave me her address, I never saw her again after the end of that school year. The obvious presumption is that her family moved away as soon as school was over. But I have never forgotten her.
I grew up; joined the Navy; went to Vietnam; came home; got a job; got married; got divorced; and went through many of the trials and tribulations of a modern life. In spite of all this, sitting here forty years after the last time I saw her, I still yearn for my tragically lost love, and I still wonder what my life would have been like if we had lived it together. I will never know.
b. What It Means
To some degree,
all authors regurgitate some combination of their own experiences and
what they have learned from others when they put pen to paper and
write. If you wonder how I came upon this weird idea that prepubescent
marriage was the way to solve so many of the problems which exist in
modern family life, you should now see that it is, as you would expect,
a combination of my own personal experience and what I have learned
from others as my life has gone forward.
There is a tendency to refer to love expressed by "children" for other "children" as so-called "puppy love." While many authors have written about some tragedy occurring when adults fail to take such childish love seriously, there has been no impact on our "family values." Somehow, as we progressed through the Industrial Revolution, child labor laws, implementing universal public education, and implementing equality for women to some degree, this has resulted in our postponing the formation of opposite sex relationships for about a decade. My central thesis in this book is that this postponement is a central cause of many social ills which we see all around us, and about which we complain so readily.
Based on my own personal experiences, I believe my love at age seven was "true love" in every sense of the word. Based on the English Common Law, as recited by the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, I have every reason to believe that my own experiences are valid as a model for all mankind; you can find "true love" at age seven.
The first family value I would change would be to eliminate the "war between the sexes." It seems obvious to me that encouraging seven year old children to form opposite sex relationships will contribute greatly to eliminating that war. Also, eliminating all vestiges of that war from the training we give to our younger children will lead to the easier formation of opposite sex relationships at age seven, or perhaps even earlier.91 Later in this Section, I also propose a return to extended families and to multi-generational responsibility. Both of these will be necessary as a support structure for children thrown together into opposite sex relationships at an early age. As you should now see, putting our children together this way is the central focus of my proposed changes to our "family values."
In a way, this is an attempt to transplant the rural-agrarian peasant "family values" of many centuries ago into our modern society. To me, those are the really fundamental "family values," and it seems clear that those values are closer to what Nature gave to mankind before we decided to change them ourselves. After all, the only rule imposed by Nature is that you cannot make babies until both parties are past puberty. Any other rule is an entirely arbitrary, manmade rule, which may make no sense at all.
91 Part of what I advocate is scientific study of social phenomena. Nobody has ever truly studied the impact of this concept. We cannot say whether the English Common Law was "right" to put a low end limit of age seven or not. It may even be that the "right" answer is to pair children of the opposite sex shortly after birth, or perhaps as soon as they are weaned. Who knows? We should find out, and the way that we find out is to subject this idea to scientific study and debate.
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