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Re: nuclear family unit

Posted by Dissident on Wednesday, April 06 2022 at 7:30:24PM
In reply to back to a point. posted by Eeyore on Tuesday, April 05 2022 at 06:27:41AM

do not mean to disrupt your evaluation of this nuclear family unit of several thousand years practice, Dissident.

For one thing, what we know of today as the nuclear family unit has not existed in this form with no changes in all cultures for thousands of years. Communal family units were not only the norm, but the necessity of early humans for literally 200,000 years. After that, with the emergence of class-divided societies and the requirement of managing finances and passing down property brought the conceptions of more closely-knit family units primarily united by biology and held together by contracts that includes state-sanctioned monogamous marriage. Depending on the culture, this often resulted in extended families, not the small nuclear family unit of today, with the former resembling a smaller communal unit who were largely united by genetics and finances.

The nuclear family unit as we know it today reached its current version since the dawning of the Industrial Revolution where extended families mostly became a thing of the past in the West. However, just because something may have been around for thousands of years does not mean it's inherently good or should serve as an enforced norm. I once again present the concept of state-sanctioned marriage as an example, which is more a business contract than anything else. All of the above family units have worked for some and failed others miserably, depending on a wide variety of factors with each individual family. For example: Are the parents (the chief autocrats of the unit) relatively cool and kind people? Or is one or both nasty, bigoted drunks who look upon their kids with disdain (despite likely still loving them)?

Hence, what type of family unit people of all ages are a part of should be based on individual needs and preferences, not a norm that is enforced or expected above all others. I predict that in a youth liberated society, kids lucky enough to be birthed by cool, mentally stable parents who are willing and able to understand them will likely remain together in a more democratic version of the nuclear family unit we know today. Those kids birthed by abusive, nasty parents or those they simply cannot see eye-to-eye with in a major fashion would possibly choose to depart for a more communal living experience or elect for another type of unit that, again, we may not be able to conceive of today.

However, I would find it rather uncanny of you to dismiss it in its entirety solely for those reasons you give.

Not actually. I'm a firm believer in youth rights and civil libertarian freedom for all. The nuclear family unit as it now exists has become more and more insular and undemocratic, particularly where younger people are concerned along with the various spates of moral panics that have arisen over the course of the past century to the present. This has resulted in parents playing more the role of de facto police officers and authoritarian bureaucrats in the lives of their kids rather than loving guides creating an environment of mutual respect. There is nothing civil libertarian about the present day nuclear family unit in that regard. It also fails to support youth liberation, which makes it perfectly logical that I wouldn't be a fan or supporter of it in its current form.

Worst of all, its increasingly insular nature, forcibly preventing kids from participating in the wider local community, and forcing them to struggle to do so via the wider global community afforded by the recent rise of the Internet, has left kids at the mercy of their parents, and the power that the latter have has increased to the point where it's no wonder that the worst forms of abuse have occurred within these confined walls. Power corrupts, and my disapproval of this particular iteration of the nuclear family unit is fully consonant with my stance on civil liberties for all and in particular youth liberation, along with my opposition to any factor that may result in genuine forms of child abuse.

If the nuclear family unit is truly inherently good, then as I said, let it rise or fall--or maybe simply adapt--on the basis of meeting the criteria required for any institution to function in a genuinely democratic society. If it cannot, then it should be replaced by a better, more egalitarian form of family unit--or perhaps a variety to choose from. And if it is also inherently good, then there should be no inclination to force kids, or even adults, to form such units and participate in them.

Hence, the neutrality of Classical Marxism on the concept of the nuclear family unit as it was coming into being during the time of Marx and Engels.

I personally feel that nuclear family unit has reckoned for itself, if only for its proven ability over a few millennia, to have proven to be something of value which is much harder to dismiss for anyone but fools of the moment.

I don't so much as dismiss it as I critique it for what I believe to be many valid reasons consonant with my chosen political stances as explained above.

In other words, what you say may well be true about the nuclear unit, but its success and longevity alone would make your offhanded dismissal of it seem rather juvenile to certain people above your caliber, and certainly far above mine.

Those people "above" our caliber have not made the world into a better place. As I have argued before, tradition is a neutral concept and a mixed bag. Some if it may be worth preserving, but just because something has arguably stood the test of a long period of time does not mean it should be around forever. Sometimes it sticks around for so long simply because it benefits those in power, as opposed to benefiting the vast majority.

To make my view with more clarity, I cannot and do not dismiss it so easily, although I am open to anyone who can do so for me in a way that takes its power and effectiveness over the centuries into account.

Taking its power into account is the main reason I critique it. Note the operative word: power. I already told you what type of power I think it upholds, and that is not the positive type IMO, i.e., promoting and preserving unequal power relations. As for effectiveness... well, effective at doing what for whom? For passing along property? Passing down authority? Perhaps. But that is not a concept that I see being around forever simply because it's been around a few thousand years. Humanity thrived without that conception for by far the longest period of time that our species has been on this planet, and we can move beyond it again.

Dismiss the millennia of success of said unit.

I dealt with this matter in the first paragraph above. I will again note that something being around for a long time does not necessarily mean it was "successful" for the right reasons. Those factors I mention need to be taken into account, and if anyone wants the nuclear family unit to continue to exist when the political landscape takes a genuinely progressive step forward, it needs to adapt by becoming more democratic.


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