Family Focus #16 Family Contrast

quill-and-inkwell-imageFamily Focus: Family Blog Post  # 16 Contrasting Families

“We all hold on to some image of the family we want, based one way or another on the family we had. Lots of people are thrilled about the families they came from, others couldn’t get away fast enough. Most people fall into that vast middle ground: great affection mixed with a few ideas for improvement. A couple of things they wish could have perhaps been done differently.”  PAUL REISER, Familyhood

There has been a trend in the last couple of decades amongst certain scholars to minimize the central place of a nuclear family in the history of the human race. Liberal scholarship tends to de-emphasize the importance of the classic mother/father/children model and focus the attention on the common existence of extended families and even “houses” (a notion of family which includes all the persons living under one roof.) wherein family would be not defined by parent/offspring core notion but by a location or level of commitment core notion (human/human under one roof with a specific bond model) Conservative scholars tend to hold on to the mother/father/children focusing on the parent/offspring relationship.

So, what difference does it make? Well, for purposes of having social structures that provide the greatest social stability and individual physical and emotional health, societies would be served by protecting and promoting the structure that give the best results.  For purposes of raising healthy and happy kids, it makes little difference. Children need care, protection, and nurturing… and responsible adults will provide this no matter the definition.

What is in play here, in my estimation, is that liberal ideology has, as its heart, a desire to move society past old ideologies rooted in Religion in specifics, and Heterarchic ethics in general (Heterarchic ethics is rooted in the assertion that moral standards are not created by humans; rather they exist outside human imagination and creation. Typical heterarchic ethics have these standards coming from a divine being or natural law. – a claim that moral standards exist naturally in the fabric and structure of the universe itself – sorta like gravity exists as a naturally occurring law in the universe. Morals from a divine being, of course, means some god has issued moral standards to humans and are normative for societies.)

Liberal ideology desires to not be bound by such archaic and faith-based notions; therefore liberal ideology eschews classical morals and social conventions. Liberal ideology rejects any notions of God designed marriage, families, and intimacy and sexual taboos.

Which is, of course, their right to think and believe what they want. What is curious and problematic is, although most conservatives have little concerns with how people choose to live out their family structure of their choice, some liberals seem to want to paint as unnatural, unnecessary, and possibly unhealthy for people to hold that a family is at its core a father/mother/children entity. I can understand wanting to expand the definition to include same-gendered adults raising children or groups of adults raising groups of children, but what is the possible practical harm of protecting and promoting that which occurs naturally in life? What percentage of children have come into existence through a process of procreation by a man and woman? A rather large number, I would guess. Has this structure served humans satisfactorily over the millennia?

My guess is yes. Does this mean I am opposed to any structure that serves. As King Louie in Jungle Book said, “If you wanna live here you need someone to protect you.” All little critters need protection.

If several structures do this – and many of the tragedies of life produce them – then what is the problem in having them all co-exist?  Although two humans of the same gender cannot procreate (as of this moment in technological history, anyway), is there a reason to think they cannot protect, care for, and nurture children?  Even if you have an issue with the sexual bonding because of your morality, does the family structure likewise have to be immoral?

Mostly I have raised questions here… and given some structure within which to think about answers. I will leave that to you.


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