Nuclear Options.

Written By: - Date published: 12:13 pm, January 17th, 2018 - 54 comments
Categories: identity, liberalism, quality of life, Social issues - Tags: , ,

It’s the modern way, the right way, the civilised way.

We and our partner and our children live in glorious, isolated union; we interact with the market, and build a life of our choosing for ourselves and our children. We take our opportunities, and as  rationally optimising economic units rational people, we seek the dream, we build the dream, we are the dream.

No more community. Community; that throw back to darker, fettered times is gone. No more threat to the rights of the individual to enjoy an unencumbered life! We are safe now, in our homes; our castles; our total entertainment centres.  Now, unlike before, we are better able to concentrate on those opportunities that will deliver us to a better and happier place than “the Jones’s”. And we remember! A rising tide raises all boats. So our striving and grasping will inevitably result in “good things” all round. One day, when the dream is complete, we won’t need to keep an eye over our shoulders lest some “Jones” sets us back, pushes us under, tramples us down or casts us out…one day, we will all be optimum!

It’ll work out. It’s been working out for 40 years. And the 40 before that. In fact, it’s been working out ever since we abandoned the silly notion of collective identity and realised that sovereignty resides in the individual, and that the individual then, ought to be free to pursue individual happiness.

We’ve come far.

Sure, some hippies and weirdos did some “stuff” back when. And some political mal-contents tried to derail this wonderful, unstoppable steam train to the future before that. But that’s all gone now. Hippies parachuted themselves back in and class is just a drug grouping.

We are good. Things are fine.

Yeah. No they’re not. It’s time to push the big red button on that nuclear fantasy, because this shit doesn’t “just happen”.

 

54 comments on “Nuclear Options.”

  1. weka 1

    Humans are evolved to exist in tribes. Smallish* groups of people within larger groups of people where the central organisational structures are connected via bloodlines. Lot of variations on that, but that’s the gist of it. It means that kids get raised by people who care for each other. It’s very hard for civilised people (aka those that live in civilisations) to replicate that, although I agree that community helps a great deal. But once you break the bonds of blood family, there’s fewer bonds that exist to hold people together enough to give a shit when it matters.

    Nuclear families are very recent, and an aberration in human terms. As soon as you give women financial emancipation from nuclear families, they tend to not stick with them for their life time. Men without that obligation also. Most humans for most of time have lived in extended family situations, often not based around the central male/female sexual relationship e.g. many cultures have organised around the relationships between women as the centre of things (makes sense, raising of young children is then shared amongst women kin and not disrupted if the two parents separate). Sticking women alone in a house with young kids while the man goes out and wages slaves is one of the stupider things humans have done.

    Needful to say, there are differences around ethnicity. If we’re going to generalise about NZ today, we probably need to take into account that Polynesian cultures do this stuff differently than Anglo/Euro ones (and similar differentiations can be made in lots of places). There are people alive today who have talked to and learned from people that lived in societies that weren’t nuclear or individualistic, but collective.

    • weka 1.1

      As for nuclear button options, there are good reasons for why the hippies and co didn’t make a huge amount of headway into the mainstream. Part of that is the societal economic stuff, but it’s also that most of us have been raised to be individuals and most of us aren’t willing to change to collective because collective means giving up some of the individual freedoms.

  2. greywarshark 2

    Harry Chapin Cats in the Cradle 1977

    and

    Rich Girl (or Boy)
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_dzs4Zg6wc

    Thinking of the family and the children’s essential nature and socialisation along with their welfare is a good start, but what about a bit of loving care for others who don’t have the same opportunities, the same busy schedule of activities, access to toys and outings and holidays and to parents who have some energy to giving them loving guidance and encouragement. Sometimes for the despondent and tired, it is only instructing words, Do this, be quiet, stop crying, stop fighting.

    Locally about community, the local trolley derby race that has run for years is being cancelled, there are people prepared to give their time to organise it but they need some money, sponsorship. I wonder if a group of the men who get a lot of pleasure from it and making karts for their boys, and sometimes girls, will be able to energise their community spirit.

  3. This family is just a Daily Mail clickbait freak show about some religious nutters…this is the American Nuclear Family Nightmare story that should be going viral..

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/16/why-does-it-cost-32093-just-to-give-birth-in-america

    While the internet addicted world is distracted by these stories and Trump Russia…..the world we know sinks further into the pockets of the elite few..

  4. Ad 4

    One couple’s crime does not mean throw the entire model out.
    If I fall over and injure myself on the footpath, that does not mean it makes any sense for me to call for the eradication of footpaths.

    • Sam 4.1

      Our ideological crime is to save the family home and never mind the fact that some knowledgable in the area of Auckland city planners think “building up” and not “out” is the best way forward. And those with political capital and investment for political speak reasons think the experts should not be trusted. Same goes for Climate Change.

      • greywarshark 4.1.1

        I can’t see that you have a point of importance there Sam. Housing is a different subject than the nuclear family, try and think things through will you, without so much invective.

    • Bill 4.2

      One couples crime is yet another in a growing known list of really fcked up stuff happening that, arguably, can be traced back to nuclear family living arrangements.

      Isolation – try it! – can lead fairly quickly into spinning out and falling over, sometimes into dark places. More communal living arrangements provide checks, balances and touch-stones that (I’d argue) mean the horrible shit that people do, and that people are subjected to by dint of isolation’s “protective” properties, are ameliorated or eradicated altogether.

      But sure, view the Turpins as an anomaly or an exception if you prefer to. And don’t link what has happened there to the welter of less headline grabbing, even mundane, instances of ongoing abuse and damage that surround us all – next door, down the street, around the corner…

      edit. And of course, when you haven’t done that, also don’t question why it is that we came to be living in such an often jam packed, yet isolated fashion 😉

      • Ad 4.2.1

        You want to make the case that “nuclear family” living arrangements are so universally bad that we should “push the button on that nuclear fantasy”. You need to set out your case with some actual facts rather than one anecdote, because that is the claim that you are making in the post.

        You would have a much better shot at anything resembling an argument if you wrote a post against home schooling. After all, avoiding state regulation through public schools provides the maximum unregulated time and space to abuse children – which is what happened here.

        • weka 4.2.1.1

          I’m not sure if you are serious but most child abuse happens in families who send their kids to state schools.

          • Ad 4.2.1.1.1

            That would be because most children go to state schools. Of course.

            You see how easy it is to make a dumb argument out of one anecdote, and it just looks real stupid real fast.

            • weka 4.2.1.1.1.1

              That’s why I said I wasn’t sure if you were serious. Now I have no idea what you are talking about.

              I thought the post was a rant, and it pointed to a single instance at the end (which I ignored, because who knows why they did what they did).

        • Bill 4.2.1.2

          I’ve provided a framework and multiple sign-posts that point to underlying reasoning Ad. You want to engage in debate within the parameters of the post, or wank on about home schooling?

          If the latter, go away and write a post about home schooling.

          If the former, then pull you socks up please, and avoid any future temptation to be telling me what I ought to say, or what I ought to argue, or how I ought to, generally, frame my thoughts and opinions.

          Thank you.

          • Ad 4.2.1.2.1

            I will tell you that you have not provided any facts.

            You have not provided any definitions of your key terms.

            You have not provided any historical studies or indeed even any local studies that might verify some of your claims.

            You have provided one example, from California.

            No-one is “wanking on” about anything Bill. But good work slanging me off rather than responding with actual content about your post,.

            So, to that end, if you put up shit like this as a post, that is the standard you are going to be held to. By me.

            • Bill 4.2.1.2.1.1

              You want “facts” provided in relation to some very basic aspects of liberal philosophy?

              Or you want “facts” provided in relation to isolated (nuclear family) living arrangements?

              Or do you want “facts” ‘proving’ that we retreat to our homes – or maybe “facts” showing that we view them as our ‘castles’ and ‘total entertainment centres’?

              What’s the “fact” you want provided that would be crucial or necessary in terms of validating the argument/opinion/view expressed in the post?

              Meanwhile, three references from you about homeschooling in the space of five comments under a post that has nothing to do with home schooling is “wanking on” in my book. (One of your other two being an irrelevant something about tripping on a footpath)

              That you don’t understand the post is okay Ad. And if you did understand it but disagreed with it, that would be fine too (and an occasion for debate)

              You don’t get to set criteria for any other author this blog though. You want to only write opinion pieces that are thick with references to facts, then fine. That’s your choice, and you can impose that restriction on yourself if you want to.

      • Siobhan 4.2.2

        Broadly speaking I agree, certainly I can go on about the effect the housing market, capital gains , greedy landlords, job insecurity, self service, end of night classes, remote internet based learning, social media etc has had on destroying family/group cohesion, community and the individuals sense of belonging..still it would be interesting if you could reference a system/time where these problem families were less prevalent, because you seem to be hinting at such a time, yet I’m not sure if we can accurately say any particular era/system was better or not.

        Though, as a reader of the DM it seems Americans have a penchant for chaining up children, usually drug related, and it would be interesting to see a study comparing and explaining American vs European record on this sort of thing and reasons why it happens.

        “As Men Do with Their Wives”: Domestic Violence in Fourteenth-Century Lucca∗∗∗∗Corinne Wieben

        a link for the historical perspective.

        • Bill 4.2.2.1

          All I’m arguing is that isolation is conducive to “festering” and that the ‘nuclear family’ is an exercise in isolation. Further to that, I’m only signposting the obvious political and economic genesis of ‘nuclear family’ living arrangements.

          Oh. And obviously suggesting we (figuratively) nuke the caboodle.

          Different times have different problems.

          And I’ll always (as argued often enough over time) point to the environment as the determinant factor in (what we might, but problematically want to call) aberrant behaviours.

          Have we ever created a healthy environment for ourselves in terms of socio/economic/political arrangements? I don’t know.

          What I do know is that our current arrangements are obviously fcking huge numbers of us up quite badly in a multitude of ways.

          And that the case of the Turpin’s is just one in a growing number of extreme examples.

          • Carolyn_Nth 4.2.2.1.1

            I recall sociological research from my studies a while back: basically, the nuclear family arose because workers needed to be more mobile to get jobs. It is a result of capitalism and changing transport and technologies of production, mass production, etc.

            Bill, you tend to have monolithic notions of liberalism, etc. Drawing on marxism: society is in a continual state of conflict between the ruling and subject classes – and as a result continually morphing.

            Liberal philosophy actually arose as a challenge to autocratic rule. Since then it has fractured into some more progressive and more conservative strands.

            Capitalism, and liberalism, also arose on the back of patriarchal society, and as European countries were expanding their focus to other countries: so capitalism and liberalism also arose on the back of European notions of superiority, and empire building.

            Some communities based on extended families were also patriarchal, and oppressively treated women as second class – ditto oppression of non-European people.

            There was not pre-liberal golden age.

            Sometimes liberalism has been the vehicle for opposing some of the most authoritarian of societies. Sometimes it has sanctioned oppressive policies of the elites.

            It’s never static. It’s never just one monolithic un-changing thing, where one kind of philosophy was always bad, and another was always good. It’s necessary to look at the details, and how things play out on the ground in different circumstances.

            • Bill 4.2.2.1.1.1

              Not really anything I disagree with there Carolyn. (And this is, by necessity, a very quick comment)

              I fully acknowledge the existence of different strands of liberalism – obviously bound within some basic defining features of liberalism (eg – individualism, the denial of class etc)

              Yes, society is in a state of conflict, both within liberalism and between liberalism and (for example) libertarianism or, to the other side, various shades of authoritarianism.

              There was no pre-liberal golden age. (And yes, all the references to patriarchy etc)

              Liberalism arose by way of a challenge to autocratic rule (and capitalists replaced landed gentry), but other liberatory movements also challenged autocratic rule. Liberalism (with its attendant capitalism) merely attained primacy.

              • Carolyn_Nth

                Well, of course, Marx/early marxists, predicted that the first revolution (of the bourgeoisie against the aristocrats – as happened in France), would be followed by a second revolution (of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie). The first revolution saw a shift from mercantilism to capitalism

                The second revolution never really happened in western European countries as a whole of society thing. It just became an ongoing class struggle. And that is why, in the 60s and 70s, many left wingers turned to adding cultural explanations, to economic ones, to explain why the oppressed working classes never staged a revolution – they are continually conned by the media, and other institutions.

                Your arguments against liberalism kind of fits that sort of cultural explanation.

                • Bill

                  Interesting. Because I’m not a Marxist, and absolutely reject notions of historical determinism.

                  I also don’t think the working class has been “conned” by media or whatever, though I would argue that a certain ‘burying of the past’ has occurred.

                  The left also, and for various reasons in different places, lost most of its leaders (ie -and just to make the distinction – those who could better articulate, inspire and envisage, as opposed to those who would assume to rule)

                  My argument against liberalism is down to it being a deeply misanthropic ideology.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.2.2

          still it would be interesting if you could reference a system/time where these problem families were less prevalent

          http://www.ririki.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/TradMaoriParenting.pdf

    • Sam 4.3

      Often the stuff that make New Zealand liveable and people want to come to New Zealand is not economically viable or has no profit motive, like schools, teachers, police and takes huge ongoing investment to maintain. Under a regime of tax cuts you literally are throwing the baby out with the bath tub. But you can’t say any of this stuff because mainstream media need screw ups to sell paper.

      • Ad 4.3.1

        The post only cites one case, from California.

        Or are you about to cite some fact about most abuse occurring within married male-female couples raising their children with total homeschooling in New Zealand?

        • Sam 4.3.1.1

          4 out of 5 children in the entire world will suffer some kind of abuse. so you really don’t want to double down on the same bullshit narratives that got us here in the first place. You kind of want to maintain an IQ above 95.

    • One couple’s crime does not mean throw the entire model out.

      It’s not one couples crime. Child and partner abuse is rampant throughout society.

      If I fall over and injure myself on the footpath, that does not mean it makes any sense for me to call for the eradication of footpaths.

      Not even remotely relevant.

      It’s more like: If you fell over on the footpath and broke your leg the next person along will help but in our isolated households if you fall over and break your leg there is no next person along and you die of starvation.

  5. JO 5

    +100

    In this radically innovative new venture’s operating manual, Roger Douglas, the self-appointed CEO of NZ Inc., forgot to add that all boats should be maintained to the highest level of seaworthiness before the unusually high tide he had forecast came in. Left unprepared, they would still be stuck in the mud, and would also be catalogued as having sunk beyond the point at which raising them could be regarded as viable or cost-effective.

  6. greywarshark 6

    I hadn’t looked at the link Bill till now. What a shocker. I think to size it up it demonstrates the desire to be seen as exemplary, to treasure style above substance.

    Playing a role of high standards, almost a celebrity role. It’s common for children to be dressed like little princesses who would be told don’t go out and get dirty playing, that’s not what you do. JonBenet Ramsay’s life was affected by this artificial skewing of life, in her case with a mother trying to achieve perfection. She was murdered at age six by someone who was tainted by that weirdness.
    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_JonBen%C3%A9t_Ramsey

    Here on contrast is a sentimental, loving thing that a son did for his aged, dying father who though near dying got pleasure from it. This was videoed, yes, but not for ‘show’.
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gf491i3B3Q

  7. SPC 7

    An alternative requires suitable housing supply models/means of provision – beyond the ability of individuals to organise. But community housing does exist in Europe. Small homes based around shared facility spaces and apartment buildings with shared space.

    Make a submission to Phil …

      • greywarshark 7.1.1

        SPC
        Can you enlarge somewhat on the connection between the link you have put and the isolation and nuclear family being discussed as not healthy for good community.

        • Sam 7.1.1.1

          Just wanted to confirm with you again, grey worm, about housing??? Is a different subject is it not?

        • SPC 7.1.1.2

          The woman concerned was someone who questioned the expectation of co-habitation and living in accord with state sanctioned arrangements. Someone who sought more freedom/other options.

          Such choice is dependent on the availability of suitable (affordable) housing.

          No government is ever going to impose a programme to move away from the nuclear family, but what it can do is facilitate the emergence of housing arrangements that offer up more choice in living (including extended family).

          Why not have some of the 100,000 homes of the community housing type that now occur in Europe?

          Providing this option for those who would prefer it, is healthy in and of itself.

          • greywarshark 7.1.1.2.1

            SPC
            We have already started to talk about co-housing and it would be good if we added information and links as we come across them to keep the ideas flowing and current. There are some successful ones in NZ and some were on the drawing board while the SHAs were being encouraged though I think that the program has been cancelled now, not sure.

  8. It’s time to push the big red button on that nuclear fantasy, because this shit doesn’t “just happen”.

    Child abuse didn’t “just happen” before nuclear families became the norm in western societies, either. But it happened a lot, maybe because nuclear families aren’t the reason child abuse happens.

    And what would “pushing the big red button on that nuclear fantasy” involve, exactly? I’ve no desire to have hippies or any other activists implement a utopia in which I’m made to live among a crowd of relatives because nuclear families are bad, m’kay?

    • Bill 8.1

      Hippies and relatives? Yup. With you on that one 😉

      I didn’t say abuses didn’t exist “before”.

      Linking to save repeating.

      • Psycho Milt 8.1.1

        Ah, I see. I agree that nuclear families involve isolation and that isn’t a good thing, but on the other hand my experience of Kuwait was that living with and looking to your extended family promotes in-breeding, nepotism and corruption, so there’s no family arrangement without its downsides.

  9. Sam 9

    For much of the 200,000 years of human history we weren’t monogamous creatures. For most of it the guys just tapped and gapped, leaving the mother to fend for her self. Well at least the hunter was away for most of the time only to take time out of his busy schedule to maintain weapons and a few grunts every when the boy was strong enough to wield an spear.

    It’s only been since agriculture was invented that we started hording resources that we started getting into monotonous single income families. Because who can afford to keep multiple wives on a western wage…

    So I don’t think most people are different from our homo sapien ancestors. And Merepeka was right. Abuse occurs when the bread winner can not provide the bread and does what is only natural to silence the screams of children in desperate need.

    • greywarshark 9.1

      We are looking at matters now Sam and talking loftily about our ancient history is of some interest but of little help when dealing with today’s practicalities.

      • Sam 9.1.1

        Well sticking an old building on new foundations won’t work because people are not honest enough to say we are wrong. And I am un-apologetic about roasting normies. And your only response is butt hurt plot armour… We are in a community of learning and traditionally New Zealand was really good at it. If people like me are going to be enticed to come back to New Zealand your going to have to do a lot more work on what good learning spaces look like and there’s a lack of consistency right across the board. And people like greyworm like to rail against any type of change…

  10. The Fairy Godmother 10

    I was very fortunate 23 years ago to be involved with playcentre until the youngest went to school. That was a great community. People knew each other and helped each other out when help was needed. There lots of support for people with issues ranging from domestic violence to a child with leukemia. I think that this is less likely to happen now with most people out earning money to survive. Neighborhood support is another thing that is hard to organise.people have no energy left for community.

  11. greywarshark 11

    Bill the word nuclear has wider connotations than just the nucleus of family life.
    The term ‘red button’ has arisen. Can we not use this word again to discuss human situations. I suggest leave it to science and perhaps for medical terms. We can use close or immediate or basic family groupings surely for descriptions.

  12. eco maori 12

    I personally think that having a big whano you can trust with the mokos is a good thing the grandparents have the time and patience to teach the mokos you cannot beat lifes experience it is also good for the grandparents getting exercise ect. The western society system has made me put my whano that my wife and I made first and formost as we have been burned by a some not all whano.
    I think that this society of only care about one self is designed to make it easier to minipulate people as who is better to give the teenagers advice than Nan and grandad children rebel from there parents and listen more to what there grandparents have to say. I think that it just that us grandparents comunacate better than there parents. I admire family business and Marae living so long as everyone can be trusted and everyone pulls there weight. If capitalism is working it’s only working for the 1% In my view with the technology and resources our world society has why the fuck do we have people starving to death and in refugees camps there is no logical reason for this to be happening on OUR Papatuanukue this has to change. The capitalist system is designed to make you look after number one and Fuck the rest and this has to change to have a culture that is fair humane and equal for all OUR people of Papatuanukue we are part of her and we go back to her when we die ashes to ashes dust to dust. We are all one race the human race full stop with many beautiful different cultures.
    Ka kite ano

  13. mickysavage 13

    Im with Ad on this. I am struggling with the proposition. I do not see a “nuclear” family as being the antithesis of community. The best communities I know of have the support of a whole lot of nuclear families.

    • Bill 13.1

      Just going to note that in your comment, “community” sits apart from basic living arrangements. If that’s your view of what community is, then I’m not surprised you failed to grasp the post.

      The best communities I know of have the support of a whole lot of nuclear families.

      It’s like saying (to borrow from Weka’s comment back up at the top) something along the lines of the best tribes I know of have the support of a whole lot of nuclear families.

      Community is our living arrangements (as determined by physical and cultural factors etc); not something extraneous to it.

  14. Stuart Mathieson 14

    It’s all been said before. Plato, the Spartans and Fred Engels followed by a host of postmodernist women with their own political agenda.
    My experience as several have said above, strong family units make the best communities. Most abuse happens in casual relationships.

    • Bill 14.1

      Don’t think I made any claim to originality Stuart, but hey, that’s reasonable company you’re throwing me in with 🙂

      Of course deep, vibrant connections make for better communities. Though whether that need be founded on blood ties ( strong family units make the best communities) is …well, I don’t think so. Community can be decidedly intentional as opposed to being determined by accident of birth.

      Your contention about abuse is highly questionable but basically irrelevant anyway given the post is throwing around ideas about isolation, and strands of culture that surround and promote an aspect of it.

    • David Mac 14.2

      I remember reading that newborn children are naturally more likely to adopt the physical features of the father. An evolutionary trait that supposedly helps prevent males from rejecting the child.

  15. Ovid 15

    I too take issue with the Quiverfull movement. Are you saying liberalism has isolated these people? That they didn’t feel part of a community? Because I would bet a dollar the parents viewed their church as their community.

    I think you’re obliquely referencing Margaret Thatcher’s infamous statement in 1987:

    I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand “I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!” or “I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!” “I am homeless, the Government must house me!” and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first.

    Which I’m sure most readers here – myself among them – would agree is tosh. Please correct me if I’m wrong but all I can gather from your post is this position is responsible for the kind of neglect and abuse we see manifested in that shocking case. Can you flesh out that link or point us to some sources?

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