Re: Responsibility - love, morals, values & government

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From: Ernest N. Prabhakar (
Date: Fri Sep 15 2000 - 08:15:33 PDT

on 9/14/00 10:44 AM, Jeff Bone at wrote:

> More generally, I don't believe in "incenting" one particular group of
> behaviors,
> lifestyle, etc. It's inherently unfair to those who cannot or choose not to
> follow those "endorsed" behaviors, etc.

Well, that is of course making an implicit assumption that all such
behaviors and lifestyle are equally valuable, or at least distinguishable
(from the relevant viewpoint) and therefore treating them differently is
"unfair." Which is where we part company, obviously.

> Besides which, it's abundantly clear ---
> even if you define "cooperative behavior" to be "raise children,"

I don't, actually. I was defining "cooperative behavior" as the RESULT of
-properly- raising children, which is why I consider it in the best interest
of civil government to promote.

> which is a huge mistake IMO (look at the welfare mothers)

Can we get off the welfare mothers already? I've already stated my value
ideal as stable two-parent families, and that is what I'm arguing should be
supported. I have never argued that pure procreation is praiseworthy.

> --- that animals have never particularly needed
> social "promotion" of cohabitation in order to make it work.

Huh? My impression is that most species which pair-bond have social
interactions which reinforce that. I don't have any data, though - do you?

> We're the only
> species that has all this wacky abstract mental gunk.

If we didn't, we wouldn't be able to have any conversation, would we? ;-)

The thing I find particularly amusing about this view is the assumption that
*government* is granting rights to *family*. Historically, I believe the
situation is inverted. The family is the original institution - I believe
every culture ever known has some concept of marriage and family as enduring
institutions, even if they define it in many different ways. The earliest
governments, of course, were just extended families (patriarchies, clans,
tribes, even kings to a certain extent).

Frankly, on a basis of priority, I don't believe the government has the same
level of authority over "families" as it does over "individuals" (or
corporations, for that matter). [I would argue the same for The Church,
and that this priority is actually the real reason for separation of Church
and State, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms.] Families both existed
before and endure longer than governments, and that is why I believe
governments need to treat with them as equals (if not superiors), rather
than as subjects.

That is, my question isn't what rights government grant families, it is what
rights families have granted government - and whether government has any
business redefining its role beyond that!

- Ernie P.

Ernest N. Prabhakar, Ph.D.

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