Monday, April 16, 2018

Basic Building Material for Civilization

I’m about to repeat some words from the Spherical Model website. I wrote this around 2008, published the website in 2010, but had covered many of the concepts much earlier. In the decade since I wrote this, the world has gone further in the opposite direction.

The solution to so many of society’s problems is simple: strong families. Religions have known this for millennia. Social science has known it for centuries. New data shows the truth we’ve known but too many refuse to acknowledge or live. It’s a simple solution, but not an easy one. Repairing decay is never as easy as keeping strong and healthy. Rebuilding is hard. But that’s what we need—rebuilding with the very material we started with: virtue.

Family is the Basic Unit of Civilization

Civilized societies value family as the most important and basic unit of governance. Alternatively, a hallmark of totalitarian regimes, which are savage, is the replacement of the family with the state. Totalitarianism resents loyalty to any societal unit other than itself. And it is this absolute weakness that will always prevent a totalitarian state from offering true Civilization as you’d find it in a free strong-family society.

A Basic Unit of Civilization,
the Spherical Model Family,
give or take a couple of decades
This is particularly important to know for people living in a sub-civilized society. As long as families are allowed to live among themselves (children are under the care of their own parents), it is possible to have a civilized society that is just one family in size. Then, if that family can find additional similarly civilized families to associate with, their society grows. If it could grow to the size of a village or township, all the better. The goal of the founding fathers was to have that civilization spread through the United States (and if that experiment worked, have other sovereign states adopt the plan). But a family doesn’t have to wait until the world changes; the family can live the laws of civilization and enjoy many of the benefits, at least within the walls of the home.

Families have the responsibility to safeguard women and children for the greatest benefit of both current and future generations. Families provide food, shelter, clothing, education, spiritual guidance, and training in how to live a civilized life in a civilized society. Elderly are honored for their wisdom. Youth are honored for their potential. Women are honored for giving and nurturing life, among their other abilities. Men are honored for providing and protecting, among their other abilities. Families are the main economic force, as well as the very means whereby civilization can perpetuate. Civilized societies therefore protect The Family as sacred.

A hallmark of civilized society is the importance of marriage as the only acceptable place for sexual relations. Every society that decides to try devaluing fidelity in marriage eventually (and often quickly) sinks into decadence. Sex within marriage not only provides offspring, it cements the bond between the two parents, so that the child will grow in a home of love and protection and guidance. No other situation is even remotely as beneficial for a child.

Humans being mortal, there will be incidents where some children will be raised without both parents. Ideally, there should never be divorce (a necessary evil in response to decidedly uncivilized behavior). But there will be death, which is inevitable. Nevertheless, in a healthy, peaceful society the abundance of intact, healthy families can help compensate for the few homes that don’t have the child’s two living parents.

It is probably possible to quantify what percentage constitutes a critical mass of functional families that can compensate for a smaller percentage of problem homes without an undue toll on civilization. But, in general, the more family health, the more civilized the society.

Sex Outside of Marriage Is Always Wrong

This is such a simple concept, and so many problems would be settled if people would believe it. It’s an essential of civilization. Every time a society attempts to “progress” or “evolve” beyond the old-fashioned notion of virtue, it slides into decay. Every time. This decay happens so frequently, and is currently so widespread that the need for virtue must not still be self evident. So we might as well spell out the reasons.

Human Children Take Time and Consistency to Bring to Adulthood

Human children grow slowly. It takes close upon two decades to get them from birth to functioning on their own, capable of supporting themselves, reproducing, and raising a civilized next generation. It requires consistency and care from someone with a stake in the child’s success. It takes a pair of parents, providing both male and female role models and ways of nurturing.

The best (really, the only) way to plan for children to be raised by the same two (one male, one female) parents throughout their growing up life is for those two parents to be permanently bonded to each other. To be married. (See Why Marriage Matters[i]), Marriage isn’t as ephemeral as just a declaration of love between two lovers; it is a commitment to each other and to the entire society that they will stay together for life. This commitment establishes a family, the most basic unit of civilization. There isn’t any way to break up a family that doesn’t harm civilization. Therefore, there isn’t any possible way for sex outside of marriage to be acceptable behavior without harming civilization. Without the attitude of its sacredness, it is impossible to maintain virtue (chastity). And without virtue, families are always harmed.

Look, for instance, at what happens when two young people, believing they are in love, give in to sex. They have just admitted to each other that they value their own desires over the needs of the society they live in. They are both lessened for that selfishness. But what if they recognize that, though what they did was wrong, they could marry and move on? Yes, they could alter their course—what religious societies call repentance, change their thoughts and actions for the future. And if it is true that they love each other, they could go forward making a happy home, with very little harm to society. So, while society wouldn’t condone the mistake, it can easily forgive.

Exceptions Must Be Rare

I’d like to note here that making the exception has to be rare, or else society cannot absorb the harm without decay. Making up a small deficit from ideal can be managed without much notice, just as it can in a family budget. But making up a large deficit, while simultaneously reducing the means for society to compensate for the deficit (raising children in the most likely way to bring them up to be responsible adults) inevitably causes damage to the society as a whole. It’s a fact borne out in inner cities in this country and in every culture in the world today where marriage is devalued. A large percentage of children being raised without both parents in a loving home means a significant decline in adults who know how to raise the next generation to be civilized.

[i] Why Marriage Matters: Twenty-one Conclusions from the Social Sciences, © 2002 Institute for American Values, available through their website

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