Saturday, 30 June 2012

We should adopt the 'Mormon ideal' of early, fertile, monogamous, autonomous marriage

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The Mormons (in the US and the UK) are the only group in the modern world which uses contraception (but not abortion) that has a sustainable pattern of fertility: above replacement level and with the largest families among the wealthiest and most educated.

This pattern of seems to be associated with the Mormon religion itself, which has the husband and wife as the 'unit' of highest salvation and a range of explicit and also implicit ideals which add up to approximately the following:

Sex occurs only within marriage, marriage should be in the early twenties, and couples should (as a general rule) aim to have as many children as they can raise decently without requiring support from outside the family.

Society must have an ideal, around which there will of course be individual variation (and from which there will, of course, be lapses).

The Mormon ideal seems just about right to me.

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18 comments:

Lordy! said...

They also believe they will spend eternity with their families in the presence of God. That would create motivation for having children.

Bruce, have you met with the missionaries, read the Book of Mormon, and asked the Holy Spirit about it with true intent?

I think I see why you support the Orthodox religion ... but the living experience may be Mormonism for you. It's worth finding out.

bgc said...

@Lordy! - I know quite a bit about the subject and regard Mormonism as a valid Christian path - but (at present, anyway) I think not for me.

Simon in London said...

Sounds good, I want this for my son. But what are the incentives? Most middle class women seem to want to marry (UK:cohabit) late, and have one or two children in their thirties, after spending 15 years on career and partying. Mormonism has the religious incentive. What about the rest of society?

stochastix said...

Having children is not a goal. It is a means towards a goal. What is the goal? Self-preservation would be the goal, the highest priority. A society that allows its youth to engage in endless hedonistic pursuits is committing slow suicide.

I also believe that religion is dead in the West. But one does not need Christianity in its entirety. One could keep the Tradition of Christianity, and throw away the rest. Tradition lasted for millenia because it works. Tell young people that it follows logically from evolution that the best social norms are preserved, while the toxic ones die out. One does not need Religion per se, what one needs are the good things that Religion did accomplish in the Past, when people believed in God.

bgc said...

@SiL - I don't know of any way to fix society except a person at a time. Each person must make the right choice - they cannot be compelled to choose Christianity.

At present, there are subcultures (e.g. probably focused around All Souls C of E church in London (and similar/ affiliated places) - the centre for UK Anglican evangelicals) in which there seem to be decent young women.

bgc said...

@stocjastix -

"Having children is not a goal. It is a means towards a goal. What is the goal? Self-preservation would be the goal, the highest priority."

Self preservation in this world is impossible - everybody dies. Also self-preservation is not a human goal. Also, it is not a goal for which you can argue coherently.

In fact most modern people would regard pleasure/ elimination of suffering as the highest priority.

But for Christians an eternal resurrected life with God is the highest priority.

"I also believe that religion is dead in the West. But one does not need Christianity in its entirety. One could keep the Tradition of Christianity, and throw away the rest."

But surely that is what people have been arguing for more than half a century and which led us to where we are? We now *know* that we do need Christianity in its entirety, or we will have nothing at all of it.

stochastix said...

> Self preservation in this world is impossible - everybody dies.

That is not what I meant. By "self" I meant not the individual, but the tribe. Preservation of one's tribe is attainable. This thought is no longer fashionable in Western Europe, but it's very much alive in Russia, for example (even though Russia has enormous ethnic diversity).


> In fact most modern people would regard pleasure/ elimination of suffering as the highest priority.

Which shows how deluded modern people are. Suffering is inherent to life. Seeking pleasure leads to boredom, boredom eventually leads to suffering. But if there is a higher goal directing a society, then the suffering might be worth it. Sacrifice for the collective used to be honorable in places like Prussia and Imperial Japan. If one designed a society in which status were not based on money alone, but on something else (like self-sacrifice for the benefit of the collective), things would change.


> But surely that is what people have been arguing for more than half a century and which led us to where we are?

I would argue that the West threw away tradition and common sense long ago. The past half a century has been an anomaly, partially because Europe was infected with American values which are foreign to Europe. What works in country X may not work in country Y. Societies have long memories.


> We now *know* that we do need Christianity in its entirety, or we will have nothing at all of it.

I disagree. Christianity requires a God. We live in an era where the notion of God is dead and there is nothing one can do about it. Our new God is Science, our new Pope is Dawkins. What one could do is argue that social norms exist for a reason, and that the old is not necessarily bad, and that the new is not necessarily good. Why would one be able to sell such ideas? Because the folly of the past few decades has led to broken marriages, broken families, social instability, etc. The newer generation will demand something to believe in, and a properly designed non-theistic Christianity could be it. It could be the operating system of a newer, better society.

bgc said...

@stochastix

I'm sorry, but what you are saying is not coherent - in several ways.

If science/ Dawkins is God, then there is no place for a metaphyic of Nationalism. Nationalism becomes a pure assertion.

But science cannot be the primary metaphysic, because the validity of science is not part of science - it is whatever validates science that is primary.

You can't argue for the validity and success of Nationalism on the basis of Prussia and Japan, surely? The 'success' of Nationalism never lasts even two generations - it is simply not viable long term.

Russia is the most Christian society in 'Europe'; there has been a *massive* revival of Orthodoxy which preceded (and probably helped cause) the collapse of Communism. e.g - Putin is a very prominent (and apparently very devout) convert. Russian (Slavic) Nationalism was mostly a by-product of Russian Orthodoxy.

But why should people be concerned primarily about the survival of their tribe? In itself that has no appeal - it might benefit our genome, but nobody lives in order to maximize the representation of their genes in future generations - why on earth should they? Such a world would be hell on earth.

But what could you say to a modern hedonist to persuade them that they should stop caring about their own happiness and instead suffer for the good of their tribe/ nation?

You presumably know what a Christian can say to a hedonist - but what can a secular nationalist say?

bgc said...

@stochastix

Only devoutly and traditionally religious groups (Mormons, Utra-Orthodox Jews, Amish, Islamist Muslims, some very devout evangelicals) have above replacement fertility in the modern world - secular nationalists do not.

Only religion (or being too low in intelligent or too disorganized to use contraception) will prevent reproductive suicide in secular modern societies.

As a motivational system nationalism/ tribalism demonstrably does not work (in the absence of religion) as well as being arbitrary and unsustainable.

stochastix said...

I do not claim I have answers. I have proto-ideas and hypotheses. I am looking for answers of some sort.


> But science cannot be the primary metaphysic, because the validity of science is not part of science - it is whatever validates science that is primary.

I never claimed that I believe that Science is the primary metaphysic. I merely claimed that the Zeitgeist is such that the notion of Science as being the answer to everything is too deeply ingrained. Anyone who has ever done any Science certainly is well aware of the limitations of Science, and how little one knows of the Natural world. But most people have never done Science!


> But why should people be concerned primarily about the survival of their tribe?

I think the human (genetic and memetic) treasures of the world should be preserved, just like one should preserve sequoias, dolphins, siberian tigers, medieval cathedrals, and old books. Nationalism is a bit misguided. I am advocating preservationism. Preserve what is beautiful, and let the future generations feel the burden of preserving it as well. They will be thankful to their ancestors for having inherited a beautiful world.


> But what could you say to a modern hedonist to persuade them that they should stop caring about their own happiness and instead suffer for the good of their tribe/ nation?

I would take the hedonist to a Gothic cathedral and tell him:

"Look at this... some people 700 years ago wanted to build something that would outlive them by a millennium. Are you going to waste your life on booze and mediocre casual sex with random drunk people, or do you want to build a civilization where great art, great architecture, great science, and great people (kind, polite, considerate, intelligent) are produced? Do you want to spend your existence building something that will collapse the moment you die, or do you want to contribute to something that will last, and that will make your grandchildren proud of you? If you want to build a civilization worth living in, you will have to make some sacrifices in the short term, but in the long term you will be rewarded. At an old age, you will be able to look back, and feel that you spent your time doing something worthwhile, beautiful, and good."


Great civilizations were built before Christianity. Christianity is a means towards the achievement of greatness, but it is not the only means.

Interestingly, the Chinese Communist Party (!!!) wants to introduce Christianity in China:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/02/15/china_christian_awakening

bgc said...

@sto...

"I would take the hedonist to a Gothic cathedral and tell him: "Look at this... some people 700 years ago wanted to build something that would outlive them by a millennium."

I should say it was built to the glory of God. If it had been built to last it would have been more like Stonehenge, or perhaps the pyramids.

"Great civilizations were built before Christianity. Christianity is a means towards the achievement of greatness, but it is not the only means."

I would agree with you 100 percent: ancient Greece and Rome spring to mind.

But Christianity is not a means to an end - the only reason to believe it is because it is true (and because it answers the fundamental problems - indeed, it is the only religion which answers the fundamental problems as understood by the very deepest of thinkers).

All greatness comes to an end with death, all civilizations, all tribes, the earth itself with disappear - none of these do anything except to defer the end.

But the resurrected soul outlasts all of these. Imagine that! An individual outlasts the universe!

Real Christianity is currently rather small and weak, as was prophesied it would become before the end. The question is whether it is true - given the above perspective, even one soul is more important than the whole world.

Simon in London said...

bgc:
"@SiL - I don't know of any way to fix society except a person at a time. Each person must make the right choice - they cannot be compelled to choose Christianity.

At present, there are subcultures (e.g. probably focused around All Souls C of E church in London (and similar/ affiliated places) - the centre for UK Anglican evangelicals) in which there seem to be decent young women."

@bgc - Thanks, I shall bear that in mind!

chris said...

But what can a secular nationalist say (to a hedonist)?

I would say to Western Men;
a) Cultural Marxism seeks to subjugate you into the position of cuckolds!
I would say to Western Women;
bi) Cultural Marxism will produce a society where all men are cads and where no man will EVER love you!
bii) Cultural Marxism will result in a society where everyone is poor and your children will starve at your breast!

Why? Well, borrowing from this webpage (http://sexes.martinsewell.com/)
“What motivates humans?
Our ultimate motivation is to reproduce, but evolution requires only that we are aware of our proximate motivations, which, in order of priority, are 1) sex, 2) intra-sexual competition, and 3) survival.
What motivates men and what motivates women?
Men want (in order of priority):
1. sex with many new short-term partners, with the hope that other men will support their bastards
2. exclusive sexual access to a long-term partner
Women want (in order of priority):
1. a provider husband who will invest food and care in her children
2. a high status lover who can give those children first-class genes
Note that in the case of men, the only way a man can achieve 1 is to attain status via his rank in the dominance hierarchy, whilst 2 allows a compromise between status and reliability. Wealth is a proxy for both. Note that in the case of women, 1 and 2 can be the same man, but she is only likely to achieve this if she is highly desirable. In summary, men and women both want short-term and long-term partners, but the priorities are the opposite way around. As the more discriminating sex it is women who choose, and therefore the men who must develop a strategy. The women’s priorities dictate the probability of the strategy working, whilst the man’s preferences determine the payoff. For men, 1 is a high risk/high return strategy, whilst 2 is a lower risk/lower return strategy. “

Argument a affects 1 and 2 for what men want, and argument bi and bii affects 1 of what women want.

Of course I won’t come out and directly say argument a, and bi, bii to Western Men and Women, I would have to incrementally lead them to that conclusion.

Why do I think this would work? Simply, it worked on me. At the tender age of 17 I took to the web to figure out what attracts girls, that led me to ‘game’ and ‘Pick-up artistry’, which led me to evo-psych/evo-bio, which eventually led me to the conclusions above that cultural Marxism will reduce me, as a Western Man, to the position of cuckold, and that my aversion, repulsion and outrage at that prospect was both natural and justified. Ever since, I’ve been opposed to cultural Marxism and have drifted in the direction of secular nationalism or secular conservatism.

As a Western Man, cultural Marxism is not in my material/hedonistic interests.

On a non-related note, out of curiosity, as a former non-believer, how did you make the leap to Christianity? Was it a rational choice? Was it a feeling? Did you witness something supernatural that convinced of the existence of the supernatural?

JP said...

@sto,

"one does not need Christianity in its entirety. One could keep the Tradition of Christianity, and throw away the rest."

In essence this is what "reformers" have been trying to do since Henry VIII. It has never worked. Once you try to whittle down Christianity to some "necessary" elements, you wind up with nothing. Certainly nothing anyone wants to believe in.

"One does not need Religion per se, what one needs are the good things that Religion did accomplish in the Past, when people believed in God."

This is a charitable interpretation of what secular atheists and Leftists are trying to do -- create "Heaven on Earth" via a system of morality that promotes "good things" without religion. That hasn't worked, either.

"Preservation of one's tribe is attainable."

How do you plan to convince people that don't care enough about their own genes to have children that they should care about the "tribe"?

"Great civilizations were built before Christianity."

Which is not to say they were not built without religion. ALL the great civilizations of the ancient world had religion, Greece and Rome included. These examples do not really support your case that "one does not need Religion per se"!

You will never convince a secular atheist to "preserve what is beautiful". Why should they do that? They believe they are snuffed out into oblivion the second they die, and they don't even care enough about the future to reproduce. "Preserve something for a time when I won't exist" makes no sense according to the logic of their philosophy.

Anonymous Conservative said...

I think there is a good case that what we are seeing now is what has always been in our species. We advance rapidly, and a lot of individuals can't adapt to the advancement, and head for the ash-bin of Darwin. What does reproduce will move the face of our species in that direction for the next generation.

Right now, those who don't want family are heading towards extinction. In large part, it is the highly intelligent, highly driven, r-selected cohort (Liberals) with low-rearing drives, who use the newfangled selective pressure of contraception responsibly, to prevent their unwanted offspring. They satisfy their urge to maximize their mating/rearing investment ratios with the new technology, but they will gradually diminish in number. They are not the face of the mankind of the future, and I suspect scientists someday will try to picture how they viewed the world, and what they were thinking.

Meanwhile, the highly intelligent, highly driven, responsible specimens with high-rearing drives (a more K-selected psychology), will have kids, and those who want more kids will have more, furthering that high-rearing drive trait in the K-selected cohort.

Unfortunately, the less intelligent and less responsible r-type individuals, with lower rearing drives, fail to use contraception responsibly. They satisfy the urge to maximize their mating/rearing investment ratio through promiscuity and low-investment single parenting. As a result, they end up with large numbers of kids in single family homes who are genetically predispositioned towards low conscientiousness.

The big Darwinian battle is yet to come though, since the lower IQ r-types are growing, as are the higher IQ/higher-rearing-investment K-types, and they are diverging in psychology rapidly.

Of course, one group increasingly expects the other to work hard and then give their money to government for equal redistribution to all. Given the lower motivated r-types are out-proliferating the K-types, that can't last, and it would appear to presage a period of unusual ugliness in our future.

bgc said...

@AC - Fair enough, so far as it goes - but what about these relatively intelligent orthodoxy-religious and fertile groups?

Surely one or some of these will be strongly placed to become the future leaders - and encourage adoption of their religion?

This is, of course, already happening on a massive scale.

Anonymous Conservative said...

I agree totally – you're absolutely right. The religious will inevitably be dominant throughout time. But if you look at religiosity (at least Christian religions), it really favors K traits (just as K-traits can gain favor in the population through religiosity (and the shunning of r's)).

Religion has, loyalty to an organization of individuals who behave in a moral way (read in a way which fosters group cohesion and functionality), respect for Authority, desire to serve a noble Leadership, willingness to serve the group, a cause, and the Leader, sexually chaste mores, two parent families which invest heavily in offspring, later age at first intercourse, monogamy, motivation to be productive, no stealing, no cheating etc. These are all K-traits which allow the survival of K-individuals, under K-selection, when groups begin competing. Lack those traits and you and your group die, all together.

Have no illusions, I believe in God, and think atheism is silly (this universe just “popped” out of nothing, for no reason?). But my view is God's Creation has inherent to it, a fundamental nature to it's mechanism which favor's K-traits (and the religion K's tend to adopt), inherently. And since K favor's religiosity, and religiosity favors K, each feeds of the other to further both.

So in a thousand years, religion will still be with us and those who practice will be dominant, both because religion confers advantage on K, and because the world's innate, K-favoring nature confers advantage upon religion.

bgc said...

@AC - I have found and published your original comment, which I thought had already been published - apologies.

You might be interested in Michael Woodley's work which focuses on Life History

http://publicationslist.org/M.A.Woodley