On loneliness 22

The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.  – Tom Wolfe

There was a time not very long ago when loneliness was mitigated for many individuals by their being a part of a family.

Now it is not the fashion among the peoples of the civilized (which is to say the Western) world to marry. And it is even less the “done thing” for people to have children.

In general, the childless are surely destined to be more lonely in their old age than parents and grandparents.

Yet to the president of the Family Division of the High Court of Justice for England and Wales, the end of traditional family life is a Good Thing.

Random relationships – parody “families” –  are better for individual happiness, he seems to think.

Jack Montgomery reports at Breitbart:

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court of Justice for England and Wales , has said society should “welcome and applaud” the collapse of traditional nuclear-family life.

“What is the family?” asked the wealthy 69-year-old in a lecture at the University of Liverpool. “Time was when most people probably thought the answer was not merely clear but obvious. Today it is more complex,” he suggested.

“In contemporary Britain the family takes an almost infinite variety of forms. Many marry according to the rites of non-Christian faiths. People live together as couples, married or not, and with partners who may not always be of the other sex. Children live in households where their parents may be married or unmarried. They may be brought up by a single parent, by two parents or even by three parents. Their parents may or may not be their natural parents. They may be children of parents with very different religious, ethnic or national backgrounds, and they may be the children of polygamous marriages,” he suggested — likely in reference to the explosion in Islamic polygamy in Britain, which is flourishing in spite of the country’s long-standing anti-bigamy laws.

So polygamy is okay with Munby. (Under sharia law, if parents are divorced, the father gets the sole custody of the children when they have passed their infancy.)

The fact is that many adults and children, whether through choice or circumstance, live in families more or less removed from what, until comparatively recently, would have been recognised as the typical nuclear family,” the judge continued. “This, I stress, is not merely the reality; it is, I believe, a reality which we should welcome and applaud.”

The shocking statement is not the first controversial commentary on the state of British family life by England’s most senior family judge.

In 2014, Sir James gave an equally charged speech in which he issued a damning and partisan indictment of “Victorian values” and railed against “the dominant influence wielded by the Christian churches” in the past.

We have no quarrel with him when he rails against the Christian churches. We do it too. But let’s get back to families.

To whom will the multitudes of the barren look for companionship and comfort in their old age? If they survive very long, their friends – if they had them – will have died; or if not, they will have have reached the years of dependence themselves.

Will the Lonely Old look to the cold comfort of the state?

Sir James Munby, who is strongly against begetting children, does not answer that question.

He also celebrated the role played by the contraceptive pill and abortion on demand in removing “the fear of unwanted pregnancy and the fear of the consequences of contraceptive failure” transforming sex into “something to be enjoyed, if one wished, for purposes having nothing to do with procreation” by the end of the 1960s.

“A fundamental link – the connection between sex and procreation – was irretrievably broken,” he gloated.

In the Munby mind, procreation is to be avoided.

We ask our readers: What are your thoughts on this?

Posted under Commentary, Miscellaneous, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Sunday, June 3, 2018

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This post has 22 comments.

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  • “Generally speaking,” yes, children are a blessing in old age. But the variations are so widespread that it’s a gamble. Here’s a few patterns I notice:

    I notice that with college educations, many enter professions that require relocation away from one’s parents. In a rural location where we have a country house, those whose children get specialized college degrees move away for career opportunities. Those that learn trades or enter the family business stay nearby.

    The opposite trend is the parents moving away to retire. My wife’s parents, aunts and uncles (on both sides) all moved from the north-east to Florida where they reunited for a second childhood. Some missed their children but some couldn’t be bothered.

    In my apartment building in a well-to-do NYC suburb, there are several widows whose children have assumed ownership of the family house and moved their mother to an apartment near the town center. Most have their children picking them up for dinner or shopping.

    On the other hand, in the working-class neighborhood of my childhood, the Italian-American families own two family homes with the grandparents living in the smaller apartment. A recent visit tells me little has changed as my childhood friends are now the grandparents.

    There seems to be variations in how close people want their parents.

    Ending on a funny note, Japanese politicians have devised a policy to respond to their low birth rate: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/04/group-male-japanese-politicians-join-forces-allow-babies-cry/

    • Yes, all that happens.

      I enjoyed the new Japanese baby policy. Thanks! They are a nation of the aged. It may be unfamiliar music to their ears, a baby’s cry!

      • Jeanne

        The Japanese are ending themselves. Most of their young adults don’t even want to bother with dating and sex, let alone having a baby. Virtual sex is so much cleaner and carefree. It is difficult to understand just how much they do not want relationships at all. Japan will become a country of old people unless they can reverse this trend that has been building for a couple of decades. There is a market for lifelike “grandchild” dolls that elders can stroll and care for….and no doubt, robots to come. It is so weird.

        Robots also care for the elders. Why did this happen? When did this decision seem like the best one for Japan’s citizens? Is it because having one brilliant and driven child became a Tiger-mom’s entire life’s work. Did these children take on the duty of continuing the work of being brilliant and driven and successful and lose the time and patience needed to form relationships and consider bearing a child? Did they decide that they hated their life and would not repeat it with a child of their own?

        Keep us from AI and the Singularity, please! Just in case anyone is listening…

        • I read a number of speculative theories but have no idea if they are true.

          One theory is that after the demoralizing defeat of WWII they don’t think much of themselves as a people and have little interest in maintaining the culture. I doubt this since they don’t import foreigners like Germany to replace them.

          Another theory is a lack of religion. David Goldman (Spengler) is a big theorist for this view. This view seems to say, to me, that children are a burden and only religious dogma would be successful in perpetuating the race. I doubt that since Iran has an extremely low birthrate.

          Finally, there’s Social Security. If the state takes care of you in old age, who needs children? Even if you believe private pension funds can take up the load (and I do) these funds invest in the future productive prospects that require the next generation to bring to fruition. Children would not only be needed but highly valued. You should expect to be paid well for raising and providing such “insurance” in the free market.

          Still, I don’t know but it is interesting.

          • Jeanne

            Interesting theories, but I don’t buy any of them. Maybe they sense that the Singularity is upon them, are excited to be a part of it and so…why bother? The family will become humanity controlled by AI, linked as a hive. Those absolutely necessary births and rearing of future generations will be handled by specialized centers. Can’t you just imagine Japan being the first to become thus?

    • Jeanne

      We live in a rural area on a secluded farm in the middle of a forest. We first made the decision to stay on the farm that my husband’s parents owned and lived on, which was 30 minutes from my hometown, because we chose to remain near our families. My parents moved onto the farm when our first child was born. Our kids made the choice to live here, as well, with one returning before starting her family. None of them will continue our farming business, as all have professional careers in the area. It was a choice that we made to keep family together and a choice they made to continue. They did not want their kids to grow up and not know their grandparents or cousins. More than know, to be part of the family. My brother moved his family 7 hours away and his kids left home to have no children, but only careers. The cousins barely know each other. Time and proximity and their very differently paced lives keep that from happening.

      You make your choices depending upon what is most important to you. The feeling each of us gets when we turn onto our lane is such relief and peace of mind everyday. Home. There are more than a few farm families that have similar situations and we all consider ourselves to be lucky.

      As atheists, we can keep our kids from much of the community peer pressure to attend a church. We can choose who to invite to our homes for “playdates” …what a yucky word. Better yet, isolation forces siblings to be each others best friends and find plenty of “stuff” to do that involves just them and the farm. We rarely watched TV and still don’t. Not much into social media. Very small local schools. Good local universities and technical schools and community colleges. City about 30 minutes away. Resort about 30 minutes away. We are about 30 minutes from everywhere we need to go.

      Didn’t mean to go on so, but wanted to convey how easy it can be to keep the madding crowd far away if you decide that is what you must do. I know we are lucky, but we could have decided differently. We chose what was most important to us and made compromises to that end. Yeah, we only have one life to live and we have missed much, but not what we decided was most important.

      Anyway, when I write, it is from this background and I thought that was important to explain, as it does set my viewpoint at a different place than others. Not better or worse, just different.

      • Much appreciated, Jeanne!

        • Jeanne

          I appreciate your tolerance for my need to explain myself.

  • Jeanne

    First…why do I have to keep logging in? Something happened and I am missing how to fix it. Help, please.

    We need more babies in more nuclear families, because when it works, that is what works best for BOYS and GIRLS…you know those two genders that everybody is either one or the other of!

    Damn my Puritanical hide!

    I like same-sex marriages, too….IF there is a father figure and a mother figure and there are both ADULT MALES and FEMALES that interact with the children of the couple.

    Smack my prudish hands!

    When families don’t work, it doesn’t matter who is in them.

    But…we need intelligent, healthy and vigorously alive ADULTS having more babies and rearing them responsibly, preferably not in day care situations or early public or private school situations.

    What was the question again?

    Oh…do you know what lots of kids do with their elderly parents? They plop them in nursing homes, so having kids is no guarantee that they will take care of you in your old age or come visit you with your grandchildren or even live less than three hours away.

    Do you know what lots of parents do with their kids? Something similar. The problem is not having or having kids; it is having families that are able to grow themselves into functioning units against all comers and provide a support base of unconditional love that never fails and never ends. We have lost the ability to do that in this crazy, brave new world. And…it seems like so much is stacked against those who try, which means more than ever, extended family and extended unconditional love and support must become a norm again.

    And…Darwin help me, you know who does that fairly well? I am not gonna say it. Rant over.

    Maybe…

    • Thanks for that, Jeanne. Lots I agree with there.

      I don’t know why you had difficulty logging in. Disqus is unpredictable. Very glad you persevered! Seems that is what it takes sometimes. I hope it does not continue.

      • Jeanne

        Jillian…well, I am still logged in, which has not happened in recent weeks, so maybe the snafu is fixed.

    • liz

      I don’t even like the idea of same sex couples having children at all.
      Why pass down a dysfunction? Of course, the families of too many heterosexual couples are dysfunctional, too, in different ways.
      As you point out, “so much is stacked against those who try”.
      Yes, the Left has been bombarding our culture with so much ideological poison for so long, it’s no wonder there is so much dysfunction.
      If the last 50 years had been spent supporting healthy normalcy, instead of allowing leftists to demand the acceptance of every kind of perversion (while at the same time ostracizing anyone who dared display a healthy aversion to it) these problems wouldn’t exist today.

      • Jeanne

        I don’t consider homosexuality a dysfunction, such as gender dysmorphia. But…I agree leftists have called the shots for too long and the squeaky wheel that they are has the media on its side. Trying to keep the madness from your children takes work and time.

    • Zerothruster

      Nice piece, Jeanne. But cruelly, you leave us hanging. Who does that fairly well?

      • Jeanne

        Religious communities support their families and multi-generational extended families tend to continue with the same church, synagogue, temple, mosque… even if some children and adults are closet atheists or apathetic believers. Busy religious communities go out of their way to accommodate kids and encourage them to be part of the community. Sometimes that is the only reason why people continue to attend their church…for the community.

        • Zerothruster

          That’s right. And it’s what I thought you were hinting at. Thanks for confirming.

          • Jeanne

            Do I lose my atheist pin, now?

            • Zerothruster

              Aw, hell no !
              I’m nominating you for a merit badge.
              We need more recognition of the ways religions reinforce adaptive cultural practices. What could be more adaptive than 1) reproduction and 2) mutual support of extended family members ?

  • liz

    Great example of the tried and true leftist tactic – create a problem and then pretend to solve it. Of course the “solution” only benefits the Left.
    Lead the dumb sheep to slaughter by convincing them that societal suicide is “a reality which we should welcome and applaud”! That way you avoid the mess of having to use gas chambers.

    • Thanks, liz. Yes, lonely people are easily raked in by tyrants. Who dispose of them as they will.

      • liz

        As for the loneliness aspect of it, I don’t think the Old will find much comfort from the state. Obama would tell them to just “take a pill”.
        Death panels are already in place, as we’ve seen with Britain’s children who’s parents weren’t allowed to seek help outside the prison of Socialist “health care”.

        • Jeanne

          I agree Liz. Euthanasia is a very slippery slope, wherein the ailing and elderly are soon made to feel guilty that they are taking up resources from the healthy and young.