Children = Property of Parents

Stengah wrote:

It may be of no import in your culture, but it is of import in this culture. As I've repeatedly told you, in the US, individual rights trump familial rights.

That is true both culturally as well as legally. The US is not awash in firm extended-family structures that feel their rights are being infringed, but it is well-populated with people who have a very strong sense of individualism. The government is matching the collective will of the people in this format.

Stengah:

It's far more useful to look at what is happening instead of what could happen. Yeah, our government could become so broken that the state starts forcing people to get abortions against their will, but it's not that broken now. And you can't be forced to get chemo against your will. The quote you're pulling that from (iirc) is a doctor, not a lawyer. If he tried to force someone to get chemo they didn't want, he'd find himself in legal trouble so fast his head would spin.

I disagree. It's important to note the proximate possibilities of putting power in the hands of government. The Marcos years taught us that. The Iraq invasion should have made you cautious. The financial meltdown should have made you cautious.

When you put this power in government hands, it will be hard to take it back. Now it can pick and choose what to do with minors who bring a contrary case against the parents with consent issues. That's a scary enough power to have granted government, IMO.

As for chemo; could you cite me an incident wherein a minor who resisted life-saving procedures against the wishes of his parents and medical recommendations actually won a case to have his way? The doctor suggests that that's the way it's done on the ground. You're saying that it's not possible. Do you have cases that show this?

It may be of no import in your culture, but it is of import in this culture. As I've repeatedly told you, in the US, individual rights trump familial rights.

You're reading that incorrectly. What I was saying is that your State doesn't care about whether or not its interests cause family conflicts and undermine family integrity. The rhetoric is that individual rights matter more. That may be true; the implications frighten me all the same.

Kraint:

That is true both culturally as well as legally. The US is not awash in firm extended-family structures that feel their rights are being infringed, but it is well-populated with people who have a very strong sense of individualism. The government is matching the collective will of the people in this format.

I wonder whether the reverse isn't true: that powerful interests are using government positions and structures to implement laws and traditions to their liking, instead; that incidentally weaken the family as a sociopolitical unit.

It seems to me that despite the focus on "individuality" an extended household is something most people can understand and appreciate; I hear that a lot from people here who are glad that GWJ serves that function for them. Children and teens seek acceptance from their peers in school rather than from extended relations of similar age.

LarryC wrote:

Kraint:

That is true both culturally as well as legally. The US is not awash in firm extended-family structures that feel their rights are being infringed, but it is well-populated with people who have a very strong sense of individualism. The government is matching the collective will of the people in this format.

I wonder whether the reverse isn't true: that powerful interests are using government positions and structures to implement laws and traditions to their liking, instead; that incidentally weaken the family as a sociopolitical unit.

It seems to me that despite the focus on "individuality" an extended household is something most people can understand and appreciate; I hear that a lot from people here who are glad that GWJ serves that function for them. Children and teens seek acceptance from their peers in school rather than from extended relations of similar age.

A lot of American history would seem to back up my view. We are a nation of immigrants, many of whom came to the US as individuals or in immediate family groups. The diaspora continued through the colonization period and the expansion into the West, and manifests it now by people moving around the country to follow educational and career goals. Structurally, there is nothing like the system you've described. My father comes from a large family(7 siblings) that mostly live in the same area. We frequently get together for social functions and holidays, but there is no power structure in the family. No patriarch/matriarch, no roles assigned, no familial duties, etc. It is much closer to a group of friends who've involved their families than anything like the more rigorous structure you've described.

My apologies. I don't recall describing a rigorous structure. Could you quote my statements in which I specified?

LarryC wrote:

My apologies. I don't recall describing a rigorous structure. Could you quote my statements in which I specified?

The impression I got from your statements was that there was a head of the household that had some measure of authority over the rest of the members. I understood it as being similar to the rare-but-not-exceptional structure described in some older parts of the US, where a family would have an elder/leader who would try to guide, through bonds of familial duty, respect, and financial inducement, family members.

Some cites that gave me the impression of increased rigor:

We have extended families. More accurately, they're really households. It is possible for a group of young men, all unrelated by blood, to come together under a household and become "family," in the sense that we allow them to be each other's health advocates; and even complete legal actors with power of attorney.
Head of household is supposed to be a political position. The next larger unit is barangay: a gathering of several familes. This unit has an elected head, but also has legislative and judicial arms and powers; also sufficient to itself.

So, the family being the smallest political unit means that to us, family IS government. The conflict is centralization vs. devolution. This is a legitimate social structure; we have presumably had it since before Spanish invasion. Pre-Communism China has a similar idea - independent "farms."

You've posted in previous threads about this as well. I may well have gotten the wrong impression, but I think the other content of my last post still stand. Note that have any sort of family-wide decision making process/enforcement would be more rigorous than what I have personally experienced.

Ah.

Well clarified.

You're correct in your supposition about Filipino family/household structure. It is not rare for people to have more individualistic families or lives, but the commonplace rule is close association. Whether that's due to tradition, financial constraints, or sheer physical proximity is debatable.

What I was getting at is that Filipinos generally don't feel a very strong need to belong in a gang or groups of peers outside the family, if the family is large and associations are friendly and strong. Someone who had a strong need to belong to a gang or to migrate to another household entirely would be suspected of having a very dysfunctional family life, which is altogether too common for my liking.

I was supposing that in American life, this need to belong is instead expressed in the need to form strong peer groups in school, at work, at play, or online. Without the perceived protection and loyalty of a father, mother, uncles, aunts, multiple grandparents and upwards of 5 or 6 age-approximate brothers, sisters, cousins, and family friends; a person might feel the need to solicit protection and acceptance from alternative sources.

We here at GWJ don't have a very formal structure, but Certis stands at the head, and he executes necessary measures to protect us (even from ourselves) strongly and fairly, as a head of household should.

EDIT:

I'm not sure I'm giving a correct impression about head of household. This position is a socioeconomic one. You get some voting powers and you represent your household in community meetings and such. You also get to enjoy the tax write-offs for dependents, though you are also tasked to finance them.

Spoiler:

Generally, you get tasked this position by dint of financial capability. If you can support dependents, you will soon be swamped by requests to do so; that or you yourself get asked to contribute to your current household by your head; that's a common request.

Head of household has some inherent powers and rights because he or she provides the money, and he or she has some encoded powers and rights in law; but these powers and rights are never absolute. Delegation of many powers and responsibilities is expected. Obviously, those powers and rights are nearly nonexistent on members of the household who can afford to support themselves. They expect to have a say on how the household is run; their influence is usually in proportion to their financial or economic powers.

An added caveat is the position of Household Caretaker, usually the wife, usually "second-in-command." The quotation is necessary because it is commonplace for the breadwinner to have no real power to veto anything the Caretaker does in his or her absence (which is by necessity, much of the time). In addition, it is expected for the Caretaker to also be the main banker or financial executor. It is traditional for the head to hand over his or her paycheck as soon as it arrives. The wisdom is that since the Caretaker is most intimate with the needs of the household, he or she is in the best position to allocate resources appropriately; it would be too imposing to ask the head to manage this in addition to earning the household's requirements.

No, that matches fairly well with the impression that I understood from your previous posts, at least in terms of the patriarchal role within the family. The secondary position is not quite what I had pictured, but not far afield from some of the practices my wife has told me about in Taiwan.

Alright. Would you maintain that Americans do not seek to congregate in groups with a strong group identity outside of immediate family, where that immediate family is small?

A lot of GWJers here often say that GWJ is "like family." I would make a stronger case. In the sense of the Filipino household, GWJ IS family.

LarryC wrote:

Alright. Would you maintain that Americans do not seek to congregate in groups with a strong group identity outside of immediate family, where that immediate family is small?

A lot of GWJers here often say that GWJ is "like family." I would make a stronger case. In the sense of the Filipino household, GWJ IS family.

I acknowledge that a lot of Americans do seek communities that can be functionally similar to family in terms of emotional support and positive relationships. That can be forums, circles of friends, teammates, whatever. That doesn't mean that a power transfer takes place, officially or not. Congregating with peers, congregating my extended family, etc. does not imply that they have any sort of authority over me. It is the power structure, not the social ties, that I have been disagreeing with. I have some really great friends, but they are peers rather than above or below me. No political or economic ties required.