Sunday, December 30, 2007

Steven Baskerville - Family law, culturist emergency

Since yesterday's blog concerned Latino and general American familial patterns, this follow - up will too. It is too short. For more information you should click the title of this blog.

Dr. Steven Baskerville's work shows that much of the huge increase in single parent homes can be traced to the amazingly draconian divorce laws and the industry that surrounds them. His work is very, very important. Though I have not read it, I am sure his book Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family is wonderful. That is based on my assesment of reading lengthy articles by him, including the one the title of this blog links to.

Dr. Baskerville's work shows that no-fault divorces essentially encourage women to seek divorces unilaterally. They are nearly always granted the children and child support. If they claim abuse, an automatic restraining order is put on the man. If he falls behind in child support, he can go to jail. All of these things can happen to him - the loss of his children, garnishing of his wages, criminilazation, and possible arrest - without any due process. The Georgia Superior Court held that, “The presumptive award leaves the non-custodial parent in poverty while the custodial parent enjoys a notably higher standard of living." Matching grants from the Federal government to the state means the courts have a stake in separating fathers from homes.

My single caution for Dr. Baskerville would stem from his Chronicles Magazine, January 2008 article. He notes that cultural decay, family values, and culture wars overlook the role of family law in the creation of fatherless families. Economic and legal pressures by the "child support industry" are important. But cultures are different and cultural influences are important. The single mothers of whom I posted yesterday were not doing so due their ability to get custody and child support. For some cultures not having a father is just a cultural norm.

We cannot ignore cultural diversity when making law. Not all educational policies fit all cultural groups, for example, equally well. Culturism, the book, also urges us to remember that - as Plato repeatedly stated - laws teach. Laws have cultural and moral impact. It would show poor culturist savvy to ignore the impact of family law on culture. Culturism means we must define, protect, and promote our culture; this is a legitimate policy interest. Culture does not exist independently of policy or government; laws must take culture into account.
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