Let Me to the Marriage of Three Minds Admit Impediments

Family

We seem to be in one of those historical moments upon which historians look back and ask, “How could they let it happen? How did they let it go so far and get so bad so fast?”

My own hot-take on the disaster we’re about to endure is the same as it’s ever been: the west has lost its civilization confidence and our enemies have nothing to fear from an enemy preoccupied in hating itself.

We folded this hand before it was dealt.

So let’s forget about Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, troop movements, naval deployments, and aerial reconnaissance and stick to what really matters: our own suicidal civilizational stupidity.


Pernille Skipper is the LGBT spokesperson for the Danish red-green party Enhedslisten (“The Unity List”). She was also the party’s spokesperson from 2016 through last year.

You can’t expect much logic or reason from an environmentally obsessive communist, but even with that allowance in mind Skipper’s most recent effusion raises the bar a few notches—to the extent that even DR’s fact-checking program “Detector” called her out on it.

Enhedslisten says divorces go better in rainbow families, but doesn’t actually know
Katrine Egemark Balch Clausen, DR.dk, Jan 23

Enhedslisten wants to allow the registration of three to four legal parents for a child instead of just two.

On Twitter, the party’s LGBT spokeswoman, Pernille Skipper, was asked whether she were sure it would be in the best interests of the child, as it could end in a divorce where not just two but four parents came into dispute over the child.

“It’s a shared condition of all families that they can wind up in a dispute. In fact, it often goes better in rainbow families because they talk things through more in advance,” Pernille Skipper responded on Twitter.

That caught Detector’s attention.

But before we get to that, let’s talk about families.

The term “rainbow families” was new to me. It’s apparently now the correct term for what used to be called “non-traditional” families. Neither modifier is very useful: a family is a family and it’s the most important organizational unit in human civilization. No adjectives are going to change that. It cannot be changed. No adjectives are needed.

The overwhelming majority of human families have historically been comprised of a male, a female, and any offspring they may have produced. That’s still true. That will almost certainly always be true, if we intend to survive as a species. Not because most people are bigots but because that’s how nature works.

Life being what it is, however, and people being what they are, there have always been and will surely always be variations in the actual composition of families: parents can die, divorce, remarry, or run away. They can bear or adopt children, or they can do both. Same-sex couples can raise children born or sired by either one of them, or they can adopt unrelated children. There are also polygamous families—typically with a single patriarch having numerous wives and siring children with more than one of them. (A matriarch with multiple husbands is a losing reproductive proposition, since no amount of sires will increase the number of children a single woman can bear in a lifetime.)

There’s no compelling reason for the state to involve itself in the composition of families so long as children are being raised by people who love them and who are competent to tend to their needs. I’ve seen happy, healthy, well-balanced children raised by heterosexual couples, same-sex couples, and by single parents of every possible sexual orientation. (One of the most remarkable families I’ve ever known consisted of two gay men raising a brood of children birthed by one of their sisters, a drug-addicted prostitute who produced children of almost every race.) By the same token, I’m aware that children are neglected and maltreated by just as diverse an assortment of parenting arrangements.

I haven’t met any children raised by more than two parents in the same household (as distinct from children raised by divorced parents who have taken on new partners, a demographic which includes the majority of my closest friends). That doesn’t mean they don’t exist—only that I haven’t come across any. Nor have I seen any data on how such families fare in contemporary western civilization. So I lack any empirical basis for appraising them compared to one- and two-parent families.

There really isn’t much that can be said about the optimal design of the human family beyond Leo Tolstoy’s observation in the opening lines of Anna Karenina that “All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

When parents and children are happy, the configuration is irrelevant.

With all that in mind, let’s get back to Skipper’s statement:

“(Divorce) often goes better in rainbow families because they talk things through more in advance.”

When asked by DR about her basis for that assessment, she responded:

It’s definitely a Twitter hot-take way of saying it. To be entirely correct, I should have said that it is my experience that things can go better in rainbow families because they’ve talked things through beforehand.

DR doesn’t let her off that easily:

So you don’t have any documentation to back that up in terms of research?

No, that’s correct.

In other words: “I just pulled that bigoted hot-take right out of my butt.”

Which is fair enough. Except she persisted: “Those (rainbow families) I’ve met and talked to, they have talked things through in a way that one could in no way imagine that a heterosexual couple does before they form a family. In my opinion, it makes them even better prepared to be a family.”

They—the “rainbow families” she’s met—aren’t merely better at talking through the serious implications of starting a family, but they’re so much better at it that Pernille Skipper thinks it impossible even to imagine a heterosexual couple being anywhere near as good at it. Just her opinion, mind you, but there it is.

That right there is a perfect distillation of everything wrong with identity politics: It’s impossible even to imagine that heterosexuals could plan families as well as homosexuals and transsexuals do.

What a stupid and bigoted thing to say.

People are individuals. Individuals are unique. All of us. That’s why we’re individuals, and not mere meat puppets controlled by some collective hive-mind. Some of us are good at planning, some of us are lousy at it. Some of us are straight, some of us are gay, some of us are bisexual. The distribution of planning skills throughout any population is just as random as the distribution of sexual orientation. They’re entirely unrelated attributes.

That’s where identity politics comes in. It assigns whole sets of attributes to people based on a single facet of their identity, and a very superficial one at that. Which is exactly what bigots and racists do.

I will make one concession to Pernille Skipper: non-heterosexual couples do have to talk about one aspect of reproduction that heterosexual couples don’t: namely, How are we going to do this thing?

That’s a concession I doubt Pernille Skipper would appreciate very much, however, because it’s grounded in the biological fact that the conception of a human child requires male sperm and a female egg brought together through a process that most heterosexuals find both simple and pleasurable. Two men cannot produce a baby. Nor can two women. No amount of totalitarian speech control will ever get me to say otherwise: biology is not a “social construct.”

I’d like to hear Pernille Skipper say that out loud.

I hope the internet hall monitors will note that I’ve already stated that the configuration of a family is a matter of complete indifference to me. I don’t care if Johnny has two moms, two dads, a single mother, or a single father, so long as Johnny is loved and nurtured. But there’s not a Johnny in the world born of just eggs or just seeds: human conception doesn’t work without at least one of each.

That concession aside, Skipper’s statement is still obviously rubbish for the reasons I’ve already covered, all of which are so obvious they surely struck you the moment you read her statements.

Never comfortable to smack idiocy down with common sense, DR turned to the charitable organization Børns VilkĂĄr (“Children’s Conditions”) for their response to Skipper’s idiocy.

According to that organization’s legal adviser Hartelius Dall, “Where we get worried, and sincerely worried, is when you think that you can establish co-existence with more than two parents.”

The Danish word she uses is samvær, which I’ve translated literally but awkwardly as “co-existence.” Given the context she plainly means a family, or at least a household. She means that her organization is worried about people thinking a family can be created with more than two parents.

“The moment there are conflicts,” she goes on, “it becomes very difficult for the child, because there are twice as many adults who feel that they need a bit of the child.”

DR offered that statement to Pernille Skipper by way of a reubuttal.

She shrugged it off:

(They) also have an experience of something,” she says. “They also have no research that it should be worse for a rainbow family with, for example, three parents to separate than it is for a family with two parents.”

Børns Vilkår is expressing concern for the welfare of children based on their experience that child custody fights can get ugly with two parents, and that each additional parent would represent a force multiplier of that ugliness.

Pernille Skipper is expressing optimism for the children of three or more parents because gay and trans people are just so much better than heterosexuals at family planning.

The constitution of a household and configuration of a family are not the state’s business, but it isn’t difficult to think of reasons why why a child should only have a maximum of two legal parents.

Chief among those is that legal parental guardianship is in fact a proxy for biological parenthood: a child born to a heterosexual couple, as the overwhelming majority of children are, has one mother and one father because that’s nature’s model for human reproduction. Not a child alive today, or in all of human history before us, was born to two fathers or two mothers, much less a threesome or foursome of any configuration. Human females don’t deliver litters and human males don’t deliver at all: for a child to have three or more parents is an obvious fiction.

What social need compels us to grant legal sanction to such a fiction? Who is hurt by our not indulging such fantasies?

We can acknowledge that love is love and that three or four people in a loving and committed relationship ought to be allowed to arrange their affairs as they see fit, but why are we compelled to rearrange something as fundamental as the two-parent model to accomodate the individual choice of an infinitesimal minority? To limit legal parenthood to two parents is not to prohibit threesomes and foursomes from raising a family: it’s only to say that they’ll have to decide for themselves who should be the parents of record. That’s hardly unreasonable: no child can be the product of three or four parents—not without a terrifying level of involvement from science and technology—so why pretend they can be?

Pernille Skipper’s argument: Because rainbow people are better at family planning!

That DR even took the trouble to refute that argument would be comical if it weren’t so sad.

When the push for gay marriage was peaking, opponents frequently used the “slippery slope” argument: “if we let men marry men and women marry women,” they argued, “then where does it end? What argument can you raise against bigamy or polygamy once you’ve allowed homosexual marriage?”

That argument was routinely dismissed as crazy talk. I’m probably on the record somewhere scoffing at it myself.

But here we are.

We’ve actually leap-frogged the debate over bigamous or polygamous marriage and jumped straight to a debate on polygamous parenting.

And we’re already in a place where it’s considered hate speech to say that men can’t give birth or that only women menstruate.

Where we’ve got mainstream publications trying to destigmatize pedophilia.

I don’t mean to suggest that a movement to legalize polygamous parenting is in the same moral ballpark as a movement to destigmatize pedophilia, but I do mean to suggest that a culture that’s willing to entertain the former is going to find it difficult to defend itself against the latter. It’s not a slippery slope one slides down, but a cliff one falls off: if we’re going to unburden ourself of any standard that gets in the way of something that someone somewhere wants, then—wait for it—we’ll quickly find we’re incapable of applying any standards at all.

As we continue marching along on our merry parade of “inclusion,” it might be useful now and then to ask why certain things were excluded to begin with.

So why not do ourselves and our children a favor and draw a line here?

A bright, clear line saying “this far and no farther.”

Pedophilia’s bad, only women can have children, and children can only have two legal parents.

I just sent that sentence back in time to 2005 and I got a one-word response:

And?