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Fathers and Developmental Psychopathology (Wiley Series on Personality Processes)
Fathers and Developmental Psychopathology (Wiley Series on Personality Processes)
by Vicky Phares
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from $19.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, except for refusal to look clearly at autism, January 16, 2015
Generally a very good book that summarizes research in this area, very carefully noting problems of "invisibility", i.e. distortions in the design of studies. For example, when a study looks at maternal depression and not paternal depression as having an effect on a child, or paternal alcoholism and not maternal alcoholism, the author notes the distortion.

There is one glaring problem in the book, however, which is that autism is treated differently than other mental disorders. Everything from depression to alcoholism to eating disorders to schizophrenia is examined and all studies show that incidence in the child correlates with incidence of the same or similar disorders in the parents, EXCEPT autism.

I wonder if the author was bullied out of acknowledging parental roles in the problem of autism? Or let herself be so bullied? If so, it is a big problem. Autistic children deserve better than to have this information distorted. And the disease can never be prevented if the facts about its origins are not faced in the way they are for other mental disorders.


Gone Girl: A Novel
Gone Girl: A Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $4.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Catholic projection?, December 29, 2014
This book reads like a Catholic girl (and I do mean girl) projecting her issues. The Catholic Church has been the advocate for centuries of this madonna-whore trope and the patriarchal marriage (male dominant, male infidelity doesn't matter while female infidelity does, sentimentalizing motherhood and not grasping what children really need). It is innately corrupt, counter to biology and human nature and now that paternity has become provable many people, except Catholics and Evangelical Christians, have moved on (not that there aren't still problems in these other cultures).

She doesn't understand the structural problem and so she is turning the female character into a type of "whore" angry over infidelity and not being "known" by her husband. But the roots are deeper and projecting this onto an English ancestry woman named "Elliott" is disingenuous.

Please, own your own Catholic problems, hold the right parties accountable for the right reasons. Projecting these issues will not resolve them.


Another Piece of My Heart
Another Piece of My Heart
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Scapegoating A Child and Still Not Finding That Elephant, December 23, 2014
I was very troubled by the way this book blamed the stepdaughter and scapegoated her and then presented some romanticized conclusion where she had been molded to meet the needs of the narcissistic parents.

I'm afraid Jane Green is still not locating the elephant in the room. I think she doesn't want to, unfortunately.

This book does, however, illustrate some of the challenges of stepfamilies, which as Green notes, many people go into with very romantic and naive notions. I gave the book two stars for this effort to look at least somewhat clearly at an issue that is very troubling. Children are often the ones who suffer the most from divorce and from stepfamily upbringings and Green seems to note this a bit. Her her bizarre conclusion just reinforces the problem, however.

Regarding the elephant in the room, in this book, the fact that the source of the conflict between the stepdaughter and stepmother has something to do with the father is noted, but Green attributes this to his not siding with the stepmother, rather than to the gender stereotyping in the father's position and in the female position.

Green's books can't seem to reach that the real issue lies in the original family set-up with this romanticized idea of the mother's self-sacrificing "love" and sole or primary responsibility for the daily unpaid work of meeting the child's needs and the father's role as breadwinner. While it is important to put a child's needs before your own, BOTH parents need to do this. And from the mother's perspective, taking economic responsibility is putting a child's needs before your own. A woman cannot raise a child to adulthood, which includes taking economic responsibility for yourself, if she is not reaching that herself. Nor can a father function in raising a child to adulthood when he is not meeting the child as his/her level, putting the child's needs before his own. Half the child care is the father's responsibility, whether he does it himself or outsources it, it is on his dime, his time and his responsibility. In this book as in all of Green's books, child care is always outsourced to women and always at the direction of the mother.

Men in these patriarchal/maternalist families that Green keeps illustrating are often very good at getting the females into conflict with each other, whether consciously or subconsciously. The problem is that the mother is not looking the father in the eye, in the original family, because of the family set-up. This doesn't just happen in stepfamilies, it also happens in intact original families with this bad set-up. That's the reason they have such high divorce rates and end up being stepfamilies in the first place.

I also found it alarming that no attention was paid to the child Cal's right to know who his biological father is and to have this determined.

Very disappointing. This may be the last time I try a Jane Green book.


Friends Forever: A Novel
Friends Forever: A Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $5.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Reads As An Outline; Understandable Character Behaviors But Bizarre Character Motivations, December 15, 2014
Some thoughts about Danielle Steel:

1. Her books read like outlines of books. I can imagine a college freshman English professor or even a high school English teacher saying to a student who wrote as Danielle Steel does: "OK, an interesting outline. Now, develop it." Curiously, in Danielle Steel's case, the books get published without this work being done, however.

2. As such, the outlines do raise some interesting issues. She is a decent observer of human behavior but not a decent observer of the motivations for human behavior. This is why her books often have crazy disconnects, like the mother of Izzy, whose motivations are somewhat distorted while her behavior is more understandable.

3. She sentimentalizes motherhood and does not assert that children are the responsibility of fathers as much as mothers (not just for money but for the unpaid work of meeting the child's daily needs, supporting his/her development). She sometimes hints at this distortion harming children, but then she also often sentimentalizes the mothers, such as Connie, who really was not that good a mother if you look at the outcomes of her children. Again, a colossal disconnect on motivations behind the sons' problems being connected to the stay-at-home mothering, lack of equal paternal responsibility for unpaid daily work, but somewhat understandable behavior on the sons' parts.


Fatherhood: Evolution and Human Paternal Behavior
Fatherhood: Evolution and Human Paternal Behavior
by Peter B. Gray
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.06
46 used & new from $4.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, If Somewhat Incomplete, Survey, December 9, 2014
This book is an interesting summary of how fatherhood affects men around the globe and over time. It is fairly good as far as it goes, but it has some serious weaknesses I'll mention below.

The authors start the book with chapters that focus on the evolution to human beings with their longer development outside the womb than other primates, the comparable size of men and women (rather than the males being much bigger as in gorillas), and the loss of the "grasping reflect" that most (if not all other?) primates, such as baby chimpanzees, use to cling to mothers, leaving human infants needing to be carried around for a long time while their human brains grow - a job for, you guessed it, fathers.

Then they look at "men and marriage", "fathers and fertility, "who's the dad", "having it all" and so forth.

Some of the chapters are very good. "Babies on His Brain" was especially good. The authors also draw from Hewlett's interesting work that the original hunter-gatherer human cultures that existed for thousands of years involved men doing substantial child care (p. 37) and the period of agriculture (which also happens to be the period of the patriarchal religions) for the last 5000 years where some men did less child care is a relatively short time.

The parts of the book that are the weakest mostly have to do with the fact the book is entirely about the father. This is curious in that the father is making an investment in the child, regardless of whether he even ever sees the child after s/he is born, and success of the offspring, particularly success at reproducing another generation, would seem to be critical from an evolutionary standpoint.

Also, the authors reach some bizarre conclusions about women' behavior, which is salient because reproduction in humans requires two people and an interaction of any father with a woman. They might want to dialogue more with or even write a book like this with women colleagues to avoid this lacuna and distortion.

Although the authors have a chapter called "Father Involvement, Father Absence, and Children's Outcomes" they don't go into the detail of all the work that's been done in this area (Michael Lamb's anthologies are particularly interesting) in the same way they do in other chapters and they give a curiously superficial assessment, at one point dismissing wholesale these studies as having "selection bias", without detailing what such "selection bias" might be.

In several chapters they discuss interaction with women, with regard to the choice to mate, the sexual behavior of men in late pregnancy and lactation, and the dealings between the parents in the many years it takes then to raise the child to adulthood. They are curiously aloof and deaf to issues of sexual coercion, i.e. women not having a choice in with whom, when or under what terms they mate because of systems that prevent this. They also are remarkably superficial in looking at the motivations of men who seek to go out and have sex with other women when the mother is in late pregnancy and lactation and thus create another baby. And, with regard to the later raising of the child, while they make some very clear assessments that men don't pay child support because they are seeking to give up on the first child(ren) and move on to a second child or set of children (pp. 131-140), and they call out that the attitudes of women that they are primary parents leads to some dysfunctional behavior by men, they again don't track how these things affect the success of the child from an evolutionary standpoint.

The discussions of the fact that paternity is now inexpensively provable (it will soon be available even in very poor parts of the world) tend to gloss over the implications of this for the success of the child (I think they are substantial).

While they put the lie to some evolutionary psychology fallacies by noting that Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, has only 3 children, it is interesting that the average fertility rate of the 30 richest people in the world is actually only about that number. It would only be about 2 if the Catholic ones were excluded (Carlos Slim, Bernard Arnault).

The final chapter, on "Rewriting the Manual", is honest in its confusion, but, again, it is curious that the authors have confusion when there are resources they could have used to deal with some of the issues.

In summary, the book is good but incomplete. The authors' conclusions in some parts of the book are very good and astute, in others they seem pretty off-base. The authors appear able currently only to identify as fathers, and write the book almost entirely about the effects on the father not on the child. While they make a number of personal statements about their own identification and experience as fathers, they do not in the book ever seem to recollect their own childhoods in relation their fathers. It makes the book read as though there sees to be some missing information here and a defense against dealing with that missing information. A psychologist might ask if there is repressed trauma, perhaps chronic emotional neglect or other issues creating a defense against identifying with the experience of the child. In any event, this deficit makes the book weaker than it could otherwise be.

They are, of course, not alone in these issues. Indeed, perhaps the issues of "bad daddery" that cause such inability to recall childhood or identify with a child's experience of a father are widespread enough among people that such issues themselves merit discussion on an anthropological scale. I suspect the fact that paternity now is inexpensively provable has the potential to make a great many childhoods much better and reduce the risks of these traumas, which are so widespread they have become curiously "normalized".


Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World
Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $11.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Candid book, revealing pros/cons of a Gen-X Catholic-identified woman who did not "opt out", October 11, 2014
A relatively candid book by one of the Gen-X women who haven't "given up" or "opted out" (and thank you to them for this from a fellow Gen-X who hasn't). I appreciated this candor and her apparent sincere interest in seeing more women being players in the public space.

I am a bit concerned that her policy advocacy is misguided, however, and will reinforce the very problem to which she objects. In particular, I think she doesn't understand the economics of current federal tax and benefit systems which pay men to neglect their children and women not to take economic responsibility for themselves. Phyllis Schlafly understands these and has been an intense advocate in retaining these substantial subsidies (through the fiction of "income splitting" in the tax code measurement of married couple's income and through the undertaxation/overbenefitting (financed through debt, in part) of sole breadwinner/stay-at-home parent marriages and overtaxation/underbenefitting of two-earner/two-parent marriages in programs like Social Security and Medicare, among other issues). It is curious that Gillibrand wants to add even more social programs (including the ACA which even has medical fictions in the preventive care and reproductive health provision about women being the only parents of children and the only ones responsible for them ), such as paid parental leave and child care, without considering this. Not reforming the Schlafly problem will mean that paid parental leave, and free pre-K, will be just another dysfunctional set of programs funded through yet another regressive tax that erodes the middle class and that creates family agendas that harm children. We've already been through this in Daniel Patrick Moynihan's programs. Men are not using the paid parental leave in California, which is not a surprise to those who follow what is going on with the federal extensive subsidies to sole breadwinners and female primary parents.

I think this may be a religious issue, because of Catholicism's focus on "maternalism" (sometimes related to "Marianism" or, in recent years "New Feminism" in Catholicism), which is a contrast with the US (and historically Northern European, and British) view that children are the responsibility of both parents (we have a Constitution based in "rights and responsibilities of person and citizen", for example, rather than the "responsibilities of woman" of Ireland or "rights of man" such as France). While some Protestants do this as well (in particular, Elizabeth Warren, who trumpets her Methodism, does not see children as the responsibility of both parents), the Catholic left, such as the Center for American Progress, is particularly visible at creating problems. Gillibrand unfortunately reads as a left wing version of Phyllis Schlafly in her failure to see men as equally responsible for meeting the needs of their children, unfortunately.

Women in Scotland just rejected independence from the UK even when offered a child care plan like that offered by Gillibrand; I suspect this is because they are a country that has stood for centuries for the view that children are the responsibility of both parents (defending against and in opposition to the Catholic "virgin birth" / Marianist ideology). Also, the Scottish Parliament eviscerated the child care proposal's bad math; a lack of math is also visible in Gillibrand's policy advocacy on these issues.

I think the best mechanism for reform in the US is far simpler. Now that paternity is inexpensively provable, the Constitution can be more fully enforced to recognize a "right of a child" to have both parents take equal responsibility (for both money and child care) for him/her as a baseline. Programs should be reformed to have that be the baseline, not a baseline of female primary responsibility for children, as Gillibrand is proposing. To reach full adult personhood and fulfill the rights and responsibilities of citizenship contemplated by the Constitution, this equal responsibility is what founding peoples of the US intended (particularly in the Delaware Valley - see the book "Not All Wives: Women of Colonial Philadelphia", for example).

Also, to have successful social programs of any kind, even the current Social Security and Medicare, much less the new ones Gillibrand wants to add without reforming the "reverse parental leave" embedded in them, we need to deal with the illegal immigration issue. The US and Canada are the only countries with social programs that have not repealed "jus soli" citizenship in favor of "jus sanguinis" citizenship, where a child is a citizen only if one (or in some cases) both his/her parents are citizens. The social programmatic Nordic countries that often seem to be called up as models in these situations never really had "jus soli" (which is a Roman law concept) at all to begin with.

This will also help fix the problem of the ginormous, $19 trillion debt being rapidly shifted to the shoulders of Gen-X and younger people. Much of this debt has been driven directly or indirectly by these unconstitutional subsidies to men to neglect their children and women not to take economic responsibility for themselves (for all levels of family income).

I am not really interested in a Gen-X Catholic gender face-off between Paul Ryan and Kirsten Gillibrand - and, even worse, the likely resulting agreement between them which reinforces dysfunctional gender stereotypes rejected a thousand years ago in the Anglo-American Constitutional history, and particularly so in the Enlightenment Era, post-Glorious Revolution context in which the US Constitution was written. The way of a significant portion of the US has always been equal rights/equal responsibilities and this has been foundational to the success of the US as a country (and every time the US strays from this, significant problems ensue).


Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family
Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family
Price: $7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book, albeit with a few problems., September 30, 2014
This is a interesting and needed book illustrating the decline in fertility rates among people who actually want to have children, and will probably even have the money and other things necessary to do this, but can't find a way to do it. The author highlights that the "baby bust" can't be addressed without men taking more responsibility for children, which is a view confirmed by other developed countries, where the fertility rates have risen back up again when the majority of families become dual-earner/dual-carer (often going through a transitional phase first, where fertility rates drop, after first being a majority patriarchal/maternalist family country).

The author's basic premise, recognition of the problem and concept of the 3 principles to follow for change and "four-way wins" are all good.

The author identifies change in men from Gen-X to Millennials to a recognition that being a father takes time and energy and so the ones who want to pursue their careers full-bore are saying they don't want to have children. He sees this as an outstanding maturation in men and I generally agree (and it certainly explains why I, as a Gen-X woman, found it difficult to find a Gen-X man who recognized this responsibility). I do wonder if they are they really not having children? Or will they be "one-night stands" and "sperm donors" so they can reproduce without any obligation?

The author notes that Gen-X men saw their careers as most important and expected their wives to do all the unpaid work of the family, while Gen-X women expected both sexes to do both responsibilities equally. This has changed with Millennial men, who now expect their wives to work, and among the Millennial men, those who plan to have children expect to take some personal responsibility for unpaid work.

The book has some weaknesses, however, that are distracting and I suspect are one reason it has not been read as much as one would hope.

I hesitate to criticize this book because it is a needed study, however, the bias is I think going to get in the way of solving the problem that the author is calling out:

1. The author bases the book on surveys he took of Wharton students in 1992 (Gen-Xers) and 2012 (Millennials). He summarizes the surveys through his own interpretations. The survey results are not visible to the reader (even on the Wharton Work/Life website), nor are any summaries, such as charts showing percentages of student responses. For this reason, I questioned some of his interpretation of the responses. (I am a Gen-X female Ivy League law grad so am a bit like the Gen-X group he surveyed). Also, it would have been interesting to see more of the students' responses.

One of these that particularly stood out to me were his statements that "Compared to their counterparts in 1992, more women now are inclined to believe that dual career-relationships work best if one partner is less involved in his or her career. . . . While more Millennial men are eschewing traditional gender roles, more Millennial women are reverting to them, with both genders' views meeting in the middle. . . . Young women in 2012 were significantly more likely than their 1992 counterparts to accept a certain level of career inequality as the price of successful relationships" (p. 54-55) " [w]omen we surveyed in 2012 were also more willing to accept either unequal career involvement in their relationships with life partners or no children at all because, as a number of them reported , they are aware (more than their Gen-X counterparts seemed to have been) that someone needs to be with children when they are young.. . . . Our study showed that men and women are now more aligned about how to decide who in a dual-career relationship and when they should do so." (p.68)

The Millennial women who want to have children see the man's career as more important, according to Friedman's data. Friedman calls this a change in women's views (from Gen-X women expecting equal responsibility) that will "help." Decline in religious observance among women (but not men) is repeatedly cited as a reason women are not having children, and the author says they need some other vehicle to understand the "meaning" of their lives.

This all starts to sound as though the author is defended - and defending men - against recognizing the implications for children of men not taking equal personal responsibility for meeting their children's needs. While he acknowledges that some of these Millennial women's views are likely being distorted by watching the Gen-X women opting out and thus not seeing a workable model, he seems to think this distortion is good!

It may have been beyond the scope of the book to go into detail about the child development issues, but I do think he might want to consider them as a reason it is not positive that Millennial women are backing off expectations of equal responsibility; Gen-X women (and I as one of them) were doing this for child development reasons that are important. Some books that are very good on this are Dorothy Dinnerstein's "The Mermaid and the Minotaur", Kyle Pruett's books, Terence Real's books, John Badalament's "The Modern Dad's Dilemma", Carolyn Pape Cowan and Philip Cowan's books and articles.

Also, one Gen-X couple wrote a book called "Equally Shared Parenting" that is good.

2. The author, despite being a professor at an institution renowned for financial expertise, falls back on pablum of taxpayer-funded "paid parental leave" and "world class child care" and that "private-sector leaders should encourage government sponsorship of excellent child care for all Americans [I think he means United States citizens?]."

With all due respect, these are EXACTLY the things that Wharton-educated fathers will eschew - and thus these will have no effect on addressing the problem he mentions. They will not take paid parental leave because the leave subsidy is much less than they receive, both in their basic salaries and through subsidies in the federal tax system (through income splitting) and the benefit system (through Social Security and Medicare) to sole breadwinners with non-earning or low-earning wives that pay men NOT to take such leave. These subsidies are funded through debt and through the taxes paid by two-earner families and single people. He seems to be oblivious to these structural finance issues.

Also, "world class child care" is a phrase that particularly grates on me, in how it appears to be a defense mechanism against fathers doing equal care (as the Gen-X women knew their children needed). And the funding for such a state-sponsored child care system will not likely be paid for by the owners of companies (such as the Walton heirs), they will be paid for by working middle and upper-middle class people, in the same way Social Security and Medicare are (there is no capital or property tax to support these programs and the progressive benefits to low-wage Walmart workers, although there was a small capital tax added in the ACA for Medicare). The paid parental leave programs in California and New Jersey are also structured this way, a regressive tax with progressive benefits to the poor, so the entire burden is carried by white collar workers, such as Wharton grads.

And, predictably, men are not taking the paid paternity leave now offered in California because the federal subsidies NOT to take it that I mentioned vastly outweigh it.

For these reasons, I think what is really needed is a fundamental-rights-of-the-child constitutional concept, that every child, as a baseline has the right to have his/her biological parents equally responsible for him or her. This would then create a floor under every child, and the marketplace. Parents can negotiate for another allocation of responsibility, but in the absence of such allocation the child has the right to equal responsibility. You can still have adoptive parents and single parents but this would require consent by such parties that they are assuming responsibility from one or both biological parents.

This would then mean that all our tax and benefit systems would be built around this premise (half the child care would be the father's responsibility, for example, whether he does it himself or outsources it, and the tax system would be structured to give half the child-care credit to each parent, regardless of that parent's income), instead of being built around a sole breadwinner and female primary parent as it currently is. Tax subsidies to sole breadwinners via the economic fiction of income splitting to sole breadwinners by two-earner families (and debt) would be unconstitutional (which they already are, in my opinion, but would be more so).

Also, to have successful social programs of any kind, we need to deal with the illegal immigration issue. The US and Canada are the only countries with social programs that have not repealed "jus soli" citizenship in favor of "jus sanguinis" citizenship, where a child is a citizen only if one (or in some cases) both his/her parents are citizens. The Nordic countries never really had "jus soli" (which is a Roman law concept) at all to begin with.

The illegal immigration issue is important because (a) the progressive benefits to immigrants are paid for by the regressive taxes on the two-earner Wharton-grad type families, and also have a more general eroding effect on the middle classes and immigrants take more than one generation before they are paying in taxes what they are taking in benefits because they earn such low wages and have larger amounts of children, (b) social programs encourage illegal immigration because the employer avoids the social program taxes (such as payroll taxes) on the illegal immigrants and (c) immigrants poll in the vast majority that they think patriarchal/maternalist marriages are needed (and their view of the man as being a worker only is one reason they are able to beat out US citizens for work), thus stalling reform of taxes and social programs to recognize equal parental responsibility.


To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party
To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party
by Heather Cox Richardson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.22
55 used & new from $13.11

22 of 112 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars While there are a lot of problems with the Republican Party, this author doesn't begin to understand the history, September 21, 2014
The author does not understand a number of the issues at stake both at the founding of the US and in the pre-Civil War Era. Her misunderstanding is most glaring in her lack of grasp of the histories and writings of people like Susan B. Anthony, Anna Dickinson or Thaddeus Stevens, during the pre-Civil War Period, or more modern incarnations, such as in the l920s in Herbert Hoover and Alice Paul. She also misses founding thinking of the US Delaware Valley (where the land was bought, not taken, from the Native Americans) that provided the roots of the GoP, such as with Susannah Wright and John Dickinson.

She therefore mischaracterizes the GoP founding ideology and then views it thereafter though a muddy lens.

She misses key aspects of the early GoP mistakes and conflicts, such as Horace Greeley's and Frederick Douglass' failure to grasp the link between equal rights and responsibilities on the basis of sex and on the basis of race, even as Thaddeus Stevens. Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Anthony did have more depth of understanding (Stevens wrote the 14th Amendment). These mistakes by the Greeley/Douglass cohort then contributed to segregation and it then taking many decades, until Brown v. Board of Ed., for the the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to be enforced with regard to racial discrimination in fundamental rights and responsibilities.

She makes big mistakes by conflating slavery and illegal immigration, two very different phenomena, with different Constitutional enforcement meanings.

Also, as with far too many people today (more on this below), she garbles repeatedly (a) the terms "America" (and "American") with "United States" and (b) the "rights and responsibilities of person and citizen" of the Constitution with the "rights of man" of the Declaration. She completely misses the distinction between (a) fundamental rights and responsibilities (and redistribution based upon failure to observe this, such as with slavery) and (b) redistribution per se. Women GoP members don't figure at all in her evidence and history. She is weirdly male-identified; women don't exist for her (even though she is ostensibly one) except in their need for "health care".

The Constitution is the governing document of the United States (not of "America"). The Declaration of Independence was a declaration of war by the American colonies against the King - and especially the British Parliament - for straying from the "rights and responsibilities of person" view of the Glorious Revolution, when the English Bill of Rights was established and William and Mary were asked to rule jointly in contract with Parliament. And some of the framers refused to sign the Dec because of its basis in "rights of man" not "rights of person". The word "America" was just used in relation to Britain (not meaning "America" as a separate country, just the American colonies). After the Constitution was ratified, "America" had no meaning other than as the set of continents on which there are many countries, including but not limited to the United States.

Here's an example of what she doesn't understand about the "rights and responsibilities" thinking of the original GoP and the connection between private property and such egalitarian values, not just of rights, but of responsibilities. First, it was not really about "men being free", in the first place, the words used in the 14th Amendment (and in the Constitution generally) are "person" and "citizen" not men (the word "man" isn't anywhere in the Constitution except in the 15th Amendment, and then only as a counting device). Second, men hold responsibilities along with their rights, as do women.

To provide a specific illustration: if my parents have too many children and there is not enough farmland for all the children to have a family of their own, and/or if they disinherit me because I am a second son or because I am female, that is an issue I need to take up with my parents, not with the US government (or taxpayers other than my parents) to pay me through some baseless redistribution. Or I need to seek remedy from the siblings to whom they did give my share of property if my parents are not around. I have no redistributionist right to take my neighbor's land or property (or my parents' neighbor's land or property) because of this failure of my parents to observe the responsibilities of citizenship, having too many children and throwing their children out to become the burden of and demand things from other people (or prey on the poor, or children, as the convents and monasteries of the celibate Catholics do - or their more modern incarnations). Or, in the case of slavery, if I import slaves, or buy them, I am liable for the harm to the rights of the male and female slaves and the failure by me to observe the responsibilities of citizenship; the man or woman or married couple with farmland in another part of the country that does not involve slavery is not responsible.

I recommend reading Karin Wulf's, "Not All Wives: Women of Colonial Philadelphia", Arianne Chernock's "Men and the Making of Modern British Feminism", etc.

Can't help but see this as part of the complete miseducation in Catholic schools that has become an epidemic in the United States. Many of the GoP have these issues as well. In fact, one might say that their current Roman Empire / Catholic identification (and evangelical Christianity) is what has separated the GoP from anything good it has ever done. We now have a 6/9 self-identifying-as-Catholic Supreme Court going through these bizarre contortions to redefine common English words such as "person" (into the word "man", for example, in the case of the 5 Catholic male justices, in the style of the also-Catholic-identified Roger Taney Dred Scott decision) or to say that women don't have responsibilities of citizenship (Sotomayor). And we have Catholic politicians on the right and the left doing things like charging women extra taxes and redistributing them to men (Phyllis Schlafly) and making medical fictions that women are the only biological parents of children and the only ones responsible for them the "health care law of the land" (as in the ACA reproductive health and preventive care provisions) (Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius).

Whenever people use the term "America", one can almost be sure they have an issue with something other than the United States that they are not articulating correctly. For example, many Latinos have issues with the legacy of the Roman/Spanish Empire, and with the Pope and the Vatican, Catholic-based overlords (such as Carlos Slim), or even just their own Catholic fathers or mothers, who had too many children and/or did not parent them. Or this may be true with Italian or Irish Catholics. And they often displace these issues onto the United States rather than do the honest work of holding the correct parties responsible and asserting it to them.
Comment Comments (32) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 13, 2014 4:32 PM PST


Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect
Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect
Price: $8.49

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful, September 18, 2014
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Great job. The author identifies a latent issue and untangles it. She provides constructive suggestions for dealing with it.

My only constructive criticism is that she gives a bit short shrift to the importance of the father doing this on a par with the mother, although she does mention this at several points.

And I find it troubling that she felt she had to defend this concept so much (that's not her fault, more a colossal failure of wider culture and political economy).


The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate
The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Raises some good questions but, misses some key dynamics and is frustratingly truncated in its analysis, September 13, 2014
This book, written in a rambling, disorganized style, raises some good questions but is frustratingly truncated in its analysis.

The author misses some issues that are fairly commonly understood regarding (a) evolution of 21st Century societies, (b) paternity becoming inexpensively provable, (c) fertility rates in "advanced" societies versus those in "developed" societies and those in "developing societies" (which I'll explain more below).

The author loosely organizes the book into regions of the world and presents what appear to be stream-of-consciousness assessments of the role geography played in historical events in those regions. He doesn't try to predict the future but does highlight the current dynamics in some places.

Two points he makes that I think are important and have been made by some others:

1. The Asiatic countries that are acquiring technological (including weaponry) power do not have the sort of paternalistic, world police attitude the US (and the legacy of the British Empire in the form of the UN) have had, for better or worse. They do not express ideas of cooperation with neighboring countries, or any sense of responsibility for helping with conflict in other regions of the world.

2. The US would have been better served to focus on Central America than to invade Iraq and the Central American immigration (majority illegal) to the US has a very different character than any predecessor waves of immigration, except perhaps the big waves of Irish Catholic and Italian Catholic immigration around the turn of the 19th Century, who were united in their religion if not beyond that. As the author notes, this Catholic immigration was a significant challenge to the US which, particularly in the Northern colonies had been founded with a vast majority Protestant Northern European value system, which was in conflict with (and even based in "protest" of) the Catholic system. Much of the 20th Century political conflicts were about this issue; the Equal Rights Amendment (which Alice Paul thought should not have even been needed as it was already embedded in the Constitution) was defeated by a Catholic daughter of immigrants, Phyllis Schlafly. Antonin Scalia's canon law redefinitions of the Constitution have contributed to some problems of lawlessness and huge amounts of protest from lawyers. Left-wing Catholic ideology was used in Moynihan's welfare policies and the Pelosi-Sebelius Affordable Care Act deeming women the only biological parents of children and the only parents responsible for them.

Nonetheless, as the author also notes, the current wave, which is also based in Catholicism, is more overwhelming than those earlier waves, for a number of reasons. The current immigrants, most of whom are arriving illegally as the US strives to limit such immigration in favor of a more diverse (and some would say more deserving in the sense of political asylum) immigration pool, are relatively a much larger group and much less interested in adopting the values of the US than these predecessor groups (the lack of interest in learning English is one salient example of this). This has ramifications for the US ending up merged with Central America or perhaps the Southwestern US states breaking off with the Northern Mexican states into a new country.

Now for the frustrating part of the book:

The book cites Freya Stark as its only female source. All other authorities are male. This is a bit bizarre.

The reasons the research of women is particularly relevant are manifold, but the primary one that has to do with Central America has to do with the facts that (a) fertility rates in a society tend to decrease as it is transitioning from majority patriarchal/maternalist families to more egalitarian marriages, (b) paternity becoming inexpensively provable tends to contribute to both this development and the decline in fertility rates and (c) fertility rates then rise as a country adjusts to majority egalitarian families. During the transitional phase, when a country may have majority "transitional" families, divorce rate are highest and the country can struggle with political instability, vulnerability to illegal immigration, and attack from religious fundamentalism (both internally and from abroad). Divorce rates are lowest in the egalitarian families and second highest in the patriarchal/maternalist marriages.

The US is currently in this "transitional" phase, where the majority of US citizen families are "transitional" while Central America is getting closer to entering the transitional phase (if the Catholic Church does not block it). Fertility rates in Mexico, for example, are down to 2.3 (from 6.8 in 1970); in the US among non-Hispanics, they are below 1.8.

For the US to move to a more advanced state, it must deal with the discrimination against egalitarian families (or two-earner/two-parent families) in federal policies. All the federal policies are built around a sole breadwinner and female primary parent (including now the ACA as well); this is subsidizing the patriarchal/maternalist style families (disproportionately concentrated in the Central American immigrant populations) in the form of debt, reducing the fertility rates of the US citizen population, and preventing the US reaching the advanced state. Most of the $19 trillion federal debt can be directly or indirectly traced to the subsidies to the patriarchal/maternalist families, which are unconstitutional.

Preventing illegal immigrants from abandoning their countries may also help Central American countries move to a developed state, where the middle class is broader. Then they may eventually move through to an "advanced" state as well.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 2, 2014 5:48 PM PDT


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