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View Diary: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Club: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (part 1) (216 comments)

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  •  One of my life desires derives from Moon (11+ / 0-)

    I've always wanted to have a line marriage. I really love the idea of an ongoing relationship, where resources are pooled for long periods of time. In practice, the best I've come up with is a poly relationship, where there are four of us adults, raising one child. We are currently living under 3 roofs, but dropping to 2 soon, with the eventual plan to live together under one.

    •  Line Marriage = 100% inheritance TAX (4+ / 0-)

      Having had my own experiences with Polyfidelitious theory and Alternative Lifesytyle family living ...  I wish you well -- and hope you have more success than the Hippy Generation had with this stuff.   One hopes that wiccan communities may offer a more stable and supportive cultural setting than the left liberal young university faculty cliques of the '70s did.

      Having "been there" myself,  I suspect that the GLBTetc Community is right ... all the love and commitment between two people, in secret, without official recognition by the larger community, is NOT enough to hold  couples together over decades -- much less holding larger adult-peer groupings together.

      And, having considered deeply of this topic, I think Line Marriage to be one of the least practical and least humane of the Alternative Family experiments. It is probably even a little less good than patriarchal polygamy ... and nowhere near as good as Oneida Community-style "Group Marriage."  

      What Lord RAH had in common with many other Alternative Lifestylers  of his generation,  including Robert Rimmer, James Ramey, Michael Murphy, even George and Nina O'Neill, was a well developed sense of  how The Nuclear Family needed to be adapted  to meet adult needs for self actualization -- but with little attention given to  how children fit in and/or react to to  those adaptations.  

      To be fair: the early theorists of Kibbutz lifestyle and the anthropologists such as Lionel Tiger, who studied their communties lso tended to gloss over Child Issues and Women Issues. Their assumption was that children were both  tabla rasa recipients of Culture, AND miniature adults.

      What one should notice immediately concerning Line Marriage (even as idealized by Lord RAH) is that Property IS concentrated in "The Family" ... but the biological children of the Family members do NOT inherit -- and do not expect to inherit.  Nor do they have enough power within the family to assert claims on what would constitute "a suitable portion" to be settled on them when incest taboo and personal autonomy issues would tend to push the biological children out of the family.

      Stereotypically: The Fathers of such arrangements are less distressed by "losing" their offspring than are the Mothers.  Also, stereotypically, Sons are more likely to "opt out" than are "daughters" -- again a phenomenon more agreeable to Fathers than to Mothers.

      •  Thanks, Mike :-) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Maggie Pax, quarkstomper

        (someone had to)

      •  Property in the Line Marriage (0+ / 0-)

        I hadn't thought about the property and inheritance ramifications of Heinlein's Line Marriage before.  That makes sense.

        I had noticed that considering the high male-to-female ratio in Luna, the Davis family has an awful lot of fems in it.  Heinlein does mention that the family did get some snarky comments from neighbors when they added Ludmilla, the youngest wife, to the family, breaking the traditional pattern, and that they made up for it later by adding a couple guys later on.  But they still have, at least by my reckoning, about an equal number of men and women.

        "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

        by quarkstomper on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 12:45:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, the Davises of Luna are (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quarkstomper

          agricultural aristocrats in the Lunatic scheme of things.  ( "Davis family", get it.)  

          And, in Heinlein's worlds, whatever rules apply in the societies he imagines,  are never actually binding on the characters the reader is being invited to admire.

          Look ... Lord RAH was who and what he was -- a man of his time who wrote books for boys of his time.  Knowing just a little bit more about a topic than most of his readers was,  (as he reveals in The Cat Who Walked Through Walls) a big part of his stock-in-trade as a professional writer.

          When RAH was perfecting his craft,  there were NO "fem fen" to speak of . Male fen, in general were high IQ dateless, clueless, and athletically challenged boys -- the sort who LOVE strong older male characters who can solve most problems by pulling a blaster from under their kilt.

          Heinlein, like his contemporaries  Rand, Hubbard and Crowley believed

          "Do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the Law."

          It was a generation later that  post-Bucklander covens  added the "So you do no harm ..."

        •  Seed money (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quarkstomper, AdamSelene

          In Heinlein's line or Howard marriages (whatever the novel), children are cared for and supported until they are grown (generally about age 18), then they are given "seed" money and sent on their way.

          "Shared pain is pain lessened; shared joy is joy increased."--Spider Robinson

          by Maggie Pax on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 05:30:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly: "sent on their way" being the expectation (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quarkstomper, Ellid

            And in both Heinlein's fictions and Jim Ramey's supposedly factual account of a (French) Line Marriage ... the superannuated children essentially disappear from the Family's narrative when they do "opt out."  

            The context of this sub-thread had to do with someone having a "desire" for Line Marriage in the Real World ... and in fact, working towards a 4-adult 1 child family arrangement in his own life.

            So,  one just has to sift out whether they think that in the RealWorld, WITHOUT having the Omniscient Narrator AND a sentient supercomputer on their side ...  how well does "18-and-out" work -- for the Kids that is.

            Heinlein's post-juvenile novels are adolescent wet dreams ... much like Ian Fleming's.  Females just don't count for much in those fantasies, except as Mothers or eager collaborators in the recreational sex act.  

            Personally, I think young men can enjoy these fantasies without taking, or inflicting  too much harm.  "You can do ANYTHING in a cartoon !"

            But as a model/inspiration  for an Alternative Lifestyle?

            We have some  examples of how "eighteen and out" works in real life: the Foster Care systems of most States ... and the polygamous enclaves of the Southwest.  

            IMO:  Bob Heinlein was a stone cold sexist. And if not actually a "pig",  certainly a male chauvinist.  So many of the men of the "Greatest Generation" WERE.  And those were the men who wrote the foundations of the "Human Potential" movements of the 60s and 70s ... with precious little concern for women's or children's issues.    ( Not that the United Nations, then or now,  has really paid much more attention ... )

            My personal experience is that crypto-sexism pops up even among remarkably intelligent, educated and sophisticated people.  Often it is  no more overtly oppressive than assuming that since men and women are EQUAL,  it therefore follows that what men desire is what ought to make women happy.  But even so, it has been the second greatest disruptor of Complex Marriages,  right after income  inequalities among the partners.  

            Come to think of it, those two challenges are often so intimately interwoven that it's very difficult to completely figure out which is which, much less what to do about them -- not that diadic nuclear families are immune to either problem either.

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