Family Vs. Community

From an old thoughtful post by TGGP, [quoting Steven Pinker]:

Every political and religious movement in history has sought to undermine the family. The reasons are obvious. Not only is the family a rival coalition competing for a person’s loyalties, but it is a rival with an unfair advantage: relatives innately care for one another more than comrades do. They bestow nepotistic benefits, forgive the daily frictions that strain other organizations, and stop at nothing to avenge wrongs against a member. Leninism, Nazism, and other totalitarian ideologies always demand a new loyalty “higher” than, and contrary to, family ties. So have religions from early Christianity to the Moonies […]

Successful religions and states eventually realize they have to coexist with families, but they do what they can to contain them, particularly the most threatening ones. The anthropologist Nancy Thornhill has found that the incest laws of most cultures are not created to deal with the problem of borther-sister marriages; brothers and sisters don’t want to marry to begin with. Although brother-sister incest may be included in the prohibition and may help to legitimize it, the real targets of the laws are marriages that threaten the interests of the lawmakers. The rules ban marriages among more distant relatives like cousins, and are promulgated by the rulers of stratified societies to prevent wealth and poewr from accumulating in families, which could be future rivals.

This fits with my interpretation of the World Values Survey as saying that the two main dimensions distinguishing cultural values today is (1) wealth and (2) “families and personal relations” versus “larger community health and threats.” I suggested:

The central Asia history of invasion after invasion is deeply ingrained in their culture, while island and geographically peripheral cultures were less obsessed by it. It is ironic that the cultures like Russia with values focused on competing against other communities lost the last big community conflict, the Cold War.  Have China, Korea, Japan, etc. learned their lesson about over-centralization, enough to win the next big conflict?

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