Wednesday, July 28, 2021

64. Personality in the Post Nuclear Family — Demographic Doom Podcast Transcript

Below is the transcript for my Demographic Doom Podcast episode #64, released on 28 July 2021. The "home page" for this episode—with annotations, links, corrections and a place for comments—is the YouTube version (40 minutes). The audio version is housed at Podbean and is available on most major podcast platforms, including iTunes and Google Podcasts. The main website for this project is Twitter: @DemographicDoom. Glenn Campbell home page: See bottom for notes on this transcript and how it was generated.

I'm Glenn Campbell. I call myself a demographic philosopher. I'm looking at life and trying to predict the future through the lens of demography, or the study of human populations.

In this episode, I'm going to talk about personality—the personality of individuals—and how this relates to the post-nuclear family. The post-nuclear family, of course, is my hypothetical system for raising a bunch of kids by a bunch of adults. Instead of two adults raising two or three kids, I would have at least eight adults raising between 9 and 18 kids. So how does personality relate to this? Well, personality turns out to be the most vital issue for success or failure of this project, most importantly who you choose to be your parents. We have these eight people who somehow must cooperate in the long term on raising children, and it's all keyed on their individual personalities and whether their individual personalities are compatible with this system.

Although this this podcast is about demography and large numbers of people, I'm very cautious not to promote the post-nuclear family as a solution to any country's demographic problems. The reason is because the vast majority of adults in any society are simply not suited to this system. You can't take eight adults off the street, throw them together and expect them to cooperate on parenting. On the long term, it's just not going to work, and that's simply because there are so many defective adults out there. There are so many mental illnesses, so many self-destructive personalities out there, that you just can't pick people randomly. You have to be very selective. The whole success and failure of this operation depends on somebody making wise decisions about which personalities should be allowed to join this club.

There are also other aspects of personality. Personality is going to emerge in the children you raise. If they come from diverse genetic backgrounds, you're going to have a lot of diverse personalities—people who are capable of a lot of different things. Within your group of children, there could be toxic personalities. It’s entirely possible that one of your children, despite all your good efforts, turns out to be a bad egg in one way or another. 

We've also got to teach our children about personality, because if you come grow up in a very warm and functional family, and you go out into the real world, you're going to find there's a lot of dysfunctional people out there. In raising our children, we've got to prepare our them for the dysfunction and the downright evil that exists out there.

But we're going to start with a question of “What is personality?” A personality is a person's habitual way of interacting with the world. If you take a person and plop them down in some social situation, they're going to mold that social situation according to their personality. They're going to respond to that situation according to their personality.

For example, someone who is prone to addiction is going to find something to be addicted to, even if you take away one drug or another. If you take away their heroin, then they'll turn to alcohol. That is a factor of their personality, their style of operating, that they're susceptible to addiction, whereas [some] other personalities would have no interest in any kind of addictive substance.

So that's one simple example, but personality runs through everything a person does. Basically, it is assumed that once someone reaches adulthood—let's say their mid-20s—personality is pretty much fixed. It can evolve slowly over time, but you, from the outside, can't change someone's personality after they reach their 20s.

Personality is a product of both Nature and Nurture. There is experimental evidence showing that genes play a significant role in someone's long-term style, and this can be tested in identical twins. If you have identical twins raised apart, even though they have different life experiences, there are certain factors in their personality that are likely to be repeated. That's pretty clear evidence of a genetic component in personality. 

Yet of course early life experiences are also vital. The post-nuclear family has a lot of control over those early life experiences. the whole design of the family, the design of the child rearing unit, is intended to promote good personality styles—cooperative people, people who can follow rules.

When the fertility of the original founding parents runs out and you have to go looking in the world for egg and sperm, it would be irresponsible not to take into account the personalities of the people who produced those egg and sperm. If you've got one psychopath and they marry another psychopath, there's a good chance their children are going to have many of those same defects. If we can clearly identify personality traits, that would be a factor in deciding which sperm unites with which egg.

It's not so much that you're trying to build a master race or you're trying to promote genius. You're just trying to eliminate certain genetic factors that might contribute to a defective personality. Schizophrenia, for example, has a strong genetic component, and if both the mother and the father of an [embryo] have schizophrenia, there's a good chance the children are going to have schizophrenia, so that's something that we have to eliminate from our gene pool when deciding to have children. 

So how would we do this? How do we select for personalities? Well it turns out to be a lot easier than it seems. You've no doubt had toxic romantic relationships. You found yourself working for a toxic boss, and it kind of struck you out of the blue because you weren't prepared for it. Maybe you grew up in a rational environment without these toxic influences, and you just weren't prepared for them, so you might have ended up marrying a toxic personality—as I did some 20 years ago—and you have to learn the hard way how personalities work, how mental illness works. 

But that doesn't have to be. There's a lot of scientific and reproducible information on personalities and on mental illnesses, and if you pay attention to it, you can detect difficult personalities at a very early stage. If you're trying to form one of the first post-nuclear families, you're trying to pull together eight people, you can hire a clinical psychologist to review your candidates. This is just like reviewing candidates for an astronaut core or a Biospherian core. Remember my podcast about the Biospherians [Episode 58] who locked themselves in a greenhouse for two years. There can be a process by which you can detect personalities that are not going to work in the long run.

There's all sorts of systems for this. Probably the most popular personality evaluating system is called the MBTI. I think it's called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It's popular at parties. It's popular to take the test and see what kind of personality you are and talk about how this personality interacts with the world and interacts with others. It is not very scientifically reliable. Most [scientists] in the personality field kind of dismiss it. 

I kind of dismiss it, except for one thing—in that I’ve taken the test, and I’ve come up with a type. There are 16 types under this system and my type is called INTJ (I-N-T-J) and I'm supposedly a very rare personality type who's known by the shorthand as "The Architect". He's the mastermind. He's likes to work on abstract projects and isn't too influenced by social pressures. The more I read about this personality type, the more I realize it matches me to a “T”. Although I'm ready to dismiss the whole MBTI system—Boy!—they got me nailed as to what kind of personality I am. 

I'm the sort of personality who would work on a project for years without any social reinforcement—which is exactly what I’ve been doing in this Demographic Doom project. In my post-nuclear family, I'm working on it in total isolation. I don't give a damn whether anybody likes my system or praises me for it. It’s an abstract thing, and I'm looking at how to do it right, and that's characteristic of The Architect, the INTJ.

So I embrace that, but I reject pretty much everything else about the MBTI system, because I just don't understand it. For example, what is the difference between Intuitive and Sensory? I just don't get most of those criteria. I don't understand how this thing is arrived at—but it's actually a pretty good starting point, in that it takes a stab at classifying people according to their personality. I just think that there are better ways to classify people.

The more scientific and reproducible system is called the Big Five personality traits. We break down personality into only five major factors. These factors can be remembered by the acronym “OCEAN”— 

“O” stands for openness to experience: whether or not a person is open to new experiences or just wants to do things the same way they've always done.

“C” stands for “conscientiousness”: whether or not you are good at fulfilling your duty. [Do you] feel responsible to fulfill your duty or you just blow things off?

“E” refers to "extraversion", versus introversion. Are you a people person or are you more likely to turn inward, think about ideas and keep to yourself. It basically comes down to where you find your strength in the course of a day. Do you find your strength by being with a lot of people, or do you find your strength by being alone to recover from people? I would be more on the introversion scale. I enjoy people in small doses, but I come back to my own isolation when I want to return to center and find my strength.

The next one is “A” or “agreeableness”. How easy is this person to get along with? How agreeable are they? Obviously, a very agreeable person is going to be very flexible. They want to work with others. They want to see things move smoothly in social circumstances. Someone who is low in agreeableness is very difficult to get along with, is always creating new barriers and new dramas. So that's agreeableness.

“N” is “neuroticism”: how emotionally reactive you are to stimuli and how overreactive you are to some things. Someone who's high in neuroticism is going to be very picky. They're going to be very difficult to get along with because they have all sorts of [self-imposed] restrictions. They don't like this. They don't like that. They freak out about things. Someone who's low in neuroticism is pretty cool, pretty flexible and doesn't overreact to things. They still have emotions, but they have their emotions in check, and they can see things in perspective.

So those are the Five Factors and unlike the Myers-Briggs system, you can have value judgments about those factors. Obviously, openness to experience, conscientiousness, agreeableness and low neuroticism are good things. It's much better to be on those ends of the scale than on the other end of the scale.

Extraversion is a mixed bag. People should be somewhere in the middle of the extraversion scale. If they're totally extroverted, they're totally oriented to people, and they don't have much internal life. If they're totally introverted and not attuned to people, they don't get along very well socially.

So it's pretty easy now that we have this Five Factor model to look at a candidate for the parenthood core and say, “Okay, they're very neurotic. They're very reactive. They don’t take changes very well.” Obviously, they don't fit the criteria, and we have to reject them. If they're not open to experience, if they want to do things the same way over and over again, we need to reject them. 

Conscientiousness is absolutely essential for this system. People need to internalize the rules of this system and follow them even when no one is watching and no one enforcing them. Someone low in conscientiousness would obviously not be suitable for this system. 

Based on this Five Factor model alone, we can reject an awful lot of candidates for our post-nuclear family. A lot of adults, even if they want to participate, if they're on the wrong end of one of these scales, they have to be rejected.

There are many other systems for evaluating personality. Above all, you need to avoid evil personalities—people who are going to disrupt your system. These would be narcissists, psychopaths [and] people who are very low in self-esteem and have to react in various defective ways to protect it. 

One of the ways to measure this evil component in personality is called the Dark Triad of three personality traits. [A single person] can share multiple of these personality traits, and obviously when you're selecting parents for your system you don't want to be anywhere near any of these traits. 

So the three traits are “narcissism”—just thinking that you are better than everyone else and always seeking your own glory. 

The second factor is “psychopathy”—whether or not you really care about people. You might assume that everybody cares about everyone else, but as you gain experience in the world, you realize that some people just don't care about you. It causes them no pain to see you or some weak creature in pain. This has a very heavy genetic component. Many children are born with psychopathy. They simply do not care about other people, [but] of course it can also be encouraged by life circumstances. A child who is abused is more likely to grow up to be a psychopath.

The third Dark Triad personality trait is called Machiavellianism. It's basically the ability to execute a [nefarious] plan. Very often, it is a is a long-term plan to assert yourself and destroy your enemies. 

We've been able to talk about the Dark Triad more easily in public life because public life has got a few of them who are quite obvious. The most obvious possessor of evil traits is our recent president Donald Trump—clearly a narcissist who seeks his own glory above all else. And he's clearly a psychopath who cares about no one but himself. He would cause great pain to others without feeling any sort of empathy or pain himself.

The one thing that Donald Trump lacks is Machiavellianism. He's simply incapable of executing a long-term plan to destroy his enemies. Machiavelli himself would be embarrassed by Donald Trump, because Trump had all this power, and if he had been clever, he could have caused way more damage and created way more glory for himself if he had simply been able to follow a long-term plan. Trump obviously can't do this. He is 100% reactive, if someone insults him, he will react instantly to that insult by attacking that other person. Donald Trump's lack of Machiavellianism was the one thing that has saved our country.

Obviously if you're selecting a person for any kind of role in your life—be it the post-nuclear family or you're deciding who to employ or you're deciding who to be employed by or you're deciding on a romantic partner—you want to detect these evil traits as quickly as possible, and once you detect them, you've got to wall this person off from your life. That's the only way to do it, because like all personalities, these evil Dark Triad traits are already set by adulthood, and you cannot change them. All the love you can do devote to a narcissist is absolutely useless. It is just dumping resources away if you try to cure a narcissist or make them care, because they won't. So we've got to avoid these evil people.

Next, we can look at something called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) which is fun reading. I've always enjoyed browsing this [book] looking for people I know. The main place to look in this big manual is the Personality Disorders. Anyone with any kind of identifiable personality disorder is not someone you need to be engaged with in any way. 

I don't remember what all the personality disorders are. There's Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There's Borderline Personality Disorder—which I have way too much experience with. Obviously, if someone fits in any way with these personality disorders, you've got to reject them and make sure they don't have any power in your life—because they are they are driven by internal forces that are going to sabotage any project that you involve them with.

So evaluating personalities is an absolutely vital skill of life regardless of whether you have any interest in my post-nuclear family. If you are a human living on Earth and you are pretty functional yourself, it is absolutely vital that you learn how to identify toxic personalities and defective personalities and find a way to wall yourself off from them. 

If you're going to be hiring someone, if you're going to be romantically involved with someone, or you're going to be choosing a boss, you've got to be keenly aware of personality traits and detect the signs early-on of a defective personality. That's an important life skill. You don't want to have to do it the hard way by actually marrying a narcissist. You want to be able to find ways to detect defective personalities and take remedial action as quickly as possible. 

In a certain sense, if you're trying to find eight adults who fit certain criteria, it might actually be easier than just trying to find, say, one romantic partner. If you find one romantic partner, you're willing to make a lot of excuses for that person, because your own emotional needs are driving you, whereas if you're trying to select eight people, you can be more detached and distant about it.

There are lots of different aspects of personality, but the very first thing you need to do is “out-select”. [This] is a filtration project process for detecting defective personalities. There could be a hundred criteria, a hundred kinds of defective personalities that you should be able to detect at an early stage. 

You can consult with certain clinical psychologists who can help you with this. Maybe someone can start a consulting practice where they advise post-nuclear families on candidates and whether they are suitable. If you're talking about assembling a group of eight people, and maybe doing it on multiple occasions, you can come up with systems for detecting defective personalities. Once you've eliminated these defective personalities—which might eliminate nine adults out of ten in society—then you're left with more subtle decisions about how well a person is going to support your system. 

Number One is that a candidate for parenthood has to be motivated. They have to believe in the post-nuclear family and believe it is a good investment—because they, personally, will be investing an awful lot in the system, just like parents do today. Parents make vast investments in their partners and in their children. If you join a post-nuclear family, you would also be being making a vast investment—just not quite as much [as traditional parents], since you're distributing the tasks of parenthood across multiple people. So after you've eliminated all the defective personalities, you're left with more subtle distinctions of whether or not these eight people are going to get along with each other.

Going back to my podcast about the Biosphere 2 project in the 1990s: There were eight sort of astronauts who entered this sealed greenhouse in the 1990s, and there were personality conflicts. In particular, there was the doctor of the team who had his own quirky personality and tried to enforce these Draconian dietary restrictions on everyone and really disrupted the whole team. For some reason, he got by their filters, because they were looking for so many different things and were probably not really tuned into personality. They chose at least one defective personality who was not suitable to the project, and it helped bring down the project. 

So that was the 1990s. I think in the 2020s, we're much better attuned. We have much better science of personality, and we can better detect defective personalities. I give Donald Trump some credit about this. Before Trump it was considered unethical for psychologists to [diagnose] public figures. It was a banishable offense if you tried to talk about the personality of a living President. That barrier has been smashed, and now psychologists are allowed to talk about public figures and their defective personalities. That's very helpful in advancing the science. I really think it is a science. There can be a science of personality and a science of selecting good people and deselecting toxic people. 

So you can see why I'm not promoting the post-nuclear family as a solution for [national] demographic woes. There simply aren't enough adults in [any] society that are suited to this kind of system. It's only a tiny fraction. Maybe one out of 100 or one out of 1000 adults have the right personality to join a group like this.

Furthermore, they have to want to join a group like this. They have to be motivated to do it, enough so that they're willing to make this long-term commitment to make it work. That further reduces your pool of parents for this system.

So in the end, I see only a handful of these systems really forming. Once these systems have proven themselves over the course of 20 years or so, then you might find them proliferating. Others might look at the system and say, “That's a good idea. I want to join with seven other people and do it myself." You can also take these families and split them in the process I call “mitosis”, where you take a family of 18 kids and you split it into two families of 9 kids. It's a system that will help you preserve the way of life and the qualities of life that you feel are important, that are important to your community. 

To do this, you have to be very selective about who you involve in your project. That's one aspect of why personality is important. The single most important factor in the success of this project is the adults who started it. 

But that's not the end of the personality game. You've also got to deal with the personalities of your children. I propose that this be a genetically diverse group. We have eggs and sperm from a lot of different parents that are involved in making your children, so in the end you're going to get a lot of different personalities out. There's going to be some kids who are really good at technical problems, other kids that are really good at nurturing and leading others. Some kids are going to be introverts. Some kids are going to be extroverts. Your family system has to be able to accommodate all of them, so it has to be flexible.

There have to be rules. There has to be structure, but the family also has to be able to adapt to the various different personalities that emerge, and that's why you've got to have active management in the post-nuclear family. You've got to have parents who are constantly monitoring things and seeing where individual children are going, and [who are] doing various things to accommodate those different personalities. 

Every child has to obey the rules. Regardless of their personality, they have to obey the rules of the house and the ethics of the house, but each child is going to do it in different ways. They’re going to take advantage of their opportunities in different ways. And the post-nuclear family has to adapt to those personality changes. Over time, that's going to change the nature of the whole family. If certain kinds of personalities emerge in this family, then over time, over the course of decades, it's going to change the nature of the family itself, so that different post-nuclear families have their own family personalities.

The other thing we've got to address with personality is that when our children go off into the world, they're going to encounter personalities they had no experience with in childhood. If this is a nice, warm, functional family, and your children go off into the world and get conventional jobs with the general population, they're going to start encountering these defective personalities, these people with mental disorders or the Dark Triad factors. We have to find some way, some sort of curriculum to train our children to detect these personalities, so they so that they don't get sucked into them and get victimized by them. If you grow up in a trusting environment, it's very easy to trust others to a fault, and we've got to prepare our children for this eventuality. 

And of course, we have to consider personality when we decide which egg is going to unite with which sperm. I'm careful not to call this Eugenics. Eugenics would be when you're trying to deliberately breed certain traits. You want to create a master race or some other ideal, and I don't think that's possible. What is possible, however, is out-selecting certain genetic traits that you know from the start are going to be problematic.

[For example] it may be possible to associate a certain specific gene with a higher prevalence of schizophrenia, so it would be irresponsible not to avoid reproducing that gene in your offspring. This is an area that is open to new technology. We're only on the very primitive end of learning about genetics and the influence of genetics on a child's personality. I only insist that there's going to be a limit to it, that you cannot breed "superior" children. What you can breed is "non-defective" children for things that are very clearly tied to certain genetic profiles. 

I still believe the most important thing in your group of children is genetic diversity—that you have a lot of different genes from a lot of different places, and that’s going to contribute to the overall health of your family. 

So even if you don't have any interest in the post-nuclear family, you've got to be aware of personalities. You've got to be continuously researching personalities. There's a lot of great YouTube videos on things like narcissism and psychopathy. Just search for those terms, and you'll get a lot of qualified psychologists talking about these systems.

Regardless of what you plan to do with your life, it's going to involve interacting with other people. It's going to involve selecting other people and the people you're going to be associated with and the people you want to wall yourself off from. It is vital to understand their personalities and how their minds work so that you can make good decisions in this regard. 

In fact, I think one of the most important tasks of life is being able to evaluate other people and decide how you're going to approach them. Either these are people who you know are going to be helpful to you, without great cost, or they are people like Donald Trump that you just want to get out of your life and wall off. Although you might not be able to put them in jail, you can create firewalls between you and these defective personalities, because the world is positively full of them. 

Take any population of random adults, and you've got a lot of really destructive and disruptive people, and your job as a human being is to detect these destructive people and find a way to wall yourself off from them and keep them from destroying your life, because they certainly will. The defective personalities are so sucked up in their own problems that they will very easily crash your dreams and crush you under their thumb if you give them any power to do so. 

To get started in this, I would go directly to YouTube, type in the word “narcissism” and listen to some psychologists talk about it. You very quickly realize, “Yeah, I know someone like that.” From there, you can branch off and learn about all the other personalities that you should be avoiding in your life.


Written, recorded and edited by Glenn Campbell. For annotations, links and corrections, see the description on the video version of this podcast. You can also leave comments there. See here for all my podcast scripts on this blog.

The transcript above is based on the automatically generated YouTube transcript, corrected by me based on my memory of what I said. In general, I make only the minimal changes necessary for clarity. I have not re-checked the transcript below against the actual broadcast. Editing consisted mainly of inserting punctuation and paragraphs, correcting grammar and removing repetitive words and phrases. More than the broadcast itself, this transcript is the authorized rendition of what I said. Passages in bold text are ones I consider particularly quotable. Items in [square brackets] are added words or minor grammatical corrections. Items in {curly brackets} are factual corrections or amplifications. —Glenn Campbell

{Transcript backed up to email: 16 Aug 2021
{Visual version of this script backed up to Twitter on: 16 Aug 2021
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Transcript prepared at Beth Israel Hospital, Reisman 11 room 62, 15-16 August 2021

Friday, July 16, 2021

63. Post-Nuclear Family: Insulating Children from Parental Disputes — Demographic Doom Podcast Transcript

Below is the transcript for my Demographic Doom Podcast episode #63, released on 16 July 2021. The "home page" for this episode—with annotations, links, corrections and a place for comments—is the YouTube version (? minutes). The audio version is housed at Podbean and is available on most major podcast platforms, including iTunes and Google Podcasts. The main website for this project is Twitter: @DemographicDoom. Glenn Campbell home page: See bottom for notes on this transcript and how it was generated.

I'm Glenn Campbell. I call myself a demographic philosopher. I'm looking at life and trying to predict the future through the lens of demography, or the study of human populations.


in an episode i released yesterday i listed five reasons why parents should not live in the same household as the children in my proposed post-nuclear family and i woke up this morning and realized i had forgotten one there's a sixth one and i forgot to put it in and i debated whether i should just re-record the previous episode or add an addendum and it turns out this is an important enough issue that it really deserves its own episode so that's what i'm gonna do now what is the sixth reason that you don't want parents living in the same household as the children they're raising and that reason is to insulate the children from the parents disputes so this is a complicated management challenge you have at least eight adults trying to raise between nine and 18 kids without killing each other and i recognize that it's a huge challenge because each of those eight people each of those eight adults are going to have slightly different ideas about all sorts of things about how the children should be raised they should not clash on the basic principles because if they did not already agree on the basic principles they would not have formed this alliance to begin with but once the basic principles are decided then we have all sorts of uh policy disputes and and granular ex disputes about what we should do in general and what we should do in in specific situations this is especially important in this system where i'm proposing that you can be a on duty parent only one day a week if there if a parent comes in only one day a week and the parents are have different ideas about parenting then if a child can just go to the parent that they think they're going to get the best deal from so the parent on monday might seem very strict so you don't ask him for things uh that you know he's probably going to deny you go to the nicer parent on wednesday who's more likely to give you what you want and this is a challenge the the parents have to be on the same page they have to be in agreement on what the rules are otherwise you have what would be called parent shopping where children shop around among the parents to get whatever it is they want so this is a complicated situation the whole policy of of what we should be doing how we should be raising kids what privileges we should be giving them is a complicated debate and it goes on and on and on among the parents and my contention is it should all go on and on completely outside the hearing of the children so the children if they ask one parent something some sort of permit permission they should get exactly the same answer from that parent as they would get from another parent and that's because the parents should have worked it all out behind the scenes so if if you come in your day is monday you come in uh you're going to interact with your kids these are all your kids you're going to interact with them in in a special way you have your personality you have you click with some of the kids in ways you don't with others you're going to distribute your attention as you choose but when a critical question comes up from a child can i do this they should get the same answer ferment everybody and uh maybe they maybe the the parent doesn't know the answer uh the parent should at least know that okay this is something i can resolve on my own or this is something i've got to consult with the other parents about and and you could be quite explicit about that is someone asked to see a certain movie that you don't think is too appropriate well you have to say i'm going to have to consult with the other parents on this and that consultation happens outside the view of the children so they just get an answer they don't see the process the process can be kind of messy there can be a lot of heated debate about what should be done but it shouldn't happen within the view of the children likewise the relationships between the parents should be outside of the children's view now i suggested that one way to start this family would would be for four couples four romantically involved couples deciding to raise their children together what happens if one or more of those couples decide to get divorced decide they can't live with each other in a traditional nuclear family that would be just devastating to the children because their whole existence depends on mommy loving daddy if that's not going to be the case they they feel justifiably threatened in the case of the post-nuclear family that relationship takes place mostly outside the view of the children so instead of one there being one parent on any day of the week there could be a couple that comes in on a certain day of the week and at some point the couple can say you know we're not going to come in together we've decided to get a divorce you're still going to see us but you might not see us on the same day and the kids are gonna kind of shrug and say you know so what uh it's a lot different if the uh parents have their dispute have their pre-divorce dispute right there in the household with the children so it's a pretty good bet if you start out with four loving couples it's a pretty good bet that within the next 10 to 20 years one or more of them are going to split up there's going to be internal disputes among all of them that should not be visible to the children in any way now the disputes between parents i do not expect to be violent i do not expect major conflicts between couples i expect couples to say okay we we really don't want to live with each other but we're still friends and the reason i can expect that is there's a filtering process before these adults ever get together based on their personalities they already have certain personalities that are conducive to working with others to peaceful dispute resolution and finding diplomatic ways to solve problems that's expected of all the parents that's part of their personalities and in the next episode i'm going to dive into it what kind of personalities would be forming this consortium 


Written, recorded and edited by Glenn Campbell. For annotations, links and corrections, see the description on the video version of this podcast. You can also leave comments there. See here for all my podcast scripts on this blog.

The transcript above is based on the automatically generated YouTube transcript, corrected by me based on my memory of what I said. In general, I make only the minimal changes necessary for clarity. I have not re-checked the transcript below against the actual broadcast. Editing consisted mainly of inserting punctuation and paragraphs and removing repetitive words and phrases. Passages in bold text are ones I consider particularly quotable. Items in [square brackets] are added words or minor grammatical corrections. Items in {curly brackets} are factual corrections or amplifications. —Glenn Campbell

{Transcript backed up to email: 
{Visual version of this script backed up to Twitter on: 
{Video posted on FB album/DD page:
{Video Description backed up by email: 
{Video description backed up on Twitter: 
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Thursday, July 15, 2021

62. Post-Nuclear Family: Why Parents Should Not Live With Their Children ⸻ Demographic Doom Podcast Transcript

Below is the transcript for my Demographic Doom Podcast episode #62, released on 15 July 2021. The "home page" for this episode—with annotations, links, corrections and a place for comments—is the YouTube version (? minutes). The audio version is housed at Podbean and is available on most major podcast platforms, including iTunes and Google Podcasts. The main website for this project is Twitter: @DemographicDoom. Glenn Campbell home page: See bottom for notes on this transcript and how it was generated.

I'm Glenn Campbell. I call myself a demographic philosopher. I'm looking at life and trying to predict the future through the lens of demography, or the study of human populations.

Today, I'm going to answer a simple question about the post-nuclear family—my theoretical system for raising children in some future world—and the question is: Why don't I want adults living in the same household as the children being raised?

A simple description of the post-nuclear family is that we have a large number of children spaced every one or two years living together in the same household raised by a consortium of parents who do not live in that household. In this podcast, I'm going to answer that last question: Why don't I want the parents living in the same household as their kids? 

These children, at least initially, could be the biological children of the parents. I see at least four couples getting together, deciding they want to raise their children together and then producing those children in the traditional way. The only difference is that they're timing their births so that the children are evenly spaced.

My idea is these parents live elsewhere. There's a central house where the children live, and the parents live elsewhere a short distance away in their own homes or apartments or whatever. They come into the household to perform their scheduled duties, then they leave they go back to their own homes and their own lives. The analogy I draw is a community church, where you have a lot of adults in the community maintaining the church and coming in to perform various functions to help support it, but they don't live at the church.

So why wouldn't I want these parents living with their own offspring? I see five reasons. [There are actually six. The last one is covered in the following podcast: Episode 63.]

Number One is we want to preserve the nature of this household. We want to preserve the child friendliness of this household. The sort of place that you want to raise children is not the sort of place where adults would want to live because adults and children have different needs. For example, adults can watch movies that you don't want children watching. That's a problem if adults and children are living in the same household. It's not a problem if the children's household is sequestered—is quarantined, so to speak—so that only the influences that you want actually get in. So that's the first reason.

The second reason is that it helps the parents with their division of labor. The whole idea of this thing is that you should be able to raise children at a lower cost and with less overall portion of your time than you would if you and one other person try to raise children alone. The other side of that is that if you have too many people, too many cooks in the kitchen, they start stepping on each other's toes and the way to avoid that is you never have too many of those adults in the house to begin with.

My idea is that every day, there's one adult, one parent, or perhaps a couple, who is in charge of the household. They might come in in the mid-afternoon and leave in the evening. They don't necessarily have to stay overnight. So how would that work? We'll get into that later. 

The third reason is kind of related to the first reason in that I want to isolate the children from their parents’ wealth. Parents in this family, at least initially, could be pretty well off, but you don't want to automatically have that wealth given to your children. I think that's toxic. They shouldn't necessarily get all the best clothes and have all the best experiences just because their parents are very wealthy.

If the parents live away, they can keep their wealth away. The children [should] live in an environment I call “benign poverty”—a place where everything is provided. There's plenty of food. There's plenty of attention. There's plenty of love, but not a lot of material resources, not a lot of nice clothes, not a lot of personal toys. A lot of the stuff in the household should be kind of well used and beaten up. A lot of the clothes should be hand-me-downs. 

I don't think that children should automatically be given nice stuff. I think it interrupts with the childhood process, the child-rearing process. It is up to the consortium of parents to decide how much wealth should be allowed into the household, but in any case, you've got to control it. You've got to have these firewalls between the wealth of the parents and the wealth of the children. 

Reason Number Four for not having adults live in the family is that you want to promote the independence of the children's household. As I’ve mentioned before, I expect children to perform a lot of the routine duties of maintaining the household. I don't believe that children should provide the food, but I believe that they should cook the food. They should prepare the food. They should clean up after. I believe that they can do most of the duties involved in raising infants. Keep in mind there's a wide range of ages in this household, ranging from 0 to 18. 18-year-olds and 17-year-olds are capable of an awful lot, and you'd be surprised at how much an 8-year-old is capable of in caring for others. 

If there's always adults hovering around to intervene, the kids don't have an opportunity to take this responsibility. There's too many adults to run to. If there's only one adult on duty, they can't do everything for 9 kids. The 9 kids got to do a lot of the stuff themselves. If you had adults right there in the household, easily accessible, it really wouldn't work out very well. 

The fifth reason is that it helps promote a life balance among the parents.

I think there's a healthy life balance that every adult should try to aim for. I call it a “Rule of Thirds”. One third of your waking life should be devoted just to survival, just to making enough money to support yourself and to pay your portion of the costs of this family. The second third of your life should be spent on improving yourself and pursuing your own interests, so that you're a better person in the future. And the final third of your life should be devoted to serving future generations. That's what parenting is. That's your long-term third. It's much easier to maintain these nice, neat divisions if you're not [in the household] when you're not on duty. 

So those are the five reasons for not having the adults there. There are, however, two exceptions to adults living in the household. [One of them] is when an adult needs help needs, needs assistance, needs care. [This] could happen with a very old member of the family, or it could be a sick member of the family, or it could be a child who doesn't turn out quite right and needs lots of assistance, can't work on their own.

So those are the kind of adults who would live, if not in right in the household with the kids, than off on a wing of the household where they have easy access to the kids. The idea is that you're going to use the kids as a captive labor force to help take care of these sick people.

It's like your elderly grandmother living in a room off the garage. Your grandmother is right there. She needs help from time to time. A lot of that help can be provided by kids. For example, the kids can bring meals to grandma. Part of the culture of service of this family is that kids take care of younger kids, and they also take care of elders and sick members of their family. 

The other reason you might have adults living right in the household, or very close to the household, is for physical protection. Imagine a kind of a post-apocalyptic universe, a Mad Max universe where everyone has to live in a walled compound with guards posted to keep out the savages. That's the point where you really want to circle the wagons and bring everybody in your family into this stockade for mutual protection. You may think that's ridiculous, that we don't need that in the modern world. I’ve seen an awful lot of the modern world, and there are places where you really do need that sort of thing. 

Let me expand on that. Let me talk about the American model. Let's say we have a society that's more or less like American society today, when this consortium of adults decides to form, they can set up their household in one of the many McMansions in America.

In the 1990s, there was this building boom of these very big houses—like 5000 square feet—in the wealthier suburbs of big cities. They were called McMansions at the time. You would have a Baby Boomer couple and their one or two kids living in this humongous house. I’ve been inside a lot of these houses. They're really obscene. They make no sense for four people, but they ***might*** make a lot of sense for nine people, the nine children in the post-nuclear family. You generally got a huge yard. You've got a lot of common space inside. You can subdivide part of the house into bunk rooms. You might have a basement, a second floor, an attic. It’s an ideal resting place for my post-nuclear family. 

In that case, I'm comfortable with the parents coming in, doing their duty, leaving late in the evening and letting the children fend for themselves overnight. That may seem frightening until you realize there’s a responsible 17- or 18-year-old in the household who has proven themselves and can handle anything that comes up until the morning. If they can't handle something, a parent is always on call. They can phone the parent, and the parent will rush over and deal with the situation, but ideally you want the 17-year-old to deal with the situation. 

So that's the American model. Now I want you to imagine the South African model. You've probably never been to South Africa. I have. I’ve spent about two months total on several trips to the African continent. Every substantial house in Africa is a fortress, because you have such a disparity between rich and poor. So if you're moderately rich—what we would call Middle Class—if you have a home, you've got to have a wall around that home—an eight to ten foot wall literally topped by either razor wire or an electric fence. [You  need it] to keep out the riffraff, to keep out the very poor people who would steal you blind. 

This is a universal throughout Africa, not in just in South Africa, but almost every place I’ve been in Africa. Every house is a fortress, and you really wouldn't want to leave a family of kids alone at night in this environment. You want as many of the parents as possible to live within this compound, so it would be a family compound. It would be a big walled area with several buildings. The parents live in one building. The children live in the other building, but we still maintain this separation where the parents come into the main household only to serve their duties. So that's the South African model. 

Since I'm planning this system for a future world over, let's say, the next century, it's entirely conceivable that we might need the South African model in America [or Europe]. You just don't know what the world is going to look like over the next century. 

So I hope that answers the question of why I don't want the parents in the children's household. 

I guess there's one other thing I would want to expand on, which is this environment conducive to raising children. A family is a sort of Disneyland created by the parents to be a safe place to raise children and there are a lot of different elements of this. You don't want indiscriminate use of electronic media. You need to have an electronic media policy, where you control how much access the children have to things like television and computers and video games. It's not just everything goes [like today]. The parents have to sit down and decide, “What are we going to let in, and how much of it are we going to let in? What is our policy on that?” And once you've established that policy, you need an isolated place [where] you can implement that policy. 

And of course, you need physical protections that adults don't need. If you've got toddlers running around in this family, you need to have toddler-proof doors. You need to have all sorts of design changes to make sure this place is safe for toddlers. You spend a lot of time coming up with these systems, and you don't want adults living there because their needs are entirely different.

There's also a sort of cultural isolation that you want to develop. You want to teach morality and a lot of other lessons, and you kind of need a protected environment in which to do that. For example, I wouldn't want children using swear words. You can enforce that if there are no adults in the household using swear words. You can impose rules on the children that you don't try to impose on adults. 

You shouldn't be in the situation where the children can say, “Why can't I do this when I saw this adult do the same thing?” If the adult is conducting his or her life someplace else, then the children never have a chance to make that complaint, because they don't see it.

So I hope I’ve covered everything. I will see you in the next podcast. I'm going to focus for a while on the post nuclear family, [because] that seems to be the most the important thing I can talk about. So we'll see what I talk about next time. 

[This discussion is continued in the following podcast, Episode 63, with a 6th reason that parents should not live in the same household as their kids.]


Written, recorded and edited by Glenn Campbell. For annotations, links and corrections, see the description on the video version of this podcast. You can also leave comments there. See here for all my podcast scripts on this blog.

The transcript above is based on the automatically generated YouTube transcript, corrected by me based on my memory of what I said. In general, I make only the minimal changes necessary for clarity. I have not re-checked the transcript below against the actual broadcast. Editing consisted mainly of inserting punctuation and paragraphs and removing repetitive words and phrases. Passages in bold text are ones I consider particularly quotable. Items in [square brackets] are added words or minor grammatical corrections. Items in {curly brackets} are factual corrections or amplifications. —Glenn Campbell

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Friday, July 9, 2021

61. Babies in the Post-Nuclear Family ⸺ Demographic Doom Podcast Transcript

 Below is the transcript for my Demographic Doom Podcast episode #61, released on 9 July 2021. The "home page" for this episode—with annotations, links, corrections and a place for comments—is the YouTube version (42 minutes). The audio version is housed at Podbean and is available on most major podcast platforms, including iTunes and Google Podcasts. The main website for this project is Twitter: @DemographicDoom. Glenn Campbell home page: See bottom for notes on this transcript and how it was generated.

I'm Glenn Campbell. I call myself a demographic philosopher. I'm looking at life and trying to predict the future through the lens of demography, or the study of human populations.

In today's episode, i'm going to talk about babies in the post-nuclear family. The post-nuclear family is my hypothetical mind exercise for how you would go about raising more children in a world where it's very costly and very risky. If you were a potential parent who wanted children but didn't feel you could afford them, didn't feel you could take the risk, this is a system that might help you. [It’s] a theoretical system and i'm running through all theoretical threads of it. 

The basic idea of the post-nuclear family is raising a bunch of kids together in a big family. I'm thinking at least nine children in one household. Nine children from various different parents. This system could start quite simply, with at least four couples deciding they want to raise their children together. They coordinate their births so that children come into the world in timed intervals every two years. Nine children, two years each, means you have a range of children between 18 and zero. And the idea of raising these children together is economies of scale. You can systematize parenting and develop cultural systems for it that a two-child family just can't do. I propose that the system go on forever that it always has nine kids. 

Another important thing is that the parents do not live at the household where the children are raised. The parents live in their own separate abodes close to the main household but not in the main household. 

This is one of the episodes where i'm just talking off the cuff. I decided spontaneously a couple days ago [that] i'm going to talk about babies. With all these off-the-cuff episodes, I could make mistakes. There could be a lot of repetition from previous podcasts. If I make any errors, you want to go to the description on the youtube version of this podcast to see if I confess to them.

So why am I thinking about babies right now? Well a couple of nights ago, I was on a red-eye flight from phoenix to boston—five hours—and there was a screaming baby on the flight. So we have 140 people on the flight and one screaming baby which means hardly anyone gets any sleep.

The baby's screeches seem to be perfectly designed to irritate adults. Probably evolution has designed a baby scream to irritate adults and demand action from adults, and my first inclination is go to the mother and say “make your baby be quiet!” And of course, the mother can't do that. There's no legal way you can make a baby shut up. So we all just had to go through this. For a couple of hours I was just staring out the window at the lights below and thinking, “what can I make of this experience?” This is a miserable experience [so] what can I make of it? And I started thinking about babies in my system.

Now in my system, you would never have a screaming baby on a cross-country flight, and why is that so? Because in my system the babies and young children are very solidly anchored to the house where they live. In the post-nuclear family, everything revolves around the house, which is a big home in the suburbs or in the countryside, and everybody comes to the home. All your relatives, all your older siblings, all the adults in the family, they come to the home, so there's never any reason to take a baby on a plane. 

I propose that [young] children shouldn't go on planes. It's not valuable to them. It's not a valuable experience. [Visiting] the airport and looking out the windows at the planes, yeah that's kind of interesting, but it's way beyond a young child's head. You can take a child to europe or to some exotic location and if they're very young, if they're toddlers, the only thing that will ever register on their memory is some little detail like a playground or a ball pit or something that was really cool to them and the whole rest of the trip is over their heads. So I believe that [young] children should not travel beyond a few miles from their home. There's enough adventures within 10 miles of your residence to keep any young child occupied.

This isn't true for older children. Older children want to know more. They have more of the brain structure to be able to process travel. I think you've got to be 14 or 15 to comprehend an overseas trip, and you got to be even older to really take advantage of foreign experiences. In our family, a logical question is how do you take a vacation with nine kids? How do you get them all in in a car? And my answer is: you don't. The whole family as a unit very rarely leaves the house. The house is where everything happens.

As you get older and can process more experiences further away, well, maybe at age nine you can go on a bigger trip than a toddler would. Because the ages are so staggered—two years between each child—you don't have huge jealousy issues. If a seven-year-old can do something that a five-year-old can't, maybe the five-year-old is going to be upset, but everybody knows that you're going to grow into this position eventually. You'll be a seven-year-old and you'll have the same privileges to get on airplane that a seven-year-old might have.

So that's one thing I took away from my screaming baby experience: that in my system, there would never be a baby on a flight—so that’s solved. The other question that I had as I was staring out the window is: why is this baby screaming and the two or three other babies in the plane are perfectly content? I knew there were more babies on the plane because when the plane was getting ready to take off I could hear them burbling and gaggling, I could hear their voices making baby sounds, so I knew there was more than one baby, but [there was] only one baby screaming bloody murder for the whole flight.

So why is this? Why are, for example, some babies known as very easy, no problem at all, and some babies are known as colicky and very complaining and unhappy with everything. There could be two reasons for this: it could be nature or nurture. Some babies are born very calm, and some babies are born very uptight. This is part of their genes. And of course mother can have a huge influence. How mother interacts with her baby has a huge influence on the incentives that the baby might have to make a stink. Of course, it's very difficult to teach a mother this. Mothers themselves have their own inclinations, have their own abilities to handle things like that. Some mothers should have never been in the business.

So in in my post nuclear family, you have to take this into account: that each of your children is going to have their own personality, regardless of their gene pool. For example, in my genetic family, considering my siblings and my cousins and my nephews and nieces, the range of personalities of these people is immense, even though they all arose from my mother and my father [and grandparents]. This whole branching tree has a huge variety of inclinations and the most striking inclinations is are my twin cousins, fraternal twins born from the same womb, with completely different inclinations. One of them is very theatrical. He's flaming gay; he was from his earliest teenage years. The other one is very technical. He's into gaming he's into technical projects. He's not theatrical in any form. Completely different polar opposites in personality; yet they came out of the same womb and had the same environmental experiences in their early childhood. This must be accounted for by differences in genetics and how genetics interact with the environment.

So our post-nuclear family has to be able to accommodate a wide variety of personalities in the children that it brings into the world, and that's why it's very difficult to come up with fixed rules about how things are going to be structured, because we don't know what personalities are going to emerge. Some personalities are very nurturing, responsible. Some personalities, quite frankly, are psychopathic. They have no comprehension of caring for others—and you've got to accommodate that, too.

You also have to accommodate the fact that some children come out of the womb physically damaged. I mean, every time you mix an egg and a sperm, it's a crapshoot. There could be all sorts of birth defects that happened before birth, that are going to affect how functional this child is going to be, and the new post-nuclear family has to accommodate them, too. Someone might be confined to a wheelchair or be unable to work for their entire life. Well, the family is there to support them. It's much better if you have 10 adults supporting this dysfunctional child than just two adults. And that, to me, is the most terrifying reason that I would not want to have children: the risk that the child I produce might have some serious defect, that cripples them and cripples me.  If you can distribute that risk among a greater adult pool, then it's not so hard.

So if you are a baby, what's it like growing up in this environment? I don't know how much of your babyhood that you remember. Basically, I think I was two or three before I had my first memory but you know you grow up being helpless. You look up around you, see faces above you, bond to those faces, but you really don't care who those faces are. Traditionally, it's a mother that you bond with. You look up, because your mother spends the most time with you, you bond to that person, and that's the person you run to for comfort.

Every baby has a mother, even in the post-nuclear family. Every baby has a mother, and you have a very special relationship with your mother. Your mother may breastfeed you for a year or more, and you have this special bond with your mother. You always know who your mother is. You don't always know who your father is, but you always know who your mother is, and it's good to have a firm bond with that parent.

In the post-nuclear family, we're not going to cut mothers off and say, “you can't see your baby,” but mothers do have the freedom to pull away. You've given birth. You've had nine months to give birth and maybe a year to raise the child personally, and then you're free to pull away and leave things in the hands of your siblings—um—leave things in the hands of the other children in the family, because we have this nice staggering of children.  

You've seen pictures of big families where they arrange the oldest to the youngest. You can imagine one of those pictures with nine kids. The oldest is 18 the next oldest 16, and they get a little bit smaller and smaller. If you've got that graduated system, the older children can do an awful lot in caring for the younger children.

So if you're a baby looking up from your bed at the faces above you, yes, your mother's going to be there, but there's also going to be your siblings hovering over you and competing to take care of you. You're going to bond to some of those siblings just like they were your mother. An eight-year-old to a baby is for all practical purposes an adult. You will bond to that adult, and that eight-year-old adult will bond with you, so you don't have everything resting on the mother all the time. We're not going to deprive the mother of the joys of motherhood, but we can give the mother the opportunity to escape from some of the chores of motherhood, because I propose that children do all the major gritty care for an infant: changing diapers, making meals, teaching the child language—that should all be done by children.

And that's about as far as i'm willing to go with it. I'm willing to say that there should be a gradation of care. There should be a levels of care where an eight-year-old does everything that they can do to take care of the baby, and if they have a problem they can't handle, they go to their next older sibling who has more authority and more wisdom and can handle more complex things.

So we have might have a 14- year-old kind of managing the eight-year-old, who is doing the major care for the baby, but I'm not willing to get into more detail than that, and the reason i'm not is because of this personality thing. We don't know what the personalities of those children are going to be. Some eight-year-olds are very nurturing. They're very responsible. They take control. They know what to do with a baby. Others just couldn't care less. They just don't bond with the baby. They don't have an interest in taking care of the baby, so we channel them off into different things, different duties for the family, while the one who's very good at nurturing will take care of the baby.

The parties themselves determine this more than the adults do. The adults watch and see that certain parties are getting along better with each other. Certain parties have a natural affinity to each other, and adults shouldn't try to interrupt this. They should try to foster this. So although we have the children doing most of the work of the family—children are making meals. Children are cleaning house.—We do need adults in the family to orchestrate all of this, to direct people and to make sure things are getting done—and if necessary tell people to do things—but ideally you want to have a system in place. The idea of parenthood is to get a system in place where things take care of themselves for the most part.

As a baby, you may be very firmly bonded to your biological mother, but you're also firmly bonded to various other faces various, other characters in the family, so if your biological mother were to go away—even to go away for a very long time—you're not traumatized with it by it because you have all these other attachments within the family. So that's one issue addressed by the post-nuclear family: that having a baby doesn't have to be a an intense 20-year commitment. It might be an intense two-year commitment, and then mothers are free to go off and do their own thing.

Now, who are the mothers? I've discussed this in a previous podcast {where the babies come from}. The key question is, where do these babies come from? Who makes these babies? The initial post-nuclear family is a probably going to be a consortium of four or more couples—so eight people, conceivably more than that. These are fertile couples: the mother ideally can bear children. So the children in that case are going to come out of the mothers who are part of this initial consortium.

If you have the base level of four couples, you have four mothers, [and] they coordinate their births so they are producing a birth every two years, and that's fine for the first 18 years or so—what I would call the first generation. I consider a generation to be 18 years. For that first generation, [the babies] all come out of the original founding mothers, [but] then you've got the problem of what happens when the founding mothers lose their fertility around age 40 or so. Where do the babies come from then?

You've got these founding mothers that, say, might may have founded the family in their 20s and they get up toward age 40, where [are] the babies going to come from?

And even at age 40, it gets a little risky. A baby in your 40s has an elevated chance of various defects that you might not want to risk, whereas the healthiest the healthiest babies come from the youngest mothers. The youngest mothers have the most resilience to handle pregnancy. So if you're 21 or 22, biologically that's the ideal time to have a baby. Socially, it's a terrible time to have a baby. The ages of 18 to 22, socially, are a terrible time to have a baby because you interrupt your career, you interrupt your education, but biologically, that's the best time to have a baby.

So this is a question we have to work out after the first 18 years: where do the babies come from? Fortunately, you've got 18 years to think it over. After 18 years, you can decide, “should we keep this thing going? Do we want to keep nine children in the family forever?” I hope that you do, because by the time you've raised children for 18 years, you've learned an awful lot about it. You've come up with all these systems for managing this huge amount of children, all these very subtle customs—not only among the children but among the adults—for how to live this life, and once you've got a full brood of nine, do you really want to quit. Don't you want to just keep this thing going for as long as you [can]? That way, you can carry all this software that you developed over the previous 18 years into the next 18 years.

So if you're going to do that, you have to figure out, “where do the babies come from?” They can't come from the original mothers because the original mothers have lost their fertility. They've gotten too old. We could try to recruit new mothers, new young mothers, into your consortium, but you're increasing the size of your family. Let's say there's four couples in this original family, and then 18 years later you recruit four more couples. Well, there's a demographic problem here, because you're increasing the number of adults, and ultimately those adults have to be cared for in their old age. One of the functions of the post-nuclear family is to care for people when they can't care for themselves—for medical reasons or for old age—so there's a problem with just recruiting new mothers.

I propose that the people who bear the children for the next generation come from the family itself. As a young woman reaches the age of maturity, the age of consent—let's say 18 or so—she can be encouraged to bear a child for the family, bear two children for the family. It's sort of her community service. And although I'm suggesting this I have no idea about the politics, how this would be negotiated, or what the politics of this would be. You don't want to seem coercive, that you're coercing your daughters to have a child, so i'm staying clear of that. That's a policy issue.

But if this could be pulled off, then the young women of the family produce the new babies of the family from a donated egg. Although the mother is coming from the family itself, the egg doesn't need to be her egg. It's possible to donate an egg from someone else. The sperm? Where does the sperm come from? Well, ideally, you don't want it you don't want it to be installed in the usual way. The cleanest way for this to happen is a girl at age 18 decides she wants to do her duty by having a baby for the family [and] a fertilized egg is provided to her.

That's complicated enough: to get a young woman to consent to having a baby for her family using a donated egg. That’s messy enough. Politically, culturally that's complicated. The more complicated thing, however, is where does this egg and sperm come from? Whose egg gets united with whose sperm…. And that's where i'm just going to stay the heck out of it! It has been a major problem of humanity since the beginning. Which sperm connects with which egg has been a fraught subject since the beginning of time. Families negotiated among themselves. Men and women negotiated among themselves: which egg is going to be united with which sperm.

You can call it eugenics if you want, but it's eugenics that has been going on since the beginning of time: deciding who mates with whom. That subject is going to be no less messy with the post-nuclear family than it has been throughout all of history: which egg unites with which sperm.

I should caution from the beginning that eugenics, as it is classically formulated, doesn't work. It doesn't work in the sense that that you can breed dogs. You can breed dogs for certain characteristics, and that's why we have such a wide variety of dogs. You can't do that with humans. It's physically very difficult and the reason it's very difficult [is] a dog has a two-year period between their birth and when they can give birth themselves. Two-year latency period before they can give birth. For an adult [human], it's technically 15 or 16 years and practically 18 or 20 years.

Let's say you wanted to build a super race of hyper-intelligent people—like hitler might have wanted to do—by having all the smartest people mate with all the other smart people, according to whatever criteria you decide is smartness. The trouble with that is you've got to wait 20 years for each cycle. You've got to wait 18 or 20 years to find out what a child is really capable of. You know their brilliance might not really come out until they're 18 or 20. Then you can go and try to breed the smartest with the smartest, but even then it's a crapshoot. It's not guaranteed by any means.

Eugenics just isn't practical on a human time scale. The fact is, no organization, no family even, has enough organization over time to be able to build a master race. I think that more of what the genetic plan would be is to have a variety have children from a variety of gene pools/ I think variety is probably much more valuable to a family than trying to breed for specific traits.

Things you might want to breed for [are] general aptitude. Are the mother and father good members of the community? Are they resilient? Are they healthy?... Without nailing it down to any specific trait. You want the best people breeding. The people who are psychopathic, people who are not as functional in society, you might not want to breed them. You don't want to breed people who have obvious genetic defects. Intelligence doesn't boil down to a single gene that we can identify but there are countless defects in genes that we know cause problems, and we want to avoid reproducing those genes.

If this sounds like a really messy process, it is, but I would not call it “eugenics.” [The word] “eugenics” would apply when a government or an institution is trying to do it. When a family is trying to do it and individuals are trying to do it, then it's just “matchmaking”—matchmaking that has been taking place since the beginning of time. Which woman is going to mate with which man? Remember that for most of human history, a man and woman did not choose their own spouses. The choice was made for them, in terms of negotiation between families. It was an alliance between families and we're looking at both the man and the woman to decide: are these good breeding stock? That’s what matchmakers did back in the day. I propose bringing back the matchmaker, or at least the matchmaker function.

So you've got this big family with a lot of adults. When we get to the end of the fertility of the original mothers, we've got a crisis. We've got to decide how we're going to make new babies, and part of that decision is: where is the egg and sperm going to come from? [Maybe] you form a committee and that committee does a lot of wheeling and dealing. I don't know how they're going to do their wheeling and dealing. They can choose egg and sperm from within the family. They can trade with other families. They can look outward for egg and sperm. And they have to come up with some sort of criteria for deciding which egg merges with which sperm.

Who the mother is going to be is relatively simple. You just need a carrier. You just need somebody you could implant this embryo into. That's the easy part. The hard part is where the embryo comes from, and in advance, I can't give you any answers to that. It’s something that has to be worked out. I don't think even the mother—the carrier of the of the baby—should be given any discretion about the embryo she receives. The embryo just comes to her—like the stork brings the embryo—because if you did give the mother the right to choose her own embryo—boy! There would be politics! All reproduction would come to come to a halt. The fact is, human reproduction is a messy process. The negotiation of what sperm meets what egg is a messy process. It's an ethical minefield. The only way to eliminate all the ethical issues would be to eliminate all human reproduction.

So let me review a couple more features of the post-nuclear family that i've talked about before.

I think the ideal family size is nine children, spaced every two years. Every two years doesn't come out to nine children exactly because many children hang around into their twenties. Many children might leave the nest at 16. The important thing is spacing every two years. The reason for that is it allows every child to have a special place in the family, a unique position in the family.

Even though there are a lot of kids, your place is special. For the first two years, you are the focus of everyone's attention. The whole family is focused on you. After two years, you get a new sibling and suddenly you're not the center of attention anymore, and you have to learn to work with others more.

As you grow up, you gain more privileges, but not everybody gains the same privileges at the same age. Some children are capable of a lot more at eight years old than other children are, so you give them special privileges that maybe the previous eight-year-old and the next eight-year-old don't get. You manage to get away with it because of this gap between the children.

You know the big complaint that every sibling has is, "hey that's not fair! You're giving him this privilege and you're not giving me this privilege.” You reduce that by having the ages staggered every two years, [which helps] hides the fact that you are actually treating every single child differently, based on their actual affinities. One person is very good at math. One person is very good at nurturing. [We are] going to give treat [each child] specially based on their special skills, and because we have this this hierarchy of oldest to youngest the kids, don't really notice.

Ideally, the kids don't notice that they weren't treated exactly the same as their older sibling was, and that's why I think two years is the ideal spacing between childre—in current families and in future families—it gives everybody a special place, and it creates a hierarchy where older people can care for younger people.

I've also talked about having 18 kids in one family, which would be a spacing of every one year. That's only for a special circumstance [that] I call mitosis, where we're taking one family and dividing it into two.

Let's say for the first 18 years of the family, kids are spaced every two years you decide at the end of 18 years: number one, you want to keep the family going, and number two, you may decide that you want to expand the number of families. You want to split your family into two. That's mitosis. The reason you want to do this? I don't know. You have to come up with your own reasons. Why do you want to expand your footprint in the world? You've got something that you think works, and you want to expand it. I can't tell you whether you should or shouldn't, but I can tell you how to go about it.

How you go about it is you raise 18 kids. After the first 18 years, you start adding kids every year, which makes for a very crowded family. At the end of the next 18-year cycle, you take these families and you on “unzip” them. You separate them, so one family of 18 children is split into two families of nine children, each alternating years.

Now you've got two families of cousins. Maybe they live in the house next door, or maybe they live across town, but we've known this is going to happen for 18 years, so it's not a surprise to anybody. Your family is split. Now you have two families of nine children each. The important thing is, you have retained your family's culture—all these software systems that you've developed over time. When you split the family, those software systems are preserved in ways that couldn't happen otherwise.

So there is a potential for one of these families taking over the earth. Every 18 years, you split the family. You can grow your population if you feel that's something that should be done. All of this is motivated by what you think should happen.

I've talked a lot about antinatalism—the people who say humanity should just die out. “We don't need humans. They're a scourge in the planet. Let's get rid of them.” And the easy way to get rid of them is nobody has any babies. 

If that's your philosophy, well, you can turn off this video, because it won't mean anything to you, but if your philosophy is “humans are important, and my culture is important, and I want to perpetuate my culture into the future,” then you might consider the post-nuclear family. 18 years later, you might consider splitting your family into two, then four, [then] eight over the course of the next century—and take over the world, if that's what you want to do. 

The post-nuclear family is not saying. I'm very careful not to say certain things. The post-nuclear family just refers to nine kids in a big family raised by adults who don't live in the household. That's all it is. How you use it is a value judgment. Whether you use it at all is a value judgment that depends upon whether you think babies are important or not.

Whether you choose to have 18 kids so you can split the family, that's another value judgment—whether you think that your family should expand. You might see it as a survival thing. You might see that outside of your family is chaos, [and] to have a greater chance of your family surviving, you've got to make it bigger. You would make it bigger by having 18 kids and then splitting the household.

More than 18 kids would be a disaster. I contend that no two children should have the same age in the family, because then you get into direct competition, where one person gets all the goodies, and the other person gets left behind. That's not how families should work. In a family, everybody's got to be special, because there will be plenty of competition in the adult world. In the family you've got to be special. You have to have a special place, and the ideal way to do that is spacing every two years. 


Written, recorded and edited by Glenn Campbell. For annotations, links and corrections, see the description on the video version of this podcast. You can also leave comments there. See here for all my podcast scripts on this blog.

The transcript above is based on the automatically generated YouTube transcript, corrected by me based on my memory of what I said. In general, I make only the minimal changes necessary for clarity. I have not re-checked the transcript below against the actual broadcast. Editing consisted mainly of inserting punctuation and paragraphs and removing repetitive words and phrases. Passages in bold text are ones I consider particularly quotable. Items in [square brackets] are added words or minor grammatical corrections. Items in {curly brackets} are factual corrections or amplifications. —Glenn Campbell

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Sunday, July 4, 2021

Forms of Infrastructure ⸺ a list to accompany Episode 61

There are hundreds of forms of infrastructure. These are the main ones that occur to me...

Traditional Physical Infrastructure

These are the common services commonly labeled as "infrastructure" in law and politics. They are either sponsored by the government or heavily regulated by it. 
  1. Roads
  2. Railroads
  3. Public Transit
  4. Bridges and Tunnels (carrying roads and railroads)
  5. Power systems 
  6. Water
  7. Sewer
  8. Ports and Canals
  9. Airports
  10. Government Buildings (prisons, courthouses, government offices) 

Government Organizational Infrastructure

Services provided by the government that may involve physical structures but that are mostly organizational in nature.

  1. Monetary System
  2. Law and Regulation
  3. Law Enforcement
  4. Prisons
  5. Military / Defense
  6. Fire/Emergency Response 
  7. Health Care Funding and Regulation 
  8. Post Offices 
  9. GPS 
  10. Air Traffic Control 
  11. Education 
  12. Parks & Recreation
  13. Child Care
  14. Social Services 
  15. Natural Disaster Response/Pandemic Response

Private Infrastructure

Services maintained primarily by private business interests, perhaps with some government regulation and funding. Almost every industry and organization has its own infrastructure system, which are too numerous to list here.
  1. Broadcast Media (entertainment, news)
  2. Data Systems (telephone, internet, cellphones, cable TV, etc.)
  3. Product Distribution 
  4. Fuel Distribution 
  5. Solid Waste Disposal 
  6. Tourist Infrastructure