A Quick Reply To Delusion Damage

by Frost on November 30, 2011

Some interesting points raised by the author of Delusion Damage (here and here) regarding my proposal for freedom of contract as a potential replacement for the institution of marriage. My schedule this week is tight though, so I can only offer a concise response:

1) I agree that most people are fools, but I hope and expect voluntary social norms and private institutions (i.e, churches) to prevent people from signing on to bad contracts.

2) Even if such norms do not materialize, I am ambivalent about the effects of my proposal on the stupid and irrational. I think that by designing social structures that reward reason and punish stupidity, you wind up with a lot more of the former relative to the latter than you would otherwise. Give people absolute freedom, and those who are worthy can take advantage of it. Even the stupid are usually sharp enough to recognize their own mediocrity, and so willingly cede authority over their personal choices.

3) DD is correct that monogamy, till death do us part, is unrealistic in a world of 80+ year life spans. This will be even more true as time and technology march on, and the life-extension possibilities of nanotechnology, genetic engineering, etc. really become apparent. But I would expect most marriage contracts to reflect this reality, eventually, if not right away.

Personally, the kind of marriage contract I’d be looking for would be one in which I and my “wife” could commit to a 20-30 year partnership in which we could raise a litter to adulthood, at which point we could good-naturedly wind down the relationship, divide our assets, and go our separate ways. Or, if we desire, not.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

jpf December 4, 2011 at 10:41 am

Marriage or mutually binding long term relationships are right for some people, and socially benefit society as a whole. But blogs like this arguing ways to reinterpret it, really are going to be the wave of the future.

About all people being idiot, it’s easy to throw this out there, but something else is going on.

All people, unless checked, will look at their perceived self interests first even if it means screwing over others. Love, family, friendship, respect, non-religious ethics, religious morals, all of this can modify this and soften it at times espescialy if there’s mutual reciprocity.

But still, at the end of the day, most people will tend to be self-centered assholes first. A smaller and more dangerous subset will be self-centered IDIOT assholes, but I think the asshole box trumps the idiot one.

Someone able to game and pervert the system having arrived to a position of power is not stupid, with due respect guys this is what many smart guys, with some basic – even if cynical – ethical compass may fail to comprehend.

Asshole proofing is harder than idiot proofing. There are probably more assholes out there than idiots.

It’s totally rational to deliberately rig a system and game it if you manage to get into power, in a way that benefits you or people like you the most. If they were stupid they wouldn’t be lawyers and judges in the first place. They aren’t stupid, they are just assholes.

We throw around the word stupid to describe people we disrespect because in groups of people who respect cognitive prowess the ultimate sin is stupidity. Consider well the possibility that the insanity you see around you, in marriage, relationships, the legal trappings surrounding them, aren’t the result of stupidity but just misplaced cleverness. Someone benefits.

Cui bono?

We know the answer to that one.

A welfare mom or baby daddy gaming the welfare system to aid survival aren’t idiots. They are assholes, but what they are doing is rational and facilitates their survival. If a system rewards not working with welfare it’s rational to rig the welfare system. In Europe I knew folks who were highly educated, brilliant, mooching off their system. It’s because in some places – far more than in America – you are actually kind of rewarded in subtle ways if you participate in the welfare net and don’t work.

It’s not idiotic, it’s very rational. As far as long term social consequences, that’s another story..

Some of the more ludicrus schemes welfare queen types cook up wouldn’t dawn on me in 50 years. From their perspective the idiots are the ones who jump through the standard hoops and don’t try to “get over” on the system.

There’s a difference between being a dirty ruthless asshole and being an idiot.

The guardians of the current gender order who rigged legal marriage enough to require real altering of the contract and terms in it or other LTR’s just for us guys to survive – they are not idiots, the indoctrinated busybodies carrying out things on a lower level may be, but a substantial number of people mouthing off aren’t – they are benefiting from the new order they created in entirely rational ways.

It’s time men who have been screwed but still have some fundamental moral compass to do the same, rationally. I see this idea of a revised contract, and ideally one that’s truly a civil and business contract essentially, as a rational solution.

The only people in the history of the world to really buy the romantic marriage idea are post Victorian Beta-brainwashed people, before the 1800s everyone in Europe and America knew marriage was first a sex-AND-economic partnership and second a love one, and men kept the upper hands.

Because Christianity (as opposed to every other religion out there) made marriage into a sacrament this made the decay into a romantic love slavery for Betamales easier to fall into. But even still they had remarkable sense about the whole thing until the Victorian age.

Anonymous December 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm

“Even the stupid are usually sharp enough to recognize their own mediocrity, and so willingly cede authority over their personal choices.”

Have to disagree with this. What people willingly cede is not authority, but responsibility.

There are many, many more stupid people than smart people in the world, and not only do they vote (protest, riot, whatever), but they also become the lawyers, judges, politicians and others trying to game and pervert systems to their own benefit. This is the achilles heel of any proposal for introduction of a rational system; you can make something foolproof, but you can’t make it idiot-proof or asshole-proof.

“Give people absolute freedom, and those who are worthy can take advantage of it.”

Absolute freedom lies in understanding that there is a system, how it really works, and how to avoid it.

(r)Evoluzione November 30, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Prenup. Handles most of these details nicely. Of course, they’re not ironclad, but nothing this side of an M1 Abrams is. At least nothing in the realm of relationship contracts.

Best advice: don’t get in one. Or if you do, maintain hand at all costs.

BTW, DJD, you have no comments section in your blog–that sucks. You go and comment in other’s blogs in the comments section, but none on yours. Weak. But then again, if I had my own blog, we could have duelling blog posts such as that one here. Just not a six-war and fucking peace epic.

Aurini November 30, 2011 at 1:29 pm

While I understand where DD is coming from, the same argument serves for government regulation, censorship, welfare, etc, etc, etc – and each time it fails.

The problem is implicit in the premise: all people are idiots. Ergo, those making the laws are going to be idiots too. At least the two people signing the marriage contract have a vested interest in their own happiness. The man at the top who’s legislating is going to be open to special interest group lobbying.

After all, that’s what happened last time.

Also, it should be remembered that any contract is breakable; even if there aren’t terms for a separation, those terms can be negotiated by the couple when they fall out of love. The case he’s talking about would only happen if one person wanted to divorce, and the other refused out of bloodymindedness.

Legion November 30, 2011 at 10:12 am

You are definitely on the right path. I think a standardized dissolution plan should be a requisite before a couple may be married. An expiration date need not be included but whatever. The plan should reasonably address all common variables such as the division of assets, home ownership, debt, custody, support and domicile of children. This simple change would not only make marriage more equitable and palatable for men but it would remove incentives for opportunistic false accusations, divorce related violence, and unneeded familial division. The cost for deviating from the plan should be sufficiently high enough to discourage trivial challenges yet allow for addressing serious unanticipated issues such as verifiable drug addiction, abuse and violence. Economic incentives for divorce would be eliminated. Aah, in a perfect world…

The problem is the family court system possesses ultimate custody of your children and holds authoritarian power over a divorcing couple’s life and belongings. And we know who fares better in that system. Young men have not the faintest idea of what awaits them in a divorce. They are generally clueless as to the prejudice that has emerged against their gender by most states family courts. And our society is only beginning to question the hamster’s rationalization of the skew.

Previous post:

Next post: