Saturday, April 1, 2006

IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH: A thoughtful reader from the deviate / hell-bound / socially permissive left wing of our audience emailed me this afternoon in response to my post below on the synergies that might be obtained by leveraging the obvious – to right-thinking (no pun intended) big-tent conservatives – nexus between traditional family values and developing corporate rights. In the interest of demonstrating a commitment to discourse over ideology, and confident that the balance of our readership is righteous beyond such temptations, I am happy to reprint his communication in full:

Mr. Throckmorton-

Read with interested your missive of this date w/r/t corporate adoption and write to inquire about your impression of the possible applications of means-testing to social relations generally.

Assume your application vis the proposal for direct corporate investment in families/children would proceed on the basis of $X / year necessary per child (ratably reduced for kids 2, 3, 4 to account for sunk-costs, of course) and that compulsory acceptance of funds would apply only to families found Y% short of responsible income levels for offspring they’ve accrued. Brilliant! Keeps investigative costs to a minimum. Can simply have the IRS determine eligibility annually on a gross-adjusted income basis.

But what is suggested hereby is a much broader opportunity not only to leverage corporate finance principles to the end of social welfare, but to expand significantly and responsibly our cherished personal freedoms.

Recent years have seen considerable kerfuffle about the institution of marriage and non-traditional configurations thereof clamoring for official legal recognition therein. If you put aside, for the moment, what I assume to be your position on such subjects, and recognize with me that the State’s essential interest in the institution has to do with the consequences of privileging at law the promise of two people to take care of one another, you will see that gender drops quite out of the picture.

Furthermore, under a means-tested regime, the admittedly tedious (even, at times, for the most conservative) adherence to monogamous pairings could also be easily discarded.

Simply put, the promise of one individual to take care of another is not to be taken lightly. (As the basis of your argument seems to concede.) The promise of an individual to take care of more than one other, is incrementally less plausible. But modern economic modeling (as you must admit your proposal to suggest) allows us to determine how much less plausible to a statistically significant degree of certainty. It is, in short, (as you suggest) bankable.

Why not accordingly afford the privileges of the marital estate to all such polymorphous polygamous combinations as, on a statistical basis, demonstrate the capacity to vouchsafe each others’ well-being on a going-forward basis?

Very truly etc,

Branford Tamilson,
Vancouver, BC

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