Paternity and Bats in Oz (Updated)

The Orthosphere is hosting an open discussion on the wisdom of “the appropriate reactionary position on paternity testing”.

I’m not a reactionary, so I won’t participate directly in the discussion, but the premise of looking for a reactionary position strikes me as at least partially wrong-headed. We ought to be looking for the correct position. There were no paternity tests in the good old days. Does this mean they had no concern about paternity once the deed was done did? I strongly doubt it.

“Mothers are fonder of children than fathers because they are more sure they are their own.” ~Some Newbie

There were no firearms in yester-years, either, yet these are reactionary staples now. (There will be blasters in any future worth living in, and I will trump these so-called “progressives” right now by laying a claim on their right and good use.) What’s my verdict? Don’t make a law about it, but paternity testing is a damn good thing to have widely and inexpensively available.

The comments are pretty interesting, from a sexual dynamics perspective. The commenters mostly appear to be men, and they are judicious in their approach (told you: I’m not one of them), laying out the pros and the cons of what effect of instituting such a change would be. Their comments are fraught with concern, and considerations; most eventually settling on the fact that the truth of paternity is too disturbing to entrust with normal folks.

Among these master debaters there are two mistress debaters (that I can tell), and they’re both of the opinion that no-way, no-how, not ever should paternity testing interrupt the sorceress and her business of running Oz.

It’s like the turn of the Century all over again. Carrie Nation is still enthralled with hafted weapons

“Good grief. Are we seriously fretting about the paternity rights of the interloper? Why don’t we just leave him alone with the man he wronged carrying a baseball bat, like in the good ole days?”

while Susan B. Anthony is doing her damnedest to make sure we don’t lose perspective of how women have it worse, so make it fair now:

“Wow, cockoldry worse than rape? You need to fund [sic] a sense of self before you hurt someone.”

Which was said to a man. Presumably his sense of self would be better off if it maintained its masculine bent as that’s what the good Lord gave him. No doubt she thinks she knows better. No doubt that’s the bloody problem with Oz. Let’s hope he fares better than our forefathers.

To go back to Carrie for a minute: What in the world makes her think that this forest showdown is going to go well? The bastard father is more likely to be someone like me than some poor Herb. Not only is it likely that the interloper is more physically manly, but If I’m a bastard who spawns bastards: I’m a cheater. I take advantage. Wishing for Herb to meet someone like me in the woods is to sentence him to death on Hera’s altar. It’s not fair, but my bat is bigger, and I swing it better. That’s how we got to the forest.

Through the whole suffragette movement discussion there, there is this underlying theme that children belong to the father; with which I’m in whole-hearted agreement. If this were as true in practice as sentiment it would mean no one gives a hoot what women think: Let the fathers test or not. In actuality, it becomes a hand-wringing rout by airy monkeys:

“Why does the husband’s obligation to support his wife and children disappear when it is revealed that she is a crappy wife? Why does the husband’s obligation to love his wife as Christ loves the Church disappear when it is revealed that his wife [has cuckolded him]?”

Our Lord Christ gave us exactly one directive for when it can be considered appropriate for men to separate what God has brought together, and that monkey can’t even stick to that. PA-thetic. It’s not a command to divorce, but let’s not go crazy the other way, either. His book calls Joseph a just man while looking to put Mary away quietly; wrong though Joseph was on the nature of Mary’s situation. I submit that–barring a visit from the Almighty–a man who’s wife has cuckolded him is no sinner to put her away, and paternity testing is not anymore trust-breaking than to check the name on the wristband before taking the baby from the hospital.

Update: The monkeys have it by a vote of all to two, I think. It could be one. I want to highlight and respond to a bunch of comments there, but it would be a mess of Cane all over that page, and if he had any sense he’d delete them…which would cause me to lose the serene and graceful pose you’ve all come to love about me. Instead, I’ll respond here.

alcestiseshtemoa said:It’s not reactionaries. It’s mostly chivalry, white knighting and Anglo Puritan/Victorian/New England mores who support this [keeping cuckolded husbands in the dark].

One of the two sensible ones; a female, to boot.

Vanessa said: “There are plenty of women out there caring for their husband’s illegitimate progeny, including some that I know personally, so sometimes life throws you lemons and you have to put on your big kid undies.”

None of whom were in the dark about the parentage of those children. It’s easy to put on your big kid undies when you’re treated like an adult, instead of a harlot’s mule. Also: a truly awful mixed metaphor.

alcestiseshtemoa said: “Doesn’t this kind of turn around the sex dynamics? Instead of a man and a woman being a collaborative unit, with the woman serving the man, the man listening to the woman, and both serving the triune God, instead the man serves the woman?”

Ding! Ding! Ding! Was there ever another plan?

There’s some fascinating comments among alcest(?) and Vanessa, but not really between them. The latter sideswipes the former as a unbeknown modernist. The latter slaps back that it’s actually the modernists who are quick to throw down the modernist label as cover, but it’s in an unrelated comment. Those two should really talk more.

anonymous said: “A righteous wife would proactively VOLUNTEER for paternity testing of her children. She’d GLADLY prove her love and fidelity by giving the gift of certainty to her husband.”

Whoa, there. Let’s not get crazy. I would have been weirded out if Mrs. Caldo gave me a paternity result for my birthday. One might get the idea she has something to prove besides love. As a sentiment, this is a misfire. BUT, there is a redeeming quality to it as it provoked the chain of thought below.

Vanessa replied: “Men never really lose the habit of saying “if you loved me, you would do it”, do they? Gosh, how many times have I heard it, and how unloving was the man for uttering it?”

In our defense, it has a fine pedigree. I’m not sure it’s a habit to be lost–though less corruption of it would be a very good thing. As to the second question: I’m sure if she can’t remember then no one else can possibly know.

anonymous retorts: “That’s a seduction line used by would-be fornicators. I never uttered it, not even once, in that or any other context. No habit to “lose”. And in case you missed it, that post said, “A righteous wife would proactively VOLUNTEER….”

Yikes. No and no and no.

Vanessa finishes: “I wouldn’t volunteer and I’d be absolutely horrified if my husband ever demanded it. I also don’t read his emails and follow him around town in a dark car.”

Not sharing virtual accounts is nuts in a world where the virtual is real. I think it says something that the first is very easy to do with no intrusion or effort whatsoever (“Here’s my password. You might need it.”) and the other is difficult and wasteful. Seriously: Who has a dark car when white vehicles are cheaper?

Zippy (big fan here) said: “What could possibly go wrong with giving the liberal administrative state tissue samples of every living human?”

I still think this is specious. The original question was what should the reactionary principle be on paternity testing. There was no qualifier of government mandated–private companies would be perfectly acceptable. You could make the argument that private companies would be strong-armed into giving the info to the government, but in a world of IP addresses, SS numbers, online bank accounts, and drone strikes on American citizens: this worry is a foregone conclusion.

Proph, the fellow who wrote the OP comes down on the side of keeping fathers in the dark–for the children. Never mind the overarching principle that the children, wife–indeed the family–belongs to the father. No matter that the studies show that concern about paternity raises the chances from about 4% to about 30%.

One more bon mote… (stet)

John Khoo writes: “I think it worthy of consideration that God saw fit to give us a son of David as our Saviour, who wasn’t really descended from David.”

Yes, he was, as Steve Nicoloso spares me from pointing out. There is a TON that can be said about the blessing of adopting a child, even under such scurrilous circumstances as cuckoldry. There is nothing good to be said about bearing a false witness against your most intimate neighbor.

26 Responses to Paternity and Bats in Oz (Updated)

  1. Simon Grey says:

    “His book calls Joseph a just man for looking to put Mary away quietly; wrong though Joseph was on the nature of Mary’s situation.”

    I think it would be more appropriate to say that Joseph was ignorant of Mary’s situation (at least for a time). In this case, Joseph’s response would be quite just in light of his ignorance. He didn’t know (in the sense of having a paternity test verification) who the father of Mary’s child was, and so his options were to assume the best or assume the worst about the circumstances of her pregnancy. He basically splits the difference and acts within his rights, but isn’t vindictive about it (i.e. he doesn’t go about putting her away publicly).

    [CC: Good call. I changed one word to reflect what I was going for.]

  2. Elspeth says:

    I actually like Vanessa’s take on it: see TC for her post. State regulated paternity testing is in no one’s interest, but that as the patriarch and possessor of everything under his name and domain, the father has every right to test his children for paternity with or without his wife’s knowledge.

    He can then do with that knowledge (if there’s anything to know) whatever he wishes.

  3. Cane Caldo says:

    @Elspeth

    Only if we very closely read what she says can we possibly come up with your version of her take. The closest she comes is:

    “What we do not support is mandatory DNA testing. Not only does this deprive men of the choice (some would rather not know, and that’s their own business)”

    So, she has that going for her.

    Otherwise, the great bulk of her speech on the topic is about how it’s a bad idea for a man to be concerned about these things, and it’s a very bad for him to actually act on this knowledge if his paternity is proven negative. This is born out at Orthosphere, and at TC.

    Look: We read men in comments all the time piling crap on women; beating the fire out of them for, say, hypergamy–for which nothing can be done, and in a lot of very good ways nothing should be done. When one of these woman-haters makes one comment out of twenty along the lines of, “I think women should be free to choose who they marry” –does that win them over in your mind, or do you just think, “No duh. Thanks for nailing the bare minimum.”

    I think the DNA database argument is utterly specious. A government that will abuse such will abuse fingerprints. What stops a corrupt government ex post facto attribution of DNA to a crime? Nearly nothing. That cat is out of the bag.

  4. Elspeth says:

    Well I asked my own husband about this just now and have his approval to comment further. He is I suppose another one of those paranoid types who doesn’t like the idea of a database of his or his children’s genetic material.

    However, having read both the TC post and comments at the Orthosphere, combined with a quite extensive dialogue with the debate mistress out of the public eye, I agree with her. Deeming every child’s paternity suspect until the tests are done (even the children born in marriage) is a terrible idea.

    How much more do we want to undermine marriage than we already have? Better to remove the incentives given to those women who have children OOW, return to the days when the children were the father’s by default legally and every other way, and let that be the restraining force.

    I’ve read a bit and I can find no research indicating that more than 3%-5% of children born to marriages are the progeny of someone other than the husband. That’s a small number on which to implement such sweeping and undermining policy.

    Look, I am related to a man who was married and cuckolded. I am in no way indifferent to the ramifications of this. And still, I don’t like this idea of mandatory paternity testing. No good can come of it.

  5. Cane Caldo says:

    @Elspeth

    The original OP wasn’t about mandatory paternity testing. That was a rhetorical flourish which accomplished precisely what it was meant to do: raise the specter of fear among a crowd susceptible to such terrors. A group that typically includes me, I might add. I still fail to see how a government–that practices the nigh conscription of selective service, bombs its own citizens, and lets the elites abscond with billions of dollars with hardly a word–can inspire more fear with some bits of blood.

    Though I am wondering whether they will get on with holistically answering the question of whether they approve of authoritarian government or not. Only one of which they approve, it seems. No one is more than a step removed from protestantism, of one sort or another.

    Well I asked my own husband about this just now and have his approval to comment further.

    I am such a big fan of yours. Keep being a good influence on your neighbors.

  6. Cane Caldo says:

    By the way: I did write this in my post:

    There were no firearms in yester-years, either, yet these are reactionary staples now. (There will be blasters in any future worth living in, and I will trump these so-called “progressives” right now by laying a claim on their right and good use.) What’s my verdict? Don’t make a law about it, but paternity testing is a damn good thing to have widely and inexpensively available.

    The problem, from my perspective, is that all the right people got the wrong answer in the wrong way, but still mentioned the right set of principles. I’m seeing a re-run…

    Now, you might be asking yourself, “What do blasters have to do with it?” I’ll tell you what: This guy used them.

  7. Maybe the genetic information from paternity testing combined with the recent discover of the “evil part of the brain” can set up a sort of Minority Report utopia.

  8. Elspeth says:

    I am such a big fan of yours. Keep being a good influence on your neighbors.

    LOL. I would have had to violate our usual standard in order to comment last night, on the heels of our discussion. I wanted to say it while it was still fresh in my mind.

    I don’t mind being thought a good example, but it is a slightly uncomfortable position to be in at times. Especially since I know me well.

  9. Elspeth says:

    I just read your updates. For the record, my husband and I have access to each others email accounts, but neither of us as far as I know, has ever bothered to go and read without each others knowledge or without some specific purpose for doing so.

    I also take exception to your assertion that Proph (or Vanessa) are in favor of keeping fathers in the dark. The objection is to paternity testing as the normal order of business in marriage whenever children are born to the union.

    For the record, paternity testing is, right now, easily accessible and relatively inexpensive.

  10. oogenhand says:

    Reblogged this on oogenhand and commented:
    Everything is kafa’a. Kafa’a is everything. Who, whom?

  11. Cane Caldo says:

    @oogenhand

    I hope I am honored to be reblogged, but I honestly don’t understand your comment. Kafa’a seems to have something to do with inter-class marriage in Islam, but I’m not educated enough to understand the reference.

    @Elspeth

    Post ensues. Maybe I’ll sing a Disney Carroll.

  12. Zippy says:

    Cane:
    I still think this is specious. The original question was what should the reactionary principle be on paternity testing. There was no qualifier of government mandated …

    Good point. But commenters did raise that possibility (and I’ve seen it raised elsewhere), not always or only as a red herring or straw man but as a serious proposal, and my comment was addressing that rather than the question of paternity testing in general. Sometimes a comment is a response to other comments, not the OP.

    As far as paternity testing in general goes I would simply say that as with all prudential matters, what I think would depend a great deal on the particular circumstances.

  13. Dalrock says:

    The problem with paternity fraud is the system is designed to allow women to commit it without actively lying. We don’t need mandatory paternity testing, we just need to rework the birth certificate form to give the mother the option of naming the father beyond all doubt. This would be optional of course, and there would need to be a suitable penalty for lying. This side of the form would need to be filled out before the father signed off on his side, and there should still be redress for fathers who were defrauded, especially if the mother certified that he was the father beyond all doubt.

  14. Pingback: Aren’t you sure? | Dalrock

  15. Brian says:

    “Otherwise, the great bulk of her speech on the topic is about how it’s a bad idea for a man to be concerned about these things, and it’s a very bad for him to actually act on this knowledge if his paternity is proven negative”

    Just another version of how the church tells a cheating husband that he’s a sinner. But if the wife cheats, the church tells him she wouldn’t have if he’d been a better husband. If the child is not his, she cheated. If she cheated, he’s biblically entitled to a divorce.

    [CC: Thanks for reading, and you're right. I almost surely would not use the word "entitled", but I'm not sure it's wrong either. Entitled gives me a positive impression; like money, or favor.]

  16. Brian says:

    Nope, the exact right word in this case.

    entitled past participle, past tense of en·ti·tle (Verb)
    Verb
    1 Give (someone) a legal right or a just claim to receive or do something.
    2 Give (something, esp. a text or work of art) a particular title.

  17. Cane Caldo says:

    @Brian

    Looks like you’re right.

  18. Yes the entitlement exists

  19. GKChesterton says:

    So I think The Law is instructive here. I’ll refer to Numbers 5 . First from the way the chapter is structured it seems that the act of testing the woman may not be disallowed as much as dishonorable. You are after all claiming that you wife has _potentially_ had a moral lapse and doing so _publicly_ (private testing my ass). I think this expresses well the hesitancy felt by many. It is good to _know_ but this _is_ a cut against the honor of your wife one way or the other.

    The Law continues that there would be no judgement against the man but it does proscribe, “if the woman be not defiled, but be clean, she shall be free, and shall conceive and bear.” That is, congratulations guy, you _will_ provide for her progeny _period_. You had your opportunity to question, that time has now past, provide her a child and the protection that comes with that forthwith (sex can be duty even for men).

    Based on this I’d reason that the spirit of the Law holds. A modern Christian man has the right to test, but in doing so he should be presumed to be actively harming the honor of his wife _and his children_. He is “spending goodwill” as it were and has put the honor of _his_ marriage in jeopardy. In order to settle the accounts he is now in a very bad position. He has forsaken his office to preserve the dignity of his house and has ceded no small amount of moral authority to his wife who is now in a superior moral position (I’ve been loyal to that dolt and here he shames me in public!). His local Church while not being able to take formal action against him may make him feel less than a first class citizen. A little bit of public eye rolling might do the man good along with the loss of some prestigious office he might hold. He should feel morally compelled to set things right with both his wife (a now monumental and possibly impossible task) and with his religious community.

    And the good wife, the really good one, wouldn’t change her behavior one iota both before and after. However, if she can pull this off she’s likely confirmed in her sainthood. I’d be hard pressed to fault her for being visibly and publicly upset.

    The bad one who get’s caught? Now that opens up a whole other can of worms. She has cheated her husband. She has in fact cheated her own offspring. The husband is within his rights to put her away if he takes no other wife (I’m anti-divorce in the extreme). She is after all dangerous to both him and her children.

    As to the children? I’d say it would be best that he keep them. They are after all “fatherless boys” in the real sense. Their father may not be dead but he isn’t a “father”. Our sympathy as Christians should be to the magnanimity shown us in being adopted into the “Israel of God”. Unfortunately, current law makes it difficult to jettison the one and keep the other. Note I say “best”, again this is his duty to judge as the head of his house, but I think it is his judgement in the same way Onesimus is committed to the prudential judgement of Philemon. We all hope Onesimus makes it and harbor the belief that Philemon would be an ass to say no (and from what we can peace together it seems the two died as brothers and not as slave and master).

    Hopefully that is useful to the debate.

  20. GKChesterton says:

    And now I’ve read SSM’s synopsis of Deti’s post. Really? Go bags? For hitting the highway? I’m sorry. I can’t buy into that at all. It seems…I don’t know…surrender monkeyish. I don’t think I could do that. My wife knows divorce would be a Bad Idea(tm). I know that cheating would also be a Bad Idea(tm). I think that’s about where it has to end. Know that MAD exists but don’t sit with your finger hovering over the red button.

  21. Cane Caldo says:

    @GKC

    I think we largely agree (surprise, surprise). Where we differ: I think it is better to admit that you are suffering from impoverished honor than to pretend you don’t. This is the West. We are.

    He would be spending goodwill, you’re right. You are more focused on the fact that Christians are very bad about returning to the Source of good will (no argument here), than I am on the fact that it’s what they should be doing regardless. Your answer is more pragmatic.

    Yes, it is best for the husband to makes sons of the bastards. It will be good for both of them. I didn’t say that through the discussion because that’s a secondary question–unlike the government mandate; which was a tertiary question at best.

    What I don’t agree with is that a husband should be looked down upon simply for wanting to know the truth. Furthermore, if it were ordinary to do these tests then it would be less of an issue. Someone else mentioned it, but there is the OT sheet test, as well. Over and again we see the idea that those in submission are tested and it is no slight on the authority; from Cain and Abel, through to the NT.

  22. GKChesteron says:

    Tested is fine. I’m not as keen with a brief short shock vs. a building series of trials. One really isn’t fair and the other is useful. I’d say the husband has more room for maneuver if he found a series of odd phone calls and other incriminating evidence vs. “he looked at you too long!” I also agree that we largely agree. I was writing more to the original subject than you in particular.

    The Bible does remind us, “where there is no confidential talk there is a frustrating of plans,” and I think this applies here. There is much to be said about handling this in private with incremental steps before you haul the priest in to perform a paternity test.

  23. Ton says:

    The notion paternity issues should be settled in the woods with baseball bats is beyond silly. In a real way, violence is my profession and I have no moral issues with using it as a tool, but it is not the right tool for the task at hand. I’m sure it would be extremely emotionally satisfyingly in the short term. Which seems to drive a lot of people’s actions. In the long run, the baseball bat idea does nothing. It provides no justice, provides no relief from having to support another man’s blow back etc etc .

    What I rarely see in debates like this is any substantial concern for justice. It’s like the Almighty being the God of Justice is totally out of the picture. My guess is, it’s a sign regarding how feminine the world has become.

    Unfaithful wives are dime a dozen in my peer group so I am in favor of mandatory paternity testing. I understand the concern it undermines marriage, and I understand I generally hold women in very low regard, but I know 2( possibly 3) men who were conned into raising another man’s get.

    To me it’s big issue because it hits so close to home

  24. Morticia says:

    My guess is Ton is in the military, where the cuckold rate is exceptionally high.

    I can attest to that fact because when I was an army wife almost 1/3 of the women whose husbands deployed cheated on them.

  25. Ton says:

    Yep.

    My last trip down range we had 15 married men: 8 wives were caught being unfaithful; 2 racked up huge debt; 1 didn’t clean the house for who knows how long and became a hoarder, and 1 put on 80 pounds. Give or take a few pounds. Not surprisingly, only 2 of men ever told me they missed their wife.

    That’s about what I have come to expect on a deployment. Not the hoarder. That was a 1st, and I normally see more women get fat, but still typical.

  26. Pingback: Paternity testing chimeras. | Sunshine Mary

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