Section 3


Chapter 1

The necessity of society

As I said in earlier sections of this part, people not only relate to each other with the economic relationship of rights and compensation for services rendered, but there is also the social relationship of laws with their sanctions and cooperation and the "team spirit."

The philosophies of Hobbes and Locke and even Rousseau have masked this relationship by supposing a "state of nature" in which people are totally cut off from each other, or at best in which only the economic relationship exists, and in which the social relationship emerges as an agreement of convenience. I pointed out, however, that this could only happen among adults; but how these people ever got to adulthood on this basis is unexplained. We know, for one thing, from seeing instances of it that Tarzan could not have existed; people who have no human contact until they are around the age of puberty can never afterwards learn to function like human beings. But the very helplessness of children and the enormous demands they make on their parents should have made it obvious, once one casts a glance in their direction, that human beings simply cannot survive without having uncompensated service.(1)

Hence, Aristotle was right. Human beings are by nature social animals. They must spend the early part of their lives in the society called the family; and they are driven by their strongest urge to create such a society once they reach adulthood; and this very society has such a strong grip on their nature that it fights and usually overcomes the disruptive tendencies of the very urge that induced its formation in the first place.(2)

It is also the case, of course, that families cannot supply all that children need to develop themselves fully. Parents are very limited creatures, and it is the rare set of parents indeed who have the skills to be able to develop all of the talents Junior has because of the genes they gave him, so that once he is on his own, he can live up to his genetic potential. Hence, the members of the family must reach out of it to other human beings if they are to be able to realize themselves fully.

Conclusion 1: Human beings cannot realize their human potential without society; therefore, society is a human necessity.



1. To say that because of the services received, the children "owe" their parents is a fallacy. The children did not enter into a contract, and by it freely agree to pay for what they got from their parents; and so if you want to put this in economic terms, it is unjust to demand that they compensate their parents for what they have done. In this economic sense, parents have no right to be supported in their old age by their children, as if it were payment for what the parents did when the children were not self-supporting. True, children have an obligation to support their parents, because their very existence depends on them; but this obligation is due to the social relation, not the economic one. Hence, it does not matter whether what the parents did for the children is "more" than what the children must do for their aged parents, or "less." Parents have the obligation to give their children all they need to be able to function as responsible adults, and children have the obligation to provide all that is needed for parents to lead something more than just a barely non-dehumanized life; and this obligation only ceases either at the death of the parents or at the point at which performing the service is as dehumanizing to the children as not having it performed is dehumanizing to the parents. The same applies to what parents "owe" their children.

2. It is this that is undermined by "same sex marriage" and other such arrangements. Marriage is not simply a vehicle for gratifying the sex urge (though it is also that) or something like a contract for sharing an apartment. The sex urge, as we will see, naturally drives two people into a relationship that produces a third, helpless person, who must be cared for; and so it tends beyond itself (i.e. beyond the relationship of the couple) even when the couple for some reason remains childless. This particular relation is not complete in childless couples, though some have to put up with its incompleteness. Deliberately to enter into it with the intention that it be less than itself, however, is inconsistent with it, and therefore immoral. And since children need the influence of the two types of parents (study after study shows this), deliberately to deprive them of a parent of one or the other sex is unjust to them, even if some manage or even thrive under this handicap. You have no right deliberately to handicap a human being in hopes that he won't be harmed by it.