Turns Out, It Doesn’t Take a Village

From Physorg:

“In the African villages that I study in Mali, children fare as well in nuclear families as they do in extended families,” said U-M researcher Beverly Strassmann, professor of anthropology and faculty associate at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR). “There’s a naïve belief that villages raise children communally, when in reality children are raised by their own families and their survival depends critically on the survival of their mothers.”…

Only in modern, liberal times can it require a study to find out that families raise children and do just fine with it.  Sorry, Hillary, but we don’t actually need a “village” populated with Department of Education and Health and Human Services bureaucrats…

All government policies must be directed towards this end:  making it possible for one man and one women to raise their children as they see fit.  If it helps in that task, it is good and must be done…if it harms that effort, it must be stopped.

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26 thoughts on “Turns Out, It Doesn’t Take a Village

  1. neocon1 September 13, 2011 / 7:46 pm

    I think she meant it took the village idiots, her and bent willy to raise one daughter.

  2. Bigfoot September 13, 2011 / 9:08 pm

    It’s interesting how some on the left will project their ideas onto non-western cultures. Remember when Senator Patty Murray said that bin Laden had constructed “day care centers”, even though his version of islam doesn’t allow women to leave their homes without a male escort? I’ve even heard someone (I forget who) call Native Americans “the original communists”, meaning it as a compliment.

    • Mark Edward Noonan September 13, 2011 / 9:36 pm


      Yep – and what our liberal history re-writers forget is that the Indians dropped their ancestral ways like a bad habit as soon as they were exposed to European civilization. Iron tools and weapons, horses, firearms, cloth…

      • casper September 13, 2011 / 10:05 pm

        Mark Edward Noonan September 13, 2011 at 9:36 pm #


        “Yep – and what our liberal history re-writers forget is that the Indians dropped their ancestral ways like a bad habit as soon as they were exposed to European civilization. Iron tools and weapons, horses, firearms, cloth…”

        No they didn’t. They adopted some of the European technology, but that isn’t the same as dropping their ancestral ways like a bad habit. Europeans actually adopted many of the Indian ways (democracy, (see Iroquois Confederacy), farming, etc.)

      • camsteel September 14, 2011 / 12:51 am

        What are you saying Mark, that European ways were superior to Native American ways? Do you know how similar the Cherokee Indian society was to the European way long before the Trail of Tears forced them off their lands. You sound like you see the European way as superior and also seem to be ignorant about the Native American ways of which you infer to be inferior.

      • Mark Edward Noonan September 14, 2011 / 1:00 am


        Europeans did not learn democracy from the Indians. Democracy is a Greek, not and Indian, word. You sure you’re a teacher?

      • Mark Edward Noonan September 14, 2011 / 1:06 am


        European ways were superior to Indian ways. This is demonstrated by the fact that Indians borrowed much from Europeans while Europeans borrowed little form Indians. This does not indicate an innate superiority in Europeans but reflects the fact that Europeans when they arrived in the Americas were heirs to a vastly larger cultural universe than the Indians. Europeans, for instance, new of China…Atzecs not only hadn’t heard of China they hadn’t even heard of tribes more than a couple hundred miles outside their borders.

        It does no one any service to ignore facts – and does a great disservice to make up lies about what happened in the past because history is unflattering to some peoples.

      • camsteel September 14, 2011 / 1:55 am

        First of all, democracy is not just a word it is a form of governance that was practiced by Native Americans before the formation of our current democracy.

        And what is knowing of China have to do with anything? Seems China is closer to Europe. Also, last I checked, there are no oceans between the two.

        In the end I prefer the modern ways we have developed but I don’t think we would be talking about too big to fail if we had followed a more balanced lifestyle closer to that practiced by the native peoples. I think your ideal system you have proposed is a lot closer to the native ways than it is to the current system in place.

      • js September 14, 2011 / 6:57 am

        by the time the white men arrived in america, they had killed each other and other races in excess of 100 million souls…it is no doubt that the ideal in this issue that the mother must survive if the infant will…that must be looked at from both sides…except the indians were far less developed and most lived a nomadic life style…

        to conclude that the indians abandoned thier heritage because the whites were so “superior” is hogwash…the majority of them were forced into change….thier land stolen from them by force and coercion….

        you white boys gave billions in restitution for slavery…when are you going to recognize the debauchery that you imposed on the indian tribes…in comparison…the indians are due far more for thier losses than the slaves…

  3. A Liberal September 13, 2011 / 9:30 pm


  4. casper September 13, 2011 / 10:13 pm

    And if you don’t think Indians were farmers who do you think cultivated the following crops;

    “Crops borrowed from Indians included maize, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, gourds, squashes, watermelons, beans, grapes, berries, pecans, black walnuts, peanuts, maple sugar, tobacco, and cotton and white potatoes”.

    • Mark Edward Noonan September 14, 2011 / 1:14 am


      Indians were fine farmers, hunters and craftsmen…they also developed various forms of government which ranged from good to wicked, just as any other people have (wicked? Yes – the Aztec were wicked…having fallen in to what amounts to demonolatry; while there wasn’t must moral excellence among the Conquistadores of Mexico, they were a gigantic improvement over the Atzec and all people should celebrate the downfall of that inhuman empire). But they simply weren’t on par with Europeans – weren’t on par with Chinese, Indians or Muslims, either. The various geographic and climatic realities of the Americas had ensured that the Indians would remain culturally impoverished…that even their highest civilizations would fall short of the overall level of civilization elsewhere. If anything, the fate of the native Americans demonstrates the need for cross-cultural exchange…had the Indians access to outside sources of knowledge, they wouldn’t have proved pushovers to roving bands of Spanish buccaneers.

      • casper September 14, 2011 / 8:04 am

        If the Indians would have any kind of immunity to European diseases, it’s doubtful that the Spanish would have beaten them so easily.

  5. dennis September 13, 2011 / 10:15 pm

    “It takes a village to raise a child” was an African proverb long before Hillary Clinton borrowed part of it for her book title. She used the folksy expression as a springboard to examine the ways an extended community can impact a child’s development for better and worse.

    Are you saying this is not the case (that extended families and community impact a child’s well-being), or are you just looking for another semantical excuse to trash Hillary and/or government agencies willy-nilly?

    • js September 14, 2011 / 7:01 am

      oh, more clutter from a stooge…

      pass on by folks, nothing interesting here….

  6. David September 13, 2011 / 10:57 pm

    From the science blog post:

    “Cooperative breeding is not the universal, evolved pattern. Instead there is huge diversity in the array of successful family systems in humans. For example, in the U.S., there are a huge proportion of nuclear families and single moms. Certainly many children of single mothers not only survive but thrive. Look at Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.”

    Let me pull out the interesting bit for you:

    “Instead there is huge diversity in the array of successful family systems in humans.”

    Let’s contrast this with an excerpt from the blogs4victory post:

    “All government policies must be directed towards this end: making it possible for one man and one women to raise their children as they see fit. ”

    Hmmmmm, there seems to be some disagreement here. Did someone not read the original article? Naughty.

    • Mark Edward Noonan September 13, 2011 / 11:56 pm


      Barack Obama wasn’t the child of a single mother. The greatest predictor of a person winding up poor, in jail or dead early is to be raised by a single mother. This doesn’t mean all do – in fact, I personally know a single mother who raised two children very successfully…it took immense guts and determination on her part to get past the fact that she had to do it on her own…but it would have been better if the father of the children had done the right thing. This is so backed by evidence that no one should question it…nor use nebulous statements like “Instead there is huge diversity in the array of successful family systems in humans.” as some sort of proof that the nuclear family does no better than other family organizations…

      • David September 14, 2011 / 12:17 am

        I agree that it’s very hard to be a single parent. The statement about diversity in family systems is not my statement, but that of the professor you originally quoted.

        That being said. There are many situations and circumstances that can’t be predicted by anyone, let alone our government. This being the case, I don’t see why nontraditional family units cannot have the same support that traditional families do, be it through laws or just the acceptance of their society. There simply aren’t enough healthy couples to go around for all the kids, and I say we should give the alternative people who step up to fill the gap our support.

      • Mark Edward Noonan September 14, 2011 / 1:09 am


        The reason we don’t offer the same support for non-traditional families is because the evidence, on the whole, indicates they don’t do as well as traditional families. This is not to say that non-traditional families should suffer special disabilities, but it does mean that we have no business encouraging the creation of family systems we know don’t work as well as traditional families. That someone might land themselves in a difficult situation doesn’t mean we should be pleased with the difficulty.

        At all events, policies which defend the traditional family will also work to the benefit of non-traditional families, provided those families are engaged in the primary task of family – creating and rearing the next generation.

      • Sunny September 14, 2011 / 1:46 pm

        Mark, what about your own family situation? You are married to a woman who had a child(ren) before you married her. That would make you a step-father (and apparently soon to be step-grandfather). Not exactly a traditional marriage – but it works, right?

        It is a proven fact that there is more abuse of children in traditional man/women marriages/relationships than in homosexual homes. I would much perfer a child be raised by two persons of the same sex in a loving home that nurtured and cared for a child than in a hetrosexual home where children are far too often abused.

  7. dennis September 14, 2011 / 12:38 am

    Mark, I don’t see David suggesting there’s “proof that the nuclear family does no better than other family organizations.” He’s just contrasting one of the premises of the study you cited with a claim you made – after you used the study narrowly and somewhat disingenuously to bash Hillary and government agencies.

    You do this all the time – very selective use of information without taking the larger context or meaning into consideration. And your cohorts here constantly rephrase and twist things others say to give them meanings altogether different from their original intent. You need to grasp what an editor’s role is. A few journalism classes would help you a lot, if you took them to heart.

    • Mark Edward Noonan September 14, 2011 / 1:03 am


      In what manner did I twist, ““There’s a naïve belief that villages raise children communally, when in reality children are raised by their own families and their survival depends critically on the survival of their mothers.”?

      All I asserted is that it does not take a village to raise a child and then repeated something I have believed for a while – that all policy should be directed towards support of the nuclear family.

      • cory September 14, 2011 / 3:16 pm

        It’s cool if you want to go live in an African tribe and all, but given that they aren’t particularly analogous to western society, and we are talking about making sure children get a solid education and upbringing rather than survival, which is what the quotation is addressing specifically, I’d either get moving on over there or shut up about it. I don’t think we’re going to make a whole lot of policy decisions based on what works best for surviving in one of the most impoverished countries in the world.

  8. camsteel September 14, 2011 / 12:39 am

    It does not take a village, it takes the whole US military, Haliburton and a slew of other private contractors deployed to far flung places like Iraq and Afghanistan to raise other people’s kids at a much higher price. Yeah, what a much better plan.

  9. camsteel September 14, 2011 / 1:42 am

    In a typical two income family where the kids spend the majority of any given day at school you might say it takes a village or whatever you want to call it. On a typical day the kids are at school from 7:30 to 2:30 and are at the grandparents house until about 5:00 and then at home until bedtime at about 8:00 when they go to bed. When you consider the time they spend at friend’s houses or away from the home it sure does look like a village.

  10. Sergei Andropov September 14, 2011 / 5:56 pm

    Just my two cents, over here children are frequently raised by their “mama mkubwa” (i.e. their mother’s oldest sister) if their biological parents aren’t fit for the task (as is often the case). Even if they are fit, the mama mkubwa still plays a major part in bringing them up. The system seems to work fairly well.

    As a side note, it’s somewhat darkly hilarious watching a bunch of political junkies attempting to discuss anthropology.

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