The biggest problem with the family is that it allows the parents to get it wrong. And far too many do. The greatest strength of the family is that allows the parents to get it wrong. Because no one really knows how to define what is right.
A good point. Plato would snarl at it however... he knows what The Good is.
I agree that almost nobody knows how to define what is right. Plato sure had one hell of a time trying to discuss "the just" in the Republic, though. And it's rather convincing, actually... but to me, all he did was refute the existing definitions of what is "just." He had a lot of ambiguity surrounding what is "right."
We can however discuss what we percieve as being "right", and how best to obtain what is "right" to us. Maybe Plato's family construct is based on the ideal societal "good," but I do agree that we should challenge all the buzz-words that we land on, like "diversity."
Can you prove that diversity is more beneficial than unity? I'm not saying you can't, I'm asking you to try... if it can be proven, I would honestly like to know.
The problem I have with an "official" regimentation is that it will inevitably destroy diversity. We aren't smart enough to build more than a token biosphere, where the plants and animals are all in balance, so how in the world can we be smart enough to account for what is "good" and what is "bad" in our own natures? When you're playing with the next generation of humanity, upon which the whole of our future depends, there's isn't a lot of room for mistakes. We need diversity, and frankly, I don't think we're smart enough to do it on purpose.
This is a good start, but I don't find it wholly convincing. I doubt it would begin with an entire generation of individuals, in the global sense. To say it's risky doesn't say it shouldn't be done, it just says it should be done in a way that reduces the risk. It could perhaps be done gradually, the diversity narrowed slowly, and any rising problems observed and dealt with as they came along.
As for not being smart enough, I agree somewhat... we are not smart enough at the moment, but our intellect as a species was built mainly on scientific principles like scientific method, deductive/inductive reasoning, etc... so eventually we could grow to know what is most effective, how to control and harmonize life in perfect biosphere... and yes, how to build the perfectly functioning society.
But doesn't this imply that your taste, the things you like to eat, can somehow be objectified, somehow made permanent? It's a lot more complex than that. A professional chef caters to a particular clientele which not may be to your liking. You're taking a chance on the recommendation of others (usally people you don't know who also claim professional credentials). Theoretically, in an extended family, your grandmother would know your likes and dislikes and, more importantly, you would be familiar with her style of cooking. The odds are better for you getting a better meal for youfrom your grandmother than from a stranger. This isn't to say that you should play it safe all the time, or that all grandmothers are great cooks, it's just the very proximity to you enhances the odds.
You've kicked the ass of my example, Brad, but the ass of what my example pointed at remains unscathed. Plato states the children would be seized at birth. Their tastes and preferences would not be known by their grandmothers - their grandmothers wouldn't even know who they are, and vica versa. Their tastes and preferences, ideally, would be quite similar and easily catered to by the nurses. At least, from the nurture standpoint.
When it comes to biological predisposition to certain tastes (which I won't question), it's a bit more tricky. Huxley's London deals with it in a way that is realistic... the DNA is regulated in exact similarity. There's no room for biological differences, and the environmental differences would be minimal, were they raised properly by the nurses.
Brad, the "proximity" that you speak of would not exist between a grandmother and a grandchild in Plato's world. Both proximity and professional training would be present. My example should have been, I would rather have my grandmother - a professional chef - prepare my dinner than a randomly selected individual.