A while back I watched a TV show debating whether it was better to leave your child with a day care center or with your grandparents. Unfortunately, the grandparent side had no argument, it relied on "If I can raise her, I can raise these kids" argument. The day care providers argued that they were trained to give kids the best possible experience.
I would say that they are, assuming their education and experience in the profession is sufficient. They are, however, daycare workers and are not trained to raise the children... but to care for them and tend to their needs while their parents are away. I would still say that a professional parent, who has recieved specialized training in the field, is more certified to raise a child than a grandmother... in the same way I would sooner pick a professional chef to prepare a meal for me than my grandmother. That sounds a bit harsh, of course, but with a professional position comes an expected level of expertise, and assuming it's not their first day, the fact that they are and continue to be in that profession speaks for their ability.
No doubt Local Parasite saw this question in the abstract, but I think we already live, to some extent, in the world she describes.
Thanks for all the input, Brad. In the shower this morning I checked and yep, I'm still a male. No harm done, I'm used to being a little bit androgenous.
Who decides what qualities are "undesirable"? If the leadership wants a nation of warriors, then the Spartan way may be an effective one, but then again, you could argue that the United States military is second to none without such a policy.
Jim - I would say it would be easy to select which qualities are "undesirable" based on the groups of people you're going for. Plato, for example, is discussing the city's guardians. But if you know a little bit about genetics (which I'm guessing you do, judging from your post history), you'll know that traits like body type, muscle capacity, and physical health are pretty easy to determine on the basis of good or bad... and they come at no expense to one another. What I mean is, genetically, you could have a character of optimal physical and mental health, body structure, and muscle capacity, without having to sacrifice any other good qualities. Things such as hair and eye color would most probably become neutral and simply be used to tell the difference between individuals, I'd think (although it might also be used to distinguish between job groups, perhaps).
Since such a society has never actually been maintained successfully, or even tried (as far as I am aware), the viability and pervasiveness of traditional family structure speaks for itself.
Stephanos - Plato would argue (and I agree with him on this) that the reason it has never been tried nor maintained is because people are, as a whole, too comfortable in their established political doctrines to consider what would be better for them. Like Denise, people admittedly enjoy the simple pleasures and have no desire to seek anything greater. The viability and pervasiveness is not of the traditional family structure, it is of the general population's sense of tradition. In my opinion, tradition exists because people have no immediate reason to question whether or not it is the most efficient course of action to be taken.
For example, if I could offer you a career that you would both be able to perform with ease and enjoy doing a great deal, which would pay you enough money to sustain yourself for the rest of your life, you would most likely take me up on it. But if I said the key to that was being genetically tweaked, raised and conditioned so that you would be apt for a pre-selected career, you would shake your head, because it would seem that it is denying you the will to choose.
this is common motif that we can't seem to get rid of.
I agree fully with you on this point. The only difference in my opinion, is that this motif is problematic.
And not to sound taunting, but I still see no argument that supports our existing system of parenting over a more organized one. Problems like child abuse, neglect and infantcide could be done away with completely. We would also have more population control, and would be able to organize the amount of people entering any area of work, as required. In the world we have today, people get an unreasonable amount of general education that doesn't become specific until very late in their educational lives. If one's occupation was set out for them, they were conditioned (or to a lesser extent, encouraged) to appreciate it and were trained to be specifically capable of preforming it, then what is the problem?