Friday, May 05, 2017

Dennis Prager on the Burned "Excuse" For Not Marrying

Dennis Prager has one of the best talk radio shows and writes some of the best columns and books. He is generally a social conservative. He's a religious Jew, and if I understand correctly, he aligns most of all with Conservative Judaism. While many social conservatives rail against divorce, Prager does not. Nobody can accuse him of being a "hypocrite" for being twice divorced. (He is currently married.)

I haven't heard him or anyone else explain why he has been through two divorces, and I wouldn't expect him to. For all I know, he was a great husband in both cases and his wives simply decided to leave. I have not heard him talk about the conditions and results of his divorces, either.

Prager unabashedly promotes marrying.

Here's a disagreement I have with him.

He scoffs at the fear of divorce preventing people from (re)marrying, citing that we don't stop driving because of getting into car accidents.

Well, putting aside that some people do stop driving because of an accident, let's explore this analogy. I've heard Prager cite this analogy when addressing that a man who has been burned by divorce himself - rather than citing the divorce of his parents or siblings or friends - is reluctant to remarry. I've never heard him ask if the person who is reluctant to remarry has minor children. Chances are, they do.

"Second" marriages with minor children have a 70% divorce rate, and that's only counting the ones that end in legal divorce, not the ones where couple is miserable (or the husband is) or separated or the marriage would have ended in divorce if a spouse hadn't died before it could happen.

Let's say that in buying and driving your first car, that no matter how good you took care of it, no matter how much test driving* you did, no matter how well you drove, it didn't stop someone  else who was driving it from crashing it. As a result of that accident, you lost custody of your children, you had to leave your home, you had to pay for two legal teams, you lost half of everything you'd earned, you had to make ongoing payments to the person who crashed your car (and rather than being appreciative and apologetic, that person constantly badmouthed you to anyone who'd listen), and you had to pay a percentage of your salary to children who now hate your guts. You can even remove some of these results from consideration.

Let's say there was a 70% chance of  the same thing happening if you bought another car and let someone else drive it (which is what breadwinning men do when they marry). Would it be a good idea for you to do that?

Now add in that you can either 1) get everything you got by buying and driving your own car without doing so, or 2) live a nice life without those things.

Would it really not be valid to be "afraid" or reluctant to buy another car that someone else could drive?

Prager does acknowledge that some men are unfairly screwed over by family law and courts, and he regularly discusses the difficulties between men and women. But he has this thing about how you should fully experience life, and about how marriage makes people better, and that a guy isn't a real man unless he's supporting a wife. This is despite his insistence that dependency, when it comes to government programs, hurts people. As far as fully experiencing life and making people better, there are people who have, intentionally or accidentally, been left in a wilderness and have had to struggle to survive and make it back to civilization. That was a life experience. That made them a better person. Should we all do that, too?

Prager, at least weekly, says that happiness is a moral obligation. For some people, avoiding remarriage helps them stay happy.



Dr. Laura has taken a different approach. She strongly discourages people with minor children from remarrying, But if someone doesn't have minor children and is reluctant to remarry because of being burned in the past, or is already remarried and is not feeling secure in the relationship because of what a different spouse did in the past, she will point out that they aren't with the same person. True, but there commonalities in the laws, and courts and culture. It's a little like saying "Sure, someone stole your car when you were in that other city, but you're in this city now, with different people." It's not irrational to think there's a good chance the car may be stolen. That's one reason we have insurance. When it comes to remarrying, the best insurance is not to do it at all.



*Test driving can mean any number of things: dating, courting, fornication, shacking up. People can "test drive" without fornicating or shacking up, but others do test drive with those things. I don't recall if I've ever heard  Prager's view on the moral status of intercourse, other forms of sexual interaction, or literally sleeping together. But let's not deceive anyone. There have been people who've shacked up and later decided to end their marriages, but there are also people who didn't even fornicate who've gone through divorce, too.

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