Tuesday, March 13, 2018

They Can't Put Him Back Together Again

The jig is up, The horse is out of the barn. Marriage is dead.

Some people haven't accepted that, and desperately want to turn back the clock.

It can't be done.

There has been such a shift in our culture and it's not going to shift back.

Let's be honest about the past. Men married to have someone to have sex with, breed, and to raise the children, keep the home, and help in the family business. Men have far less reason to have children now, they can hire a surrogate if they really want to have children, they can get sex without even buying dinner, there's no shame in any of it, and women don't want to do those other things. Women married to get sperm, have someone to physically keep the kids in line as long as they lived at home, and have someone to pay the bills. Women don't need to marry to get sperm anymore and they have full access to the workplace and financial institutions, and Big Brother will take care of her. Big Brother will also ensure that a father is no longer a physical enforcer.

So, the reasons people (especially men) married have gone away. Marriage has been reduced to a public pronouncement that you're going to (continue to) live together and be a couple; that this other person will be your only official (or at least primary) partner. If it weren't for all of he parties, gifts, and attention around weddings and anniversaries, and insurance paperwork shortcuts and the like, very few people who aren't extremely religious would bother to marry anymore. (Go ahead and ask people who don't have a moral qualm with fornication, shacking up, or raising children out of wedlock why they bothered to get married, and they'll usually give you some incoherent or irrational answer about being love and wanting to be together... but they could do all of that without marriage.)

How many people who say they want kids actually will raise them? Kids get stuck in daycare, and then various things that are still daycare but called other things (nursery school, preschool, pre-K, etc.)  Camps and daycare continue to be a part of a kid's life once he or she actually enters school. If they're home on the weekends, an endless series of birthday parties augments structured group activities to prevent people from actually having to parent on weekends, too. The kids  get breakfast and lunch at school. Will they actually have dinner with both parents, together?

From the book This Way Up, Kay S. Hymowitz has an essay at the the American Enterprise Institute that is concerned with encouraging people to marry, raise children, and stay married (at least long enough to raise the children). As far as as I can tell, the goal is to ensure that children have both parents together, raising them. Marriage makes that more likely because it's a Mexican standoff with the state. A husband might want to leave the marriage, but he doesn't want some judge and two teams of lawyers working him over. So he stays. Doesn't that sound lovely? "Can We Put Humpty-Dumpty Back  Together Again?" No.
So what can policymakers do to encourage young Americans to commit to marriage before they have children and improve the stability of their unions?
Since paternity is assigned anyway, and we've erased the concept of illegitimacy, marriage is no longer needed for the financial benefit of children. No woman worries that she's going to be left destitute of she gets pregnant out of wedlock. The state will take care of her. And it will hunt down the man if it has to. As for him, he figures if he has to pay child support is still better than child support PLUS community property and alimony.
Trivial as it may seem to many in the policy world, the battle should start with an unapologetic social marketing campaign that drives home the importance of stable, long-term marriage for both children and communities.
It might be good for children and "communities" but it is terrible for men.
Several generations after the start of what I call the "single-mother revolution," Americans no longer recognize that widespread fatherlessness and the unstable homes that often follow are anything to worry about.
That's right. People have no clue. Saying anything about it now makes you "judgmental" against single moms, and hey, there was a TV show called Murphy Brown that settled this issue, and if it is two moms together, well, you're a homophobic bigot for lamenting the lack of a father.
Many young Americans already in or nearing their child-bearing years don't view the separation of marriage and children as a social problem—to them, it's just a fact of modern life.
Hey, if two dudes can marry each other, marriage can't be about children.
Fewer than half of millennials see having children as an important reason for marrying.
Why would they?
Forty-four percent think marriage is obsolete.
For most people, it is.
A similar number don't think children need to grow up with a mother and father "to grow up happily."
They don't. I'm still convinced children should have a married mother and father, but the fact is children can grow up happily in other situations.
One sensible model is the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Launched in 1996 by a nonpartisan nonprofit, the campaign was able to garner support across the political divide from media, popular culture, religious groups, and a wide variety of state and local organizations unified by the goal of discouraging teen childbearing. 
What happened in the following years was astonishing: Teen pregnancy has declined by 60 percent.
Many of the same reasons a teen wouldn't want to have a child also applies to adults. Yes, it is better for the child to have their parent older and more established, but is it all that much better for the parent?
A second, more conventional tool would be state and federal policy, particularly policy designed to strengthen the financial circumstances of middle and low-income young people in ways that might encourage them to make more permanent marital commitments.
How about encouraging them not to have children?
Finding a husband is still financially beneficial for most women, but as they have become more financially independent, marriage is no longer essential for them or their children.
You're an ATM, guys.

What's really important here? A license from the state? Or how a man and woman raising a child behave towards each other and the child? A man doesn't have to sign over half of his earnings to a woman and pledge to pay for two legal teams and alimony payments to be a good husband and a good father.

If you want to bring back marriage, this is what it's going to take:

1) Raising women to be able, willing, and wanting to be good wives and mothers, content with one man's attention and earnings.

2) Raising men to be able, willing, and wanting to be good husbands and fathers, content with one woman's affections.

3) Stop punishing men for marrying and having children.

4) Reducing the state as parent, both financially and in interfering with parental discipline.

5) Strong gender roles and division of labor.

6) Criminalizing or at least discouraging fornication and shacking up. Stop treating illegitimacy as the same as a child being born to a marriage woman.

7) Discouraging run-on nonmarital relationships.

8) Contraception before marriage.

9) Mandatory premarital counseling with a LMFT or similarly credentialed and experienced professional.

10) Fault and negative consequences, as well as counseling in divorce.

11) DNA/paternity tests as standard for newborns - no default paternity unless the DNA matches.

Good luck with that!!! Does anyone really want those things???

Men can get everything they want without being married. Why would they marry? Women can be supported by the state. The ambitious ones can support themselves. When it comes to women, men generally like variety, the hunt and conquest, and youth. Monogamous marriage takes those things off the table. Women want attention, romance, and to be financially taken care of. Marriage can force a man to provide that last thing, but can't force him to provide the other two, and men naturally lose interest.

Marriage, legally speaking, is mainly a financial thing, and for men that's a bad deal. The social appeal of being a husband is also gone, in part because if two women can marry, that means a husband is no different than a woman. How motivating is that to a man?

We have many forms of contraception and yet the brilliant masses are still having kids they're not prepared to raise, which is why people like Hymowitz are begging them to get married first (marriage correlates to benefits for children). It would be nice if she had to beg them to have children at all. Well, I guess some are doing that, too.

The egg is old, cracked, and rotting.

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