Tucker Carlson says unmentionable things about marriage

Summary: Tucker Carlson made bold comments about the causes of America’s disintegrating families. Is he right? Does anyone on the Left agree? How might this affect our mad politics? These answers might change America in the next decade.

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On his January 2 show, Tucker Carlson went from conservative gadfly to populist rebel. See the video and transcript at Fox. Here is one of the more transgressive thoughts from his rant.

“Male wages declined. Manufacturing, a male-dominated industry all but disappeared over the course of a generation. All that remained in many places were the schools and the hospitals, and both of them are traditional employers of women. In many areas, women suddenly made more than men.

“Now, before you applaud that as a victory for feminism, consider some of the effects. Study after study has shown that when men make less than women, women generally don’t want to marry them. Maybe they should want to marry them, but they don’t. Over big populations this causes a drop in marriage, a spike in out-of-wedlock births and all the familiar disasters that inevitably follow.

“More drug and alcohol abuse, higher incarceration rates, fewer families formed in the next generation. This is not speculation, it’s not propaganda from the evangelicals. It’s social science. We know it’s true. Rich people know it best of all, that’s why they get married before they have kids. …”

Dalrock gave a sharp analysis of this.

John Zmirak is mostly right.

By Dalrock at his website. Posted with his generous permission.

John Zmirak at The Stream writes in “Tucker Carlson is Half Right” that Carlson is right about the destruction of the family.

“Carlson’s central complaint is serious. The family is collapsing in America, except among the upper and upper middle class. Marriage rates, birth rates, you name it – they’re all trending badly. The crisis of single parenthood that Daniel Patrick Moynihan identified in 1965 among black Americans? {See “The Negro Family: The Case For National Action.“} Working class white Americans now repeat the same pathology, and it’s far, far worse among blacks. Kudos to Carlson for speaking truth to power.

“As a rule, boys raised without fathers don’t do well. Many end up in prison. Neither do fatherless girls thrive, in fact. Much of the sexual abuse in America stems from stepfathers and transient boyfriends. Girls without stable father figures get pregnant much younger, and often end up trapped in the welfare system.

“The decline of marriage is real. And one of the factors is the decline in male income relative to female. Survey after survey shows that women don’t tend to marry men who earn less (or even the same) as they do. Why? Part of it’s surely grounded in that horror, mammalian biology. Women far more than men are willing to sacrifice career advancement to spend time raising their children. Imagine that, giving up valuable hours spent in a cubicle to ensure your children’s safety, happiness, and avoid the lifelong, IQ-dimming effects of dismal daycare.

“But if men can’t earn more to take up the slack, will women feel safe doing that? Since they can’t, lower-income men get locked out of the one institution that makes men healthier, happier, more virtuous and productive: marriage. …”

This conversation is a catastrophe for our conservative elites, who until Carlson upset the balance had clung to the liberal party line that nothing serious was wrong with our new family policy. Compare Zmirak’s assertion that we have a serious problem to the 2014 NY Times article complaining about misguided “hand wringing” regarding the state of marriage: “The Divorce Surge Is Over, but the Myth Lives On.”

“Despite hand-wringing about the institution of marriage, marriages in this country are stronger today than they have been in a long time. The divorce rate peaked in the 1970s and early 1980s and has been declining for the three decades since.”

But it wasn’t just liberals at the NY Times trumpeting the “all is well” message. Conservative Christians were in lock step. The Christian Post declared in “Author Debunks Myths About Divorce Rates, Including of Churchgoers.”

“Many of the most demoralizing beliefs about marriage, especially when it comes to discouraging statistics commonly passed around, are just not true, says social researcher and best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn.

“‘A subconscious sense of futility about marriage is everywhere, as everything we hear says marriage is “in trouble”,’ states Feldhahn. ‘And while some of the bad news is accurate (for example, 41% of children are born out of wedlock), many of the most demoralizing beliefs just aren’t true. For example, the notion that half of all marriages end in divorce or that the divorce rate is the same in the church …neither are anywhere close to true.’”

Moreover, Feldhan and the Christian Post were merely following in Glenn Stanton’s footsteps in this regard.

Carlson has dramatically changed the very nature of the discussion, from one of condescension for the “hand wringers” who are supposedly misinformed about the real state of the American family, to a conversation about the dire threat the destruction of marriage poses to our social fabric.  Under the pre-Carlson regime, conservatives were free to focus on blaming men for not manning up and reaping the wondrous benefits of our new family model.  Now we have conservatives openly speaking dangerous truths. …

Men’s wages vs. women’s wages

History of Mens and Womens wages

Something {many factors} clearly did change the balance between men’s and women’s earnings, {starting in} the early 1980s. Yet the destruction of the family started much earlier.

US divorces per 1000 married women

Divorce rates only show a partial picture. What we’ve seen is a combination of delayed marriage, a decline in the percentage of the population that ever marries {also see here), increased divorce rates, and a reduction in remarriage following divorceFortunately there is a single metric that captures the impact of all of these changes combined.

Percent of population that is married

I’m convinced men’s falling relative wages is an important factor in the destruction of the American family. The most important thing that Tucker Carlson has let genie out of the bottle. Our conservative elites will have a very difficult time getting back to the good old days when they could ignore the destruction of the family and pretend that if men would merely put a ring on it everything would be just fine. …

—————- End of Dalrock’s post —————-

The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are (Still) Going Broke
Available at Amazon.

Dalrock pointed out that some on the Left also have seen this problem and come to roughly similar conclusions. In 2003 the Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, and her daughter published The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are (Still) Going Broke. Then she was a Professor of Law at Harvard; now she is the senior senator for Massachusetts. She reissued it in 2016. The publisher gave a lurid description.

“In this revolutionary exposé, {the authors} show that today’s middle-class parents are increasingly trapped by financial meltdowns. Astonishingly, sending mothers to work has made families more vulnerable to financial disaster than ever before. Today’s two-income family earns 75% more money than its single-income counterpart of a generation ago, but has 25% less discretionary income to cover living costs. This is “the rare financial book that sidesteps accusations of individual wastefulness to focus on institutional changes,” raved the Boston Globe.

“{They} reveal how the ferocious bidding war for housing and education has silently engulfed America’s suburbs, driving up the cost of keeping families in the middle class. The authors show why the usual remedies – child-support enforcement, subsidized daycare, and higher salaries for women – won’t solve the problem. …”

Somewhere in here there is the possibility of Left and Right finding some common ground. Separately they have little power (less if they expend most of their energy fighting each other). Only together, in a loose alliance like during the New Deal, do they have the power to rein in the 1%. Our future might depend on their ability to work together.

About Dalrock

He is a married man living with his wife and two kids in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He is very interested in how the post feminist world impacts himself and his family, and uses his blog to explore these issues. See his website. Especially these posts ….

For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about Reforming America: steps to new politics, about marriage, and especially these …

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  9. See how women’s calculus of marriage shapes America.

Two major books about modern marriage

The classic: Men and Marriage by George Gilder.

Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters by Helen Smith.

Men and Marriage
Available at Amazon.
Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream - and Why It Matters
Available at Amazon.

8 thoughts on “Tucker Carlson says unmentionable things about marriage”

  1. This week Tucker Carlson mentioned the forthcoming ’60 minutes’ program expected this weekend, discussing the coming AI and robotics revolution. Tucker suggested that job losses may be different this time, vis-à-vis prior technological innovations. Economists point out correctly that prior technological revolutions resulted in some job losses that where offset by new job creations, often dramatically more job creations. AI and robotics may be substantially different as truck drivers, repetitive task jobs, food handlers, document processors and others are unlikely to become robot repair persons or AI programmers. AI and robotics have the potential to replace not just low skill blue collar jobs but also impact white collar jobs like legal assistants, accountants, generalist doctors, etc.. Tucker quoted estimates of 20% – 40% job impacts.

    Tuckers point was that if the 10% unemployment and reduced labor participation rates experienced prior to Obama led to voters reaching for someone quite different (Obama) than prior Presidents, and since Obama did nothing to address outsourcing or reduced labor participation, those conditions led to voters flipping over to Trump, what would double or triple unemployment rates or massive reductions in labor participation rate do to the civil society? Will voters reach for even more radical politicians? Politicians need to work on behalf of voters, not just mega-corporations or financiers. If they don’t, the voters will keep reaching for other solutions. The acceleration of suicide and drug addiction is a symptom of larger issues.

    I don’t want a curtailment of AI or robotics, as I’m a BSEE robotics guy, but we need to consider the plight of the people who can’t move over to technology roles. What will they do to provide for themselves and their families? People need to work, not just for the money.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “discussing the coming AI and robotics revolution”

      Industrial revolutions consists of several new techs appearing together. The one beginning now is no different. See a wide range of analysis about it here.

      “Economists point out correctly that prior technological revolutions resulted”

      Economists are skilled at telling us about the obvious path, and moronically tell us that the future must be the same. Which is why their forecasts have a near perfect record of being wrong over anything but short time horizons. As the posts in the above link describe, this one is different. Tech has produced a series of inflection points in history. War is different after the invention of nukes. Gender relations was different after the invention of cheap and effective contraceptives. The next revolution will reshape the economy.

      “what would double or triple unemployment rates or massive reductions in labor participation rate do to the civil society?”

      Economic impacts are largely the result not just of magnitudes of change, but also of their speed. If this happens over two or three generations, we can easily adapt. If it happens fast, then there will be severe social disruptions. But an industrial revolution is an increase of a society’s productivity – and hence its potential income and wealth. We merely need the wisdom to manage its evolution and fairly distribute its fruit. With the experience of previous industrial revolutions to learn from – and the advance warnings being given now – this should be relatively easy to do.

      Think of it as an intelligence test for developed nations. The price of failure will be high.

      1. Cato the Youngest

        Editor, I was referring to the “intelligence test” of “the wisdom to manage its evolution and fairly distribute its [the new automation revolution] fruit”

        Reading Dalrock’s blog entries on Tucker Carlson, I see conservative elites insisting that there is a crisis of “individual responsibility” causing family breakdown. Are we to conclude that when many individual men are having the same crisis that this is just a massive crop of particularly bad, irresponsible individuals?

        The experts are sleepwalking.

      2. Larry Kummer, Editor


        Thanks for the explanation!

        I share your skepticism about the ability of our elites to lead us through the next industrial revolution. We will have to provide our own leadership, as the people of a Republic should!

  2. When I made 30k a year no women would contact me. Now 20 years later I’m making more and women contact me. What gives?

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