America’s families are broken. Dreams won’t build new ones.

Summary: The last in this series shows the core engine of the family as it was, how it broke, and why we will find it difficult to fix. The clock is running down on us – while we run in circles, loudly.

Domesticating a wild beast is not easy.

Bronco Busting a Horse - Dreamstime-93190806
Photo 93190806 © Michael Turner – Dreamstime.

Western civilization was built on a system of highly polarized gender roles, each of which evolved over time but always remained quite different. In 20th century America, one of women’s traditional roles was to domesticate young men. That is, attract him into marriage and harness him in the “rat race.” This project was a frequent subject of books and films. For example, John Wayne’s films often portrayed him as a wild mustang hunted and seduced by women into marriage, as in Angel and the Badman, Tall in the Saddle, and Hatari! Of course, it was good for him, necessary for society, and patriarchy was his reward.  It worked more or less well for everyone.

Woman on Horse. Flickr - Anna Psareva.
By Anna Psareva on Flickr.

A few films looked at this from the perspective of a man unwilling to join the rat race. Inside each of us is a thousand versions of our self, packed in like a clown car at the circus. Society functions only if they remain packed in the car, with the stable hard-working family man in the driver’s seat. The 1965 film A Thousand Clowns shows the life of Murry (Jason Robards) after the clown car door pops open and all his selves roll out onto the street. He can no longer function as a cog. He is no longer “fit for use”. He and his adopted son enjoy a few months living outside the borders. Both are re-introduced to reality by agents of Child Protective Services. One is a coldly competent but somewhat comic social worker, played with multi-layered depth by William Daniels. The other is the beautiful Barbara Harris giving a brilliant portrayal of a warm, insightful psychologist unsuited for the necessarily brutal bureaucratic machine she belongs to. She coaxes Murray back into the rat race – the price he pays to keep his son and get her – while she becomes a wife and mother.

The trailer does not do it justice. It is often comedic and sometimes painful to watch. The film is pure thoughtcrime. I doubt you will see it on your streaming service.

Closing of the American Mind
Available at Amazon.

That was then. This is now.

Our social engineers have demolished the foundations of the American family, confident that their ideology provided the design for a new and superior system – without the need for gradual reforms, let alone experimentation. Allan Bloom long ago predicted the result in his great work, The Closing of the American Mind (1987).

“Of necessity, therefore, it was understood to be the woman’s job to get and hold the man by her charms and wiles because, by nature, nothing else would induce him to give up his freedom in favor of the heavy duties of family. But women no longer wish to do this, and they, with justice, consider it unfair according to the principles governing us. …

“The old moral order, however imperfect it may have been, at least moved toward the virtues by way of the passions. If men were self-concerned, that order tried to expand the scope of self-concern to include others, rather than commanding men to cease being concerned with themselves. To attempt the latter is both tyrannical and ineffective. A true political or social order requires the soul to be like a Gothic cathedral, with selfish stresses and strains helping to hold it up. Abstract moralism condemns certain keystones, removes them, and then blames both the nature of the stones and the structure when it collapses. …

“In family questions, inasmuch as men were understood to be so strongly motivated by property, an older wisdom tried to attach concern for the family to that motive: the man was allowed and encouraged to regard his family as his property, so he would care for the former as he would instinctively care for the latter. This was effective, although it obviously had disadvantages from the point of view of justice.

“{The current rebuilding of the family} must fail because in an age of individualism, persons of either sex cannot be forced to be public-spirited, particularly by those who are becoming less so. What is wanted is an antidote to natural selfishness, but wishes do not give birth to horses, however much abstract moralism may demand them.

“When wives and children come to the husband and father and say, ‘We are not your property; we are ends in ourselves and demand to be treated as such,’ {we must be} impressed. But the difficulty comes when wives and children further demand that the man continue to care for them as before, just when they are giving an example of caring for themselves. They object to the father’s flawed motive and ask that it be miraculously replaced by a pure one, of which they wish to make use for their own ends. The father will almost inevitably constrict his quest for property, cease being a father and become a mere man again, rather than turning into a providential God, as others ask him to be. …

“I am not arguing here that the old family arrangements were good or that we should or could go back to them. I am only insisting that we not cloud our vision to such an extent that we believe that there are viable substitutes for them just because we want or need them. …All our reforms have helped strip the teeth of our gears, which can therefore no longer mesh. They spin idly, side by side, unable to set the social machine in motion. It is at this exercise in futility that young people must look when thinking about their future.”

Northern Europe (socially stable and homogenous, prosperous) has moved to a post-marriage society. Perhaps we can too. Many Americans are experimenting with new family systems. Our upper classes, especially the rich elites of Hollywood, are using the unlimited power of money (their incomes or giant divorce settlements) to try various forms of single motherhood (with a varying cast of men flowing through the home). Our underclass is replicating the experiment, but with less money (welfare and low-pay jobs). The latter has already proved a disaster, helping turn stable poor areas like Harlem and Watts into high-crime ghettos. Time will tell how the experiments of the rich on their children will turn out.

Our future

The old system lies in ruins. We coast due to people’s residual belief in blasted values and unawareness that everything has changed. We are like characters in Looney Toon cartoons, running off a cliff into the air. Eventually we will look at the void below us, and fall. It is already happening, slowly, in the lives of our young. We must build a new foundation for the family while the old one tumbles down around us. I fear it won’t be a time conducive to rational thought by cool considerate men and women. Rather ideologues and demagogues will spew forth new (often toxic) ideas for panicked crowds to adopt. I fear that our children will pay a big price for the Boomers’ social science experiments on them.

Other posts in this series

  1. Can a strong America be built with broken families?
  2. We teach boys that marriage doesn’t work.
  3. Women embrace higher values, destroying their families.
  4. America’s family structure is broken. Dreams won’t build a new one.

For More Information

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

Another perspective: perhaps this is just another part of the giant too-disturbing-to-mention-trend – of women reordering their lives in ways that make them less happy. See the initial blockbuster paper “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness” by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers (May 2009). See the good liberals at the NYT and Guardian attempt to grapple with it. Lots of good follow-up work on this.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about women and the gender wars, about marriage, about fathers, about divorce, and especially these posts about the modern American family …

  1. Do we want to bring back traditional marriage? What is traditional marriage?
  2. Our society will be shaped by technology as porn and sexbots destroy 21st century marriage.
  3. Classic films show what marriage was. Facts show its death.
  4. Marriage today – and its dystopian future.
  5. Red Pill knowledge is poison to marriage.
  6. An easy fix to make marriages stronger and work better.
  7. The rising number of celibate men: it’s an alarm.
  8. The coming crash of marriage: why, and what’s next.

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.

43 thoughts on “America’s families are broken. Dreams won’t build new ones.”

  1. Larry, was wondering if I could get your thoughts on the following (this was inspired by your previous post):

    I’m noticing a lot of female youtube stars (e.g. Lilly Singh, Anna Akana) announcing they’re bisexual. Often these women are hitting their late 20s when the announcement comes. It’s almost as if subconsciously they realize they’ve priced themselves out of the marriage market due to their enormous amount of financial success and are covering with the bisexual label.

    I’m also noticed within my social group that once a woman passes the age of 27-28 and is still single, she seems to simply give up on finding a guy. Quite often she ends up spending her time travelling around with her girl friends who are also single. It reminded me of the YT bisexual phenomenon.

    It’s as if so many women are single into their 30s, that the status of marriage doesn’t appeal anymore since there’s plenty of friends who haven’t gotten married either.

    1. Vyas,

      I know too little to say much about the phenomenon I describe. I wonder if most “analysis” about cutting edge trends is just guessing (mine, too). But FWIW, I too have seen this. Bisexuality is clearly a growing thing among women. Not just in their late 20s. On campuses, women are “bi until graduation.”

      Note that lesbian relationships have both the shortest durations (ie, highest break-up rates) and the highest rates of domestic abuse – the things women complain about in relationships with men.

      Perhaps this is just another part of the giant – too-disturbing-to-mention-trend – of women reordering their lives in ways that make them less happy. See the initial blockbuster paper “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness” by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers (May 2009). See the good liberals at the NYT and Guardian attempt to grapple with it. Lots of good follow-up work on this.

      We are sliding ever-faster to an unknown future. Much like in a science fiction film, when the scientist tests the formula by drinking it – then exciting things happen.

    2. Vyasa – Follow-up.

      From a Dutch study published March 2016, using Google Translate.

      “The chance that a marriage will result in a divorce is greatest with two women. Ten years later, more than 30% of the 580 marriages between two women concluded in 2005 ended in divorce. The chance that a marriage of two men fails is smaller. After ten years, more than 15% of male marriages had ended in divorce. For marriages between men and women this was 18%.”

    3. Based on my observations over the years (as well as a couple of books I have read by women themselves) a certain (significant?) percentage of women is “latently” bisexual, such that even though they may not think of themselves generally as bisexual in attraction, or may have not had relations with other women, under certain contexts, given certain triggers, they can act bisexual in a more or less full way. This has been sometimes described as “sexual fluidity”, in that it often does not manifest as a permanent orientation for a woman, but rather is a situational response to a specific context or trigger. That is to say, these women are not actually “bisexual” in orientation in a general sense, but they can be bisexual in action, in a concrete sense, given the proper context and trigger.

      I think, again based on observation, that this is not uncommon among women. It probably isn’t a majority of women, but it’s a large minority. Again, these aren’t “bisexual women”, in reality — the percentage of women of any cohort who self-identify as bisexual is small (although it appears somewhat more common among younger cohorts) but there’s a larger group of situationally bisexual acting women who do not identify as such in general.

      I suspect that the increase in women identifying as bisexual comes from some portion of the sexually fluid group that previously would not use the label choosing to do so for various reasons, ranging from acceptability to social cache and fashion to political solidarity motivations and beyond. I expect that many of the “newly discovered bisexual women” are no more actually bisexual in permanent orientation than the older group who were sexually fluid but didn’t identify as bisexual — but the context that they now live in encourages them to use the label to describe their periodic/contextual fluidity in attraction.

      It’s important to keep in mind that when I’m talking about “context and triggers” here one of the main contexts and triggers for sexually fluid women to opt for other women is the absence of desirable men, a fatigue with the experience of dating and dealing with men, a desire not to engage in the dominant heterosexual relationship culture of a given context (ie, college — i.e., the erstwhile LUGs Larry describes, which are actually much less common than they used to be as dating activity has migrated more or less exclusively to the more controlled environment of phone apps), or frustration arising from the end of one or of a series of failed relationships with men. These are the most common triggers that cause a woman to act on her fluidity, even if she isn’t generally bisexual in orientation, and today, since there is only upside in declaring oneself to be bisexual (as a woman), the label is affixed to this behavior more commonly, despite the fact that it doesn’t really speak to a fixed, permanent orientation for these women.

      1. Excellent comment, i could not have put that so eloquently, but i have com to that same conclusion, especially the last paragraph.
        Given the phenomenon of women pricing themselves out of the market, we should expect to see substantially more women opting to be with equally high prices female partners in the future. If this ever makes it down to the lower social castes i do not see why these women would ever return to men.
        This will be extremely interesting to watch, as i do not believe this has ever happened before on this planet (legends about amazons not withstanding).

  2. It worked more or less well for everyone? HIGHLY debatable. We now know that, “Certain developmental stages in a marriage, including pregnancy and the months following the birth of a child, are also high risk times for infidelity among males (Allen & Baucom, 2001; Brown, 1991; Whisman et al., 2007).” If men are so happy, why do they cheat on their pregnant wives? If women are so happy, why do they file for divorce 68% of the time? Maybe marriage and reproduction make a lot of people UNhappy, and they’re just more honest about it today.

    1. What are the time periods of these studies? Also, how are the statistics done? Just who were those men cheating with. All accounts I have read indicate that men rarely have homosexual affairs in terms of numbers. So, who were these women?

      I can only give personal knowledge. I have seen more divorces in my lifetime due to infidelity than the women just getting tired of marriage. The number in my life indicate that the reason of divorce that is five times more likely is infidelity. The women involved in the infidelity were just married at about a 4 to 1 rate. The most common feature was that the women were younger than the wife at home.

      1. Alright, so not being able to pursue younger women makes men unhappy, getting cheated on with young, unencumbered women makes women unhappy. Ergo, marriage makes both sexes unhappy. Now we have the real answer for crashing marriage rates. Conservatives are facing an uphill battle promoting neither marriage and pronatalism when neither men nor women truly want to be married.

      2. Jenny,

        None of that makes any sense whatsoever. John’s comment is just his impression, ignoring the vast body of actual research on these matters.

        Your rant tells us nothing unless you show that those phenomena have changed in some way during the past few generations.

        Making stuff up doesn’t promote clear vision about these matters.

      3. Jenny – Follow-up.

        It might help you better understand life to read some Shakespeare (Elizabethan era England) and Greek classical plays. Cuckolding is a big theme in both, showing the concern about infidelity across time and space. Allan Bloom described it well.

        “Relations between the sexes have always been difficult, and that is why so much of our literature is about men and women quarreling. There is certainly legitimate ground to doubt their suitability for each other given the spectrum — from the harem to Plato’s Republic — of imaginable and actually existing relations between them, whether nature acted the stepmother or God botched the creation by an afterthought, as some Romantics believed.

        “That man is not made to be alone is all very well, but who is made to live with him? This is why men and women hesitated before marriage, and courtship was thought necessary to find out whether the couple was compatible, and perhaps to give them basic training in compatibility. No one wanted to be stuck forever with an impossible partner. But, for all that, they knew pretty much what they wanted from one another. The question was whether they could get it (whereas our question today is much more what is wanted). A man was to make a living and protect his wife and children, and a woman was to provide for the domestic economy, particularly in caring for husband and children. Frequently this did not work out very well for one or both of the partners, because they either were not good at their functions or were not eager to perform them. …

        “Now all of this has simply disintegrated. It does not exist, nor is it considered good that it should. But nothing certain has taken its place. Neither men nor women have any idea what they are getting into anymore,
        or, rather, they have reason to fear the worst. There are two equal wills, and no mediating principle to link them and no tribunal of last resort. …People are no longer raised to think they ought to regard marriage as the primary goal and responsibility, and their uncertainty is mightily reinforced by the divorce statistics, which imply that putting all of one’s psychological eggs in the marriage basket is a poor risk.

        “The goals and wills of men and women have become like parallel lines, and it requires a Lobachevskyan imagination to hope they may meet.”

      4. John,

        There are many studies asking people why they divorce. Like most studies relying on self-reporting, I think they are more curiosities than facts. The divorcing party (usually the women) says the other person is as fault, and gives reasons that justify it. In my 12 years as an arbitrator, I found that people lie under oath like rugs. Survey answers are probably even more fictional.

        Anyway, the top three reasons for divorce found in most surveys are…

        Lack of commitment.

        The latter is pretty meaningless, as a party wanting to divorce will often escalate disputes to justify the coming divorce. Ditto infidelity is sometimes the result of one party driving the other away in preparing for a divorce. The two strategies are complementary. These matters are complex and probably beyond our ability to quantify – or even analytically understand.

      5. Larry in your list, I have found that 1 and 2, lack of commitment and infidelity, have gone hand and hand.

        I also have noted that when it comes to sex and love, yes, people lie like rugs.

        I think that the infidelity part has an interesting twist. From the Kinsey Reports: Sexual dissatisfaction is associated with increased risk of divorce and relationship dissolution.

    2. Jenny,

      It depends on your comparison. Heaven is great, but you have to die to get there. What you consider to be a horror show you describe is heaven compared to most people around the world today, or among all those who have ever lived. Adultery is and has always been a fact of life, as some people work the edges of the deal. Condemning marriage because of adultery is like condemning banks because there are bank robbers (esp before FDIC).

      There is a sound analytical basis for my statement. As we have reformed our society along feminist principles, women’s self-reported happiness has declined. See the initial blockbuster paper “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness” by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers (May 2009). See the good liberals at the NYT and Guardian attempt to grapple with it. Lots of good follow-up research on this.

      1. @Jenny

        If motherhood doesnt fulfil. Its better to be honest so as to save women from miserable marriages.

      2. info,

        “If motherhood doesnt fulfil. Its better to be honest so as to save women from miserable marriages.”

        That’s an important and an almost ignored issue. Training women to become mothers – to want to become mothers and know how to do it well – is called pronatalism. It was a core aspect of western girls’ upbringing from a very young age. No longer. Even girls that want to play like traditional girls are often discouraged by parents and teachers.

        Hence we get women that have children on the basis of outdated cultural expectations and are unhappy. Lots of the young women where I worked hated being mothers, put their kids into day care at the earliest possible moment, and considered work their life and the kids a burden. Esp boys, so active and difficult to manage. Fortunately, it is socially acceptable to drug them into becoming doorstops.

        The wave of the future is therapy for all the screwed up kids.

        I wonder if this is a large factor in women divorcing. They are no longer raised to be wives and mothers, so they fall into those roles – and find they don’t like them.

  3. “”Abstract moralism condemns certain keystones, removes them, and then blames both the nature of the stones and the structure when it collapses. …””

    A great description of what has happened in the workplace. Men face a double whammy. LK I wonder if somewhere there is not a good research or book about the abandonment of moral patriarchies in the workplace. Anyway, I changed the paragraph below to reflect what else men (and women) see in the workplace. I think this double whammy has the same cause, and that thus, the difficulty of fixing will be four times harder if the solution requires separate addressing of the marriage and workplace issues. IMO.

    “”But the difficulty comes when managers and businesses further demand that the employee continue to care as before, just when they are giving an example of caring only for themselves. They object to the employee’s flawed motivation and ask that it be miraculously replaced by a pure one, of which they wish to make use for their own ends. “”

      1. Yes, the workplace has changed that much in my experience. There are two phenomena that have changed the landscape. You and I have commented on these.

        The first is replacing humans with machines.

        The second is MBA’s who believe persons can be changed as easily as machinery, and other non technical beliefs, such as, that quality can be accomplished if you have the middle managers training those below them, and somehow shepherding upper management to do the right things. This was used by upper management at a facility I worked at to blame the middle management for failures.

        I observed in workers a growing dissatisfaction. What their complaints added up to was the lack of respect. With work force changes of hiring women and promoting them even when of lesser capability, men saw this as part of the overall purging of men. Even more important, the men saw this as a moral issue.

        They noted that proficiency came second to the social ratings that the company was using. They also noted that punishment was levered by social rating.

        I know that inequalities are a long historied human condition. But that does not mean that it is untrue. In fact, if it is just a phantasm of their imagination, a cure is even less likely.

        The part that enraged them more than others was that the competent had to make up for the incompetent, and when they couldn’t, the competent were blamed. They were chastised for not being loyal, and not willing to sacrifice more for the company. Never mind about the incompetency and social ratings going on.

        I would like to say that their observations were wrong, but cannot.

        It even affected me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but when a RIF happened I was expected to use it to keep some of the socially correct. I didn’t and I ended up slated for the next RIF. Fortunately for me, my position required special state licenses, and specialized training. They had to withdraw their forced retirement package or face immediate fines.

        This is my experience. I know others that have similar experiences. I don’t know how prevalent it is. I do think that Trump’s election, and the angry nature of those who voted for him, from what they say, indicates that the liberal experiments are causing severe emotional trauma. My opinion is that men are treated poorly due to the bleedover from these experiments.

  4. The traditional wedding vow:
    “I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to you.”

    At a time not too far in the past (my parents), those words had meaning. That’s a bad contract for sure, but most found a way. Commitment.

    Boomers lost it, only time will tell what millennial family’s do. 

  5. It seems like common sense that you don’t decommission your existing institutions, technology, theories, whatever, until you have superior replacements. Ain’t broke, don’t fix.

    Somehow, despite having achieved unprecedented prosperity, peace, and plenty, the notion became widespread that half of society, women, were getting the short end of the stick. It followed that that to correct this historic injustice, dating back to the dawn of civilization, the old order would have to go. But there was no time to let this happen organically. It would have to be torn down and replaced, by force, with a new egalitarian model, untested and theoretically shaky.

    The results are in, and not exactly reassuring. Our prosperity is fading, there is constant, escalating, bickering among the various interest groups, our educational system is in tatters, children are adrift, and nobody, least of all women, are happy.

    Way to go ladies!

    You may have hated the patriarchy, but it didn’t hate you. It provided for you, protected you, looked after your interests, and those of our society. And believe it or not, there was always room within it for ambitious, capable women to advance into positions of responsibility. Was the perfect? Of course not. What system is? Is the new system an improvement? Um, no.

    Funny thing is, fourth-wave feminism, which drips with contempt for males and all they represent, is not about equality. It’s about female supremacy. But it doesn’t have a plan. Or rather the plan goes something like this: (a) Achieve dominance. (b) Do everything better than, ugh, males. After all, backward and in high heels . . .

      1. The master insight behind it, Larry, is that men generally distrust, dislike and have contempt for most (not all) other men, naturally. At the very least there is a very strong sketicism and wariness about other men. This increases as community bonds and institutions weaken, because these generally work to foster bonds among men.

        This has been leveraged time and time again as the engine of feminism. Women complain about this or that which some bad men are doing to them, and the rest of the men, skeptical, wary or downright contemptuous of men in general, tend to agree with the women, do what they want, and shackle the “bad men” (which translates to being most men who aren’t inside one’s circle of trust, which is generally small).

        When you subtract community organizations that tend to forge bonds among men on a broader scale, men revert to fairly distant, skeptical, wary and often hostile appraisals of each other. This has been leveraged to great effect by feminism, such that men do not see what they are doing as furthering female advantage, but rather as putting men in their place who need to be put in their place, period.

        It’s truly a brilliant strategy because it turns something that is an inherent tendency in men against men as a whole for the benefit of women, and therefore when it is happening men feel satisfied, fulfilled, justified, and righteously masculine for putting such men in their place … while the women are standing in the corner laughing amongst themselves, without question.

        Women have evolved to manipulate men effectively for obvious reasons (some of them alluded to in your post here), but this latest strategy on a society-wide basis is a truly genial masterstroke. You have to admire it. Men really can’t keep up with this — not evolved to do so.

      2. Novaseeker,

        “The master insight behind it, Larry, is that men generally distrust, dislike and have contempt for most (not all) other men, naturally.”

        That is quite false. Men naturally form teams. They do so even faster when under stress or when faced with opposition. This is easily seen among boys. I’ve seen it countless times with boys in Scouting. Dump boys together, strangers to each other. In a day they will form teams – each with a functional hierarchy.

        Worse, it is backwards. It is women that do not as easily form teams.

      3. You’ve entirely missed the point.

        Men form teams against other teams of men, Larry, not as men-qua-men. We form teams with some men against other teams of men and compete for dominance. We do not collaborate as an entire sex for the interests of our sex as a whole. Women are the opposite of this. They have a 4:1 in-group preference for other women, Larry — we have no such preference for our own sex. They do collaborate with other women in the interests of their sex as a whole — we do not do that. That is the key difference, and it has flown right over your head.

      4. Novaseeker,

        One word rebuttal: patriarchy. It’s ubiquitous across time and space. It doesn’t just happen. No gods brought it to Earth. It occurs because men stand together as (to use Marx’s sociology) as a class against women.

      5. Novaseeker is much more capable at reply than I am, but in case he doesn’t, here is my feeble attempt.

        Patriarchy exists always for purposes other than itself. Men don’t band together because of some principle that reduces to nothing but Patriarchy. There has to exist some other unifying principle upon which men agree, that pervades the culture. If such a unifying principle exists, men will band together, and Patriarchy is more a descriptive result, rather than a unifying factor in itself. If there is no unifying principle, there will be no banding together of men as group in a society and instead there will be general animosity between men. The best you can expect, as Novaseeker points out, is unity among ever smaller groups of men as society continues to fracture from any kind of unifying principle. There will never be any meaningful unity between men “just because we’re all men,” and indeed this does not even describe what Patriarchy is.

        Patriarchy is ubiquitous throughout history in almost every culture, but that doesn’t stop one patriarchal group of men from focusing particularly on the eradication or suppression of another patriarchal group of men. E.g., see the animosity between Mohammedans and Christians since the founding of Mohammedanism.

      1. Jenny,

        Are you reading any of the responses to your comments? It does not appear to be so. To briefly recap, as feminists have reformed society – women’s happiness has decreased. You are reporting the results of feminism.

        As for those studies …

        (1) Time studies consistently show that men and women work equally long hours, including both “housework” and paid employment. Saying that men become lazier after marriage is nuts. They work longer hours in more dangerous jobs. A famous study long ago asked garbage men why they worked at that back-breaking and dangerous job (when the cans were manually lifted into the truck, and exposure to hazardous waste was part of the job). The answer (from memory): “Are you nuts? I have a family to support.”

        Almost all the people injured or killed on the job are men. Find some of them and tell them they are “lazy.” You deserve whatever you get.

        (2) Studies with self-reporting about politically charged topics are notoriously unreliable. They are performance art. The more-chores-better-sex study has been decisively debunked by more robust research using large-scale broad surveys (whose answers are less likely to be virtue signally). Even the radical feminists at Slate’s XX Factor columns acknowledge this: “Guys Who Do Housework Get Less Sex.” Other studies have replicated this finding.

      2. Larry, “women” are not a monolith. African-American women’s happiness has INCREASED. Women without children report being happier than women who have had children, across all ages. Are “women” really less happy, or are white mothers?

      3. Jenny,

        I’m trying to be polite, but you’re making it difficult.

        ““women” are not a monolith.”

        Please, no more cracker jack wisdom. We refer to broad classes such as men and women for simplicity’s sake. These are comments, not peer-reviewed scholarly papers.

        “Women without children report being happier than women who have had children, across all ages.”

        You are conflating two different issues: changes in self-reported happiness over time for a group vs. self-reported happiness between groups at any point in time. The first is relevant if comparing recent data (ie. for the effects of recent social changes). The second is not. This isn’t a discussion about women’s happiness.

        Please attempt to stay on topic, with material relevant to this post.

      4. Jenny,

        As I said, my interest in these self-reporting surveys is low. Self-reporting is pretty useless. Looking at just housework and not hours of paid employment is nuts.

        “Maybe Boomer women liked lazy men, but they also filed for divorce more than any other cohort of women before or since”

        Your comments grow increasingly weird.

        • In 1969 California Governor Ronald Reagan signed the Family Law Act, the nation’s first no-fault divorce law. The rest of the nation followed suit in the next decade. This radically changed the nature of marriage. Women before then could not easily file for divorce.
        • Divorce rates are rough estimates, since in 1996 Congress defunded the CDC’s collection of data on marriage and divorce. Comparing data before and after that date is unreliable.
        • Marriage rates have also fallen. So it is possible that marriages that would end don’t take place. For example, with welfare and better job prospects women might feel less pressure to marry when pregnant.
      5. Larry, bottom line, the most current data does not support that today’s women have more sexual frequency with men who do less around the house. My interest in your blog is that you discuss CURRENT trends. But if you’re going to make the assertion about married men who do less housework having more sex and discount the trends that include the youngest women, then it’s disingenuous. Millennial women are, as you yourself have pointed out, not the same as Boomer women were. Their behaviour isn’t the same, their preferences aren’t the same. No millennial women I know want a do-nothing dude (fine, do-nothing… around the house. I will concede that even the most egregious do-nothing dudes could be doing plenty at the job site).

      6. The material is very relevant, because you treat it as though women are a monolith. But there is considerable variation within that group. When you say that “women are less happy” and the data shows that African-American women are WAY more happy than before, how can that possibly be seen as applying to all women? Furthermore, as the paper you provided points out, they don’t distinguish between Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin. But in the mid-70s when the data sets begin, roughly 90% of American women surveyed were white, compared to around 65% today. How do we know the trends aren’t driven almost entirely by Hispanic women being less happy than white women, and that being the case because (1) they’re racialized and (2) they are more likely to have children, and at younger ages, than other cohorts? The “women are less happy” thing reads to me like propaganda and doesn’t hold up upon further inspection at all.
        Furthermore, as the paper you linked to shows, there are fewer men now in the “not too happy” category which is consistent with the paper I linked to showing a huge increase in the happiness of fathers over the same 40-year time period. The fact is that the current social trends are working out for a heck of a lot of people.

  6. Larry, first thank you for a thoughtful series. This dialogue is helpful for me as I am running for political office next year and the idea of family is one of the most important issues going forward as we all know. Here, in the rural part of the Rust Belt (hate that term, but it gives the reader the geographical marker) families nowadays are almost unrecognizable. We have an increasing number of multi-generational families residing in the same house wherein grandparent(s) are caring for the children because the parents are absent due to either rampant drug abuse, working multiple jobs or prison. In the likely event that the grandparent(s) die or become incapacitated before the parent(s) (usually single) can resume parental responsibility, these families become even more dependent on social services already straining to meet demand due to lack of resources in this era of austerity.

    Regardless of how we arrived at this present state, the above is illustrative in one key aspect; our various institutions (governments, political parties, unions, multi-national corporations, organized religion, education, marriage, etc.) have largely failed us and severely reduced the institutional trust we once held dearly in them but the trust in family to help each other overcome and survive still lives because of our instinctual nature to turn towards it in times of peril.

    And therein perhaps lies the first step in reform; the ultimate recognition in each of us of our individual selfishness but also of our individual contribution to family first and then to society at large (Bloom’s Gothic cathedral). To borrow further from Bloom’s observation; the reforms have stripped the teeth from our gears for now but maybe soon the realization of how each of us just simply represents one tooth in the cog of life that needs replaced right now and how each of us are invariably inter-meshed with the grander machine of human existence.

    You mention Northern Europe as an example of moving to a post-marriage society due to its homogeneity, prosperity and social stability and I would offer that they were afforded that opportunity to do so because in brief, they are not us. America, with it “abstract moralism” , and acting in its self-employed role as world policeman since WWII, has reduced its prosperity and social stability and forgot the reason for its founding beliefs in freedom and liberty that provided us with some form of homogeneity in a multicultural society. Thusly, the keystones have been removed by us and we blamed their very nature when found in others resulting in the tearing down of all our structures.

    1. Craig,

      Thank you for your report from the front lines, so to speak, of our political conflicts. Nicely said. Esp this, an essential insight to understand what’s happening in America.

      “our various institutions …have largely failed us and severely reduced the institutional trust we once held dearly in them”

      We are in the midst of widespread collapse of America’s institutions. They are falling like dominoes. For more about this, see A new, dark picture of America’s future.

    2. Craig, If you don’t mind, could you look at the comments that Larry and I are exchanging about what I think is a synergistic effect on men. I am curious as to whether the men in your political area have had the same experiences and come to the same conclusions as the men I dealt with here in the Deep South.

      The simple version: Men think the workplace, their standing in the community, and the family have been corrupted by the social experiments. They feel as though they have targets on their backs. They see the problem with marriage and work coming from the same forces.

      Thanks. Your comments and insights are appreciated.

    The master insight behind it, Larry, is that men generally distrust, dislike and have contempt for most (not all) other men, naturally. …”

    This is a really good comment.

    I’ve noticed this a long time and not being like this, never been able to understand why men are so blind to how this hurts everyone. For one, it seems to create a lot of weak, isolated men (in a certain sense) because they don’t talk to each other to learn wisdom. There’s no trust and that prevents a lot of good happening.

    Even though I’m 60, I have to think it didn’t used to be that way in the more distant past. When you say “female advantage”, it’s a kind of sociopathic view– advantage in a zero sum view of relationships where working with others by often giving freely, is always foolish. That’s the heart of feminism. There are none of the traditional female virtues, or any virtues for that matter. And perhaps that’s the thing women had in the past that’s creating what you say.

    1. kingfisher,

      “This is a really good comment.”

      It is absurdly false. It takes a lot of work to keep men isolated and alienated. But that’s an unstable situation, and could rapidly change.

      One of my predictions is that team formation will begin among men almost spontaneously in the near future, like a precipitate from a supersaturated solution. Of course, the teams formed might be around and unpleasant cause. I read about all the beaten, broken men – being cuckolded by their girlfriends or wives – and I see raw material for the Hitler Youth or S.A. Smart uniforms, exciting celebrations, proudly marching, etc.

      1. The alt-right did attract a lot of young men. I forget where I read this, but someone pointed out the failure of the alt-right is an opportunity for a better organization to emerge. This will be very fascinating to see.

        The most interesting question in my opinion is who will lead this groups. In other words, what kind of men? At least the “alphas” as the manosphere calls them are having the time of their lives, so I believe they are unlikely to want change.

        Larry, you’ve had extensive experience with the boy scouts. Is there a particular type of man (personality wise) you can imagine leading these new teams?

      2. Vyasa,

        “I forget where I read this”

        I said it here. See details here: The Left crushes the alt-Right, but Darwin might bring them to power.

        “the “alphas” as the manosphere calls them are having the time of their lives, so I believe they are unlikely to want change.”

        Alphas will lead it. Power is a heady brew. Nor is it incompatible with have lots of sex with hot babes. Look at JFK.

        But they might not be alphas when they assume command. Hitler was a nobody when he joined a nothing organization as its 7th member. Think of power as the equivalent of the (mythical) royal jelly that makes a bee into a Queen.

        “who you can imagine leading these new teams?”

        Leadership is a mystery.

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