Tag Archives: family

Will today’s young men marry? America’s future depends which of these answers is right.

Summary: In Will young men break America’s family structure? I asked a question which the comments suggest was too disturbing for many readers. Will most of today’s young men marry, as did previous generations? If not, our society will drastically change. Here are the answers readers gave.

Family holding hands

Will the young men now in high school and college marry in their late 20’s, as men do now? I gave an introduction to this vital issue in “Will young men break America’s family structure?” Here are some additional aspects I did not mention.

Marriage was an asset for our ancestors, as children provided labor whose value exceeded their cost. That changed by the 19th century, resulting in the street children and horrific orphanages described by Dickens. Now children are raised at fantastic cost by middle class families, often paid as child support by absent dads. I doubt many today’s young men, raised with pronatalism scrubbed from their textbooks, will marry to have kids.

The other major benefits of marriage, sex and companionship, are easily available without the risks and cost of marriage. Will this thoroughly unromantic generation of young men follow the traditional patterns in a world so radically changed? Or have the pressures on the institution of marriage grown, so that it snaps (similar to punctuated equilibrium in evolution)?

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Will young men break America’s family structure?

Summary:  Changes in gender relations are among the most powerful forces reshaping America.  Team Trump is the most conservative administration since before the New Deal, but they are powerless to turn this clock back. Below you will see a vision of how our society will change in the decade or so.

Contents

  1. The new life cycle of American women.
  2.  The family’s broken foundation.
  3. Allan Boom explains what’s happening.
  4. For More Information.

See part 2 of this series:  Will today’s young men marry? America’s future depends which of these answers is right.

(1)  The new life cycle of American women

In brief, the family is toast in its current configuration. My guess is that the places where this disintegration have advanced most (e.g., Scandinavia, Los Angeles) society is coasting, supported by inherited cultural traditions which no longer have any foundation. I believe that this is one of our greatest social problems, which the boomers bequeath to future generations much as the Founders did slavery. We are building a new social system, changing the basics but hoping the old dynamics still operate.

Scores of posts here document these changes and discuss their effects. We might see these changes erupt into a crisis during the next decade. The women now becoming adults are the first raised in a culture of third wave feminism. They enter a society in which women are outperforming men in an increasingly wide range of factors (most notably, education), in which the last constraints on young women’s behavior are gone (most importantly, any barriers to unrestrained pursuit of alpha men). It is a golden age for young women.

The median age of marriage for women is 28, a record high for America (see this Census graph). They have roughly a decade to play, with little need to plan for their future. Men will be there to settle upon when they are ready to settle down. But will they?

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“Castle” shows a future of strong women & weak men. As for marriage…

Summary: The TV show “Castle” gives us a mirror in which we can see ourselves, our hopes and fears — skillfully constructed by the best producers, actors, and technicians in Hollywood. Among other things it shows us a vision of the changing nature of relations between men and women — and its effects on marriage. It’s how the arts help us prepare for the future.  Spoilers for Episode 2 and thereafter of Season 8!

“People need stories, more than bread, itself. They teach us how to live, and why. … Stories show us how to win.”
— The Master Storyteller in HBO’s “The Arabian Nights”. Stories also warn us, showing us how to lose.

Beckett ropes Castle in S07E07

She caught him, but later threw him back. From Castle S07E07 – “Once Upon A Time in the West”.

Sometimes, rarely, a TV show clearly shows us America in motion — evolving into something new. “Castle”, staring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, does so for one of the greatest events of our era: the adoption of gender roles without precedent in history. Wonderful for Alphas, bad for Betas, hellish for omegas. We see the consequences of the eponymous hero’s decay from bold strong alpha to beta orbiter. From leader to butt monkey (he’s the humorous contrast with the omnicompetent Beckett).

It’s a vision of America’s future as women become better-educated and often more fit than men (see the graduation numbers by degree). It’s a slow-mo evolution, taking years for women to transform the workplace and climb the ladders. But eventually they’ll reach critical mass and break through the glass ceiling in large numbers.

Previous posts have chronicled this as seen in the Castle – Beckett relationship. In season 6 she chooses wisely & agrees to marry Castle (rich, mild, family man), but probably dreams at night of her alpha ex-boyfriend. In the finale to the season Beckett’s husband mocks Castle, who finally sees his decay. He fakes his death to start a new life elsewhere (it was too bleak for viewers, so in mid-season they did a sloppy and incoherent explanation).

Of course it doesn’t work. Castle eventually marries Beckett. But Beckett, now a lithe hot NYPD Captain, feels revulsion for this overweight beta in her bed, and dumps him to seek adventure fighting evil at night as a Lone Ranger. We see the result in episode 3 of season 8. The show begins by drawing portraits of Rick Castle and his wife, Kate Beckett. First we see a lonely beta orbiter, sulking alone with his iPhone (transcript here)…

  • “Hello. I am your new home-operating system. My name is Lucy. What’s yours?”
  • “Uh, my name is Rick Castle, and my wife just left me.”
  • “Yikes. Sucks to be you, Rick.”

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When marriage disappears: rising inequality as the threat to the family

Summary:  This post looks at the disintegration of the family, another example of America’s regression as we quietly surrendering generations of gains. The America we loved — relatively classless, with a big middle class, low inequality and high social mobility — dies a little every day. The evidence lies before us, obvious in the news and described by countless studies. But to see it would create pressure to take political action. Work, risk, expense! It’s not too late to reverse these trends, but time is not on our side.

When Marriage Disappears

When Marriage Disappears: The Retreat from Marriage in Middle America
The National Marriage Project, U of VA

Introduction

In middle America, marriage is in trouble. Among the affluent, marriage is stable and may even be getting stronger. Among the poor, marriage continues to be fragile and weak. But the most consequential marriage trend of our time concerns the broad center of our society, where marriage, that iconic middle-class institution, is foundering.

For the last few decades, the retreat from marriage has been regarded largely as a problem afflicting the poor. But today, it is spreading into the solid middle of the middle class. …

Race, Class, and Marriage

Forty-five years ago, Daniel Patrick Moynihan drew the nation’s attention to the growing racial divide in American family life with the release of his report, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.” Moynihan later noted that his report had just captured the first tremors of “the earthquake that shuddered through the American family” over the course of the last half century.

Moynihan was right. This can be seen in Figure S1, which tracks trends in the percentage of working-age adults (25–60) who are in intact marriages, by race and educational attainment. While it is true that the nation’s retreat from marriage started first among African Americans, it is also evident that the retreat from marriage has now clearly moved into the precincts of black and white Middle America.

Specifically, in both the 1970s and the 2000s, blacks in all educational groupings were less likely to be in intact marriage than were their white peers. For both groups, marriage trends were not clearly and consistently stratified by education in the 1970s. However, by the 2000s, they are clearly stratified, such that the most-educated whites and blacks are also the most likely to be in intact marriages, and the least-educated whites and blacks are also the least likely to be in intact marriages.

This report is too rich in insights to summarize. The message and graphs are clear; it’s easy to read. I strongly recommend reading it. Here’s one graph I found especially compelling.

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The Left will rue the day they cheered an activist Court

Summary:  The reactions to the Court’s ruling on Obamacare and same sex marriage divide on predictable partisan grounds, as Americans seek what they want. We care little about Constitutional procedure and less about the work of making the machinery work as the Founders intended. It’s the thinking typical of political regimes’ last days, when belief has gone and people just follow the forms.  {We’re back to one post per day, as I consider winding down this project.}

Justice lying down

The Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriages. David Fontana at Slate gives some of the typical liberal cheering for the Court’s decision on same-sex marriages: “The Justices’ Justice” — “For years we feared the consequences of pushing social progress through the courts. Obergefell v. Hodges will prove we shouldn’t.”  I suspect he’s cheering prematurely.

For a clearer example of thinking on the Left see Matthew Yglesias’ reaction, exultant and quite daft (red emphasis added)…

What’s more, it’s a huge analytic mistake to assume that striking down some law is an anti-majoritarian action. The way the United States government works is that change is very hard. Given the current state of gridlock in Washington, it’s pretty clear that neither a gay marriage legalization bill nor a gay marriage illegalization bill could pass. On marriage equality, like on virtually every other issue, the status quo is simply likely to prevail. Into the breach steps the Supreme Court — in this case, on the side of the majority according to polls.

All in all, I think the American system of checks-and-balances has a lot of flaws. But unelected judges invalidating unjust laws that a majority of the public wants invalidated is basically the system working at its best.

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Men are “going Galt”. Marriage is dying. Will society survive?

Summary: Gender roles are changing at a rate not seen since the invention of agriculture. Marriage, the institution most affected, must also change or wither away. Here are reports with facts about marriage today and speculation about their meaning. All we know is that the future of marriage will be different than what we think of as “traditional” marriage.  {This post was revised slightly in Nov 2015.}

Death of Marriage

Contents

  1. Marriage: an institution in flux.
  2. The facts about marriage.
  3. One theory about the cause: men are “going Galt”.
  4. Will it be the end of civilization?
  5. Clear thinking about the problem.
  6. The 1st shot in next phase of the gender revolution.
  7. Conclusions.
  8. For More Information.

(1)  Marriage: an institution in flux

Marriage has been an institution in flux for centuries, but the rate of change accelerated after California Governor Ronald Reagan signed the revolutionary Family Law Act of 1969, retroactively abolishing the “traditional” binding contract of marriage and replacing it with no-fault divorce. This created our present system of serial monogamy (a series of monogamous pairings with the pretense of being for life). The feminist revolutions which followed forced further changes in marriage. Since then we’ve slid along the slippery slope, and still cannot see what lies at the end.

Let’s start this examination at an interview with Janice Shaw Crouse. She gives a status report on marriage today: “Bachelor Nation: 70% of Men Aged 20-34 Are Not Married“…

“Far too many young men have failed to make a normal progression into adult roles of responsibility and self-sufficiency, roles generally associated with marriage and fatherhood” … The high percentage of bachelors means bleak prospects for millions of young women who dream about a wedding day that may never come. “It’s very, very depressing … They’re not understanding how important it is for the culture, for society, for the strength of the nation to have strong families.”

Crouse sees the present but only in terms of yesterday’s norms. Today many young men reject the “normal progression into adult roles”. Many young women no longer “dream about a wedding day”, or are unwilling to make the compromises with a man to make that happen. As for the effect on society, it is just another of great experiments that we’re conducting — with our society as the lab rat.

Janice Shaw Crouse is a senior fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute at Concerned Women for America. She is the author of Marriage Matters: Perspectives on the Private and Public Importance of Marriage (2012),  Children at Risk: The Precarious State of Children’s Well-Being in America and The Strength of a Godly Woman: Finding Your Unique Place in God’s Plan.

(2)  The facts about marriage

For more about the facts Crouse describes, see the Pew Research report “Record Share of Americans Have Never Married As Values, Economics and Gender Patterns Change” (September 2014). It’s weak about the causes. For example, they don’t mention that increasing rates of obesity take many young people off the “market” for marriage, that the increased availability of sex outside marriage reduces men’s incentives to marry, or the increased “competition” of games and porn as alternatives to women.

Pew’s research shows that men’s weakening economic status vs. women renders many of them unmarriageable. The widening education gap guarantees that the economic gap will continue to widen. We already can see the effects rippling across society as women are moving on top of men in America.

But although the role of each of these factors remains obscure, the results are obvious and even predictable.

(a) More young people remain unmarried

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What’s the future of the family in America? How will that change our government?

Summary:  As the dust from the election settles, let’s not forget the powerful elements of the conservative critique of 21st C America. Here we look at one of the many forces driving the expansion of the government — the family. What might be its fate in the next few generations?

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Contents

  1. A question about the family, our government,
    and the future of America
  2. The answer: it’s toast, it’s growing, and …
  3. Allan Boom explains
  4. For More Information

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(1)  A question about the family, our government, & America

Question from Matt D, in response to Civil rights just took a step forward, the slow hard way. The right way. (about same-sex marriages):

I read your first link with quotes from de Tocqueville, and I have a question: How does your support for gay marriage square with de Tocqueville’s observation that the suppression of natural hierarchy among individuals drives societies towards centralized despotism? It is clear enough that the legitimization of same-sex marriage is not a driver of the degeneration of well-defined gender roles, which has been taking place over the last half-century. But it is the direct result of this degeneration, and helps to make it more durable.

Through the lens of de Tocqueville’s analysis, would not the blurring of male-female distinctions represent the elimination of the last natural focus of authority in the smallest and most basic unit of human organization? I won’t speculate about the observable results of this process, as that is a topic where there is much diversity of opinion. But on a purely theoretical level, using de Tocqueville’s framework, will not the man who can no longer order his family and the woman who can no longer be protected by her man be filled with a thirst for an ever-stronger and more intrusive centralized authority?

(2)  The answer: it’s toast, it’s growing, and …

Here we come to deep waters, in which the conservative viewpoint has much to say — if we can find these insights among the trash in which it hides today.

In brief, the family is toast in its current configuration. My guess is that the places where this disintegration have advanced most (eg, Scandinavia, Los Angeles) society is coasting, support by inherited cultural traditions which no longer have any foundation. My guess is that this is one of our greatest social problems, which the boomers bequeath to future generations much as the Founders did slavery. We’ve built a system that we don’t like with hopes it will all work, but no ideas as to how.

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