Tag Archives: pew research center

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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Our love for gun play grows as our trust in ourself wanes. Logical, mad, sad.

Summary:  Polls are our mirrors in which we see who we are and how we’re changing. The new Pew Poll showing our increased trust in gun-play reflects several obvious but grim trends in America. Let’s examine them. Always stare at the news; never ask for the blindfold. {This is the second of today’s posts}

“Well in the first place, an armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. For me, politeness is a sine qua non of civilization.”

— From Beyond this Horizon, a science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein (1942). Fun fiction, although quite false.

Americans trust in themselves

The saddest of graphs, from Gallup

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As you see in this graph, each year we have less confidence in ourselves, collectively. So, quite logically, we have less confidence in the officials we elect to run America. That makes us weak (we have power only when acting together), and strengthens those people with the resources and confidence to rule America. Worse, we are losing our ability to clearly see the world — and become more credulous in accepting things told to us by people we trust. This makes us easy to manipulate.

PEW poll on guns

Nowhere is this clearer than with gun rights. We have gone from several generations of moderate regulation to allowing widespread concealed carry to increasing agitation for open carry (something forbidden in most towns in the Wild West). It’s logical, in a mad way, that we’d turn to personal weapons for a sense of control and security (unraveling several centuries of social progress).

The reason we tell ourselves for this confidence in guns range from false to delusional, while the astonishing toll in blood astonishes people in other developed nations (subscribe to Robert Waldman on Twitter for horrific real time reports: @KagroX).

The latest Pew Poll about Americans attitudes about guns makes grim reading. Support for gun regulation has dropped significantly among most groups during the past ten years. Among Black Americans, the group suffering the most from gun violence, belief that guns protect them from crime almost doubled in two years (29% to 54%). It’s “the hair of the dog that bites” them; massive evidence proves this false. See the posts at the end for detailed debunking of the major myths about guns.

This reaching for guns oddly accompanies a long-term decline in the crime rate. The hysteria about 9-11 and Benghazi matches contrasts with our far larger annual death toll from mass shootings.

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Is the Tea Party wrong about global warming? Yes! And no.

Summary: Climate change might pose one of the greatest threats to humanity in its history since the supervolcano Toba exploded 70 thousand years ago, almost exterminating our species. Or not. Managing this complex issue profoundly challenges our social and political institutions. We’re failing so far, with no signs of improvement. Here is post #50 in a series documenting this. There’s still time to do better. The stakes are high.

An hourglass for the world

By LucAleria; Wikimedia Commons image

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Contents

  1. A vital issue reduced to a cacophony
  2. Conservatives are right about global warming
  3. Conservatives are wrong about global warming
  4. Conclusions
  5. For More Information

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(1)  A vital issue reduced to a cacophony

Climate change powerfully illustrates America’s broken observation-orientation-action (OODA) loop, and how this cripples our ability to craft effective public policy responses to our changing world. It’s become politicized, with both sides focused on the success of their side — the truth a secondary consideration.

Comments frequently remind me of this. I posted a comment the skeptics at Jeff Condon’s The Air Vent about the benefits of properly citing the source of graphics. Amazingly, the folks there disagreed. “I don’t think references add much credibility to correlation sorted paleoclimatology..” After all, “climate scientists make plenty of errors on blogs just like the rest of us.” Worth a read of their tribal reactions.

I cited “In the Eye of the Storm“ by James Hanley (Assoc Prof of Political Science, Adrian College). His reply:

“Oh, lord, why did you have to reference me. I’m not on your side.”

This is a mild comment, not serious in itself, but typical of the public debate about climate. The tribe, the side, the team is what matters. Are you with the Kool Kids or against them? Articles are read to determine which side the author belongs to; all reactions follow from that. I doubt Prof Hanley knows anything about my views about climate change, but confidently guesses. That’s the rule seen in the thousands of comments to the 185 posts about climate change on the FM website.(summarized here)

After years of this the public debate about climate change has become a cacophony, leaving a large fraction of Americans with strongly-held but often factually incorrect opinions. For evidence today let’s look at conservative’s opinions about global warming (see links at the end for examination of the Left’s views). Here are two polls which, unlike most, ask fairly scientifically precise questions about global warming.

(2)  Conservatives are right about global warming

From a Pew Research poll conducted 9 – 13 October 2013. Red emphasis added.

From what you’ve read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades, or not? Do you believe that the earth is getting warmer mostly because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels, or mostly because of natural patterms {sic} in the earth’s environment?

Bloomberg plots the results:

Bloomberg graph of Global Warming

Bloomberg, 9 May 2014

The detailed numbers from the Pew Poll:

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Americans begin to learn, and change our views about our mad empire.

Summary:  We’ve built an empire, but like its British predecessor, it provides little benefit to the people who pay for it with blood and money. Recent polls suggest that we might be catching on to the con, but it’s too soon to speculation about the effects of this change on US foreign policy.

… it is a fact that Kipling’s “message” was one that the big {British} public did not want, and indeed, has never accepted. The mass of the people, in the 1890’s as now, were anti-militarist, bored by the Empire, and only unconsciously patriotic. Kipling’s official admirers are and were the “service” middle class …”

— “Thoughts on Rudyard Kipling” by George Orwell, Horizon, February 1942

Clear world

America burst upon the world in the Spanish-American War (1898), with succeeding waves carrying us into broader and deeper involvements around the world. With each wave our military grew larger.  We have become the world’s hegemon, running a mad unprofitable empire.

The cost in money has been borne by American taxpayers.  The cost in blood by America’s young men (and some women).

Each wave has fought and overcome a deeply-rooted isolationist sentiment. But a new generation has arrived, whose views might mirror the disinterest of the British mass public during the late Empire era. Decades of futile and failed wars might finally have had an effect.  Especially on fresher minds, as shown in this interesting result from “Millennials in Adulthood“, Pew Research, 7 March 2014:

Pew poll: patriotismPew poll: patriotism

Polls show the effects of this evolution of pubic opinion, as in “America’s Place in the World 2013” by Pew Research, 3 December 2013:

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This is what defeat looks like for the Left, and perhaps also for environmentalists

Summary:  For over a quarter-century the Left has sought public policy changes to fight global warming and the resulting climate change, relying largely on alarmist forecasts. Increasingly wild forecasts, disconnected from the work of climate scientists, the IPCC, and the major climate agencies. What have they reaped from this massive commitment of resources? The answer might affect America’s broader political evolution and the balance of power between Left and Right.

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Typical Leftist claims, almost devoid of support from climate science

Earth doomed within 20 years due to climate change“, UK Metro, 10 October 2013 — “Life in parts of the planet will start to be wiped out by climate change within two decades – far sooner than previously predicted, research shows.” The article refers to “The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability” in Nature (10 October 2013), which says nothing remotely like that.

{Climate change is} “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”
— Secretary of State John Kerry to 16 February 2014 at Jakarta, reported by the Washington Post

Kerry: world will end

Dean Scott: Bloomberg senior climate change reporter

Globe Aflame

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Contents

  1. This is what losing looks like for the Left
  2. Building bipartisan support
  3. Effects of alarmism on elections
  4. Losing the next generation of voters
  5. Conclusions
  6. For More Information

(1)  This is what losing looks like for the Left. For environmentalists

Since 1988 the Left, and its sub-community of environmentalists, have increasingly focused on fighting climate change as their primary issue. In a sense, they’ve wagered their credibility and political capital on this one issue. How’s that working for them? The polls show the answer. This is what losing looks like for the Left, and perhaps for environmentalists. See the results of a Gallup survey of Americans on 6 – 9 March 2014. Climate change is 14 of 15  (the rank order probably matters more than the specific numbers).

Next, I’m going to read a list of problems facing the country. For each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all? First, how much do you personally worry about…

Gallup: list of worries

Gallup, 6 – 9 March 2014

Note that the answers to “do you worry about climate change” are quite different when asking only about various environmental problems (see this Gallup survey). People say they worry a lot less about the environment when these issues are placed in a larger context.

This might be part of a larger change in public opinion. See the results over time when asking “please tell me if you personally worry about the quality of the environment …”

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A look at our government’s debt – rising because we like to spend

One of the great similarities of our economic downcycle and Japan’s two decade long journey to oblivion:  both are periods of economic stress caused by private sector deleveraging — in which the government mitigates the resulting pain by borrowing and spending.  Japan’s government has run up terminally large debts, on a gross basis equivalent aprox to 2x its GDP.  We’re on the same path.

The private sector has too much debt.  The process of working the debt down — by a combination of increased savings and defaults — reduces spending, causing a long, deep recession.  The government mitigates the pain by tax cuts and increased spending — generating massive deficits, which it borrows.  Private debt goes down, public debt goes up.  It’s like heroin — effective, but deadly if used too long.

Experts continue to proposed solutions, as they have for decades.  To no avail.  The public refuses to understand the problem, with no interest in any but delusional solutions. 

  1. Look at the numbers
  2. The public has its eyes closed, lost in dreams
  3. Another sensible proposal, fated to rot away ignored like all the others
  4. For more information, and an afterword

(1)  Look at the numbers

In Q1 of 1994 government debt was 36.3% of total credit market debt, a long-term peak.

  • State/local debt was $1.15 trillion  (9.2%).
  • Federal debt was $3.39T  (27.1%)

In Q4 of 2007 government debt was 23.1% of total credit market debt, a long-term trough.

  • State/local debt was $2.19 trillion  (6.9%).
  • Federal debt was $5.12T  (16.2%)

Now, as of Q3 2009, government debt is 28.5% and rising fast — far faster than private debt is falling.

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