As I mentioned yesterday Darwin Catholic (DC or Mr. Darwin for brevity moving forward) has a post up titled How To Marry a Nice Girl in response to my post Rules of the road for fornication. At the time I hadn’t read his full post, but having done so now I want to share my thoughts. Mr Darwin opens with:
Manosphere blogger “Dalrock” has linked to me under the apparent misapprehension that because I wrote that it is okay for someone (even, some were shocked to hear, a woman) to intentionally remain single so long as he or she remains celibate, MrsDarwin and I are promoting fornication. This seems to be about on par with Dalrock’s previously shown abilities to read and understand the arguments of others…
Mr. Darwin has misunderstood my argument. My disagreement was in two parts. The first was with his wife’s assertion that the trend we are seeing in women (in general) delaying marriage is driven not by feminist encouragement to women to prioritize education and career before marriage, but instead is being driven by women using careers to pass the time while eagerly looking for husbands. This is patently absurd. Reading her reply again, I realize that this might not have been what she meant. Women often take statements about the culture in general as personal attacks on themselves and the choices they made. Mrs. Darwin’s passionate rebuttal to the commenter on her site lamenting the general trend of women delaying marriage may well have been a defense of her own choices, and not actually intended as a response to the issue he was raising. The inability of so many to separate the general from the personal in these cases is the cause of a great deal of confusion and I strongly suspect this was one of those cases.
The other part of my point was Mr. Darwin’s over the top reaction to a polite discussion on why it isn’t bad advice to suggest that men should prefer to marry virgins. Putting together Mrs. Darwin’s great passion in defending the ever rising age of marriage for women with Mr. Darwin’s over the top outrage that men would insist on only marrying virgins, the Darwins appear quite passionate in their defense of the career woman slut who suddenly decides she needs to marry. Without addressing his own previous arguments against men who wish to marry virgins, he explains his overall reaction to GKC with an editorial note:
Last time I unleashed a broadside at the manosphere in general and Dalrock in particular, I was spoiling for a fight after watching Dalrock’s readers flood into the comboxes of Patheos in response to a post by Elizabeth Duffy and behave pretty badly while doing so. (This ranged from garden variety rudeness to calling the author a c***.) So when I stepped in with a response post, I was in the mood for a fight. When one of Dalrock’s readers started propounding the idea that regardless of repentance any woman who had sex before marriage was “a slut” and could never get married, I grew tired of dealing with the situation, banned him, and closed the thread.
If I’m reading this correctly, he is suggesting that he responded the way he did to GKC not because he disagreed with GKC’s politely structured biblical and practical argument, but because he suspected that GKC had at some point read and/or commented on my site, and that others whom DC suspected may have read and/or commented at my site had made objectionable comments on a third party’s site. It is worth pointing out that GKC had already expressed his own concern about the comments which were directed at Ms. Duffy. Still, the rule of Six Degrees of Dalrock took precedence and GKC was prevented from politely making his case. Aside from the strange friend of a friend whose cousin once read Dalrock’s blog explanation, DC’s assertion that he was “spoiling for a fight” strikes me as suspect. If he was spoiling for a fight, why did he end the discussion as soon as the opportunity for a vigorous intellectual exchange appeared? Why “unleash a broadside” if you plan on fleeing to port once the ostensible enemy appears?
At any rate, GKC will be pleased to learn that DC has now decided to unban him. At the same time, DC clarifies that words like “slut” and “ho” are banned at Darwin Catholic, as are comments “generally derogatory towards women (or men)”. I can only assume that there are no such thing as sluts in the Darwin Catholic world, since the word itself is offensive. Or perhaps they recognize the existence of sluts, but would prefer that commenters use an approved euphemism. Might I suggest the term grass widow, or a phrase I believe was coined by Badger, a woman who has had too many hot dogs in the babymaker. Feel free to suggest your own euphemisms in the comments section (here) so DC can consider them for his commenting policy.
My next point is in relation to the data I used in my rules of the road post. Mr. Darwin misunderstood the data I was using. Overlapping slightly with where I left off before:
This seems to be about on par with Dalrock’s previously shown abilities to read and understand the arguments of others, and once again I can’t help responding, especially because he attempts to make an argument from data while clearly using an incomplete historical trend and generally not knowing what he’s talking about.
Farther down in the analysis he elaborates:
…by starting in the 50s, Dalrock misses a fact I imagine he’s not aware of: the 50s marked a low point in the average marriage age in the US. This table shows median age at first marriage (rather than average), so the numbers are very slightly different from what Dalrock’s quoting, but the trend is very clear: the median age at first marriage fell steadily from 22 for women in 1890 to 20.3 for women in 1950. It didn’t rise to the 1890 rate again until 1980.
The table he links to is an abbreviated version of the full US Census data set I linked to in my original post. If he had looked at the full version of the data I shared, he would have noticed that the median age of marriage rose to the 1890 rate in 1979. This is inconsequential to the discussion, except for the fact that DC can’t have understood my analysis very well if he didn’t realize he had only found a summary version of the full data set I shared. He even misunderstood me as presenting mean and not median ages of marriage, even though every chart I shared had this prominently in the title. As for his ostensible smoking gun that I left out the great late marriage scandal of 1890, I did see that in the data but I didn’t (and still don’t) see that as relevant. The full data set only has annual data starting in 1947. When I created a chart from it I started with 1950 as a round year which also took us further away from any extraordinary impacts potentially caused by WWII. I didn’t see the need to go back 120 years when 60 years was sufficient to describe our path to the hookup culture. More important, as I explained in my analysis when women are commonly marrying at 22 the priorities of an 18 year old young woman are going to generally be on marriage. From my own analysis of the post sexual revolution 1980s, when women were marrying at 23:
18 year olds look to 20 and 22 year olds for an understanding of what they should be doing, and those women are actively hunting down husbands.
The point of my analysis was that there is a tipping point as the age of marriage continues to extend in the post sexual revolution world, where women entering the SMP stop initially looking for dad material men and feel free to go after cads for a period instead. Nevertheless, DC locks in on this issue and offers statistics on the age of marriage going back to 1600. I don’t have any specific knowledge of the marriage trends in the 1600s, but I’m guessing the culture was generally able to keep those women who planned to marry in check until they did so.
DC’s final criticism of my post is due to younger marriage leading to higher divorce rates:
Dalrock’s amateur sociology by decade leaves out an obvious problem: People who divorce in one decade probably got married anywhere from 5-20 years before…
In other words, marrying a 20-year-old woman is no guarantee you won’t get divorced. Lots of those women who married young in the 50s and 60s proceeded to get divorced in the 70s and 80s.
Does this mean you shouldn’t marry young? Obviously, we don’t think so, since we married at 22 (well under the average marriage age in 2001.) But it is true that all data these days suggest that those who marry young are more likely to divorce than those who married older.
I don’t deny that young marriage is associated with higher rates of divorce. However, it isn’t clear if this is due to women “marrying the wrong man”, or due to the much greater ease of remarriage for women who divorce while young. Given the fact that divorce rates decline dramatically as the wife ages, I suspect that the perceived opportunity to remarry is a very large driver here.
Throughout his analysis DC can’t help but confuse criticisms of a general social trend with an assault on his own choices and those of his peers. He does this frequently with phrases like:
Of all the couples our age (mid 30s) we’ve known living our kind of life in the Catholic sub culture, only one that I knew personally has gotten divorced.
That didn’t worry me, because I wasn’t marrying “woman aged 22″ and I wasn’t marrying 100 women and hoping to get the maximum percentages of those marriages to last;
And I know good Catholic guys (and also good Catholic women) who are in their late 20s or early 30s, still looking hard for the right spouse, and still saving themselves for marriage.
In DC’s world, it is all about him. There aren’t any social problems afoot so long as his marriage, his family, and his small social circle are untouched. When asked by one of my readers if in his support of marriage he advocates divorce law reform, DC replied:
- I’m not particularly working on family law issues because 1) I’m neither a legislator nor a lawyer and 2) it doesn’t affect me much since I don’t believe in divorce in the first place.
What DC doesn’t understand is a large percentage of the millions of fathers kicked out of their kid’s lives didn’t believe in divorce either. That is the whole point. No fault divorce is unilateral, as fellow blogger Elusive Wapiti recently described:
My former wife had already absconded with my children across the country when she served me with divorce papers, thus her act of filing for divorce was both the beginning and the end of the divorce process. It was all over but for the court date to make it official. This single act set us both on what the report calls the “divorce superhighway”…
Incidentally, her Catholic priest recommended to her that she seek a divorce (and later the Archdiocese of Washington would breezily approve the annulment, after having the sac to ask me for a $500 “donation” to finance their declaring that my marriage to her never happened and my children were henceforth bastards).
But why should DC care about men like Elusive Wapiti or their children? Who cares if millions of other men are being treated with gross injustice; DC doesn’t believe in divorce. Actually, on second thought DC’s answer might make sense, depending on how we interpret the phrase “believe in”. If he means this in the sense that he doesn’t believe in Santa Clause, then his apathy is easier to understand. Perhaps DC’s level of denial is even greater than I had previously considered.
Elsewhere he advised one of my readers who was concerned with the damage wrought by feminism in the larger culture to not worry about the culture, and simply join a group of people who aren’t part of the culture:
Go find a group of people who actually share your beliefs about marriage (not just give lip service to them, but really share them) and start looking for a mate there.
In DC’s defense, he practiced what he preaches. Brendan described for my readers the subculture that DC is a part of:
I have had some dealings with people from FUS, and I think what others need to understand is that, in effect, the people who come from FUS (and the handful of similar very conservative Catholic institutions scattered around the US) are basically akin to the Amish. A huge percentage of the people there get married either while they are still in college at FUS or immediately thereafter. They’re not geographically concentrated like the Amish are, or technologically limited, but they are similar in that they are a very small separatist-type group that doesn’t generally participate in the culture at large — even in the *Catholic* culture at large that you may see in your local Catholic parish.
But this raises the question of why DC and his wife are so passionate in their defense of the status quo in the larger culture. Why are they so invested in opposing those who oppose feminism? If feminism doesn’t need to be opposed, why has he separated himself so dramatically from the feminist culture he so passionately defends?
Perhaps part of the answer lies in his particular sub-flavor of the Traditional Conservative counterculture. While DC is all for Traditional Conservatism, he derides Traditional Conservative women who decide to becomes wives and mothers without first going to college and playing career woman (emphasis mine):
And that I tend to strongly disagree with the flavor of “trads” who think that women shouldn’t be educated or pursue careers while single. This is for the simple reason that I find educated and accomplished women far more interesting than those whose only accomplishments are long hair, lack of makeup and prairie skirts.
Ridiculing traditional wives and mothers is one thing, just don’t say anything ill about sluts.
In another comment on my site, DC channeled his inner Marie Antoinette when he explained why he opposes those of us who speak out against the great harms feminism has wrought in our society:
Sure, there are a lot of badly behaved women in the world. The solution, from my point of view, is simply to not marry women like that and move on. Why spend all one’s time winding oneself up about women in general? After all, we each only need one.
What is interesting is his core advice here is what I give as well in my Interviewing a prospective wife parts one and two. The primary difference is that DC is fundamentally in denial about the feasibility of this strategy for the majority of men, and he also instinctively sides with feminists in issues of the culture war. Only a small subset of women meet the requirements that either DC or I would advise a man to look for in a wife. While smart men who want to marry should be on the lookout for suitable women other men have overlooked, on the larger level only a small number of men will be able to successfully marry following this advice (and it is still even then imperfect advice). All men can do is improve their own (and their children’s) odds of having a chair when the music stops. The net end result for society will still be the same, especially with Traditional Conservatives insisting on acting as the advance guard of feminism.
I hope that one day DC and other Trad Cons will reconsider their apathy for the state of marriage and their knee jerk defensiveness of feminism and the hookup culture. Our disagreements aside, he is clearly a very sharp and articulate man, and I don’t question that his intentions are good. He is at the end of the day a man who is devoted to leading and taking care of his wife and children, and is whether he acknowledges it or not at risk to the very culture and laws we are speaking out against in the manosphere. For his devotion to his family he has my respect, and I truly wish him and his the best.