Will Wilcox and the men of National Review respect you in the morning?

Over the last year or so there has been a concerted effort by men associated with National Review to woo men into marriage.  The most recent example of this is W. Bradford Wilcox and Nicholas H. Wolfinger’s February 9th article at the National Review, Hey Guys, Put a Ring on It.  Back in December of 2016 National Review contributor Jim Geraghty and conservative blogger Dennis Prager created a video with the same message titled The Sexiest Man Alive.  And prior to that in May of 2016 Prager and Wilcox created another video titled:  Be a man. Get married.

I should start by noting that I am a happily married father and a firm believer in marriage.  Marriage is not only the foundation of the family, it is given to us from God.  However, I am writing to warn you that when Wilcox and the men of the National Review whisper sweet nothings to you about marriage and commitment, they are really only after one thing.

Certainly they will cheer you on when you announce your engagement, and no doubt they would heartily pat you on the back if they were at the wedding party.  And of course, they will be filled with good wishes (and perhaps a bit of envy) for you on your wedding night.  But what about the day after you give them what they desire in response to their flowery words of love and commitment? Will Wilcox and the men at National Review respect you in the morning?

I wish this weren’t true, but I have to warn you;  no, they will not.

How can I know?  You just have to look at the long string of men that came before you, men they seduced with the very same lines.  Once the wedding is over, once the men of National Review have gotten what they wanted, the men who naively trusted them are discarded like yesterday’s trash.  Do you really believe you will be the special one, the one they don’t toss casually away once they get what they want?

Wait.  You didn’t think you were their first conquest, did you?

Consider just one of the many men who came before you, Carly Israel’s ex husband.  Ms. Israel tells us at the Huffington Post that he was a kind man and an excellent father.  Despite knowing that it would destroy both him and their three boys, Israel decided to divorce this good man because she was no longer happy honoring her marriage vows.  Moreover, Israel is teaching other women that frivolous divorce which devastates good men and children will make a woman more moral:

You get closer to God

More troubling is that Israel’s moral message celebrating frivolous divorce is the norm.  Modern women shamelessly fantasize about divorce, and publications like the Huffington Post have responded with a never ending stream of tales about wives crushing good men and innocent children on the path to moral enrichment.  Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat Pray Love was a runaway success, and lead to a blockbuster movie by the same name.  More recently Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling book about how frivolous divorce made her a better person was also made into a movie.

Not surprisingly Israel is a huge fan of Strayed, and closes her piece with a quote from her:

Go, even though you love him.
Go, even though he is kind and faithful and dear to you.
Go, even though he’s your best friend and you’re his.
Go, even though you can’t imagine your life without him.
Go, even though he adores you and your leaving will devastate him.
Go, even though your friends will be disappointed or surprised or pissed off or all three.
Go, even though you once said you would stay.
Go, even though you’re afraid of being alone.
Go, even though you’re sure no one will ever love you as well as he does.
Go, even though there is nowhere to go.
Go, even though you don’t know exactly why you can’t stay.
Go, because you want to.
Because wanting to leave is enough.

Wilcox, Geraghty, and Prager at the National Review see the culture telling women Divorce him!  Divorce him!  Divorce him! and their response is to tell men Put a ring on it!

Why aren’t Wilcox and the men at the National Review condemning frivolous divorce, and standing up for the good men and innocent children who are devastated by it?  Why aren’t they teaching that frivolous divorce is morally wrong?  If they do believe that frivolous divorce is morally wrong, they are careful not to say this publicly.  In Dennis Prager’s case we know the answer, as Prager is adamant that high divorce rates are not a moral problem:

…whenever conservatives describe [moral] decline, they include the high divorce rate, along with crime and out-of-wedlock births, as a prime example. I believe conservatives are wrong here.

They aren’t arguing men should marry for reasons of sexual morality; they want men to marry because they believe that more men marrying is good for society.  If that means good men are crushed in the process, so be it.  Again from Prager:

…as a rule, it is far better for society to have people marry and divorce than never to marry.

What they want is more weddings, even though they know an obscenely large number of those weddings will lead to devastation for the men they are wooing.  Wilcox knows it is common for fickle wives to fall out of love and destroy the family, and instead of standing up for the sanctity of marriage lectures husbands that they must work hard to be “emotionally engaged”. If Wilcox respected these men, if he cared about them, he would be outraged at the rampant injustice.  But once he’s gotten what he wants from them they are out of mind, just another notch.  Moreover, if he respected men considering marriage he would be forthright with them and tell them that no amount of marriage counseling or emotional availability will stop their wife from falling out of love and destroying their family.

In fact, Wilcox knows men have excellent reason to be hesitant to marry.  In 2009 he wrote:

…the ill effects of divorce for adults tend to fall disproportionately on the shoulders of fathers. Since approximately two-thirds of divorces are legally initiated by women, men are more likely than women to be divorced against their will. In many cases, these men have not engaged in egregious marital misconduct such as abuse, adultery, or substance abuse. They feel mistreated by their ex-wives and by state courts that no longer take into account marital “fault” when making determinations about child custody, child support, and the division of marital property. Yet in the wake of a divorce, these men will nevertheless often lose their homes, a substantial share of their monthly incomes, and regular contact with their children. For these men, and for women caught in similar circumstances, the sting of an unjust divorce can lead to downward emotional spirals, difficulties at work, and serious deteriorations in the quality of their relationships with their children….

Yet today, in Hey Guys, Put a Ring on It Wilcox opens suggesting that men are avoiding marriage not because the system is designed to fleece them, but because they are lazy and unwilling to make sacrifices:

Marriage is not worth it. It’s not worth the financial sacrifices, the lost sexual opportunities, and the lack of freedom. All in all, it’s a ball and chain — of little benefit to any man interested in pursuing happiness and well-being. This is the view that we’ve encountered from many young men of late.

There is no doubt that marriage requires sacrifices, and lots of them. Successful marriages require men to work harder, avoid cheating, spend less time with friends, and make a good-faith effort, day in and day out, to be emotionally present with their spouses. Many men find these sacrifices hard.

This is similar to Wilcox’s tone in The Divorce Revolution Has Bred An Army Of Woman Haters, where he dismisses men who fear divorce as misogynistic and lazy.

Wilcox sees millions of men making huge sacrifices in a system designed to destroy, not protect, their families, and complains that more men aren’t willing to do so.  Wilcox clearly doesn’t respect the enormous sacrifices married men make, or he wouldn’t take them so completely for granted while casually dismissing the very real concerns of unmarried men.

The lack of respect for men who marry is displayed in many other ways, including:

  • Wilcox pretends the sacrifices married men make to support their families financially are not sacrifices at all, but a benefit men receive from marriage.  He calls the financial burdens men take on when marrying a “marriage premium” for men.  He doesn’t respect married men’s willingness to work longer hours at more stressful jobs, so he pretends they are lucky to be able to do so.
  • Wilcox pretends that the man he calls “Six Pack Craig” represent you, the average unmarried man, when he knows that Six Pack Craig instead represents the kind of men your future wife very likely spent years having no strings sex with until she and Wilcox both decided you should put a ring on it.
  • Wilcox and Prager give the impression that by marrying and having children you will become respected in our culture.  Yet in reality everyone from the secular left to Republicans to modern Christians holds married men, especially married fathers, in contempt.

It is my sincere hope that Dr. Wilcox and the men of National Review will turn away from their love em and leave em ways regarding men and marriage, and start treating the commitment of marriage as sacred.  Old habits are hard to break, yet with God all things are possible.  But until that day I can only warn you;  they are only after one thing, and once they get it they won’t respect you in the morning.

Note:  I will send a link to this post to Dr. Wilcox and would welcome his response.

Hat tip to readers who shared links used in this article:  Heidi, Jeff, Deti, Anon, and Boxer.

Posted in Dennis Prager, Disrespecting Respectability, Fatherhood, Jim Geraghty, Marriage, National Marriage Project, National Review, New Morality, Satire, selling divorce, Traditional Conservatives, W. Bradford Wilcox, Weak men screwing feminism up | 202 Comments

UK Millennial men earning like women.

Lianna Brinded at Business Insider notes that weak men are screwing feminism up: The gender pay gap is narrowing for millennials — ‘but for the wrong reasons’

Millennial men have earned less than Generation X men in every year between the ages of 22 and 30, resulting in a cumulative pay deficit during their 20s of £12,500 ($15,638). However, the unit found that millennial women’s pay is stagnant compared to the last generation.

The problem is that young men in the UK are starting to work like women:

[Men] are taking up jobs that used to be predominantly taken by women — part-time, low-paid work – according the think tank Resolution Foundation’s “Intergenerational Commission” unit.

This is precisely the kind of change we would expect as men slowly react to the removal of the incentives of a marriage based system. We are of course witnessing something very similar in the US.

Posted in Disrespecting Respectability, Economics, Patriarchal Dividend, Pay Gap, Weak men screwing feminism up | 172 Comments

Feel the love.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the New York Times warns us that Husbands Are Deadlier Than Terrorists.

Husbands are incomparably more deadly in America than jihadist terrorists.

And husbands are so deadly in part because in America they have ready access to firearms, even when they have a history of violence. In other countries, brutish husbands put wives in hospitals; in America, they put them in graves.

Red Alert responds, pointing out that married women (and their children) are far safer than unmarried women are.

This constant drumbeat of contempt for men who play by the rules isn’t limited just to Carlos Slim’s blog.  The message that married fathers are fools at best, and dangerous brutes at worst is the same message on offer from Christian leaders.

H/T Boxer

Posted in Disrespecting Respectability, Domestic Violence, Marriage | 282 Comments

Time and fantasy.

Picking up from my last post, the root of declining marriage rates isn’t just that there are substitutes to marriage, but that marriage itself has been degraded for many decades.  Time is our enemy here, because inertia has delayed the effects of our war on marriage from becoming fully evident.  Each new generation of men is slowly starting to respond to the radical changes we have made to marriage, and this is changing their perceptions of marriage.  The first generation of men who grew up watching the societal celebration as fathers were tossed out of the house en masse were largely unfazed;  nearly all of them went on to marry.   Yet with each new generation witnessing the same pattern we are slowly burning through an enormous reservoir of goodwill from men.

But there is another way that time is our enemy, and this is that as young men are waiting for their future wives to tire of having sex with other men, there are plenty of diversions available to pass the time.  A young man knows that his future wife won’t likely be in the market for marriage for roughly a decade.  Instead of knocking himself out today to signal provider status while he waits, the temptation for a young man is to focus instead on video games, porn, legal marijuana, and now even a pint sized virtual girlfriend:

Pastor Fiene is concerned that young men will be too distracted by fantasy women to notice how feminine, selfless, submissive, and meek modern young women are.  What should worry him instead is that the fantasy women young men are turning to demonstrate by contrast just how aggressive, masculine, and bossy modern women are.

There are after all two opposing fantasies at work here.  The pathetic young man above with the virtual girlfriend is engaging in one fantasy, but men like Fiene are trying to sell an equally absurd fantasy.  The longer a young man engages with fantasy submissive women, the harder it will be for conservative Christians to convince him that what should turn him on is a bossy woman.

Time is the enemy in other ways.  The longer a young man waits for women to be interested in marriage, the more he will be taught about the realities of modern marriage.  He will watch movies like Fireproof and learn that a husband’s primary job is to constantly remain on guard, always scrambling to keep his contentious wife from becoming unhappy and divorcing him.  This same message will be endlessly reinforced in articles like The secret to a happy marriage may be an emotionally intelligent husband, where he will learn that women are better at marriage because they have years of practice being catty, self centered, and dramatic:

When boys play games, their focus is on winning, not their emotions or the others playing. If one of the boys get hurt, he gets ignored. After all, “the game must go on.”

With girls, feelings are often the first priority. When a tearful girl says, “we’re not friends anymore,” the game stops and only starts again if the girls make up. In “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” Dr. Gottman explains, “the truth is that ‘girlish’ games offer far better preparation for marriage and family life because they focus on relationships.”

Related:  Losing control of the narrative.

Posted in Cracks in the narrative, Disrespecting Respectability, Fantasy vs Reality, Feral Females, Marriage, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye, Weak men screwing feminism up | 243 Comments

Denying the feminist rebellion.

Lutheran pastor Hans Fiene has a new post at The Federalist titled Why It’s Terrible News That Millennials Are Having Less Sex*.  Fiene points out that the drop in promiscuity by Millennials is troubling because it likely presages a drop in marriage.

Fiene identifies two culprits, pornography and social media:

What’s causing millennials to be less sexually active, then? As with any trend, there are numerous explanations. But the two biggest factors seem to be the copious amounts of pornography that millennials, in particular millennial men, have grown up consuming, and the widespread use of socially isolating social networking. Just take a look at this profile of a millennial man, courtesy of Tara Bahrampour:

The fundamental problem, according to Fiene, is that pornography and social media are causing millennial men not to learn how wonderful millennial women are, and what godly and submissive wives millennial women would make:

As men pursue women, however, they come to develop a more robust appreciation of what women have to offer them beyond physical beauty and sexual gratification. They become more exposed to the various feminine virtues—things like kindness, compassion, selflessness, loyalty, tenderness. And the more decent men encounter “the imperishable beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit,” as St Peter calls it, the more they come to value this inner beauty over raw sexuality.

This is a very common approach, and it is founded on a breathtaking denial of what is going on in our society.  Indeed, pornography and social media are part of the problem, along with a whole host of other factors.  If you will permit me to use a metaphor, these factors are comparable to ignition sources lighting a forest fire.  Forest fires can be caused by camp fires, lightning strikes, etc, but they are only part of the equation.  The other factor is the health of the forest.  If the forest is dry, or even worse, loaded with dead wood or other fuel sources, it is only a matter of time before one ignition source or another ultimately lights the inferno.  Focusing on ignition sources is helpful only in the short term, because sooner or later something is going to cause the whole thing to go up in flames.

We have the same kind of problem with modern marriage.  Marriage has been systematically weakened for many decades.  Each new cohort of women is encouraged to delay marriage longer and longer.  No fault divorce and our family courts have replaced legal commitment with an encouragement for women to divorce, including the promise of cash and prizes.  The culture, especially conservative Christian culture, despises husbands and views men who marry and have children with contempt.  Where in the past husbands were seen as head of the household, a husband who sees himself in this way is quite literally engaging in crime-think.  Should this crime-think be reported to the police, the husband will be arrested and forced to undergo reeducation/self criticism until he learns to view headship as a moral and legal offense.  As a former facilitator explains, the facilitators of these reeducation sessions are taught**:

Confront! Confront! Confront! With the explicit threat that the probation officer will be informed of your non compliance…

So on the one hand we have a coordinated and very public feminist assault on the definition of marriage, which makes marriage far less appealing to men.  On the other hand we have new substitutes to marriage like pornography.  And all of the main factors (including pornography) trace their way back to feminism one way or another.

But feminism is the problem men like Pastor Fiene dare not whisper!  There are two reasons for this:

  1. Most people are enthusiastic supporters of feminism, including nearly all conservative pastors.
  2. Feminism is an active rebellion, so calling out feminism is scary.

What we get instead of confronting reality is a constant dripping of articles like Pastor Fiene’s complaining about the weak men who are screwing feminism up.  Make no mistake; it is true that this is happening.  Weak men really are screwing feminism up.  It is, however, absurd to focus on the problem in this way.  No amount of shoring up will make the feminist model of marriage work, no matter how much conservatives like Fiene want it to work.

Nevertheless, this approach of denial and redirect has worked for decades, so it is understandable why men like Pastor Fiene would be tempted to keep doing it.  There is, however, a growing threat to Pastor Fiene in his efforts to frame the problem as weak men screwing feminism up.  As I noted  last month, Millennials are responding to articles with this frame and pointing out the obvious absurdity of the denial based approach.  Commenter Broderick responded to Fiene’s article exposing the feminist elephant in the room:

This article completely misses the mark. Perhaps it is true that many young men and women find more satisfaction in porn than in real relationships. But this is merely a symptom. In a competition between the virtual and real wherein the virtual wins, we should instead ask why the real has fallen so far.

In this millennial generation, this has much more to do with confused gender roles than with pornography. Feminism has taught women to be masculine competitors – they are not taught any of the feminine virtues to which Fiene alludes. Modern education (installed, also, with plenty of feminism) has taught men to be feminine subservients – they are not taught any of the masculine virtues to which Fiene alludes.

As a general rule, men are attracted to femininity and women to masculinity. This is hardwired.

With the above virtues gone, what else can a man be attracted to in a woman other than her body? Likewise for women with respect to men? At this point, a man may as well just use porn, because he gets all the benefits of a virtual body without the drawbacks and costs of entering a relationship with a masculine “strong independent woman” (who, I might add, needs that man about as much as a fish needs a bicycle).

Add in legal corruptions to marriage (no-fault divorce, a hostile family court system, etc.) and you’ll find that the pornographers are being entirely rational in their choice to forgo real relationships.

Further down in the discussion Persimmon wrote a defense of masculine women:

Not all masculine women are promiscuous. I am a masculine woman who is not sexually active but I am aggressive. I would not know how else to be.

Also, Maybe the reason things have gone so haywire is because of the 50s. People, particularly women left that society because it did not make them happy. Some women were comfortable with it but others not so much. They wanted more.

*H/T Gurney Halleck

**See also page 33 in the Santa Clara County Probation Department STANDARDS FOR BATTERERS PROGRAMS AND CERTIFICATION for an example of how this is codified.

Posted in Attacking headship, Denial, Disrespecting Respectability, Domestic Violence, Duluth Model, Federalist, Rebellion, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye, Ugly Feminists, Weak men screwing feminism up | 128 Comments