Professor Hale wrote a post a while back titled Saving Marriage: Grease the Rope. In that post he makes a compelling case for withdrawing support from an addict:
I once heard a lecture about how to save an addict who was at the bottom of his rope. The answer was to grease the rope. So long as the addict still had a rope to cling to, he believed he was in control and that he could pull himself back up. It wasn’t until he fell off the rope (metaphorically) that he would seek real life-changing solutions to his problems.
He uses this as an analogy of how we need to act if we are going to save marriage:
The same could be said of marriage. The state of marriage today has shifted from the traditional forms. Some people lament that while others are pushing for more shifts. Few people want to take on the church and the state at the same time since both are involved in marriage. So modern marriage continues to limp along under the momentum of thousands of years of tradition despite the damage done to it recently.
I think his analysis so far is spot on, and I generally agree with his list of what is wrong with marriage and how the typical solutions offered won’t improve the situation. However, I part ways with him on exactly what greasing the rope should look like. He wants to make marriage a private contract, removing the church and the state. I think his idea would work in a different context, but in practice neither the church nor the state are likely to be willing to allow this to happen. In the case of the state, we already see instances where it will deem people to be married where they have never brought the state into the mix.
But as I said I agree with how he has framed the question. What we need to do is stop comforting the addict. In this case the primary culprit isn’t a drug addict, but a choice addict. What we need to do is remove the current support system and rewards for choice addicts, so that women can make fully informed choices. I’m focusing on women here because the counterpart to the hypergamous female is the alpha male. While alphas are at the core of the problem right alongside a far larger number of choice addicts, marriage isn’t a motivating factor for them. Even if this weren’t the case, alphas aren’t fit for marriage. If you disagree, take it up with Roissy.
In a world where we have greased the marriage rope, we would see a different set of expected outcomes for choice addicts:
Many of the outcomes in the “greased rope” column either already represent current reality, or fit with current trends. Often the issue is that the actual likely outcomes are wildly different than the expectations choice addicts have (and are encouraged to have).
The fundamental problem we face however is the problem one always confronts when attempting to stop coddling an addict; there are a group of vocal (and often well meaning) people who are highly invested in enabling the destructive behavior. In the case of our choice addict, the key enablers are feminists and social conservatives. I don’t expect to influence feminists, so I’ll take them out of consideration for the moment. This leaves us with social conservatives, and if we are honest, primarily social conservative women.
If you doubt this, consider the fact that many of the outcomes one would expect for a greased rope are already becoming more likely. Now consider the reaction of social conservative women to these outcomes. Take for example the first item on the list, uncommitted sex. One of my readers posted a link to Women are the ones who want to avoid commitment on a prominent Roman Catholic forum. One woman in particular was outraged that I suggested men shouldn’t assume they had commitment where no such commitment existed. She claimed this went against the teachings of the Catholic church. I asked her if she could point out in scripture where it suggested that men should assume commitment without marriage. Not surprisingly, she didn’t have an answer and lost interest in the topic*. We have seen similar arguments from Catholic women in the comments section of this blog. Paige argued passionately that women who chased alphas for uncommitted sex were actually good marriage material, and that the alphas who obliged them were ruining them for marriage. Likewise Kathy expressed outrage that Greenlander was harming marriage worthy women when he pumped and dumped them. Similarly, there was much hand wringing by traditional conservative women on the topic of Marcos allowing former carouselers to mistake him for a beta provider. These attitudes are what is enabling the bulk of the choice addict’s behaviors listed in the table above.
But while traditional conservative women are enabling the choice addicts, traditional conservative men are enabling the Trad Con women in their coddling. I mentioned before that I don’t think that feminists can be influenced; I don’t think this is the case for traditional conservative women. If enough traditional conservative men call them out on what they are doing, eventually this will have an impact. We already see a significant minority of traditional conservative women who aren’t willing to enable the choice addicts; these women deserve more than men staying on the sidelines in silent approval.
*A few weeks later the same woman declared to the forum that she was planning on divorcing her husband because he worked more hours than she wanted him to, and he had once scolded their children for being loud when he was working in his home office. One might think that this woman was outside the mainstream of Catholic thought, but I disagree. While those responding to her post on wanting to frivolously divorce her husband did work to discourage her from divorce, there wasn’t much of a sense of judgment for taking her vows (and the wellbeing of her children) so lightly.