Dr. Helen links to a blog post by Neo-Neocon titled: Should men* be allowed to opt out of child support?
As one of the commenters on Dr. Helen’s site points out, Neo-Neocon’s post drifts somewhat aimlessly on the topic. As I see it though the problem isn’t in Neo-Neocon’s answer, but with the question itself. A more accurate framing of the question she is trying to answer is:
How should we replace marriage as our organizing philosophy of the family?
Simply put, the purpose of child support is to replace marriage. Discussing how it should be implemented is discussing how to replace marriage. Some might argue that this is a good thing, either as a rare exception (say for a husband who abandons his family) or as a rule (as practiced in the western world). But this doesn’t change the fact that child support is working exactly as designed, and exactly as should be expected. Child support crowds out marriage, and even in cases where weddings still technically occur the option for the wife to unilaterally convert the family from a marriage based family to a child support based family always exists. This is part of the threatpoint designed to empower wives and dis-empower husbands. Men simply don’t have the option to choose the marriage based model over the child support model.
This is why Neo-Neocon’s discussion of the best way to implement child support was destined to be convoluted from the beginning. Without acknowledging what child support really is and what it does, there is no logical way to discuss it. This is especially true for Neo-Neocon since she states that she supports marriage:
Wouldn’t it be unconscionable if married men could voluntarily relinquish rights (and duties) to their own children and remain married? And even if they wanted to divorce the mother and live apart and relinquish rights and responsibilities to their children, it would seem as a public policy matter that they should not legally be allowed to walk away from supporting their own children by that mechanism, even if the divorce is not their fault. Children would suffer even more than they do now, and it’s bad enough the way it is.