The Daily Mail has a new article about a 28 year old man who doesn’t want to grow up and start a family of his own. Instead, he chooses to live with his mother and go to grad school for a degree in experimental cinema.
This is the kind of case Traditional Conservatives regularly wring their hands over. Why are so many men refusing to man up? The answer is obvious, but not something most want to talk about, or even admit. In the West we have spent the last 50 years tearing down the position of husband and father, and now we are surprised that more and more men (on the margins) don’t aspire to become husbands and fathers.
The 28 year old momma’s boy isn’t named in the article, so I’ll call him
“Giovanni”. Why doesn’t Giovanni want to strike out on his own? I don’t have stats for Italy, but my guess is women are delaying marriage there just as they are in the US; this greatly lowers the importance to young men of signaling provider status. Steady Eduardo isn’t sexy, but Giovanni the brooding experimental cinema grad student is another story. Part of the problem no doubt is he is being coddled, funded in his pursuit of worthless degrees. But part of the reason has to also be a (perhaps unconscious) desire to avoid the contempt Western culture reserves for husbands and fathers. The reason Giovanni’s is in the news is his divorced father was just ordered by the court to continue paying child support for his 28 year old son:
The middle-aged man was at a civil court in Modena, northern Italy to challenge a condition of his divorce settlement which stated he should pay for his grown-up child’s education.
But the judge said the young man’s course should be supported – despite the father’s claim that he ‘does not deserve any further financial support, having made no effort to find work to support himself.’
Your father is a chump Giovanni; let that be a lesson for you!
The Daily Mail frames this as strictly an issue of courts requiring “parents” to support their grown children. Technically this is true, as married parents have been ordered to continue supporting adult children as well. But this isn’t just about the legal requirement of parents, and especially fathers, to financially support adult children. While the obligations of husbands and fathers have expanded, the authority of husbands and fathers has evaporated.
More importantly, these legal changes are merely the formal codification of the changing social attitude towards husbands and fathers. It isn’t just Western courts that have contempt for husbands and fathers, it is the culture at large. This includes what we would call conservative culture, including conservative Christian culture. The lack of respect is critical, because respect is an even greater motivator for men than sex is. We can fix this, as soon as we stop denying what we have done and repent of it. In the meantime we can continue wondering why Giovanni and countless others like him across the West don’t want to be just like dear old dad.
Edit: Welcome Instapundit readers.