Child support is the answer to the question “How shall we replace the nuclear family”? This much is axiomatic, with the only question being how many nuclear families we want to replace. Radical feminists want to destroy all marriages, or at the least eliminate the need for all women to remain married. Conservatives want to replace a smaller percentage of marriages with the new family model, and based on conservative arguments that destroying 30-40% of marriages is not excessive, this is a fair estimate of how many marriages conservatives (in general) wish to destroy.
The difference of course is not just in the number of marriages each group wants to destroy, but the rationale each group uses to determine when a marriage should be destroyed. Feminists see marriage in general as a threat to women’s autonomy, and therefore it is no surprise they fall on the side of mass replacement. Conservatives on the other hand are more conservative in their goals for replacing marriage. Usually conservatives argue that marriages need to be destroyed if the husband is unable or unwilling to sufficiently provide for his family, or if he is abusive or unfaithful. But even here the terms are open to broad interpretation, as there is no defined amount of provision husbands must provide to be safe in this model, and abuse and infidelity have been stretched beyond all reason so that a husband viewing pornography is now often accused of both abuse and infidelity.
Feminists astutely recognize that conservatives have given them carte blanche to destroy families, so long as the feminists pretend they are only destroying marriages for the most serious reasons. As a result, we have answered both the question of how to replace marriage (with child support and other cash and prizes) as well as how many marriages should be replaced (as many as women desire). This has been codified into law, and perfectly describes our family courts. Women who want to divorce know they are assured of receiving custody, and custody determines who gets (vs pays) the cash and prizes.
Since there is by design no attempt in our system to determine if the man being punished actually deserves to be punished, the only conservative defense of this system is a claim that no sane woman would do this unless pushed to the limits by a truly bad man. Although the system is designed to provide a strong incentive for wives to eject husbands from the family, conservatives vehemently argue that following this route creates so much hardship for a wife that no formal protections against abusing the system are required.
But feminists long ago were able to craft this new legal model with the full support of conservatives. Feminists have also been largely successful at removing the social stigma against wives who destroy their families, with the great help of conservatives (especially Christian conservatives). Now that the new regime is in place and supported by nearly everyone, the need for divorcing mothers to keep up the facade that conservatives rely on is fading away. Now women who discard the father of their children have less incentive to pretend that they did anything but make the obvious cost/benefit calculation our family model invites them to make. Is it easier to stay married and raise children with less than 100% autonomy, or is it easier to eject the father from the home while retaining the bulk of his spendable earnings?
Yesterday Salon published an article by single mother Dena Landon that breaks this taboo. In All the single mamas: Raising kids isn’t always easier with a partner Landon explains how she made the cold calculation that it was easier to eject her disabled husband from the home than to honor her marriage vows (emphasis mine):
When I tell people that I’m a single mom, with 60 percent custody, the typical response is a combination of pity and comments like, “you’re so strong” or “what a tough job.” If I’m not in the mood to engage with the person commenting, I’ll just smile and say, “thanks.” But sometimes I’ll respond with the truth: “Actually, it’s easier than being married.”
There’s a narrative that has taken root in society of the hardworking, tired and overwhelmed single mom. And I am all of those things — often. But this narrative is sometimes subtly used to support the retro notion that a two-parent family is still best, with its implication that it would be easier if I had someone to help me…
Note the contemptuous mocking of the conservatives who created our new family structure with the belief that women would pretend the system wasn’t a formula for cold, calculating women like Landon to destroy their families. This lie is no longer required, and therefore Salon and Landon are eager to correct the record.
The father of Landon’s children has MS, and either way would not do the housework as he was told. This made ejecting him from the home and collecting cash and prizes the obvious logical choice:
“Sure, Dena, ask your handicapped husband, who spent all day at work, to clean the house.” He’d snap his laptop close and get up in a huff, legs buckling twice, before stalking into his study and leaving me to watch our son.
But Landon goes a step farther, and explains that even when husbands do the chores their wives demand, it can still be easier to seize 100% of the power by taking the family courts up on their standing offer:
Other single moms have noted that even if their exes had cooked or helped out with the kids, it’s still easier for these women to go it alone now than to deal with the constant negotiating, tension and passive aggressive behavior around household chores that they experienced during their marriages.
…There are no internal struggles: Should I leave the mess and see if he cleans it up? Do I have the energy for another argument about housework? If there’s a mess, it’s hers.
While Landon’s cold calculation is commonplace among single mothers, her candor is still fairly rare. What she is admitting to is after all quite ugly. Not only did she casually break her sacred vow, but she is admitting to forcing her son to grow up without his father in the home because mommy wanted to flex her feminist muscles. The response in the comments to this incredible ugliness is unsurprising. Jerseyguy999 wrote:
Wow ! Salon is desperate for feminist heroines. Because this woman, Landon, sounds like a b**ch. Her husband is working – which is tough enough with Multiple Sclerosis But then he divorces him because he doesn’t clean the dishes ? THIS is the problem in our society. Don’t you get it liberals ? My mother and father were married for over 30 years until my Mom died. Not all of it was great. But they worked through the tough times because they understood the importance of preserving the family. But here is a woman who figures divorce is a good option because her husband doesnt’ pick up his socks. Sure, the guy maybe should be more considerate. But getting a divorce shouldn’t be like deciding the jeans you got don’t fit exactly right … and you’ll just return them. Geez !
Pointing out this ugliness reflexively lead to the standard motte and bailey game when it comes to no fault divorce. While the article was about the incentives wives have to toss out good husbands out of convenience, once the ugliness was pointed out commenter tinwoman replied explaining that the real reason women divorce is because men are abusive:
…you have NO idea how many women are divorced because they were abused. You seem to think it is rare? Women file for most divorces, and guess what honey bunches, they cite abuse as a reason almost half the time– and many more abused women don’t cite abuse as a reason because they were badly advised in the divorce process or because all they want is out.
Oh wait, women are always lying when they say they’re abused, right?
While there will always be an incentive to play the motte and bailey game regarding no fault divorce and child support, we should also expect to see more of this kind of honesty moving forward. For the near and medium term at least feminists know that conservatives aren’t in a position to admit what an evil system they have created. As a result conservatives will instead try to ignore or deny the very open taunting by feminists and double down on the argument that weak men are screwing feminism up. Over time however as marriage continues to crumble and the economic benefits of the system are forgone, eventually we will start to see a push by our elites to reign in the worst abuses of the family courts. The problem is, by the time the pain is great enough to no longer ignore, much of the massive goodwill of men towards marriage that sustains this new model will have been squandered.