The peasants are revolting.

Love him or hate him, Trump has managed to bring the Republican elite’s seething contempt for the working class to the surface.  Back in March, Kevin D. Williamson at National Review wrote that white working class communities deserve to die:

If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy—which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog—you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that…

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible…

Trump’s focus has been on the elite’s policy of driving down the wages of the working class through lopsided trade deals and flooding our economy with cheap foreign labor.  Williamson ironically disregards the economic crisis faced by the working class by accurately noting that our elites have done even more damage by creating a new family model that only works for the upper middle class.

The callousness on display here is breathtaking, yet it is commonplace amongst Republican elites.  Much of the contempt for Trump stems from the contempt the elite have for the segment of society that he is reaching out to, a segment the Republican elites have done their best to ignore for decades.  This shines through even when members of the elite try to learn from Trump’s example.

Yesterday John Daniel Davidson placed this contempt on full display in his Federalist article Like Trump, Right Should Speak To America’s Forgotten Fishtowns.  Unlike Williamson, Davidson argues that we can’t just expect these undesirables to die.

And sure, maybe they’re a nasty bunch of old drunks, like the rural white folks we meet in J.D. Vance’s gripping new memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy,” who can’t seem to get out of their own way long enough to get ahead. But they’re here nonetheless, in our towns and cities, and they’ve been stirred up by Trump…

But even when arguing that conservatives should change course and reach out to this forgotten group, Davidson wears his contempt for the working class on his sleeve (emphasis mine):

If conservatives want a political future, if they want to take back the GOP and lead the country, they’ll need to figure out a way to speak to these people. They will need to persuade them that their best chance for a better life doesn’t rest with the empty promises of a demagogue like Trump—or with Hillary Clinton and the tired old liberal policies that Democrats have imposed on our cities for generations.

They will have to go to the Fishtowns of America, to the forgotten and shuttered places, and by word and deed show the people there, however backward they might be, that they can rebuild their lives and their communities, and that they aren’t alone anymore.

This attempt by the Republican elites to minimize the plight of the white working class is not only foolish politically, but is also built on moral quicksand.  It is true that the dysfunction we observe typically involves poor choices by all involved.  But it is also true that these same elites have reworked marriage to a model that only works for the elite.  After gutting marriage, our elites strut around thumping their chests bragging about their ability to make this new corrupt family model work in their own lives.  If those poor slobs who work with their hands were more like the elite, moving from a marriage based family structure to a child support based system would work for them too.

Since the only legally meaningful part of our new marriage model is the wedding, our elites could sum up their advice to the working class with a handy slogan:

Let them eat wedding cake.

H/T Instapundit.

Posted in Donald Trump, Federalist, National Review, The only real man in the room, Traditional Conservatives, Weak men screwing feminism up | 227 Comments

Feminists longing for the good old days.

Camille Paglia has famously argued that “If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts.”  Yet even this is likely too optimistic.  As the New York Times explains, the patriarchy can be traced back to the mastery of fire:

Negative cultural consequences came with fire, too — and continue to leave an imprint. Anthropologists have speculated that inhaling smoke led to the discovery of smoking. Humans have long used fire to modify their environment and burn carbon, practices that now have us in the throes of climate change. Fire is even tied to the rise of patriarchy — by allowing men to go out hunting while women stayed behind to cook by the fire, it spawned gender norms that still exist today.

Even literacy is patriarchal, as Leonard Shlain argues in his book The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image

Literacy has promoted the subjugation of women by men throughout all but the very recent history of the West. Misogyny and patriarchy rise and fall with the fortunes of the alphabetic written word.

The Booknews editorial review of the book explains that literacy leads to logical thought, and logical thought is patriarchal (emphasis mine):

[Shlain] Proposes, rather than argues closely, that the shift from apprehending the world from images to writing–especially alphabetic–contributed largely to the suppression of goddess worship and the decline in the status of women in society. Shlain is a neurosurgeon, and begins by explaining how reading and looking at pictures or listening to speech use different parts of the brain and indeed can influence the development of children’s brains. Then, rejecting the linear, sequentialist, reductionist thinking he associates with both writing and masculine values, he offers a long series of essentially independent essays, each evoking an example of his thesis.

H/T DeNihilist

Update:  Instapundit links to another blog making the same observations.

Posted in Feminists, Instapundit, New York Times, Wife worship, You can't make this stuff up | 85 Comments

Feminist Atlantic waxes conservative.

The Atlantic has a love-hate relationship with men’s economic contributions.  The magazine alternates between gloating that feminism has destroyed men’s economic status once and for all, and worrying that men are no longer fulfilling their traditional roles as bread winners.

In 2008 The Atlantic published Lori Gottlieb’s now famous piece Marry Him! warning of a shortage of eligible men for marriage delaying women:

…despite growing up in an era when the centuries-old mantra to get married young was finally (and, it seemed, refreshingly) replaced by encouragement to postpone that milestone in pursuit of high ideals (education! career! but also true love!), every woman I know—no matter how successful and ambitious, how financially and emotionally secure—feels panic, occasionally coupled with desperation, if she hits 30 and finds herself unmarried.

…if you say you’re not worried, either you’re in denial or you’re lying. In fact, take a good look in the mirror and try to convince yourself that you’re not worried, because you’ll see how silly your face looks when you’re being disingenuous.

Whether you acknowledge it or not, there’s good reason to worry.

Then in 2010 Atlantic senior editor Hanna Rosin switched the sentiment from fear to greed with her own now famous piece The End of Men, gloating at the ostensible crushing of men once and for all:

Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way— and its vast cultural consequences.

But the end of men means the end of feminists having it all, since having it all depends on men continuing to fulfill their traditional roles as feminists radically rewrite the rules of marriage and the family. In 2011 The Atlantic switched back to fear, publishing Kate Bolick’s All the Single Ladies:

Recent years have seen an explosion of male joblessness and a steep decline in men’s life prospects that have disrupted the “romantic market” in ways that narrow a marriage-minded woman’s options…

Rosin and Gottlieb went on to write books by the same title as their Atlantic articles.  Bolick has since embraced her new status as a spinster, first with an Atlantic article and then with a book by the same title.

In 2014 instead of Hanna Rosin’s open gloating, Derek Thompson wrote a less triumphant Atlantic piece titled The Mysterious Rise of the Non-Working Man.  Thompson quoted the New York Times, noting that a combination of new technology, the destruction of marriage, and the welfare state was changing men’s incentives:

Many men, in particular, have decided that low-wage work will not improve their lives, in part because deep changes in American society have made it easier for them to live without working. These changes include the availability of federal disability benefits; the decline of marriage, which means fewer men provide for children; and the rise of the Internet, which has reduced the isolation of unemployment.

Thompson concluded his 2014 piece with a much more muted declaration of feminist victory than Rosin’s 2010 piece:

…some economists think identity plays a starring role in the economy. “Some of the decline in work among young men is a mismatch between aspirations and identity,” said Lawrence Katz, a professor of economics at Harvard University. “Taking a job as a health technician has the connotation as a feminized job. The growth has been in jobs that have been considered women’s jobs—education, health, government.”

The economy is not simply leaving men behind. It is leaving manliness behind. Machines are replacing the brawn that powered the 20th century economy, clearing way for work that requires a softer human touch.

In April of this year Derek Thomson was back, this time with a feminist complaint about American men titled Too Many Elite American Men Are Obsessed With Work and Wealth.

…it’s making the pay gap worse.

Like most economists, Thompson minimizes the obvious difference between men and women’s roles in marriage and the profound impact this has on how the sexes approach work (emphasis mine):

It’s hard to identify the root causes of the values gap. Are women averse to high-risk, high-reward professions because they expect, from an early age, that these career paths are barricaded by discrimination? Maybe. Are women less interested in working more hours because pay disparities mean that the marginal hour worked earns them less money? Maybe. Are subtle and hard-to-measure cultural expectations nudging young women toward jobs that would offer flexibility (to care for kids they don’t yet have) while pushing men toward high-paying jobs (to provide for that family they don’t yet have)? Maybe. Are part-time female workers in the U.S. happier at work because their husbands are the primary breadwinners, and they don’t feel a similar burden at the office? Maybe. In addition to these cultural factors, are there biological factors that, for better and worse, make men more likely to seek out risks? Maybe.

Thompson then closes his April Atlantic piece with an indictment of (some) American men for selfishly working too hard:

But something else is clear: There is a workaholic mania among educated wealth-seeking American men, who seem uniquely devoted to working any number of hours to get rich. Remember the lesson of the Stanford study: Sometimes, the winners of a tournament are the ones who choose not to enter it.

But while Thompson and the Atlantic worry that elite men are selfishly working too hard, they also worry that young men are not preparing to be bread winners for aging feminist career women.  This brings us to Thompson’s July Atlantic piece on Why America Should Be Worried About Its Young Men.  In this piece the feminist Thompson frames his angst as a concern for the wellbeing of layabout young men who aren’t preparing for the joy of marrying aging feminist career women:

…they are having fun, Hurst emphasized. “Happiness surveys actually indicate that they [are] quite content compared to their peers,” he told UChicago. In the short run, not working doesn’t seem to make men miserable at all.

Cheap and abundant entertainment anesthetizes less-skilled and less-educated young men in the present. But in the long run, it cuts them off from the same things that provide meaning in middle age, according to psychological and longitudinal studies —a career, a family, and a sense of accomplishment. The problem is that these 20-year-olds will eventually be 30-year-olds and 40-year-olds, and although young men who don’t go to college might appear happy now, those same satisfaction studies suggest that they will be much less happy in their 30s and 40s—less likely to get married, and more likely to be in poverty.

There is of course some truth to this concern.  A life on the dole is soul crushing.  However, this sudden claim of concern for men coming from The Atlantic is hard to take seriously.  This is doubly true given Thompson’s Atlantic article two days ago praising the Scandinavian welfare state.

At any rate, we should expect to see an increasing frequency and intensity of articles worrying about how men are reacting to the radical redefinition of the family, as men’s choices slowly catch up with reality.  These articles will come both from conservatives looking to conserve feminist progress, as well as feminists who find themselves suddenly conservative when it comes to men as (selfish) breadwinners.  There is after all one thing conservatives and feminists can agree on whole heartedly, and that is that weak men are screwing feminism up.

Posted in Ageing Feminists, Economics, Hanna Rosin, Having it all, Marriage, Patriarchal Dividend, The Atlantic, Traditional Conservatives, Weak men screwing feminism up | 228 Comments

The mysterious male marriage premium.

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit explains why he left big law:

…I looked at the partners and their lives and thought, “this is what it looks like when you win?

But one thing I noticed about a lot of the partners was that they worked hard and pushed for more compensation because they were married to women who spent a lot of money. Perhaps the older women lawyers don’t have that incentive to stick around.

A commenter echoed Glenn’s description of the pressure involved for those who stay in big law:

Chasing partnership in Big Law has been described, properly, as “a pie-eating contest where the prize is more pie.” Best thing that ever happened to me was getting sacked from a Big Law firm in October ’08, when the legal market (and the economy at large) collapsed. I’ve done a bit of solo work, which has been grand, and am now outside general counsel to two companies and having a grand time of life.

I would rather sell everything I own and take up bartending than go back to life in a big firm — even if it were possible at this stage, which it pretty much isn’t. Sorry I spent 10 years trying to make that crap work.

As you may recall, the pressure married men feel to seek out and remain in more stressful and difficult jobs is a key benefit Prager and Wilcox claim men get from marriage.  While obviously not all married men seek out and remain in jobs as stressful as big law, as Glenn suggests marriage does push men to make career choices they otherwise would prefer to avoid.  This isn’t bad in itself, but the lengths we go to in order to minimize the sacrifices married men are making is a problem.  This kind of foolishness prevents us from understanding the true cost of feminist policies to destroy traditional marriage.  Being forced to work much harder to support others is not a benefit of marriage to men, just as the benefit of buying a home isn’t the need to work harder to pay the mortgage.

While Prager and Wilcox sell pressure to work more difficult jobs as a benefit to men, at least they understand that for men marriage comes with pressure to earn more.  That men take on obligations as bread winners in marriage that women don’t would come as a terrible shock to many, probably most, economists.  In fact, this is something economists go to great lengths to avoid seeing.

One of the favorite theories is that marriage frees men up to focus more on paid work.  By this theory, single men dream of working a more dangerous job with more stress, a longer commute, and working more hours, but are prevented from chasing this lifestyle by the constant demands of housework.  These poor single men are stuck putting dishes in the dishwasher when they could be sitting in traffic, traveling for business, or working late into the night.  This absurd feminist theory simply won’t die, even though the data shows that marriage increases men’s focus on paid work while not reducing their focus on housework.  As the St Louis Fed explains in For Love or Money: Why Married Men Make More

…If a man spends less time on housework after he is married, then it makes sense that he would see an increase in his wages because the extra time and effort spent at work would increase his productivity and promotion chances.

…while marriage does seem to make men more productive in the market (i.e., men begin making higher wages after marriage), household specialization does not seem to be the cause. They find little difference between married and unmarried men in the time they spend on home production.

If the productivity from marriage itself is not the result of decreased hours spent on housework, as Hersche and Stratton suggest, then where does that improved productivity come from? Because the earnings of divorced or separated men are higher than those of never-married men, the added productivity that accompanies marriage must be of two kinds: (1) productivity from the marriage itself and/or (2) advantages that remain even after the marriage is dissolved. Korenman and David Neumark argue in a 1991 study that the wage premium earned by divorced or separated men is attributable to the advantages gained while married. Their evidence is that wages grow more slowly in the years of divorce or separation.

Economic papers are filled with this kind of willful misunderstanding of what is going on.  Why do men earn more after marrying, and then after divorce tend to stop growing their earnings?  The answer is quite simple, and boils down to incentives.  Men who want to marry know they need to earn more to signal provider status.  After marriage men have greater responsibilities, and therefore have to earn even more.  Threats of divorce ratchet this pressure up further, as men understand that the family courts are designed to separate fathers from their children while financially rewarding the mother at the father’s expense.  Divorce for women means ejecting the man and keeping both the kids and a large part of his paycheck.  Divorce for men means losing the kids and paying a steep monthly fee to finance the operation.

But since divorce removes the incentive married men naturally feel to earn more money, family court judges know they need to replace the natural incentive with something else.  This is why the family courts assign men earnings quotas (imputed income) based on their previous income.  The man might earn less than his quota, but he will be billed for child support and/or alimony based on this quota.  This quota system is enforced with the threat of imprisonment, and is not surprisingly despised by the men who find themselves forced into it.  This explains why divorced men earn more than never married men;  they have a quota to meet based on their income at the end of the marriage.  If they don’t maintain their married level of earnings, they will be sent to prison.  It also explains why divorced men’s earnings tend not to grow like they would have were they still married;  quota systems are effective in the short term at coercing hard work, but they create a disincentive for increasing productivity.  Under a quota system earning more only increases your quota.  Most men under our new quota system will work hard enough to stay out of prison, but they aren’t going to take risks and/or work harder for the privilege of increasing their quota.

Note that while Prager and Wilcox claim the pressure married men feel to work harder is a benefit to men, the St. Louis Fed likewise implies that being forced by a court to pay alimony and/or child support is an advantage divorced men have which never married men lack (emphasis mine):

…the added productivity that accompanies marriage must be of two kinds: (1) productivity from the marriage itself and/or (2) advantages that remain even after the marriage is dissolved.

We won the cold war because an incentive based system leads to a kind of dynamic productivity that a quota based system can’t ever hope to create.  Yet we have dramatically reworked our family structure in ways only the Soviets could truly appreciate.  This new system is hurting us in ways we refuse to accept, because accepting the cost would force us to rethink our family model. Part of the problem is that the costs associated with replacing marriage with a child support system weren’t immediately obvious. Since we pretended we still had a fundamentally marriage based family structure, initially men carried on as if that was the case.  In fact, most men today still do so.  However, over time the reality of the new system has caused not a marriage strike, but something more ominous.  Just like with the Soviet system, this will continue until we decide the ideology behind the quota system isn’t worth the economic pain it inevitably causes.  In the meantime, economists will remain baffled as to why married earn more than divorced men, and why both earn more than never married men.

Posted in Child Support, Dennis Prager, Disrespecting Respectability, Economics, Fatherhood, Marriage, Patriarchal Dividend, Pay Gap, Threatpoint, W. Bradford Wilcox | 228 Comments

She isn’t impressed.

Drudge has a link to a story about a Texas man on vacation in Tennessee who called 911 after his wife was squirted with water by a Hibachi chef (as part of the show):

I’m not from Tennessee so I don’t know Tennessee laws, but in Texas that is sexual assault.

The restaurant manager thinks this was about the customer wanting a free meal, but while the man asked for a refund I think the motivation has more to do with a misguided attempt to demonstrate that he is protective of his wife.

This kind of cartoonish chivalry goes over quite well from the pulpit, but in practice this man only lowered his own value in his wife’s eyes.  This isn’t to say that a husband shouldn’t protect his wife from real danger, but husbands should be very careful about getting drawn into this kind of drama.

Contrast the Texas man in Tennessee’s obsequious attempt to impress his wife with another Texas husband my wife observed the other day.  The couple was out shopping and the wife asked her husband if he would protect her if they were attacked by a bear:

Wife:  Would you protect me from a bear?

Husband:  How big is the bear?

Wife (laughing):  What if it is really big?

Husband:  Oh no, you are on your own then!

Wife (still laughing):  What if it is just a small bear?

Husband:  If it is just a small bear, then you should be able to protect yourself.

Wife:  So you wouldn’t protect me at all?

Husband:  Well, it depends.  What did you make for dinner that night?

Wife:  What if it was tuna casserole?

Husband:  Tuna casserole!  No way.  But you could throw the casserole at the bear.

In this case the wife was delighted by the whole exchange.

Posted in Cartoonish Chivalry, Game, Rape Culture, You can't make this stuff up | 56 Comments