A cold calculation.

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.

Posted in Child Support, Cracks in the narrative, Denial, Disrespecting Respectability, Domestic Violence, Fatherhood, Feminists, Marriage, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye, Ugly Feminists, Weak men screwing feminism up | 122 Comments

America is destroying the Hispanic family.

Usually when you see divorce rates broken out by race and ethnicity, the results look like the chart below, created with data from an NCFMR report on 2010 divorce rates:

us_divorce_by_race_2010

Hispanic divorce rates look slightly higher than white divorce rates, and far lower than black divorce rates, where marriage has all but collapsed.  But this presentation overlooks the fact that something terrible is happening to the Hispanic family following the first generation.  When the NCFMR revisited the same subject with data from 2012 they broke out Hispanics into two separate groups, foreign born and native born:

us_divorce_by_race_2012

When they broke the data out in this way, they found that in 2012 foreign born Hispanics had a lower divorce rate than whites, and native born Hispanics had the highest divorce rate of all races, even higher than the divorce rate for blacks!

One thing that stands out between the two charts is the fact that while white and Asian divorce rates remained nearly unchanged between 2010 and 2012, the 2012 data showed black divorce rates as having dropped substantially, from 30.4 to 25.4. Since the NCFMR was crunching American Community Survey (ACS) data to calculate these statistics, there is reason to suspect that the change in black divorce rates was due not to an actual change, but variation due to small sample sizes.

Fortunately earlier this year the NCFMR crunched the ACS data for 2014:

us_divorce_by_race_2014

In this latest data set it looks like native born Hispanics have a slightly lower divorce rate than blacks.  Also note that the black divorce rate came in at almost exactly the same figure in 2014 as it was for 2012 (25.8 vs 25.4).  Based on this I would assume the 2010 value of 30.4 overstated the real black divorce rate, and that over the last six years black divorce rates have been somewhere around 25.

In the same report they show that overall US divorce rates dropped slightly between 2012 and 2014, which fits with the drops observed for Asians, whites, and foreign born Hispanics during the same period:

us_divorce_all_races_2008_2014

Given the variation we are seeing in the native born Hispanic divorce rate between 2012 and 2014 I think the best guess is that native born Hispanics have roughly the same divorce rates as blacks, at something around 25 divorces per 1,000 married women.  Whether native born Hispanics have a slightly higher or lower divorce rate than American blacks, either way it is clear that we are witnessing something truly tragic occurring when Hispanic families come into contact with American family values and the legal expression of these values via the family courts.

No one sees this because usually all Hispanics are lumped together, hiding the demographic time bomb quietly ticking away.  Moreover, all of our elites are highly invested in the current no fault + cash and prizes system.  Liberals are busy telling us that the only problem with divorce is that we see it as failure.  Instead we should embrace divorce as a heroic act of feminist empowerment, and if we do so families will be just fine.  Conservatives on the other hand are telling us that while broken homes really are bad, our current system is working just fine, and the problem is that people mistakenly believe it leads to high levels of divorce.  Those conservatives who do see high divorce rates as a problem merely shrug their shoulders and suggest that since our new system seems to work fine for our elites, all we need is for everyone to become like the elite.  On the surface it appears that liberals and conservatives have very different takes on divorce, but both are focused on explaining away the very real suffering and devastation our new family model is causing.

Posted in Data, Denial, Feminists, Marriage, NCFMR, Replacing Marriage, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye | 126 Comments

Angelina can’t keep a man.

It has been interesting to watch the tabloids switching from cheerleading Angelina Jolie for her empowering decision to divorce Brad Pitt, to seeing her as destroying the lives of her children.  There are a number of factors which explain this, but one critical factor is that Jolie has a track record of not only breaking up marriages, but being unable to remain married.  Feminists have been wildly successful at teaching us to react in horror at concepts like “she can’t keep a man”, but since reality can’t be brainwashed the risk of this concept creeping back is ever present.  This kind of badthink is ironically more of a risk for women than for men, because while Team Woman is real, women also are in fierce intra sexual competition.

Back in September Drake Baer at NY Mag tried to stop the bleeding with an article titled Angelina’s Divorce Shows How ‘Failed Marriages’ Are Failing Us.  Baer’s thesis is that divorce and broken homes only cause harm because we misperceive them as failure.  Baer argues for a new morality, where staying married is immoral and divorce is heroic:

The dissolution of Brangelina is a “union’s failure” to the The Atlantic, a “failed marriage” to Newsweek and Us Weekly. Trend stories continue to speak of a “divorce epidemic,” one that’s contagious from couple to couple and needs to be “vaccinated” against…

It would be more generous to everybody involved to allow that divorce could be a courageous, positive act. To quote Louis C.K., “No good marriage has ever ended in divorce.” Like Vicki Larson, author of The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels, argues, it would be absurd to think that sticking it out in a sexless, alcoholic, and abusive relationship until somebody dies is success, while sharing a respectful, loving bond for 5, 10, or 50 years and then realizing that you’ve grown apart is failure.

While we can’t know the full circumstances of Jolie and Pitt’s dynamic, we do know that, in some cases, staying married shows an incapacity to do what’s in the best interest of yourself, your partner, and your kids.

This of course is a very common argument today.  Baer pairs this with an equally common rationalization, that while lifetime marriage once was feasible, longer modern lifetimes make lifetime marriage no longer reasonable:

To put the grand institution of marriage into context, it’s useful to note that “till death do us part” used to be a lot more immediate…

Zooming into the United States, the colonial era saw American marriages lasting under 12 years on average: Between childbirth, communicable disease, and natural disaster, people had a habit of dying way younger. One of the great miracles of the 20th century was the increase in lifespan, shooting up over 25 years, on average, in the U.S…

Thanks to increases in medicine and decreases in war, you can’t count on death to dissolve a marriage; it comes through divorce.

I haven’t been able to locate the original source of the claimed 12 year average for marriages in the colonial era*, but even stipulating that for the sake of argument, Jolie hasn’t been married for a total of 12 years even if you add up all three of her failed marriages.  Given her past average, even a fourth marriage wouldn’t put her over the combined 12 year mark.

Even worse for the claim that longevity is the reason for the divorce revolution is the fact that divorce rates are by far the highest in the younger age brackets.  No matter how hard men like Baer and his peers in the media try to sell the idea of grey divorce, the reality is divorce is rare in the very age groups which this argument assumes is driving the divorce revolution.  Divorce is considered empowering for women in their 20s and 30s, when their chances of remarriage are still fairly good.  Once women reach their 40s as Jolie has, their chances of both divorce and remarriage have dropped dramatically and continue to do so.

us_divorce_by_age2009

women_remarriage_2011

But the biggest threat to Baer’s argument is the fact that no matter how hard we try to pretend that divorce doesn’t represent a failure, it always will.  If we really believed that breaking up families isn’t harmful, we wouldn’t bother with the idea of marriage in the first place.  No matter how much feminists try to convince us that children don’t need a father in the home, we all know better.  Even worse for Baer, those women who didn’t fail to keep their families intact will always be at risk of pointing this quite obvious fact out.  And even when other women remain silent, the women who failed will always know that other women are secretly thinking these thoughts feminists have tried so hard to banish.

*The link provided points to an article identifying Stephanie Coontz as the source of the statistic, but does not name her data source or state where she made this claim.

Posted in Can't keep a man, New Morality, NY Mag, selling divorce, Serial Monogamy, Status of marriage, Turning a blind eye, Ugly Feminists | 126 Comments

Hacksaw Ridge

Note:  Minor plot spoilers to follow.  You may want to watch the movie before reading this post.

I had the chance to catch Hacksaw Ridge the other day, and it is an extremely powerful movie.  I was a bit leery after reading the very positive reviews because they highlighted the presence of the bad husband/father trope in the movie.  From:  Mel Gibson’s ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Is the Best War Film Since ‘Saving Private Ryan’

…incidents in early sections of the film showing Desmond’s challenging family life with a loving, overly religious mother who was often savagely beaten by his drunken, abusive father…

I went anyway, and am glad that I did.  The trope is certainly in the movie, but the father is not shown as a one dimensional drunken abuser.  After watching the movie I checked out History Vs Hollywood, and it appears that Gibson used more than a little creative license in this regard:

The Great Depression left their father, a carpenter, despondent and turning to alcohol at times (though the movie greatly exaggerates this and makes him abusive).

But even with this in mind, Gibson doesn’t display the abject contempt for fathers that the Kendrick brothers do.  As I noted the father is shown as a real (but deeply flawed) human being who is suffering and loves his family.

With the failing father trope out of the way, it is astounding that Hacksaw Ridge is the first non documentary movie to tell the incredible story of Desmond Doss.  Doss after all was heroic in WWII, the only war in which Hollywood is truly comfortable portraying American fighting men as as heroes.  It is also not coincidentally the only war where the US was allied with the Soviet Union.  But while Doss was fighting on the right side of the war from Hollywood’s perspective, his story can’t be told without honoring his incredible faith.  Gibson deserves great credit for fighting the Hollywood current and making a major production about this truly extraordinary man.

I mentioned above that Doss’ story is incredible, and in a way it may be too incredible.  Aside from exaggerating the failures of his father, the movie also in many ways understated how extraordinary he was.  For example, in one scene it shows Doss and his unit as having to climb up a cargo net to enter their first battle.  Given the timing of the battle where this took place (Okinawa), it struck me as unlikely that this would be their first action.  Hollywood Vs History confirmed that not only was Okinawa not their first action, but that Doss was one of three men who climbed the cliff to place the net there in the first place:

…medic Desmond Doss was one of the three men who volunteered to go up the ridge and hang the cargo nets (something not shown in the movie). They were the same cargo nets that the men had used to climb down from the army personnel carriers into the landing crafts that took them ashore. In the photo below, Desmond is seen standing on top of the ridge. The photo doesn’t convey the sheer danger he was in up there. The photographer refused to get any closer for fear he would be hit by Japanese fire. -The Conscientious Objector Documentary

The same article notes there was another incident that Gibson changed because he felt the true story was too difficult for the audience to believe:

Director Mel Gibson decided to leave this out of the movie because he felt audiences would find the heroic circumstances under which it happened too hard to believe…

It also mentions yet another incident which Gibson left out:

…the Japanese had a clear shot at Desmond Doss. Though it’s not depicted in the movie, one Japanese soldier recalled having Desmond in his sights, but every time he went to fire, his gun jammed. -The Conscientious Objector Documentary

After reading about the real story, as is so often the case I find the real story to be more compelling than the dramatized version.  Still, Gibson has made a fantastic film and I highly recommend it.

Posted in Attacking headship, Disrespecting Respectability, Fatherhood, Military, Movies | 55 Comments

Not good for the narrative.

From Robert Stacy McCain in Lessons of a ‘Sex Object:’ What can we really learn from Jessica Valenti’s memoir?

Compare this description to what Ms. Valenti says about her ‘lovely’ husband, who is forced to keep the house immaculate merely to avoid her wrath, and then ask whether you’d rather be (a) the muscle man who banged her at 16, or (b) the poor fool who ended up marrying her when she was 30.

H/T Instapundit

Related:

 

Posted in Aging Feminists, Cracks in the narrative, Instapundit, Jessica Valenti, Robert Stacy McCain, Ugly Feminists | 147 Comments