Sunday, January 3, 2021

The Foundation Is Gone

     “Politics is downstream from culture.” – Andrew Breitbart

     A few years ago, I wrote a pair of essays on the deterioration of male-female relations and its most important secondary effect: the declines in marriage and marital stability. Here are the links:

     I’ve written other pieces on the subject, of course, but I regard those two as the warning siren that – if I had anything like a wide readership – “should” have alerted Americans to the future they faced. Well, that future has arrived, and its implications for further deterioration are even uglier:

     Fewer U.S. adults now than in past years believe it is "very important" for couples who have children together to be married. Currently, 29% say it is very important that such a couple legally marry, down from 38% who held this view in 2013 and 49% in 2006.

     Another 31% of U.S. adults currently say it is "somewhat important" for couples with children to be married, bringing the total to 60% who consider it important to some degree. Meanwhile, four in 10 say it is not too (18%) or not at all (22%) important.

     In 2006, Americans were more than twice as likely to say it is very important (49%) for couples with children to wed as to say it is not important (23%).

     The latest results are based on Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 1-13. The poll updated several trends on Americans' views about marriage asked previously over the past two decades.

     The above statistics capture a trend away from marriage and family formation that couldn’t be clearer if it were sky-written in blacker-than-black thousand-point type.

     The easiest thing in the world is to predict that a trend in progress will continue. You’ll eventually be wrong, of course (“Trees do not grow to the sky.” – Baron Philippe de Rothschild) but averaged over time, you’ll be right more often than not. Therefore I predict, with fair confidence, that the trend away from marriage and family formation will continue.

     If this trend continues much further, it heralds the end of Christian-Enlightenment civilization.

“But it's alright, it's alright
For we lived so well so long.
Still, when I think of the road we're traveling on,
I wonder what's gone wrong...
I can't help but wonder what’s gone wrong.”

[Paul Simon]

     The political morass of our era consumes a great deal of popular attention. (Yes, mine too.) It makes me wonder how many people are familiar with the Breitbart quote at the top of the previous segment...and how many of them actually believe it.

     Among the things that most strongly shape our culture is our attitude toward the future. Do we care about the future? How far forward do our cares extend? Why? What predisposes a man to care about the years that will follow his departure from this veil of tears?

     The answers are not hard to find. Our concern for what might follow our deaths arises from those things we hope to survive us:

  • Our progeny,
  • Our businesses,
  • Our reputations.

     Let’s leave businesses and reputations to the side for now. He who has children is most likely to be concerned with the future. (Yes, that assumes that he loves his children.) He who has seen his children become adults and produce children of their own has doubled reasons. But he who has not produced offspring has a nearer horizon for his decision-making. All other things being equal, he will care less about what will follow his death than the man with progeny.

     Marriage has been the traditional method for protecting the well-being of fertile women and the children they have borne. No other method known to Mankind has worked nearly as well at safeguarding those interests. But any Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch will be aware that marriages in our time are more fragile, are shorter on average, and tend to produce fewer children than the marriages of previous generations of Americans. Combine those trends with the suspicions and animosities that bedevil relations between the sexes. What does the combination say about our interest in our future?

     Need I say explicitly that a people unconcerned with the future are unlikely to build a stable society, nor to preserve and nurture the social supports bequeathed them by their forebears? Perhaps not, but as is my wont I’ve done so anyway.

     Without a preponderance of stable families that produce and cherish children, Christian-Enlightenment society – especially its highest expression, the United States of America – cannot long endure. It will lack the foundation it needs to sustain it.

     “Ve get too soon old und too late schmart.” – Old World maxim

     Rather than flog this beast all the way to the glue factory, I’ll close with an observation from about forty years back. It’s a semi-hopeful observation, which might presage the end of the destructive anti-marital, anti-natal trends. However, it would be foolish to presume that it means anything more than what it’s meant to my Long Island neighborhood: i.e., a reduction in the traffic on Friday and Saturday nights.

     There was a developer who’d received approval for a multi-family compound on a nearby plot of land. He was licking his chops over his prospects, for he had noted the trends toward ever more single people living alone, along with ever smaller families. So he planned for an apartment complex that was heavy with one-bedroom units: the sort of pad that would appeal to bachelors, bachelorettes, and the divorced. After all, if they were “the future” – and given the trends, he had good reason to think so – then marketing to them was the smartest course. At the time Long Island didn’t have much convenient housing for singles, so he’d be tapping an underserved market.

     Sounds like good market analysis, doesn’t it? It certainly did at the time. Working from that vision, the developer produced a 200-apartment complex that was heavily weighted toward small units. It quickly attracted exactly the sort of tenant he sought. It also acquired a moniker: Sin City. (I have no idea whether he was aware of that, nor if he was, whether he cared.)

     That apartment complex is almost empty today. I believe the company that operates it has gone into receivership. I can’t say why of my own knowledge. Certainly such an enterprise is subject to many influences, currents, and vicissitudes. Regardless, the original flood of tenants has left and has not been replaced by tenants like them. Why not?

     Time passes. Things change. People’s desires change. Some regret their earlier ways and strive to change them. Then there’s technology to consider, and its response to the changes in human desires. One advancing technology is making it possible for women to have healthy children safely at a later age than ever before in history...and an increasing number of women are discovering, much to their own surprise and chagrin, that marriage, a stable home, and a husband and children to love are the things they really want and should have pursued from the outset.

     Naturally, the radical feminists eager to keep “the war between the sexes” hot and bloody condemn this development. Could they counteract it and keep the anti-marriage, anti-natal trends “healthy?” It remains to be seen. But at least the evidence is not wholly in their favor.

     That’s it for me for today. Enjoy your Sunday.



I wish I could have more children.

Wife is too old - technically she could, but the risk is very high. I have my own issues.

Thus, I am giving my children drip-drip-drip advice:

* Don't built a career and then marry as a capstone. Built a marriage and grow together.

* Have at least four children.

* Marry someone who is a more religious Jew than you are. Have them pull you towards Hashem.

Linda Fox said...

And the WORST advice comes from women who sternly direct their daughters to NOT commit to a marriage until AFTER their education is complete, and to 'sow their wild oats'.
That runs contrary to basic biology (easier to have children young), basic good sense (if women refuse to build a bond with a man, they will find the pickins' slim later), and the real fact that multiple hookups numb the heart, and make those engaging in that behavior (both male and female) less fit for a lifetime bond.
I know, I know.
How retro! To think that a family bond could last a lifetime!
So, why are the same people saying how impossible that is to unthinkingly accept "Sisters for Life" and "Lifetime Friendships" as attainable?