I was watching this Charles Murray video, where he lays out his arguments, for why America is coming apart, across class lines. I’m a fan of his, he’s a lovable curmudgeon, but I think his analysis of his own data, is a bit off. He avoids blaming feminism for a lot of the social problems such as the decline of marriage and the segregation of America, into more separate classes. Murray is wrong about that. Feminism has it’s share of blame to claim, in the decline of marriage in America, and America coming apart, along class lines. I’ll explain.
In some ways, Murray doesn’t understand what is going on, and why America is falling apart.
Murray says 40% of births in America in 2012 are out of wedlock births. And there is now no cultural stigma to having children out of wedlock.
In her book, “Men on Strike” by Dr. Helen Smith, she says that 70% of American men under the age of 35 have never been married, and often don’t want to be. Marriage is in significant decline, but mostly for the bottom 70% of Americans. For the top 30% of college educated Americans, marriage is still the overwhelming cultural norm. For the economic bottom 70% of Americans, marriage is in severe decline. I agree with Murray on this, so far.
But he is wrong in his analysis of what or who to blame.
Marriage is all about children, and commitment. As a culture we have torn apart the relationship between having a family, and marriage. Murray is too easy on feminism. It destroyed the social prestige of working men in the lower and middle classes. When women start out competing men in the work place, unless you are a top-notch man, your value goes down, because many women can economically out-compete you. Their wives don’t need them…..especially since our social safety net heavily favors women, so the government has become an Alternative Husband for women in the middle and lower middle classes. To get a professional husband increases a woman’s standard of living, but Rosanne Conner marrying Dan Conner, wasn’t much of a bump in her finances…..
Marriage and divorce laws, pushed by feminists, certainly haven’t helped marriage; 70% of all divorces are initiated by women, because they know they will win the house, the children, and alimony. Power within marriage is now almost solely in the hands of women, because they always win in divorce….thanks feminism. And feminism has done well to make sure that 60% or more, of university students are now women, so women are winning in education. So now for women under 35 in America, women now earn more than men.
In this new feminist world, women don’t need average and below average American men, and most men can’t compete in higher education. And this new feminist world interacts with female evolved nature, which is hyper-gamous: Women marry up, not down. As women start to attain equality, this is a problem: not enough men around, who do better than the potential women. Women tend to be hypergamous, and are always looking for a higher status mate.
Women at the top will stay married, because as Murray says, people at university tend to marry each other, in their social and economic group, and women know they can’t do any better than top end university men. That’s what happens at university: High status women at university marry high status males at university, and the women get what they want: high status, and money. But lower status females can now support themselves, and thanks to feminist laws, if a marriage breaks up, they win. They get the house, alimony and the kids. And often they earn their own money, so who needs a lower 70% male? Most women don’t, so they dump him. Feminism went hand in hand with sexual liberation. Feminism brought with it the destruction of the family, and marriage as an institution, by destroying the relative social value, of most men. Feminism works well for women, and especially well for upper class women, who can now go to school, and get a great high status job, and out-compete lower class men for social prestige.
But for most people, men and women, feminism hasn’t worked out. When I say 70% of men are not getting married, that means that 70% of women won’t get married, either. So most American women lose too, in our new feminist arrangements. And as usual, upper class women take all the prizes.
At 10:30 in his video, Murray almost concedes some of my argument that feminism is causal in the decline of marriage, when he admits that if feminism came in, without the other policy mistakes of the 1960s, then women could support the child on their own….meaning he is admitting that feminism effectively ends the need for women, to have men around. Murray admits that, without thinking that through….what it means. He can’t see the implications of this. And a lot of this has to do with income distribution. Income was more evenly divided in America, a generation ago, so middle class men were valuable, economically, to women. Not any more. Income distribution is so skewed towards the top 30%ers in America, that women who can support a child on her own often has little reason to keep a lower-end man around. He brings little to the table, and she doesn’t need him. It’s different for upper 30% women. Their man brings lots to the table, so she has plenty of reason to keep him around. That’s why marriage is so common and stable, in the upper 30% of society.
Murray comes a half step towards the truth when he comments that when women work, “he is no longer the man” and is only partially needed. But he doesn’t see the full implications of what this means. And it means different things for low end men, and high end men, and that’s where his confusion comes from.
Feminism is to blame for the destruction of family and marriage, because: Feminism works for high end women and high end men like Murray, but destroyed the social prestige of lower class men, and destroyed the social status rewards for lower class men, because feminism worked hand in hand with changes in sexual attitudes that meant that men were no longer socially rewarded, for sticking around and supporting the wives, if those men were poor. They were no longer “good guys” as Murray put it, for sticking around.
Welfare would make the difference in income if he wasn’t there, or the woman could support herself. In this way, middle and lower class men were devalued. They now have no reason to stick around, with a woman they get pregnant, and women have little reason, to keep them around. If they stay in a marriage, lower class 70% men have effectively become slaves to their wives, if they stay married…..the Dan Conners of America. All their money goes to their wife. And they have no social prestige or approval, just for staying married. Dan gets constantly berated and lowered in esteem, by Roseanne. And, women don’t really need them…..Dan knows this, so his lot in life is daily humiliation from his feminist middle class wife. All in all, it could not be worse as far as social prestige goes, for the man in the middle. So why bother? They are just dumb Al Bundy’s. And since women now don’t need to be married to have a child….thanks to feminism, that social taboo is gone…. and welfare could help out if needed, this led to the infantilization of men….Seinfeld was full of such characters…infantile men in their late 30s, early 40s. Feminists brought in more welfare for single moms, and lax marriage laws that favored women, and destroyed the need for men to be married, and the need for women to keep their men around, if the men didn’t earn enough money. There is now a whole community online called migtow….men going their own way…..who are tired of the raw deal that bottom 70%ers get, and they are leaving marriage. If you go to YouTube and do a search, you get 100,000 hits for “migtow”….and millions of comments. Karen Straughan’s video “Men not marrying. How deep does the problem go?” is particularly informative.
Murray and the interviewer don’t blame feminism, and they actually like feminism. And Murray comes right and says “Absolutely!” when asked if feminism has been a good idea for society. Why does he say this? Because they are upper 30% guys that have not been screwed over in a relationship….these men have not been screwed over, because women need them, because of their fat paycheck. They are out of touch with the bottom 70% of men, and what marriage is like for most men. They have no clue. Marriage benefits the hell out of upper 30% men, because they are high earners, and the wife often brings her own high earning potential, and women are grateful to be with them, because they are high status males, and together they have a rich and prestigious life. As Murray puts it, “partnership in marriage is a good idea”….what that really means is, my wife earns a lot of money, and so do I, so partnership works for me, and feminism works for me…..That’s fine for high earners, BUT: For the bottom 70% of males, feminism has been an unmitigated disaster. These guys have no clue.
Murray comes perilously close to understanding the truth, when he says about feminism, at 11:25 in his video: “It inevitably took, for low income men, a major prop away, for their self-esteem, and their dignity”….well, nah-duh! But he misses the point that that was not the worst part of it. The worst part of it was it took away the need women had, for men. Murray doesn’t understand the materialistic and hyper-gamous nature of women. And so in this new feminist world, men are dumped by women, in divorce, or people don’t bother getting married at all, if men don’t earn enough money. Feminism effectively destroyed marriage, for lower income men. The reason this is not commonly known and accepted is that upper income men benefit from feminism, so they are blind to it’s negative effects feminism has, on most of the male population. And upper income males set the intellectual understanding of marriage and feminism, for the rest of the population….however, most young men are no longer getting married, as Dr. Smith points out, so despite the blindness of our elites, the blindness of guys like Murray, most people are catching on to how this new world works, and not bothering to get married. Our elites like Murray have no clue, and are blinded to other realities right in front of their faces, by their own social benefits and income, and their wives incomes. They just don’t see it, and can’t put 2 and 2 together.
Murray talks about feminism and imagines a world where feminism comes in, but sexual norms stay the same…..in which case men would have incentive to get married, so they could have regular access to sex. What a naive understanding of relationships between the sexes, he has. Feminism at it’s core, is about sexual freedom and choice for women. Feminism cannot be separated from sexual freedom. So when feminism comes in, so does sexual freedom….and with it, feminism eroded traditional religious views and traditional social views of marriage, for most people. You can’t have feminism, without tossing away traditional religious views on marriage. You can’t have one, without the other. Both are interdependent, and about the same thing…..so Murray’s contention that we could have had feminism, while keeping sexual norms the same, is absurd nonsense. He doesn’t understand feminism at all. And of course, because women like money, they stay with guys like Murray because he is a high earner. So even if his class of people believe in sexual freedom, they don’t practice it, because money keeps them together….yet of course Murray is blind to this reality, that governs his own world.
Murray spouts sentimental views about the very deep intimacy of a lifetime marriage…..”a depth of human connection that is difficult to describe to an outsider”….what b.s…..his wife is staying with him because he is loaded. If he was broke, his wife would have left him, decades ago. The truth is, when money flies out the window, love walks out the door……every bottom 70%er male knows that. Marriage if finished as an institution, for lower class 70% people….thanks to feminism.
I agree with Murray that marriage is great for the upper class. Women in the upper classes are educated, and often bring in good income, often doubling family income. And women in the upper class realize there is no where to go, they have made it to the top of the economic hyper-gamous food chain, so marriage works for them. Marriage does not work for most people, and a lot of that has to do with income disparity. Women are all hyper-gamous, and as educated as men, so they can make money on their own, so for most of the female population…..other than the upper classes…..there is little incentive for women to marry, and men have few financial resources to woo and offer these self-sufficient women.
So for the upper classes, and for high income guys, marriage is fine, and workable. For 70% of Americans, it’s an outdated institution, and the current economic system is entirely unsuited to enabling and making marriage possible. In that sense, I am more than right, that marriage is obsolete, for most people. Yes marriage serves an incredibly useful social function, Murray is right about that, so it is a very bad thing it has effectively ended for 70% of the population. Murray has no clue how bad feminism and income disparity has been for America. He suffers from the bias that comes from his life working out just fine…financially and emotionally…. which blinds him to the pain and destruction, all around him. I like Murray a lot…he is right on many things…. but he has no clue on this.
Ben Shapiro on the other hand, seems to get it, that feminism ruined marriage:
1:30 “The left destroyed traditional mores, with regards to relations, between the sexes. Destroyed them wholesale. So the original idea, was that men were supposed to act with honor and chivalry, in protecting women. And women were supposed to look for example, relationships, just as men were. Sexual activity was supposed to be confined. At least this was the ideal, was supposed to be confined, to committed relationships, particularly marriage. Not everybody lived up to that. But a huge number of people did. In fact, once people got pregnant, people basically got married. There are studies from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s that show that, there were an awful lot of 7th month marriage babies. People who were sleeping together, then getting pregnant, and then the couple gets married. When you don’t teach men, to protect women, you get men who will victimize women. And when you don’t teach women, that they ought to cherish men who are responsible and good, all you end up doing, is incentivizing bad male behavior.
The feminist movement was not wrong, when they said men are acting like pigs. There were wrong when they said women ought to also act like pigs….because now they got rid of all the traditional mores, about how sex ought to be connected with love and relationships. They got rid of all of that, it was just a bodily function now.”
Ben Shapiro is a religious Jew, and his views reflect the conservative religious views of both Christians and Jews. And Ben’s views are based on the Bible.
The Bible is pretty much The Patriarchy Manual of European Civilization. It sets out a view of life, where the Universe is governed by a protective God, life is sacred, there are moral truths embedded in reality, and both genders have a distinct role:
Men are to protect life, to lead life. Women are the center of life and family. The two compliment each other, and are wholly integrated and inter-dependent. In The Book of Genesis, God takes Adam’s rib, and forms a woman. So “woman” is from the “womb” of “man”.
In the Christian and Jewish tradition, marriage is a sacred covenant. But that is all superstition, right? No. After the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s, society started listening to the liberals and feminists, and we ended lifetime marriage and promoted promiscuity. But after the Sexual Revolution, we also had 40 years of scientific research, which led us to the conclusion that the things feminists have been pushing: divorce, abortion, promiscuity, all these things destroy marriage, destroy family….and feminism destroys civilization.
The liberal feminist view on life and marriage is cancer.
So were the Christians and religious Jews right, all along? When we treat marriage and male-female relations, along religious lines, and consider marriage and sexuality to be sacred, then societies prosper and survive. But when we abandon religion, and do what our natural inclinations say we should, then society falls apart.
Added to the changes in sexual morals, now economic changes of women competing economically with men, working together, these two factors seem to have ended marriage as a lifetime institution, in the modern world…….. thanks to our embrace of feminism. Feminism is about sexual freedom, and women competing with men, economically. It turns out, when you bring those things in, and couple that with generous social benefits for women, you end marriage for most people
America is coming apart, thanks to feminists, in my opinion.
However, a word of caution: Although feminism shares a lot of the blame to the social mess we are in, I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to pin the entire blame on feminism. Did feminism cause the massive offshoring of jobs in the American heartland? No….but this significantly decreased male economic worth for the American middle class male. Did feminism cause the technological changes which destroyed a lot of the jobs that men used to do? Of course not. Did feminism cause the massive shift in wealth, with wealth concentrating in the top tiers of society? Of course not. Did feminism see beforehand, that the relative social power of most men would radically decline once women started economically competing with men? Of course not. Did feminism see beforehand that the elites would benefit from feminism, but most people would not? Of course not. Did feminism foretell the coarsening of male female relationships in the new era of integrating the genders into the world of work? Of course not. Did feminism foresee that the family itself, as a stable institution would socially decline as a result in part, of feminist ideas? Of course not.
But these things happened, nonetheless. Murray is aware that unintended consequences can happen because he frequently mentions “unintended cascading secondary effects” of changes in social policy. These in part, were some of the unintended social consequences that few if any people saw coming. Men in general did not. Neither did women. Neither did female intellectual leaders in 2nd wave feminism. Neither did male intellectual leaders on the left or the right, far as I know. No one saw it coming. But it came, nonetheless. So we need to look at what happened, without blame, in assessing the situation.
Besides, early support for 2nd wave feminism came from big business. Rich men supported feminism out of economic self interest. Doubling the labor force helped big business and the elites mostly, because most of the money made ended up in their hands. Labor on the other hand, suffered from this, as male wages were suppressed by men competing against women, economically. Much like allowing too much immigration, business supports bringing new people into the labor pool out of self interest. Feminism can’t be blamed for that, as it was not their business to increase business profits.
And across the industrialized world, birth rates have been falling like a rock since 2nd wave feminism. As Elon Musk describes in his video “No more kids”….that if advanced technological societies don’t change this trend, they won’t stick around long. The birth rate is far below replacement level, as technological changes mean women are competing for money and for education and are not having enough children to replace the population. And given enough time, this itself will end advanced technological society in the long run according to Musk. Did feminism plan or anticipate all this? Of course not.
And anyone with any insight into biology knows that women evolved to bear children, when they are young. Evolution dictates that women have a very limited time to have children: basically before they are 30. And we have set up a modern economy where women are supposed to bear young, keep the population going, while expecting women to also get an education and compete economically with men, at the same time. This is a ridiculous level of burden, that men have placed on women. And it is counter to common sense and is contrary to natural biology. And that is not the fault of women. It is not the fault of feminists.
And in his video “Having kids is a social duty” Elon Musk talks about how the data shows that there is an inverse mathematical relationship between intelligence and education vs. the birth rate, in advanced countries. This means the more education a woman has, the less likely she is to have children. As technological changes allow women to get more of an education and compete for resources, they do so, and in doing so, they are less likely to have children. Since intelligence is largely inherited, this means over the long term, the number of intelligent people in the population declines, the number of less intelligent people increases. If an Idiocracy arrives, like in the movie of that name, it will come via feminism. Did feminist leaders have that in mind? Of course not, and they can’t be blamed for that trend. No one saw it coming….but it happened nonetheless.
And in reaction to declining birth rates, governments in Europe and America reacted by opening up immigration. They did this out of good reason: Pensions and economies only function if there are enough new people coming along, to pay those pensions and keep the economy going. And with plunging birth rates, new people were needed. However as we see all over Europe, this can be socially destabilizing. These too were the unintended effects of feminism….which were supported by the elites.
And since it is mostly the upper classes that send their children to university, where they tend to marry each other, what happens is there is far less inter-marriage among classes in society, as Charles Murray has pointed out. This causes class divisions causing all sorts of social problems. One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected President was because much of the elite class in America is utterly clueless about the lives of most Americans. Part of the reason for their utter cluelessness, is the lack of social interaction between classes.
So unintended consequences are all over the place. It’s time to step back and without blame or guilt, look at the whole feminist project, see if it works. And to balance the many good things feminism has brought, with the bad. And to see if something can be done, to make everyone’s lives better. On the whole, feminism doesn’t work for most people. Can something be done about it? Or will it eventually destabilize society and end in utter failure? Your guesses on those questions are as good as mine…..