Between Dalrock and a Hard Case
August 14, 2012 § 33 Comments
In the comments of the last post we learned that Dalrock’s influence is so powerful (Update: see here for today’s mind-ray promoting Game) that I’ve lost the capacity to think for myself. But before the lights of reason wink out completely and I sink into the testosterone Hive Mind, I’d like to explore a question raised in the thread.
The question is this: is it possible that, in the present circumstances, it is more difficult, as a general thing, for one of the sexes to marry, start a family, and stay married than it is for the other sex to marry, start a family, and stay married, assuming that good choices are made?
Note what the question does not ask: it does not ask about absolute levels of difficulty. My own guess is that it has probably become astonishingly difficult for a young person to marry, start a family, and stay married. The forces set against marriage in general are horrendous. I expect (with nothing but my own observations and biases to go on) that there are so few marriage-worthy folks out there of either sex that out of every hundred dates (or whatever the kids are calling them these days) the odds aren’t particularly good that a single individual marriage-worthy man happens to be out with a correspondingly marriage-worthy woman. This says nothing about such trivialities as, you know, actually falling in love and being compatible and stuff.
Note also that the question is about the general case, not specific cases. This is just statistical reasoning of the sort we all can’t avoid but that gets people like John Derbyshire in such trouble. It isn’t about the two Christian kids who grew up in the same hometown, were homeschooled, and have known each other for most of their lives. It is about people who have never had any connection of any kind until (say) some time in their early twenties, when they met at college or whatever.
I’ll note that in many areas of life reasonable men don’t blink about answering a question like this. When it comes to being an effective firefighter or policeman or warrior, clearly it is easier (in the general case) for a man to do the job. When it comes to carrying a child to term, clearly it helps to be a woman. These aren’t small differences in difficulty: they are profound and obvious. In the one case the great majority of men will be able to get the job done more easily than the great majority of women. In the other case no man is capable of doing it at all.
Furthermore, it is clearly the case that a young woman who plans to make marriage a priority has an entirely different set of tasks and decision options in front of her than a young man with the same goal. A young woman has to develop herself into good wife material, while a man has to develop himself into good husband material. Those are two very different things. Both have to draw from some pool of available mates; but those pools of mates are quite radically different from each other. Both bring radically different things to a marriage: that is part of what makes marriage such a profound, complementary institution. Furthermore, the legal and cultural climate is very different for a young woman than it is for a young man. All of these differences can be overstated, of course; but they are real and substantial.
Without going into excruciating detail on all of these points, suffice to say that I am puzzled by the claim that it is simply ludicrous and absolutely beyond the pale to even consider the possibility that, in the general case, in our present state of culture and law, a young man who makes marriage a priority and makes good choices will have a materially harder time getting married, starting a family, and staying married than a young woman who makes marriage a priority and also makes good choices.
Of course the opposite is possible too. What would be really astonishing, to me, is if one or the other weren’t true.