February 9, 2014

"'Marriage promotion' is a destructive cargo cult"

Steve Randy Waldman writes:
“Marriage promotion” is a destructive cargo cult

... The case for marriage promotion begins with some perfectly real correlations. Across a variety of measures — household income, self-reported life satisfaction, childrearing outcomes — married couples seem to do better than pairs of singles (and much better than single parents), particularly in populations towards the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder. So it is natural to imagine that, if somehow poor people could be persuaded to marry more, they too would enjoy those improvements in household income, life satisfaction, and childrearing. Let them eat wedding cake! 
But neither wedding cake nor the marriages they celebrate cause observed “marriage premia” any more than dances on tarmacs caused airplanes to land on Melanesian islands. In fact, for the most part, the evidence we have suggests that marriage is an effect of other things that facilitate good social outcomes rather than a cause on its own. In particular, for poor women, the availability of suitable mates is a binding constraint on marriage behavior.

Perhaps the availability of suitable progenitors should also be a binding constraint on breeding behavior? Or should we just switch over wholly to a Big Man system in which NFL star Antonio Cromartie fathers most of the children in America?
People in actually observed marriages do well because they are the lucky ones to find scarce good mates, not because marriage would be a good thing for everyone else too. Marrying badly, that is marriage followed by subsequent divorce, increases the poverty rate among poor women compared to never marrying at all. Married biological parents who stay together may be good for child rearing, but kids of mothers who marry anyone other than their biological father do no better than children of mothers who never marry at all.

Perhaps then it's not such a hot idea to have a child out of wedlock and then expect some other man to support it?
... Let’s stop with the litany of citations for a minute and just think like humans. Marriage is a big deal. The stylized fact that the great preponderance of grown-ups with kids who seem economically and socially successful are married is known to everybody, rich and poor, black and white. Yes, the traditional family is not uncontested. There are, in our culture, valorizations of single-parenthood as statements of feminist independence, valorizations of male liberty and libertinism, aspirational valorizations of nontraditional families by until-recently-excluded gay people, etc. But, despite the outsized role played by Kurt on Glee, these alternative visions are numerically marginal, and probably especially marginal among the poor. Single motherhood is the alternative family structure that matters from a social welfare (rather than culture-war) perspective. The problem marriage promotion could solve, if it could solve any problem at all, would be to increase the well-being of the people who currently become single mothers and of their children. 
But why do single women choose to become single mothers? It does not, in any numerically significant way, seem to have much to do with purposeful rebellion against traditional family norms. No, marriage of poor women seems constrained by the availability of promising mates. And why might that be? 
Charles Murray recently wrote a wonderful, terrible, book called “Coming Apart“. The book is wonderful, because it identifies and very sharply observes the core social problem of our time, the Great Segregation (sorry Tyler), or more accurately, the Great Secession of the rich from the rest, and especially from the poor. The book is terrible, because it then analyzes the problems of the poor as though they come from nowhere, as though phenomena Murray characterizes as declines in industriousness, religiosity, and devotion to marriage among the poor have nothing to do with the evacuation of the rich into dream enclaves. There are obvious connections that Murray doesn’t make because, I think, he simply doesn’t wish to make them. Let’s make some. We were talking about marriage. 
Murray does a wonderful job of describing the homogamy of our socioeconomic elites. The people who, at marriageable age, seem poised to succeed economically and socially, tend to marry one another. Johnnie doesn’t marry the girl next door, who might have been a plumber’s daughter while Daddy was a bank manager. 
Johnnie doesn’t marry anyone at all he met in high school, but holds out for someone who got into the same sort of selective college he got into. The children of the rich marry children of the rich, with notable allowances made for children of the nonrich who have accumulated credentials that signal a high likelihood of present or future affluence. Of course, love knows no boundaries. 
As a matter of simple arithmetic, increasing homogamy among the elite and successful implies a reduced probability that a person who cannot lay claim to that benighted group will be able to “marry up”, as it were. Once upon a time, in the halcyon days that Murray contrasts to the present, the courting would not have been so crass. There were many fewer markers of social class and future affluence.

Alert Jane Austen!

It's important to remember that the social conditions of America in 1946-1964 were not some sort of universal Old Days, but a historic high point of affordable family formation, as shown by an extremely young age of first marriage for women. The average age of first marriage for Englishwomen from 1200 to 1800 was around 25. In more affordable America from 1890-1940, it was 23 (before dropping to 20.4 in 1950).

Yet, we didn't have 40% illegitimacy rates in 1925 or 1880 or whenever.
The best and brightest were not so institutionally, geographically, and culturally segregated from the rest.

This news would have come as a surprise to Edith Wharton and Henry James. In 1900, for instance, a very large fraction of the wealthiest heiresses in the United States spent their summers at Newport, Rhode Island. We should not let our assumptions of what The Past was like be based solely upon watching Happy Days and Back to the Future.
(That is, within the community of white Americans. For black Americans, all of this is old hat.) The risk of “mismarrying”, for a male, was not so great, as he would be the primary breadwinner anyway, and her family, while perhaps poorer than his own, was unlikely to be in desperate straits. Men could choose whom they liked, in a personal, sexual, and romantic sense without great cost. 
Women from poor-ish backgrounds had a decent chance at landing a solid breadwinner, if not the next President. Very much like an insurance pool, a large and mixed pool of potential spouses renders marriage on average a pretty good deal for everyone. Really bad future husbands existed then as now, and then as now women were wise to do all they could to avoid marrying them. But the quality of a marriage is never revealed until well after you are in it. In a middle-class society, it was reasonable for a woman to guess that a nice guy she could fall in love with would be able to be a good husband and father too. 
Flash-forward to the present. We now live in a socially and economically stratified society. By the time we marry, we can ascertain with reasonable confidence what kind of job, income, neighborhood, and friends a potential mate is likely to come with. The stakes are much higher than they used to be. Our lifestyle norms are based on two-earner households, so men as well as women need to think hard about the earning prospects of potential mates.

But that also means that women would need to think less hard about whom to marry because the financial risk of picking a guy who turns out to not claw his way to the top is mitigated by her earning power.
Increasing economic dispersion — inequality — means that it is quite possible that a potential mate’s family faces circumstances vastly more difficult than ones own, if one is near the top of the distribution. It is unfashionable to say this in individualistic America, but it is as true now as it was for Romeo and Juliette that a marriage binds not only two people, but two families. If you have a good marriage, you will love your spouse. If you love your spouse and then her uninsured mother is diagnosed with cancer, those medical bills will to some perhaps large degree become your liability. More prosaically, if the inlaws can’t keep the heat on, do you wash your hands of it and let them shiver through the winter? In a very unequal society, the costs and risks of “marrying down” are large.

And this wasn't even truer in the past when people tended to have more in-laws and more of them tended to be close to the edge of actual physical suffering?

Waldman is sort of on to something here, but the lack of understanding of the concept of affordable family formation blurs his understanding. These days we're supposed to talk about Income Inequality and the One Percent, but what's really relevant here is not the One Percent but the supply and demand of housing and schooling free of the children of single mothers relative to wages, since Americans expect marriage to go with owning a home with a yard. The One Percent don't actually use up that much residential land and their swarming masses of children don't overwhelm public schools.

If they insisted in living Downton Abbeys surrounded by miles of scenic sightlines, yeah, sure. But what really uses up the supply of metropolitan land and tuition dollars is getting away from poor people, especially getting your children away from bastards. But all the Nice People tell us that it's very, very important to import more poor people from the third world to bring us the blessings of diversity.
As with an insurance pool, too much knowledge can poison the marriage pool, and reduce aggregate welfare by preventing distributive arrangements that everyone would rationally prefer in the absence of information, but which become the subject of conflict when information is known in advance.

Let me try to explain the math of where Waldman is coming from and why it isn't all the relevant to working class people. If Waldman's sister (who may be novelist Adelle Waldman, but probably isn't novelist Ayelet Waldman who is married to bestselling novelist Michael Chabon) is at, say, the 98th percentile of society and she's considering a man who is only at the 91st percentile, that 7-point gap is a big deal. You have to subtract the numbers from 100%: 9/2 is 4.5. That's really marrying down.

(I had to do this math once to convince a small town student's family to have her take the ACT a second time. She had scored at the 88th percentile the one time she took the test, which seemed pretty good to them. But then after I badgered her father into getting her to study up and retake the test, she scored at the 95th percentile. That meant she leapfrogged over 7/12ths of the people in her way, which is a lot.)

On the other hand, if you are talking about some woman who is at the 44th percentile of society and her beau is at the 37th percentile, well that's not really a big deal. But that's hard for somebody who writes long blog posts about what Charles Murray overlooked to grasp.
Because the stakes are now very high and the information very solid, good marriage prospects (in a crass socioeconomic sense) hold out for other good marriage prospects.

There is a lot of projection going on here of from the top few percent where people obsess over brand name colleges to the rest of society.
The pool that’s left over, once all the people capable of signaling their membership in the socioeconomic elite have been “creamed” away, may often be, objectively, a bad one. Marriage has a fat lower tail.

Which is why European ancestors insisted upon a harem system. Oh, wait, no, they found a one husband - one wife system worked better than African style one husband-many wives systems. Of course, that big mistake is why Europeans were conquered by Africans: polygamy just makes better societies.
When you marry, you risk physical abuse,

Fortunately, all these young women who don't marry join convents where these bad marriage prospects can't get at them to beat them up.

Oh, wait, no, they're actually sleeping with, getting impregnated by, and getting smacked around by these guys.
you risk appropriation of your wealth and income, you risk mistreatment of the children you hope someday to have, you risk the Sartre-ish hell of being bound eternally to someone whose company is intolerable.

Whereas having a couple of kids by a couple of guys you didn't marry ushers you into a social world where all your beaus are as decent and supportive as Mitt Romney.
More commonly, you risk forming a household that is unable to get along reasonably in an economic sense, causing conflicts and crises and miseries even among well-intentioned and decent people. It is quite rational to demand a lot of evidence that a potential mate sits well above the fat left tail, but the ex ante uncertainty is always high. When the right-hand side of the desirability distribution is truncated away, marriage may simply be a bad risk.

Whereas motherhood before marriage is a safe bet.
If you are at all libertarian, what the behavior of the poor tells you is that it is a bad risk.

Whereas being a welfare mom is the quintessence of playing it safe.
After all, marriage is not subject to a Bryan-Caplan-esque critique of politics, where people make bad choices in the voting booth that they would not make in the supermarket because they don’t own the costs of a bad vote. The consequences of a decision to marry or not to marry or who to marry are internalized very deeply by the people who make them. Humans, rich and poor, have strong incentives to try to make those choices well. Both common sense, social science, and revealed preference suggest that marriage rates among the poor have declined because the value of the contingent claim upon the future represented by the words “I do” has also declined within the affected population.
Promoting marriage among this population is not merely ineffective. It is at best ineffective. If the marriage-promoters persuade people to marry despite circumstances that render it likely they will marry poorly, the do-gooders will have done outright harm.

Or maybe they can persuade the person that having a child before marriage is not such a hot idea?
Pacific Islanders no doubt bore some cost to build their wooden planes, lashed to a mistaken theory of causality. But lives were not destroyed. Overcoming peoples’ well-founded misgivings about the quality of potential mates with moral exhortations and clipboards of superficial social science might well destroy lives. It would create plenty of success stories for marriage promoters, sure, because even bad bets turn out well now and again. But it would create more tragedies than successes, tragedies that very likely would be blamed on personal deficiencies of the unhappy couple while the successes would be victories for marriage itself in some insane ideological version of the fundamental attribution error.

I'm really not clear on the math here. Waldman seems to think it would be catastrophic for many women to be persuaded to have children only by their own personal Loser. But the real world alternative is having children by several losers. How does that work out better?
... But what about the children? One variant of marriage-centric social theory refrains from pushing marriage so hard, and simply asks that people delay childrearing until the marriage comes. (See e.g. Reihan Salam for some discussion.) If a woman is likely to find a good spouse at a reasonable age, then it might make sense to suggest she delay childbearing until the happy couple is stable and married, since kids reared by married biological parents seem to do better than other kids. Even that is subject to a causality concern: Perhaps childrearing is best performed by the kind of mother capable of finding a good mate, and at a time some unobservable factor renders her both ready to raise a child well and likely to take a husband.

E.g., she finally notices the older she gets the sexier she ain't.

A huge fraction of modern marketing is aimed at convincing women that they can get sexier in the future. All I Have to Do is buy the right makeup, lose the baby weight, get a new wardrobe, get a gym membership, eat at the right restaurants, and I'll be sexier than I am now. Would Oprah lie to me? So why should I throw away my sexytabulous future and settle for some guy who likes me now? You see, I need to lose a few pounds. Sure, I'll have a baby with him now, but then I'll lose all the baby weight and have a giant wedding. With him or maybe with somebody better. But exactly who is going to be the groom is not the point. The point is I'm going to have a giant wedding and be the star, so I can't have a crummy wedding now just because I'm kind of in the mood to have a baby. I can make a baby for free, but weddings cost money. So, if my mom wins the Lotto, or if my dad ever turns up, then somebody will pay for my amazing wedding (but not until after I lose the baby weight).
This would create a spurious correlation between the presence of biological fathers and good kid outcomes. We can’t rule that out, sure. But we have no reason to think it’s so, and lots of common sense reasons to think a biological father in a stable marriage improves outcomes by contributing to better parenting. So, I’d agree that women likely to find great marriage partners should by all means delay children until they have actually found one. 
But women likely to find great marriage partners already do exactly that. Single motherhood is not a frequent occurrence among women who expect to marry happily and soon. The relevant question is whether we should discourage from having children women who reasonably expect they may not find a good spouse at all, at least not while they are in their youth.

Because while it's apparently hard to find a man Good Enough to Be My Husband, it's evidently easy to find a man Good Enough to Be the Father of My Child.
That is to say, should we tell women who have been segregated into the bad marriage market, who on average have lowish incomes and unruly neighbors and live near bad schools, that motherhood is just not for them, probably ever? 

Yes.
We could bring back norms of shame surrounding single motherhood, or create other kinds of incentives to reduce the nonadoption birth rate of people statistically likely to raise difficult kids. It is possible. 

Indeed.
I think it would be monstrous.

It would be monstrous if the taxpayers chose to subsidize less lavishly the breeding of more Democrats.
I believe that, as a society, we should commit ourselves to creating circumstances in which the fundamentally human experience of parenthood is available to all, not barred from those we’ve left behind on our way to good schools and walkable neighborhoods. Women unlikely to marry who wish to have children by all means should. The shame is ours, not theirs.

We're up to 40% bastards now. Why not 80%?
It belongs to those of us who call ourselves “elite”, who are so proud of our “achievements” that we walk away without a care from the majority of our fellow citizens and fellow humans, from people who in other circumstances, even in the not so distant past, would have been our friends and coworkers, lovers and spouses. It’s on us to join together what we have put asunder.

You know, what married parents are spending huge amounts of money to do is to get their children away from the ever-increasing numbers of bastards in the schools. How is having even more bastards in the schools going to lessen the economic pressures to get your kids into schools with few bastards?
 

106 comments:

Shouting Thomas said...

I've got to disagree with you that the post you're commenting upon had any value at all.

Looks to me more like all the current liberal themes cobbled together with the expected ritual shaming. He managed to get the 1% mania in there, income inequality, how much harder things are today than they were, say, back in the Depression, etc.

How he got the cargo cult theme in there is beyond me. Appears to me that he just wanted to jab back at his presumed opponents with an argument that they often use.

In short, the guy who wrote this stuff is an idiot. Big time. His writing is incoherent puffery.

maury said...

This guy is almost literally just masturbating. He advocates nothing in the way of policy. If he just said, hey, from now on only 15% of positions in the federal executive service can go to ivy grads, but of course that would alienate his friends.

a very knowing American said...

Waldman: "I believe that, as a society, we should commit ourselves to creating circumstances in which the fundamentally human experience of parenthood is available to all."

How do men fare under the current system, where lower-class women have most of their kids out of wedlock? My anecdotal impression is that for lower-class men the "experience of parenthood" is pretty unequally distributed. Some guys are getting a lot more than their share of sex and doing more than their share of procreating, other guys with less pizzazz spend their days on video games and porn. Does anyone have numbers that would address this? Were male opportunities -- sexual and/or parental -- more evenly distributed back when sex was mostly within marriage?

Oswald Spengler said...

And this is why we can't have nice things anymore...like Western Civilization.

FredR said...

I don't like his clever-silly writing.

Simon in London said...

Waldman: lots of clever words aimed at maximising harm, and pushing ever more lower-middle-class into the underclass. Repugnant.

Anonymous said...

Cargo cult is a great term. Should be applied to the anti-racism/egalitarian stuff Tim Wise does. Fits his schtick, that's for sure.

Why isn't there an all purpose dismissive term for that category of anti-racism/egalitarianism that is constantly seeking to come up with cargo cult like answers to questions sufficiently addressed by HBD? You know, the magical variant of anti-racism (to be distinguished from the people who simply don't like tribalism, don't want to give it momentum by endorsing HBD but aren't out there evangelizing for crackpot cargo cult theories either (like Wise).

Bill said...

When you marry, you risk physical abuse

Not really. Married women are less likely to be physically assaulted by a man than than any other category except for elderly widows, and this has been the case for decades. The highest risk category is young single mother.

The pool that’s left over, once all the people capable of signaling their membership in the socioeconomic elite have been “creamed” away, may often be, objectively, a bad one. Marriage has a fat lower tail.

Another crock. Working class people who are married are better off than those who aren't on just about every measure.

Where do these guys get the idea that you have to be a Harvard grad to be a decent husband? Maybe somebody should have told Steve Jobs' dad he wasn't good enough to raise a kid.

Henry Canaday said...

Gee, there’s a much simpler model that might work. When we started massively subsidizing illegitimacy we got a lot more illegitimacy from the bottom half of the income distribution, which would tend to need and receive the subsidy, but not so much from the top half of the income distribution, which would tend not to need or receive the subsidies as much.

I have no doubt that there are some lousy potential husbands out there in white-trash and ghetto land. But is this due entirely to low SATs, or does it at least partly reflect changes in habits and behaviors?

Better guess right, as we are about to legalize drugs, which of course do not harm anyone but the drug-taker.

It’s noble of Waldman to criticize the elite for not marrying young and randomly. But the American elite did something else, or allowed something else to be done for its convenience. This was dismantling the laws and moral sanctions that made the less gifted, the less bright or the less cute, behave better towards each other and behave less self-destructively towards themselves.

Anonymous said...

My mother married at 18 it wasn't that good of a marriage mediocre at best. I prefer the 25 year average. The problem today is you have lots of males past 30 that don't want to be responsible for their kids. In 1925 and 1880 a lot of shot gun marriages.

Bill said...

@Shouting Thomas

I think you're right. This guy is pretty pretentious, and his writing sophomoric. Take the following paragraph, for instance:

As a matter of simple arithmetic, increasing homogamy among the elite and successful implies a reduced probability that a person who cannot lay claim to that benighted group will be able to “marry up”, as it were. Once upon a time, in the halcyon days that Murray contrasts to the present, the courting would not have been so crass. There were many fewer markers of social class and future affluence.

It's actually kind of amusing.

As for the "cargo cult" slur, it's been floating around as a meme for a while. I can't remember whether I first heard it in conversation or read it somewhere, but it's one of those terms people use to insult conservatives, like "neanderthal" used to be. There's nothing original about his use of it.

AMac said...

It would be interesting to have a better sense of Interfluidity writer Steve Randy Waldman's family background and life experience. He writes like a somewhat Aspergery member of the SWPL chattering class, but perhaps there's more substance to him than that.

The comments to that blog post are striking for their generally poor quality. "Indentured Serfant" has a good one at #11, though s/he later veers into "who are you to judge?!" territory. At #46, "Mercury" discusses some of the obvious gaps in Waldman's thinking.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you've done it again. Very interesting post. Perhaps a more apt title should've been:

"Mothers, don't let your kids grow up to be bastards."

In the distant past Western Society tended to heed this advice and it might be a good idea to heed it now as well. It certainly can't hurt.

sunbeam said...

Hmmm lot of different takes on things.

The things discussed on this site are generally not discussed very many places. And the subject matter is not going away no matter how much someone hides their head in the sand.

But just not getting the identification with the Republican Party.

Personally I would be very happy to jump in the Time Machine and go back to 1960 or something, and drink lots of beer with all the Democrats in one of those old industrial towns that used to be all over the Midwest and Northeast. Be cool as hell to sit on a barstool, smoke cigarettes, and watch the Twilight Zone drinking lots of beer the whole time.

Of course I'd have to go to a nursing home to find one of those guys now.

A shame the political realignment thread didn't take off. I think that there is a very good chance that we do see a culturally liberal, robber baron party emerge and poach people from the Democrats and Republicans.

That's an easy one. But the rest of it... Just can't see a Hispanic/Black coalition being stable, or even coming about.

I really think that the Midwest will birth a version of the Republican Party more akin to the one Nixon had.

Think we will see a Southern one too, just more overtly religious. Or maybe they join up with the Midwestern branch.

But Quislings like Miss Lindsay Graham aside, there really is a big culture gap between Southern Republicans (and Midwestern ones), and the Culturally Liberal, Economically Conservative Republicans I see coming.

We'll just have to see. My best guess is that Texas flipping Democratic, whether that happens in 2020 for the Presidential race, or 2022 or whenever they redistrict again. No matter what kind of geniuses they have drawing districts in Texas, I don't think the pig is going to take much more lipstick.

Then I dunno. At least two versions of the Republican Party, and god knows what the Democrats morph into.

It'll be interesting at least. And whatever the other differences, I can see some sort of alliance of convenience (or necessity) arising between southern whites and blacks on immigration, if nothing else.

Harry Baldwin said...

@ Shouting Thomas--I think there was the kernel of a point in that article. Waldman is saying that believing that just getting and staying married will produce the same results that successful middle class people get from doing the same is not necessarily realistic.

I would compare it to GW Bush's belief that putting low-income Hispanics into their own homes would make them Republicans, just like those home-owning couples who worked hard, saved up for a down payment, and meet their mortgage payments tend to be Republican. Steve noted the flaw in this logic 10+ years ago.

Poor people who get married and stay married actually do do better than poor people who don't, but then they probably tend to be a better sort of poor person--less impulsive, more moral, capable of better long-term thinking. But to point that out would be regarded as judgmental, I suppose.

Chicago said...

Very one sided. Those so-called "poor women" might not be any great prize themselves yet they're the ones afflicted with the lack of availability of "suitable mates", meaning not enough quality men standing in line for them. It's because men are just bad, rascally creatures.
The term "poor" is just a meaningless, emotive word. The "poor women" could be bi-polar, hunchbacks, ex-convicts, addicts, harridans, prostitutes, sociopaths, IQ of 78, slovenly or otherwise just not on the A list.
An entire article and gay marriage wasn't worked into it. What about the trannies? Doesn't anyone care about the trannies?

Anonymous said...

People like that hate us married White people, they hate us. They hate us, they lie about us and they sh1t on us.

But when we run away from them they run after.

Go figure.

Gordo

2Degrees said...

Being a Brit-Kiwi, I have a slightly different perspective and would like to make two observations.

1). The rich marrying each other has been going on for years. Social classes is England look different physically. In New Zealand, the white lower downs are interbreeding with Maori to form a feral undercaste.

In the 50's and 60's, the grammar schools permitted a degree of social mobility, but since the introduction of comprehensive education, England has become more and not less class conscious. Regional dialects are dying, class accents are as strong as ever.

2). I once worked briefly in a sink school and heard one heavily pregnant teenager say to her friend that she hoped the baby would be black because she would get a better council house. Bearing a bastard was the best option for her. Let's face it, once the brat hits six, she won't be bringing it up herself.

Big Bill said...

One of the commenters who grew up in that culture and escaped had a wonderful comment.

In sum, the girls don't "plan" in any sense of the word.

They just fsck. And if they get pregnant ... well ... they just get pregnant. That's all.

Utility maximization, putting off for today so you can have more tomorrow, carefully looking for men with "baby-daddy potential", etc., all of that crap is just some fantasy in the writer's head.

Like the bleeding heart Democrats in the era of the Great Society, he just cannot imagine that a vast number of people would chuck all bourgeois morality and rut in the bushes for any reason at a moment's notice given half a chance and a decent welfare check.

The one big difference is that our liberal Great Society grandparents would recoiled in horror and confess to having horrible judgment if they could see today's ~80% black ghetto bastardy rate.

The author, on the other hand, is so far gone that he champions black bastardy as an alternative lifestyle which we are all supposed to pay for and enable.

He is the type of Democrat that is happy creating a jobless recovery and having everyone living off a welfare check as if somehow (mirabilu dictu!) it could go on forever.

Crazy. Utterly deranged. But such is the inexorable logic and progression of Liberalism.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating post Steve...

"'Women unlikely to marry who wish to have children by all means should. The shame is ours, not theirs.'

We're up to 40% bastards now. Why not 80%?"

I don't know. I could see like 1 or 2 kids, at least in theory. Let's pretend they're all emotionally together and able to maintain employment longterm.

But, it's the semi-homeless woman with 8 kids, the sports groupies, the mentally unstable... You don't even have to consider IQ. Walk through Walmart sometime and see your average single mothers shopping. It's immediately clear they aint got it together. The real world isn't like an op-ed guys abstraction of it.

As you've pointed out before, the elites like that old fashioned traditional stuff like stable familys. They know what they're doing no doubt.

Anonymous said...

"It's important to remember that the social conditions of America in 1946-1964 were not some sort of universal Old Days, but a historic high point of affordable family formation, as shown by an extremely young age of first marriage for women."

True, but if people back then had the attitudes and expectations of today's young people, many would never have gotten married.
They would have more interested in fun and self-fulfillment.

Anonymous said...

Actually, conservatives harping on the issue have not helped. Lots of conservative states have more babies out of wedlock at younger ages. The real different is planning for a career that why liberal states among whites have lower out of wedlock births since they plan on going to college and get a career, so the girls are more selected in sexual behavior even conservative counties with more upper-middle class whites do better Orange County only has 7 per rate 1,000 among whites to have babies before 19 years old while Bakersfield is around 30 per 1,000 among whites. OC is expensive while Kern which is more religious conservative is cheaper to live.

Corn said...

"Because while it's apparently hard to find a man Good Enough to Be My Husband, it's evidently easy to find a man Good Enough to Be the Father of My Child."

This reminds me of a newsarticle I read once. A journalist interviewed poor white single moms in some rust belt city in Ohio. Some of the women said, somewhat apologetically, "Well, we want very much to be married and raise our kids like that. But, the men around here.. they're not exactly good husband material."

One wanted to point out that if he's not good husband material then he's probably not good father material either. This logic was apparently lost on the women and their interviewer.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/08/world/europe/so-many-bribes-a-greek-official-cant-recall-all.html?hpw&rref=world&_r=5

Anonymous said...

When you marry, you risk physical abuse.

Like you don't from the unmarried babydaddy? What planet is this asshole on?

agnostic said...

Most of the middle class family's efforts to flee broken homes in not-so-great neighborhoods is itself an effect of greater status-striving and, frankly, vainglory among whites these days.

Where are all these bad schools, broken homes, and third-world levels of inequality with the rich fleeing the poor? They spring up where middle-class whites have poured into the area in search of greater status, enhancing their career, meeting a higher quality mate, etc.

What's so bad about staying in your home town? Or moving to a relatively cheap and safe place like Provo or Sioux Falls? Oh yeah -- no bragging rights to your peers.

There are only so many places that can host the high-stakes competition for elite status. If the general mood is, "Who cares about status when I've got my high school sweetheart and a halfway decent job in my home town?" then these places won't draw many transplants, and the cost-of-living won't get bid up through the roof -- directly, from the influx of status-strivers, and indirectly as they try to build a fortress around their neighborhood against the peons who mow their lawn and do their laundry.

If the general mood is, "Why should I hang around here [or some other cheap place], and settle for the goofy guy from study hall, when I deserve better?" then welcome to the mass chaos of today's major sites of status-seeking.

There is such a thing as overweening ambition and corrosive levels of competition, once their "externalities" spill over into the neighborhood and region. All those status-seekers pursuing their own goals of climbing the ranks will destroy a metro area (again, directly and indirectly).

I don't see the conservative movement making much progress toward restoring the Good Old Days economically until they're prepared to start chastising all of this poisonous naked careerism, and preaching humility.

Anonymous said...

OT but important news today: Swiss referendum narrowly approves restrictions and quotas in immigration. Treasonous EU officials are in dismay - they were hoping to take Switzerland for a ride down the drain.

Anthony said...

C'mon. The answer is obvious. Us more educated, together types ought to spend some of our youth knocking up lower class women. That way, the kids will have a better class of absent father.

Anonymous said...

The orphan trains operated between 1853 and 1929, relocating about 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, or homeless children.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphan_Train

So the old solution to (Urban Catholic) illegitimacy was not welfare, it was adoption into a properly formed (Rural Protestant) families.

A curiosity is Orthodox Jews. Orthodox Jews are mostly income poor but maintain 2 parent very large families. From the Villas of the West Bank to the McMansions of upstate NY while they don't appear to have incomes they do live fairly upscale lifestyles.

Well water not good enough for Kiryas Joel. Secular supposedly middle class White Americans nearby can keep their wells.

Judge Denies Request For Injunction To Stop Kiryas Joel Pipeline

http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2013/07/judge-denies-request-for-injunction-to-stop-kiryas-joel-pipeline-345.html

Orthodox Jews buy Upstate NY town, local yokels upset:

Judge: Stop work at Bloomingburg Hasidic development

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140201/NEWS/402010317

BTW, I have no problem with Orthodox Jews buying land in upstate NY but find it amusing that the fallen whites up there don't quite realize they are actually paupers until the neighbors get running water piped in, and then expect the rich neighbors to build an aquifer for them free of charge.

Anonymous said...

'Marriage promotion' is a destructive cargo cult

When I first started telling people - that the goal of The Frankfurt School in all of this is nothing less than the utter and complete destruction, annihilation, and eradication of Western Civilization - my perception was that they all thought that I was completely nuts.

But one-man/one-woman was one of the defining sociological attributes of the pre-Christian West.

Almost nowhere else in recorded history do non-Western societies forswear the big-man/big-harem model as the foundation for the relationships between the sexes.

And even ol' Saul of Tarsus himself urged the early Jewish converts to Christianity to forswear their old polygamous ways:

Let the deacons be the husbands of ONE WIFE...

Seriously - you can't get a much more direct, frontal, absolutist assault on Western Civilization than to attack the ideal of one-man/one-woman.

Anonymous said...

14 KIDS!!! Antonio Cromartie's brood numbers higher than his Wunderlic score! (A mere 12) http://answerparty.com/question/answer/what-did-antonio-cromartie-get-on-the-wonderlic-test

Steve Sailer said...

The Cromartie Index:

(# of Children plus # of Babymamas) / Wonderlic Score

For Cromartie, it's (14 + 8) / 12 = 1.83

Oswald Spengler said...

Antonio Cromartie is simply doing his small part to usher in the brave new world of "Idiocracy."

Anonymous said...

# of Children plus # of Babymamas... 14 + 8...

If it's any comfort, that's a sub-replacement-level Fertility Rate on the female side of the equation:

14 / 8 = 1.75

Which actually was one of the classical strengths of the one-man/one-woman tradition.

Anonymous said...

Steve, do you know if there is really an increasing amount of men (and women) who simply do not want kids (as opposed to those who delay or choose to entirely avoid children due to the high cost of family formation today)?

Anonymous said...

For a certain percentage of the male population, especially wealthier Alphas, it may seem an attractive and attainable option to have sex with a large number of women for many years without having children result from those couplings.

Anonymous said...

And even ol' Saul of Tarsus himself urged the early Jewish converts to Christianity to forswear their old polygamous ways.


Honesty screw the HBD sphere cause this is the crap that so often spewed out of it. The Roman world was exhausted and to Jews transformed by their experiences in Christ effectively laid the foundation for the Wests revival and the Jew baiters still aren't satisfied. Also dbag Paul was the apostle to the genitls so only polygamy they were practicing wasn't inspired by anything they picked up in Deutronomy.

Anonymous said...

"That is to say, should we tell women who have been segregated into the bad marriage market, who on average have lowish incomes and unruly neighbors and live near bad schools, that motherhood is just not for them, probably ever?

Yes."

How exactly would you tell them, and what suggestions do you have so that they listen to you.

I'm actually curious here, because you seem like an interesting writer, but I doubt you've spent much time around underclass women or men.

I worked in housing court, trying to prevent landlords from evicting low-income women and their (fatherless) children. It's not like these women don't want a middle-class family structure. They want a husband, kids ect. Its that underclass dudes, who tend to be in short supply because so many are dead or in jail aren't going to marry them.

You can say it would be better if a 25 year old women who works at Mcdonalds shouldn't have a kid by her loser boyfriend who doesn't work and spends most of his time playing xbox. But how are you going to prevent her from doing so? If she tells him no sex until marriage, he'll find someone else to have sex with. Just as few underclass dudes are going to be in a sexless relationship as college guys are. It's not like she is going to find some gainfully employed striving guy. That guy is already dating a better looking woman.
Fundamentally she is going to have kids because kids bring joy to the lives of people, and because although they create financial hardship, they give meaning in a way that working at Mcdonalds and living in a housing project doesn't.

"Waldman seems to think it would be catastrophic for many women to be persuaded to have children only by their own personal Loser. But the real world alternative is having children by several losers. How does that work out better?"

Functionally what happens is that women have a kid (or kids) by their own personal loser. Then 3 years down the line he decides that she is nagging him too much about doing basic childcare. Or he cheats on her and she kicks him out. Then she is on her own, and he finds a new woman who has her own kids or is childless. She either raises or the kids as a single mom or meets a new dude who isn't going to do much in the way of childcare for someone else's kid. But he may decide that he wants kid's of his own with her, which she can either have, or not have, in which case he'll leave her for someone new.

Anonymous said...

There are several million more single males between the ages of 20-40 than single females in the United States. That's a basic, completely true fact.

Pretty much every journalist you see, like at the NYT, complaining about "the men being low in quality" really is a racist bigot. (since the relative proportions of marriage, education and so on of certain minority groups differ). It could be suggested that the irresponsible single mothers make bad marriage partners and that's why marriage is down for poorer people. But all evidence points to not a lack, but an oversupply of men who have to compete for fewer higher quality women. Moral judgments of social engineering aside, at no previous time in US history for any racial/ethnic demographic was there a higher proportion of men suited to stable, middle-class marriage. It is simply women choosing not to marry good men or being bad partners themselves that results in the current situation.

slumber_j said...

Does this guy know what "benighted" means? It's far from clear to me that he does.

Anonymous said...

"That is to say, should we tell women who have been segregated into the bad marriage market, who on average have lowish incomes and unruly neighbors and live near bad schools, that motherhood is just not for them, probably ever?

Yes."

How exactly would you tell them, and what suggestions do you have so that they listen to you.


It seems plausible that strong religious norms against pre-marital sex would discourage both underclass men and women from having children outside of wedlock. There may be a bit of a prisoner's dilemma, here, given that, as you say, if a woman tells her boyfriend "no sex until marriage" he'll probably just go off and find someone else. If all the women told him that, though, he'd have no choice.

MQ said...

Kay Hymnowitz wrote an article in the NY Times today that basically makes all of Steve's points about the problem being single motherhood:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/08/how-single-motherhood-hurts-kids/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=opinion&_r=0

However, she also expresses skepticism about 'marriage promotion' because once you have the kids out of wedlock it quickly becomes too late to marry easily. You have to target the out-of-wedlock birth problem directly and not refuse to talk about it and assume marriage can make everything better later on.

josh said...

"This guy is almost literally just masturbating"

Which is difficult to do while typing a flawed article.

Alfa158 said...

I'm glad I didn't have to read all of Waldman's article, I think just reading the excerpts from that level of weaponized stupidity dropped my IQ 10 points. I don't know how Steve can read this dreck without having a cerebral hemorrhage.

ben tillman said...

As a matter of simple arithmetic, increasing homogamy among the elite and successful implies a reduced probability that a person who cannot lay claim to that benighted group will be able to “marry up”, as it were.

No, what marriage equality really means is that no one has to marry down.

Anonymous said...

Honesty screw the HBD sphere cause this is the crap that so often spewed out of it.

Huh?

The Romans, like the Greeks before them, were a MONOGAMOUS people.

To the best of my knowledge, even in the darkest hours of the tyranny of Imperial Rome, no Emperor ever dared to take on two or more official wives at the same time. [Kindly correct me if I'm wrong on that.]

The Jews, by contrast, being an Eastern people, were notorious polygamists:

But king Solomon loved many strange women... And he had SEVEN HUNDRED wives, princesses, and THREE HUNDRED concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

And the Jews continued to practice polygamy well into the Middle Ages.

So in addition to trying to destroy Western Civilization here, Waldman is also trying to lay the groundwork for his Tribe's return to their polygamist heydays.

Anonymous said...

Does this guy know what "benighted" means? It's far from clear to me that he does.

Yeah, it's as though he thinks that it means be-knighted [and thereby granted a seat at the Round Table with King Arthur and his posse], whereas it actually means be-ebony-ed.

Anonymous said...

"The Jews, by contrast, being an Eastern people, were notorious polygamists"

Your example of Solomon is silly. Solomon is not glorified in the Bible--his excesses, sexual and idolatrous, are seen as laying the groundwork for the collapse of the united Jewish kingdom. The Talmudic rabbis claim that Nebuchadnazzer, who destroyed the first temple, was a descendant of Solomon through one of his shiksa wives (likely to emphasize the link between sexual excess and idolatry.)

The Talmud itself, despite dealing with almost every issue imaginable to 1st century man, is almost entirely silent on the issue of polygamy--there is one reference to it, suggesting that while polygamy may have been legally allowable, it was not a common state of affairs.

ben tillman said...

You can say it would be better if a 25 year old women who works at Mcdonalds shouldn't have a kid by her loser boyfriend who doesn't work and spends most of his time playing xbox. But how are you going to prevent her from doing so?

By taking away the subsidies.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing out the Elephants in the room here.

Sophisticated modern women talk the liberation game.

Then they make sure to marry a man with enough to provide for them and their children. They say they don't particularly want to get married, yet have weddings that cost more than the average family of four makes in a year. They feel for ghetto mothers who can't help but get pregnant, but they're smart enough to avoid it somehow.

Oh, and they are fanatical about keeping up the standards in their circle.

Hypocrisy has turned inside out. It used to be people pretended to be scrupulous and dedicated, now the modern woman pretends to be radical while internally aspiring to be a craft-making homemaker.

Anonymous said...

Really, you're going to pick on the Jews for demoting traditional monogamy? Is there no other group of people on this planet that comes to mind that is more pertinent in promoting polygamy? (And I don't mean Mormons.) I wouldn't be surprised if Waldman is actually intending the article as a back-handed endorsement of polygamy, but I still don't see the connection to Solomon. And I'm Catholic.

For what it's worth, polygamy does allow a woman at least time-share access to an alpha, more so than monogamy, and it solves the problem of illegitimacy, at least nominally. And hey, we all know how wonderfully women are treated in dar-al-Islam, and how the vast majority of Western women would prefer that kind of life to their own, so what could possibly go wrong there?

Anonymous said...

"In particular, for poor women, the availability of suitable mates is a binding constraint on marriage behavior."

LOL

You can't make this stuff up!

Has the author seen poor women?

Sheesh. Maybe something besides being poor is a binding constraint on the availability of nice guys for them to marry.

Lots of poor women are also ugly, stupid and mean.

I am guessing that the rich attractive smart kind guys are looking for the same in a spouse.

Duh.

Anonymous said...

It seems plausible that strong religious norms against pre-marital sex would discourage both underclass men and women from having children outside of wedlock.

NAMs, though ostensibly religious, don't consult The Lord when they're getting their freak on.

I cannot understand why people who don't like their lives have children.

Reg Cæsar said...

I can't believe we're wasting this much energy on the sociological opinions of someone who goes by "Steve Randy".

Now, "Randy Steve Waldman" might be worth a listen. Presuming he earned it.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you post like an arrow flies and hits true centre.

I like the word "bastard" too.

We (conservative thinkers and Sailerists) need to grab back our language from the Left. Let the shaming begin.

MT Isa Miner

JayMan said...

Never forget the genetic confound - The Unz Review

Fathers don’t matter that much - The Unz Review

Anonymous said...

They need white taxpayers nearby. That's why they hang onto our belt loops. It's why good school districts get swallowed up by adjacent bad ones to form unified school districts. Predatory minority politicians are constantly on the lookout for taxpaying whites to gerrymander into their districts who are unlikely to change election results substantially.

Reg Cæsar said...

They just fsck. And if they get pregnant ... --Big Bill

If we could just get them to fsst-fsck, at least they wouldn't get pregnant.

Belisarius said...

Q: "How exactly would you tell them, and what suggestions do you have so that they listen to you?"

A: You don't try to convince them, just offer them money in exchange for getting spayed. $10-$20,000 now would be well worth it in the long run. I haven't thought out the particulars, but the trick is to get to them before the first bastard, rather than 2, 3 or more bastards in; maybe a declining payout based on the number of existing bastards the individual bastard factory has already produced.

In ancient times, before it was illegal to worry about overpopulation, India offered free transistor radios in exchange for vasectomies. So there's a multicultural precedent, and what's more important than a multicultural precedent?

Discard said...

Ben Tillman gave the best response: No welfare for bastards. After a couple years, the stupids will catch on. There's no nice way to clean up the mess the leftists have made, so learn to look the other way. If you can't bear the thought of fools paying for their own mistakes, give your own money to charity.

Cail Corishev said...

My mother married at 18 it wasn't that good of a marriage mediocre at best. I prefer the 25 year average. The problem today is you have lots of males past 30 that don't want to be responsible for their kids.

No, that's not the problem. Even if it were A problem, the government doesn't allow it to be a problem, going so far as to imprison men and take their wages for child support on no more evidence of paternity than the mother's word.

"The problem" is that girls are pumped up with self-esteem and careerism for their entire childhoods, so they put off marriage until 30 or so while they have terribly important careers in Human Resources or Customer Service and "have fun before settling down," which means serial monogamy through a dozen or so boyfriends of varying levels of commitment. Thanks to ordinary human fallibility, during their 20s they usually pick up a kid or two whose father(s) they have no interest in marrying immediately (and a personality disorder). By the time they decide to deign to let a nice provider marry them at 34 so they can relax, they're not exactly a great catch anymore.

Enrique Cardova said...

Steve Randy Waldman says:

“Marriage promotion” is a destructive cargo cult

Not at all.

-------------------------------------- ---------------
Promoting marriage among this population is not merely ineffective. It is at best ineffective. If the marriage-promoters persuade people to marry despite circumstances that render it likely they will marry poorly, the do-gooders will have done outright harm.

The weakness of this argument is that marriage also works for those not in the more affluent, advantaged class Waldman identifies as best positioned for marriage. Upper and middle class people may agonize as to their choices in marrying up or down, or whether potential mates meet their height requirement (not at all infrequent these days on female 'checklists') or whether the in-laws earn enough money, but those who are stuck with a pool of lower level choices, can within that pool, derive greater benefit from marriage in terms of stability, ability to save for longer term, etc relative to others similarly situated who bounce from one unstable "hookup" to another. Many immigrants demonstrate this all the time, as do some religious minorities, as did many people at lower socio-economic conditions n the past. Every census between 1890 and 1940 for example shows blacks posting higher marriage rates than whites.

-------------------------------------- ---------------

Overcoming peoples’ well-founded misgivings about the quality of potential mates with moral exhortations and clipboards of superficial social science might well destroy lives.

Doubtful. There have ALWAYS been such exhortations- for centuries- indeed they appear in the Bible. But it has usually been the case for centuries that people will balance moral exhortation with practical consideration and/or religious conviction. Marriage promotions schemes or campaigns will not prevent people from doing their own math. The notion of "destroying lives" seems overblown.

-------------------------------------- ---------------

But it would create more tragedies than successes, tragedies that very likely would be blamed on personal deficiencies of the unhappy couple while the successes would be victories for marriage itself in some insane ideological version of the fundamental attribution error.
Again overblown. Marriages always post individual winners and losers. The key question is the aggregate benefits for society and children.

-------------------------------------- ---------------

There is some evidence, for example, that where prevailing social norms prohibit premarital fun stuff and push towards early marriage, people do marry earlier and they marry poorly
The study cited notes that more conservative states like Alabama or Arkansas have more divorces. This may well be so, but it does not necessarily mean that people marry more poorly, nor does it mean that the presence of "conservative religious groups" have any direct bearing on that higher divorce rate. In fact, high levels of less restrained sexual behavior can go hand in hand with conservative local mores. Some mostly Catholic countries have long shown this, as do immigrant groups to the US like the white Irish who posted out-of-wedlock rates higher than blacks in some eras. In fact the authors note: "New answers: early marriage and low income among religious conservatives are part of the story. Unpacking these variations, Glass and Levchak found that the high divorce rate among conservative religious groups is indeed explained in large part by the earlier ages at first marriage and first birth, and the lower educational attainment and lower incomes of conservative Protestant youth."

Marriage promotion schemes typically DISCOURAGE marriage at earlier ages, and DISCOURAGE marriage before SOME basic foundation at economic independence. Very few promotion schemes go about saying- “get married while in yo teens, while you ain't working.”

Enrique Cardova said...

Steve Randy Waldman says:

Before you get to smiling families, you have to create the material circumstances that render marriage on average a good deal. For poor women in particular, it very often is no longer a good deal.

Fair enough, but if this were the case, then there would be very few marriages on earth. If humans had to wait for good material circumstances Europe or America’s population would be drastically smaller. In fact humans have found marriage, on the balance, not a good enough institution to pursue even when material circumstances are NOT good. Material circumstances do not have to be good- they just have to be good enough on the balance, and said circumstances will change over time. Poor dirt farmers in the Midwest for example, didn’t wait for bountiful crops and overflowing granaries and stables, but went ahead anyway and got married. Over time, their stable societies produced more wealth.

“Waiting for perfection” or overwhelmingly favorable mate choices is one of the downsides of the modern era, as can be seen in the countless dating sites with their “checklists” – from height requirements to how “stylish” potential partners are, to income level requirements. One sees women on these sites for years for example, doggedly reshuffling their checklists and profile pictures, even as their market value drops with each passing month.


-------------------------------------- ---------------
We could bring back norms of shame surrounding single motherhood, or create other kinds of incentives to reduce the nonadoption birth rate of people statistically likely to raise difficult kids. It is possible… I think it would be monstrous.

Why would that be “monstrous?” If said women have bad prospects at finding good mates why should they be encouraged to marry? Most marriage promotion schemes are not blanket endorsements for marriage. They do not say- get married no matter how bad the prospect. It would be hard to find any such credible marriage promotion program that does that.


Women unlikely to marry who wish to have children by all means should. The shame is ours, not theirs. It belongs to those of us who call ourselves “elite”, who are so proud of our “achievements” that we walk away without a care from the majority of our fellow citizens and fellow humans, from people who in other circumstances, even in the not so distant past, would have been our friends and coworkers, lovers and spouses. It’s on us to join together what we have put asunder.

This is naïve, and a call for society to hold out a blank check for people’s whose choices are damaging their own futures. Why should we feel “guilty”, and why should we continue to subsidize what in many cases are bad choices, no questions asked? In fact it is those subsidises in the name of “societal guilt” that might very well INCREASE the amount of bad choices people keep making. A good argument could be made for an affluent society to ensure that none of its citizens starve and that the most vulnerable members, children, at least get a basic floor of support and help. But this is different from saying that society has to keep subsidisng bad
choices.

In much worse times, when the deck was stacked and the game rigged against them, blacks still posted higher marriage rates than whites for 50 years. And as the gay marriage controversy showed, despite huge out-of-wedlock rates, blacks in polls expressed strong support of marriage as the preferred family form. They KNOW alternative arrangements are not as productive. Society should STILL continue to promote traditional marriage, and yes should still do all it can to create or boost an employment situation where men have a chance at finding stable employment rather than promote untrammeled deskilling and outsourcing, or the erosion of incentives to work and save through government policies.

Cail Corishev said...

"When you marry, you risk physical abuse."

Like you don't from the unmarried babydaddy? What planet is this asshole on?


One where feminists have been writing the script for a century or so.

In the real world, of course, marriage is the best way for a woman to protect herself from abuse of all sorts.

Cail Corishev said...

I don't see the conservative movement making much progress toward restoring the Good Old Days economically until they're prepared to start chastising all of this poisonous naked careerism, and preaching humility.

True. When even conservative parents send their daughters off to college and encourage them to put marriage off until 28 so they can "establish themselves" in a career before getting "tied down" to some schlub who certainly won't be good enough for Princess, we're a long way from being able to fix things.

Conservatives like marriage in theory, but when it comes to their own daughters, they don't treat it much better than liberals do.

Enrique Cardova said...

Steve Randy Waldman says:

For poor women in particular, it very often is no longer a good deal.

Yes, but looking at the big picture, when they willfully decide to have even more out-of-wedlock births, even though birth control is cheap and readily available, they simply compound their problems, and that of society in the longer term. Saying “there are no good men, so I am going ahead and having a baby by an unstable loser” - then having a baby with the same lousy prospect, is ultimately self-defeating. One of the things supporting such self-defeating behavior is readily available gubment subsidies that keep adding to the problem.

Why isn't there an all purpose dismissive term for that category of anti-racism/egalitarianism that is constantly seeking to come up with cargo cult like answers to questions sufficiently addressed by HBD? You know, the magical variant of anti-racism (to be distinguished from the people who simply don't like tribalism, don't want to give it momentum by endorsing HBD but aren't out there evangelizing for crackpot cargo cult theories either (like Wise).

Actually "HDB" itself has aspects of a "cargo cult" including numerous bogus assumptions and claims.

Harry Baldwin zez:
I think there was the kernel of a point in that article. Waldman is saying that believing that just getting and staying married will produce the same results that successful middle class people get from doing the same is not necessarily realistic.

Sure, but in some ways Waldman spins a strawman. Everyone knows that mere belief in marriage in no panacea. People have to do more calculating than that- from age, to earning prospects, etc etc. IN fact, "middle class people" are not needed to prove marriage on the aggregate, works (no it is not perfect for everyone). Poor people have proved it long ago- from dirt farmers to slum laborers. Blacks for example up until the mass urbanization movement of WW2, posted higher marriage rates than whites for a period of 50 years (Sowell 1981, 2005).

Bug Bill sez:
The one big difference is that our liberal Great Society grandparents would recoiled in horror and confess to having horrible judgment if they could see today's ~80% black ghetto bastardy rate. The author, on the other hand, is so far gone that he champions black bastardy as an alternative lifestyle which we are all supposed to pay for and enable.
Actually white people are no paragons of "judgment" on bastardy. The white Irish posted higher rates of illegitimacy in various eras than blacks- some 50 percent in some decades (Sowell 1981, 2005). And Waldman is not "championing" black bastardy any more than said white bastardy. In the 19th century whites were not particularly impressive examples of "virtue." Aside from the white Irish, there was white Vienna (46% illegitimacy) and ultra-white Stockholm (49% illegitimacy). In ultra-white Sweden as a whole at the start of the 20th century barely half of Swedish women married and around one-sixth of children were born out of wedlock.

Fast forward several decades and reputed white "role models" remain unimpressive. White Australia in the 1980s weighed in at 35% illegitimacy. (BErger 2006, Burns and Scott 1994). In the early 1980s illegitimacy rates were on the order of 45% in Iceland and Sweden and 40% in Denmark. (Report on Immigrant populations and demographic development in the member states of the Council of Europe. Rinus Penninx, Council of Europe. 1984) By the year 2000, out of wedlock births in "Nordic"white Sweden had reached 53% of all births (Klein 2004) By contrast, as late as 1950 the US black illegitimacy rate stood at 17%, well below that of the touted white Swedish "role models" above. The black illegitimacy rate in 1965 was STILL lower than the 28% posted by US whites in 2000.

Willis said...

This guy completely misrepresents the argument for marriage, then goes about dismissing his that bogus argument as a cargo cult.

The argument for marriage is more that it's the most important of various behaviors which lead to better outcomes for women, men, and their offspring.

It used to be that the practical benefits of marriage (and a certain regard for chastity prior to it) were clear and substantial. Modern technology, modern medicine, and government welfare have made those benefits less obvious, and now perhaps the greatest ones are psychological, and therefore especially less obvious to the lower-class types who are not noted for their keen insight into human relations.

Willis said...

This article seems to place too much focus on what women (and, often, their pre-existing children) would get out of it if more men (largely not the fathers of said children) popped the question. Which is focusing on the wrong question. To the extent that marriages aren't happening because of *men* who refuse to commit, the question remains of what they would get out of the bargain. Few men want to marry a woman just so he can be her ticket out of poverty.

Like always, modern society pretty much doesn't give a shit about men are supposed to get out of the bargain, and it suffers.

5371 said...

Now, "Randy Steve Waldman" might be worth a listen. Presuming he earned it.

Randy Woodman, forget the Steve.

Anonymous said...

The US MSM is cultural poison.

K-type people encouraging r-type behavior is an act of cultural violence against their fellow citizens.

.

The reason lower class men are no longer husbands to lower class women is partly because of 60 years of relentless cultural poison from the MSM and partly because the vile, malignant elite destroyed all the jobs that would support a family.

Anonymous said...

"They would have more interested in fun and self-fulfillment. " - they wouldn't have gotten it, all the good neighborhoods would have been locked to them, they'd have been discriminated against in businesses, and shut out of social networks.

Anonymous said...

"Like you don't from the unmarried babydaddy? What planet is this asshole on?" - Planet of the mechanized chinese rooms.

Anonymous said...

Enrique Cardova said...

"By the year 2000, out of wedlock births in "Nordic"white Sweden had reached 53% of all births (Klein 2004)"

To your point about Nordic illegitimacy. I met one such Swedish bastard once. She was a pretty college educated daughter of an academic. She was raised by both parents who never married but also never had children with other people and had never separated much like Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. Seeing that I was perplexed by such a lifestyle choice she explained that for many Swedes fidelity in relationships was important but that marriage was a silly nod to an outdated custom. I wonder if bastardy is as good a comparison for our purposes as 'baby mamas from a single man' would be? In which instance I suspect the more familiar white-black gaps would reappear. Or perhaps the better indicator would be 'baby mamas receiving income support from the state.' The moral issues is likely of less concern to many critics of black child rearing and baby making practices than is the cost of those practices versus those of other ethnic groups.

Anonymous said...

Enrique Cardova said...

"Actually "HDB" itself has aspects of a "cargo cult" including numerous bogus assumptions and claims."

Well, this is a claim that the empirically disinclined (like Wise) like to make hoping the inattentive will bite but their arguments are never sound and they always end up on the short end of any debate concerning the topic.

Lionel said...

There is no sympathy for "single mothers" having bastards, not even one bastard let alone multiples by multiple impregnators. Watch "Judge Judy" for a few weeks. "You don't have children you can't support!" "You shouldn't have made a baby with him!" There are promos for a new judge show on the air now where a black lady judge says the same things.

Judge Judy also does not support college money for the ilk of people who have children they can't/won't support. "What an America we've got."

Its like immigration where the people have no voice and the genius elites make trouble and messes the rest of us have to live with. The public would put the children in padded rooms and make the single mothers do hard labor all day so they are too tired to go out to "clubs" (i.e. bars) at night. If it meant digging holes and filling them up again, they should have to work hard. And no daycare in the high schools.

Anonymous said...

The cargo cult is for aborigines who can't go to the moon.You can't dance like them but,"So what,lets go back to the moon."

Anonymous said...

The reason lower class men are no longer husbands to lower class women is partly because of 60 years of relentless cultural poison from the MSM and partly because the vile, malignant elite destroyed all the jobs that would support a family.

Thread winner right there.

Sheila said...

Love it. Love your use of Bastard. Let's bring back SHAME and defund poor bastardy. Of course, that presumes a certain degree of social and cultural cohesion and shared values. Since Whites in general and the US in particular are said to have no culture, it boils down to simple "racism, straight up" in the eyes of Waldman and his ilk. Let's shame and defund them as well.

Anonymous said...

Where did you find this guy, Mr. Sailer? Is this a parody?

Where are all of these evil "marriage promoters" he's talking about? Whoever they are, they must be the most impotent enemies of progress ever; they're success rate is abysmal.

That was almost unbearable to read. I flinched all the way through it.

BB753 said...

In Roman Catholic Euro countries, illegitimacy was virtually unheard of until three decades ago. For France, a bit earlier. Maybe it´s a Protestant/Northern Euro thing?
Northern Euros have a higher sexual drive than expected from their testosterone levels.

Anonymous said...

All told, foreigners account for 24% of the highly-educated 25+ year-olds moving to Los Angeles County, 31% for Manhattan and 19% for D.C., according to Mr. Frey’s analysis.

Asians are part of the solution. They tend to have the least out of wedlock. And LA-Orange-San Diego either go all Mexican or get some Asians since whites left because of high cost of housing. New York attracts more the educated European whether from Western or Eastern Europe and even liberal Sweden has a lot of common law relationships that don't break up as much as the lower class whites in the US or England.

Anonymous said...

As a matter of simple arithmetic, increasing homogamy among the elite and successful implies a reduced probability that a person who cannot lay claim to that benighted group will be able to “marry up”, as it were.

Wow, that is really terrible writing. I bet he wrote "beknighted" originally, but his spellchecker caught it.

jody said...

gotta get as many permanent democrat voters as possible.

Ed said...

Mormons want polygamy for themselves. They don't try and make the larger culture into polygamists. Jews actively promote the destruction of traditional culture to the masses. They fund and promote it. Even Joe Biden recognizes this when he literally thanked Jews for promoting same sex marriage through mass culture. Stop being naive.

Mr. Anon said...

Here's another article by this "genius" who goes by the stupid name Steve Randy Waldman:

Saving Money is Wrong

Get that, you middle-class vulgarians - not only is marriage bad for you, so is saving money. You should be stuffing your money into an IRA so that can be used to prop up the stock market and thereby justify the salary, perks, and options of CEOs and board-members, and keep their worthless assets afloat long enough for them to sell them off.............to you.

This idiot, Waldman - well, he claims to be an economist, so I guess the 'idiot' part is assumed - seems unaware that savings accounts and CD's pay next to nothing nowadays. Banks don't pay you for your money, because they don't need your money. They get money for next to nothing from the Fed.

Shouldn't this guy be writing for Slate? He has their routine down pat: "Everything that is self-evidently true is not true - only hicks in flyover-land believe silly s**t like that. You stupid hick."

Mr. Anon said...

"We could bring back norms of shame surrounding single motherhood, or create other kinds of incentives to reduce the nonadoption birth rate of people statistically likely to raise difficult kids. It is possible.

I think it would be monstrous."

I think it is monstrous for social vandals like Waldman to advocate policies that contribute to the destruction of my society. If we were to stop paying the worst people in society - spongers and criminals - to procreate, we would stop getting so many future spongers and criminals.

Alice said...

We send our kids to a $15k a year private religious school in the twin cities. Recently, for Black History Month, the class did (yes, really) a worksheet on "diversity" written by SPLC, which asked how many of the students lived with 2 parents, 3 or more sibs, mixed raced, etc had. The class has the perfect Swpl racial balance: 2 kids African American families, 2 more Hispanic, two others black and hispanic adopted into white families, another two north asian, the rest white.

In my son's class, *no one* had any step parents or step siblings. In another class, the only person lacking two parents had had dad die of cancer in his 30s.

Darn right that is what I'm paying for.

John Mansfield said...

What kind of household and neighborhood does a person have to grow up in to write what Waldman did? I'm guessing a relatively privileged one that allows him to view everything from the median or 70th percentile down as an underclass with more in common with Pacific Islanders than with his own lived experience. Either that or he had the bad luck of growing up around an unusual number of selfish, mostly-divorced parents.

Willis said...

Argument our society makes to women about why the should marry: "It will lift you out of poverty."

Argument we make to men about why they should marry: "You will lift a woman out of poverty."

Somehow I'm guessing the argument made to men isn't a winner. We need to focus on more reasons why men should marry. Modernity has made it too easy to skip marriage altogether. The more obvious benefits of marriage are gone. The less obvious benefits remain, but are, well, less obvious. Probably thousands of studies have been conducted documenting the benefits of marriage - financial, emotional, and biological. They are there, they are real, and they are significant. The problem is getting unmarried adults to want to grow up and aspire to them.

Eric said...

So, I’d agree that women likely to find great marriage partners should by all means delay children until they have actually found one.

Uh huh. Is there no causal relationship here between pumping out bastards and the inability to find great marriage partners afterwards?

A young woman who isn't drowning in debt, isn't a mother already, isn't on drugs, and isn't obese isn't going to have any trouble finding a husband.

It's a pretty damn low bar, too.

I get the impression Waldman thinks women should have kids but not marry anyone unless they can snag a Harvard grad.

Cail Corishev said...

Argument we make to men about why they should marry: "You will lift a woman out of poverty."

It's worse than that: "You will lift a woman out of poverty until she becomes unhaaaaappy with you, at which point she will grind you into divorce poverty for the foreseeable future. And while you're married, don't you dare think she owes you anything at all, or you'll be an abuser or a rapist; whatever sex or pleasure she deigns to provide is entirely up to her."

Yeah, I can't imagine why guys aren't lining up for that offer. It was risky enough when you were getting a fairly fresh and fit 20-year-old out of the deal; but when you're getting a hard-ridden 32-year-old with an SSRI prescription and a couple of rugrats that already have discipline problems.... What's in it for the guy again?

Eric said...

Probably thousands of studies have been conducted documenting the benefits of marriage - financial, emotional, and biological. They are there, they are real, and they are significant. The problem is getting unmarried adults to want to grow up and aspire to them.

But which way does the causality arrow go? Does marriage provide "financial, emotional, and biological" benefits, or is it just that people with financial, emotional, and biological advantages are more likely to get married?

I have a cousin who started having heart problems around age 30. He tried to find a wife, but every time he dated someone she'd run the other way as soon as he told her about his health. He's going to die earlier than most, but it's not because he didn't get married. He didn't get married because he's going to die earlier than most.

Ditto goes for a young woman who weighs 400 pounds or a guy who gets falling down drunk every evening.

I don't see any reason a man would want to get married and risk being put through the family law wringer unless he's planning to have children. His own. With her.

Anonymous said...

Telling people that monogamous, heterosexual, procreation- and child rearing-focused marriage - one of the very cornerstones of stable, future-oriented society - is a "cargo cult" - i.e. a primitive, even savage superstition, is getting very close to "how many fingers am I holding up, Winston?" territory. We must now see one of the best things about our civilization as one of the worst.

David said...

Marriage is phony. Don't save money. Don't leave money to your kids. Don't have kids. Don't tell poor people not to have kids; don't refuse to pay poor people for having kids.

Don't move to the suburbs. Don't identify perps by race. Don't say a bad word about perverts.

Ignore mortal danger, or else.

Don't notice, don't think, shut up and enjoy your beans while you thankfully go extinct. Don't even think of owning a gun.

Are we seeing a certain pattern among our societal betters?

Anonymous said...

"NAMs, though ostensibly religious, don't consult The Lord when they're getting their freak on."


More precisely, NAMs are superstitious. They easily believe in all manner of unexplained, supernatural stuff because there is so little that they are actually able to understand. Religions, however, generally require the adherent to, well, adhere to whatever practice. NAM's fail at self discipline, so, no, not too religious.

Imagine a NAM Puritan. Can't? Neither can I.

David said...

Dan Quayle was right, and Occam's Butterknife is wrong.

Willis said...

"But which way does the causality arrow go? Does marriage provide "financial, emotional, and biological" benefits, or is it just that people with financial, emotional, and biological advantages are more likely to get married?"

No, I get your point. To some extent, healthier people (emotionally and biologically) are more likely to marry. But many of these studies control for such variables and still find advantages to marriage. You can live your life by Worst Case Scenario or you can live your life by Play The Odds. I chose the latter, and it hasn't (yet) disappointed. I may wind up poorer if things go wrong, but at least I have children to show for it. For me poverty and children beats wealth and childlessness any day.

The anonymous from a few minutes earlier said...

David said: "Are we seeing a certain pattern among our societal betters?"

Yes. It's getting more and more blatant, more and more shrill, almost by the day.

Are they so close to final victory that they no longer feel the need to pretend, or do they realise that they are losing control of the game, and are lashing out in frustration? I'm not sure, but I think I'm quite happy with this trend. The more aggressive they get the less well-meaning but woolly-headed nicepeople will be able to ignore them.

Anonymous said...

"But which way does the causality arrow go? Does marriage provide "financial, emotional, and biological" benefits, or is it just that people with financial, emotional, and biological advantages are more likely to get married?"

Both.

The lower class people being talked about *used* to get married and they *used* to get the benefit from it.

However that required:

1. The economic cost-benefit to not be weighted *against* marriage.

2. The cultural pressure to not be weighted *against* marriage.

For most people you don't need to encourage marriage. You just need to stop discouraging it. Elite emulation does the rest.

ben tillman said...

I think it is monstrous for social vandals like Waldman to advocate policies that contribute to the destruction of my society. If we were to stop paying the worst people in society - spongers and criminals - to procreate, we would stop getting so many future spongers and criminals.

Yeah, is there any economic axiom more tried and true than the understanding that you will get less of what you tax and more of what you subsidize? Only a misanthrope could encourage the production of less-productive people at the expense of the more-productive.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

you can say it would be better if a 25 year old women who works at Mcdonalds shouldn't have a kid by her loser boyfriend who doesn't work and spends most of his time playing xbox. But how are you going to prevent her from doing so?

By encouraging society to shame both of them. Like we used to do. Why do people (like the author and this commenter) not understand that promotion of marriage is not a silver bullet, but part of a larger set of principles?

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

Kay Hymnowitz ... also expresses skepticism about 'marriage promotion' because once you have the kids out of wedlock it quickly becomes too late to marry easily. You have to target the out-of-wedlock birth problem directly and not refuse to talk about it and assume marriage can make everything better later on.

Yes. Exactly. Obviously. Tautologically.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

The argument for marriage is more that it's the most important of various behaviors which lead to better outcomes for women, men, and their offspring.

The purpose of marriage is to legal bind together the parents of offspring. It serves no other purpose. It has no other argument. The state expends resources to enforce the contract and in turn gets (more) productive members of society. Good little tax payers, if you want to look at it that way. The participants to the contract get an assurance that the state will expend resources to hold the other party bound to the contract.

rob said...

Here's another potential solution. Admit that the baby-rabies drive is too strong. Women can vote, and the single mommas and the chillun will never vote themselves (effectively) sterilized. Anyone on the hbd sphere should realize that the married-ness itself is unlikely to be as important as the quality of the father. No single mommas would be the best outcome, but free/subsidized/welfare-tied sperm donor fatherhood might lead to a next generation where some of the men weren't prison scum and the women weren't as dumb and slutty as their mothers.

countenance said...

37th percentile = -0.33 SD
43rd percentile = -0.18 SD
92nd percentile = 1.41 SD
98th percentile = 2.05 SD

It belongs to those of us who call ourselves “elite”, who are so proud of our “achievements” that we walk away without a care from the majority of our fellow citizens and fellow humans, from people who in other circumstances, even in the not so distant past, would have been our friends and coworkers, lovers and spouses. It’s on us to join together what we have put asunder.

Translation: Yet another elite-underclass pincher movement against the middle class, the historic American nation.

Soaring said...

The good news is that it seems to be mainly liberals who seem to be gullible enough to follow along with the Green Responsible!TM Hipster Chic!TM Womyn Empowering!TM Drive to not have kids.