Time reports that many Americans say that marriage is no longer relevant:
The Pew survey reveals that nearly 40% of us think marriage is obsolete.
As befits a card-carrying member of the MSM, Time wasn't particularly shocked to discover what its writers have known since their mothers burnt their bras and left their fathers. The slowly declining magazine was, however, more than a bit surprised to find that most people still wish to enter into this dying institution:
Overwhelmingly, Americans still venerate marriage enough to want to try it. About 70% of us have been married at least once, according to the 2010 Census. The Pew poll found that although 44% of Americans under 30 believe marriage is heading for extinction, only 5% of those in that age group do not want to get married. [emphasis added]
If 5% do not want to get married, 95% of the people of the prime marrying age do want to get married. 40% say that marriage is obsolete or that it's heading for extinction. For both of these results to be true, at least 35% say that marriage is obsolete but they want to get married anyway. What's going on here?
We at Scragged first noted the mainstream media trumpeting the death of marriage some years ago - and when not trumpeting its pending passing, trying to redefine it out of existence.
We suspect that this poll is not so much a reflection of what people think, as an indicator of what people, rightly or wrongly, think other people think. Enough people still read the MSM that it's easy to understand why a great many Americans would believe that most people (though not themselves) think marriage is irrelevant. Since conservatives don't proclaim the relevance and importance of marriage as loudly as the MSM attack it, people who want to get married can be forgiven for thinking that their belief in marriage is a minority view.
We saw the same thing with the rise of the Tea Party which swept so many politicians into oblivion. We believe that most Tea Partiers had been appalled by increased government meddling, deficits, and taxes for a long time but were cowed by the MSM's proclamations that only racists opposed increased spending. Each individual felt alone and kept their opinions to themselves.
Once Rick Santelli's famous rant heard 'round the world made grassroots conservatives realize that they weren't alone, they were emboldened to make noise. The more noise conservatives made, the more others realized that they weren't alone either and joined in. With a little luck, the 2010 landslide repudiation of Democrats and liberal Republicans is just the beginning.
We believe that the same is true of marriage - it's far more important to most people and to society at large than the MSM will admit, but since nobody else is saying much about the benefits of marriage, "conventional wisdom" toes the liberal line.
This wouldn't be the first time that the MSM has lied about gender-related matters. Years ago, the media proclaimed that women and women were completely alike in their wants and needs, in their words, and in their deeds. Remember all the chatter about "gender-free child rearing"? The idea was that if you didn't tell a boy he was a boy, he'd grow up to be free of the stereotypical boy traits. If you didn't tell a girl she was a girl, she'd grow up into something else.
This got ridiculous at times.
I have a friend whose mother became something of a hard-core feminist back in the days before email. She had a point in that men often treat women pretty badly; this slide show illustrates just how badly men are willing to treat women when they can get away with it.
Regardless of how well or badly men treated women, however, I never believed that sex roles arose because the boys were given toy trucks to play with and girls were given dolls. I believed that men treated women badly primarily because neither the girl's parents nor the boy's parents did a good job of expectation management.
When my friend's child, which would be his mother's first grandchild, was about to be born, he wrote to her,
Mom, I've decided that we're going to raise this child gender-free like you've been saying. When it's born, I'll ask the doctor to tell me what it is, but I won't tell anyone else, not even the mother, and I won't tell you. That way, when you visit, you can treat it gender-free and we'll see how it grows up.
His mother had a cow, of course, and demanded that he tell her what the child was when he called from the hospital. She never admitted that gender-free child raising was nonsense, but some of my more honest feminist friends, who had kids of both genders, agreed that boys and girls are noticeably different from the get-go.
Saner heads at the MSM finally realized that they couldn't put this gender-related lie across forever. Finally, on Jan 20, 1992, Time caved and published a cover story, "Why are men and women different?" Since then, the research has poured in demonstrating just exactly how very, very different indeed men and women are - which would be not the slightest surprise to anyone living before the 1960s or who kept their eyes open at any time.
One could be forgiven for thinking that marriage is irrelevant from reading stories which claim to be straight news. We read that 70% of black children are born out of wedlock and that very few Swedish couples get married before having children. The Time article shows, however, that there's a key area of relevance to marriage - money:
And of all the transformations our family structures have undergone in the past 50 years, perhaps the most profound is the marriage differential that has opened between the rich and the poor. In 1960 the median household income of married adults was 12% higher than that of single adults, after adjusting for household size. By 2008 this gap had grown to 41%.
In other words, the richer and more educated you are, the more likely you are to marry, or to be married — or, conversely, if you're married, you're more likely to be well off. [emphasis added]
Why do married people have more money than singles? To understand why people do as they do, and to answer Time's question why men and women are different, it helps to understand what was going on in the past.
Men and women are different because they reproduce differently. Given that she had to nurse each child for a year or so, a woman was limited to having a baby every two or three years. The only limit on a man's reproduction was the number of women whom he could charm, command, or coerce. Thus, natural selection passes on different characteristics in men and in women.
Until the industrial age made human physical strength less important, there were very few jobs that women could do that would generate enough income to feed them. In order to pass on her genes, a woman had to find a man who was strong enough to a) feed her and her children and b) live the 20 years it took to raise her children to maturity. Thus, women were selected for the ability to persuade men to feed them for years on end.
Although a man might pass on his genes by getting a woman pregnant and leaving her stuck with the baby, his reproductive success was a lot better if he hung around and fed her and their children. If he wasn't possessive, however, he'd raise other men's children and be bred out of the gene pool. Men were selected to be very possessive of women and to be willing to feed them for years on end.
A great deal of a man's drive to earn money comes from wanting to take care of a woman because the better he did that, the more of his genes he'd pass on. There's a saying, "Nothing straightens a man up like having a woman lean on him."
If a man's living off a woman's welfare check, however, why should he care about her children? Why should he grow up enough to do any work at all? A man who is trying to support his family has far stronger incentives to work.
Some historians even claim that women drive civilization. As President Reagan said, "I happen to be one who believes that if it wasn't for women, us men would still be walking around in skin suits carrying clubs." In general, who cares more about central heating, appliances, carpeting, and other household comforts - men or women? What gives most men the incentive to work hard? The desire to make a woman happy to hang around with him.
Marriage gives a man an incentive to work harder, provided he's grown up enough to assume responsibility in the first place. It's only logical that, in a capitalistic society, hard work will lead to wealth - that is precisely the point.
Marriage is not only good for your bank account, it's good for children. In deploring the plight of parentless black children, the New York Times observed:
The first and most important step [to keep black kids out of jail] would be a major effort to begin knitting the black family back together. There is no way to overstate the myriad risks faced by children whose parents have effectively abandoned them. It’s the family that protects the child against ignorance and physical harm, that offers emotional security and the foundation for a strong sense of self, that enables a child to believe — truly — that wonderful things are possible. ...
Black men need to be in the home, providing for their children.
Unfortunately, the Times overlooked the main reason black men see no reason to hang around and help raise their children - women don't demand it. Single women know that they can always go on welfare, so they see no reason to demand that a man grow up and take responsibility before having sex.
If a man can have sex without marriage, why should he marry? This puts black women who want to get married first at a disadvantage, of course.
Our welfare system subsidizes bastardy, so that's what we get. Our media trumpet the lie that marriage is irrelevant, so girls don't know to insist on it.
The MSM is cheering on a brave new world based on irresponsibility, but the rising rates of juvenile delinquency and the destruction of our inner cities show that their brave new world simply doesn't work.
Society simply won't work unless most adults take on adult responsibilities. The more our government rewards irresponsibility, the more of it we'll get. We can only hope that the rest of us catch on before our society falls apart.