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Kay S. Hymowitz
The Child Is Father of the Man « Back to Story

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The United States of Disparate Impact

I tried to pay my employees in gold but that was prohibited.

I wanted to get a loan but the government said they didnt have any money because they had already given out too many bad loans to historically disadvantaged groups.

I made more than the median income but I was not able to keep all that much because I live in the same house with the woman I sleep with and live as a family with our children together.

I was going to help a woman and train her at my business because I thought she needed help but the AAUW said I have to pay her equal pay for equal work. I knew she wouldnt be able to pay her what the AAUW thought was equal right away at least until she was proficient but the AAUW and I couldnt agree on the definition of equal work so I didnt hire her.

I was too costly to give my employees health insurance because of government mandates so I didnt do it.

I ended up losing my business to my competitors because the government bailed them out and not me.
My wife left me and I lost my life savings paying child support despite the fact that she cheated on me. I had to move back in with my parents.

I met a young women on public transportation. I like dating her despite the fact that she had 3 kids by 3 different men before the age of 21. I think I am going to stay with her until she gets her 9k earned income credit check in February. I dont know if our relationship will last much longer than that, but her mom might be able to get me a job in the Obama Administration investigating companies that use IQ tests improperly. If they are caught they are subject to fines that go towards subsidizing bad loans for historically disadvantaged groups.
Feminist Barbara Ehrenre]ich agrees:

Women were, and to a large extent still are, economically dependent on men....So what was at stake for women in the battle of the sexes was, crudely put, a claim on some man's wage.
Missing from Taranto’s theory are other facts that don’t fit the narrative of clear-eyed male refuseniks: according to surveys, the large majority of boys and men—including those who grew up with single mothers—continue to want to marry.
---------------------------------
An large number of men dont have enough money to move away from american women, we can resolve this by entitlement reform and allowing at least some male refuseniks to move out of the country.
It should also be noted that middle-class and upper-class fathers have been known to fail their children emotionally. Among these are the fathers of Eliot Spitzer, Anderson Cooper, and Donald Trump.

The economic theory is really bunk.
I didn't take Taranto's point to be that men don't want to marry. Driven by sexual demands and feminine pressure, they often do. His point was that, rationally speaking, marriage is not a good choice for men. It's a lifetime of slavery to the fickle emotional demands of just one woman -- demands which society has chosen to privilege in practice and in law. Why sign up for that?
How, without a Father and friends with Fathers, is a male baby supposed to learn how to become a youngster, a teen, a young man, and and adult man? Where is the guiding hand? Perhaps some will have a Mother (as with Dr. Ben Carson) who is directive and informative enough but, centuries of history informs us that it is more likely to come from the biological, connected and committed Father. These youngsters showing the negative behaviors you describe are quite likely unpainted since not only is the Dad gone but the Mother is working and not available. Your argument isn't well supported by the notion that kids from broken families still want to get married although you don't provide any statistics. The question is, do they get married, do they stay married and do they participate in raising a family? I'd bet not.
"Feminism, particularly as it has led to widespread acceptance of single motherhood, poses a profound existential problem for men, who feel consigned to the status of optional in family life.

Yet tragic as the implicit displacement may be, nothing in the data suggests that it can explain the large numbers of low-income men who are failing in school and either remaining low-threshold earners or leaving the workforce entirely."

I can't possibly get this. The vital role of fathers in early development is looking you straight in the eye and you fail to notice it? Or is it the failure to establish a correlation between the feminist acceptance of single mothers (and the perverse "optionality" of fathers) and boys failing for their missing fathers?

I believe that here is an obvious chain of events that something external to academic prowess (i.e. gender ideology) is impeding Hymowitz to establish.
Anyone remember Cloward and Piven?
Would their plan now come to it's desired goal?
Tina Trent gets what is happening. Human relations only work to the extent that people are honest, i.e. responsible. She points out that today, because conscience is not "cool",and being self-centered is considered rational - no matter how destructive - the state must force people to be responsible. How long will that work?
Gender warriors, in a nutshell: "I'm unhappy, and it's your fault."

First, all children, regardless of sex, fare poorly in fatherless households. You can say that the boys grow up to be cads who don't marry, but you can also say that the girls grow up to be hetaeras who don't marry. Both are true, but gender warriors emphasize whatever suits them. The bigger distinction is that life at the bottom sucks for everybody. Pointing out that the women are more "educated" (pseudo educated, I should say) and "employed" (in make-work) is laughably spergy. The point -- the important stuff -- is the marriage and the kids, not the jobs, and when it comes to the important stuff, underclass men and women both fail.

Second, race has a lot to do with it. Underclass African Americans tend to regress to the economic arrangements common in... Africa. To wit, female as breadwinner, man as either "big man" or "sly guy" (but never Ward Cleaver). The Scandinavian American underclass in Minnesota (good luck finding them) follows a different pattern. Of course, if underclass whites continue to breed out of wedlock above replacement, then in a few generations we'll probably see a sub-group of whites with a genetic proclivity to dysfunctional sexual relations.

Which leads to point three: when the culture stops saying "get a job, get married, and stay married" and starts saying "following your heart, live your dream, pursue your passion" -- well, you're going to see fewer people getting a job, getting married, and staying married. Period. Not only that, but by not punishing those who don't conform, the non-confirms experience genetic success, and then the next generation has more of those non-conformists. Present culture, to a significant extend, breeds the next generation. And we are not selecting for good traits.

This is all so blindingly obvious that only professional columnists and social science researchers could be surprised by the over-complicated second-order truths of these basic facts. Certainly our forebears could recognize and speak these truths (in plain English, no less).

Now, if you exclude the underclass, you can still have a fruitful conversation about our collective sexual dysfunction, but it's far less dramatic and tends to boil down to people being spoiled, wanting to have their cake and eat it too. Here I'm speaking of the desire expressed by both men and women to "play the field" before "settling down." It just so happens that men have an easier time doing this, since being older and having fewer partners is not as severely a negative on the mating market as it is for women (in fact, in moderation, it may be a positive).

It's not underclass single moms writing these articles, its women from the spoiled classes who, in their guts, think its unfair that men can (to an extent) get away with field-playing far easier than women can. But there's an old-fashioned remedy for this: no sex before marriage; no non-marrying men; don't evaluate mates based on how hot they are; etc. Basically, all the "ugh" stuff.

But the women who say "ugh" will, over the next few generations, remove themselves from the gene pool. Thus the argument will be settled.

You say you believe in evolution -- but do you Believe?
HapStone, good point. Up until the very recent past, society, for good or ill enforced marriage preceeding parenthood. For all but the very rich, one absolutely needed a spouse for both social and economic reasons, and even though gender roles were defined, spouses had no choice but to work together. Some were happy, some were not, but individualized self fulfillment, or at least the quest for it, was a very minor concern.

Beginning in the 20th century, this changed for the majority. Various schools of thought (marxism, etc.)emerged and became mainstream. But what fueled our great societal shift was the monumental change in standards of living due to the realization of benefits from the industrial revolution. The family of the 1950s little resembled the family of the 1880s.

The current situation can be broken down into two major subcomponents - the educated well off, and the blue collar/poor/nearly poor.

For the first subcomponent, major influences are those I'd call the navel-gazing ones that include, but are by far not limited to, modern feminism.

The second subcomponent's major influence is the beakdown of traditional religious values. Not too long ago, the less educated were derided for their old fashioned values. It appears the tables are turned. In general, the poorer and less educated one is, the more likely one is to not have a religious affiliation.

The visible result of the changes to the second component of society are the ones we so vividly see on the streets of our cities and in the media - the feral children and young adults commiting horrendous crimes. If we fail at fixing this, we have lost civilization.
Wonderful exchange ...

IMHO ...I think it is easy to forget we are still food gatherers, shelter shelter seekers.

And since dropping out of the trees there remains only two methods before us: build/gather it ourselves or steal it from others.

The first unrelenting requirement as always: efficiency: how to gather as much as possible with the least amount of effort.

The second unrelenting requirement: protecting our persons and our "assets".

This alone will push us into "family alliances". And that again will push us to the most efficient unit family.And that will push us to child rearing - methods
efficient producers or murderers and thieves.

I think Hymowitz has given us a hint as to what happens when the "pack" begins feeding on itself ...
Every caped Crusader has a plan to remedy this single mother, out of control sons problem usually involving our government doing something ridiculous to worsen the problem. And because most Americans today turn to their government for all perceived solutions, all of the time, from obesity to industrial pollution, we clamor for new policies. Furthermore, we never ask ourselves the obvious question: Why bother? Were loathe to examine the downside of happily doing absolutely nothing about our social problems.

Do we imagine a vast horde of angry young men will pour out of Detroit, join with their cousins from Chicago and Cleveland to cut a wide swath of destruction from Iowa to Oregon? The majority of these illiterate young men couldnt locate their own city on a map finding the roads leading to Iowa is beyond their meager abilities. We fear some undefined form of social breakdown if we do nothing Genghis Khan and his boys destroying our civilization because we neglected them. An unwarranted fear, Genghis had much better raw material with which to conquer our wealthy, civilized suburbs than Americas ghetto lads.

If our government is here to help us, then a radical solution would be the popular Reality Show, mandated by law to run at least once each day on all 225 cable channels. Force the American public to peek inside ghetto life to gain a first-hand understanding, which the ranks of our self-nominated experts always lack. Follow a ghetto mom through her week and learn why her sons would be better off without dear old mom in addition to dear old absent dad. Were not talking a Leave It to Beaver type mom here, hands coated with a fresh dusting of flour from baking cakes. Were talking angry, ignorant women who dont know what a role model means and could care less that they dont.

Learn, in depth, about the absurd life goals these ghetto boys and their sisters hold. A good case could be made that basketball and not a missing father figure is actively destroying these wayward young men. Millions of aspiring NBA millionaires are convinced they have a wicked good jump shot and thats all they really need to succeed. Or their sisters who dropped out of high school to have a baby but still aspire to be respected physicians or business tycoons some day. Sad maybe, but definitely a problem which cant be fixed. Unreasonable long term goals, a fixation on the short term and the immediate is the ghetto cultural norm.

And constant fear from living within a violent sub-strata of our society. Join a gang for personal protection, the older boys will provide the missing father figure examples and male wisdom , musical lyrics provide their personal philosophy and meaning of existence. Ghetto Life, the Reality Show needs to be watched before expounding on solutions - season reruns for the hopelessly sanctimonious world savers. After several seasons of this reality show series, Americans in general would understand the hopeless task weve set for our collective selves. That wont stop us from interfering in something which cant be fixed but at least wed better understand why our current well meaning solutions are useless.
I can assure you that my son (I also have 2 daughters) will remain circumspect about marriage after seeing what happened to his productive father and deadbeat mother in a divorce. The question is not about child support, the question about marriage is about alimony, which is his case will cost him several hundred thousand dollars of his inheritance, money the courts extracted from me (and thus him) in divorce. I tell all my kids to just get a lawyer and write a contract with their SO and try to keep the government out of it. Family courts are highly biased against men.
The key flaw in your argument is "sons were having more problems in school."

The problem is not with the nature of sons. It is with the nature of schools, that treat all students as girls, as future clerks and bureaucrats.

In other words, you have confounded schools and reality.

OK, a shorter answer:

The subconsciousness of boys uses a presence/absence of "reliable fahter" as an indication what kind of behaviour pays in the specific society that he was born into (to say in computer terms).

Absence of father means that new generations are even more adapted to circumstances that are not conductive to being a "reliable husband and father".

This is just one of mechanisms by which the culture propagates to new generations and how culture adapts to changing circumstances. Many human behaviours aren't hardwired, but to determine what alternatives are optimal the observation of surrounding culture is used. I suspect that the change we are talking about has something to do with mechanisms to limit the risk of overpopulation.
Boy trouble? What trouble?

Boys growing up develop in a way that is in their individual own best interest, not neccessarily the society's best interest. And you can't blame them.

It is actually not in the best interest of man to be "reliable husband and father" per se. This is a net expenditure of time and energy. It might mean uncomfortable, constantly-working life for majority of men who couldn't get a meaningful, fulfilling job and would be stuck doing hard, unpleasant and menial work. Not all men can expect to achieve real improvement of their standard of living by going this route.

Men seriously try to be "reliable husbands and fathers" only in case that this will allow them to get realistically better outcomes than men who try not to be. In many third world societies, for example, children are a safety net, so "reliable husband and father" strategy can't be just waved away. West was poor centuries ago, so western culture also used to reward behaving like that.

It is in the best interest of boys to cause trouble to people around them if this improves their outcomes with respect to case that they try to behave like "reliable husbands and fathers". If they are stuck being poor, at least they can choose a life path that will allow them to work less. The modern humane society is commited to not leaving them to die anyway and will try to help them with welfare and other adaptations to ease their lives. They don't have to work to improve other people's lives and can focus on entertaining themselves. Of course this is not always most satisfying psyhcologically and might be even stressful, but such is often the case for people who don't achieve great professional or economic success by being "reliable husbands and fathers".

"Reliable husbands and fathers" in the meantime are declared "burgeois" or "rich" and expected to give ever rising part of their income to improving other people's lives.

People are a product of countless generations of evolution. They behave extremely rationally and will blatantly ignore societal expectations what "should be better for them" if in the field they can expect to get realistically better results otherwise. We, the schooled people, often expect all people to behave according to our formulas of what is societally desirable and not what will in reality give people an edge in competition for survival. But they know better not to.
Kay ignores the failed Lib narrative that Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote about while working in the LBJ Admin... that their welfare policy was tearing the Black Family apart. It's on-line, look it up & learn...

Let's discuss the origin of this in conjunction with Feminism to really get at the heart of the current statistic of over 7 in 10 Black births are to single parent families.
I think you both misunderstood each other's points...
Jeffery Asher,

There are more and more men getting custody simply because the women don't want the kids. A lot of middle-aged women walking out on their families- even if they legally get custody, they devolve to leaving the kids with Dad more and more. Effectively, he gets the custody. I ended up with mine full time not because my ex was abusive, or evil, or an addict of some sort. Not even greedy, didn't demand nearly what she could have in the divorce. I have them simply because she really didn't want to do the mom thing anymore. She comes by to visit. Swings by in the mornings before school. She'll be by tomorrow on christmas for a couple of hours with them. Kids have a hard time understanding how she can be content with that- what does she really feel for them?

Elizabeth,
Yep, a lot of angry kids. A lot of kids trying to figure out whether mom and/or dad ever really loved them. What it means about their origins. As someone else mentioned it will be interesting to see the effect of kids raised by homosexuals, wondering what they meant to their biological parent of the other gender. Especially if they were from a sperm donor or surrogate. Will they wonder- were they just a commodity to be traded/sold? No emotion, just a transaction?

And a lot of angry men and women, suspicious of the opposite sex. Not believing in love, or trust or faithfulness- expecting to be disappointed and taken advantage of.

Life is too short to be bitter or angry. My life is too precious to allow circumstances to change who I am into someone I don't like or want to be. Had to add this since the above could be read to be pretty negative.

There are far too many angry and confused adults ofboth genders.
Wow, thanks Kay Hymowitz for these two wonderful articles. Many of those negatively responding with their own comments (which are full of richness and value) agree with you more than they realize. What you accurately describe is a ticking time bomb similar to pre-WW2 Germany, which is a culture of fatherless young men entirely susceptible to follow a strong fascist. Please everybody, read David Blankenhorn, on Fatherless America. The dysfunctional and damagine role of our courts should not discourage men from pursuing their dreams. Many times marriage fails because men do not appreciate the relational needs of our wives, and women eventually rebel, having a romantic view of marriage themselves. I realize this is not always the case, but as a pastor who talks to hundreds of couples, it is fairly common. Reflecting on Ms. Hymowitz's article, I think that boys growing up with single mothers, as one commenter suggested, get neither a mother nor a father, and resent their mother almost more than their father, which they carry into marriage and take it out on their wives. Departing from the Living God has cost us dearly and we have gotten far afield of a healthy society, but we can always return to Him.
I have yet to meet, date, or hire an unmarried single mother (divorced or never married, not one who was widowed) whose children, whether minors or adults, aren't nuttier than a fruitcake. Druggies, self-mutilators, chronically unemployed, one bad choice after another in choosing a mate - I've seen them all. And it isn't pretty.
All future Democrat voters, if they can remember to get out of bed and go to the polls on Election Day, and Harry and Nancy and Barry are very proud of them for that achievement.
Imagine a boy who aspires to be a sports star but has no coach - no one to force him to endure the physical suffering required to build strength.

Imagine a boy who aspires to be a businessman but has no in-home father - no one to demand studying and learning and sacrifice, no one to fear disappointing.

Neither boy has much chance.
I think Ms. Hymowitz protest too much. As some of her earlier writings on this subject recognize, many young men are angry at women whom they see as arbitrarily and unjustly entitled to the protection of whatever set of rules suits them, at any instant in time. If they want to be sluts, it's defended as empowering, which would be fine if they didn't also insist on being treated as Vestal Virgins, and of course, no man is allowed to even have an opinion on this. Combine that with an ultra-feminized educational system that has specifically re-oriented itself towards women (all while parroting the feminist line that gender is a construct and the sexes are not different - except when women want them to be), and an administrative economy which prizes the "file form A in slot B in triplicate busy work" that many women seem to prefer, and you have a recipe for a social disaster. If women were uniformly more happy with this state of affairs than in earlier eras, perhaps something could be worked out, especially if they recognized men are different and both want and need to do different things (and are more capable at some of them). But, that is not the case. What we have now is a society in which the entire culture has adopted the perspective of feminists, every one of whose leaders is characterized by severely dysfunctional relationship histories (with both parents and men), and to which the entire legal and political system now caters. That feminists do not in fact value choice but want instead to make choices for both men and women according to their own preferences goes a long way to explaining why no one is particularly happy with this state of affairs.
Sharon; Alberta, Canada December 23, 2013 at 2:56 PM
"We could reverse this trend tomorrow by simply reforming the welfare rules: determine paternity for every child; hold both parents equally responsible for providing for their offspring, and go back to enforcing real rules for public benefit recipients. Social mores would change as rapidly as they did in the Sixties when we deconstructed families by decoupling men from legal paternal responsibility."

Tina Trent will be happy to know that this is exactly now the law in Canada - well, at least here in Alberta. Both of my children were born outside of marriage, when I was 39 and 41, and both I and their father were twice divorced and neither interested in another marriage. He understood unequivocally that I intended to have children, with or without him. He insisted on taking on the role of becoming a Dad - for the fifth time; myself, for the first. When our relationship dissolved he was uninterested in providing financial support but wanted to share an ongoing interest in participating, as a visiting parent, in our daughter's lives. I offered to let him off the hook financially but not so long as he was part of the "family" equation. He refused to give up visitation and refused to pay child support. Our legal system required him to do so, much to his chagrin, because he was the biological father. (Our system will also require a live-in, non-biological spouse to provide support upon break-up! This gives pause to any who think they can game the welfare system by purposely living together but not marrying so one can continue receiving welfare!) Regardless whether or not parent's ever live together both biological parents of children must pay child support in direct proportion of their incomes, (their ability to pay) in our legal jurisdiction. Indeed, the system de-couples the "cost of raising a child" from child support; this was the way it was when I first received support, but it changed in 1998. Now all that is considered is the income and wealth of each parent. It is a fair and just system. If the parent(s)is rich his/her income enriches the children. If poor, he/she is not forced into starvation or bankruptcy by impossible support awards. Does it help to reduce the "problems" facing boys raised only by mothers? I doubt it. But, luckily I never had to face that problem. Ours are daughters and they are both now happy, well-adjusted young adults with professional careers.
The worry is that as boys fail more and more, the child will be blamed rather than the parenting.

If it is correct to say no second grader chooses to fail to read and it is also fair to say the teacher does not "fail" the single parent child. The who is to blame for the boys failing the read?

I have worked in education and also owned low cost rental housing. For a low skilled woman, to be a single Mother and get full benefits provides a house and income that would excess what she could pay for or earn in the market place. She can continue to have partners or see a long term partner, without a loss of benefits if they stay no more than 3 times a week. The partners come and go mainly and play no roll in the upbringing of the children.

With the higher skilled single Mothers you see more re-marriage, they can attract a similar higher skilled male and he will be more likley to provide a reasonable income and play an active part in their childrens upbringing.

My wife just can't provide the boy play my son so needs, she is "sporty", but he preferes a ride with his Dad. I brought us old bikes from a garage sale, and we do "tricks", he just loves to do jumps and ride in the mud. The aggression is natural and he needs his outlets, wrestling, TaeKwonDo and such like. With this side played out with Dad he is regarded at school as a good natured boy and liked by his teachers. Who are all nice female teachers who I think might be horrified at the agressive look on his face when my little 7 year old wrestles with Dad.

My daughter likes to have the same contact, but she likes the wrestling to be close to Dad and get the odd "raspberry" on her tummy.

Boys need this play, in a more and more politically correct social system, they just don't get this if Dad doesn't provide it.

Dads set boundaries in different ways to Mothers, think the 1970's "Wait 'til your Father gets home". If there is no Father who does this roll?

I don't think we can turn the clock back or even want to. We do need to realise in an increasingly Fatherless world, the young boys would benefit from more boy play and boundary setting. My Dad had a war injury and couldn't always play with us, but we went to Judo and Karate. I would like to see more discipline and self respect installed; the bad behaviour is more often a result of lack of self esteem.

The remedy: a vasectomy, asap.
In the subsequent five years, three women accused me of 'making' them pregnant. One hired a lawyer. Much entertainment followed.
I was one of the less than 6% of divorced fathers who was granted full residential custody - due to an abusive and violent wife. My daughter and I can show body scars, decades later. My daughter anguished over the mother who abandoned her. "What did I do to make my mommy not love me?"
I remained resolute never to marry.
... ...
How, without a Father and friends with Fathers, is a male baby supposed to learn how to become a youngster, a teen, a young man, and and adult man? Where is the guiding hand? Perhaps some will have a Mother (as with Dr. Ben Carson) who is directive and informative enough but, centuries of history informs us that it is more likely to come from the biological, connected and committed Father. These youngsters showing the negative behaviors you describe are quite likely unpainted since not only is the Dad gone but the Mother is working and not available. Your argument isn't well supported by the notion that kids from broken families still want to get married although you don't provide any statistics. The question is, do they get married, do they stay married and do they participate in raising a family? I'd bet not.
Mr. Taranto is 47 and single; perhaps his view of marriage is jaundiced for personal reasons as well. At any rate, he hasn't entered the estate of matrimony, for whatever reasons.

We're going to see the wreckage of these social experiments play out over the next decades. Next up: the children of homosexual unions, who are also having troubles at a higher rate and greater intensity (but don't you dare mention that).
"A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." So said Germine Greer in the 60s. From its birth - feminism is about destroying Christendom. Anything that diminishes fertility accomplishes that - and nothing has been so effective as feminism.
Actually, the previous url was for the article on the law. The actual law is here: http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2013a/csl.nsf/billcontainers/DF14C3B93C0EBF9387257A8E0073C4E0/$FILE/1058_enr.pdf
I am a retired educator (teacher, principal and assistant superintendent of 45 years experience in both urban and exurban settings. The evidence of the highly disproportionate dysfunctional behavior of boys who were born to and or live for most of their childhood years with single mothers is inescapable. The signposts are manifest: later and lower level reading achievement, disruptive conduct in classrooms and elsewhere, dramatically lower school graduation rates and juvenile and adult adjudication rates. Can these facts be too obvious to accept?
It has been more than 40 years since the Roe vs Wade decision. To say men and women have the same choices, and responsibilities, for reproduction and the existence of children is not realistic. Many of us make decisions based upon personal experiences, including contact with the "legal" system and these experiences are very much as Mr. Taranto describes. I have been divorced, once, and it will never happen again because I will NEVER marry again. My first, and last, experience guaranteed that outcome. I'm very high achieving; multiple degrees in engineering, business, and systems management. I have no children and have given up the career with the six-figure income because I now live on savings and investments. If the unilateral (no-fault) divorce system had not treated me as the criminal when it was my spouse clearly responsible for the destruction of the marriage, I might have engaged the process again. Instead, it has grown drastically worse with "feminist" groups continuing to redefine marriage as ever more about money. Colorado, as of next month, mandates a payment equal to 40% of gross income to a former spouse, even without children and in a no-fault "unilateral" environment. Their is one opportunity to avoid these draconian outcomes - never let the government into your private, consenting adult relationships and never have children. To be clear, I like children, even volunteered in a foster home for a couple of years. It doesn't make me stupid enough to trust a totally corrupt system designed to reduce me to little better than slave status. No thanks!

Here is the url for the latest Colorado redefinition of marriage: http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_24340928/new-law-changes-alimony-landscape-divorcing-colorado-couples?IADID=Search-www.denverpost.com-www.denverpost.com
Tina Trent is exactly correct. As the former board chair of a county DFACS in a poor rural county, I can attest that transfer payment eligibility is dependent on "family income". A co-habitating couple is not a family and the recipient has a large economic interest in not marrying and possibly increasing family income beyond the eligibility limits.
James Taranto willfully -- and selectively -- ignores facts generated by the welfare state. Beneath the visible petty dramas and bravado latched onto by the social critics, poor women and men make precisely the same choices, in unison -- to avoid legal matrimony and force taxpayers, through the state, to become the primary breadwinners for them and primary providers for their offspring. Underclass men live off taxpayers every bit as much as poor single moms, in the same households, using the same resources intended not for them but for their children. I never saw a household where this was not the norm. These men are hardly "alienated" from relationships with women: such men and women work together to avoid marriage and exploit those of us forced by law to subsidize their lifestyle choices -- which are merely rational, for them.

Public subsidies are far more significant in determining family structure than the feeling of being displaced by feminist theory.

We could reverse this trend tomorrow by simply reforming the welfare rules: determine paternity for every child; hold both parents equally responsible for providing for their offspring, and go back to enforcing real rules for public benefit recipients. Social mores would change as rapidly as they did in the Sixties when we deconstructed families by decoupling men from legal paternal responsibility.

It is confounding that critics like Taranto refuse to address such realities. And it is irrational to point fingers at feminism while pointedly ignoring all the policies and personal choices that actually reward family dissolution. It's like denying the existence of umbrellas so you can complain vigorously about the rain.