Posts Tagged ‘Marriage’

The younger generation and the decline of sex

February 9, 2022

Back in 2020, the conservative Christian writer Rod Dreher wrote a blog post deploring the growing lack of interest by young American women in marriage, children and heterosexual sex.

A blogger who called himself the Flaming Eyeball then wrote a blog post saying Dreher didn’t tell the half of it.  He linked to a series of article depicting a younger generation ravaged by poor physical and mental health, declining testosterone in young men, and loss of interest in dating, marriage, having children and in sex itself.  

A short time late he suspended his blog, but another blogger had taken the trouble to copy it.  

None of the trends he mentioned are new to me, and he didn’t even get into the topics of Internet addiction, pornography addiction and addiction to prescription drugs.  But getting all this information at one time in one post made me stop and think.

I’m hard-put to think of a single factor that would explain all of this.  It would have to explain not only rejection of old-time moral standards, but the general apathy and listlessness.

Has the decline of religion and traditional values left the new generations with a lack of purpose?  Do some people find a complete freedom of choice too much to deal with?  How much is due to addictions?

Or is there a general sense of hopelessness in the face of new existential threats to humanity—the new four horsemen of the apocalypse, famine, pestilence, nuclear war and global warming?

Or is there some insidious biochemical change in the environment, akin to lead poisoning?

I am re-posting the Flaming Eyeball links and summarizing their contents.  My goal is to create a second archive of this information, and to invite comments.  

Please let me know whether you think this is real, what you think the reason might be and what, if anything, might be a solution.

No Families, No Children, No Future by Rod Dreher for The American Conservative (2020)

There are more unmarried women in the United States than married women.  Fertility rates are at a 35-year low.  Thirty percent of American women under age 25 identify as LGBT.

The Kids Are Not Alright by the Flaming Eyeball (hat tip to Nikolai Vladivostock), saved by Eddie Willers on Anodyne Mendacity (2021). 

Flaming Eyeball said he’s a Zoomer university student, fairly successful and not an incel (involuntary celibate).  But he said a disturbingly large fraction of the guys he met in high school and college seldom or never went on dates, experienced sex or had girlfriends.  He thinks something must be going on.  So he did some research, the results of which follow.

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The passing scene: Links & comments 1/7/2022

January 7, 2022

Here are links to some articles I found interesting.

The Cuban Missile War Timeline by “Amerigo Vespucci” for altnernatehistory.com.

I remember the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. I didn’t take the danger of nuclear war seriously at the time because I understood that neither President Kennedy nor Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev were crazy enough to start one. What I didn’t understand was how easily things could get out of control.

A contributor to the alternate history web log wrote an interesting speculation as to what might have happened if a few things had gone otherwise than as they did—a U-2 plane shot down over Cuba, a Soviet submarine commander who thought he was under attack firing his nuclear missile.

The writer is well-informed about U.S. and Soviet capabilities, positioning of armed forces and likely military strategies. He presents a convincing account of what a nuclear war would have been like and what the aftermath would have been.

Yes, the USA could have “won” a nuclear exchange. More of us Americans would have survived than those on the other side. I don’t think the Chinese would have escaped unscathed as the writer assumes. Daniel Ellsberg’s book tells us that the U.S. nuclear strategy, in the event of war, was to obliterate the USSR and China both.

All too many people make light of the risks of going to the brink of nuclear war.  They say it hasn’t happened yet.  Yes, but it only needs to happen once.

Frederick Douglass’s library by Julian Abagond.

When I visit someone for the first time, I always sneak a look at the person’s bookshelf.  It’s one way of getting to know them.

Frederick Douglass, the great African-American freedom fighter, had a library of thousands of books.  A blogger named Julian Abagond listed some of the highlights.  Particular favorites, according to Abagond, included The Colombia Orator, a textbook on public speaking with selections from great speeches, and the Bible, the works of Shakespeare, the poetry of Robert Burns and Charles Dickens’ Bleak House.

Douglass of course owned and read works by and about black people and their history, struggles and achievements, but his interests were wide-ranging and included history, politics, literature and science.  The National Park Service has the complete list.  

He had no formal schooling whatever.  As a slave, he was not supposed to learn to read.  He did it on the sly, by paying a white boy to teach him his ABCs.  He went on from there to educate himself.  He associated on equal terms with some of the leading intellectuals of his time.

Lucille of the Libs by Rod Dreher for The American Conservative.

Rod Dreher, a leading conservative Christian writer, wrote a moving article on the sacrifices required to be a good husband or wife, and a good parent.  He drew on the Kenny Rogers country-and-western song, “Lucille”; the movie, “The Secret Life of Dentists”; and an article by Atlantic senior editor Honor Jones about why she divorced her loving husband and father of her children in order to live for herself.

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Thoughts on marriage and gay marriage

July 5, 2015

The last statement presumably was on June 24, 2015

The last statement was on June  24, 2015 (not August)

Hat tip to Tiffany’s Non-Blog.

There are lessons in this chart for people who advocate social change, and that is to never think that electing a particular politician is enough, and especially to never settle for the lesser of two evils.

I respect the gay rights movement for pressing relentlessly for social change and especially for withholding support for politicians who do not support their agenda.

The labor movement can learn from this.  Of course the gay rights movement had an easier task because its goals do not threaten any powerful monied interests.

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The geography of marriage

April 4, 2015

single-vs-married

About 50 percent of Americans are married, 31 percent are single (never married), 11 percent are divorced, 2 percent are separated and 6 percent are widows or widowers.  But as the Flowing Data maps above and below show, married, single and divorced Americans are not distributed evenly across the country.

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The ‘irresponsibility’ of the poor

March 23, 2015

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed and well-fed.
                ==Herman Melville (1819-1892)

My circle of friends are mostly white, college-educated, middle-class people who call ourselves liberals.

Liberals are supposed to be the ones who make excuses for the short-comings of minorities and poor people, but this isn’t true of my friends.

poverty-and-marriage-650Instead, whenever the conversation gets around to social problems, the consensus is that poverty is bad and racial discrimination is bad, but “lack of personal responsibility” is a big thing, too.  Bill Cosby’s name comes up a lot.

I’m uncomfortable with these conversations because, on the one hand, there’s a certain amount of truth in what’s being said, and, on the other hand, I don’t think I have standing to make harsh moral judgments about people who face difficulties so much worse than anything I ever did.

There are people who are completely messed up—unable to hold a steady job, uninterested in marriage and family responsibilities—who wouldn’t be able to make it in the best of societies.

On the other hand, the few poor people I know aren’t like that.  They are people who are struggling bravely against great odds.

There’s one young black man I know.  He was convicted as a teenager for robbing a drug dealer.  For that one mistake, he basically has no future, even though he is hard-working, intelligent and well-mannered.

On the other hand, I have a distant relative by marriage, a middle-aged white man who was in trouble all through his teenage years, smoking dope and getting into trouble, and constantly being bailed out by his father.  He turned himself around, and is now a responsible adult with a good job.

It is fine with me that he got all these second chances.  But if his father had been poor, or black, or both, he wouldn’t have gotten them.

And then there are the young black men who, after each big snowstorm, come walking down the middle of my street with snow shovels across their shoulders, asking if I need my driveway shoveled out.  I usually hire them even when I don’t strictly need it.

They’re all polite and hard-working.  Maybe these qualities will be enough to raise themselves into the middle class.  But if the number of people with middle class incomes continues to shrink, the only way they’ll be able to do it is by bumping somebody else out of the middle class.

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For your weekend browsing

May 10, 2013

Here are links to articles that I thought were interesting and that I hope you might find interesting as well.

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Why Anti-Authoritarians Are Diagnosed As Mentally Ill

Bruce Levine, a psychologist, wrote that many people are diagnosed as mentally ill simply because they question and rebel against authority.   He thought one reason Americans are politically passive is that we are medicated out of our rebellious impulses.

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Deborah and Rolf

How to get along for nine months alone together

Explorer Deborah Shapiro wrote about how she and her husband Rolf Bjelke got along for 15 months at an Antarctic research station, nine of them alone together, without driving each other crazy.  She said they learned to be sensitive to each others’ moods and needs and to give each other elbow room, but also to show affection and empathy frequently.

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Why China prefers its own political model

Zhang Weiwei, professor of international relations at Fudan University in Shanghai, wrote that China is a successful meritocracy with little to learn from the U.S. model.  Almost all the members of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s highest governing body, have proved themselves as governors of Chinese provinces, many of which are larger than European nations.  Nobody as incompetent as George W. Bush or Japan’s Yoshihoko Noda could rise to the top in China, he wrote.

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Is democracy dead?

Henry Farrell wrote that Europe’s politics is as dysfunctional as U.S. politics, and for the same reason.   Governments and corporations are so entangled that governments don’t respond to voters and business is not subject to the discipline of the market.  Any hope of change comes from protest movements operating outside what he called the “formal” democratic process.

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If this was a pill, you’d do anything to get it

Ezra Klein of the Washington Post described Health Quality Partners, an experimental program under Medicare for helping elderly people with acute illnesses.  It has reduced hospitalizations by 33 percent and cut Medicare costs by 22 percent, simply by having a nurse go around on a regular basis and check up on how patients are doing and whether they are following doctors’ orders.  But there is a problem:  It reduces the profitability of hospitals.

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FrenchinMali

Are the French in over their heads in Mali?

A writer for Vice magazine found a new example of a familiar pattern as he reported on efforts of French troops and their Nigerian allies to pacify the African nation of Mali.  They can win battles, but they can’t compel the obedience of the population, and so the local version of Al Qaeda grows strong.

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If you find any of these articles of interest, you might want to click on the links in my Interesting reading menu.

Carl and Ellie get married

February 14, 2013

This segment from the Pixar animation film UP, slightly over four minutes long, tells a beautiful love story without words.

Christian marriage and civil unions

March 29, 2012

The major objection to legal recognition of gay marriage is that it is contrary to the historic teachings of Christianity and, indeed, of Judaism, Islam and other faiths.   But in fact the civil law as regards divorce has departed from Christian teachings from some time.

As I read the Gospels, Mark and Luke report that Jesus condemned condemned divorce, or Matthew that he condemned divorce except for reason of unchastity.  The first is the historic teaching of the Roman Catholic Church concerning marriage.   The second was the teaching of the main Protestant churches down through the early 20th century.

New York state’s “no fault” divorce law, under which I myself was divorced many years ago, allows a husband and wife to dissolve their marriage based on mutual agreement.   This is contradictory to the idea of marriage as bond which lasts “so long as you both shall live” than a same-sex union.   So are the laws of other states.  Civil marriage law for decades has ceased to reflect the Christian teaching that marriage is a sacrament that neither party can dissolve.

The Christian writer C.S. Lewis recognized the problem back in 1943

A great many people think that if you are a Christian yourself, you should try to make divorce difficult for everyone.   I do not think that.   At least I know I would be very angry if the Mohammedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine.

My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognize that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives.  There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on  her own members.   The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.

I don’t think the government should be in the business of defining marriage at all.   God, if He exists, knows who is married in His eyes and who is not.  Nothing the law can say can change this.  Let the government define the legal responsibilities of partners in civil unions and of parents to children,  and let the churches, who claim to speak for God, define marriage.