Melanie Phillips takes UK Conservative Party leader David Cameron to task in the UK Daily Mail. Sent to me by Dina! I love this article!
Singling out ‘runaway dads’ for censure, [David Cameron] said that such individuals should be treated like drunk drivers — people who are beyond the pale and upon whom should be heaped ‘the full force of shame’.
Now, excoriating ‘runaway’ or ‘deadbeat’ dads is a familiar refrain. We all know the scenario: feckless youths getting one girl pregnant after another and abandoning each one in turn, playing next to no part in the upbringing of the children they have serially fathered.
This is, indeed, reckless and reprehensible behaviour. But it is only part of a much more complex and deeply rooted problem.
Most pertinently, it totally ignores the fact that there is another feckless actor in this dysfunctional family drama — the mother, who may be having children by a series of different men.
In line with politically correct thinking, Mr Cameron presents such girls or women as the hapless victims of predatory males. But that is just plain wrong. For at the most fundamental level, this whole process is driven by women and girls.
In those far-off days before the sexual revolution, relations between the sexes were based on a kind of unspoken bargain.
Women needed the father of their children to stick around while they grew up, in return for which a woman gave a solemn undertaking to be faithful to this one man.
For his part, the father’s interests were served by being offered not just a permanent sexual relationship but a guarantee from the trust placed in his wife that the children were, indeed, his.
With the combination of the sexual revolution, the Pill and the welfare state, however, women’s interests changed. Suddenly they were being told sex outside marriage was fine, unmarried motherhood was fine — and crucially, that the welfare state would provide them with the means to live without male support.
Among upper-middle-class trendies, marriage became an irksome anachronism and ‘living together’ became fashionable.
At the bottom of the social scale, however, these permissive signals from above combined disastrously with widespread unemployment among young men, whose lack of income made them an unattractive marriage prospect.
As a result, girls decided that, while they wanted a baby, the available fathers were usually a waste of space and so they didn’t want them to remain a part of their lives.
These young men then treated the message that they weren’t wanted as a licence for irresponsibility. And so the ‘runaway dad’ was born.
To single out these boys for censure — while calling lone mothers ‘heroic’, as Mr Cameron did — is not only unfair and perverse, but will fail to get to grips with the problem.
If it is to be remedied, women and girls have to come to a different conclusion about where their interests lie.
That means the welfare state has to stop playing the role of surrogate husband through the benefits it gives single mothers.
READ THE WHOLE THING. As with Canada’s Barbara Kay, I am not in full agreement with Melanie on every topic. But she is awesome on this topic!
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