Tag Archives: Child Support

Can we raise declining marriage rates by telling men to “man up”?

Marine prays with his wife on their wedding day
Marine prays with his wife on their wedding day

The latest Prager University video features pro-marriage scholar Brad Wilcox:

I watched this video, and, as a card-carrying member of the Christian men’s rights movement, I was concerned that nothing was said about how radical feminism has weakened the attractiveness of marriage to men. I mean specifically things like women carrying debt, having liberal political views, being unchaste and even promiscuous, initiating the majority of divorces (70%), withholding sex if they do marry, and denying men child visitation if they divorce, single mother welfare making men superfluous, big government replacing men as providers, etc. The consequences of divorce for men are catastrophic, and I don’t just mean financially, but emotionally as well.

I contacted Wilcox to ask him why he did not recognize how radical feminism undermines the value of marriage to men, and he pointed me to this article he wrote in the leftist Washington Post.

He writes:

These days, 20something marriage has gotten a reputation for being a bad idea. That’s partly because parents, peers, and the popular culture encourage young adults to treat their twenties as a decade for exploration and getting one’s ducks in a row, not for settling down. In the immortal words of Jay-Z, “Thirty’s the new twenty.”

Indeed, the median age-at-first marriage has climbed to nearly 30 for today’s young adults, up from about 22 in 1970. Of course, there’s an upside to that. As my coauthors and I report in  Knot Yet: the Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America, women who put off marriage and starting a family earn markedly more money than their peers who marry earlier.

And here he sort of takes on my concerns about chastity, delayed marriage, and fertility:

First, you are more likely to marry someone who shares your basic values and life experiences, and less likely to marry someone with a complicated romantic or family history.  Those who marry in their twenties, for instance, are more likely to marry someone who isn’t previously married and shares their level of educational attainment as well as their religious faith. Marrying at this stage in your life also allows couples to experience early adulthood together. In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, a 31-year-old woman who married in her mid-twenties, “My husband and I got to grow up together—not apart. We learned sacrifice, selflessness, compromise, and became better people for it.”

Women who marry in their 20s generally have an easier time getting pregnant, and having more than one child, than their peers who wait to marry in their thirties.  You’ll also be around to enjoy the grandchildren for longer.

You’re less likely to lose the best possible mate for fear of getting started too young on the adventure that is married life. One single, thirtysomething woman struggling to find a good partner put it this way to psychologist Meg Jay, the author of The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now, and whose TED Talk on twentysomethings has garnered 6.9 million views: “The best boyfriend I ever had was in my mid-twenties. I just didn’t think I was supposed to be [married] with someone then.” And as psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb explains in her book, Marry Him, there’s a higher likelihood of finding a true peer and more appealing partner-for-life in one’s twenties, before those most appealing potential mates marry somebody else by their thirties.

I cannot fault Wilcox or Prager for being ignorant of the social changes that have undermined the value proposition of marriage for men, and that have also undermined men’s ability to fulfill their roles. Far from being a man-blamer, Prager is a warrior against radical feminism, and just today Wilcox tweeted a study showing the boys benefit from single-sex education – a position I favor myself. But I do want to head off the common “men need to man up” objection made by those who deny that the real problem is radical feminism.

Contrary to the “be a man / man up” crowd, my objections to marriage don’t come from a desire to be lazy about education, career and finance. Rest assured that I have a BS and MS in STEM, and nearly two decades of STEM work experience (internships, summer jobs, full-time employment). I do make six figures, like the person Wilcox discussed in the video, and I have the savings you would expect with a gapless STEM resume. So, complaining about “man up” isn’t going to work on me, and probably not on most men who have concerns about marriage.

Radical feminism causes women to delay marriage in order to have fun, travel and ride the carousel of promiscuity in their 20s. Women have been told that they will have more fun by delaying marriage and staying single in their 20s. Church leaders, friends and family should be discussing and demonstrating the value of marriage to women, and showing them how the lasting contentment of marriage is better than the temporary fun of drinking, sex, travel and career. Marriage is a better platform for lasting joy and for quality relationships. It’s up to the woman’s friends and family to make the case for marriage as more fun and fulfilling than the alternatives offered by radical feminism. Her friends and family need to be countering the feminist message that is everywhere in the culture: marriage is boring, children are a burden, and that husbands are needy and demanding fools. And women need to be told how spending a decade being selfish in their 20s undermines their suitability for marriage.

A woman’s friends and family should train her not to view the moral and spiritual leadership of a man as threatening and dangerous, just because it disagrees with her feelings and desires. Instead of recoiling in horror when a well-educated, successful, wealthy man tells a woman with a history of poor decision-making to get a full-time job, pay off her debts, and start investing, her friends and family ought to welcome it. A good man’s practical advice should not be seen as stifling a woman’s freedom to “follow her heart”. And her friends and family certainly should not celebrate when she chooses a penniless, unemployed, empty-resume man who never questions her reckless decisions. Women should be encouraged to choose men who have demonstrated ability as protectors, providers and moral and spiritual leaders, even if she would rather have a doormat who lets her be wild, selfish and irresponsible. Doormats are not intimidating, but they are also not decisive about marriage. When a man wants to marry a woman, he is very interested in encouraging her to be practical and responsible. This is a good thing.

Lesbian relationships are the most unstable and shortest-lived relationships. This suggests that there is a tendency in women to reject commitment when it goes against their feelings and self-interest. Women’s emotions can make them unstable, and less capable of commitment. Friends and family need to recognize that tendency, and help women to learn practicality, responsibility and unselfishness at a young age, so that they are capable of making commitments.Men look for women who have demonstrated that they are able to complete things that they start. We know that women initiate 70% of divorces, and mostly because of feelings of unhappiness. Finish a tough STEM degree, work a tough job for a few years, pay off debts, pay off a car loan, etc. Men look for women who can make and keep commitments through good times and bad times, even when it goes against their self-interest.

A good basic book to read on this issue is Helen Smith’s “Men On Strike“.

Here’s a short video about her book:

A longer interview from News Max:

And an even longer interview with a homeschooling man:

Some men are ignorant of how radical feminism makes women less suitable for marriage while simultaneously making school and work more difficult to boys and men. It is these men who need to “man up” and “be a man” by challenging women to reject radical feminism and embrace early marriage to strong men who lead. If you’re not willing to fight the radical feminism that causes the underlying problems, then you can’t complain when men wisely reject marriage to women who aren’t ready to be wives and mothers.

UK woman stops man from seeing their daughter for 12 YEARS

Dina sent me this trouble article from the UK Daily Mail, that serves as a warning to men about getting involved with the wrong woman in a feminist welfare state.

Excerpt:

A father yesterday spoke of his anguish over an extraordinary £100,000 12-year court battle for the right to see his daughter.

The man, described as ‘irreproachable’ by a senior judge, has endured years of legal fighting with his ex-partner, who has refused to allow  contact between him and their 14-year-old daughter.

Incredibly, the family courts have made 82 orders that he be allowed to see the girl, known only as M. But none was enforced by a system which senior judges agreed had ‘failed the whole family’.

[…]The Court of Appeal three months ago ordered that the case be resolved, saying the teenager’s childhood had been ‘irredeemably marred’ by years of litigation.

Lord Justice McFarlane, presenting a written judgment, said the mother had ‘doggedly refused to allow M to develop and maintain a relationship with her father without any good reason’.

He quoted the findings of a child psychiatrist, who said: ‘The mother appears to want an unhealthy exclusive relationship with M. The mother hides her opposition to contact behind her daughter’s stated “wishes and feelings”.’

But the father, a 61-year-old professional who cannot be named, has now been told the legal process faces more months of delays as the family courts seek expert advice.

[…]The father – who, unlike the child’s mother, cannot claim legal aid – estimates he has spent more than £100,000 in legal costs trying to see his daughter.

He said: ‘It is financially penalistic, as a private individual, to fight for your rights through the family courts.’

I can’t imagine what that would be like. I put a lot of effort into my mentoring relationships. My only pet lives with my parents, and I try to see him on Skype every night. He can’t be moved, because he is so old. I can’t imagine what I would do if the mother of my children took the children away from me. I’m not surprised at all that this man spent six figures trying to get access to parent his daughter. And I don’t need to tell you that intentionally depriving a child of a relationship with her father is nothing less than child abuse. Yet that’s what the system allows.

Now just to get this out of the way, I fully blame the man for this. There are plenty of clues in the article about bad decisions he made in choosing that woman. A smart man doesn’t choose a woman who thinks that cohabitation is OK, and that having an out-of-wedlock child is OK. And when you take 10 years of a woman’s life and then don’t commit, she will do anything and everything she can to get revenge on you.

Men seem to be woefully oblivious to these laws affect them until it’s too late. Maybe we need to be a bit more aware and politically engaged to keep these things from happening to us? These anti-male courts didn’t come out of nowhere. The UK is well-known for its anti-male government. A lot of men voted the Labour Party and Harriet Harman into power. A lot of men voted for EHRCs, too. We need to be smarter when it’s election time, and vote for smaller government, lower taxes, and less regulation. That’s the only way to stop the state from doing this.

For young men, I recommend that you read Stephen Baskerville’s “Taken Into Custody” before you get married. Find out from research what a woman does that makes her more likely to divorce you, and avoid those things. Some women have seen what the state does to men, or they’ve read about it, and they mind even have taken action to oppose it. That’s the kind of woman you’re looking for. The ones who don’t blame men for everything, but who are aware of the situation that men are facing under these laws and policies and are determined to act against it with their marriage and family.

How the federal government and stimulus spending discourage work

A post by Hans Bader at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Excerpt:

Thanks to food stamps, Medicaid, and housing subsidies, and other welfare benefits, many “poor” people have far more disposable income than self-supporting households earning $40,000 to $60,000 a year.  Veronique de Rugy points to a finding that “a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year” — even excluding benefits from Supplemental Security Income.  “America is now a country which punishes those middle-class people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system.”

[…]The analysis de Rugy cites actually understates the disincentives to work, because it ignored the fact that many households that are “poor” in terms of taxable income are not poor at all once you factor in tax-free income from non-governmental sources.  For example, child support is tax-free to the recipient family, no matter how huge the payments they receive (for example, a billionaire may pay several million dollars a year in child support to each of his ex-girlfriends with kids, leaving them in tax-free luxury, and under New York’s child support guidelines, everyone is supposed to pay at least 17 percent of their gross income in child support for just one child, regardless of how high that income is.  In Massachusetts, middle-income households pay 25 percent of gross income for just one kid — which is around a third of their after-tax income — under that state’s child support guidelines).

He also talks about how the federal government encourages child support agencies to yank more children away from their parents – they get more funding that way!

On women leaving marriages that don’t make them happy enough

Don’t blame me! I didn’t write it. Alisha wrote it. She’s the meany, not me!

Excerpt:

I have a certain friend, a great guy I’ve known since I was a gawky teen, and who continues to be my friend in  my fully grown yet still gawky state. He has always been strong- fights hard, works hard, but loves the hardest.

When he married a few years ago, I was a little worried. Now that he’s divorced, I’m very hurt. And taken aback that he is not the only guy I know in this situation. In fact, I know about 4.

Now, these men are far from perfect. No one except God is. Yet in all these collapsed marriages, the women openly and willingly admitted the men they promised to be with until death had never hit, pushed, sexually or emotionally accosted them. They quite simply, no longer wanted to be married.

Of course, there is nothing really simple about dissolving one’s marriage, except for my simple-minded incomprehension as I sat at a showing of “The Devil Wears Prada” with one of these ladies a few years back. We had gone to the mall to do a little window shopping, and for what seemed to be the entire trip, this young lady- I’ll call her Amber- complained non-stop about what her husband wasn’t doing. He wasn’t buying her new clothes or shoes or taking her on vacations. She worked hard, many days 10 hours. And well, he worked, too, but it wasn’t fair he didn’t buy her more.

“Can he afford to buy you all that stuff?” I asked. She looked at me as if I were stupid. “MY FATHER works two even three jobs to make sure Mama gets everything she wants and deserves! Sometimes, he is away for weeks, working at construction sites to ensure it!”

[…]Another girl I know got hitched- only to ditch her groom before a tan line started to develop on her ring finger. The very same things she loved about him while they were dating- his commitment to God, desire to go into the ministry, his “good guy” sweetness- were instantly repulsive in marriage. Their marriage annulled, she jumped into a long term dating relationship which turned into cohabitation and a child together. But fortunate for her, no wedding.

I actually blame the men for choosing these women. Men have to test women during the courtship to see if what they are interested in is making a commitment and then acting self-sacrificially to honor their obligations. I could tell you nightmare stories about Christian women I know who can do the most amazing acts of selfishness and then totally refuse to make amends or accept any responsibility. But then, I’m not married to those women – because that all came out before I ever got serious about them. Many women are judging men today based on how amusing they are and whether their girlfriends will be envious and approving based on secular criteria supplied by TV shows and music videos. This all has to be detected during the courtship by the man. Courting is when the man has to detect if the woman is thinking anything other than “if I don’t like this – if it doesn’t make me feel happy all the time and impose no obligations on me – then I can get out of it”. Is she ready for a commitment? That’s the man’s job to find out.

What courtship is really about for men is communicating your plan and the challenges you’re facing and then standing back to see if she wants to help. I once met a Christian woman who would not so much as sit down with me to see what I did for a living. She wanted to have fun! And understanding my job so that she could help was not fun. (Presumably, spending my money that I earned from that job would have been more fun). So if a man marries a woman like that, then it is the man’s fault. If men are too stupid to know how to detect lemons then they deserve to suffer. Learning how to court is more important than playing video games. Knowing what laws strengthen men in their roles as husbands and fathers is more important than watching X-treme sports. Men are responsible to understand marriage, understand what women do in a marriage, and understand policies that strengthen or weaken marriage. Many men who are divorced today voted for the party of no-fault divorce (with the custody battles and fake charges of child abuse) and domestic violence laws (which criminalize criticizing your wife’s spending or weight) yesterday. And those men are fools. And they must be punished.

Men are terrible at knowing what they want from women. What matters to the stupid men about women today is not whether they are chaste and self-sacrificial and organized and goal-oriented, but only their physical appearance, how much they are willing to drink, and how far they are willing to go physically. Even Christian men have no idea what Christian women are supposed to DO in a marriage. Many men think that marriage will be 50% playing video games, and 50% sex or something. It’s just totally unrealistic. Not to mention that women are not inanimate objects. They are more like employees. If you bring a woman into your home and do not know how to motivate them, then they will not fill the role that they are assigned. Surely a wife is as entitled to as much “management” as an employee. Having sex with someone is not effective management. One-on-one eye-to-eye communication about current concerns and future goals is effective management.

I think that men and women really need to sit down and think about marriage and parenting as an engineering problem. What are the use cases? What are the requirements? What is the design plan? What are the possible solutions? What are the tradeoffs? What is the schedule? How much of this can we build ourselves, and how much of it can we purchase or outsource? If the woman is not on board with the seriousness of marriage, because she resents obligations, saving money and structure, then drop her like a hot potato. If she does not want a man to fulfill his roles in the marriage – protecting, providing and leading on moral/spiritual issues – then kick her to the curb. Spontaneity is good for a Sunday afternoon or a Friday night. It is not the way to run a a marriage, especially when there are kids. Spontaneity is not the way to produce quality software – with garbage in, you get garbage out. Can you imagine hiring an engineer based solely on their physical appearance and amusement value? Yet this is what men are doing. Christian men are doing this.

Feminist Melanie McDonagh says that paternity should not be checked

Check out this unbelievable article from the UK Spectator that ECM sent me. It’s written by a feminist. She is complaining about paternity tests. She thinks that women should be able to sleep with a lot of men and then arbitrarily name the richest one as the father to get the highest child support payments, and no fancy DNA test should be able to contradict her.  Oh, and it goes without saying that women should not be punished for committing paternity fraud. That would be mean.

Excerpt:

The subject has resurfaced lately, courtesy of a story in the Daily Mail, about a married television presenter who for years had been paying for the support of a child conceived, as he thought, as a result of his relationship with a writer. It seems that after meeting the child for the first time, he asked for a DNA test; it duly turned out that he was not, after all, the father. Poor child.

[…]Now I can see that some men might rather welcome an end to the old-fashioned scenario whereby they find themselves held to account for the paternity of children born to girls with whom they just happen to have had sex. The actor Jude Law recently found himself in just this position, and unhesitatingly and ungallantly demanded a DNA test.

By contrast, the old situation, in which women presented men with a child, and the man either did the decent thing and offered support, or made a run for it, allowed women a certain leeway. The courtesan in Balzac who, on becoming pregnant, unhesitatingly sought, and got, maintenance from two of her men friends, can’t have been the only one. Uncertainty allows mothers to select for their children the father who would be best for them.

The point is that paternity was ambiguous and it was effectively up to the mother to name her child’s father, or not. (That eminently sensible Jewish custom, whereby Jewishness is passed through the mother, was based on the fact that we only really knew who our mothers are.) Many men have, of course, ended up raising children who were not genetically their own, but really, does it matter?

Hmmmn. I wonder how anyone could even prove that the woman actually slept with her victim? Maybe a woman can just pick out a man arbitrarily on the street, based on his nice suit or fancy car, and name him as the (involuntary) sperm-donor. He wouldn’t have any parental rights or authority, you understand.

Anyway, this shouldn’t affect me. I’m chaste. But maybe I could still be forced to pay single mothers that I haven’t even slept with just because I can afford to? Oh wait – that already happens. It’s called progressive taxation. Oh well. It’s not like I needed the money I earn for my own future wife and children…

Save us, Barbara Kay!

Here’s another article about child support from Barbara Kay about the child support bureaucracy in Ontario, Canada.

Excerpt:

Ontario’s Family Responsibility Office, which is responsible for ensuring that custodial parents don’t get stiffed for child support payments by the non-custodial parent, has a lot of power.

Starting Dec. 1, someone (read “father”) in arrears on their support payments can have their car impounded. That’s about the stupidest punishment for non-payment one can imagine, since most people need their cars in order to work.

[…]If you’re going for irrational responses to non-payment, why not just throw the guy in jail –– but oh wait, they already do that. They throw guys in jail for non-support all the time, and when they do, the guys serve the whole 30, 60 or 90-day sentence (the term keeps lengthening), even though cocaine dealers routinely get out of jail after serving half their time.

[…]Let’s look at the bigger picture, though. What is the guy paying child support for? Yeah yeah, to support his children. But that means they are, you know, sort of hischildren, right? Not necessarily. The custodial parent, almost always the ex-wife, although supposed to grant agreed-upon access rights to the children’s father, can arbitrarily decide she doesn’t want to allow access, and for any old reason — oh sorry, little Jimmy has a play date, oh sorry little Emma has too much homework, oh sorry, I just don’t want to — can deny the father access. And does she pay for that? No. Oh, she might get a scolding from the judge, but there is no downside for her. No custodial mom has ever spent a night in jail or had her licence suspended for refusing her children’s father legal access to them.

There’s more in the article. Sigh. At least Barbara Kay likes men enough to speak out to defend us. Sometimes I think that women who care that men are treated fairly are the only ones who should be able to get married. If only men weren’t so stupid that they judge women solely based on appearance. I guess we’ll have to learn the hard way!