Tag Archives: Divorce

Why Democrat policies discourage men from marrying, part 1

This article is the first of a three-part series on how Democrat policies discourage marriage and child-rearing. Part 2 is here and Part 3 is here.

How women’s voting grew government and destroyed the need for fathers

Let’s start with a research paper written by economists John Lott, then at Yale University, and Lawrence Kenny, then at University of Florida. The peer-reviewed paper was published by in the University of Chicago’s Journal of Political Economy. The abstract summarizes the argument I am about to make in their abstract to the paper.

This paper examines the growth of government during this century as a result of giving women the right to vote. Using cross‐sectional time‐series data for 1870–1940, we examine state government expenditures and revenue as well as voting by U.S. House and Senate state delegations and the passage of a wide range of different state laws. Suffrage coincided with immediate increases in state government expenditures and revenue and more liberal voting patterns for federal representatives, and these effects continued growing over time as more women took advantage of the franchise. Contrary to many recent suggestions, the gender gap is not something that has arisen since the 1970s, and it helps explain why American government started growing when it did.

Now let’s look at this article by John Lott from Fox News, available here.

For decades, polls have shown that women as a group vote differently than men. Without the women’s vote, Republicans would have swept every presidential race but one between 1968 and 2004.

The gender gap exists on various issues. The major one is the issue of smaller government and lower taxes, which is a much higher priority for men than for women. This is seen in divergent attitudes held by men and women on many separate issues.

Women were much more opposed to the 1996 federal welfare reforms, which mandated time limits for receiving welfare and imposed some work requirements on welfare recipients. Women are also more supportive of Medicare, Social Security and educational expenditures.

Studies show that women are generally more risk-averse than men. This could be why they are more supportive of government programs to ensure against certain risks in life.

Women’s average incomes are also slightly lower and less likely to vary over time, which gives single women an incentive to prefer more progressive income taxes. Once women get married, however, they bear a greater share of taxes through their husbands’ relatively higher incomes — so their support for high taxes understandably declines.

Marriage also provides an economic explanation for why men and women prefer different policies.

Because women generally shoulder most of the child-rearing responsibilities, married men are more likely to acquire marketable skills that help them earn money outside the household. If a man gets divorced, he still retains these skills. But if a woman gets divorced, she is unable to recoup her investment in running the household.

Hence, single women who believe they may marry in the future, as well as married women who most fear divorce, look to the government as a form of protection against this risk from a possible divorce: a more progressive tax system and other government transfers of wealth from rich to poor. The more certain a woman is that she doesn’t risk divorce, the more likely she is to oppose government transfers.

And I have to quote his interesting conclusion:

During the early 1970s, just as women’s share of the voting population was leveling off, something else was changing: The American family began to break down, with rising divorce rates and increasing numbers of out-of-wedlock births.

Over the course of women’s lives, their political views on average vary more than those of men. Young single women start out being much more liberal than their male counterparts and are about 50 percent more likely to vote Democratic. As previously noted, these women also support a higher, more progressive income tax as well as more educational and welfare spending.

But for married women this gap is only one-third as large. And married women with children become more conservative still. Women with children who are divorced, however, are suddenly about 75 percent more likely to vote for Democrats than single men. So as divorce rates have increased, due in large part to changing divorce laws, voters have become more liberal.

The article also explains what statistics were used to arrive at these conclusions.

Based on this research, I argue that as government grows, it takes over all of the traditional responsibilities of the mothers and fathers, because socialists don’t trust parents to raise their own children. Government provides and controls day care, policing, counseling, schooling, finances, etc. As the sphere of government increases, there is less money for families to spend, and less influence for parents.

And as men see that there is nothing for them to do, they begin to withdraw from responsible behaviors like marriage and child-rearing. Men need to be needed, valued and respected for doing tasks that only they can do. Men rise to challenges if they are in control. Men don’t like to share authority with anyone, especially a meddling feminist-marxist state! More government means fewer manly men.

Let’s take a quick peek ahead to tomorrow’s topic to see why the welfare state is hostile to marriage and family.Stanley Kurtz, writing in the Weekly Standard, talks about feminism, contraception, abortion and the welfare state.

In Sweden, as elsewhere, the sixties brought contraception, abortion, and growing individualism. Sex was separated from procreation, reducing the need for “shotgun weddings.” These changes, along with the movement of women into the workforce, enabled and encouraged people to marry at later ages. With married couples putting off parenthood, early divorce had fewer consequences for children. That weakened the taboo against divorce. Since young couples were putting off children, the next step was to dispense with marriage and cohabit until children were desired. Americans have lived through this transformation. The Swedes have simply drawn the final conclusion: If we’ve come so far without marriage, why marry at all? Our love is what matters, not a piece of paper. Why should children change that?

Two things prompted the Swedes to take this extra step–the welfare state and cultural attitudes. No Western economy has a higher percentage of public employees, public expenditures–or higher tax rates–than Sweden. The massive Swedish welfare state has largely displaced the family as provider. By guaranteeing jobs and income to every citizen (even children), the welfare state renders each individual independent. It’s easier to divorce your spouse when the state will support you instead.

The taxes necessary to support the welfare state have had an enormous impact on the family. With taxes so high, women must work. This reduces the time available for child rearing, thus encouraging the expansion of a day-care system that takes a large part in raising nearly all Swedish children over age one. Here is at least a partial realization of Simone de Beauvoir’s dream of an enforced androgyny that pushes women from the home by turning children over to the state.

…There are also cultural-ideological causes of Swedish family decline. Even more than in the United States, radical feminist and socialist ideas pervade the universities and the media. Many Scandinavian social scientists see marriage as a barrier to full equality between the sexes, and would not be sorry to see marriage replaced by unmarried cohabitation. A related cultural-ideological agent of marital decline is secularism. Sweden is probably the most secular country in the world. Secular social scientists (most of them quite radical) have largely replaced clerics as arbiters of public morality. Swedes themselves link the decline of marriage to secularism. And many studies confirm that, throughout the West, religiosity is associated with institutionally strong marriage, while heightened secularism is correlated with a weakening of marriage. Scholars have long suggested that the relatively thin Christianization of the Nordic countries explains a lot about why the decline of marriage in Scandinavia is a decade ahead of the rest of the West.

Democrats are anti-family, and pro-big-government. The reason why there is a huge weakening of marriage and skyrocketing rates of out-of-wedlock births is because Democrats have replaced the need to marry competent, responsible men with an anonymous welfare check from the state, thus depriving children of fathers. Women don’t need men to rise to the occasion when they know that a welfare check, social programs and a divorce settlement is there to back them up.

This series will be continued tomorrow with another scholar and another data point.

Guest post: Some thoughts on marriage, part 2

This is part two of a two-part series of guest posts written by my friend Andrew. My friend Andrew has thought a lot of the issue of marriage and he and his wife have really done an amazing job. I thought we could all benefit by absorbing his tips and experiences.


Some Thoughts on Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Continuing on from my Part 1 post, here are a couple more things that I have learned about marriage that I don’t think I really understood before (at least not to the same extent) I was married:

Men and women are different…and that’s okay!

In general, men are logical and physical, and women are emotional and relational. Taken to the extreme, men can be cold and uncaring, and women can be led purely by their emotions and inappropriately compromising. By coming together in marriage men and women can really work together and learn from each other. In marriage, expect each other to be different, and expect to learn a lot from your spouse.

If I’m very frustrated, my normal reaction as a male is to kick something. Something like a steel door or a brick wall. If my wife is frustrated or overwhelmed, her normal reaction as a female is to cry. As a man, I only cry when something is really wrong…like my both my arms and legs were accidentally amputated. As a woman, my wife would only consider hitting something if the situation was really desperate. God made men and women special, equal, complementary…and very different.

Now that my wife and I have children, I have discovered just how much the difference between the sexes is innate, and not learned. Last week my wife took some food over to a friend of hers who had undergone an operation and was out of commission. She brought our two young sons with her, who played with her friend’s three young daughters. My wife later told me what she had overheard: Girl to her sisters and to my son: “Let’s play princesses. We can dress up in our princess dresses. You [to my son] can pretend to be a prince!”. My son’s reply: “I don’t want to be a prince, I want to be a tiger-shark!”

Two different people = different expectations.

Though it is obvious enough, it helps to realize and acknowledge that in marriage the husband and wife are two different people. Two different sexes. Two different backgrounds and upbringings. Therefore you should expect to have different ideas of what the different aspects of your marriage will be like. One spouse might expect to have three children because they came from a three child family, the other doesn’t want children. One spouse expects to celebrate Christmas Day with their family, the other expects to alternate. And so on.

This brings us back to two things that I have come to realize: One should enter into marriage with an open mind and realize that there are many ways to do things, and often it doesn’t really matter as long as husband and wife can agree on which way works for them. The other thing is premarital counseling – it will help you both to identify your expectations as well as areas that might lead to conflict in your marriage. By the way, it’s never too late to go for premarital counseling, even if you’ve been married for several years. And on that note, a word of caution: if you are having difficulties in your marriage please don’t harden your heart – seek help before it’s too late. Contrary to popular understanding, divorce makes things more difficult, not easier. Many church pastors are professionally trained to provide marriage counseling.

UPDATE: I spotted this related post on the importance of marriage on Hot Air.

Guest post: Some thoughts on marriage, part 1

The following post is a guest post from my friend Andrew, who has the best marriage of anyone I know. The post below is pat one of a two part series. Part two will be out later today.


Some Thoughts on Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

I (Andrew) have been married for 7 years now and thought I would share a couple of things that I’ve learned over this time that I really hadn’t given much thought about before.

Real commitment means no back door!

No one walks down the aisle thinking maybe this marriage will work out okay. Everyone thinks that their marriage will last forever. But with about one third of married couples getting divorced, you need real commitment and a ‘no back door’ policy to make your marriage go the distance.

My wife and I took premarital counseling before we were married. This is something I would highly recommend as it helped us to identify potential stumbling blocks before we actually ran into them. Pre-marital counseling is not about someone telling you what you should do. Rather, it helps you identify and work through things that commonly come between couples and things that might be areas of conflict specifically for you – e.g., finances, expectations, roles, in-laws, etc.

One of the things that my Christian pastor made very sure that my wife and I understood before he would marry us is that marriage is meant to be for life, and if you want it to be for life you have to make sure there is no ‘back door’. You need to both go into marriage with the understanding that this is a permanent arrangement and that there is no way out, no back door.

In my vow I made it clear to my wife that I was ‘in’ for better or for worse. It’s the ‘for worse’ part that you really need to be committed for. Every marriage will eventually experience some difficult times, and it’s during those really challenging times that your marriage will be put to the test, not during the easy times.

Marriage is not about you! But it can help you grow!

Most of us automatically take care of ourselves first, me included. However, I soon came to realize that marriage is in fact about elevating your spouse and putting them first. It’s not giving 50% and getting 50%. It’s about giving 100% and expecting nothing in return. It’s about building your spouse up to be all they can be.

One of the painful benefits of marriage is that it will make you a better person. I say ‘painful’ because in marriage everything is magnified. If you have a disagreement with a friend you can just put some distance between each other and things will probably work themselves out. In marriage you can’t put distance between you and your spouse because they are always there. You have to deal with things. This is what makes you a better person, because you find out things about yourself that you didn’t realize before and you have an opportunity either to work on these things or to harden your heart.

For example, I always thought of myself as an incredibly patient person, but over time I have found that this is in fact something that I need to work on. In his book “Sacred Marriage”, author Gary Thomas suggests that the purpose of marriage is to make us holy, not (only) happy.

UPDATE: I spotted this related post on the importance of marriage on Hot Air.

Stephen Baskerville on Dennis Prager show today

I just received an e-mail from Stephen Baskerville, who is an expert on the effects on marriage and family caused by our divorce laws and divorce courts. He is scheduled to be on the Dennis Prager show today at 2:00 PM Eastern, 11:00 AM PST. (It was pushed back from 1:30 PM to 2:00 PM)
Here are some places where you can listen online:
Or you can try a radio guide here:

For more information about Stephen Baskerville, check out his cover story on marriage and divorce for Touchstone Magazine, here.

UPDATE:
Today’s show (02/06/09) is available here.
Baskerville’s previous appearance (12/19/2007) on the show is here.

BONUS:
An appearance on Milt Rosenberg’s Extension 720 is here.

How divorce laws discourage marriage

A friend notified me of this new article by the Canadian journalist Barbara Kay about a recent decision by a judge in Ontario, Canada. The article states that a Toronto judge has awarded custody of the 3 children from a dissolved marriage to the father, as a result of the mental trauma suffered by the children while they were in custody of the mother. The article notes that this is a “stunning and unusual family law decision”.

According the Government of Canada’s own numbers, sole-custody is awarded to the mother in nearly 80% of divorce cases:

In the majority of cases (79.3 percent), the mother had sole custody; the father had sole custody in 8.7 percent of cases. Shared custody (a child spends at least 40 percent of the time with each parent) and split custody (one or more children have primary residence with the mother and one or more children have primary residence with the father) were relatively infrequent at 6.2 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

In this particular case, Kay notes that the mother (K.D.) had pressured the children to distance themselves from their father (A.L.). She writes:

According to the judgment against K. D., she is denied all contact with the girls, even by telephone or text messages She has been ordered not to come closer to them than 300 metres. A. L. has been given the right to confiscate their computers and cellphones. This is necessary, Justice McWatt said, because the mother had so poisoned her children’s feelings toward their father that they had lost their capacity for independent judgment in relating to him.

Now, for good men, the thought of losing access to our own children after a divorce is a terrible thing to contemplate. Two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women, often against the wishes of the men, under no-fault, (i.e. – unilateral), divorce laws. Additionally, there is the question of money. Alimony and child support payments can be high, and men can often be required to pay even if they lose their jobs!

In another related story, a Quebec judge overturned a father’s grounding of his daughter because the judge felt the grounding was too harsh! Men are not going to feel comfortable about getting married when the courts interfere with families in order to implement their politically correct agenda. Men want to be fathers, but it seems as if the courts are sending men a message: don’t marry, don’t have children.

Stephen Baskerville, a professor at Patrick Henry College, has written a cover story for Touchstone Magazine in which he explains the danger that faces men and women who choose to marry. This article summarizes Baskerville’s new book, and is highly recommended understand how and why the government discourages marriage.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

Though obfuscated with legal jargon (losing “custody”), what this means is that a legally unimpeachable parent can suddenly be arrested for seeing his own children without government authorization. Following from this, he can be arrested for failure or inability to conform to a variety of additional judicial directives that apply to no one but him. He can be arrested for domestic violence or child abuse, even if no evidence is presented that he has committed any. He can be arrested for not paying child support, even if the amount exceeds his means (and which may amount to most of his salary). He can even be arrested for not paying an attorney or a psychotherapist he has not hired.

This can happen to women as well, according to Baskerville, in certain cases. Christians typically believe in marriage, and research indicates that a stable marriage is the best environment in which to bring up children. Therefore, Christians should be concerned by the government’s attempt to weaken the bonds of marriage by providing spouses with financial incentives to file for divorce, seize custody of the children, drain their ex-spouse of money, and prevent the ex-spouse from having a healthy relationship with the children.

Stephen Baskerville was interviewed on the Chicago-based radio show Extension 720 with host Milt Rosenberg. This interview is alarming, but required listening for men and women contemplating marriage, and for those who want to see marriage encouraged, and not discouraged, by the government and the courts. Here is another interview with Dr. Baskerville, but this one is from the Dennis Prager show.

Marriage is without a doubt good for children, for spouses, and for society. Shouldn’t we be thinking of ways to encourage people to marry, and to stay married, instead of having the government provide incentives to divorce or not marry at all?

UPDATE: Australian study shows that kids are safer when they live with their fathers.