The article that I am linking to in TODAY’s post is from the far-left Huffington Post. Please do not read the article if you are under 30. Huffington Post, like most radical feminism web sites, has dropped down to the level of 50 Shades of Gray. Reader discretion is advised. But I had to write about their article because it really shows you that radical feminists are not innocent little doves hoping for traditional marriage and children.
First, a little introduction. Radical feminism is a rejection of traditional sex roles for men and women, and the committed union of men and women in marriage.
Here is what radical feminists oppose:
- female sobriety when among the opposite sex
- male sobriety when among the opposite sex
- female chastity prior to marriage
- male chastity prior to marriage
- women preparing for the traditional roles of wife and mother
- men preparing for the traditional roles of protector, provider, moral leader and spiritual leader
- paying for their own condoms and birth control pills
- men who are pro-life and pro-natural-marriage
Radical feminism wants nothing to do with men who are sober and chaste. The only real way to decide whether a man is good or bad – for a radical feminist – is whether he is attractive looking and does not try to lead women or hold them accountable morally or spiritually. Men are just accessories designed to provide women with fun and thrills. They are not to be selected for their ability to perform “sexist” virtues like chivalry, providing or leadership.
Now, feminists have been very unhappy lately, because their plan for forming relationships (focus on career, choose hot guys, get drunk, have premarital sex, wait by the phone, claim that all men are evil when no one calls, repeat) doesn’t work. But radical feminists don’t see the problem with their promiscuity plan. They don’t think that marriage is a good thing, because it has unfair sex roles. And they don’t think that women or men should prepare for commitment by being sober, chaste and self-sacrificial. They think that they can choose pleasure right now, and at every moment following, and that this will somehow work out to provide them with lasting love, support and intimacy as they grow older. Somehow, after they tire of sexual revolutionisting with the hot guys, they will easily be able to find a man who is simultaneously hot and sober, faithful, committed, and a great father to whichever children she decided not to abort. And if this plan doesn’t “work out”, then it’s the fault of patriarchy and toxic masculinity.
The Huffington Post article explains why radical feminists think that their plan is failing:
[…][S]ome straight women have thrown their hands up in despair at the prospect of dealing with straight men. These men, who grope us and talk down to us and consistently fail to clean the bathroom ― we’re supposed to make lives with them? Let them touch us?
Women woke up one day to find that their husbands voted for Donald Trump and their sons have been ***posting on incel boards. Even before we heard the claims about Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment and assault and the ensuing avalanche of other horrifying Me Too allegations, we heard about our president grabbing women “by the pussy,” Bill Cosby feeding women roofies, and R. Kelly allegedly sexually exploiting young girls. So many straight men, we have been forced to accept, are bad to and for us. Why would we take the enormous risk of loving one of them?
All the bad boy leftist men they freely chose to have premarital sex with for money or career advancement failed to please them. And all men must be the same. After all, radical feminists rejected traditional male virtues and roles as “sexist”. Instead, they decided to have premarital sex with secular leftists like Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner, Elliot Spitzer, etc. Those men are fun and thrilling, and might even help your career. If these relationships failed, then surely the relationships not chosen – the ones with the sober, chaste, responsible men – would have failed, too, right? You don’t expect a woman to have a relationship with someone who doesn’t support abortion and gay marriage, do you? How could a man who is pro-child and pro-marriage possibly be suitable for commitment and parenting? Just choose the hot ones who make you tingle, and then generalize about all men from those failed experiments.
One seductive yet impossible fantasy might be the romantic attention of a man who lacks the exhausting baggage of male entitlement.
To find such a fantastical being, women ― in fiction, at least ― have turned to the sea.
Yes, the radical feminists are turning to the sea to find fictional mermen who meet their feminist ideals for relationships.
Lucy, the protagonist of The Pisces, is newly single, running out of time to finish her dissertation, and spiraling out of control.
[…]Despite the therapy sessions, Lucy can’t stop searching for male attention to restore her sense of desirability and worth. Before each encounter with a prospect, she feels buoyant and eager, but again and again, she’s left sexually and emotionally unfulfilled, in part because the men don’t much care whether she’s enjoying herself.
One man she meets on an app ― a hot younger dude in an open relationship ― convinces her to have sex with him in the lobby bathroom of an upscale hotel. It’s quick and mediocre. She doesn’t come. Afterward, he leaves without telling her, stranding her alone at the hotel bar. Lucy thought the encounter would be something different, that it would make her feel deliriously sexy and desired. She tries not to let herself feel sad about how transparently he was using her to fulfill his fantasy while her own went entirely ignored. What she wants is for even this one-time fling to care desperately about making her come, for his world to narrow around her pleasure, even for just a few minutes.
Wow, the hot bad boys don’t care about the women who choose them for irresponsible recreational premarital sex? If only there were some way to keep a man committed? It can’t be marriage though, and acting like a wife. That’s “sexist”. I’m surprised that having recreational premarital sex with a hot, promiscuous pro-abortion pro-gay-marriage Democrat doesn’t lead to the woman enjoying herself in the long term.
It’s mermen to the rescue, though:
When she begins to fall for Theo, a tautly handsome swimmer she keeps seeing in the ocean near her sister’s beachside home, it seems like she may have found the something that couldn’t exist. Theo looks decades younger than her, but he is fascinated by her. He seeks her out, pulling up by the rocks at the edge of the beach to talk with her night after night. He wants to kiss her, then give her oral sex for hours under the stars. Soon, she learns that there’s a reason he initially stayed submerged from the waist down during their encounters: He’s what we might call a merman, and instead of legs he has a scaly tail.
Like the creature in “The Shape of Water,” Theo seems to be an exception to the rule of toxic straight maleness. Where other men hurt, threaten and betray, these unhuman beings pleasure, console and conspire with women.
[…]Her ex toys with her emotions; the men she dates are sexually selfish and reckless with her health. But Theo is different, both because he has a scaly tail instead of legs, and because he proclaims to be devoted to her and her pleasure.
After some discussion about the wonders of the merman’s equipment, (so important to a radical feminist!), we read this:
….there’s also an unmistakable queerness to these mythical, human-like creatures. They transgress the boundaries of what society traditionally demands from a male body. Lucy even notes a feminine quality to Theo…
[…]This story is a seductive one, especially to straight women who yearn to get outside of the oppressive structures and expectations of their dating realm. What if we found men who were different? Who were in touch with their emotions, called themselves “feminist allies” for reasons other than wanting to center themselves in the movement, enjoyed giving us orgasms, texted right after the first date?
Wow, she will get treated so well, and without having to marry him (sexist!), or commit to care for his needs (patriarchy!), or fulfill loving obligations for him in a restrictive long-term commitment (slavery!).
She can have sex with a hot sexy effeminate fish who is DECADES younger than she is, who doesn’t have a job or savings, and who isn’t able to be a father to children in any normal sense. But who cares! As long as he wants to give her orgasms, and he’s young and hot, and doesn’t try to tell her to get a real degree, or to get a real job, or to grow up and get married and have children who can take care of her in her old age. The merman provides all that’s important to radical feminists.
And I’m sure that this plan is sustainable, too. He will love her just as much when she is old and wrinkly, because giving a merman premarital sex always makes him commit self-sacrificially for life. That’s the power of recreational premarital sex – it turns irresponsible young hot mermen into pleasure-giving slaves for life.
Here’s an article by Paul Copan which points out how father presence/absence and father quality affects belief and disbelief in God.
Seventh, the attempt to psychologize believers applies more readily to the hardened atheist.It is interesting that while atheists and skeptics often psychoanalyze the religious believer, they regularly fail to psychoanalyze their ownrejection of God. Why are believers subject to such scrutiny and not atheists? Remember another feature of Freud’s psychoanalysis — namely, an underlying resentment that desires to kill the father figure.
Why presume atheism is the rational, psychologically sound, and default position while theism is somehow psychologically deficient? New York University psychology professor Paul Vitz turns the tables on such thinking. He essentially says, “Let’s look into the lives of leading atheists and skeptics in the past. What do they have in common?” The result is interesting: virtually all of these leading figures lacked a positive fatherly role model — or had no father at all.11
Let’s look at some of them.
- Voltaire(1694–1778): This biting critic of religion, though not an atheist, strongly rejected his father and rejected his birth name of FranÃ§ois-Marie Arouet.
- David Hume(1711–76): The father of this Scottish skeptic died when Hume was only 2 years old. Hume’s biographers mention no relatives or family friends who could have served as father figures.
- Baron d’Holbach(1723–89): This French atheist became an orphan at age 13 and lived with his uncle.
- Ludwig Feuerbach (1804–72): At age 13, his father left his family and took up living with another woman in a different town.
- Karl Marx(1818–83): Marx’s father, a Jew, converted to being a Lutheran under pressure — not out of any religious conviction. Marx, therefore, did not respect his father.
- Friedrich Nietzsche(1844–1900): He was 4 when he lost his father.
- Sigmund Freud(1856–1939): His father, Jacob, was a great disappointment to him; his father was passive and weak. Freud also mentioned that his father was a sexual pervert and that his children suffered for it.
- Bertrand Russell(1872–1970): His father died when he was 4.
- Albert Camus(1913–60): His father died when he was 1 year old, and in his autobiographical novel The First Man, his father is the central figure preoccupation of his work.
- Jean-Paul Sartre(1905–80): The famous existentialist’s father died before he was born.12
- Madeleine Murray-O’Hair (1919–95): She hated her father and even tried to kill him with a butcher knife.
- We could throw in a few more prominent contemporary atheists not mentioned by Vitz with similar childhood challenges:
- Daniel Dennett (1942–): His father died when he was 5 years of age and had little influence on Dennett.13
- Christopher Hitchens (1949–): His father (“the Commander”) was a good man, according to Hitchens, but he and Hitchens “didn’t hold much converse.” Once having “a respectful distance,” their relationship took on a “definite coolness” with an “occasional thaw.” Hitchens adds: “I am rather barren of paternal recollections.”14
- Richard Dawkins (1941–): Though encouraged by his parents to study science, he mentions being molested as a child — no insignificant event, though Dawkins dismisses it as merely embarrassing.15
Moreover, Vitz’s study notes how many prominent theists in the past — such as Blaise Pascal, G.K. Chesterton, Karl Barth, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer — have had in common a loving, caring father in their lives.16
Not only is there that anecdotal evidence, but there is also statistical evidence.
In 1994 the Swiss carried out an extra survey that the researchers for our masters in Europe (I write from England) were happy to record. The question was asked to determine whether a person’s religion carried through to the next generation, and if so, why, or if not, why not. The result is dynamite. There is one critical factor. It is overwhelming, and it is this: It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.
If both father and mother attend regularly, 33 percent of their children will end up as regular churchgoers, and 41 percent will end up attending irregularly. Only a quarter of their children will end up not practicing at all. If the father is irregular and mother regular, only 3 percent of the children will subsequently become regulars themselves, while a further 59 percent will become irregulars. Thirty-eight percent will be lost.
If the father is non-practicing and mother regular, only 2 percent of children will become regular worshippers, and 37 percent will attend irregularly. Over 60 percent of their children will be lost completely to the church.
Let us look at the figures the other way round. What happens if the father is regular but the mother irregular or non-practicing? Extraordinarily, the percentage of children becoming regular goesupfrom 33 percent to 38 percent with the irregular mother and to 44 percent with the non-practicing, as if loyalty to father’s commitment grows in proportion to mother’s laxity, indifference, or hostility.
[…]In short, if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular). If a father goes but irregularly to church, regardless of his wife’s devotion, between a half and two-thirds of their offspring will find themselves coming to church regularly or occasionally.
A non-practicing mother with a regular father will see a minimum of two-thirds of her children ending up at church. In contrast, a non-practicing father with a regular mother will see two-thirds of his children never darken the church door. If his wife is similarly negligent that figure rises to 80 percent!
The results are shocking, but they should not be surprising. They are about as politically incorrect as it is possible to be; but they simply confirm what psychologists, criminologists, educationalists, and traditional Christians know. You cannot buck the biology of the created order. Father’s influence, from the determination of a child’s sex by the implantation of his seed to the funerary rites surrounding his passing, is out of all proportion to his allotted, and severely diminished role, in Western liberal society.
Basically, anyone who doesn’t have a benevolent, involved father is going to have an more difficult time believing that moral boundaries set by an authority are for the benefit of the person who is being bounded. The best way to make moral boundaries stick is to see that they apply to the person making the boundaries as well – and that these moral boundaries are rational, evidentially-grounded and not arbitrary. It is therefore very important to children to be shepherded by a man who studied moral issues (including evidence from outside the Bible) in order to know how to be persuasive to others. If you want your child to be religious and moral, you have to pick a man who is religious and moral. And it can’t just be a faith commitment that he makes, he can just lie about that. Women ought to check whether men are bound to what they believe by checking what they’ve read. A man usually acts consistently with what he believes, and beliefs only get formed when a man informs himself through things like reading.
My advice to Christian women is this. When you are picking a man, be sure and choose one who is already invested in Christian things and producing results. It’s very unlikely that he’s going to start from nothing after you marry him. If you value your kids, make a man’s interest in developing and acting on a Christian worldview the main thing you are looking for.
The New York Times is reporting that the shooter was fatherless:
Mr. Cruz had no criminal history before the shootings, according to state law enforcement records. But his childhood was certainly troubled.
He spent much of it in a subdivision called Pine Tree Estates, on a lush, narrow street dotted with tropical plants and the occasional driveway basketball hoop. Mr. Cruz and his brother, Zachary, had been adopted, and were raised largely by their mother, Lynda Cruz, especially after their father, Roger P. Cruz, died suddenly in 2004 at the age of 67. Ms. Cruz died in November, and people who knew Nikolas said he had taken the loss hard.
This doesn’t surprise me, because we’ve known for decades that fatherlessness is associated in higher rates of criminal behavior in boys.
Let’s take a closer look at some recent active shooters, and see if we can find out what they have in common. And then we can decide whether the people who complain the most about gun violence are willing to do anything about the root cause of gun violence.
Let’s start with this article from The Stream, which looks at 3 mass murderers:
Dylann Roof: The killer of nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina church grew up in painful circumstances. His parents divorced when he was small. His father divorced his first wife after a few years of marriage. And he reportedly was abusive of his second wife, Dylann’s step-mother.
According to the Associated Press, “Court documents and nearly two dozen interviews show Roof’s early childhood was troubled and confused as well, as he grew up in an unstable, broken home amid allegations of marital abuse and infidelity.”
Stephen Paddock: The man who slaughtered 58 concert-goers in Las Vegas was the son of a top criminal.
Paddock’s father was named Benjamin. He “was on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list in the 1970s for robbing banks and was described as psychopathic in an arrest warrant. According to the warrant, the suspect’s father carried a firearm and was considered ‘armed and dangerous.’”
Benjamin Paddock was arrested and put in prison. But “six months after his sentencing, he escaped and robbed a bank in San Francisco before being recaptured in Oregon.”
[…]Adam Lanza: The son of divorce, the Sandy Hook Elementary School killer struggled with mental health issues for years.
Lanza’s parents divorced in 2009 after 28 years of marriage. Adam, then 17, was experiencing severe mental and emotional illnesses.
Three case studies are fine, but is this the general rule among active shooters?
The Federalist takes a look:
As University of Virginia Professor Brad Wilcox pointed out back in 2013: “From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s ‘list of U.S. school attacks’ involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.” His observation is largely ignored.
In contrast, conversations about black-on-black violence often raise the link between broken households (or fatherless homes) and juvenile delinquency. But when the conversation turns to mass shootings, we seem to forget that link altogether.
[…]On CNN’s list of the “27 Deadliest Mass Shootings In U.S. History,” seven of those shootings were committed by young (under 30) males since 2005. Of the seven, only one—Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho (who had been mentally unstable since childhood)—was raised by his biological father throughout childhood.
So what are some of the factors that lead to young men who have mental illness, anger issues, etc.?
For one thing, young children’s brains don’t develop if they don’t have their mothers at home for the first 2 years at least, and the study I linked to said 3 years. Mothers are essential, during this time, for developing the parts of the brain that allow empathy and self-control. Unfortunately, keeping the mom home during the crucial early years is rare, because feminism requires that she work in order to be like a man.
I also recently blogged about how easy it is to initiate divorce just because you are unhappy. Well, when parents divorce for no good reason, (after having chosen a spouse poorly), that has a very bad effect on the children. Although the divorce rate is dropping, that’s because fewer people are marrying – they’re cohabitating instead. The alternative to marriage, cohabitation, is far more unstable than marriage. Either way, children lose out from the decreased stability of their parent’s union. The notion of lifelong commitment regardless of happiness is gone. Now we treat relationships as entertainment instead of enterprise.
So what should we do?
Well, to fix the daycare, we could give tax breaks to promote stay at home mothers. In the two countries where that was tried (UK and Canada), it was opposed by the political left. The UK wanted to give tax breaks ONLY to working mothers, not to stay at home mothers. And Canada did not want to extend income splitting to cover stay at home moms. Why not? Because when women work, the state gets more money, and the children adopt the values of the state in the government-run public schools. So, there is a solution to daycare’s bad influence on children, but the left opposes it.
And, to fix no-fault divorce, we could repeal no-fault divorce laws. Unfortunately no-fault divorce laws are strongly supported by powerful left-wing groups: trial lawyers and radical feminists. But they are also supported by women who don’t want to think too hard about who they are “in love” with. I was once told by a divorced mother of four whose husband cheated on her that she would never dream of marrying without no-fault divorce. Another childless divorced woman whose ex-husband cheated on her (she suspects) told me that it is impossible to tell whether a man is faithful or not through courtship and interviews. So long as women see marriage as something to be entered into on feelings, and exited lightly, children will be raised fatherless. It doesn’t help that we are subsidizing single motherhood with welfare and divorce courts that typically reward the the partner who initiates divorce (usually the woman). We could repeal no-fault divorce and single mother welfare, but again, the left opposes both of these things.
Leftist policies create the gun violence problem
As I’ve discussed before, the common denominator in all violent crime is that the violent criminal is male, and grew up without a father. The left pretends to be concerned with this, but they are not willing to address the root causes of the problem. They want more daycare, and they want it taxpayer-funded. They want universal pre-K, and they want it taxpayer-funded. They want to keep no-fault divorce, because it’s just too much work for women to make wise choices in how they make sexual choices and who they marry. And they want more and more welfare for single mothers, because women who have babies before they have husbands should be rewarded by taxpayers who made better decisions. People on the left want to subsidize fatherlessness, in short. And whatever you subsidize, you get more of.
Fatherlessness is the root cause of crime and mass murders, and the left doesn’t care about solving the real problem. It’s ironic that the left looks to government to solve the problem that government has actually created, by destroying marriage and the family unit.
I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at a recent research paper on father absence. My purpose in posting this study is to remind people to think about what children need when making relationship decisions. Fathers are more of a necessity for children than a nice-to-have.
The paper about a large-scale study was posted at NCBI NIH.
The abstract says:
The literature on father absence is frequently criticized for its use of cross-sectional data and methods that fail to take account of possible omitted variable bias and reverse causality. We review studies that have responded to this critique by employing a variety of innovative research designs to identify the causal effect of father absence, including studies using lagged dependent variable models, growth curve models, individual fixed effects models, sibling fixed effects models, natural experiments, and propensity score matching models. Our assessment is that studies using more rigorous designs continue to find negative effects of father absence on offspring well-being, although the magnitude of these effects is smaller than what is found using traditional cross-sectional designs. The evidence is strongest and most consistent for outcomes such as high school graduation, children’s social-emotional adjustment, and adult mental health.
I was curious to see what specific problems fatherlessness causes for children, according to this redo of previous studies.
The conclusion explains:
The body of knowledge about the causal effects of father absence on child well-being has grown during the early twenty-first century as researchers have increasingly adopted innovative methodological approaches to isolate causal effects. We reviewed 47 such articles and find that, on the whole, articles that take one of the more rigorous approaches to handling the problems of omitted variable bias and reverse causality continue to document negative effects of father absence on child well-being, though these effects are stronger during certain stages of the life course and for certain outcomes.
We find strong evidence that father absence negatively affects children’s social-emotional development, particularly by increasing externalizing behavior. These effects may be more pronounced if father absence occurs during early childhood than during middle childhood, and they may be more pronounced for boys than for girls. There is weaker evidence of an effect of father absence on children’s cognitive ability.
Effects on social-emotional development persist into adolescence, for which we find strong evidence that father absence increases adolescents’ risky behavior, such as smoking or early childbearing. The evidence of an effect on adolescent cognitive ability continues to be weaker, but we do find strong and consistent negative effects of father absence on high school graduation. The latter finding suggests that the effects on educational attainment operate by increasing problem behaviors rather than by impairing cognitive ability.
The research base examining the longer-term effects of father absence on adult outcomes is considerably smaller, but here too we see the strongest evidence for a causal effect on adult mental health, suggesting that the psychological harms of father absence experienced during childhood persist throughout the life course. The evidence that father absence affects adult economic or family outcomes is much weaker. A handful of studies find negative effects on employment in adulthood, but there is little consistent evidence of negative effects on marriage or divorce, on income or earnings, or on college education.
Despite the robust evidence that father absence affects social-emotional outcomes throughout the life course, these studies also clearly show a role for selection in the relationship between family structure and child outcomes. In general, estimates from IFE, SFE, and PSM models are smaller than those from conventional models that do not control for selection bias. Similarly, studies that compare parental death and divorce often find that even if both have significant effects on well-being, the estimates of the effect of divorce are larger than those of parental death, which can also be read as evidence of partial selection.
Right now, we’re living in a time where people think that it’s ok to do whatever they feel like doing. People seem to treat relationships as if they are meant to provide the grown-ups with satisfaction, and the needs of the children are often neglected. Any kind of warning or appeal to evidence is dismissed by those who want to bend and break the rules.
Well, when you take a look at the studies, you actually find that there are rules about how to go about relationships in order to achieve results. It seems to me that children’s needs ought to be an important consideration when making relationship decisions. Men shouldn’t have babies with bad mothers, and women shouldn’t have babies with bad fathers. It ought to be an important criterion for choosing a mate and conducting a relationship: are we making decisions protecting children and giving them what they need?
And it turns out that there are studies that tell you how to prepare for making a stable commitment, too. Like this one, which found that the number of premarital sex partners reduces relationship stability and quality. This is just an example, there are many more studies that provide a lot more information about how to do things right.
I think today, people want to make decisions about what to do based on feelings. If it feels good, do it. But this approach doesn’t work anywhere in life. It doesn’t work when choosing a major, when choosing a job, when choosing how to spend money. It just never works. Nothing useful is ever achieved by putting feelings above reason and evidence.
People shouldn’t be surprised when they break the rules and then get negative outcomes. It just takes a little reading first to find out what is likely to work and what isn’t. There are real victims to bad decisions. There are mistakes that can’t be fixed with happy talk and a positive attitude. We seem to have gotten addicted to the idea that every damaging mistake can be fixed by making everyone around say happy words about the mistake. But the truth is that when you make bad decisions, the damage exists independently of what people say about it.
It’s not the mean people making moral judgments that causes fatherless kids to have higher anxiety or be more violent or get pregnant earlier or abuse drugs. It’s the fatherlessness. The only hope that children have to avoid the consequences of bad decisions by parents is for the moral people to set boundaries and teach moral wisdom with evidence.
What is the root cause of criminal behavior? This article by sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox, who points out the link between fatherlessness and crime.
The article appears in National Review, now available on the AEI web site.
From Adam Lanza, who killed 26 children and adults a year ago at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., to Karl Pierson, who shot a teenage girl and killed himself this past Friday at Arapahoe High in Centennial, Colo., one common and largely unremarked thread tying together most of the school shooters that have struck the nation in the last year is that they came from homes marked by divorce or an absent father. From shootings at MIT (i.e., theTsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s “list of U.S. school attacks” involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.
[…]The social scientific evidence about the connection between violence and broken homes could not be clearer. My own research suggests that boys living in single mother homes are almost twice as likely to end up delinquent compared to boys who enjoy good relationships with their father. Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson has written that “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.” His views are echoed by the eminent criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, who have written that “such family measures as the percentage of the population divorced, the percentage of households headed by women, and the percentage of unattached individuals in the community are among the most powerful predictors of crime rates.”
Why is fatherlessness such a big deal for our boys (almost all of these incidents involve boys)? Putting the argument positively, sociologist David Popenoe notes that “fathers are important to their sons as role models. They are important for maintaining authority and discipline. And they are important in helping their sons to develop both self-control and feelings of empathy toward others, character traits that are found to be lacking in violent youth.” Boys, then, who did not grow up with an engaged, attentive, and firm father are more vulnerable to getting swept up in the Sturm und Drang of adolescence and young adulthood, and in the worst possible way.
So where do fatherless children come from? It turns out that government programs incentivize women to make them.
Dr. Michael Tanner of the libertarian Cato Institute explains how welfare causes fatherlessness in his testimony to Congress:
Welfare contributes to crime in several ways. First, children from single-parent families are more likely to become involved in criminal activity. According to one study, children raised in single-parent families are one-third more likely to exhibit anti-social behavior.(3) Moreover, O’Neill found that, holding other variables constant, black children from single- parent households are twice as likely to commit crimes as black children from a family where the father is present. Nearly 70 percent of juveniles in state reform institutions come from fatherless homes, as do 43 percent of prison inmates.(4) Research indicates a direct correlation between crime rates and the number of single-parent families in a neighborhood.(5)
As Barbara Dafoe Whitehead noted in her seminal article for The Atlantic Monthly:
The relationship [between single-parent families and crime] is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature. The nation’s mayors, as well as police officers, social workers, probation officers, and court officials, consistently point to family break up as the most important source of rising rates of crime.(6)
At the same time, the evidence of a link between the availability of welfare and out-of-wedlock births is overwhelming. There have been 13 major studies of the relationship between the availability of welfare benefits and out-of-wedlock birth. Of these, 11 found a statistically significant correlation. Among the best of these studies is the work done by June O’Neill for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Holding constant a wide range of variables, including income, education, and urban vs. suburban setting, the study found that a 50 percent increase in the value of AFDC and foodstamp payments led to a 43 percent increase in the number of out-of-wedlock births.(7) Likewise, research by Shelley Lundberg and Robert Plotnick of the University of Washington showed that an increase in welfare benefits of $200 per month per family increased the rate of out-of-wedlock births among teenagers by 150 percent.(8)
The same results can be seen from welfare systems in other countries. For example, a recent study of the impact of Canada’s social-welfare system on family structure concluded that “providing additional benefits to single parents encourages births of children to unwed women.”(9)
The secular left in this country believes that fathers need to be separated away from their children, and that’s why they support welfare programs that redirect money from husbands in intact families to single mothers. They believe that fathers are harmful because they set boundaries on children, and judge them and punish them when they act immorally. To the secular left, boundaries, judgments and punishments on children are bad, and must be stopped. So how can the secular left discourage men from marrying and teaching their own children morality? Well, they can tax married men, and they can give the money to single mothers.
Not only is crime caused by fatherlessness, but poverty is. as well.
Here is Dr. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation to explain:
Census data and the Fragile Families survey show that marriage can be extremely effective in reducing child poverty. But the positive effects of married fathers are not limited to income alone. Children raised by married parents have substantially better life outcomes compared to similar children raised in single-parent homes.
When compared to children in intact married homes, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; be expelled from school; and drop out of high school. Many of these negative outcomes are associated with the higher poverty rates of single mothers. In many cases, however, the improvements in child well-being that are associated with marriage persist even after adjusting for differences in family income. This indicates that the father brings more to his home than just a paycheck.
The effect of married fathers on child outcomes can be quite pronounced. For example, examination of families with the same race and same parental education shows that, when compared to intact married families, children from single-parent homes are:
- More than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime;
- Twice as likely to be treated for emotional and behavioral problems;
- Roughly twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school; and
- A third more likely to drop out before completing high school.
The effects of being raised in a single-parent home continue into adulthood. Comparing families of the same race and similar incomes, children from broken and single-parent homes are three times more likely to end up in jail by the time they reach age 30 than are children raised in intact married families.  Compared to girls raised in similar married families, girls from single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to have a child without being married, thereby repeating the negative cycle for another generation.
Finally, the decline of marriage generates poverty in future generations. Children living in single-parent homes are 50 percent more likely to experience poverty as adults when compared to children from intact married homes. This intergenerational poverty effect persists even after adjusting for the original differences in family income and poverty during childhood.
People on the left claim that poverty causes crime, but they don’t look for the root cause of poverty. The root cause of poverty is the decline of marriage, which produces fatherless children.