Marriage a mark of privilege?

Pre-posting edit: Dalrock has come out with a post on the same topic while I was writing this. My take is different than Dal’s as he looks at a few different factors, whereas I’m looking at some of the roots.

This article from the NT times on marriage as a mark of privilege.

Fewer Americans are marrying over all, and whether they do so is more tied to socioeconomic status than ever before. In recent years, marriage has sharply declined among people without college degrees, while staying steady among college graduates with higher incomes.

Currently, 26 percent of poor adults, 39 percent of working-class adults and 56 percent of middle- and upper-class adults ages 18 to 55 are married, according to a research brief published from two think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute and Opportunity America.

In 1990, more than half of adults were married, with much less difference based on class and education: 51 percent of poor adults, 57 percent of working-class adults and 65 percent of middle- and upper-class adults were married.

A big reason for the decline: Unemployed men are less likely to be seen as marriage material.

“Women don’t want to take a risk on somebody who’s not going to be able to provide anything,” said Sharon Sassler, a sociologist at Cornell who published “Cohabitation Nation: Gender, Class, and the Remaking of Relationships” with Amanda Jayne Miller last month.

As marriage has declined, though, childbearing has not, which means that more children are living in families without two parents and the resources they bring.

In the article, they make the case that these are the reasons for the decline in marriage among the poor(er).

  1. Unemployed men/Economy — less providers
  2. Education — those with college degrees are more likely to be forward thinking and delay child birthing, whereas poorer people are more likely to cohabitate and have out of wedlock children
  3. Economy — automation killing jobs, bad economy increases bad moral values such as alcoholism and addiction to drugs due to unemployment
  4. Collateral: Men feel it’s important to be a provider
  5. Collateral: Women see divorce and realize that they need to be able to support themselves
  6. Debate — left says economic, right says cultural values; article says it’s both

Marriage, in general, is not a mark of so-called “privilege.”

I don’t think the elites really care what happens to marriage all that much because they don’t believe there’s any inherent value to it. Most of the elite of the elite — those rich enough to afford housekeepers, nannies, cooks, and so on — don’t give a crap about “providership” or “protectorship” or “leadership” or any of the other Biblical components of marriage AND they don’t care about the ‘secular’ reasons for marriage either. They can just throw money at problems to make them go away, so why would they care about what other people are doing in the first place?

In general, they’re more concerned about preserving their way of life, which means lobbying for laws that support increasing their wealth, power, or status. Marriage doesn’t have much to do in that circle, except for a few where marriage helps out in terms of say politics. The rest can just marry and divorce and they won’t even take a huge hit even if they get taken for 50% divorce at the cleaners. They can remarry anyway if need be, and there’s always enough women clamoring to be a trophy wife.

Overall, the elites only participate when it’s in their best interest.

The article did not go into other incentives to avoid marriage such as:

  • Feminism — Wives power grabbing in marriage
  • Feminism — Divorce rape. Men being taken to the cleaners in marriage for 50% of everything AND the children
  • Feminism — Disrespect for husbands and fathers
  • Feminism — Women being pushed to be like men in the workplace and at home
  • Feminism — Women pushed to be independent. Doesn’t work for marriages.
  • Feminism — Feminism – encouraging female sexual immorality especially by promoting contraception and abortion.
  • Lack of fatherhood leading to broken homes and poorer outcomes

Of course, no tradcon or leftist is going to criticize feminism, so not surprised at all.

In general, no one is going to have high commitment toward something they see as a terrible deal for themselves. There’s very little secular incentives toward marriage. Additionally, the Church is not holding up the standards of the Scripture to give Christian men and women the proper incentives toward it as well.

Marriage works because it’s beautiful when it’s modeled after Christ and the Church (morally, economically, functionally, etc.). Another problem is that there are virtually no marriages like that anymore: the only thing left is sinfulness, ugliness, and brokenness. It’s no surprise that most people are opting out, but they are only perpetuating the downward spiral with cohabitation, out of wedlock births, and fatherlessness.

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11 Responses to Marriage a mark of privilege?

  1. earlthomas786 says:

    If you also want to add…

    Feminism – encouraging female sexual immorality especially by promoting contraception and abortion

    I still think that is one of the biggest roots of it all.

  2. @ earl

    Oops, forgot that one. Adding. Thanks

  3. The chemical contraceptive aspect is a lot bigger at the societal level than the individual, which is why it’s easy to miss. Most things that adjust “tastes” at the marginal level causes self-selection effects. These are very hard to notice. You avoid the things that cause you trouble, without really knowing why. You end up rationalizing instinctive issues and never think about it again.

    There’s a couple of issues with the Elites.

    1) Marriage has always been a Contract. It’s not a moral force.
    2) Elites have ways of dealing with problems that would destroy most non-Elites.
    3) They’re part of a “global” class, now, so they’ve picked up all of the negative traits from around the world.

    Generally, they’re a hair smarter than normal and most of their “Eliteness” comes down to assumptions from things they were taught at a young age. However, the Class has been getting less & less competent for a long while. If you have the misfortune of dealing with them much, you’ll find they’re highly ambition but pathetic people with a very strong set of fine-scale skills.

    This is the reason they can’t see the problems of the rest of the country. (This is a problem extending across most elites in most of the world right now.) They’re in the grip of Utopian thinking. Beyond just being anti-Christian, it’s also anti-Reality. They tell people to do things they refuse to do themselves.

  4. dfdfsfsf says:

    Elites also give a lot of out-of-touch advice on blogs.

  5. earlthomas786 says:

    The reason why elites are often out of touch is because they have the funds and the connections in the judicial system to cover up their immoral ways. The same ways that would either put you in jail or ltake part in your divorce.

  6. @ earl

    I think that was a subtle dig that bloggers such as myself are somehow ‘elite’ and therefore giving out of touch advice. Among the other troll-y types that come around here like the divorce post.

    Given that the top 1% family makes $389,436, unfortunately I am nowhere near close to there.

  7. Pingback: Contraception’s under the radar effect on divorce | Christianity and masculinity

  8. @DS:


    Also, Net Income isn’t a great measure of the 1%. After Tax Total Income or some measure is better.

  9. earlthomas786 says:

    I think that was a subtle dig that bloggers such as myself are somehow ‘elite’ and therefore giving out of touch advice.

    The out of touch elites are those who never address or take on the biggest reason why marriage is falling apart…sexual immorality, contraception, no-fault, etc.

    They harp on the economics of it…or education of the parties involved because that is all they know. They can still be generally as immoral as they want because they have the funding to cover it up or not suffer the temporal consequences as bad as someone who would do the same thing yet not be protected by money or connections.

    It was not a subtle dig at you…it was an overt dig at their blindness.

  10. Mark MacIntyre says:

    Elites care very much about marriage. Look at the top power-mongers of the world, the upper echelon politicians, the directors of banks and corporations. They stay married no matter what. Look at what happened to the Clintons. Would Bill and Hillary still be married if they were middle class? Heck no. Hillary would have taken his stuff and the kids and the media would have supported her in doing so.

    The elite stay married despite everything because empires are built by families and ruined by their division.

    As for feminism, it is a tool of the elite for dividing families and destroying morality. A weak and divided society is an easily ruled society.

  11. @ Mark MacIntyre

    I put in the exception up top for politicians. It’s a pretty well known fact you have to be married to get votes.

    Even then Bill Clinton sorta makes the point… he can go cheat on Hillary and they have to stay married if they wish to still be in politics.

    My main point is that most of the elites only care about marriage insomuch that it benefits them. If there was no downside about not being married, I don’t think most of the elites would care if they’re married. You can tell from Hillary’s body language that she hates Bill for the adultery.

    Billionaires don’t really give a crap. It’s not like a billionaires wife could divorce him to trade up. Plus they have housekeepers, nannies, and so on so they’re not really doing much of the typical ‘marriage household’ stuff anyway.

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