The hidden half of domestic violence
How to have eternal life
Losing the ties that bind
July 10, 2002
Losing the ties that bind
by Paul Craig Roberts
Whatever became of marriage? Cultural conservatives blame the decline of
marriage on the sexual revolution, which destroyed the chastity of women.
Men don't marry, say the conservatives, because sex is available outside
There is, of course, something to this view, but it is hardly the whole
story. Sex has always been available outside marriage. Call girls are
cheaper than wives, and a prostitute costs no more than a date.
Men married for love, children and family. They would still do so, only
the culture -- and women -- have changed.
When I inquire of men in their 30s why they remain unmarried, a few give
the hedonistic answer, but most deny that they are unable to make
commitments and assume responsibility. Marriage, men say, has been
undermined by a lack of female and societal commitment.
The fickleness of women, men argue, is no longer constrained by concerns
with reputation and by laws that require real grounds for breaking up a
marriage and a family.
A wife can walk out at any time -- with another man, if she wishes -- and
take your children, your house, half of your pension and half of your
income. If you make a fuss over child custody, she can gun you down with
accusations of child molestation.
Even if a father is awarded joint legal custody, the mother usually has
actual custody. It is up to her whether the father's visitation rights are
Professor Stephen Baskerville at Howard University in Washington, D.C., is
an expert on family courts. For most men, divorce and its aftermath are a
Gestapo experience. There's not a man alive who doesn't know someone who
has been through the experience. Indeed, the experience never finishes
with a man.
Men say that women's lack of commitment is evident in the fact that the
vast majority of divorces, family quarrels and acts of domestic violence
are initiated by women. Yet, from start to finish, men are regarded as the
villains. Society's image of divorce is the successful executive who dumps
his dowdy wife for a young blonde bombshell. The propaganda is ubiquitous
that domestic violence means men beating women.
Men maintain that the position of a husband in a marriage is untenable.
Formerly, there was a division of labor and authority among the spouses.
Today, working wives have financial independence, and divorce laws and
family courts give them the upper hand in any dissolution of the
relationship. Husbands know this and, consequently, have lost their share
of authority. The wife cracks the whip, and when she is no longer pleased,
she leaves with your assets.
I have listened to men debate what can be done. They doubt Baskerville
will succeed in reforming family courts and don't believe that
heterosexual men will organize politically like feminists and homosexuals.
Recently, I heard the view expressed that multiculturalism would provide a
solution. Men will return to marriage, a young man said, when the bride
brings a large dowry that remains the husband's property regardless of
what happens to the relationship. The dowry would offset the risks that
make it foolish for men to marry.
Heads nodded in agreement, but one spoke out, saying that more would need
to be imported from India's customs. He had in mind child betrothals and
child brides. It was the only way in this day and time, he said, to
acquire a wife who didn't have the sexual experience of a prostitute by
the time she reaches marriage age.
Conservatives are right -- but for the wrong reason -- that the sexual
revolution has undermined marriage. Men see women as damaged goods and
feel funny about marrying a woman who might have shared a bed with a
number of the wedding guests.
It is called the double standard, but many men believe that promiscuity
does not suit women. They believe that a woman who has had many partners
cannot bind emotionally with a husband. She is never his. The emotive ties
that bind a woman to a man are lost to professionalism or to
None of this is to deny that individual men can be jerks, neglectful and
abusive, but the decline of marriage is not caused by personalities.
Women think men don't care, but men are far more aware of the problem than
women. I was a young professor when it all started and watched a campus
turn into a brothel. The male students were perplexed, even the left-wing
ones who had been taught to regard female chastity as oppression. I still
remember the resident Marxist who, high on peyote, came to me to complain
that "nice girls are ruining themselves."
Contact Paul Craig Roberts [online form]
© 2002 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
Townhall Columnists Home: http://www.townhall.com/columnists/
Rush Limbaugh on the 'marriage strike' article [by Sacks & Thompson, below]
Cohabiting is not the same as commitment
by Karen S. Peterson -- USA Today, 08 Jul 02
A 'marriage strike' emerges as men decide not to risk loss
[Have Anti-Father Family Court Policies Led to a Men's Marriage Strike?]
[ http://www.glennsacks.com/have_antifather_family.htm ]
by Sacks & Thompson -- Philadelphia Inquirer/Sacks, 05 Jul 02
MND Radio -- Thompson & Sacks
Why men drag their feet down the aisle
by Karen S. Peterson -- USA Today, 26 Jun 02
Why Men Won't Commit [Rutgers study]
Exploring Young Men's Attitudes About Sex, Dating and Marriage
by Whitehead & Popenoe -- Rutgers, 26 Jun 02
Low Marriage, High Divorce Rate Hits Kids Hard
["new" Rutgers study in 1995]
by Reuters -- Mens Issues Page, 04 Apr 95
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