David Thompson
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June 18, 2016

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Tim Newman

What we see, basically, is that daughters are more likely to flourish educationally and even later on in life professionally, across class lines, when they’ve had an involved dad who’s engaged with them in their lives

Conversely, it is often the case that the young women who go off the rails have either had no father figure in their lives or has serious Daddy Issues with the one they've got. One of the things Chateau Heartiste is always banging on about is the importance of a decent father figure in a young girl's life to keep her away from scumbags by showing her what a decent man looks like.

Joan

Ha! Was just watching this on youtube. Penny Dreadful bangs on about poverty but advocates lifestyles that make poverty more likely.

David

Penny Dreadful bangs on about poverty but advocates lifestyles that make poverty more likely.

As lifestyle gurus go, Laurie leaves quite a lot to be desired. (See also, the left in general.) The things that Ms Penny would have her readers disdain and abandon, as both a “systemic lie” and an affront to radicalism, are in fact cultural resources, assets for living. Assets that the state can never replace. And as Mr Wilcox points out, “The data suggests that about a third of the increase in income inequality for families between the ‘70s and the 1990s was related to the retreat from marriage.”

[ Edited. ]

Watcher in the dark

As a father, I can vouch for the importance of fathers. At least, I have some importance to me so therefore, children, that goes for you too...

Mind you, I presume that Penny Plain never had a father, so I expect she saves a bunch of money every Father's Day.

David

I presume that Penny Plain never had a father,

By her own account, she had a two-parent, middle-class, quite comfortable upbringing. See also this.

Jimmy

Is there a more conformist and consistent leftist intellectual failing? Bourgeois for me, but not for thee!

David

Bourgeois for me, but not for thee!

As discussed in the previous thread, Laurie’s own education, career and globe-trotting adventures would have been much less likely without the bourgeois values and upbringing that she publicly disdains and urges others to abandon.

TheTooner

"...By her own account, she had a two-parent, middle-class, quite comfortable upbringing."

Is there any reason to believe what she ever says is true?

PiperPaul

"I presume that Penny Plain never had a father"

Might she have been extruded? Or perhaps assembled from equal parts of noise, bluster, outrage and pretence? [ Please feel free to add your own guess at possible raw material ingredients ]

jabrwok

I'll have to watch this when I get get back home (gotta get the morning run done). I do wonder why "patriarchy" is so often reviled as a bad thing. Rule by fathers (patri = father, archy = govern) has historically worked out really well. And marriage, by restricting a woman's sexual activity to one man, ensures that fatherhood is a recognized, sociological phenomenon rather than simply a matter of opinion. If a man has no idea that he's a father (or "baby-daddy" in the modern, ghetto parlance) because he's just one of a woman's stable of sex-partners, why should he care about a woman and her spawn? If men don't care about women and their children, where's our incentive to do all the Dirty Jobs necessary to build and maintain a better world?

David

Incidentally, the adverts mentioned in the interview – the ones that don’t portray dads as incompetent, irrelevant or buffoonish – can be seen here, here and here.

BackwardsBoy

Please feel free to add your own guess at possible raw material ingredients

I doubt any sugar and/or spice were involved.

R. Sherman

Conversely, it is often the case that the young women who go off the rails have either had no father figure in their lives or has serious Daddy Issues with the one they've got.

I've often wondered how much of this "fathers are meaningless/marriage is oppression" stuff is due to the fact that the purveyors of same only associate with people from dysfunctional backgrounds, i.e. no father or one who is a shit. Do they even know someone who's life experience includes a loving, involved dad? If they do know such people, then how much of their vitriol is simply a desire to destroy institutions which failed them simply in order to make sure everyone shares their misery?

David

Mr Wilcox’s paper, For Richer, For Poorer: How Family Structures Economic Success in America, can be read here.

David

If they do know such people, then how much of their vitriol is simply a desire to destroy institutions which failed them simply in order to make sure everyone shares their misery?

Laurie’s status and career, and that of other self-imagined revolutionaries of the left, depend on the resentment and disaffection of others, and of course credulity. It’s what they feed on. Our supposedly radical gurus have little to gain from successful, functional people with a grip on their own lives. And they have no incentive to offer advice that would result in more functionality and success.

There’s also, I think, a conceit – fashionable among such people – that a dysfunctional life, a life at the margins, teetering on the brink of poverty - is somehow more “authentic,” more real, than the lives of those more comfortable, more suited to the task of living. As Theodore Dalrymple noted, this conceit tends to go hand in hand with a belief that bourgeois prosperity and success are something to be ashamed of, and disdainful of, as if they could only be a result of injustice and oppression.

Sort-of-Mad Max

HAH! This 'data and correlations' you h8rs worship are INTRINSICALLY PATRIARCHICAL!

I won't bother to explain this to you sexist creeps, so JUST SHUT UP!

/makes jazz hands, stomps off to brew wild-flower tea/

Fred the Fourth

David: I like your point about life at the margins etc.
I've noted in many acquaintances a need to be (or be seen) taking risks. Some try to start a business. Some try for that Phd in physics. Some try to climb el Capitan. Some go to extremes, and put unconventional materials in a heap on a floor, or even dance wearing black leggings.
"Look at me. I am different. I am struggling. I am at risk."

David

your point about life at the margins

I’ve no reason to doubt that, say, taking up skydiving can offer some rather intense experiences and maybe a heightened sense of being alive. But having been poor and having lived precariously, I can’t say that being skint made life seem any more real than at other times. Often quite the opposite. And it scarcely needs saying that low-budget living and borderline squalor very often result in quite a lot of tedium and resignation.

Fred the Fourth

There's a line in Dick Francis' "Longshot" where a wealthy successful author chides the protagonist, a barely-surviving author, for being "unaware of the redemptive nature of poverty."
My own idea is more in line with your comment.

Fred the Fourth

(Damn. Now I have to think of something disagreeable to say...)

jabrwok

Well, I've watched the videos now. I notice the word "welfare" never entered the discussion, but (I believe) it's a fundamental reason marriage is in such dire straits nowadays. When it's more cost-effective for a woman to bear children out of wedlock and then go to the State for support rather than to the father (if she even knows who he is), then more and more women will choose that route.

Add to that factor the abusive treatment of men in divorce courts, and many men, who've seen it happen to their own fathers, or the fathers of their friends, will simply opt out rather than face the risk of losing their children, their homes, and a big chunk of their future incomes to women who decided to Eat, Pray, and Love Someone Else.

Interesting interviews, but I really think they were soft-pedaling the issue in a lot of ways.

PiperPaul

"Some try to climb el Capitan"

Well, I 'upgraded' and am now suffering, struggling and somewhat at risk too, due to frequent kernel panics and it also killed my external back up drive.

So, in a way you could say I'm oppressed by shitlords and this new insufferable existence of mine is worse than Hitler.

Fred the Fourth

Piper, your backup got trashed cuz you forgot the First Rule of Test: Always mount a scratch monkey.
(Upgraded to what? The last OS I really liked was SunOS with X on top, circa 1990.)

jones

Wilcox is a white male.

I'll bet he's a prot too.

Hal

The last OS I really liked was SunOS with X on top, circa 1990.)

PCBSD does rather well.

Pop it in, continue on with whatever else, not have to worry about invasive upgrades based strictly upon some corporate account executive's fantasies of a bottom line . . .

PiperPaul

[ I cloned Mavericks to SuperDuper and then went up El Capitan. But my other external disk did go bad shortly after. PCBSD looks interesting. ]

dicentra

What we see, basically, is that daughters are more likely to flourish educationally and even later on in life professionally, across class lines, when they’ve had an involved dad who’s engaged with them in their lives

I have flourished educationally and professionally. I had a father in the home while growing up, and my mom stayed home with us until after I (the oldest) went to college (and she worked to help pay for it).

My father was emotionally abusive because he had NPD, but I STILL benefited categorically from having a father in the home.

I grew up in a home where someone got up every day to go to work, whether he wanted to or not. (My dad was raised on a farm: his work ethic was impeccable even if he was an emotional chipper-shredder.)

I grew up in a home where I was expected to do well in school, and I lived in a neighborhood where all the other parents expected the same of their kids.

I was never exposed to gangs or drugs or any other toxins so common in some neighborhoods.

Does that mean that I was raised in a privileged environment?

You're damned right I was, and my ancestors busted their keisters to make sure I had what I had.

That makes me GRATEFUL, not guilty. Anyone who works as assiduously as the left to deprive others of the kind of upbringing I had should be taken out and horsewhipped.

Right now.

dicentra

I've often wondered how much of this "fathers are meaningless/marriage is oppression" stuff is due to the fact that the purveyors of same only associate with people from dysfunctional backgrounds

Some might, but the end game here is explicitly the expansion of State power over individual lives, and the primary obstacle to that degree of power is the family.

Notice that in all the dystopian novels people are raised not in families but in labs or state-run institutions.

Healthy families churn out people who are ill-fitted for being cogs in State machinery. Churches and private civic organizations (Rotary, Lion's club) shore up the family and so they must also be destroyed to be supplanted by the Omnipotent State.

Laurie probably DID grow up in a middle-class, two-parent family, which means that she's a rotten little shit by choice.

dicentra

this conceit tends to go hand in hand with a belief that bourgeois prosperity and success are something to be ashamed of, and disdainful of, as if they could only be a result of injustice and oppression.

And the only way to right that wrong is to take TOTAL CONTROL of everyone and everything.

Evan Sayet, call your office.

HGS

she's a rotten little shit by choice

Always keep this in mind, it may help explain many people and many ideas.

David

Anyone who works as assiduously as the left to deprive others of the kind of upbringing I had should be taken out and horsewhipped. Right now.

It’s where vanity meets vandalism. So a pelting with soft fruit at the very least.

Laurie probably DID grow up in a middle-class, two-parent family, which means that she’s a rotten little shit by choice.

I’m still trying to process something Laurie wrote in her recent article, in which she describes attending a lover’s wedding celebrations:

Next week, one of my partners is getting married, and this week I went to his stag night as part of the groom’s party. I’m happy for him, and for his fiancée… I love weddings. I love watching people I’m fond of build a future together, however they choose to organise it, and I also love getting dressed up and drunk on cheap champagne with their mad relatives. There’s not a lot I’d rather do than be a wedding-guest for a weekend – it’s just that I also happen to believe in dismantling the social and economic institutions of marriage and family.

Setting aside the ostentatious quirk of attending the wedding of one of one’s own multiple, non-exclusive lovers – how terribly modern - there’s an air of dissonance. I’ve attended several weddings and generally had a good time, even felt a little touched. But I’ve never done so while denouncing all marriage – including, presumably, the one I’m attending – as a “small, ugly ambition,” an act of “oppression,” as Laurie does, and while publicly disdaining the participants’ feelings of love as “a systemic lie designed to manipulate women into lifelong emotional labour.” The dogmatic, rather adolescent denunciation seems ill-suited to the spirit of the event she’s attending.

Rafi

it’s just that I also happen to believe in dismantling the social and economic institutions of marriage and family.

The 'just' is doing a lot of work there.

Tim Newman

Setting aside the ostentatious quirk of attending the wedding of one of one’s own multiple, non-exclusive lovers...

Oh boy. I'm deadfully sorry to keep banging on about this, but the similarities with my pal "Angela" just keep piling up: her own wedding (or what passed for it, it was a gaggle of weirdos in a park reading off scraps of paper) was attended by her other lover (man), his wife, her other lover (woman), and her husband's other lover (woman). And those were only the ones I could identify from the photos. Sadly, the other lover who was back in her home country probably couldn't make it. Nor, inexplicably, could any of her family.

This is attention-seeking, nothing more. It's "look at us, look how *radical* we are" because they have no other means of standing out from the crowd (say, by achieving something worthwhile).

Tim Newman

Oh, and I should probably mention that I am now 90% sure that her intention was to get me involved in one of these open relationships. I've done some weird shit in my time, I'm generally more open-minded than most, and I'm a glutton for punishment but there is *no fucking way* could I be in an intimate sexual relationship with a woman and be able to hand her over to somebody else when it was "their turn". I wouldn't care how many Maria Sharapovas I was able to keep on the go as the flip side to this arrangement, I just couldn't do it.

David

I just couldn’t do it.

But Laurie tells us, repeatedly and with an air of great earnestness, that “love needs to be freed from the confines of the traditional, monogamous, nuclear family.” Anything else is oppressive, an affront to both womanhood and radicalism, says she. Because the repeated swapping of multiple, transient partners is never, ever a recipe for insecurity and neurosis. It’s the only way to be “free,” apparently. At least until someone gets pregnant and the arguments begin.

Though the fact that Laurie says so many things with the same, rather implausible, air of earnestness – as if desperate to be believed – makes me think one shouldn’t take her seriously about anything.

james

Question: is marriage in the West now simply a marker for couples who already possess the characteristics which produce stable, mutually-supportive relationships and children who are capable of doing likewise in their turn? Or, more succinctly, is it causation or correlation?

Tim Newman

Because the repeated swapping of multiple, transient partners is never, ever a recipe for insecurity and neurosis.

Although "Angela" angrily defended polyamory to the hilt, even she conceded that it usually doesn't work out well in practice and all sorts of petty jealousies come to the fore. Speaking to others about it, she says one of the downsides is that despite the claims that people can love others equally, it often ends up with a man or a woman being No.2 with several partners and No.1 with nobody. And this leads to bitterness and insecurity. I think that's what happened with Angela, she got married thinking she'd be No.1 and turned out to be No.2 (or possibly even further down the list). It really is quite something to see a grown woman complain that she was "supposed to be No.1 because I was his wife, but he spent all the time with this other woman who was my friend". It took a few slugs of Gentleman Jack Daniels for me to take it all in, let me tell you. Speaking to others, they say it often ends up that one partner gets all the fun and sex while the other gets the emotional shit and the headaches. None of which is particularly surprising. She also said it left her unable to have sex for years - even with her husband - without a condom. Initially he was her "safe" partner, but it turned out he was not using protection with others, leaving her paranoid about HIV.

Angela's official reason for allegedly quitting the practice was the logistics are a nightmare: the ground rules say no partner can be left alone while the other is off shagging, so in order to spend a night with somebody each person needs to make sure their regular partner is similarly catered for. She said it was a full-time operation, "totally exhausting, especially with a job", and eventually she got tired of it. I could well believe all this was true, but I was never quite convinced this was a proper explanation as to why she quit polyamory (and now I am fairly certain she hadn't). What I would like to have asked, but alas never got the chance, is who takes responsibility for the laundry what with all the different partners coming (ooh-er) and going. I initially thought the washing machine would be going full-time, and then I realised that this lot probably don't bother. Yuck.

In any event, when she first brought it up I asked her how many of the people she was in this relationship with are still married or with the same person. She immediately told me they all were, but alas that turned out to be a lie. All the partners got divorced or split up, with her own marriage lasting just 2 years having gone off the rails *before* the wedding, but Angela insisted that the polyamory aspect had "nothing to do with anyone splitting up".

David

All the partners got divorced or split up, with her own marriage lasting just 2 years having gone off the rails *before* the wedding, but Angela insisted that the polyamory aspect had “nothing to do with anyone splitting up”.

I’m now breathing into a paper bag, such was the shock.

Question: is marriage in the West now simply a marker for couples who already possess the characteristics which produce stable, mutually-supportive relationships and children who are capable of doing likewise in their turn? Or, more succinctly, is it causation or correlation?

Good question. Sadly, I’m heading out of town in a bit and can’t throw together an adequate reply in the time available. Maybe others here will.

Theophrastus

Fools like Laurie are made when neurosis meets an ideology that justifies the neurosis. So, for example, a teenage girl rebels against her daddy, and then comes across some rhetoric about the family being a patriarchal conspiracy. Thus she forms a hostility to the institution of the family, and then, as this assumption deepens her alienation, she is tempted to conclude that all institutions are oppressive, that 'freedom' and 'autonomy' can only be achieved by withdrawing from the old, oppressive, capitalist and patriarchal institutions - because somehow the individual is prior to all social institutions. And, at university and elsewhere, she will find spurious ideological justifications for this radical liberationist smorgasbord of marxism, existentialism and feminism, which ossifies into worship of negation - a pan-galactic spirit of opposition to the status quo.

Most adolescents go through a phase of rebellion against parental authority. Unless they are very neurotic - and Laurie with her eating disorder was very neurotic - most soon grow out of it. I remember my daughter aged 17 screaming at me that I was a fascist because I would not let her go out in red stilletoes. But that soon passed; and, happily married and prosperous, she now cringes with embarrassment at the memory of her teenage self.

David

she now cringes with embarrassment at the memory of her teenage self.

There’s the nub of something there. I look back at some of my teenage bluster and behaviour and for the most part it’s both comical and mortifying. And yet some people evidently get stuck there, emotionally, psychologically, excusing their mindset with ever more perverse and implausible, and rather desperate, rationalisations.

Right. Many miles away, a barbecue awaits, and hopefully some good weather. Play nicely. And for God’s sake, use coasters.

Tim Newman

Most adolescents go through a phase of rebellion against parental authority. Unless they are very neurotic - and Laurie with her eating disorder was very neurotic - most soon grow out of it. I remember my daughter aged 17 screaming at me that I was a fascist because I would not let her go out in red stilletoes. But that soon passed; and, happily married and prosperous, she now cringes with embarrassment at the memory of her teenage self.

Yeah, this is absolutely crucial, and worthy of an essay in itself. We *all* act like idiots when we're young, and we all did shameful or stupid things: I have a ludicrous tattoo of what looks like a farting cartoon bird on my shoulder which I thought was awesome - when I was 19. By 25 I wish I didn't have it, by now it serves as a useful reminder of the folly of youth. Learning from these stupid mistakes and looking back with embarrassment is an essential part of growing up and learning to exercise proper judgement and tact and accumulating wisdom. I always thought it was good that English girls get their hearts broken by a cad in university when they are 21 because by the time they reach 27-28 they know what an asshole looks and sounds like.

The problem I have with Penny - and Angela and her mates - is not their past, but the fact they don't look back with shame or embarrassment on certain episodes and haven't learned a damned thing, which means their judgement is still flawed, more mistakes will be made, and a train-wreck beckons. You can make mistakes at 20-25 and recover, past 30 and this stuff starts to have a lifelong impact. These people, as you say, have never grown up.

And yet some people evidently get stuck there, emotionally, psychologically, excusing their mindset with ever more perverse and implausible, and rather desperate, rationalisations.

Yes, this. This times a million. This is Angela in a nutshell. Who knew this site would be so therapeutic? David will be sending an invoice at this rate.

Theophrastus

"I'm deadfully sorry to keep banging on about this"

Don't be, Tim. It's fascinating and instructive.

Incidentally, my wife and I knew another couple who divorced in their 50s after their business failed. She developed an eating disorder (which we helped her overcome) and also started to visit swingers clubs (which we tried to discourage). She tried to persuade my wife and me (unsuccessfully) to have a threesome with her, and she sent us articles and links denouncing monogamy. She had a stable of non-exclusive lovers, and she told us she was happy and fulfilled. Then an old flame from university appeared, and within months they were married. Now, she looks back on her post-divorce behaviour with horror.

sk60

Play nicely. And for God’s sake, use coasters.

*starts working on combination to liquor cabinet*

Tim Newman

Incidentally, my wife and I knew another couple who divorced in their 50s after their business failed. She developed an eating disorder (which we helped her overcome) and also started to visit swingers clubs (which we tried to discourage).

The thing is, I kind of get this. I could envisage somebody after 10+ years of marriage seeking some sort of adventure, even if they quickly change their mind once reality hits. What I don't get is a woman in her 20s thinking this is what she really wants, i.e. to be passed around among a bunch of middle-aged men like a sex toy. Sure, I get a 21 year old girl falling in love with a 40 year old guy, particularly if he is a smart, successful, alpha male. I could also see her wanting to please him by going to orgies, etc. What I can't fathom is a 21 year old girl - or even somebody like Penny - choosing polyamory with people who - let's be honest, I've seen the pics and skimmed the biographies - are not exactly a girl's dream, and then defending these choices a decade later. The best explanation I could come up with is that a combination of their personalities and physical appearance means this is probably all they can get, coupled with low-self esteem and other issues which probably ought to have been addressed. And if not, and they really do want to live this life and all the mental gymnastics which it entails, I hope they stay well away from me.

Tim Newman

Groan. Trust me to fuck up the HTML tags when David is reinforcing the patriarchy by attending a barbecue.

PiperPaul

"I have a ludicrous tattoo of what looks like a farting cartoon bird"

We need a photo.

Jonathan

@dicentra

Some might, but the end game here is explicitly the expansion of State power over individual lives, and the primary obstacle to that degree of power is the family.

I'd recommend reading The Whisperers by Orlando Figes. It details the Soviet Unions undermining of family life right from its inception. Many of the same policies i.e the insistence on both parents working and the takeover of childcare by the state from an early age, have been implemented in much of the West.

Theophrastus

"...past 30 and this stuff starts to have a lifelong impact."

Yes, it starts to have a lifelong impact after 30; but apparently sensible people can go off-the-rails at any age and then pick themselves up and get back on track, as the woman I mentioned above managed to do. The road to maturity is often crooked, but personal redemption and self-forgiveness always remain possible. As for Laurie, despite her protestations, I wouldn't be hugely surprised if she eventually married a fellow nose-picking lefty and moderated her views, though at present she looks like she's heading for an embittered old age (or even mental collapse or suicide). Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first drive mad.

R. Sherman

Some might, but the end game here is explicitly the expansion of State power over individual lives, and the primary obstacle to that degree of power is the family.

There is no question that that's true. My point is, these "Tumblr-inas" who loudly denounce marriage and the family are not part of the "Inner Party." They're simply idiots who cite each other's blog posts. It seems inconceivable to me that they could go through life and never encounter one (or more) stable, happy families, even if those families were not their own.

PiperPaul

"They're simply idiots who cite each other's blog posts."

I think it was David who wrote something here recently that is very insightful and important (and now saved in my files for later plagiarization):

"You can't talk them out of positions they didn't arrive at on their own."

Geezer

Trust me to fuck up the HTML tags when David is reinforcing the patriarchy by attending a barbecue.

As David likes to say: "'Preview' is your friend."

Hal

Question: is marriage in the West now simply a marker for couples who already possess the characteristics which produce stable, mutually-supportive relationships and children who are capable of doing likewise in their turn? Or, more succinctly, is it causation or correlation?

My observation is that there isn't any linking of any factors at all, so that occasionally parallel occurrences wind up irrelevant.

Among the easy examples of variations are:
The repeated citations of Penny's background . . .

Going back a few posts, R. Sherman told of a stated single mother who winds up with a collection of kids. The result? . . . all whom she put through college and all of whom have significant careers and families of their own.

In my case, I was bred by a pair of psychopaths so that they could collect the social benefits of claiming to be parents while utterly, emphatically, never actually being parents, i.e. those that care for and raise a child. ---Those noting R. Shermans' example may try an easy claim of a faith based background, but that doesn't correlate at all either: The things that bred me have a history of decades of being involved in a local church, because at the time it was the social thing to be seen doing. These days, the same sort of psychopaths prolly wouldn't even bother.

I know a number of people who got married, had kids, raised the kids, and totally in contrast to the breeders which spawned me, are parents. I know a number of people who had sex, a kid resulted, the kid got or is getting raised, somewhere there is a parent raising the kid, regardless of who is married or not.

With the variations that occur, claims can be and are getting made, but regarding such terms as marriage, parent, father, mother, adopt, absent parent, Etc., there is zero correlation connecting the presence or absence of any of such terms and any results.

There is an ongoing history of people growing up successfully and then again there is also the history of people growing up otherwise. Whatever the patterns or correlations, they lie elsewhere.

Fred the Fourth

Tim,
I happen to be right now working to try to help a young close relative who is in a poly relationship, along with other serious psychological stresses. I am not in despair. Yet.
Reading you helps. Odd, that.

David

[ Host returns from agreeable afternoon of wine and gorging. Eyes suspicious stains on upholstery and notes evidence of another doomed attempt to unlock the liquor cabinet, thwarted as usual by the electromagnets, tear gas and two of the burlier henchlesbians. ]

Jeff Guinn

My daughter sent me to this post.

jones

For God's sake, use coasters.

http://odditymall.com/includes/content/face-coasters-attach-to-your-nose-gives-you-a-funny-face-0.jpg

This is how I used mine.

jones

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/79/39/5f/79395f2a9f14488f5672cc6172bf7ec3.jpg

It was them David (points finger in accusatory jabbing manner).

On a lighter theme.

https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/190769734191115429/

Darleen

My observation is that there isn't any linking of any factors at all, so that occasionally parallel occurrences wind up irrelevant.

Except that prison populations, especially juvenile facilities, wouldn't be so consistent on the 'no/non-father' status if this were all just random noise.

For every boy who grows into a decent, good and functional adult despite a horror show of childhood, then are many other boys whose adulthoods are marked by severe dysfunction - from inability to form healthy relationships to spending the better part of the adult lives in prison or on probation.

A functional marriage generally produces children who grow up to be good adults. Anecdotes to the contrary don't disprove the generality.

Take smoking - lifetime risk of developing lung cancer for men ranges 0.4% non-smokers 5.5% former smokers to 24.4% in heavy smokers. Even heavy-smoking, 3 times out of 4 you're not going to develop lung cancer. And being a non-smoker doesn't give one a 100% guarantee of never getting lung cancer.

However, generally, we still discourage smoking and advise for non-smoking.

Ditto - marriage.

Captain Nemo

Oh, by the way, while you were out I accidentally dropped a bottle of vintage port on that rather ugly carpet/throw rug under the window. I'm disappointed I didn't get to drink it, but on the plus side, that rug/carpet-thing is now much more valuable than it was this morning.

jones

Darleen,

Excellent synopsis, thanks.

I'm reminded (for some random reason) of the Monty Python sketch disproving the dangers of heavy smoking using crossing the road as a control for their experiment....Damned if I can find it though...

Ten

I'd recommend reading The Whisperers by Orlando Figes. It details the Soviet Unions undermining of family life right from its inception. Many of the same policies i.e the insistence on both parents working and the takeover of childcare by the state from an early age, have been implemented in much of the West.

Worse, The Soviets determined that their no-fault divorce and custody industry screwed up society to the point it was abandoned. Yes, I said Soviet, as in both mindset and era.

Steven Baskerville brought this to light while pointing out that in the no-fault, for-profit custody and divorce cesspools in the US and UK we've yet to rise to that level of cognition and reform. Use this as a template when viewing the video above, as it's foundational bracketing for the topic.

All hail the conquering heroes of the enlightened west, where when all the soft tools of anti-family assault are expended, there's always the incontrovertible brute force of simple statist thuggery.

Kevin

I have just finished editing a student's masters thesis on the effects of parents on emotional well-being and the future prospects of children and it found (based on a very large sample set) that having a loving and attentive father is best for both sons and daughters. The mother's input had far less impact oddly enough (the researcher said 'negligible'). Who is going to break it to Penny that her and her ilk are just seed propagators and it's best to leave the heavy parental lifting to the most emotionally stable of the sexes.

Microbillionaire
Question: is marriage in the West now simply a marker for couples who already possess the characteristics which produce stable, mutually-supportive relationships and children who are capable of doing likewise in their turn? Or, more succinctly, is it causation or correlation?

Surely it's both. How could it possibly not be both? I feel like I've missed something obvious - it seems to me plain as the nose on my face that it's not a question of "or" but "how much of". Is a child's height the function of supportive parents or tall parents? Yes; malnutrition comes from failure of the former and achondroplasia from failure of the latter, and fixing one won't fix the other.

Tim Newman

@ Fred the Fourth,

I happen to be right now working to try to help a young close relative who is in a poly relationship, along with other serious psychological stresses. I am not in despair. Yet.
Reading you helps. Odd, that.

Thanks for that, that is indeed good to know (that my warblings are helping, not the situation you are dealing with). I find writing/talking and sharing stuff pretty therapeutic, mainly because the feedback (which can be brutally honest) shows me whether it is me being the idiot or the situation in which I find myself is abnormal.

Hopefully you'll not need to reach a point of despair, but I suspect a lot will hinge on when and if she is ready to accept responsibility for her choices and admit to herself she needs to change. Angela's issue was she never did this, and I think she was still into this polyamory and looking to recruit me. But if she was looking for something monogamous and real her story is absolutely tragic because she was absolutely clueless as to how to go about it, and will probably stay that way.

Tim Newman

Question: is marriage in the West now simply a marker for couples who already possess the characteristics which produce stable, mutually-supportive relationships and children who are capable of doing likewise in their turn?

I would consider my own marriage to be a mutually-supportive relationship which makes both of us better, stronger, happier people compared to how we would be if we were apart. But neither of us wanted children, and if I'm being honest the marriage is very peculiar: we live on different continents, for a start. Whatever else people might say about my marriage - and they say plenty - we both care deeply about each other, hate seeing the other one hurt or upset and so avoid it if possible and fix it ASAP if it happens, support each other, and are both generally happy. For us this is probably enough, and plenty of marriages don't have these qualities.

Incidentally, I recently heard a woman say of a potential partner "He should accept me as I am!!", and I ran this by a female friend of mine. Her response:

"accept me with my flaws" "if you cant handle me at my worst, then you don't deserve me at my best", "love me just the way i am" that's all bullshit that comes out of peoples mouth with entitlement issues. Adults with decent morals would never say something stupid as that.
Thats the whole idea of being in relationship, you work on yourself and you make yourself a better person.

Relationships involve compromise, which in turn involves a shelving of egos. If somebody can't manage this, they will never have a functioning relationship.

Dr Cromarty

A comfortably-off, retired academic relative (private school, Oxbridge,two homes, frequent holidays abroad) constantly bemoans why we can't all "live more simply"

Main mode of communication - Internet.

jabrwok

People keep talking about marriage, but no one, here or elsewhere, seems to have a clear definition of the term. The word is regularly applied it to relationships that I, personally, wouldn't consider marriages.

For the record, the definition of marriage I've formulated, based on my own understanding of the history and function of the institution, is "a legally and socially recognized, voluntary, sexually-exclusive, long-term (usually lifetime) relationship between one man and one woman (regardless of their respective sexual orientations) for the explicit purpose of producing and raising children together". There are a few other caveats that I would hope were obvious: the parties much not be closely related, must both be alive, must both be human, neither can already be currently married to someone else, etc.

Variations on that theme have existed at different times and places. The "voluntary" part has often been observed more in the breach than in the execution. Likewise, the "one man and one woman" clause has often allowed for exceptions in which wealthy men would have multiple wives (who were never, AFAICT, "married" to one another) or one wife who would be shared amongst more than one husband (usually closely related men, so as to ensure that her children were closely related to all the husbands...a much rarer scenario). The idea that love was the paramount and definitive characteristic of marriage is a fairly new innovation as I understand it. The man-and-woman part has never, AFAIK, until the late 20th Century, even been *considered* negotiable, because otherwise how would the marriage produce children?

The currently accepted definition seems more along the lines of "any allegedly loving relationship between any two (or more?) people for the purpose of claiming legal benefits and social recognition". "Allegedly" because how is anyone else to know? We don't hook people up to polygraph machines when they say they're in love.

I see no reason that governments or taxpayers should recognize or privilege the latter relationship, no matter how much personal, emotional satisfaction the parties involved derive therefrom. The social utility of marriage, which historically justified legal recognition, derives from its procreative element. Absent that, all you have from the perspective of the taxpayer is a pair (or group) or room-mates (and sometimes not even that) who may claim to love one another, and may truly do so, so why extend legal benefits to people whose association with one another benefits no one else? Love is it's own reward after all, so no need to subsidize it.

If marriage is just another form of welfare, then maybe Laurie is right, and it's past time to abolish it. If, on the other hand, it's a social institution for the production and socialization of the next generation (not to mention the elevation of the status of men from sperm-donor to co-equal parent, and the status of women from sex-toy and brood-mare to helpmeet) then we need to stop framing the discussion in terms of the emotional states of the participants and treat it as the social survival mechanism that it has always been.

R. Sherman

The social utility of marriage, which historically justified legal recognition, derives from its procreative element.

Bingo.

As was suggested above, making the institution of marriage more "inclusive," i.e. consigning the procreative element to irrelevance, is not something which strengthens marriage, but rather dilutes it to the point of meaninglessness. The purpose for that, of course, is to destroy the institution of marriage (and thereby the Family, as well) leaving only the state as guardian and protector of the individual, with which comes all manner of tyranny, including defining human worth based upon whether a human life has utility to the state.

WTP

the marriage is very peculiar: we live on different continents, for a start. Whatever else people might say about my marriage - and they say plenty - we both care deeply about each other, hate seeing the other one hurt or upset and so avoid it if possible and fix it ASAP if it happens, support each other, and are both generally happy. For us this is probably enough, and plenty of marriages don't have these qualities.

Similar here only we live in different adjoining states half the year.

I see no reason that governments or taxpayers should recognize or privilege the latter relationship, no matter how much personal, emotional satisfaction the parties involved derive therefrom. The social utility of marriage, which historically justified legal recognition, derives from its procreative element. Absent that, all you have from the perspective of the taxpayer is a pair (or group) or room-mates (and sometimes not even that) who may claim to love one another, and may truly do so, so why extend legal benefits to people whose association with one another benefits no one else? Love is it's own reward after all, so no need to subsidize it.

I've thought about this a good bit. I'm inclined to agree regarding the state's only concern should be in the realm of procreation, though adoption being now generally available to gay couples complicates matters a bit. However, I do believe that society in general is better off when couples are married in the traditional sense of exclusivity in partnering (gays included, to some extent especially so). I believe this is why adultery was once a matter of the state's concern. Granted, the applicaiton of such laws was pretty much always flawed and skewed in favor of those at/near the top with power and even for those at the very bottom. Yet without such laws, the concept of marriage has become rather moot, minus the children factor. If I was king (and God help y'all if that glorious day ever comes to pass) I would have a two-tiered system of marriage such the full benefits as recognized by the state would not kick in until children are brought into the family either by nature or adoption. Though, it's not something that I think would be worth the necessary social upheaval needed to bring it to bear...IOW, I'm not married to the idea...OK, that last bit was bad even for me. I blame Hal and his damn twirly pig tails.

Daniel Ream

Ah, look. Polyamory. My second favorite boring hobby horse after borderline personality disorder (not that they are at all related...)

Tim pretty much sums up polyamory at 9:35; I have little more to add beyond answering the followup question:

The best explanation I could come up with is that a combination of their personalities and physical appearance means this is probably all they can get, coupled with low-self esteem

Ding ding ding We have a winner.

A friend of mine was heavily involved in the polyamory scene in both Toronto and San Francisco before his children put a stop to that, and I've observed the community through his activities for two decades. Broadly, the evolutionary psychology of mate selection is no different for poly people than normal people: most of the women are deeply unattractive as well. The few attractive women have their choice of partners. The attractive ones generally also have massive cluster B personality disorders, which is why they're engaging in this lifestyle in the first place and prior childhood sexual abuse and mental illness is rampant in the community.

(I remember commenting to my friend after a lengthy exposition about the logistics of poly and retorting, "We single people have a word for polayamory. We call it 'dating'.")

There's a film that is quite hard to find these days but incredibly instructive: When Two Won't Do, a documentary by a polyamorous woman in Montreal about the lifestyle. It covers her relationships, some well-known poly families in California, and some other vignettes. People in the poly community praise it as a realistic and positive treatment of the lifestyle. Normal people see it for what it is: a collection of deeply dysfunctional people with severe self-esteem issues desperately self-soothing with meaningless sex. One of the subjects commits suicide during the filming; that's included in the film with virtually no impact or comment despite it being directly related to the stress of trying to maintain the fiction of the non-monogamous relationship.

Broadly, the best way to describe polyamory is that it's a coping mechanism, not a lifestyle choice.

Microbillionaire

For having stood the test of time, I like the definition of marriage given in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer.

Duely consideryng the causes for the whiche matrimonie was ordeined. One cause was the procreacion of children, to be brought up in the feare and nurture of the Lord, and prayse of God. Secondly it was ordeined for a remedie agaynst sinne, and to avoide fornicacion, that suche persones as bee maried, might live chastlie in matrimonie, and kepe themselves undefiled membres of Christes bodye. Thirdelye for the mutuall societie, helpe, and coumfort, that the one oughte to have of thother, both in prosperitie and adversitie.

Which seems fairly close to the above comment.

a social institution for the production and socialization of the next generation (not to mention the elevation of the status of men from sperm-donor to co-equal parent, and the status of women from sex-toy and brood-mare to helpmeet)

I further remark:

Will they or nil they, it repeatedly happens that people form very strong attachments to their sexual partners. And will we or nil we, it repeatedly happens that people have very strong desires for sex and will go to great lengths to get it. These two forces taken together can play such merry hell with civilization if they go against the grain of the intended social order, as 'free love' so often does! Pairing people off and saying "You two be a social unit, have lots of sex with each other, don't have sex with anyone else" is a way of having a community where Hestia isn't fighting Eros all around the town, on top of the value of creating and rearing the next generation.

David

People in the poly community praise it as a realistic and positive treatment of the lifestyle… One of the subjects commits suicide during the filming;

I know, I know. I denounce myself.

David

Speaking of dysfunction. Via Julia, this: “Stop projecting your hate.

WTP

Re Julia's link...to be fair, one commenter there did link to a "christian" pastor who spoke of similar, granted more in the passive sense of "should be killed"...

It's not like Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, and Ted Cruz were unaware that the man who created and is hosting Freedom 2015 has advocated for gay to be executed. Pastor Kevin Swanson has a startling history of making such statements. Even ABC News' Jake Tapper Thursday night in an interview cornered Cruz on Swanson's beliefs – Cruz wriggled out of answering the question.

So today, Pastor Swanson took to the stage and told attendees once again that gays should be killed. Twice, according to Right Wing Watch.

http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/christian_pastor_says_gays_worthy_of_death_at_conference_with_3_gop_presidential_candidates

David

to be fair

The point, I think, is that one could disapprove of, say, Mr Swanson’s morally primitive comments without being accused of “projecting your hate” by a left-leaning journalist.

Microbillionaire

I hold that there's equivocation going on there, and this being a tangent, I should perhaps save the nuances of theology for the next ephemera thread.

Back on topic, jabrwok said:

If men don't care about women and their children, where's our incentive to do all the Dirty Jobs necessary to build and maintain a better world

Which I think is an understated point. Incentives matter. Changes have effects at the margin. "Oh, but I wouldn't swayed by that" and its counterpart "Well, he must have been a peter pan manboy anyway" are ignoring the margin. When a threshold moves, some things cross the threshold even if others don't.

Being somewhat edgy and cynical, one might extend Penny's complaints about oppression and say that a traditional marriage arrangement was a form of bilateral slavery: the woman to be a submissive broodmare, and the man to be a tireless workhorse, usually to the net benefit of both. Or from another cynical view, it's a long-term trade agreement of sex* for resources. If women were oppressed by the expectations of monogamy; so were men, and nitwits like Laurie Penny ignore that at everyone's peril. If you don't incentivize men to work with sex*, they'll provide less work. Since men seem to be more willing than women to live in squalor, and women presently spend more money while men earn more money (meaning women spend men's incomes, on average), the consequences would seem to be the old saw: women and children hardest hit.

Do you want mud huts? Because this is how you get mud huts.

*sex and things pertaining thereto, such as children of one's line

Daniel Ream

Will they or nil they, it repeatedly happens that people form very strong attachments to their sexual partners.

Here's an interesting bit of neuropsychiatry.

It turns out the "Seven-Year Itch" is an actual thing. When two people have regular sex, the hormone oxytocin (sometimes called the "cuddle hormone") is released both during the act and whenever each partner sees the other. That fluttery wanting-to-be-around-them-all-the-time thing has a chemical basis.

Thing is, this hormonal reaction stops happening between five and seven years after the initial sexual contact. It's not at all accidental that this is about the time it takes for a human child to reach the point where they can help mommy forage effectively and hide from the sabertooth tiger on their own without needing daddy to protect them so much. The evolutionary drive is obvious: you're more likely to pass on your genes if you stick around just long enough to ensure the offspring can look after themselves, then jet off to spread your seed somewhere else - genetic diversity, you know.

Now, much of human society is based on channeling impulses that made great sense on the plains of Siberia 40,000 years ago into behaviours that get you Rome, carbon steel and iPads, so it's not too hard to see that the traditional institution of marriage serves to keep Dad around longer than seven years and Mom not spreading for the milkman, and all the attendant civiliational benefits thereof.

Tim Newman

There's a film that is quite hard to find these days but incredibly instructive: When Two Won't Do

Ooh, I need to find that. I'm morbidly fascinated now (as if anyone couldn't tell).

The attractive ones generally also have massive cluster B personality disorders, which is why they're engaging in this lifestyle in the first place and prior childhood sexual abuse and mental illness is rampant in the community.

"Angela" was quite scary, actually. I knew her for a month before she mentioned any of this, she came across as a bit of a whack artsy type but nothing that would suggest this. And then one day "BAM!" she dumps all this history of orgies and polyamory on me in the same manner she told me about a canoeing trip she took at university. She was extremely surprised by my reaction and angrily defended the whole lot, screaming at me at times. What I found so disturbing was the person in front of me (who I thought I knew) was so very different from the person (herself) that she was describing: I had no idea who the "real" one was. The two just weren't consistent.

On the subject of the genuineness of open relationships, all I can go on is the anecdotal evidence I've seen thus far. Angela insisted they were real and lasting, but her marriage both started and ended in disaster, and her other relationships ended soon after. Her husband's other relationships ended, as did the relationships of her other lovers. Seven years on her husband is now in a poly relationship with 2 women which have lasted 3 years, and I assume he was involved in some in the intervening 4 years which didn't last. Angela herself has managed a handful of men in polyamorous relationships in the 7 years since she got divorced, but admitted to me she's not found love since her husband. Now it's true that normal relationships fail as well, but poly relationships - at least the ones I've heard about - don't seem to be that great in terms of longevity.

WTP

The point, I think, is that one could disapprove of, say, Mr Swanson’s morally primitive comments without being accused of “projecting your hate” by a left-leaning journalist.

Yeah, not being familiar with who Victoria Brownworth is, I was a bit confused on the point. Either way, Mr. Swanson has had the tremendous advantage of being born into and educated (perhaps that needs scare quotes) in a free, open, liberal (in the good sense) society and still can't play nice in the sandbox. Not to excuse the imam. A pox on both their houses. As has been said before here, it's getting harder and harder to tell the sarcasm/irony from earnest belief.

Spotted this on FB recently, If a gorilla shot an alligator with an AR-15 to save a Muslim refugee child while their transgender parent was in the bathroom, the internet would go silent as everyone struggled to figure out what side they're supposed to be on.

What I found most amusing about that was the "supposed to be".

PiperPaul

"I was a bit confused on the point"

That would seem to be entire purpose of so much leftist "communication". While the norms are busy trying to figure out what the issue is/what can/should be done (if anything), they're busy concocting the next head-scratcher to be foist on everyone. Keeping a step ahead of the enemy and distracting them from [ insert real thing here ].

David

Speaking of family structure, I spotted this in the comments over at Metafilter:

How long until we realize that the nuclear family, like the stay at home mom, was a decadent practice? […] They are historical anomalies confined to a specific place and time. Luxuries made possible by cheap land acquired through conquest and exploitative international trade.

Again, as with Laurie, there’s just a whiff of satisfaction.

Jeff Guinn

Microbillionaire: +11

Daniel Ream

poly relationships - at least the ones I've heard about - don't seem to be that great in terms of longevity

They aren't. About the only ones I've seen that last for any length are married empty-nest couples who play around a bit at parties to spice things up, but refrain from the "open relationship" aspect of pretending to have multiple emotionally bonded partners. And even then, those tend to dissolve.

The porn star known as "Nina Hartley" amuses me greatly; after decades of being an outspoken poly activist, she divorced her legal husband and left the triad she was part of since the age of 19 to settle down in monogamy with another (male) porn actor. While she hasn't publicly repudiated her original choices, she's gone silent on the issue.

David

The porn star known as “Nina Hartley” amuses me greatly;

I’m just going to leave that there. Because I can.

Tim Newman

While she hasn't publicly repudiated her original choices, she's gone silent on the issue.

In Angela's case, I think it's a case of what David said earlier:

And yet some people evidently get stuck there, emotionally, psychologically, excusing their mindset with ever more perverse and implausible, and rather desperate, rationalisations.

She told me she'd been to therapy - but only to deal with the distress of her divorce, not any other aspect of her past. For some reason I imagine this therapist was like the lawyer in the Simpsons. I find it hard to believe she hasn't vastly narrowed the field of prospective future partners from having chosen this lifestyle. Maybe she too needs a male porn star?

Chester Draws

so why extend legal benefits to people whose association with one another benefits no one else?

There is, at least in my jurisdiction, virtually no legal benefit to being married.

I get to be next of kin, but this benefit costs the state nothing.

What benefits are you thinking of?

How long until we realize that the nuclear family, like the stay at home mom, was a decadent practice? […] They are historical anomalies

Firstly the nuclear family is not particularly a historical anomaly. Where do they get this idea? I can't think of many cultures that didn't favour one man-one woman lifetime partnerships.

But more importantly, it's the nuclear part that is anomalous, not the family part. Adding Grandma and Granddad into your medieval household didn't mean that people were no longer monogamous -- quite the opposite. Having cousins living in the hut beside you didn't change the basic family structure.

The one structure that is common and not nuclear is rich men having multiple wives (who themselves were not entitled to other partners). I can't see that going down too well as an alternative.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

From the Metafilter link, I believe this qualifies as a genuine Blinding Flash of the Obvious™ from a certified Thought Leader™.

Living in AirBnBs alone would be impossible if you were not very, very well off.

Regarding the nuclear family being a luxury "...made possible by cheap land acquired through conquest and exploitative international trade...", I am sure that will come as a bit of a surprise to all the various feudal serfs, sharecroppers, factory workers, and assorted peasants who had nuclear families throughout the ages.

Regarding Nina Hartley, the innerwebs says she and her husband are "still active in the industry", so I think the definition of "monogamy" in their case might be a bit elastic.

David

Adding Grandma and Granddad into your medieval household didn’t mean that people were no longer monogamous -- quite the opposite.

Heh. Ah, but the quoted comment sounds like an assertion made by someone for whom plausibility is much less important than the opportunity to signal their own modish piety – hence the eyebrow-raising reference to “conquest and exploitative international trade.” It’s the kind of thing you’d expect of a thoroughly processed student.

JerryC

The nuclear family is decadent compared to what? Producing humans in a government-run People Hatchery?

dicentra

mainly because the feedback (which can be brutally honest) shows me whether it is me being the idiot or the situation in which I find myself is abnormal.

People with personality disorders are extremely good at gaslighting normal people, because the world inside their heads is distorted just enough to look kinda sorta like ours but ultimately is plausible only to them.

Your friend honestly cannot see the correlation between her bad choices and the bad outcomes: if she could, she'd have long ago ditched the lifestyle.

The fact that she genuinely believes her own bullshit is what's messing with your head: if PDs were actively lying, they would display the occasional "tell" that revealed that they knew they were bullshitting you, and so the world makes sense again.

Anyone who's been married to a PD (or sociopath or psychopath) must choose between accepting the distorted reality their partners thrust upon them or of "taking the red pill" and recognizing the abuse for what it is and, God willing, they can escape before the damage becomes permanent.

dicentra

a legally and socially recognized, voluntary, sexually-exclusive, long-term (usually lifetime) relationship between one man and one woman (regardless of their respective sexual orientations) for the explicit purpose of producing and raising children together"

You can remove "the explicit purpose of producing and raising children together," because marriage serves its social function without offspring; that is, it unites the two cosmic contraries, yin and yang, male and female, and causes each to make nice with the alien sex.

Marriage civilizes men and stabilizes women, even when no children are present. We can see with our own eyes how men become gangstas (inner city) and women harpies (universities) when one sex declines to unite with the opposite and so the worst characteristics of the sex is allowed to thrive unchecked by the other's strengths.

Otherwise, it would be an uncontested absurdity for a childless, post-menopausal woman to marry. As far as I know, elder marriage has never been forbidden by any civilization at any time.

dicentra

I see no reason that governments or taxpayers should recognize or privilege the latter relationship, no matter how much personal, emotional satisfaction the parties involved derive therefrom.

Insofar as you define marriage as the living arrangement between people who like to screw each other, you're going to run into trouble.

See my 22:20. The domestic unity of the sexes is an end in itself.

Tim Newman

The fact that she genuinely believes her own bullshit is what's messing with your head: if PDs were actively lying, they would display the occasional "tell" that revealed that they knew they were bullshitting you, and so the world makes sense again.

That's a fantastic comment, dicentra. It certainly helps me understand things better, thanks for that.

james

A magnificent comment thread.

Like an online University course on the social and other aspects of the family and marriage.

9 out of 10 sociology professors would probably not recommend it.

Fred the Fourth

Tim, dicentra:
Yeah, I eventually found it fairly easy to tell the difference between a knowing BS artist and someone who really believed the nonsense they were saying. This skill turns out to be essential in navigating the contemporary business world, among other things.
But: It took me until I was maybe 30 before I recognized this as a learnable skill, and another 8 or so years before I was any good at it.
And: There are unfortunately several types of "believing" nonsense spouters, or at least a significant spectrum. At one end is the youngish recent Uni student, who's mostly simply regurgitating his indoctrination, and who lacks any separate real-world experiences to contribute rationality. At the other end is the essential sociopath, who sincerely believes that what they want right now is all that matters. Truth-values don't enter into it.
An outright crook like Hillary Clinton is easy to spot and understand, and only hard to deal with when they've amassed concrete power.

ACTOldFart

I agree with Tim Newman that Dicentra has nailed it, making the distinction between the BS artist who knows they are bulshitting, and the PD who genuinely believes the drivel they are spouting. I have to ask, at the risk of this thread going on forever: Into which class does Laurie Penny fall?

Daniel Ream

The fact that she genuinely believes her own bullshit

I'm actually going to disagree with this, because in my experience it's not strictly true (or rather, it's not that simply binary). I believe many PD sufferers both know they are lying and believe what they say. Yes, that's paradoxical. In the heat of the moment of the lie they believe, but on some level they're also consciously aware that they're lying.

Case in point: if you present a borderline with ironclad, unimpeachable evidence that they're lying - an audio recording, video, what have you - they'll cling to the lie to the point of paranoia, insisting the recording is fake or that you're persecuting them. But suggest before the fact that you start recording your conversations because of the gaslighting problem, so you can go back and review what was actually said by whom, and they'll melt down.

A sane person, told that their memory of past conversations is incorrect and that you want to start recording them to have an objective record, is probably going to be offended but will go along with it if they truly believe what they're saying. The record will prove them right, right? A borderline can't accept that and they'll do anything to avoid it, because on some level they do know they're lying.

jabrwok

What benefits are you thinking of?

Spousal immunity in court. Tax-free inheritance. Joint this-and-that. Anything that requires legal enforcement and isn't available to non-married people. The last time I searched for "legal benefits of marriage" I encountered numerous claims that there were in excess of 1,000 such. That number might have been exaggerated (many such benefits were enumerated, but never 1,000), but if there were *no* legal benefits, or legally-enforced functions, then why legally recognize the relationship at all?

You can remove "the explicit purpose of producing and raising children together," because marriage serves its social function without offspring

Pair-bonding may serve to calm and stabilize the participants, but without children, there's no reason for the rest of us to treat the couple as anything more than friends-with-benefits, and letting them refuse to testify against one another in court, or refuse to pay inheritance taxes that the rest of us must pay, is not warranted.

Marriage civilizes men and stabilizes women, even when no children are present.

I've seen claims like this before, but I've not seen anything to back it up aside from "everyone knows" declarations. Insofar as marriage produces children, yes to both. Insofar as it doesn't, the incentive to stay together is much lower. That incentive can be increased by granting legal benefits to the couple, but those would require legal enforcement, which requires taxpayer money, from taxpayers whose benefit will be tenuous at best. Rewarding and encouraging stable *families* (parents and their children) makes much more sense than rewarding and encouraging childless lovers.

We can see with our own eyes how men become gangstas (inner city) and women harpies (universities) when one sex declines to unite with the opposite and so the worst characteristics of the sex is allowed to thrive unchecked by the other's strengths.

You didn't need to distinguish the two environments. You get male users and female harpies in both. In both cases, why should the sexes unite? The men will benefit more from the cheap, low-consequence availability of sex in both environments, and the women are paid by the taxpayer and so have no financial need of men. The problems that arise then are the result of too much welfare rather than not enough marriage IMO. "Not enough marriage" being one of the problems that result.

As far as I know, elder marriage has never been forbidden by any civilization at any time.

Such has hardly been necessary as the elders seeking marriage would more than likely have been men, who could still father children. Older women seeking marriage would've been prospects mostly for gold-digging younger men or sought for their political connections. Insofar as older couples are getting married in the first place, I have to wonder why they'd do so absent any legal recognition or support. If they want to *call* themselves "married", no biggie. If they want to limit their tax liabilities or claim spousal immunity in court, or get some kinds of survivors benefits, then the relationship is just another form of welfare from the taxpayers' perspective. The "social function" you describe above doesn't really apply to the elderly. Crime and social disruption are young men's games.

Frankly, were it up to me, no legal recognition would be extended to any marriage until it had produced children, similar to His Royal Majesty, WTP's, suggestion upthread.

Hal

I'm not married to the idea...OK, that last bit was bad even for me. I blame Hal and his damn twirly pig tails.

Thank yew, thank yew, yer a wunnerful audience, I'll be here an awful lot, do remember to try the waitresses and tip the buffet . . .

Oh, by the way, while you were out I accidentally dropped a bottle of vintage port on that rather ugly carpet/throw rug under the window.

Oh, speaking of all the mixed and varied marriages stuff, thanks for reminding me . . . Did everyone hear about Bluebeard's wine cellar?

He had a wife in every port.

Darleen

then the relationship is just another form of welfare from the taxpayers' perspective

Point of order ... getting to keep more of your own earnings isn't welfare. That money never belonged to anyone BUT the earners. You don't get to keep as much of your own money? Then change your rulers, but stop coveting your neighbors' stuff.

Of course, if your default position is that all money is The State's and they get to decided how much they'll let us use and John & Mary are using beyond their 'fair share' ... well, then, you don't believe much in property rights, eh?

Also, death taxes are a moral abomination.

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