In an article titled “The Legacy of the Libertarian Sexual Ethic,” David Lapp offers some disturbing statistics and anecdotes describing the travesty that is the modern dating and marriage environment for lower class Americans.
I have to give Lapp kudos for actually sitting down and listening to what young people have to say about the current situation. It’s more than I can say about just every single “man up!” and “where have all the good men gone?” articles getting churned out on a semi-daily basis.
Lapp notes the suspicion and cynicism rampant within the lower middle class.
42.5 percent of low-income, unmarried respondents cited “worry that the marriage would end in divorce” as a reason they might not be pursuing marriage, and 23.5 percent cited “questions about whether your partner is trustworthy.” As one young man that I interviewed said after learning that his fiancée was cheating on him, “I don’t trust nobody.”
The fear of divorce is due to the role of the state and its discontents (feminism, cultural Marxists) in crafting and enforcing what Dalrock calls the modern alternative of marriage to women.
No-fault divorce means a man can be sitting at home, completely faithful, not abusive, and yet still be removed from his home, have his children taken away, and be stuck with payments to their ex for years if not indefinitely simply because she felt like it. It also means his spouse can cheat on him, like this young man mentioned above, and yet it would have no influence or impact on the outcome of a divorce in regards to child custody, division of shared property, or child support.
What baffles me is that Lapp concludes libertarianism is to blame for the breakdown of trust between men and women.
He writes (bold emphasis added)
That distrust is at least partly the legacy of the libertarian sexual ethic, which assumes that sexual activity outside of marriage is typically okay so long as people are mutually consenting to the acts. And that distrust is why I have a hard time believing—as Noah Smith does—that sexual permissiveness will somehow evolve into more stable marriages for the working class. (Indeed, having more sexual partners prior to marriage is linked to greater odds of divorce, as Nicholas Wolfinger and W. Bradford Wilcox recently documented.) There is no invisible hand that will transform James and Jessica’s distrust and cynicism, which stems in part from their multiple past sexual relationships, into trust and an enduring marriage. What the working class needs—what we all need—to achieve our shared aspirations for lifelong love and a stable family is social permission to date without immediately having sex.
Let me get right to the point: There is no libertarian sexual ethic any more than there is a libertarian journalism ethic or prescribed pet or car.
Libertarianism doesn’t teach premarital sex is morally acceptable or reprehensible; it only says it should not be prohibited.
Putting that aside, libertarians didn’t set up the divorce court, family court, imputed income, child support payments, etc.
That was all carried out by liberals, progressives, and either condoned or unchallenged by conservatives.
An observant person would note that our modern sexual climate wasn’t caused, inspired or perpetuated by libertarian philosophical teachings (Murray Rothbard and Ludwig Von Mises were both culturally and morally traditionalists). It was caused by the Sexual Resolution and countless waves of feminism that removed the stigma around promiscuity and absolved women of moral responsibility for their sexual choices and their resulting consequences.
The observant would also note that modern culture adamantly opposes men holding their potential spouses, and later wives, to any moral standards whatsoever to the point where open cuckoldry and open hypergamy are the order of the day.
Prior to the Sexual Revolution, there was no law forbidding premarital sex. There just weren’t any government subsidizes like we see today in the form of taxpayer-funded abortions and mandated health care-provided birth control. Prior to the Great Society there was hardly if any welfare for single mothers who sired bastard children out of wedlock.
Social norms also ensured that most men who wanted to get regular access to sex needed to commit to a woman, and a woman’s value as a prospective wife depended much on her chastity. Colleges were places to pursue higher education rather than act as modern day brothels.
What we’re seeing today isn’t the result of too much freedom but of a coercive system that steals from the innocent in order to reward bad behavior. It removes all naturally-occurring incentives for good behavior.
In what I consider to be his greatest video rant ever, Aaron Clarey took Dennis Prager to task for nagging young men to get married while inexcusably ignoring the fact that for many of these men, particularly in the lower middle class, the state has completely replaced their role in women’s lives. Lower middle class women don’t need men because of the state, so what incentive is there for them to treat men well when there are no perceived consequences for doing so?
However, in the spirit of cooperation, I have a very simple solution for those like Lapp who want to end this.
Insist men only marry virgins.
That is it.
That alone by itself, if carried out in any sizeable manner, would end this permissive culture tomorrow. Marriages rates would skyrocket and the median age of marriage for men and women would drop like an anvil.
But my guess is Lapp knows, as I do, that no one is going to do that.
And that isn’t because we libertarians are out there insisting everyone have sex before marriage under the claim “it’s ok as long as you consent” and shaming men for opposing sex positivity (I groan just typing those words).
Telling men this would contradict one of the the highest values of our state-run culture and state-run education system; that women have a moral right (if not obligation) to spend the best years of their lives – when they’re at their most fertile and attractive – postponing marriage while sleeping with men they know aren’t marriage material before deciding to settle down with other men expected to wait patiently until they’re done sowing their wild oats.
This isn’t some conspiracy theory on the part of a “throwback misogynist” reading too much into things. This is exactly what feminist “role models” like Sheryl Sandberg openly advise young women to do.
What the working class needs is for the state to get out of marriage entirely, stop intervening to remove the hardships that come with bad life decisions, and allow social norms to rein in harmful behavior.
The people cited in the poll are worried about divorce because the Right and Left have conspired to turn the institution of marriage into a threesome between two people and the state in which the state is the head of the household and can dissolve the marriage against the will of one of the spouses. They then proceeded to destroy the dating market to the point where “dating” and prostitution are just a question of perspective.
When it comes to the total disaster that is modern dating and marriage, conservatives and liberals own this one entirely.
What we’re seeing today in our nation with the dissolution of the nuclear family and utter dysfunction between the sexes is the legacy of their policies and philosophies, not ours. If we as a society, culture, and country adopted libertarian ethics instead, the state-meddling that caused this catastrophe wouldn’t have occurred in the first place.
I’ll end this by saying that no-fault divorce is one of the greatest threats to individual freedom in the Western World. It is an evil, violent act of state intervention into the most intimate of human relations. It incentives the worst of behavior by people against those they are supposed to love most. It is a direct assault on the nuclear family, which is the bedrock of civilization and the greatest example of libertarian principles put into action.
Without a functioning nuclear family, there will never be a truly free society. Anyone who utters a peep of protest against eradicating this disgusting policy like the cancer it is has shown their true colors and is no friend of liberty or freedom.
And any solution for the lower middle class that doesn’t involve abolishing no-fault divorce is futile before the words so much as fall from the proponent’s lips.