Oh yeah, I have a blog…. time moves on, one thing leads to another, and well, it’s time for something completely different.

At any rate I have been a bit fascinated by this piece from the Washington Post (WaPo), the background research and the reaction to it. The lead graf:

Punctuating a fundamental change in American family life, married couples with children now occupy fewer than one in every four households — a share that has been slashed in half since 1960 and is the lowest ever recorded by the census.

As marriage with children becomes an exception rather than the norm, social scientists say it is also becoming the self-selected province of the college-educated and the affluent. The working class and the poor, meanwhile, increasingly steer away from marriage, while living together and bearing children out of wedlock.

Seems to be the trend across the modernized world does it not? Live in the traditional village, until its economically unsustainable, move to the bigger town, forcibly forgetting everything in the past, moving on to the even bigger town with the even duller job, while shaving off what’s left of your household, until you end up in the late, great present moment when you can enter the world, alone and invincible without any of the messy things that come along with marriage, family, loud and obscure relatives, diapers, attorney’s, and much of anything that would remind you that life someday ends. Or at least that is what the sociologists tell us. It goes on…

 Marriage has declined across all income groups, but it has declined far less among couples who make the most money and have the best education. These couples are also less likely to divorce. Many demographers peg the rise of a class-based marriage gap to the erosion since 1970 of the broad-based economic prosperity that followed World War II.

“We seem to be reverting to a much older pattern, when elites marry and a great many others live together and have kids,” said Peter Francese, demographic trends analyst for Ogilvy & Mather, an advertising firm.

Ah, well that makes sense, doesn’t it? I don’t mean the bit about economics, I mean that an analyst from the modern priestly class tells us this, from an advertising agency. It is sorta funny really, that of all the people that could be interviewed for expert testimony here: an elementary school principal, a pastor, even the police, an advertising analyst tells us this. I think that alone should tell us enough about our age as anything.

What is ironic, as Glenn Lucke of Common Grounds points out, is that poverty is strongly correlated to divorce and cohabitation. Or as NPR commentator, Juan Williams, has remarked before, the easiest way to avoid poverty in America is to wait for marriage to have children and to stay married, every other attempt to solve endemic poverty tends to treat the symptoms and not the disease.

Sure, I could point out (ht Joe Carter) that the Alabama Family Institute has said that “the longer couples cohabited before marrying, the more likely they were to resort to heated arguments, hitting, and throwing objects when conflicts arose in their subsequent marriage. ” But if people actually considered that on the street level, then what the WaPo reports, which I have no reason to doubt, would not be happening on a large scale.

Statistics interest me and bore me at times. So I will just put it this way: the modern world has seen the remarkable rise of fat poor people. Why? In an age of remarkable achievements in raising incomes across various levels, large segments of society are in debt up to their eyeballs. Why? I would like to suggest the reason why for this and family choices that are literally poor is a scrapping grasp at security. It is hard to tell someone in the immediate crisis of life that if they wait, get married, and stay married, they will be many times more financially successful and probably more secure than they are now. Maybe the question to be asked is why is immediate security more reasonable than choices that lead to long term security? I am not sure the advertisers have the answer to that question.

Lileks, I think, at least is on the right path as he describes a recent day’s end of picking up his young daughter from a school bus stop:

A caller – male, age 31 – noted how he didn’t want to marry, and didn’t want kids, because they would ruin his freedom. Medved gently pointed out how things change, and gave the fellow a useful piece of news:…kids are fun. You never consider that when you’re fancy-free and unburdened with diaper-filling squall-o-matic obligation units, but they’re fun, in ways you can never predict. You fill your day with all sorts of important tasks, but in the end nothing beats standing in the drive way in the wan March light, laughing and cracking the ice. That’s the stuff you remember on your deathbed, I’ll bet.

Indeed….

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