I am a young woman in my twenties. I have a Ph.D. and was raised to be extremely feminist. To make a long story very short, I am very lonely. I am attractive and pleasant enough and have never had trouble attracting men, but they (or at least the ones I meet) tend to want only one thing. Over time, I have discovered that I have very conservative …"tendencies" and have been lurking at your site and others like it for years, rather wistfully I must say. I long to be a wife and mother and to have a lifelong companion. I love art, music, and literature, and that is why I continued my studies, but while they have been rewarding, they have only made me lonelier in the end, because the students are all very liberal and even the ones who are married are not in it for the long haul. Divorce is always considered an option and many of them engage in behaviors I wouldn’t consider at all appropriate in a marriage, like flirting or even adultery.
In response I feel I have gone somewhat mad. My parents and friends have told me that I should focus only on my career and have treated my desire for marriage as a sickness, as if it should be a cherry on the top of my life instead of my life itself. So I feel that there is something wrong with me. On top of that, I have no idea where to find a community or a dependable, hard-working, masculine man who is looking for the same things I am and wants a marriage for the long haul, a true lifelong commitment.
The letter highlights a problem with the liberal concept of society. I quoted George Brandis's concept of society in a recent post of my own:
To the liberal, the most fundamental characteristic of any society is that it is a coming together of a number of individual persons, each of whom has a unique identity, unique needs and aspirations, the individuality of each of whom is equally important. The pursuit of individual ends, subject to the agreed mutual constraints necessary to social existence, is the dynamic force of human progress.
If it's true that all of our needs and aspirations are unique, then society is going to be thought of as a whole lot of atomised individuals each pursuing their own ends. That works if all you want in life is casual hook-ups with the opposite sex. Atomised individuals can interact with each other on this basis. But what if you want something more than this? What if you want to form a family?
Then things become more difficult. As Laura's reader points out, matters of culture then become important. It starts to matter if there is a culture of stable commitments within a community. It matters too if men are dependable and hard-working or not. And there needs as well to be a place, a community, where those who want to form families can meet together.
So a culture and a community, formed on the basis of shared or common aspirations rather than uniquely individual ones, become important in an area of life that is highly significant to us, namely our opportunity to marry and have children.
In a strongly liberal environment, like that on a campus, the effects of atomisation and the disruption to culture and community are likely to be stronger. So my advice to Laura's PhD reader would be to make a determined effort to meet men outside of the campus scene (even if this is counterintuitive, given the usual human drive toward assortative mating).
It's a pity that the traditionalist movement isn't developed enough yet to offer the kind of community she is looking for. I would point out to readers who are feeling a bit dispirited that if we did grow a bit more, so that we were even a small community, we would become a beacon for those people, like Laura's reader, who are searching for an alternative.