Monday, March 12, 2012

Troubling signs in the U.S.

A Republican state senator in Wisconsin, Glenn Grothman, has introduced a bill which requires,
"the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect."

It's a bold way of highlighting some of the social problems that are connected to the growth in fatherless families.

I don't know if it's a good political tactic or not. But what is certainly clear is that Wisconsin has an issue when it comes to fatherless homes. In the linked article it states that one third of parents in Wisconsin are single - that's clearly unsustainable. And it turns out that in Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, 62% of children are raised in single parent households. That's an incredible figure - and one that ought to be ringing alarm bells.

But what has been the reaction to Glenn Grothman? The reaction has not been "Yes we have a major problem that needs to be fixed but I'm not sure about your methods of confronting the issue". The reaction has been very different - and troubling.

If you look at the comments to the Yahoo article (3,300 of them) the most common arguments are as follows:
  • Grothman is simply a moron
  • The reason for single motherhood is women fleeing abusive men
  • Grothman shouldn't tell people how to live
  • My children did OK with a single mum so what's Grothman talking about?
  • There are women who become single mothers through widowhood so Grothman is ignorant
  • It's all the fault of dead-beat dads

There are a few commenters who recognise growing fatherlessness as a social problem but they're a small minority.

Similarly, the opinion piece in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel is titled "Quality, not quantity, of parents is what counts". The writer, Amy Turin, argues:
Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) would like to put an end to the scourge of single-parent households or at least demonize these loving families that do not suit his preconceived notion of what a family should be. Recent legislation proposed by Grothman would require single-parent household status to be considered a risk factor for child neglect and abuse.

She believes that support for a family with a father in it is just a "preconceived notion of what a family should be". She finishes her opinion piece by calling Senator Grothman "prejudiced" and "out of touch with today's realities" for supporting the traditional family.

I find this response troubling because it shows the extent to which a culture supporting a traditional family life has been lost in parts of the U.S. The values and beliefs supporting a stable family life are no longer there. And the idea of a state subsidised single mother model of family life is being treated as a norm and a right rather than as an exception.

When you have 62% of children being raised in single parent households in a large city like Milwaukee then it's predictable you're going to have trouble. In the UK, for instance, a government review has found that a majority of the most dysfunctional families are fatherless and that each such family costs the public US$118,000 a year. The majority of rioters in the 2011 London riots were also from fatherless homes.

As for Milwaukee, that city has been hit by a spate of "wildings" in which groups of young black men suddenly gather and attack whites:
Large groups of young African-Americans engaged in widespread fighting at the fair midway, and then attacked white fairgoers as they headed home for the night. More than 30 were arrested, and seven officers were injured.

Would that many violent people coincidentally show up at one place at the same time, or are mobs like this forming with the help of social networking sites? We asked that question about the melee at Mayfair in January, and now we're left to wonder again. These incidents are not isolated if they keep happening.

The black kids at the fair started by beating up each other, police said, and at closing time they turned that rage on whites outside the gates. This newspaper normally avoids mentioning the race of people involved in crime, unless it's part of a description to help apprehend someone at large.

But this incident, along with the looting and racially motivated beatings in Riverwest last month, has forced the issue. Similar wilding forced the Greek festival to move out of its northwest side neighborhood, the late Riversplash was hobbled by violence, and Summerfest this year had trouble at a hip-hop show.

Eugene Kane, himself a black American from Milwaukee, wrote:
When people start reporting they were being beaten by black people for no other reason than being white people at the State Fair, that's pretty disturbing.

It's also thuggish and disgusting.

In the comments you read of people choosing to leave Milwaukee, or not to visit, because of such violence. That then leads to a further decline as those from a more stable culture move elsewhere, leaving behind them an even higher concentration of welfare families.

My point isn't that everyone from a single mother family is going to turn out badly. That's obviously not the case. But what is true is that where you have a high concentration of single mother families, you then get a kind of matriarchal culture that is associated with poverty and violence. It is only when young men are brought into a stable role as fathers within a family, that a society reaches a level of productivity and lawfulness that allows it to secure higher civilisational outcomes.

The black American family has already experienced a dramatic decline, but the white family is trending the same way. It's a trend that has to be discouraged, which is presumably what Senator Grothman is attempting to do.


  1. I find this response troubling because it shows the extent to which a culture supporting a traditional family life has been lost in parts of the U.S.

    This has been mentioned here, a documentary discussing population decline.

  2. It's really a class issue.

    The small upper middle class (less than 10% of the population) has high marriage rates and low divorce rates. In every other demographic, marriage is being abandoned.

    The main reason is that it is more or less only the men in the upper middle class who "add enough value" to the equation to justify marrying them. Everywhere else in the population, there isn't enough economic "there" there to support it, and for those who do marry, the divorce rates are high -- again, for the same reason, namely that the man isn't bringing enough to the table to make staying married useful for the woman (the woman is almost always the one who wants to end the marriage).

    Sexual freedom has a high price, and this is it.

  3. Echoing Brendan's comments, at the low end of the economic scale, a man has to "add enough value" to outweigh the considerable benefits provided to single mothers by the state.

    It often takes an income in excess of $50 thousand per year before one can match the value of the subsidies and services offered by the modern welfare state. How many guys in their 20's can match that? Why would a woman limit herself to one man when she can just get free money from the government with no strings attached?

    Moving up the economic ladder, divorce laws that allow a woman to discard her husband on whim while maintaining custody of the children and the lion's share of the marital assests also promotes familiy dissolution.

    You get what you pay for, and we as taxpayers have payed trillions toward policies that encourage the break up of traditional families.

    While the state can take the economic place of the husband, it cannot fill the father's role in the home. Thus the chaos.

    Such vast misery and destruction does not come cheap, but the autonomy of women is apparently worth it.

  4. It's really a class issue.

    Disagree. The college female to male ratio has become 60% female to 40% male and getting more skewed. This signifies that college educated women will have a smaller pool of male partners to pair up with and that some of them will not be married. Marriage is being abandoned by all classes and that is why there are lower divorce rates. Less marriages = less divorces. Check any marriage data by the US government. The data shows that marriage has fallen among all groups, including the educated. The few who are getting married are getting married later and cohabitation is rising.

  5. It's not a class issue. It's a culture issue. Feminist culture influences every class and that's why traditional marriage is being destroyed by various classes. We have rich upper-class women perpetuating single motherhood by having test tube babies with the aid of IVF. Not the same as lower-class women slutting it up with thugs and bearing bastards, but the result is the same despite the fact that the methods are different. Upper-class women also support feminism by a large margin.

  6. You're right of course, but I would say that we have fallen so far, the current slough of despond is so well established, that an effort to recognise the importance of two-parent families is a "Positive Sign in the US", and the reaction to it is only to be expected.

  7. The good news here is that non-marital parenting has only gotten as widespread as it has for one reason: the growth of the welfare state and the abdication of churches as the central providers of social welfare aid, and, by logical extension, as the central enforcers of proper behavior.

    The problem will clear up when the welfare state goes broke. Just wait.