Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Church weighs in

This is a bit of an unusual experience for me - an issue that I've been writing about for some years is going mainstream.

The political point I've made is this: liberalism holds up autonomy as the highest good, but women are most autonomous when they pursue a single girl lifestyle of career, travel, partying and flings with unsuitable men. Most women don't, however, want to give up entirely on marriage and motherhood. So there is a compromise in which women are supposed to spend their 20s doing careers and single girl things before finally taking family formation seriously in their 30s.

But there are problems with this delay in family formation. The most obvious one is that it gives women little time to meet someone, date, get engaged, marry and then finally have children. By the time the process in properly underway, many women won't be far off declining fertility. Second, the women who wait too long might find that their male peers have adapted to a bachelor lifestyle, or opted out, or married women from overseas, or are interested in younger women, or haven't seen the point in committing to a career.

And so you get women like Kate Bolick, who admits she broke up with a perfectly suitable man at age 28 expecting there to be plenty of replacements later on. But, at age 39, she had to accept that there weren't. And why did she break up with Mr Right? Because she wanted to preserve her autonomy:
...the elevation of independence over coupling (“I wasn’t ready to settle down”) is a second-wave feminist idea I’d acquired from my mother...

I was her first and only recruit, marching off to third grade in tiny green or blue T-shirts declaring: A Woman Without a Man Is Like a Fish Without a Bicycle, or: A Woman’s Place Is in the House—and the Senate, and bellowing along to Gloria Steinem & Co.’s feminist-minded children’s album, Free to Be...You and Me...

...my future was to be one of limitless possibilities...This unfettered future was the promise of my time and place...We took for granted that we’d spend our 20s finding ourselves, whatever that meant, and save marriage for after we’d finished graduate school and launched our careers, which of course would happen at the magical age of 30.

The problem of delaying family formation is now getting some attention in the mainstream Australian media. I reported recently on an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Bettina Arndt. And now the Catholic Church here in Melbourne has voiced concerns:
WOMEN should marry earlier and not be too picky if they want to avoid an Aussie man drought, the Catholic Church has warned.

Australia is experiencing a huge decline in the number of available men, with the church telling the Herald Sun women should also forget living with their partners before tying the knot.

Statistics show there are just 86,000 eligible blokes for 1.3 million females aged between 25 and 34...

But the reverend Father Tony Kerin, episcopal vicar for justice and social service in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, said women wanted the best of both worlds.

"Are women getting too choosy? I'd say yes," said Father Kerin, speaking on behalf of the archdiocese.

"I think many are setting aside their aspirations for later, but by the time they get around to it, they've missed their chance.

"In trying to have it all, they end up missing out."

Father Kerin said the rate of marriage had halved despite nearly four in five people still wanting to settle down.

"For many, it remains an unattainable dream," he said...

Demographer Bernard Salt calculated there are 1.3 million women aged 25-34.

But of the 1.343 million men in the same age bracket, only 86,000 single, heterosexual, well-off, young men were available after excluding those who were already married (485,000), in a de facto relationship (185,000), gay (7000), a single parent (12,000) or earning less than $60,000 a year.
The statistics given here are a bit misleading. There aren't 1.3 million women chasing 86,000 men as a fair proportion of those women would already be in a relationship (plus, not every woman would expect a man to earn over $60,000). Even so, it's interesting that of 1.343 million men in the 25-34 bracket only 86,000 are single and earning more than $60,000 a year. It does suggest that women who, like Kate Bolick, deliberately ditch a Mr Right are unwise to think that there are plenty more to be had later on.

And I congratulate the Catholic Church for speaking up on the issue. Inevitably there will be those who will criticise the Catholic Church for doing so, but if a culture of marriage is to be protected then delayed family formation needs to be tackled.


  1. It is about time these things were said. The trouble is, how many women are reading this? And how many men will take heart from it? I live in Canberra, whilst my son works in neighbouring Queanbeyan. Although only 10km apart, the social distinction is massive. Mothers in Canberra are in their mid 30s, APS types, with one or two children. Mothers in Queanbeyan are in their early or mid 20s, with husbands (if any) on a similar wage, thanks to the tradesman economy. I know which is better for the country and which will predominate. There are none so blind as will not see.

  2. It is of course a good thing that Fr. Kerin, & I presume other priests have seen fit to draw attention to this, but unfortunately it is a case of too little, too late. It says a lot about the decadence of modern western society that those men getting less than 60,000 a year were not even considered to be in the running. When one reads the lives of the Saints, one doesn't find all that often a picture of the ideal life according to the standards of the bourgeoisie. Think of the parents of St. John Bosco, St. Pius X, Padre Pio, & so on, they didn't have every amenity of life available at the time, but yet somehow survived. Modern people in the so-called "1st world" countries scream as if they were being broken on the wheel if they can't get the latest phone or other electronic device that their television sets tell them they must have. It's sickening really. This is why the long term prospects of the western societies are really quite dismal. As Solzhenitsyn said in his speech at Harvard in '78, to defend one's self, one must be ready to die, & there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Young Russians & Eastern Europeans in general, for the most part weren't ruined by over-indulgent bourgeois parents. This is also true of the various Asian races, & it is why the sterner & more disciplined peoples of the east will eventually dominate, if not outright conquer the weak, effeminate, decayed western "democracies". If I were to get married, I'd go overseas to do so, & would advise all young chaps who are in earnest to do the same. If this were to prove impossible, then I'd be content to live alone & spend my time reading my books. That would be far better than having to endure the hideousness of having to put up with a shrieking shrew who delights in threatening to initiate a divorce thus loosing the mastiffs of the state to rend me in pieces. Of course it can be a gamble going overseas as well, but this is like normal Russian roulette. Marrying a western woman is like playing Russian roulette with 5 of the 6 chambers loaded.

  3. Anon 2,

    Statistically 2 of the 6 chambers are loaded - and if you are a man with a good level of education and income then it's 1 of the 6.

    I don't think you need to go overseas (a marriage to someone overseas has double the chance of failure according to ABS statistics), but as the first anonymous pointed out you might need to get out of the inner city.

    I think there are still large numbers of Australian women who make terrific wives and mothers but too many leave it too long and so end up like the Canberra women as much older mothers with only one or two kids (and a considerable minority will miss out altogether).

    Here's another issue. A fair percentage of young Australian men - including middle-class men - seem demoralised. They're not confident enough to compete for a woman.

    So we have two intersecting issues to deal with: demoralised men in their early 20s and women who delay family formation into their 30s.

  4. Perhaps I did overstate it a bit. There are two men in my family who have married Filipinas, & they're doing quite well, this may well have coloured my thinking somewhat. The Filipinas seem more willing to act in a traditional manner, they're not aggressive (at least those that I know aren't, I know that this isn't always so). They also seem more willing do without certain things, for instance television. Neither of the men in my family, have the electronic sewer pipe in their houses. No facebook, no i-phones & all the rest of the vile rubbish that is considered as necessary for life as air or water by so many of these western women. They're happy to have a husband that takes care of them, they don't consider themselves entitled to the life of a Disney princess, with anything less being beneath them & a life not worth living. I know that this is certainly not always the case, but still..... it makes one think. Another thing is that foreign women don't generally have a gaggle of "friends" to whisper feminist rot in their ears. The peculiar susceptibility to group-think of women makes this absolutely necessary, if there is to be any hope of avoiding divorce. Anyhow, though I may disagree here & there, I always enjoy reading your articles Mr. Richardson, thank you for writing them.

  5. It's a credit to the Australian Catholic Church that there is still some conservative ethos there. On Amercian and European paleo-conservative blogs, the Church is not seen a positive by default. The debate rages about the corosive role of the church (especially the Protestant)on what's left of Western civilisation. Christian universalism and the equality of all men before God, etc are seen as part of the problem.
    I can only conclude that the Austr. Catholics are a relic of the White Australia policy... and I mean that in a good way.

    Gilbert Pinfold.

  6. I should say that my comment above relates perhaps more to your previous blog post.


  7. My problem is that they "nice" guys don't ask women out. They either expect women to go chasing after them or their too afraid.

    Also lowering standards doesn't always work. I once expressed intrest in a man who would call himself a "nice guy" He is traditional, goes to church & has a good job but he is also is fat,bauling & lives with his mother.

    His reason for rejecting me was that i wasn't attractive enough for him(i am not an ugly or obese woman many people have told me i'm pretty). He instead chose to chase after women who were "attractive" but slutty. He also expected women to have full time careers while being good catholic virgins.

    From my perspective men are just as guilty as the women. I am 28 and single now but when i was younger i was overlooked & rejected because i wasn't skanky enough. Men wanted women with lots of experience. A lot of professional men are also snobby & because i never went to university i wasn't "good enough" for them.

  8. Anon @ 12.16 - as a guy in his 20s, I think the lack of university is in many respects a positive signal - it means you haven't been indoctrinated with cultural Marxist feminist ideological sludge, and it also means you don't have a Mickey Mouse degree from a TAFE masquerading as a university but think your degree makes you the equivalent of a Rhodes Scholar.

  9. Plus by the time those women marry they will have slept with several men already greatly increasing risk of divorce as a result of the frying of the oxytocin curcuits sleeping with different men.

    Serial monogamy is another enemy of marriage,family and of civilisation.