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Culture War Roundup for the week of January 1, 2024

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The presumption in Western courts has long been shared custody. I think MRAs have always had some reasonable points on this issue, especially with courts willing to believe mothers over fathers on some questions. But in general, many complaints about ‘divorce rape’ happen when the father understands that he can’t reasonable split weekday custody with the mother (almost always because he works full-time) and so voluntarily relinquishes this possibility, and then resents the fact that his ex-wife or baby momma is the homemaker (part or full time) on his dime.

Also, while payments are often a substantial part of a poorer man’s income, the only times they’re “ridiculously” high (often an MRA complaint on this issue) is in a handful of cases a year where super rich people get divorced, which is very far away from most divorces, concentrated as they always are among people who are poorer and have fewer resources.

In general, men ‘benefit’ more from divorce than women because a single dad’s romantic market value is much higher than a single mom’s. Single mothers almost always have to ‘date down’, often much older men who are divorced with kids of their own. Single dads - provided they’re young-ish and otherwise somewhat attractive - can often find a childless woman a second time.

You hit it on the head when you said "a single dad's romantic market value is much higher than a single mom's." The only place where this isn't necessarily the case (although, mostly still is) is in the PMC, wherein divorces are so common, along with professional single women running the household, that single motherhood is seen as no-big-deal to almost-a-badge-of-honor.

Very different situation for a working-class woman with children trying to date/re-marry.

This is another reason in favor of the theory that many products of the sexual revolution (no-fault divorce, abundant and common contraception) disproportionately benefited an upper-class that we now call the PMC, while disproportionately penalizing the working-class. You have a whole group of highly educated 1960s women who've tricked themselves into thinking they're oppressed, aided and abetted by the sexually and ethically incontinent Don Draper types. The latter now has no conflict of responsibilities in sleeping around, because the baby no longer has a say. The former can pursue endless responsibility-free self expression and simply jump in and out marriages when the flavor's gone.

All this happening just when the poor (of any color) were able to develop more solid family structures and starting to enjoy the benefits of escaping an agrarian hand-to-mouth existence. Emphasis, there, on family instead of individual.

Within a decade, it all get's ruined for them. Then, by the 1980s, those just above them (the mythical steel / auto factory workers and longshoremen types of the Rust Belt and industrial Northeast) become tragic characters in Bruce Springsteen songs because it turns out they weren't that far ahead. 2023: "Rich Men North of Richmond"

is in the PMC, wherein divorces are so common, along with professional single women running the household, that single motherhood is seen as no-big-deal to almost-a-badge-of-honor.

Interesting, I'd expect the opposite: more divorces in the lower classes and more tolerance of single motherhood too.

The latter especially, since lower class people may be less likely to get married.

I'd say the difference is in perception and, unfortunately, what's termed "mood affiliation." Excuse the squishyness of my reply:

Lower class single motherhood is, now, seen as an inevitable reality and par for the course for a huge amount of young women. I wouldn't say it is "approved" of, but, accepted the same way physical injury on the job is assumed / accepted for working class men (every construction worker / roofer / tradesman who's been working longer than 10 years has a dozen scars from accidents, probably a bad knee or shoulder, and maybe some eye damage). Divorce perception is very similar; "Y'all tried, sometimes it doesn't work out. Gotta keep movin on."

Contrast with PMC divorce mood affiliation. It's usually a long, drawn out process (partially because there's more money involved and, therefore, more incentive to use the legal system to divide the pie) full of emotionalized soul searching ("how could it come to this?", "we were so in love"), followed by some semi-established period of Second Singledom (divorced dudes dating bimbo-ish ladies 20 years their junior, divorced women getting "glow ups" and having trysts with "interesting" men of almost any age. High likelihood of European or California temporary relocation), maybe followed by a second marriage (or just long term dating partner) that's really more about mutual companionship than family.

Throughout all of this, however, is the conception than the divorce wasn't a failure or an unfortunate reality of the times, but that it was simply a "stop along the way" to your truer, better, more You-er self. Going back to the idea of scars, how many pop songs and instagram poetry posts essentially say "our physical or emotional scars are what makes us beautiful!" Contrast this to the welder who can plainly state, "No, I really do wish that falling I-beam hadn't smashed off my two little toes. It hurt a lot, I couldn't work for some time, and I still don't quite walk right" or the Appalachian single mother, "It is fucking hard to feed and raise my kids without a man in the house. I do not have the time to "get an education" to try to increase my wage. My eldest keeps getting arrested but, because he's a 17 year old boy, there is no way I can physically intimidate or control him. Very few men will consider dating me because they do not want to help raise a family that isn't theirs - and I wouldn't want to do that in their position either."

Dealing with suffering and failure is part of any life. When it's your own damn fault, you ought to use it as a learning experience and an impetus to better choices and behavior. Other times, it is utterly random or, worse, cosmically unfair. That's when you exercise some sort of value/faith/anti-fragile/discipline system and decide whether or not (or how much) to descend into cynicism or existentialism or just undirected anger and frustration. Nobody's perfect or even very good at this, you just do as good as you can.

Far, far worse than any of those choices, however, is turning personal failure or even random chaotic unfairness into purely joyful and self-reverential deterministic positive affirmation. It's an insane (literally, not correctly functioning cognitive system) level of delusion that can only lead to repeated poor decision making and/or distorted risk appreciation, to say nothing of the personality and character defects it will likely nurture.

Before anyone jumps in with "but a conservative Christian world view doesn't prevent this." Yes! I agree. One of the things I detest the most about pop-culture mainline American Protestants are copes around hardship that are the same "purely joyful and self-reverential deterministic positive affirmation."[^1] You just lost your job and can't pay your bills, "The Lord is just testing me. But I know it's all part of the plan!" Maybe think why you lost the job? Were you bad at it and failing to perform? (Your fault). Has the economy taken a downturn and it wasn't your fault? That's cosmically unfair. What steps did you take to manage such a risk? Or, more forward looking, do you have a concrete plan to regain employment?

[^1]: Intra post self-quote. I am