Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Survey: Christian mothers value family over their relationship with Jesus

My deist friend ECM sent me this shocking article from Church for Men blog. Please read, then read my comments below.

Excerpt:

When forced to choose their top priority in life, Christian women overwhelmingly pick family over faith, according to a survey from Barna Research. Five times more women chose “being a mother or parent” than chose “being a follower of Christ,” as their most important role in life.

These stunning survey results give us a clue as to why Christianity is so rapidly changing into a family-centered faith; why Christian culture is feminizing; and why the gender gap in many denominations continues to grow.

The researchers wrote:

[Women's] spiritual lives are rarely their most important source of identity. That role is taken up by the strong priority Christian women place on family.

The preeminence of family was most overt for Christian women when it came to naming the highest priority in their lives. More than half (53%) says their highest priority in life is family. By contrast, only one third as many women (16%) rate faith as their top priority, which is less than the cumulative total of women who say their health (9%), career performance (5%) or comfortable lifestyle (5%) are top on their list of life objectives.

Despite the characterization of women as intricately connected to their peers, only 3% of Christian women say their friends are their top priority, equal to those who place finances (2%) and leisure (1%) at the top.

Women’s sense of identity very closely follows their priorities, with 62% of women saying their most important role in life is as a mother or parent. Jesus came next: 13% of Christian women believe their most important role in life is as a follower of Christ. In third place is their role as wife (11%).

Any other roles women identify with came in at similarly low rankings and far below that of a parent, including that of employee or executive (3%), that of church member (2%) and that of friend or neighbor (2%). American citizen, teacher and caregiver all rank with one percent each.

The researchers continue:

Perhaps not surprisingly given where they place their identity, Christian women also point to family-related objectives as their most important goal in life. Raising their children well is the highest goal for Christian women (36%). While, roughly one quarter of Christian women identify faith-oriented goals as most important (26%).

Though women consider themselves family-driven, their marriages may be suffering from a lack of intentionality: only 2% of Christian women say their most important goal in life is to enhance their relationship with their significant other. Marriage comes in below several other goals, including health (6%), career (5%), lifestyle (4%), personal growth (4%), morality (4%) and financial objectives (3%). Only goals related to personal appearance, relationships outside the home and travel come in lower than marital goals.

And I will include one paragraph from the author of the post:

While the Bible certainly endorses interpersonal harmony, Scripture is not chock-full of happy relationship advice. When Jesus spoke of relationships he usually predicted their demise (Matt. 10:34-35), or promised rewards for people who abandoned their loved ones (Luke 18:29-30). God takes no delight in dysfunctional relationships, but neither did he send his son so you could be at peace with your kids.

I have to quote that because I rebelled against both my parents in order to become an evangelical Protestant. First one in the family.

Now I have something to say about this survey data.

I get a lot of flak for my 10 courting questions that are designed to evaluate a woman’s worldview prior to any commitment being made. Men and women alike often tell me to lower my standards. The idea that the marriage is supposed to serve God has no traction with most young evangelicals today. Everything is about emotions and appearances and peer approval and complying with the secular culture. You choose a person who will improve your self-esteem and impress your friends. Who cares what their worldview is? The main things in life are happiness, health and wealth, right?

The 10 courting questions are designed to help a Christian man make sure that his wife is going to support him in serving God and making the relationship count for God. They are also designed to make sure that his wife will do everything possible to guarantee that his children remain Christians throughout their lives. The simple fact of the matter is that men are away at work most of the time doing stuff to make money. The man’s wife is the one who is going to be at home doing the more important work of making sure that his children learn about God, and can resist the culture.

The danger you want to avoid is a situation where your wife is not able to explain to the children how Christianity is rooted in reason and evidence. Your wife needs to be informed and passionate about Christian apologetics, public knowledge related to the Christian worldview and public policies that affect the execution of a Christian life plan. If she divorces Christianity from truth, then she will not be able to answer the questions of your children, or deal with their doubts, or anticipate threats to their faith (e.g. – the pluralism/relativism at the university), or help them to resist secular popular culture, or explain non-Biblical reasons for various Christian views now unpopular with the culture, e.g. – premarital sex, gay marriage, global warming socialism. And so on.

If your children are raised to think that Christianity is an arbitrary set of rules that cannot be debated or questioned, all in the name of family happiness and respectability, then as soon as they get to university, they will rebel. So the first priority can never be “family” - the first priority has to be truth. Christianity is not a tool to achieve happiness in the home, or respectability with the neighbors. Having family as a priority can cause questions and doubts about Christian truth claims to be swept under the rug. That works for a while, but as soon as the kids hit university, they will drop their Christian faith like a hot potato. A better idea is to focus more on truth and open discussion, and let all the doubts and questions and discomfort about being different come out in the open while the kids are growing up.

Christian men, choose your wife wisely. She has to be a thinker. She has to be a fighter. And you have to lead her during the courtship to take Christian worldview and apologetics seriously.

UPDATE: This survey made me think of this phone call – listen carefully to the mother’s response to her son’s atheism: “How dare you embarrass the family, what will the neighbors think?”. Have a listen – does this response ring true to you? 

It’s all about family (and how the family is perceived in the community), and nothing about truth. Nothing about knowledge.

UPDATE: Got an anonymous response from a husband:

I recently read your post on women choosing family over faith and I fear that I may have a wife that falls into that category. We got married when I was a very young Christian and while I am maturing in my faith, I see little to no passion or growth in her to follow after Christ (though she goes to church with me, prays multiple times a day and sings praise songs often). I have tried to gently lead her to a more intimate relationship with Christ, but nothing I do seems to help much.

He wanted advice for men in this situation, but that would be another post for another time. In the meantime, bring it up during the courting, and expect to every wife candidate demonstrate initiative and interest in bringing apologetics into the church and university – as well as mentoring co-workers and neighbors.

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Heather McDonald: Campus sexual assault crisis is based on a fiction

This article by Heather McDonald from City Journal, the journal of the moderate, centrist Manhattan Institute. (H/T Dennis Prager)

Excerpt:

In the last few weeks… the White House has… created a new federal task force to “protect [college] students from sexual assault.”

[...]The materials accompanying the new sexual-assault task force recycle the usual feminist claims about campus rape: an “estimated 1 in 5 women is sexually assaulted at college,” proclaims a White House press release. Such an assault rate would represent a crime wave unprecedented in civilized history. By comparison, the 2012 rape rate in New Orleans and its immediately surrounding parishes was .0234 percent; the rate for all violent crimes in New Orleans in 2012 was .48 percent. According to the White House Council on Women and Girls, “survivors” of this alleged campus sexual-assault epidemic “often” experience a life of depression, chronic pain, diabetes, anxiety, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

And yet, the crazed push on the part of mothers (and fathers) to get their daughters into this maelstrom of predation begins earlier and earlier each year. Parents in Manhattan pay tutors $200 an hour to prep their tots for the elite nursery school admissions tests, all with an eye to college. These are many of the same baby-boomer parents who refuse to vaccinate their children or feed them genetically modified foods based on wholly speculative risks. If the college experience were in fact the tsunami of violence that the feminists proclaim, leading to widespread emotional dysfunction—a dysfunction nowhere in evidence among increasingly dominant female college graduates—there would have been a stampede to create single-sex schools where girls could study in safety. Instead, college applications from girls rise each year, and the chance of admission at selective campuses drops further under the press of eager petitioners. At Yale alone, the target of an Obama administration Title IX probe into alleged indifference to rampant sexual assault, applications rose from 13,000 in 1996 to 27,000 in 2011. Somehow, word about Yale’s “unsafe” environment for girls is not getting out. Imagine, by contrast, that one in five college girls would merely have their iPhones stolen at knifepoint at some point during her college career. A wave of preventive strategies would have emerged, but nothing comparable has arisen in response to the alleged rape crisis.

And that’s because the one-in-five number is wholly deceptive, based on the strategic phrasing of questions and the exquisite parsing of definitions. In the 1986 Ms. survey that sparked the campus-rape industry, 73 percent of respondents whom the study characterized as rape victims said that they hadn’t been raped when asked the question directly. Forty-two percent of these supposed victims had intercourse again with their alleged assailants—an inconceivable behavior in the case of actual rape.

The reality on campuses is not a rape epidemic but a culture of drunken hook-ups with zero normative checks on promiscuous behavior.

It’s important to understand that many women who regret recreational hook-up sex afterwards deliberately choose to get drunk at parties so that they can hook-up with guys. Check out the words of some college students from this study of relationships on campus published by the Institute for American Values.

Excerpt:

A notable feature of hook ups is that they almost always occur when both participants are drinking or drunk.

A Rutgers University student observed, “You always hear people say, oh my gosh, I was so drunk, I hooked up with so and so…” Perhaps not surprisingly, many noted that being drunk helped to loosen one’s inhibitions and make it easier to hook up. A number of students noted that being drunk could later serve as your excuse for the hook up. A Yale University student said, “Some people like hook up because they’re drunk or use being drunk as an excuse to hook up.” A New York University student observed, “[Alcohol is] just part of an excuse, so that you can say, oh, well, I was drinking.”

A Rutgers University student commented, “If you’re drinking a lot it’s easier to hook up with someone… [and] drugs, it’s kind of like a bonding thing… and then if you hook up with them and you don’t want to speak to them again, you can always blame it on the drinking or the drugs.”

Other women observed that being drunk gives a woman license to act sexually interested in public in ways that would not be tolerated if she were sober. For instance, a University of Michigan student said, “Girls are actually allowed to be a lot more sexual when they are drunk…”

A University of Chicago junior observed, “One of my best friends… sometimes that’s her goal when we go out. Like she wants to get drunk so I guess she doesn’t have to feel guilty about [hooking up].”

Some reported that drinking had led them to do things they later regretted. A University of Virginia student said, “My last random hook up was last October and it was bad. I was drunk and I just regretted it very much.”

This is actually the new feminist-approved way of landing a husband, because traditional courting is sexist. Don’t believe me, believe feminist academics writing in the New York Times.

Excerpt:

If there’s anything that feminism has bequeathed to young women of means, it’s that power is their birthright.  Visit an American college campus on a Monday morning and you’ll find any number of amazingly ambitious and talented young women wielding their brain power, determined not to let anything — including a relationship with some needy, dependent man — get in their way.  Come back on a party night, and you’ll find many of these same girls (they stopped calling themselves “women” years ago) wielding their sexual power, dressed as provocatively as they dare, matching the guys drink for drink — and then hook-up for hook-up.

So let’s review the rules for relationships according to feminism. Man sets time for date? Sexist! Man arrives in car to pick you up? Sexist! Man brings you flowers to be put in a vase? Sexist! Man talks to your father first to get the ground rules? Sexist! Man takes you to a sit-down restaurant and asks you questions about marriage? Sexist! Man drops you off at home and gets a wave goodbye? Sexist! But do you know what feminists do approve of? 1) Getting drunk. 2) Hooking-up. 3) Crying rape (when the guy doesn’t call back). And this is the problem that Obama is trying to solve. It’s a problem created by the people of his ideological bent.

And why do we have hooking up instead of courting?

It’s because feminists know perfectly well that when a woman gets used and abused over and over by the kind of good-looking scum that she meets at parties, then she is less likely to get married, less capable of staying married, less likely to put family (husbands and kids!) over her career. And that’s exactly what they want young women to do. When you tell young women that men have no special roles as {protector, provider, moral leader, spiritual leader}, then you are setting them up for failure. They need boundaries in order to avoid the bad men, and choose the good ones – the marriage-capable ones. But if your goal is to make women avoid marriage, then hook-ups and binge drinking are in, while chastity and chivalry are out. 

Women have been told by music, movies, culture, peers, feminists, etc. that there is a certain kind of man that they should prefer, and a certain way to get their attention. Maybe women need a dose of logical thinking so that they can connect their method of choosing a man to their end goal. If they want marriage and children, then the way to get it is NOT by following the lead of Hollywood celebrities and bitter feminist academics.

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How premarital sex damages a woman’s ability to be in a relationship

Nancy P. linked this article from the radically leftist New York Times to me. I was pleasantly surprised how much I agreed with it.

Excerpt:

I recently overhead two students talking in a dining hall at the university where I teach. “Yeah, I might get married, too,” one confided. “But not until I’m at least 30 and have a career.” Then she grinned. “Until then? I’m going to party it up.”

This young woman was practically following a script. An increasing number of studies show that many millennials want to marry — someday.

Generation Y is postponing marriage until, on average, age 29 for men and 27 for women. College-educated millennials in particular view it as a “capstone” to their lives rather than as a “cornerstone,” according to a report whose sponsors include the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

Yet for all of their future designs on marriage, many of them may not get there. Their romance operandi — hooking up and hanging out — flouts the golden rule of what makes marriages and love work: emotional vulnerability.

[...]Research led by the social psychologist Sara H. Konrath at the University of Michigan has shown that college students’ self-described levels of empathy have declined since 1980, especially so in the past 10 years, as quantifiable levels of self-esteem and narcissism have skyrocketed. Add to this the hypercompetitive reflex that hooking up triggers (the peer pressure to take part in the hookup culture and then to be first to unhook) and the noncommittal mind-set that hanging out breeds. The result is a generation that’s terrified of and clueless about the A B C’s of romantic intimacy.

In “The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture Is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy,” Donna Freitas chronicles the ways in which this trend is creating the first generation in history that has no idea how to court a potential partner, let alone find the language to do so.

If this fear of vulnerability began and ended with mere bumbling attempts at courtship, then all of this might seem harmless, charming even. But so much more is at stake.

During class discussions, my students often admit to hoping that relationships will simply unfold through hooking up. “After all,” one student recently said, “nobody wants to have The Talk,” the dreaded confrontation that clarifies romantic hopes and expectations. “You come off as too needy.”

This fear sets up the dicey precedent Dr. Brown warns us about: Dodging vulnerability cheats us of the chance to not just create intimacy but also to make relationships work.

Then there’s the emotional fallout of hooking up. This kind of sexual intimacy inevitably leads to becoming “emotionally empty,” writes Dr. Freitas. “In gearing themselves up for sex, they must at the same time drain themselves of feeling.”

This dynamic is about more than simply quelling nerves with “liquid courage” at college parties or clubs. It’s about swallowing back emotions that are perceived as annoying obstacles. And this can start a dangerous cycle.

“We cannot selectively numb emotions,” writes Dr. Brown. “When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

I’ve personally observed women who had sexual histories firsthand, during my college years as an undergraduate student and graduate student. I noticed that it caused them some trouble when they were trying to see a relationship through to marriage. The more a woman chooses men purely for looks rather than husband-qualities, the more likely she is to see a bad side of men. You don’t see the good side of men when you hook up with men who are willing to have sex before marriage. If women have enough of these bad experiences with men, it gets very hard for women to continue to invest in relationships and to serve and care for men. The very things that men are looking for from women – support, empathy, understanding, trust, vulnerability – disappear from the woman, and she is left trying to get a man to commit to her using her sex appeal alone. What a scary thought. What kind of man can you land with sex alone? Not the kind that makes a good husband and father, that’s for sure.

What does the hook-up culture teach women? It teaches them to work on their educations and careers first. It teaches them to choose the best-looking men. It teaches them to worry more about what their friends will think than about what a man does in a marriage. It teaches them to turn off their emotions for fear of getting hurt. It teaches them that offering recreational sex to a man is the way to get male attention and engagement. In the old days, before feminism, women couldn’t even use sexuality to impress a man. Everything had to be done the old-fashioned way. You would hear phrases like “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. Women would look at men who were good husband candidates and think about getting their attention by cooking and helping and caring. That’s all gone now, and many women aren’t even cultivating domestic skills. Domestic skills are still very much sought after by men, although sometimes they can’t articulate their needs very well.

I asked a friend of mine who had experience dating a woman who had a sexual past about this post, and he said that past sexual relationships with good-looking, non-committal men has the same effect on women that pornography has on men. He said that it changes their expectations, so that they become more and more fixated on the man’s appearance, and less and less concerned about his ability to do husband and father tasks. Another man who also has a lot of sexual experience told me that the effect of hook-up sex on women’s perception of men would be even stronger than the effect of pornography on men. Hooking-up with men for status and fun causes a change in how women evaluate men. After all, if a wedding cermemony guarantees you “happily ever after” then why not just try to make a relationship “work out” by jumping right into bed and see if easy access to recreational sex makes the man see the value of long-term, exclusive commitment and self-sacrifice.

So we have a situation where women are not looking at what a man does in a family – working, discovering the truth, setting moral boundaries, helping others to be related to God. Instead, women are trained by the hook-up culture to think about appearances and how a good looking man will make others think about her in her social group. It seems to me to be as counterproductive as if a man were choosing computer based on how the case looked on the outside, rather than the performance and cost of the parts on the inside of the case. It makes no sense. Speaking as a man, I have a list of things that I am looking for from a woman, because I have specific goals that I want marriage to achieve. A woman’s decision and ability to hook-up with me tells me nothing about her ability to perform the tasks I need her to perform in a marriage. The antidote to the strains and stress of marriage and parenting cannot be found in a hook-up, or even in a woman’s career. That’s not going to help a husband the way a husband needs to be helped.

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Woman who slept with 18 guys shocked that no one wants to marry her

Does being a virgin before marriage affect marital stabilitity?

Does being a virgin before marriage affect marital stability?

Sunshine Mary linked to a post from Reddit by a 32-year old “progressive” woman who is surprised that 15 years of sleeping around with 18 different guys is not attractive to marriage-minded men.

Excerpt:

My parents are first generation immigrants. I have a younger brother and younger sister. In my family I was always the rebellious one; I would often challenge my parents. My family was very strict, when it came to dating and my siblings usually fell in line. However, I would challenge that norm.

My brother and sister were very repressed with their sexualities as a result, while I lost my virginity at 17 to my then boyfriend. While my brother and followed the traditional Indian path. My brother ended up not having any sexual contact with a girl until he got married at 25 (arranged marriage) and now they have a child together. My sister (too never kissed a boy) has recently gotten married too at 24 with an Indian boy she met at our Temple (both parents approved).

I live in LA, a city where both men and woman tend to marry a bit later in life, and yet I still spent the last years of my 20‘s feeling that somehow, I’d messed up. I had followed the wrong trail and thus, my “important-life-moments” timeline was off. Even with my more progressive friends it began slowly at first, when I was 27 … an engagement post on Facebook, an invite to a wedding—it was happening. People I knew were beginning the next stage of life and saying “I do.”

Throughout my whole life I never really dated any Indian guys; I exclusively dated white guys. However now I realize more than ever that the guys I dated never really took me seriously. They never really viewed me as someone they would eventually marry. I was always just some exotic fun. This part was definitely a realization that has hurt me to the core. I didn’t actually do it to spite Indian men or anything like that. I did what a lot of my white female friends did; I thought I was the same as them, but that could be farther from the truth. Most white guys I ran into wanted white wives.

I am now 32, and seems like everyone in my family has lapped me. I too want a family a marriage. However, now my chance of finding someone is gone. At my age getting an arranged marriage or finding another Indian man to marry me is out of the question. Majority of Indian guys usually get married pretty early. Often either to another Indian girl they meet here, or they go back to India for an arranged marriage. My parents have tried signing me up for a matrimony site, but of the guys I’d meet they would be turned off by my history (drink/eat meat/not a virgin).

[...]Most of my relationships have been long term I have only been with 18 guys and I have been sexually active since I was 17 years old.

She has only had steady sexual relationships with 18 guys in 15 years! That’s not a lot. Is it?

Let’s see what Sunshine Mary says first:

However, the more I think about it, the more it seems to me that articles like hers are a good thing simply because they expose the lie.  Feminists have sold young women a bill of goods, that they can live like men, work like men, have sex like men, and then turn back into women when they feel like it.  We laugh at a woman like this sometimes and make fun of her and say, “Didn’t she know that she’d end up like this?”

No, she didn’t know that.  That’s because when you are 17 years old, you don’t know much, especially in this culture of extended adolescence.  And when you have been told from a very young age that, as a girl, it is your destiny to Have It All exactly When You Want It, I’m sure it is very baffling to find yourself in your thirties with no husband and none in sight, with the dawning realization that your job and lonely apartment are not nearly as fulfilling as being a wife and mother would have been.

[...]Personally, I feel no joy in this woman’s pain.  I don’t think a White Knight should ride in to save her because I think she should suffer the natural consequences of her decisions so that other young women may see and learn from her errors, but I take no pleasure in the fact that she will have this lot in life.  However, what most of us don’t seem to understand is that young women make the terrible choices that they are making because they are told from an early age that these are actually good choices.  Some girls are able to resist that message, which saturates every aspect of the media and schools, but most girls aren’t, and they don’t develop the necessary wisdom until it is too late.

Emphasis hers. And now my turn.

Let me tell you what awaits a man who marries a woman like that, who spent her 20s hooking up with hot guys who had no interest in marriage and no  demonstrated ability to protect, provide and lead on moral/spiritual issues. She will have convinced herself that she is more attractive than she really is, and be constantly comparing a less-attractive husband to these other hot guys. I therefore do not recommend that any man marry this woman as she is now. What men need in marriage is respect, affection, affirmation and approval. A woman like her needs to work on building up her ability to trust and encourage men by choosing good men and supporting them chastely and unselfishly. That is the only way to fix this, if it even can be fixed.

I know that women will be surprised by this, but men can tell if you are a virgin or not based on how much you trust and encourage them in their plans. If you are constantly putting them down, calling them names, and making excuses for why you don’t have to care about their needs and feelings, then that’s just your past promiscuity showing itself. Virgins with good relationships with their fathers don’t put men down like that – they build men up. My recommendation for women who realize that they are making bad choices with men and being negative about the men they choose is to look in the mirror and acknowledge that they are the problem. The solution, then, is to find a good man and work hard at being submissive and supportive, but chastely.

In the church

My friend Ari, who is married with lots of kids, sent me a related article from Vox Day, about how church women are making choices about during their 20s and 30s.

Vox writes:

Women increasingly expect churches and church functions to be places of freedom from “unwanted” interactions. Translated, this means women expect unattractive men to know their place and not to ask women out or otherwise talk to them at church. They expect men either to avoid them completely, or to be eunuchs, existing to serve them. There have been reports in the manosphere of women actually complaining to pastors about “unattractive” men asking them out at church. It is as if women expect pastors and church staff to punish and rebuke men for “sexual harassment” at churches, merely because in a social situation they acted like men and pursued someone/something they wanted. Of course, none of this applies to attractive men, who are never the subject of complaint or sanction no matter what they do.

A friend of mine who has an engineering degree from MIT and a very high-paying job replied to that with this:

Heh. Sad, but good insight about the desexualized church. When I was single, I very friendly (not sexually — was very discerning and had very high standards) and some women found that very disconcerting. I was even had my behavior likened as “sexual harassment” at one point, so I asked if there were things like pelvic thrusts, hands in pockets pointing the wrong way, things that I said that were inappropriate. No, the answer came back. It was just that I was friendly. (Besides, I couldn’t see any of the women as date-material … one or two from what I could discern were nominally Christian, as in, one thought it would be cool to find a husband at a church but would take home guys.)

So I stated: I merely say hi and ask how the person is and if the person doesn’t want to talk, I don’t push the conversation. I am merely being pleasant especially to people I know. The answer came back that a certain group of women wanted me to just ignore them, not even wave, say hi, or acknowledge their existence. Really? Jesus died so we could just ignore each other? I mostly gaped … and wondered about John 13:34-35.

I was told “this was an unachievable ideal, don’t even try.” Now, who is still worshiping and still there? Not this group of women!

I think this problem of women wasting their lives on men who are attractive and entertaining, but not marriage-capable, is even more serious when it comes to the church, because I think there is a temptation that women have to be very secular in their standard for men, and yet the church affirms them by making it seem that their feelings are actually God speaking to them about which man to like. Every objection about the man’s unsuitability for marriage is met with “but he has a good heart for Jesus and he works hard”. Heart for Jesus = never read so much as a C.S. Lewis book in his life.

Where does the standard come from? Well it comes from TV, movies, music and pop culture. That’s where they learn what kind of man to like, and it’s reinforced by their peers. There is no effort to look at what a Christian man does in a marriage and then choose a man who is showing he can do that. A woman should always choose a man who gives her the tingles, because the tingles are the voice of God telling her that he is opening doors and providing signs for her to prefer the agnostic psychology student who lives in his parents’ basement and is 3 years younger than she is. But he is hawt, and the Holy Spirit told her to spend her 20s pining away for him. Her friends would be so envious, because he looks like that guy on “Mad Men”.

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A primer for social conservatives who want to argue for their views with economics

Somehow I missed this editorial from Ross Douthat, which appeared in the radically leftist New York Times. He responds to the charge that conservatives don’t make economic arguments for their socially conservative views, even though the data is there to support such arguments. What he writes is a pretty good primer on evidential arguments for social conservatives. My regular readers will recognize some of the names he mentions from previous posts on this blog.

Excerpt:

Here are a few (of many) possible answers. The first is that social conservatives actually do make such arguments, even if the phrase “negative externalities” isn’t deployed with quite the frequency Caplan would like. Look at any prominent document on changing family structures, for instance, from The Moynihan Report down through Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s famous “Dan Quayle Was Right” to the “marriage gap” arguments of today, and you’ll find an intense focus on the socioeconomic costs of the trends the writers are describing and/or deploring. Indeed, the entire corpus of socially-conservative intellectual efforts, from 1970s-era neoconservatives like Richard John Neuhaus and James Q. Wilson down to the present era, is shot through with arguments that are, if not purely economic, at least heavily informed by economic questions.

Right now, whether you’re reading Jonathan Last on demography or Kay Hymowitz on young manhood or Brad Wilcox on marriage and middle America or Mark Regnerus on the market for premarital sex, the case for social conservatism is reliably — perhaps even too reliably, I fear, in some of my own work — framed in the language of costs and benefits, mobility and opportunity, education and income and life outcomes. (And likewise on issues that fall within the socially-conservative penumbra, like immigration, crime, and drugs.)

But note that very few of the writers and intellectuals I’ve just mentioned are practicing economists: They’re political scientists, sociologists, journalists, and so forth. (Arguably the most influential socially-conservative champion of free market economics in the last generation, Michael Novak, earned degrees in theology and philosophy, not economics itself.)

In a previous NYT piece, he had also linked to a new 2014 study from the Journal of Sexual Research which showed how delaying sexual activity improves relationship quality and stability.

Abstract:

While recent studies have suggested that the timing of sexual initiation within a couple’s romantic relationship has important associations with later relationship success, few studies have examined how such timing is associated with relationship quality among unmarried couples. Using a sample of 10,932 individuals in unmarried, romantic relationships, we examined how four sexual-timing patterns (i.e., having sex prior to dating, initiating sex on the first date or shortly after, having sex after a few weeks of dating, and sexual abstinence) were associated with relationship satisfaction, stability, and communication in dating relationships. Results suggested that waiting to initiate sexual intimacy in unmarried relationships was generally associated with positive outcomes. This effect was strongly moderated by relationship length, with individuals who reported early sexual initiation reporting increasingly lower outcomes in relationships of longer than two years.

That’s nothing new, but it shows that research falsifies the standard leftist/feminist narrative about recreational sex being normal and healthy. The sexual revolution is very much an idealistic flight from reality. Reality is generally more conservative than the leftists present in their sterile classrooms and popular culture entertainment. You’re not going to see the conclusions of mainstream research reflected in a feminist university professor’s angry rhetoric, or in TV shows and movies written by privileged radicals who have made all the wrong choices in life.

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