The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Marriage, Success and Feminism

Posted on | October 30, 2013 | 48 Comments

Bradley Wilcox has an excellent article at The Atlantic showing the data that correlates marriage to economic outcomes for children. This is reminiscent of one of the most best articles ever published by The Atlantic, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s 1993 “Dan Quayle Was Right.”

You may remember the controversy referenced in the title: Vice President Quayle criticized the CBS comedy Murphy Brown for glamorizing unwed motherhood. There was fierce feminist criticism of Quayle who, supposedly, was against Progress and Equality. But the social science then, as now, was perfectly clear: Marriage is a good thing, and is especially beneficial to children.

Whitehead expanded her thesis into an excellent book, The Divorce Culture: Rethinking Our Commitments to Marriage and Family, which I strongly recommend to anyone who wants to understand the social, economic and cultural forces that hurt families.

Divorce and unwed parenthood are correlated with bad outcomes for children, but we must remember that correlation is not causation and that a demonstrable statistical trend — e.g., higher incomes for children of intact marriages — does not mean that every child from a broken home is doomed to a life of poverty. Something else to remember: Trends do not make people. Rather, people make trends.

What causes divorce? Most often, selfishness is the reason. Marriage requires generosity and patience, because any two people will inevitably have conflicts. The normal human tendency in any conflict is to blame the other person, and it requires an unselfish spirit to say to ourselves, “Maybe this is my fault or, even if it isn’t entirely my fault, it’s better to just take the blame and end the argument.”

The selfish person is the one who insists on winning every argument, merely to satisfy his or her pride. Such a selfish spirit is unsuited for marriage, because if you insist you are always right, this turns your marriage into a constant humiliation for your spouse.

A domineering personality — a selfish bully who enjoys the humiliation of others — does not want a partner in marriage so much as he wants a handy target, someone he can push around, just to prove to himself his own superiority. A good marriage requires respect and trust. We should strive to deserve the admiration and cooperation of our spouses, rather than seek to coerce or trick them, which is what the domineering, controlling or manipulative spouse does. And because all of us are imperfect, voluntary cooperation within marriage requires an unselfish, forgiving and patient temperament.

We have to know our own needs, and to be able to discern between our actual needs and our mere wants. I sometimes joke that I married a woman mean enough to keep me in line, and there is truth in humor. My wife is a sweet and generous woman, but she is nobody’s doormat. She is ferocious when angry and always willing to tell me when I am out of line — which, of course, I occasionally am.

OK, probably more than just “occasionally.”

My goal in life is to make her happy, and I succeed in this goal far less often than I would wish. As I am proud to have her as my wife, I want to make her proud to have me as her husband. This requires a constant striving, and that in turn requires a determined commitment — the mental will to stick it out, no matter what, even when she’s so angry that she is ready to pack my bags and kick me out.

“If Americans can be divorced for ‘incompatibility of temper,’ I cannot conceive why they are not all divorced. I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible.”
G.K. Chesterton, 1910

My defense of the traditional family and my criticism of feminism have, I fear, created the impression that I am some kind of Archie Bunker stereotype of a husband, a perception that is quite the opposite of truth. Actually (as my oldest daughter’s husband could certainly testify), our daughters have been raised to be confident and independent. A good woman is not timid or helpless and, in fact, one of the reasons I despise feminism is because it fosters a victimhood mentality that cripples women’s capacity for happiness.

Like all other radical egalitarian movements, feminism degrades the individual in order to promote a sense of collective grievance (on the part of the alleged victims) and collective guilt (on the part of their alleged victimizers). The ordinary unfairness of life — which we all experience routinely, no matter who we are — is rhetorically magnified into systematic Social Injustice, and the radical crusade for collective Equality is promised as the utopian solution. Anyone who buys into such a mass movement mindset thereby surrenders responsibility for their own life, and this is in fact the basic incentive: “You are not responsible! Your unhappiness is not your fault!”

Damn you, and damn your miserable victimhood movement.

Marriage requires mutual respect and cooperation. I refuse to endorse the degradation of women inherent to the feminist mentality.




48 Responses to “Marriage, Success and Feminism”

  1. MrEvilMatt
    October 30th, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    Marriage, Success and Feminism: Bradley Wilcox has an excellent article at The Atlantic showing the data that …

  2. CHideout
    October 30th, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    Marriage, Success and Feminism: Bradley Wilcox has an excellent article at The Atlantic showing the data that …

  3. jwbrown1969
    October 30th, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    Marriage, Success and Feminism: Bradley Wilcox has an excellent article at The Atlantic showing the data that …

  4. Lockestep1776
    October 30th, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    Marriage, Success and Feminism: Bradley Wilcox has an excellent article at The Atlantic showing the data that …

  5. Resista38176897
    October 30th, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    Marriage, Success and Feminism: Bradley Wilcox has an excellent article at The Atlantic showing the data that …

  6. Citzcom
    October 30th, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    Marriage, Success and Feminism: Bradley Wilcox has an excellent article at The Atlantic showing the data that …

  7. andilinks
    October 30th, 2013 @ 10:55 am

    Marriage, Success and Feminism via Chris Smith

  8. Andrea Silver
    October 30th, 2013 @ 10:57 am

    shared on Twitter

  9. rsmccain
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:15 am

    Marriage, Success and Feminism

  10. John Smolen
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:23 am

    Great article, Smitty

  11. Andrea Silver
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:27 am

    Andrea Silver liked this on Facebook.

  12. rsmccain
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:27 am

    “What causes divorce? Most often, selfishness is the reason.”

  13. rsmccain
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:28 am

    “A good marriage requires respect and trust.”

  14. moxiemom
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:33 am

    RT @rsmccain: “A good marriage requires respect and trust.”

  15. AmPowerBlog
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:34 am

    .@AmandaMarcotte Marriage, Success and #Feminism via @RSMcCain

  16. rsmccain
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:35 am

    RT @AmPowerBlog: .@AmandaMarcotte Marriage, Success and #Feminism via @RSMcCain

  17. rsmccain
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:39 am

    “Like all other radical egalitarian movements, feminism degrades the individual …”

  18. thejamesongirl
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:40 am

    RT @rsmccain: “What causes divorce? Most often, selfishness is the reason.”

  19. pcbedamned
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:45 am

    Excellent piece Stacy.

  20. Dana
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:54 am

    The argument goes that children will be happier with one parent who is happy than with two who are unhappy with each other. But every study has shown that the greatest desire of children from broken marriages is for their parents to get back together.

    The argument is one which proceeds from selfishness; it focuses on the adults, not the children, and what the adults believe will lead to the greater happiness, as measured from their perspective.

  21. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:56 am

    But you would deny convicted felons and sexual deviants being able to marry on Washington State’s fantasy prison island. I guess that makes you a H8er (me too).

    Great post, btw.

  22. rsmccain
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:56 am

    .@AmPowerBlog Unfortunately, @AmandaMarcotte blocks everyone who speaks the truth. #tcot #tgdn

  23. rsmccain
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:57 am

    .@AmandaMarcotte hates success and happiness almost as much as she hates facts and logic. @AmPowerBlog

  24. LiberalMediaSux
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:58 am

    RT @rsmccain: .@AmPowerBlog Unfortunately, @AmandaMarcotte blocks everyone who speaks the truth. #tcot #tgdn

  25. AmPowerBlog
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:59 am

    RT @rsmccain: .@AmandaMarcotte hates success and happiness almost as much as she hates facts and logic. @AmPowerBlog

  26. Carleton
    October 30th, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

    Do Eloi marry?

    If not this piece is grave disservice to all proggie/libs, any fool knows their utopia has us all lying around as barely sentient Lister bags…shagging indiscriminately, the village takes care of the kids…

  27. CPAguy
    October 30th, 2013 @ 12:17 pm


  28. RS
    October 30th, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

    The old verities will always rear their heads to haunt you, should you deny their existence.

    I often am amazed at those who view the social landscape and wail at the destruction of the Family and institution of marriage. I wonder where they were in the mid-Sixties when the movement toward “no fault” divorce became prevalent. People forget, that it used to be extraordinarily difficult to get a divorce in this country, Nevada being the exception. One had to prove fault, i.e. adultery, abuse or abandonment on the part of the other party to get divorced. The guilty spouse lost everything and wound up having to pay damages (alimony) which were in the nature of “breach of contract.” Society’s concern was focused on the children and not on the spouses.

    Alas, in the mud pits of Yazger’s farm was spawned the idea that ‘self-actualization” was the greatest good, Man’s ultimate purpose. From that came inter alia, divorce upon one or both spouse’s whim, children and family be damned. And so, we find ourselves here, where the data tells us the Baby-boomers were full of shit, but Society ignores the data in order to pursue its selfish and self-destructive agenda.

  29. wordygirl
    October 30th, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

    Stacy, I love when you write these posts about family and marriage. Great talking points for conversations with my newly adult kids, and ammunition when trying to discuss these topics with lib friends.

  30. Cajun_Fury
    October 30th, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

    RT @rsmccain: .@AmandaMarcotte hates success and happiness almost as much as she hates facts and logic. @AmPowerBlog

  31. Carleton
    October 30th, 2013 @ 12:58 pm

    education the same; its about the adults, not the kids….hummmm, sensing a pattern here;)

  32. BredRightAndTrue
    October 30th, 2013 @ 1:13 pm

    Great post, Stacy.

    Feminism, single parenthood, and divorce have created a multitude of victims and criminals that walk amongst us… the children of feminists, single parents, and divorce.

    Ann Coulter covered in depth this very issue in chapter two [Victim of a Crime? Thank a Single Mother] in her 2008 book, “Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims’ and Their Assault on America.” And, boy, did she endure a heaping helping of rage for factually laying out the truth. Truth = hate, dontchaknow.

    Marriage and family are the cures to many of society’s ills, but in true liberal fashion, leftists have done everything within their power to destroy both. We are all reaping what the Godless leftists have sown, and far too many gave up the good fight far too easily. Selfishness has been on the Liberal Agenda for decades, lest we forget their main mantra, “If it feels good–Do it!” (Forward! *headdesk*)

    BTW–Always appreciate a GK Chesterton quote. One of my favorite writers/political thinkers. 

  33. Quartermaster
    October 30th, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

    Oh Bovine one, you know this lot is a bunch of H8erz.
    Consider yourself denounced.

  34. La Pucelle
    October 30th, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

    I had something Deep & Meaningful to discuss about marriage and how it involves change and adaptation and how today’s culture raises Unique & Special Snowflakes who are Perfect As They Are and hence are completely unsuited for marriage, but. Nope.

    It’s Conspiracy Theories of Academia Wednesday!

    Someone’s still buttmad over the possibility of a woman possibly avoiding rape and insisting that constant and inescapable victimhood is empowering. Because, feminism.

    Oh. It’s Liz Plank. So that’s why it’s cray cray.

  35. loritootle
    October 30th, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

    RT @rsmccain: “Like all other radical egalitarian movements, feminism degrades the individual …”

  36. Dana
    October 30th, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

    And that’s one helluva industrial strength bra in the picture; could we get that redrawn?

  37. Julie Pascal
    October 30th, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

    My mom always said, adultery, abuse or abandonment (and only adultery because these days it can kill you.) Granted, she didn’t really mention abandonment either, but if you’re the one abandoned, it’s not as though you’re ending the marriage.

    Somehow being unhappy didn’t make the list of “Mom’s approved reasons to leave him.”

    We’ve somehow gotten this odd notion that it’s perfectly rational to make someone else responsible for your own happiness. It’s not only irrational, it’s impossible. And putting that burden on another person is not *loving* them.

    And then we treat perfect strangers more politely than we treat our spouses. Like we simply can’t *help* being angry and yelling when we’re in a bad mood… but we do it all the time with people we *don’t* love.

    That goes both directions, of course!

  38. Elizabeth Plank (@feministabulous) Proves She Is a Special Kind of Stupid™ : The Other McCain
    October 30th, 2013 @ 3:46 pm

    […] It was not my plan to write about Elizabeth Plank today because, until about 2 p.m., I’d never even heard of this particular idiot, but then a commenter left this comment on an earlier post: […]

  39. Marriage, Success and Feminism | Dead Citizen's Rights Society
    October 30th, 2013 @ 3:56 pm

    […] Marriage, Success and Feminism. […]

  40. concern00
    October 30th, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

    Marriage is anathema to the left, which is why they must destroy it.

  41. Professor_Why
    October 30th, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

    Marriage, Success and Feminism

  42. thatMrGguy
    October 30th, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

    Marriage, Success and Feminism

  43. Bob Belvedere
    October 30th, 2013 @ 7:45 pm

    It stands in the way of the ends they seek – servitude to a system of ideas.

  44. MattRoss
    October 30th, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

    That’s as great a description of the function of a good marriage, or a bad one, as I have read. Well done sir!

  45. JadedByPolitics
    October 30th, 2013 @ 9:34 pm

    Marriage, Success and Feminism “it fosters a victimhood mentality that cripples women’s capacity for happiness”

  46. Eric Ashley
    October 30th, 2013 @ 11:20 pm

    We’re a herd of H8erzs.

  47. jakee308
    October 31st, 2013 @ 5:49 am

    Granted that selfishness is the root cause of divorce and the State through unfair and unbalanced family courts, divorce and property laws and welfare benefits aid and abet that selfish behavior overwhelmingly on the behalf of women.

    Don’t hear too many feminists complaining about being pandered and condescended to when it comes to those situations do you?

    No they’re quite happy to be the favored party and sometimes even admit that they deserve that favoritism because PATRIARCHY!!!!!

  48. C_Simpson
    October 31st, 2013 @ 9:44 am

    Great post. Love the Chesterton quote also.