The Fraud of Healthy Marriages
If we truly wish to restore marriage, we must change not males but laws. Yet we are
refusing to face this politically unpleasant truth and filling the public payroll with
therapists and police.
In encouraging marriage, the administration is promoting a fraud. It is luring young
people into a contract which the government can tear up at any time. Men in particular who
accept the government's invitation to marry can lose their children, their homes, their
savings and future earnings, their freedom, and even their lives. Not only will the
government extend them no protection for their commitment, it will criminalize them
without even the due-process safeguards afforded to criminals.
Some evidence suggests men are becoming wise. The National Marriage Project at Rutgers
University reports that men are increasingly unwilling to marry. Project director David
Popenoe spins a therapeutically correct explanation, blaming a puerile fear of commitment.
Glenn Sacks and Dianna Thompson in the Philadelphia Inquirer read the data
instead as indicating an impromptu marriage strike: a refusal to start families by men who
are aware it can mean a one-way ticket to jail.
What we are glimpsing here is part of a larger process by which the state has used
family destruction to expand its reach. When fathers are eliminated, state officials
assume their role as protector and provider. By removing fathers, the government creates a
host of problems for itself to solve. If fatherlessness is behind most of today's social
ills, the realization that the engine generating fatherless children is not the fathers,
but the state, takes on implications few have dared to confront.
Much of the expansion in the size and scope of government over many decades has been
justified by the problems now recognized as proceeding from fatherless homes. Both the
welfare state of the Left and the expansion of incarceration pushed by the Right are
furthered by the government's displacement of fathers. With hardly a word of opposition
from left or right, the welfare-divorce machinery has become a self-perpetuating mechanism
by which government engineers the expansion of its own power. The increase in this
machinery is the silent revolution of the last century.
This article originally appeared in the July 2003 issue of Liberty,
PO Box 1181, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Annual subscription US$29.50. Copyright 2003,
Liberty, all rights reserved.