The fixation on college degrees is endemic among conservatives, for all that they claim to not be like those wacky liberals on the matter. This is especially true among homeschoolers, who are just as wedded to the SWPL-liberal notion of college as crucial to financial success as any Tiger Mama. But promoting apprenticeships and certifications is a way to sidestep the entire college cargo cult and provide economic opportunity for even not-bright men to save up and build a life and support a family.
At present in America, about the only groups promoting apprenticeships or certifications successfully are a few old-line heavy trades unions (who remain white-ethnic to a degree that is astonishing in modern America) and a few highly abstract professions like actuaries and accountants. The key is to have either or both of apprenticeships and certifications be directly relevant to the industry work in question. IT failed to do this, so those certifications lost value over time and are now not as reliable or useful to acquire.
Conservatives, then, need to look at developing useful apprenticeships and certifications on a formalized scale for other industries and then hiring based on those. Will there be disparate impact and legal issues? Honestly, probably not. Disparate impact is determined by what kinds of jobs the mandarin class wants to keep open for their own mostly white adult children.
This is one way to sidestep the college treadmill but still employ the men (and widows, for that matter) so they can support families and offers a robust approach that can last for generations to come.
The attachment to post World War 2 America (and to a lesser extent, the rest of the white West) is crippling a lot of conservatives and people who identify with decent family life, real communities and the like who don’t call themselves conservatives/traditionalists/reactionaries. The 1950s was a time of rising prosperity, but it was also a time when the cracks in the underlying individualism of American culture were beginning to have consequences. When extremely popular memoirs contain nuclear families cheerfully spending their Sundays anywhere other than church, it is clear the rot was already present in the Ozzie/Harriet fantasy all too many conservatives idolize.
That fantasy was fantastical then. Some silly person illustrates this ridiculous idolatry by presenting a ‘market image’ of marriage that is exactly what men saw in the 1950s on their TV screens (for the ever-increasing numbers of households that had and got them). And yet the Boomer Generation that saw such images of marriage as little kids divorced at levels not seen before or since. By clinging to a dream that was hollow by the 1950s, conservatives expose themselves as just another kind of liberal, caught up in fantasy and afraid to acknowledge a very different reality. It is possible to do better and advocate for traditional lifestyles and communities without getting hung up on the Pax Americana that only ever existed on TV shows and advertisements that clearly didn’t work in the long run.
Hyperlocal and other local journalism must be considered a paid hobby, not a wealth vehicle or a guarantee of a secure job with benefits. It’s a gap that needs to be filled, but the current problem is that people believe it can be a full time job with benefits, but there’s just not that much money. Some partnerships or just plain asking for cash from local businesses and it would be possible to put together a quality pool of writers and editors with small beats at the town or neighborhood level who could provide decent news writeups of local goings-on in their communities. It would be a paid hobby, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with paid hobbies and bringing back the compensated amateur is another tool in restoring normal life.
I recently tried to find clothespins so I could air-dry clothes to maintain their condition and help them last longer. It was difficult going, but I did find a small family owned company that offered a decent product.
Conservatives need to consider business ventures revolving around producing small household goods like clotheslines, clothespins, small hand tools, small crafting kit, and the like. There is a desperate need for high quality products that make home life more pleasant and help make household goods and clothing last longer. As these household goods serve both male and female household stuff, businesses providing them provide the kind of infrastructure support for traditional living that is so badly needed. It’s the sort of respectable work that won’t make anyone rich, but does provide family-supporting opportunities that conservatives need to have on offer.
Something that most people with conservative values and beliefs don’t really have knowledge of is that there is an extensive history of the domestic sphere and its evolution over the centuries as technology and economic developments shaped it into various forms. This extensive history is mostly recorded linearly in feminist narratives speaking against domesticity. Yet they are in fact the only ones preserving any trace of this traditional, culturally-specific knowledge.
So, to get quite practical, what would be useful is for some of the conservative homemaking bloggesses out there to use their leisure time they spend blogging in doing something far more helpful to women– reaching into those feminist texts and pulling out the threads of history and compiling a series of essays, ebooks or print books outlining the Anglo, Scandinavian, Germanic and other culture-specific domestic traditions and where they spread out into other cultures and where enclaves of transmission from older women to younger women remain.
Conservatives of all stripes talk about culture wars and values and such all the time, but live cut off from deep historical pools. Diving in and gathering those pearls would be a valuable tool, as it would offer women a connection to traditional ways of living and show that there is status and glory in maintaining the hestia as a center of traditionally oriented life. Instead of feeling beaten down and inadequate, women could be renewed by studying their ancestresses and bring that honesty and reality into their marriages, childrearing, homemaking and community life, lifting up so much instead of being pulled down into despair and anomie. Older women with the free time to blog could shift to this other path instead of building themselves up as de facto authorities without any obligations of responsibility to the desperate SAHMs reading them seeking any crumb of support in their journeys.
It is quite cruel to tell women to come home, lie about or deny the long history of the domestic sphere and its complexities, and then act surprised that not very many women want to sign on for a life of closely spaced pregnancies, zero community, relative or paid household support, and ridiculous, non-historical and physically impossible standards of “Christian SAHMness”. It is practical and reasonable to offer them a true connection to the threads of the past and the ways of their ancestresses and allow them to know that they are part of a vast, complex and extensive historical world. There would still not be vast waves of women rushing to SAHM, but you’d get more of the sweet nice types who currently end up 47 and unwed because they aren’t blind and would rather be “in ministry” than a crumbling wreck of health with a side order of spiritual and psychological abuse.
Also, accurate information would allow in a broader sphere for transition to a service economy that offered really sweet services instead of selling massages and poorly built townhomes to each other.
It would be immensely helpful for conservatives to look within their local communities for older women who could provide what used to be fairly traditional night nursing for women with fresh newborns. Night nursing means being available to sooth a baby by being awake between midnight and about 6am so a mother can be relatively to decently rested. Hiring such a woman is not cheap, but older women who are already awake at 4am are still around, it is just a matter of encouraging them to offer this support, either explicitly with money or implicitly via social pressure.
The helpfulness lies in the fact that it is truly cruel to ask women to stay home with closely spaced children without devising some schemes of support for the most arduous immediate periods, such as the first early months after a new child is born. Women staying home with they kids are the backbone of conservative life and the current norm of handwaving the social support they need from other women is crippling their families at the individual level and conservative re-norming at the societal level.
By bothering to recognize the essential importance of night nurses, there’d be more of them, and it’s not like conservatives haven’t got the money. Instead of buying the latest nostrums from horrible con artists, they could buy the services of some nice older woman. Win-win!