25% of first marriages end in divorce, not 50%

I got the Shaunti Feldhahn divorce data book much sooner than expected.  I haven’t had a chance to read it all the way through yet, but she is using census stats, so isn’t just making up stuff.  That said, the 25% number is an estimate derived from taking widows out of the data on first marriages where the person is still married to their first spouse.  Otherwise, the number is 72% of first marriages with first spouse.

The 50% number was a projection based on trends at the time it was formulated, and even then it was 40-50%.

Anyone saying likelihood of marriage ending in divorce is 50% is not looking at how many ever-married people have divorced.

What did happen, and she notes this, is that before the 1970s divorce spikes, marriages remained intact 85% of the time.  That dropped to 70-72% (remember, this includes intact marriages where death ended the marriage, otherwise it’s closer to 75%) by 1985 and stayed there.  Interested parties might look at that stability and contrast it with fertility declines over the same period of time.

The interesting thing to me is that a 25% divorce rate is miserably bad, but there is enough data to show it’s remained constant over several marriage cohorts.  And it’s, well, it’s half of 50%.  I haven’t gotten to the part where she compares by age bracket, but that should be interesting.



Why the alternative right are the right wing’s poor urban blacks.

They kick it ghetto style, leaving women defenseless and whining about how white men need to come bail them out and give them jobs.

They promote what is essentially all the worst aspects of matriarchy (women have to generate most or all the income and also do all the housework and kinder care while they sit around getting into twitter and blog wars) with none of the benefits of existing in parallel with a wealthier patriarchal society next door (since they dunwanna do any of that responsibility and care of others stuff).

That they blame poor urban blacks for their inability to live in whatever loopy 1950s/1960s/1840s version of whitopia they’ve created in their minds is just bitterly funny projection.

Oh yeah, both groups also blame Jews for why they ain’t rich.

Usually at this point examples are demanded, but does anyone really want to see fifteen or thirty comment-links from Steve Sailer’s blog, Taki’s Mag, or Dalrock’s blog, to name just a few alt-right gathering spots?  Probably not!


The sharing economy is about replicating the ghetto economy but with higher status

It’s a way for SWPLs to copy the ecology of urban poor blacks with their complex networks of favors that make it very hard to get up and out (i.e. leave the ghetto and achieve the markers of whitish middle class consumption-based success) without losing their precious status points that are what they trade in preferentially to icky, icky money.

It’s also about creeping proletarianization, in which the destruction of capital and franklin-level business ownership by regulation and cronyism are glossed over by “barter economies” and “sharing systems” that are supposed to make up for the reduced resource access and economic decline.

The fundamentalist 1970s back to the land movement was funded with food stamps and welfare

This was also true of the more left-wing hippies.  There was an interesting confluence during this time of far left and far right starting “self-sufficiency” communal living experiments with the help of welfare.  I didn’t read a book for this one, although you can find little allusions in memoirs about some of this, and the very occasional one-off reference.  Mostly you can find out what happened by looking up the history of the food stamp/SNAP/WIC nutrition support programs on wikipedia.  During the 1970s, some changes were made to what was then still called “food stamps” to permit seeds, gardening equipment and some other tools to be purchased with the stamps instead of money.  A fascinating side effect was that a number of fundamentalist groups/cults/etc. decided to leave the cities and go try to live out in the country off the land.

What I find really interesting about this is that the right wing appears to have no history for this.  The entire Crunchy Con, fundie-hippie, prepper/survivalist, homesteading subset of conservatives finds its Ur-model in the Back to the Land movement.  And this movement that was all about surviving off the grid self-sufficiently away from The (Liberal) Man was jumpstarted by food stamps and cash welfare.  Yet as far as I can tell, it might as well be knowledge hidden under a rock to the modern conservative equivalents.

Why subsidiarity doesn’t happen

Jim Kalb asks why subsidiarity isn’t practiced more at Crisis Magazine (It’s a reprint from somewhere else less popular, heh).

His conclusions are simple, but as is common in the dissident right, too abstract.  His conclusion is that subsidiarity isn’t practiced because liberals value fake equality (in the form of levelling bureaucracies) and conservatives value fake efficiency (in the form of cronyism labelled “free-market policies”).

This is yet another example of recasting first principles and thinking that is going to be meaningful.  The real reason we don’t have subsidiarity is because people are lazy and selfish.  Conservatives won’t support the local seamstress because it means owning fewer clothes and how can they prove their frugality is AWESOME without giant piles of clothes?  Liberals won’t support small local businesses that make real profits because that exposes their personal failures to make it big and they’d rather hide behind the illusory righteousness of a government sinecure working for “the people”.

Kalb’s essay is of a piece with all his writing on this topic, a refusal to get down and dirty and be clear about the myriad tiny selfish patterns we’ve all fallen into out of ridiculous, nearly unfathomable prosperity and how very hard it is to be broken of them, for Our Lord.

I will reveal my total nerd nature here and note that Cordwainer Smith, a sci-fi writer and CIA expert, understood this problem well though he was writing in the pre-60s for the most part.  He had a race of superwealthy people called the Norstrilians, who sold the elixir of long life.  Their way of coping with wealth was to tax themselves senseless and live an agrarian life, complete with employees and bosses.  They recognized the risks of prosperity and had their own clear strategy for dealing with it.  Those who wanted to enjoy the money could leave, but they could never return on pain of death.

Now we don’t all live on a planet in the far reaches of outer space where sick sheep produce a substance that can grant near-eternal life, but we could take a lesson from those Norstrilians and accept real, difficult trade-offs regarding our prosperity before we have certain trade-offs forced upon us by the changing winds of circumstance and time.

Specificity is crucial because without it, people can dismiss an abstract notion that “conservatives are too free-market friendly” as balderdash and make no changes in their lifestyles.  But admitting that slave labor allows you to have what you consider necessities?  People would have to confront that reality.  Kalb’s soft abstraction makes it easy to never do the work or take the risk and go live a subsidiarist life.

Anyway that is why we haven’t got a subsidiarist nation-state of awesome.  I come back to the clothing example a lot because the textile situation globally is REALLY REALLY HORRIBLE.  Secondary markets (thrifting) are still part of the problem, just a much smaller part than buying new (even if with discounts and the like).

That’s all for right now.

Fraud Alert, John Taylor Gatto edition

If you’re going to set up alternative sources of authority, you need to vet them for fraudulence.  John Taylor Gatto is demonstrably set up as a homeschooling authority figure and even when his name isn’t directly mentioned, the boilerplate about the “Prussian system” and “everyone was college-level literate before the evils of public school” shows up in plenty of conservative advocacy of homeschooling. But Gatto’s claims are not vetted, and when they are questioned, the response is that *footnotes are a tool of the man to keep you from going on a heart journey*.  An example of not vetting Gatto is the claims he makes about literacy being higher before compulsory public education by comparing WWI literacy *data* with literacy *reports* from before WWI.  Subjective reports that ranged from being able to compose a complex essay to being able to sign one’s name are not really a useful way to assess historical literacy or compare it to hard data after the World Wars, yet that very digging into the primary sources and trying to get at the heart of things is ostentatiously absent when it comes to Gatto among homeschool advocates. This is part of a larger problem with modern people conservative and liberal alike running screaming from explicit authority, but then becoming ensnared by the allure of false authorities.

It is perfectly traditional to not cook or not cook daily.

It totally is.  The idea that cooking daily is some kind of harkening back to a properly traditional time is itself fairly modern and part of the ongoing conflict between male and female spheres of power.  It’s also a sign of how far removed modern conservatives (and everyone else who promotes daily and often fancy/gourmet cooking) are from the normal life of living in a smallish community where specialization and division of labor were taken seriously *and that included cooking*.

The sandwich lady is still around, and she was around in the early 20th century too.  Also the 19th.  Or the food truck guy.  Whichever, you can go all the way back to fairy tales and folk tales (and, like, historical documentation) and find out that *gasp* the idea that women cook at home and men cook professionally is not consistent with historical reality.  Neither is the idea that individual women cooked all the meals for their individual families.

Cooking has historically been a specialty task, with elements of group work.  And it wasn’t sex-segregated as far as whether it was professional or home cooking.  Women were sometimes professionals and men sometimes did the home cooking.  The divisions were more fluid than is socially acceptable now.  And for all the judging among far too many conservatives of women who don’t cook purely from (fake) “scratch”, it’s also been the norm in history to streamline and utilize convenience and quick foods when possible.  The equivalent of McDonald’s has a long and storied history dating back to the Roman era that I can immediately think of offhand.

This doesn’t mean sitting down to eat delicious food with your family is untraditional, it just means there’s a difference between the various ways that people traditionally dealt with the big job of cooking historically and an imaginary “traditional” family where Mom makes three or four meals a day every single day by herself from completely fresh ingredients and also mysteriously manages the other tasks of the home, plus set up and clean up of each meal.  In reality, this type of cooking precludes even trying to do much else around the house.  Which is why it sure ain’t traditional or a great idea to advocate as some kind of norm (which I am sad to say I have seen among conservative SAHMs).

And not wanting to cook and finding someone else to prepare your meals is TOTALLY TRADITIONAL AND NORMAL, even among historical SAHMs (although they did tend to assist working mothers more often for obvious reasons).