If we reflect for just a moment on human nature with all its in-born capriciousness and greed, we understand that a system where everyone stays in any kind of permanent alliance must be fastened in place by necessity.
Traditional marriage worked as a foundation of society when most people made a living growing their own food and going hungry if you screwed up in life was a real possibility. Most people’s priority was achieving a state of security and holding onto it at all costs. Kids naturally fit into that mission as free farmhands and as a retirement policy. Most people lived in rural areas where there was a limit on the number of people they encountered and therefore a limit to temptations.
There’s no precedent for even poor people wallowing in unlimited junk food or going online to window-shop for mates from the entire array of the human race—or a society that is majority urbanized where most people meet dozens of strangers every day and kids are just an endless suck of time and money.
In this dyamic environment, it may be that bringing back traditional marriage as the founding institution of society is untenable. Already, as many people still bother to get married, it is in practice a 5-7 year alliance to raise a kid or two past infancy and move on. Only for the upper middle classes and above does it remain a somewhat stable way to build wealth in a polite society.
Ironically, our better health and sanitation conditions disincentivize parental investment in offspring below the middle classes. Until modern medicine child mortality had always been very high even with both parents putting in their best effort. With the survival of children practically assured, the life-long union with its extreme opportunity costs becomes strategically obsolete.
Of course, nobody calculates like a Darwinian robot when they make life decisions and culture informs their perspective as well, but sexual strategies that are no longer evolutionarily optimal for most people must steadily lose market share even if no one knows quite why.
The traditional marriage asks the female to get married young to have all her offspring with a single man who is unlikely to be her best possible option. Or even if he were highest quality, she might still want to diversify her portfolio so her genes survive even if one type of Galapagos finch gets wiped out by a freak disaster. When we remember a typical woman has less than 6 rounds in her revolver with all the forces of nature arrayed against the continuation of her line, the least she can do is have different types of ammo against different adversaries. Or at least, she weighs the benefits of sibling inclusive fitness against the advantages of genetic diversification.
Men, meanwhile, are asked to bring home the bacon their whole lives and to stand by for decades as their wives get old instead of searching for a “younger model.” The ability of females to defect any time and take the kids, or take his money and then get impregnated by another man without consequence undermines even what diminished rewards he enjoys.
He too instinctually wants a variety of mates to spread his line to prevent a single disaster from wiping him out. The modern high-information society means he can spend his energy trying for multiple low-investment sexual partners instead of sinking all his resources into one insecure prospect.
Neither sex really wants to restore traditional marriage under present conditions. Tellingly, aging pickup artists are now among the biggest promoters of turning back the clock. Many people still get married, but only under pressure as they start to get their first grey hairs and wrinkles. When scarcity of resources isn’t enough to make people have weddings only scarcity of time suffices. If we were young forever, successful pickup artists would be forever unrepentant. It’s only when we worry about ending up without children or unpaid companionship for the last 4 decades of our lives that we’re suddenly willing to make the huge sacrifices marriage requires.
It has been pointed out for years in the manosphere that traditional marriage is a game for young people, especially young women at peak fertility.
People have been using the word “traditional” for a reason because the present institution bears little resemblance. The old arrangement means cashing in your chips at the start of the game. The modern version means playing the game as long as you can and then rushing to cash in at the last moment. So if we draw a clear line in our definitions, we can see outside of some rural areas, real marriage has already been dead for decades.
The question then is how we might begin to organize mating markets in an urban, post-scarcity, semi-nomadic society, unless of course, we are counting on a collapse to “rescue” us.
Presently, we are faced with falling fertility rates and the costs imposed on society by single motherhood.
Also, monogamy serves as a truce between men so they can spend their energies collaborating against other groups rather than fighting among themselves over women.
The reality on the ground already is the truce has been broken and we have seen a return to soft harems that would not have seemed out of place in the stone age with most women chasing a few chieftains. This arrangement has already put society on a path to the intermittent warfare typical of hunter-gatherer societies. There are simply too many men in our peaceful society. Eventually, violence culls the herd until sexual market pressures are again tolerable.
As greatly as Black culture is maligned, I have noticed it has been a preview of where the rest of society will be in about 20 years. The word “game” itself comes straight from ghetto slang. As the rewards and accessibility of being a career drone drastically dwindle for men, even the sons of respectable families try to adopt drug dealer swagger to signal status. This is by its nature a strategy that signals low investment because high investment signals he has few options.
Since modern day marriage is associated with balding cubicle schlubs rushing to settle before it’s too late, the institution itself becomes uncool. Even if all feminist legislation was done away with tomorrow there would be no grand reversal. Doing away with no-fault divorce might actually send men running away even faster.
Traditional society rewarded men and gave them status but this also came with huge responsibilities that were expected to consume their entire lives. So even as we see internet personalities indulge in nostalgia, hardly any of them actually take the plunge themselves. Many of them talk tough about protecting any daughters they may have, but not a one of them wants to go back to asking the father’s permission to court a girl.
A workable new system might be one that secures mating rights for men with desirable qualities, but doesn’t force them to spend the rest of their lives breaking their backs so the wife can watch daytime TV. Perhaps all the benefits a single mother currently enjoys would be conditional on having her kids with socially sanctioned men in good standing with the tribe. If she bred with outlaws or blood enemies, access to benefits would be witheld and free abortions made readily available. Most of them would get the hint.
Even in ancient Rome subsidies and legislation did very little to revive traditional marriage. Once people aren’t afraid of starving, personal freedom and unfettered mate selection becomes priceless. Women would rather work full-time to make their own money than have a provider if they think they can get the best genes that way. As we can see with ghetto welfare, though, subsidies are highly effective at boosting fertility when they don’t require anyone to seal permanent alliances.
So, a future system might be structured around giving women the illusion of choice by carefully pre-selecting their dating pool. Status is artificially bestowed on men easily enough. A mediocre man has an officer’s badge pinned to his shirt-front and suddenly he’s never lonely again. In the neo-tribal society, male status would be managed very deliberately along with subsidies to channel female mating choice in desirable ways even as she thinks it was her own idea all along.
As for paternal involvement, I learned a few things by listening to black co-workers talk about their baby mommas. Smooth operators who were broke but had no entangling ties could move seamlessly from one woman’s house to another with as much access to his children as he desired. This struck me in stark contrast to white schlubs who have to petition the courts to see the one kid they had with a woman who divorced him.
The married man’s need to beg makes him appear low-status even if he earns a good salary. If he was free to withdraw his presence and his funds, he would be freely invited into her house. High-status men would end up with multiple children by different women and he would be at leisure to identify his most promising offspring and invest in them most while still having time to focus on supporting the society.
Male sexual emancipation from the provider marriage might also serve some use in undermining overwhelming female political power. As I have discussed previously, Western women already had extraordinary influence even before they got the vote because they had guaranteed access to husbands who were effectively chained to them. Mycroft, one of my regular commenters, astutely pointed out that this position of total security from which to agitate was the cradle of the modern matriarchy and the cause behind millions of appeasing white knight males. It may be necessary in a modern patriarchy to sever female relationship security so they cannot press relentlessly for their own selfish agenda without facing consequences.
With a tribal dating pool, some men would effectively have harems, but there would be a clear obligation among the brotherhood to get even the stragglers laid from time-to-time—if loyalty is to be expected of them. The core idea would be that the mating market reflect the male hierarchy.
Of course, not everything can be done with incentives and loose controls, but the trouble with a system of hard coercion is it is more energetically expensive by far and requires diligent upkeep to sustain. So the question is that which kings often asked wandering scholars back in the Chinese era of warring states: What is the softest touch by which effective rule can be implemented?
Failing that, though, there’s always Islam waiting in the wings.
21 replies on “Thoughts On Replacing Traditional Marriage In A Post-Scarcity Society”
You guys read Dawkins “Selfish Gene” like holy writ. I do not think it will be too long before that starts to look foolish.
Certainly to make sense of social animals you have to look at long-term group fitness, not just the individual. But like old time religion many “traditional” customs require most people have limited access to information and limited choice. The Catholic church was faced with reformation as soon as people could read the Bible in their own language. Kings were faced with revolution as soon as dissidents could spread pamphlets. Patriarchal heads of house were deposed as soon as the average woman could read and participate in political discourse as a mass social class. With the telegraph, they could even start to coordinate in real time. If I’ve been foolish, what’s the way out of this? I am skeptical about going back in time unless we become a rural, agrarian society and get around with horse and buggy like the Amish.
Even the Amish have to use rumspringe to eliminate would-be defectors each generation, effectively selectively breeding themselves for ability to stay traditional under modern pressures.
A real revolution would declare the great god Human Rights dead.
Most enlightenment doctrines require us to believe humans are divinely separate from nature and that people are universally rational blank slates. The information age has destroyed what little was left of these premises.
I would think it’s not mass media that destroyed divine order but atheism. After all, we have the “stars” and Andy Warhol. He once said he’d like to sell the stars underwear: $10 per piece washed and $15 unwashed. I think that was in his Andy Warhol’s Philosophy From A to B and Back Again.
Also, the modern art market. In a world where a painting signed, not actually painted, by Jeff Koons can fetch $57 million at auction seems to suggest some mystical association with the artist-as-star and status.
Warhol got it. The stars are like polytheistic gods or mythical heroes in our society. Because our primitive minds are only designed for Dunbar groups of 150, we need these archetypes of divinity to conceptualize someone who is looked up to by millions. During the 2016 election, I saw Hillary as a Goddess of the establishment. Her defeat resonated at the meta-level and is why we see so much hysteria even from those who only voted for Hillary the person reluctantly. Symbols matter.
There is no way out. “Civilized” fertility rates have been below replacement for nearly half a century. Long before the Internet
It self corrects in the end anyway, we’ve exceeded our social carrying capacity and over time, enough people will die off that it won’t be maintained or will be replaced by people who are high natal and religious.
And note this isn’t new, Rome went at one point from 1 million to 10,000 before the printing press and suffered similar problems over a vastly different time frame.
The closest thing to solutions if you can call them that are are an .Alt Right revolution which creates cultural impetuous to a more natal and tradition focused society or an actual Right Wing authoritarian state like the fictional Northfire from V or the society in a Handmaidens Tale , both of which have no trouble controlling markets and/or technology for the greater social good
I think it is important to establish modern moral axioms to base marriage on? Otherwise everyone is coming from different places.
Some problems have no satisfactory solution.
Look at the Japanese. Men refuse to marry and slave away in their high pressure cooker business environment or at least I believe that’s the reason I believe they don’t.
If we were to conclude there’s no satisfactory solutions to modernity(“intractable” as a certain someone would say), would accelerationism be the rational attitude? Going full Kaczynski/Khmer Rouge?
Yes, I think the manosphere fails to address how most men don’t want to go back to being provider bots. That’s a big reason why I thought this article was worth writing even though I know it will piss off some people. Until they can start being honest about this, they will find it hard to move forward and remain in a bemused daze as the world their grandparents knew continues to fall apart.
“Intractable”. Do I detect someone trolling me here?
Whatever would make you think so? :p
I admit I don’t like to think about this. It works, or did work, in Scandinavian countries where there were close genetic relations between the people in the country and the government taxed everyone to provide for the children. Here it won’t work at all. Who wants to pay for Muslims and Negros that attack you? You said,
“…As greatly as Black culture is maligned, I have noticed it has been a preview of where the rest of society will be in about 20 years…”
Arrgh. So true. Women are not going to let go of any power they have. I know of two societies that were ruined by too much Women’s power, Rome and Sparta. I can’t believe it will be any different this time.
The only possibility I can see are Men controlling birth which WILL happen. It’s most of the way there. Eggs can be made from skin cells and artificial uterus have raised lambs for short periods. With an all out research campaign, and probably of sketchy morality, this could happen real fast.
On a straight financial level for a upper middle class guy who wanted kids (assuming divorce at a 50% rate) he could pay for a surrogate, raise the kids himself and come out better. Women like to spend a lot on house status and stuff that the guy could do without saving hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. I think they’re already trying to smother surrogacy with legislation.
When Men control breeding then Men and Women will truly be equal for the first time in history. I don’t think they’ll like it.
Neo-tribal societies won’t be so kind to outgroups. I already outlined how at best ethnic lumpenproles would receive food and shelter while relocating them and limiting their reproduction.
Remember Bill Cosby’s outspoken criticisms of the Black community back in the 90s? A lot of whites now with the exact same complaints.
What makes me skeptical about a tech-intensive solution to fertility is women are already there, by far a path of least resistance. Some kind of surrogacy I think would be cheaper and harder to enforce against.
“…manosphere fails to address how most men don’t want to go back to being provider bots…”
I think we need to distinguish “provider bots” who are the head of the family which I think Men would do with a few of the same old traditional grumbles, from “provider bots” that are just wallet with no control over anything.
Even when men were head of the house in the “good old days” they were responsible for working hard for long hours to support a household they didn’t spend that much time in. Beyond some of the prole classes who require rigid structure to be functional, anyone with a glimmer of desire for self-actualization will be reluctant to go back to that arrangement.
In the US where I live around half of my work product goes to the Government. I’m not bothered by benefits that me and mine get but the amount of misuse is far too high.
Worse because of the global surplus of labor, the chance that I’ll get a greater percent of the pie is basically zero. On top of that the traditions that I had expected to keep were exchanged for Mexico 2.0 more or less.
Its actually worse than that in most other countries economically and freedom wise which are basically open air jails
Since people don’t really have any way to rebel or more importantly anything to rebel to, the rational thing to do is to drop out .
As for being a provider, Jim and Jim’s Blog posits that if men are allowed to be patriarchs, essentially the children and the wife are theirs , they’ll gladly take up the mantel and that of civilization
Heck a simple removal of benefits for single mothers , eliminating no fault divorce for couples with children and defaulting custody to the father, patriarchy lite would probably increase fertility to replacement or higher. With a few economic regulations to encourage hiring people, places like Utah would probably hit 2.4 TFR and elsewhere over 2. Urban areas and liberal will still have lower fertility and this might keep the TFR below replacement but it might not
I can’t see the West having the spine to deny women most civic participation and to punish immortal behavior . It would rather by buried by Barbarians
This is a good post, but wildly controversial, particularly with the other debates in the Alt-Right.
You touch on how children are no longer a retirement plan, do you see the neo-tribe or micro-state/culture as being the new retirement plan? Relying on the Nation-State system of retirement plans and immigrant-staffes nursing homes doesn’t seem all that great.
When I pick a topic for new post, I look for an aspect everyone isn’t already talking about or if it’s an old subject, I’m going to try approaching it from a different angle. If I’m just rehashing stuff a group has already figured out and everyone agrees on, I would feel like I’m wasting my time here. I want to push the envelope instead of writing yet another piece that could be entitled “Why I Don’t Like Blue-haired Feminists.”
I imagine that the tribe-state would have some parallel institutions to the nation-state but be more focused on the needs of a tighter group.
While no one will pay for the welfare outgroups, it’s pretty obvious that a society where only some men will have legacy guaranteed while the rest will have to rely on “public charity” will end up either like the middle east (high classes will lots of sexual options, lower classes f***ng animals/little boys and very inbred due to lack of options in the sexual market) or like some mix between Huxleys “New Brave World” and modern lethargic Japan.
While it’s true that traditional marriage is dead, a hard reset (abolishing female suffrage, sexual harassment laws, alimony, child support etc.) seems like the rational option since women have no real incentive to be loyal to any group. The Scandinavian model only guarantees the stagnation of any country that embraces it (hence from Western Europe stemmed all the empires, innovative ideas etc., despite the high IQ of the Scandinavian populations) and the appearance of all sorts of pathologic behaviors.
I admit that your post is food for thought and that I have no solution, IMO the most likely path will be a mix between the old system (men with authority/autonomy over females in exchange for protection.) and new additions (hard controls aided by techology), or I may be wrong and the collapse will really come to the rescue as it did for the Romans…a few centuries after Augustus time.
I don’t think so. This is just looking at what IS. It may be uncomfortable but it is what it is.
You know another twist to this is that all those who don’t yearn with fierce force to get married will just be bred away leaving only those that just MUST be married and a marginal group that has kids out of wedlock. There will be no middle. Dark ages? Middle ages?
You should read this. It quite outstanding what a few generations of mildly targeted breeding can do to a species