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Thoughts On Replacing Traditional Marriage In A Post-Scarcity Society

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.

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