Singles Advocate DePaulo Responds to Right Wing, Conservative Critics of Singlehood, Who Blame Singles For Breakdown of The Family
For anyone who is new to this blog:
I am conservative, I vote Republican, and don’t agree with Democrats and left wingers on many topics.
I am NOT against traditional marriage or pro-creation.
However, where I part company with many other conservative Christians and right wingers is their tendency to demonize anyone who does not happen (for whatever reason) to marry young, to not marry at all, or who do not have children.
Right wingers and most Christians tend to make an idol out of marriage and the nuclear family, and I am opposed to that tendency.
There is nothing wrong with marriage or the nuclear family.
If you want to marry and have kids (I myself would like to marry), that is swell. Go for it.
My problem is how other conservatives assume the worst of people who are, for whatever reason, whether by choice or by circumstance, single or childless.
A few months ago, I found a bizarre article or two by a conservative Christians who blames HETERO SINGLE CHRISTIANS for the rise in homosexuality.
Seriously. I have no idea how anyone can connect Christian hetero singles to more homosexuality, but they tried.
Here is a link to that former page:
Here is the new page, where DePaulo refutes the idea that hetero singles are causing the breakdown in family and culture.
I agree with much of this editorial by DePaulo, and maybe disagree with only one or two points.
(Link): Who’s Afraid of Single People? by B. DePaulo, October 2014
- Who should be blamed for the supposed breakdown of family and community ties?
- There are people who are very afraid of single people. I’m not just talking about the (Link): stereotype of single men as scary criminals (which, by the way, is a myth (edit: I removed this link, it is to her book Singled Out on Amazon, you may visit Amazon to view it therel) and not a truth).
- No, there are people who believe that the growing number of single people in America is a threat to our nation. Getting pinned on us single people are “the sharp decline of social trust and the breakdown of community ties.”
- Those of us who count as singles activists – and in (Link): the article (link is external) I’m critiquing, I’m named as one of them – come in for a disproportionate share of the blame. If we get our way, it is feared, we will “create a more alienating social environment for all.”
- I’m kind of used to this. In the summer of 1998, when he still had a television show, Rush Limbaugh claimed that he had found the root of our society’s moral decay, and I was it. At the time, it was my research on lying that he didn’t like. (I hadn’t published any singles research yet.)
- I wonder what it would be like to have the kind of power that gets projected onto me by the right-wing fear machine.
The latest in the scary-singles oeuvre is Stella Morabito’s (Link): “Welcome to Selfie Nation(link is external)” over at the Federalist.
The author picks up on an argument I have been making for some time – that single people are (Link): targets of institutionalized, legalized discrimination (link is external) in the form of the 1,000+ federal laws that protect and benefit only those who are legally married.
She also accurately notes that my argument, and that of many other like-minded critics, has roots in the same-sex marriage movement.
Those activists argued that you should not have to be a certain kind of couple (one man, one woman) in order to have access to basic benefits and protections. Singles activists make the case that you should not have to be any kind of a couple to get equal treatment under the law.
- Morabito says that what I really want is “to abolish marriage without saying so.” That’s not quite right. I’m happy to say so.
- Government should get out of the marriage business. If people want to get married in their places of worship, if they want to host private celebrations, have at it!
- But I do not think the government should privilege one particular adult relationship over all others. Single people should not be expected to subsidize all of the rewards – many of them financial – showered upon other people simply because they got married.
- In a fairly common muddling of the issues, Morabito conflates marital status with parental status.
- They are not the same. There are single people who have kids and married people who don’t. Marital rights are not the same as parental rights.
- She also drags out the tired old argument about how there should be no same-sex marriage because marriage is about children; I doubt she objects to men and women marrying who know they will not have children because of medial issues or because they are too old or because they just don’t want any. “For the children” is pious bologna.
- To get a sense of Morabito’s demeaning and degrading attitude toward single people, consider:
- The title of her article on the rise of singles is “Welcome to Selfie Nation”
- If singles activists get their way, she predicts that “Some will revel in a perceived ‘New World Orgy’ of freedom”
- She then cautions that “the morning after this binge of faux freedom will bring a hangover that doesn’t go away”
- She also claims that we singles activists are envious of married couples and creating a new “class war” and “definitely stoking a new divisiveness in America”
- In response to my question of what was motivating her writing, Morabito told me, “I have deep concerns about the growing sense of alienation, division, and distrust in our society. I believe a lot of it has to do with the breakdown of family bonds. And I don’t believe a bureaucratic state can fill in those blanks.”
- Let’s take a research-based look at Morabito’s claim that it is single people who are breaking down family bonds and community ties and contributing to a sense of alienation and division and distrust.
- For long-time readers of this Living Single blog, much of this will already be familiar, but here are some of the findings once again. (For links to the specific studies and others, and more discussion, click here (l ink is external).)
- Single people are more likely to support, visit, advise and contact their parents and siblings than married people are.
- Single people are more likely to socialize with, encourage, and help their friends and neighbors than married people are.
- Getting married changes people in ways that make them more insular. In a study that followed people for six years, those who got married had less contact with their parents and spent less time with their friends than they had when they were single. (This cannot be explained as a kid thing. The greater insularity was true of couples with kids as well as those without; it was also true of men and women, and of Whites, African-Americans, and Hispanics.)
- Single people are just as concerned with guiding the next generation as married people are.
- Single people are more likely than married ones to do what it takes to keep siblings together.
- Single people are more engaged in the life of the towns and cities where they live than married people are. For example, they participate in more civic groups and public events, they take more art and music classes, and they are more involved in informal social activities.
- A representative national sample of 9,000 British adults found that more single people than married ones had regularly looked after someone, for at least 3 months, who was sick, disabled, or elderly.
- If you want to know who is doing the most to keep our families and communities together, to create and nurture ties with neighbors and parents and siblings and friends, and to keep our cities lively and dynamic, and if you want your answer to be based on research and not ideology or polemics, well, your answer is not going to be married people.
- Now let’s consider the matter of “alienation, division, and distrust.”
- Who is driving those social ills? Is it single people, who are forging and nurturing ties within their families, communities, cities, and circles of friends, and providing long-term intensive help to people who need it most?
- Or is it the people who get married and become more insular?
- Is it people such as Stella Morabito who blithely dismiss single people with their talk of “selfie nation” and orgies and hangovers?
- If Morabito wants to know who is “stoking a new divisiveness in America” and creating a new “class war,” maybe she should reread her own writing.
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
(Link): Why Christians Need To Stress Spiritual Family Over the Nuclear Family – People with no flesh and blood relations including Muslims who Convert to Christianity – Also: First World, White, Rich People Problems