Saturday, January 05, 2008

Survey Results: People Don't Think

I laughed when I saw this article yesterday, both for it's patent absurdity and the "news worthiness" of it. Here's the link.

And here's my point: 44% of the people "surveyed" said they don't "need" marriage to validate their relationships. I say "surveyed" because this was an online AOL Personals/Zogby poll - voluntary, and probably appealing to people who come from that point of view.

Shockingly, half of the respondents between 20-29 said that marriage wasn't necessary. Is it possible that half of the people looking for a relationship at AOL Personals between those ages might be young men in our "deferred adulthood" culture?

Other breath-taking revelations include that 20-somethings are more likely to break up over infidelity than someone in their 60s (which is a little like reporting that a survey taken shows that people in their 20s are less likely to worry about life insurance than someone in their 60s). Do you think age - not to mention the actual time in the relationship - has something to do with that?

I have asserted before, and will do so again, that liberalism's attack on traditional values has wide-ranging implications, not the least of which is the creation of large groups of people who are self-centered and fail to contribute to the continuation of society. Marriage makes otherwise average people better: you learn compromise, sacrifice, and what it means to care for others in a way that single people never can. Parenthood takes that a step further: you learn what it means to love as God does. Before your child is ever born, before they've done anything to "deserve" it, you love them unconditionally and would do anything for them. That's how God loves us. These two milestones in life, these two cultural institutions (both of which are regularly under assault by the Left) make average people good and good people great. That's why marriage and traditional values are worth defending.


Call Me Mom said...

Here's the bit that got me:

"A majority of respondents also said they would prefer to live together first before marriage and most said marriage should truly be until "death do us part," especially those in their 30s (73 percent).
Trust was ranked highly important to most singles polled, especially for those in their 20s."

Uh huh. Trust is so important, but you want to live with someone before you're married. You want to "play married" and have the "benefits" of that without the commitment just in case someone better comes along and you find you were mistaken? How trustworthy is that?

People don't think.

Michael Tams said...


Amen to your comments. Another utterly stupid thing people say about marriage is this: "it's just a piece of paper."

If so, what's your objection? If indeed marriage is "just a piece of paper" and isn't necessary for love, why not get married?

Answer: it does mean something, even to those who would deceive themselves otherwise. It is more than just a piece of paper, and everyone knows it, even if it's inconvenient for them to admit it.

All of which makes it more shameful that the American Left has such hostility to what's obviously a solemn (and I would say holy) committment.


Rick Darby said...

Got to dissent, old boy.

I'm a married man, but don't think there should be social pressure on people to get married. That just encourages, especially in the case of the young, unsuitable matches. Hardly anyone at the age of 20 knows enough about himself or herself to choose a compatible partner.

As for having children making people more Godlike, come on, you're joking, aren't you? Read the newspaper or a news aggregation site on the web any day and you'll see articles about parents who are irresponsible.

And I've known plenty of parents who were no more grown up than their own children. If anything, parenthood's demands for time and attention mean a person is too exhausted to attend to the world of arts, ideas, and politics. Being around children (their own and, inevitably, other people's) tends to make adults, so-called, more childish, unable to follow connected thoughts or speak coherently.

No, procreation should be strictly licensed if not forbidden entirely.

Having spoken my mind, I will now retire from this discussion so all those I have outraged can call for my head on a platter.

Terry Morris said...

"Having spoken my mind, I will now retire from this discussion so all those I have outraged can call for my head on a platter."

LOL. Coward!

Call Me Mom said...

Mr. Darby,
Even though you have "retired from the discussion" (A move which leads me to concur with Mr. Morris' statement.) I must point out that most of your arguments are simply referring to the risks one takes when one trusts people to behave in a personally responsible manner. That is, sometimes they don't.

As to you statement: "No, procreation should be strictly licensed if not forbidden entirely." It has taken nearly the entire history of the world to come to a place in history where children do NOT legally belong to the ruling authority of the state. Despite the many misguided, uninformed and irresponsible folks who seem to think that the government would be able to look after all the children in the country and do a better job of it than their parents, I'm not willing to go back. Are you?
It seems to me that that would merely lead to more irresponsible behavior on the part of parents. After all what incentive would there be to become better parents or to become parents at all when you have no legal authority to raise the children in the manner which seems best to you?

If you truly believe the government should control/license procreation, does that mean you favor eugenics? Who should decide who will be allowed to procreate in your world, Mr. Darby? What if my husband was deemed suitable to procreate, but I was not? Does that mean the government should be able to force him to procreate with someone else? Such a lovely kettle of worms you have unearthed with a simple statement.

And "Forbidden entirely"? How exactly does that work? Unless your argument is that people should all be "removed" because we can't be trusted to behave. In which case, this would become a completely different discussion. Or at least it would if you hadn't withdrawn.

Perhaps you simply didn't carry your thoughts to their logical conclusions before you posted.

Call Me Mom said...

And what in the world would I do with your head on a platter? It would be counterproductive to changing your thinking. lol

Michael Tams said...

Mr. Darby,

I love a good dissent, and enjoyed your spirited comment! A good friend once remarked (and I'll have you know that the idea is officially his - claimed, verified, seconded and recorded) that if you need a license to operate a car, you should be be required to get a license to breed, LOL, which always got me going. The truth is, the spirit of your message isn't far from the truth: we're overrun with irresponsibility, and parenting is no exception.

But just as you'd probably balk at the idea of a military dictatorship in the United States (as people don't vote; vote without becoming educated; vote without understanding the Constitution, etc...) as a means of "curbing" our electoral irresponsibility, I know that your closing comment wasn't exactly your true opinion.

But I stand by the foundation of my statement, which I think was the essence of your comment. Parenting generally - and just as there are bad politicians, cops, lawyers, CEOs, etc. there are bad parents - teaches people more about love than any other life event.

Before your chldren are born, before they've ever done anything to merit it - and despite the fact that you know they're going to drive you nuts from time to time and sometimes just plain p*ss you off - you love them without condition.

The existence of irresponsible parents doesn't invalidate that lesson, much in the same way that the existence of sinners doesn't invalidate the redemption of Christianity, for example.

And I especially being called "old boy" - positively English, and quite refreshing.


Michael Tams said...

P.S. I especally enjoyed it, in case my prior comment's closing wasn't clear.

Rick Darby said...

I was mixing satire and serious argument — a habit of mine — in a way that perhaps didn't come off.

In more than two years of blogging, I've written many posts supporting individual liberty and traditionalist values. I have deplored the state of popular culture and think its crudeness and materialism is toxic, especially to young people inexperienced in the ways of the world.

Of course I don't literally believe that having children should be licensed or prohibited, which in the first case would bring up a new set of problems, and in the second case would mean the end of the human race. (I don't see why that should bother anyone, though; many species have become extinct, but evolution has continued. Maybe the next dominant species will be a distinct improvement on homo sapiens.)

Nevertheless, while a return to some bedrock values of right and wrong and a rejection of an "anything goes" culture would be welcome, I'm not ready to support a narrowly prescriptive society either.

No one should face social pressure to have children. Being childless — or unmarried, for that matter — is an equally moral choice.

I reject the idea that parents are inherently better than non-parents, or that having kids necessarily makes someone more responsible. There are many paths to responsibility, and while parenthood might be one of them for some people, I see no evidence that parents are as a rule mature or spiritual or what have you than those who have chosen otherwise.

I am not hostile to marriage or procreation (although I'm not especially fond of kids, and if you think that's awful, I really don't care). I am hostile to the idea of it being a requirement for respectability and any implication that someone is not doing their "duty" if they to prefer to have more time, freedom, and money to devote to other things.

Conservatives encourage ethical self-reliance as superior to rules or laws for guiding conduct, individual responsibility and respect for others.

But individual responsibility implies that people may legitimately make choices that are different from yours, including in the matter of marriage and family.

I probably have not changed your mind about anything, and that's fine by me, as that is not my intention. I'm just making my points seriously this time instead of half-jokingly. Thanks for your consideration, and rest assured that for the most part I am on your side and enjoy your interesting blog.

Rick Darby said...

Michael old chap,

I actually wrote my last comment before seeing yours. Thanks for your courtesy. I had no desire to incur your displeasure.

Michael Tams said...


Thanks for your kind words, that means a lot. And I'm more with you than you might think. While I think life changes like marriage and parenthood can make average people good and good people great, I'm also a big believer in people finding a way to make their mark on the world that fits with who they are.

My dear friend Terry has a large family of exceedingly well-behaved children; it's almost something that scientists should study, how remarkable these kids are. As much as I'd like to think that could be me, I think he's got far more patience, among other things, that makes him a better parent than I am (or could be). The two kids I've got are fantastic - I wouldn't change a thing about them - and they test my limits. That's not fishing for compliments, or reassurance, or whatever; I'm honest about my abilities and what I'm great at and what I'm good at and what I struggle at.

And I don't think there's anything wrong with not being wild about kids. I actually find your comment genuinely refreshing for its candor.

Thanks for a great "dissent" and a lively discussion, Rick.


Call Me Mom said...

"Retired from the discussion" indeed. lol. I thought you might be tempted back into it with the right bait.
Mr. Darby, may I say that I too, believe every individual should be able to make the choice about marriage and procreation for themselves. If you don't like children, don't have them. That doesn't make you a horrible person, it makes you someone who doesn't care to have children.

I do disagree with your statement:

"...I see no evidence that parents are as a rule (I assume you meant the word "more" to go here?) mature or spiritual or what have you than those who have chosen otherwise."

The evidence is that their children are still alive. lol I have found nothing in this world that has tested my limits more than parenting. Nothing. (And I only have one, whom I love very much!)

Children by their very nature search out and activate every hot button you have. Repeatedly and with no thought to the consequences to themselves. They will embarrass you repeatedly in public and at home. They will use your own words against you as soon as they are old enough to do so. They will test every limit you put on their behavior as well as your own. Having children is not an adventure for the faint of heart. Nor is an adventure one may undertake without being changed by it.

I ask that you not dismiss my child raising experience as irrelevant in gauging my level of maturity and responsibility. If I spent my entire life building and rebuilding cars, I may have no certification, but I would probably be a really good mechanic and no one would deny it. Parenting is a lifetime course in learning maturity and responsibility.

I'm not saying that one cannot gain levels of responsibility and maturity by any other means, but don't dismiss my experience simply because you don't want to share it.

I too, enjoy a spirited discussion and find it frustrating that nuances of expression are difficult to include in a post. Thank you Mr. Darby. :)

Maggie said...

Hmmm. So the majority of respondents prefer to live together before marriage, and half don't think marriage is "necessary" at all? On the bright side this really narrows down the number of frogs a girl has to kiss before trapping a prince.

Michael Tams said...


LOL, you know, that's probably the way to look at it.

Although I'd guess that there's a few in that group who would otherwise be princes if only they had a relationship with their father; or our Father.


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