A Discussion about the Future of Fatherhood in the West
The birth rate of whites—native Europeans—in Europe is well below replacement level. As many writers including Pat Buchanan and Mark Steyn have noted, the aging, bloated European welfare states will increasingly be sustained by immigrants who are openly hostile to European culture. In America, our immigrants are much less likely to blow themselves to smithereens. But Hispanics are having 59% larger families than whites on average. Whites have long been headed for minority status, and Latinos are already flexing their demographic muscle in government and entertainment. The new majorities have their own cultures, and they will have their own interests to promote. The stewardship of Western Civilization isn't their responsibility or their problem.
Somewhere in the litany of "hate facts" about the decline of white birth rates is a lesson about what happens to people-any group of humans, really-when they abandon family life and choose instead to promote consumerism, self-indulgence, non-reproductive sexuality and female careerism.
Occidental birth rates were already dropping before the deep recession. An article in a recent issue of The Atlantic ominously suggested that disproportionately increased male unemployment—the "mancession"—could have a dramatic effect on the stability of existing families, and make starting new families even less attractive to the young.
To pull Western Civilization out of its death spiral, Western men and women would have to conduct some sort of "War on Oblivion." Westerners would have to re-assert the primacy of the reproductive family and stabilize their birth rates, or risk seeing their culture and heritage become dead history.
However, we seem to be doing just the opposite. Lawmakers and enforcers have colluded with feminists, progressives and neocons alike to make dating women, getting married and fathering a big family seem like just about the dumbest thing a young man could do right now.
The Spearhead is a new online men's magazine that focuses on men's issues from, in many cases, a virulently anti-feminist perspective. It's putting a younger, harder game face on the "Men's Movement," and its readership has been exploding. Some of its writers and readers identify as "MRA's" (Men's Rights Advocates), some go by the acronym MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way), others consider themselves part of the "game" community. As a sometime writer for The Spearhead, I've learned much from these men about new legal and social hazards of sex, dating, marriage and child-rearing. Some of these guys have really been burned, and they're madder than Hell. The man behind the scenes at The Spearhead writes as "Welmer," and as a divorced father of two, he feels their pain.
To begin with, why would men even want to be fathers today? Depictions of fatherhood in pop culture suggest that in a couple of generations we've gone from "Father Knows Best" to "Father is a Completely Inept But Loveably Quirky ATM Machine."
Women say men should simply share the duties of parenting equally, but the media still giggles at stay-at-home dads, referring to them as "Mr. Moms." Motherhood is sacralized, but any suggestion that fathers play a uniquely important, non-disposable role in child rearing is met with outrage and indignation from the growing hoards of single mothers.
What's in it for men? Is it worth the sacrifice? Or should men who want to pass on their genes just make a deposit at the local sperm bank and save themselves the aggravation?
Fatherhood is and always has been a sacrifice. There is no guarantee of any temporal reward, or even gratitude in the long run. Passing on one's genes may give a man some sense of satisfaction, but this is mere conceit, and, let's face it: you're just a disposable vessel as far as your genes are concerned anyway.
I think for men, the true reward may be in the sacrifice itself. There is something about men that compels them to live for something higher than themselves, whether it be God, tribe or family. Sacrificing oneself for these ideals fulfills a spiritual need that men have, and in so doing they can provide great benefits to whatever institution harnesses their effort. Even in this era of destruction of families and suppression of the paternal role, a man can still be an immensely important part of his children's lives. Culturally, men are starting to recognize this, and the criminal excesses of the family law system do not have quite the same crushing, isolating effect they used to.
So even though a wife can, with a lawyer, the police, an army of social workers and a judge at her disposal, dismember a man's life, she can't fully destroy the connection between a father and his children. She may be able to do a tremendous amount of damage, but provided he literally survives a divorce (suicide rates and deaths from disease spike for men following divorce), a man can still find a fulfilling role as a father if he truly desires it.
Certainly all is not lost, at least not yet.
I have two sisters myself, and they are both happily married and raising kids with their husbands in fairly traditional households. It still happens. And plenty of divorced dads find a way to make it work against the odds. But the West has to start setting families—and fathers—up to succeed again.
You mentioned the "criminal excesses of the family law system." The media is focused on single mothers and doesn't seem to care much about what happens to men or their relationships with their kids after a divorce. And men don't want to whine, they don't want to be the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. I don't think people are really aware of what men are up against and that's one of the reasons I wanted to do this interview. There's a lot of ground to cover, let's start with divorces.
Has America incentivized divorce for women?
For some women it is definitely incentivized. Those who are stay at home mothers with high-earning husbands can make out like bandits, and often do. Perhaps the biggest incentive is the virtual presumption of maternal custody. Although some courts have tried to present a front of even-handedness, a man is highly unlikely to gain custody of the children unless a) the mother is a basketcase, or b) the mother doesn't want custody. The reason more men are gaining custody is a result of the latter trend, which is increasing as women come to dominate the workforce. Women are also less likely to be jailed for child support obligations, and less likely to pay at all, so more and more women are choosing to leave their children with ex-husbands, who are often all too happy to raise their children with or without support from the mother.
However, the most important reason divorce is so common is not that it is incentivized, per se, but that there are no penalties for breaking the contract. On the balance, a woman is not likely to have a better, richer life after leaving her husband. In most cases she takes a financial hit, but this isn't what she's thinking about. Many, if not most, people tend to have a gambling mentality. This is how a lot of women approach divorce. They roll the dice hoping for the big time. Most of them come up short, but there's always the dream of the big bucks, or, in this case, Mr. Big. I mean, who wants to stay chained to some lame husband schlepping away at some low-status job that doesn't even support the entire family when popular culture and TV tell you what a princess you are. Of course, as a modern American woman, you deserve better than this loser.
So she puts her foot out in the water to see how warm it is, and then she jumps in. She isn't going to get a windfall right away, and in many cases she never will, but she knows - probably from conversations with girlfriends or her mother - that society and the law will do everything possible to mitigate the consequences. If she has kids and needs to stay in the house, she can get a temporary custody order and she will get to stay in the house. If she needs the car for the kids, she keeps the car. The husband will be ordered out and ordered to keep making payments, etc. If he objects to this or attempts to stay, she can have him thrown out by the police, and they will do so-violently if he makes a fuss. In short, she is virtually guaranteed to face the minimum consequences possible for breaking her marital vows for any reason whatsoever.
Of course, the husband will face some pretty serious consequences, especially if children are involved. This is why men don't often file for divorce, and when they do, it's generally because they have no choice (child abduction, abandonment, theft, etc.). Many, many men will try to work things out even if they know their wives are cheating, breaking the bank- even pregnant by another man! They know that the only way to keep some semblance of a life is to swallow their pride and soldier on. In most cases this isn't enough, and the divorce will happen anyway. This is why I would advise guys to simply bite the bullet and make a clean break.
If you care to consider something really disturbing concerning incentives, ask yourself what kind of male sexual relationship actually is incentivized. Marriage, with its 50% failure rate and extreme cost of failure, obviously is not. Casual sex with single women, with the possibility of being hit up with a paternity suit (or, in the worst case scenario, a false rape allegation), is not incentivized either. Of course, extramarital sex, with the high likelihood your wife will find out and divorce you, is very risky. So what's left? Sex with married women, if you're single (or childless).
Men who have sexual relationships with other men's wives actually stand to gain on the balance in our current system of family law. Women are very good at hiding their affairs, so even if the woman gets pregnant, the cuckolded husband is likely to be established as the legal father, which means that the bio father will never have to pay a dime of child support. In most states, men only have a couple months to a couple years to contest paternity. That isn't all that long if you didn't know your wife was fooling around-not even long enough to know whether the kid actually looks like you in many cases. In some states, merely signing the birth certificate is enough to establish permanent legal paternity. Of course, most cheating women take some precautions to avoid pregnancy, so most affairs do not end up producing offspring.
Say the affair results in a divorce. The wife gets the house and car if she has kids, and now the boyfriend can move right in. He's got zero responsibility, and the ex-husband is paying the bills. He's got a free ride, all for breaking up a marriage. This is actually pretty common. The New York Times recently highlighted the cases of some guys whose wives left them for their lovers, and even when it was legally determined that the lover was the bio dad of the child, the husband was still ordered to pay child support while the child was living with its real father!
So if you want an example of criminal excess, there you go.
You mentioned some of the broader legal issues that men face in their relationships-are there any specific laws that are really doing more harm than good when it comes to keeping families together?
What are some precise, immediate steps that federal or state governments could take to "get out of the way" of thriving families or encourage more men to make the basic sacrifices that fatherhood requires?
I've grown to be very suspicious whenever politicians start talking about "taking steps." It's all the steps they've taken that have gotten us into this mess in the first place. In fact, they've stepped right into our families and our homes, and it hasn't been helpful, to say the least.
The best thing government could do in regards to the family is step out of it. The attempt to enforce strict gender equality even in the home has been a disaster. Generous welfare for single mothers combined with coercive measures against single fathers has already wrecked black American families, and I think it would be rather arrogant and short-sighted to think it won't do the same to the majority. Actually, it has already started to do so. White illegitimacy is at an all-time high and rising.
But it goes beyond interference with the family. Affirmative action in the workplace, schools and federal government has more than "leveled the playing field," especially for the under-40 cohort. Younger men are already in trouble in all areas. A large proportion of them aren't even equipped for marriage because their prospects are so dim. There has been a sustained, political effort to give girls incentives while penalizing boys. We are starting to see the effects of that. I don't think this will end well—our tax base will be gutted.
Government obviously can't solve everything. Culture is key. What kind of cultural changes do you think would be necessary to bring about a renewed interest in fatherhood and family life?
From a historical perspective, cultures adapt fairly quickly. Unfortunately, a generation doesn't seem all that fast when you're living history. If the government were to remove the problem institutions and laws, we'd be back on track within a generation. However, that won't happen. Government does not shrink by nature. Laws tend to multiply. Look at the response every time some rare crime or tragedy occurs. Immediately, there are calls for new legislation. Sometimes laws are needed, but sometimes a one in a million occurrence is just that. Additionally, there is an entire industry built around getting new laws passed, and this includes congress.
The United States will legislate itself right into collapse, and that's when culture will begin to change. When the government can no longer afford to pay checks to its employees, can't afford to imprison people, and can't even afford to enforce many of these laws, then this unnatural situation—this hothouse flower—will start to wilt. But I really have no idea when that will occur. The Fifth Horseman thinks it will take about ten years, and he's taking an economic approach. Whether it's tomorrow or decades from now, it will happen eventually. Until then, I guess we should just muddle through.
As for interest in fatherhood and family, it's already here. The problem is simply that the means have been removed. I don't think it will take any pressure or convincing to get men to have children, and to love their children and wives. In fact, pressuring them will inevitably backfire, because our culture apparently has a sadistic tendency to apply only coercive, punitive measures when it comes to men. This only creates more female entitlement, which, as previously mentioned, is one of the biggest problems we have today. Hatred of its men is probably the most critical flaw in Anglo civilization, and if that can't be changed will probably be its downfall.
Absolutely. That's the raison d'êtrefor this very section of Alternative Right—"Virtus." An appreciation for the importance of Western men and Western manhood is absolutely critical to the survival of Western Civilization.
To wrap up, where do you look for inspiration as a father?
Are there any role models, historical or mythological-or perhaps even some books-that present and future fathers in the West should look to for guidance to help them better envision their role in rearing their children?
It's probably my Catholic background, but I can't think of a more inspiring figure for fathers—especially wronged ones—today than Christ. Condemned by crooked lawyers and judges, thrown to the wolves by self-interested politicians, and ultimately martyred for those He loved—there are just so many parallels with today's abandoned, persecuted fathers. Many men who go through the family law system must gain a renewed, and deeper, appreciation for the meaning of the Crucifixion. That so many churches have abandoned and vilified these men speaks volumes about the state of contemporary Christianity.
As for historical figures, that is a lot more difficult. Men's love for their families is usually a deeply private matter. It must be, because that is usually where they are at their most vulnerable. Because of this, they don't tend to publicly air the details of their family lives. When they do, it is often to confess some regret, which can be very touching.
In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin, if my memory serves me here, listed his failure to inoculate a baby son against smallpox, which later claimed his life, as his greatest regret. Such inevitable personal failures of parenthood, in their tragedy, reveal the love and humanity inherent in men. Emperor Augustus was more troubled by his daughter's misbehavior than anything else in his life, and Emperor Kang Xi of Qing Dynasty China was also deeply concerned by the misdeeds of an errant son.
So although these men's concerns and weaknesses don't make them role models in the conventional sense, I think it would be of great comfort for many men to know that their innermost fears, their self-doubt and the vulnerabilities that surround family life have been shared by many of the most accomplished, powerful men in history.
Sometimes, the most noble things about us are those that make us most personally vulnerable. Fatherhood is chief among these, so for inspiration we should look to men who, through the sacrifice and travails of fatherhood, have brought their measure of humanity to the world. Fortunately, we don't have to look far: they are the men we see around us every day.