Dalrock has a great post on the continuing blog discussion over men’s (lack of) reproductive rights. Tangental note: I’ve stopped reading Althouse posts, so I don’t know if she’s bothered to respond to anything (though I doubt she has); the commentariat was the best part of her community, and her turning off the comments has rendered her blog not worth bothering with. Having taken herself out of the conversation, I have no particular desire to hear her reiterate her position, “the public policy status quo is just fine and anyone who suggests otherwise is a whiner.”
From Dalrock’s post:
Simply put, the purpose of child support is to replace marriage. Discussing how it should be implemented is discussing how to replace marriage. … Child support crowds out marriage, and even in cases where weddings still technically occur the option for the wife to unilaterally convert the family from a marriage based family to a child support based family always exists. This is part of the threatpoint designed to empower wives and dis-empower husbands. Men simply don’t have the option to choose the marriage based model over the child support model.
And this is why the current policy status quo, offering women the choice between two models, is no good. In the traditional view of marriage, a woman received the financial benefits of marriage and was correspondingly required to uphold her marital duties to her husband in return. With the invention of the child support model to replace marriage, women still receive the benefits of marriage from the men… but without any corresponding duties placed upon them. Half the equation has been cut off and thrown in the trash bin: men are still required to perform all the duties of husband and father (the law requires his financial investment, though it stops short from compelling his physical presence in his children’s lives, as such a requirement might interfere with a woman’s right to cast the father of her children out of her life while simultaneously demanding payment from him. In place of the law compelling his physical and emotional involvement, social pressures are brought to bear upon him, and any man who fails in this manner is branded a “deadbeat” and “not a man” – even though the person responsible for his fatherhood, i.e. the woman, is never criticized for her poor judgment in choosing an unsuitable mate or publicly pressured to make sure her children have access to their fathers even if it inconveniences her.)
Basically, feminism triumphed in throwing off social expectations that women give in return for getting: now, women have an entitled attitude in which they believe the mere possession of a functioning uterus justifies their chosen lifestyles being supported by the taxpayer (i.e., men in general) – while declaring that nobody has a right to so much as gently criticize any decision they might make. Meanwhile, men are faced with a society that now not only demands that each father financially support any woman who bears his child (with or without his consent or knowledge) but that refuses to offer him any benefit in return. Not even legally-mandated access to his own children. In essence, the old deal was that women would constrain their sexuality in return for men giving them financial security for themselves and their offspring independent of the women’s own personal income. The current situation is that women are still given, by force of law, full access to men’s finances (over and above their own income), but they are no longer required to constrain their sexuality in the least. But of course, if a man doesn’t want to bear the burden of parenthood, “he should just keep it in his pants.”
So, in order to rectify the imbalances, society could give men equality by offering them an equivalent to the abortion/adoption get-out-of-child-support-free card: this would give men at least an equal right to as much promiscuous sex as women currently possess, though it doesn’t offer any equivalent subsidy of the baby-rabies in the form of welfare as women currently have. This would require the full cost of child welfare payments to be borne by the taxpayer. A lot of people would have a problem with this (“Men are getting out of supporting their offspring!”) but let’s get real, here: no woman anywhere in this country is ever required to support her offspring. She always has an out, and the taxpayer is already picking up the tab for her choices.
Of course, the other obvious solution is “bad” and “misogynistic” and “mean-spirited” and means “you want children to starve on the streets!” – make women pick up the tab for their children themselves, if they can’t get the prospective father to consent to the duties of fatherhood. No subsidies for women’s choices cloaked in “for the children!” rhetoric. Your body, your choice, you pay for it.
But any time anyone suggests that maybe women ought to pay for their own choices, the feminists start screaming about “taking women’s rights away” – as if it were a right for women to have other people pay their bills. Or the compassion-whores start talking about child support as “for the good of the child” as if a society organized to encourage women to have lots of “consequence-free” promiscuous sex and become multiple-babymommas by multiple babydaddies and live in welfare-land ghettos filled with gang activity and failing schools and a toxic underclass culture is good for the children?! You can’t have your pretty picket-fence middle-class divorce-with-shared-custody-and-child-support fantasy without the ugly underbelly, and the kids are NOT okay. Not even if you’re rich enough to pretend that they are. In the current policy climate, the kids are already screwed. Find some other solution. And maybe think about reforming CPS and the foster care system, while you’re at it, ’cause the kids are getting screwed there, too.