[This is part 1 in a series of indeterminate length]
If there was anything that my Market Failure series (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) demonstrated, it is that the Old Order is broken. The traditional and customary methods young men and women (especially Christians) used for centuries to become married are no longer feasible in this day and age. What worked for young men and women to find a spouse even 50 years ago is no longer effective, and in fact might very well make matters worse. So how messed up are things?
1) “Dating” is the new norm- The old practice of courtship, with Gentleman-Callers and Ladies-in-Waiting, has been replaced by our present system of “dating.” If Wikipedia is to be believed, dating entered the lexicon, and common practice, in the Roaring Twenties. Dating, coupled with the Sexual Revolution, has been nothing but an utter disaster for young men and women. For one account of this, see here.
2) Marriage has become a trap for men- Dalrock and other bloggers in the manosphere have spent years detailing just how much of a legal, cultural and religious monstrosity marriage has become. While our civilization as a whole may be the ultimate victim, men have borne the brunt of the damage over the last few decades. The end result is that they are increasingly shunning marriage, although the full extent of that abdication from the institution is still unclear.
3) Women can no longer be passive- In the past a woman of quality, even one who was considered plain, could count on at least a few men calling upon her. Not only was it unnecessary for her to make her interest known, it was considered unladylike to do so. Unfortunately this passiveness no longer works in our current dating/marriage environment. Many men are taking part in the Sexual Marketplace, rather than the Marriage Marketplace, and so won’t pay such a woman any heed. In addition good men, who would make a suitable husband, have either given up on marriage or are so beaten down they won’t ask a girl out. If she wants a good man to notice her, a woman must make her interest clear. Otherwise she might wait forever for a man to make a move.
4) The Old Networks are gone- A young man or women used to be able to rely on extended family, friends, church and the community to help him or her find a good spouse. The whole community was invested in the process, and while not perfect, it often worked out for the best. Even those who were more on the homely side knew that they would receive help finding a spouse. That is all gone now, and nothing has taken its place.
5) Men are no longer Men, and Women are no longer Women– Somewhere along the lines our culture decided to switch gender roles around. We began teaching men to be “nice”, to be accommodating and to “get in touch with their feminine side.” Masculinity was derided and discouraged, even labeled brutish and primitive. Meanwhile, women were taught to be strong, independent and proud. Feminine behavior and attitudes, like a quiet, gentle spirit, were discouraged in women. In short, men were taught to act like women and women were taught to act like men.
And the list goes on and on and on. All of our institutions seem to be falling apart. We hear of war and rumors of war. Yeats now seems like a prophet:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
The Darkness gathers all around us, and it is all too easy to give in to despair. And yet… there is a light on the horizon…
[To be continued in Sign of the Times: You Are Not Alone]