Going Galt: Why men are boycotting marriage, fatherhood and the American Dream

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Women are doing better than men, and I, for one, welcome our new female overlords!

Okay, in fairness, I’m the guy who wrote “The silent war on noncollege-educated white men.” But most observers of this phenomenon have concluded that we just need to “man up.” That is, until now. Dr. Helen Smith’s new book, Men on Strike is decidedly different, inasmuch as she argues that if men are checking out of society, it’s only because we are making rational decisions about changing incentives.

Let’s take marriage, for example, where higher-educated women seem to be having a harder and harder time finding men worthy (or willing) to tie the knot. “[T]he incentives to marry have changed for men,” explains Smith, “and they are no longer willing to risk so much more than in previous years to gain potentially less.”

In the old days, Smith explains, a man might expect to be king of the castle. Now days, she says, he might be relegated to a “man cave” in the basement, and — if lucky — granted missionary position sex once a week. Or he becomes, as she told me, “some shlub, carrying around a flowered diaper bag.”

But if the benefits of marriage have declined for men, the downsides haven’t. Men who marry can expect to pay disproportionately for a divorce, even if the wife cheats. And as Smith points out, sometimes men are on the hook for child support, even after DNA tests prove they aren’t the father.

“[T]he new world order is a place where men are discriminated against, forced into a hostile environment in school and later in college, and held in contempt by society,” she writes. “Maybe there is no incentive to grow up anymore,” she continues. “It used to be that being a grown-up, responsible man was rewarded with respect, power and deference.” Now, not so much. Making matters worse, men cannot voice frustration. “Men who complain are either wimps or misogynists or both,” she writes.

During a recent conversation, Smith and I talked about the book, and she weighed-in on some current events. For example, she sided with Erick Erickson and Lou Dobbs in their skirmish with Megyn Kelly on Fox News. You can listen to the streaming audio below or download the podcast on iTunes.

Matt K. Lewis