Experts will argue this is merely a natural phenomenon — potentially the product of demographic transition, meaning, as a developing society reaches new technological echelons, a longer period of education is necessary for an increasingly complex workforce. This causes higher investment in children, which means fewer children are born. That’s one contributing factor.
Other parties will argue the couples are having children later. Male and female childbearing ages have risen to 28 and 30.9, respectively. This is another contributing factor.
Yet, scientists never ask themselves the most important question: What incentive do modern men have to get married?
Empirically, statistically, a worse point for male matrimony has never existed. A relatively recent study shows the inverse of what we initially thought: married couples are unhealthier than their single counterparts. Marriage is currently plagued with numbers telling men to run the opposite direction.
So, men should just marry “correctly,” right? As a result of a one-sided coin flip of benefits, women, who stand to gain the most from divorce, initiate it over 70 percent of the time. Additionally, once divorce occurs, 97 percent percent of alimony is the burden of men.
Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson accurately surmised the ominous danger of manhood and masculinity in America. Starting in almost every facet, men are falling behind, with lower educational attainment, a disappropriate suicide rate, and declining measures of fertility.
The crux of the issue was missing, however, and that is the family court system. Even disregarding the prospects of children, men fear divorce for the potential financial ruin associated with it. They have a right to fear.
When men lose, they lose a great deal financially and emotionally.
Only three major financially belligerent crimes (where the individual fails to pay) can get one locked behind bars: back-taxes, alimony and child support. Two of these are the “matrimonious crimes.” Courts decide the lump sum given as spousal support and rarely is there any sympathy given.
Contingencies or, euphemistically put, prenups are often toilet paper in the eyes of divorce lawyers. Numerous corollaries can nullify them and then it’s back to square one for exorbitant legal fees.
Marriage is a proverbial slot machine for men; don’t expect them to pull the lever every time when they know it’s a net loss. We expect men to bear the brunt of societal expectations, and now they are deciding the cost outweighs the benefits by retreating from the workforce and returning with great reluctance.
Experts were also dumbfounded when one-sixth of prime-age men were missing from the labor market. Cutting marriage out of a man’s pool of options leads to a loss of identity. The telos of male breadwinners being pulled out from underneath men causes profound economic implications. Can we blame them? Often, men see no source of refuge; relentlessly battered from the boy scouts, or now under the moniker “scouts,” or laughed at from male-established domestic abuse shelters is symbolic of masculinity being unwelcome in society.
As for future projections, there is no need for inference. The European Union fertility rate is a perfect — yet grim — marker for the United States. The severity of northern European marriage rates are enough to warrant and totality fertility in the EU is a whole 12 percent lower than the United States.
Considering the prevailing narrative is shifting to cohabitation, re-incentivizing traditional marriage and promoting ideas of monogamy is a near impossibility when Pandora’s box of opportunity has been laid bare.
Whether you toward the future grimacing or beaming full of hope, one thing is for certain: men will increasingly be absent from the altar.
Matt Duke is a political analyst, op-ed contributor and rising graduate student of Computational Neuroscience at the University of Southern California.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.