Uncommon Sense

May 26, 2019

The Law of Unintended Consequences, Still Unsurpassed

As conservative American politicians are doing their damnedest to pound a square peg into a round hole with regard to any issue involving women, they are accomplishing the exact opposite of what they want. They are undermining the societal structure they most value: the family. An article in The Guardian indicates why (Women are happier without children or a spouse, says happiness expert). Here’s an excerpt:

We may have suspected it already, but now the science backs it up: unmarried and childless women are the happiest subgroup in the population. And they are more likely to live longer than their married and child-rearing peers, according to a leading expert in happiness.

Speaking at the Hay festival on Saturday, Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics, said the latest evidence showed that the traditional markers used to measure success did not correlate with happiness – particularly marriage and raising children.

“Married people are happier than other population subgroups, but only when their spouse is in the room when they’re asked how happy they are. When the spouse is not present: fucking miserable,” he said.

“We do have some good longitudinal data following the same people over time, but I am going to do a massive disservice to that science and just say: if you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother.”

Men benefited from marriage because they “calmed down”, he said. “You take less risks, you earn more money at work, and you live a little longer. She, on the other hand, has to put up with that, and dies sooner than if she never married. The healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children,” he said.

As the benefits of family and children have shrunk substantially, the “duties” of the position of “wife” have escalated. Not only are they still obligated to all or most of the household management choirs and child rearing chores but are also expected to bring in a full-time salary. Would any man get married if they were offered the same “bargain”?

The “bargain” when I was a child was the wife stayed home and worked while the husband went out to work and “brought home the bacon.” This arrangement was reinforced by women being excluded from most jobs as being “unsuitable” or incompetent. The fact that women are doing all of those jobs now and just as competently as men or more so, gives the lie to that prejudice. It was also largely reinforced through societal memes: the bride as princess, mothers as Madonnas, the “fulfillment of marriage,” the wedding ceremony as mini-coronation, etc.

So, why would women take such a bad deal? Apparently, they are beginning to no longer do so in numbers. Their reward? Greater happiness, less strife; less pressure, longer life. If they choose to have children, there no longer is much of a stigma attached to single parenting and while raising a child by yourself might be daunting, it is certainly easier than raising a child while serving a man as maid, cook, errand runner, etc. and working a full-time job at the same time.

There is an axiom in politics that when a politician is undermining himself, don’t interrupt. Go, GOP, go!


  1. While I did get married and had kids, there were a couple of periods in my life that I was on my own — and I can attest to the fact that living alone as a “single” woman most definitely has advantages.

    I think the women in today’s world are finally getting smart. Sex on the side but home on their own.


    Comment by Nan — May 26, 2019 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

    • Unlike men, women should have no trouble getting casual sex when they want it. I recall the old 60’s cartoon with the caption “I have a chimney that smokes and a parrot that swears, why do I need a man?” Of course, you have to be old enough to remember what smoking was all about. There was another “feminist” take (actually faux feminist) of “I need a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” The GOP, by curtailing women’s reproductive and other health rights, are making it easier for women to reject their paradigm altogether. Of course the GOP troglodytes think they are recreating the 1950’s but delusion is a river just to the east of denial.

      On Sun, May 26, 2019 at 1:14 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — May 26, 2019 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

  2. The linked article contains a lot of good advice. Women who make personal happiness their number one priority should be childless and unmarried. Selfish people make terrible spouses and parents. I agree with you that such women should be encouraged to refrain from reproducing.


    Comment by John Branyan — May 26, 2019 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  3. The days when women were shamed into marriage/reproduction by charges of selfishness are gone, or going. Women in the developed world generally have a lot more options when it comes to personal fulfillment. Branyan’s comment is especially ill-timed, now, when selfishness equates to those who persist on reproducing, despite the fact the world doesn’t need their progeny. Humans are not an endangered species, though evangelicals like Branyan might be.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by ChrisS — May 26, 2019 @ 7:41 pm | Reply

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