The cluelessness of the left on display this morning, in the juxtaposition of two articles this morning. First, Michael Gerson in the Washington Post, on the loss of the former courting rituals, as sexual liberation encourages earlier onset of sexual activity, sequential intimate relationships, and the like:
How is this working out? Not very well. Relationships defined by lower levels of commitment are, not unexpectedly, more likely to break up. Three-quarters of children born to cohabiting parents will see their parents split up by the time they turn 16, compared with about one-third of children born to married parents. So apart from the counsel of cold showers or "let the good times roll," is there any good advice for those traversing the relational wilderness? Religion and morality contribute ideals of character. But social science also indicates some rough, practical wisdom. [snip]
... the age of first marriage is important to marital survival and happiness. Teen marriage is generally a bad idea, with much higher rates of divorce. Romeo and Juliet were, in fact, young fools. Later marriage has been one of the reasons for declining national divorce rates. But this does not mean the later the better. Divorce rates trend downward until leveling off in the early 20s. But people who marry after 27 tend to have less happy marriages -- perhaps because partners are set in their ways or have unrealistically high standards. The marital sweet spot seems to be in the early to mid-20s.
Third, having a series of low-commitment relationships does not bode well for later marital commitment. Some of this expresses preexisting traits -- people who already have a "nontraditional" view of commitment are less likely to be committed in marriage. But there is also evidence, according to Wilcox, that multiple failed relationships can "poison one's view of the opposite sex." Serial cohabitation trains people for divorce. In contrast, cohabitation by engaged couples seems to have no adverse effect on eventual marriage. [emphasis added]
The second article comes from Arianna Huffington, puzzled at the decline in female happiness:
According to study after study, women are becoming more and more unhappy. This drop in happiness is found in women across the social and economic landscape. It doesn't matter what their marital status is, how much money they make, whether or not they have children, their ethnic background, or the country they live in. Women around the world are in a funk.
And it's not because of the multitude of crises we are facing. Women's happiness has been on a downward trend since the early 1970s, when the General Social Survey, a landmark study, began examining the social attitudes of women and men -- who, by the way, have gotten progressively happier over the years.
When you think about all that has happened over the last four decades -- with women securing greater opportunity, greater achievement, greater influence, and more money -- the decline in our collective state of mind seems to defy logic, and raises the vexing question: What in the world is going on?
Ms. Huffington should consult Mr. Gerson.
Hat tip: Susan L