An Inability to Assume Familial Sympathy for the Other Sex


This paragraph from an American Conservative post by Rod Dreher has an element that makes me wonder whether we’re gradually reaching the point at which one of his assumptions will fall bellow a critical mass to have any real accuracy:

But here’s the deal: what we’re seeing happen at Google, to James Damore, is insane. What his memo reveals about the corporate culture of “diversity” and “microaggression training” is frightening and bizarre. Identity liberals forget that women have sons and husbands too, and worry that their male loved ones will be stigmatized and punished unfairly in the workplace, just as they worry about their female loved ones. What identity liberalism within corporations has done is embed in the structure of corporate culture a set of prejudices and values that are no more just than the ones they replaced.

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With that for context, revisit (if you’ve already seen it) a topic that made the rounds of the conservative Internet in June.  Here’s a sampling, by Theresa Smith of the Catholic News Service:

Because Europe’s top political leaders do not have children, they do not know what it means to be a mother or father and therefore have “no reason to worry about the future of the continent,” reported the Gatestone Institute.

The institute specifically cited the childless European leaders German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, French President Emmanuel Macron, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. …

Citing German philosopher Rudiger Safranski, the institute said of the elite European leaders, “for the childless, thinking in terms of the generations to come loses relevance. Therefore, they behave more and more as if they were the last and see themselves as standing at the end of the chain.”

That’s a forward-looking problem, but as Dreher’s assumptions suggest, we’re probably already well into the effect.  According to U.S. Census data on families, the percentage of families in which children live with two parents has fallen from 87% in 1970 to 69% in 2016, a 21% decrease.  At the same time, the average number of children in households with children has dropped from 2.28 in 1970 to 1.89 in 2016, a 17% decrease.

That second statistic needs to be broken down a bit, although it’s difficult to do because in 1970 racial prejudice and an assumption that marriage was a prerequisite for childbirth make 1970 apples difficult to match up with 2016 apples.  But if we disregard children whose mothers had never married as of 1970, the percentage of women with children who have only had one child rockets from 16% in 1970 to 30% in 2016, an increase of 92%.

And while we’re at it, let’s note that the percentage of people who are married has fallen from 64% in 1970 to 52% in 2016, a 19% decrease.  This number does not adjust to consider anybody who might consider him or herself married to somebody of the same sex.

In other words, it’s increasingly the case that American women do not have sons, husbands, or brothers, as Dreher assumes.  Similarly, American men increasingly do not have daughters, wives, or sisters.  Our demographic situation is bleak for a number of reasons, but in the ongoing battle of the sexes, it’s increasingly the case that each sex has no familial reason for sympathy with the other sex.  That can’t be a good thing.

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