No-fault divorces have (as predicted) scarred millions of children across the West. But don’t expect radical feminists and adults-only libertarians to say sorry. They’re never wrong. Or as Barbara Dafoe Whitehead put it in The Divorce Culture: Rethinking Our Commitments to Marriage and Family, “A culture of divorce soothes children with antidepressants, consoles them with storybooks on divorce, and watches over their lives from family court.”
One serious problem: “Our contemporary secular thinking about marriage is a blend of psychotherapy and politics, and its language is one of rights and needs.”
Some divorces are necessary evils – but the majority are expressive in nature. It is interesting to note too that the adult children of divorce sound very different than the younger children of divorce. No-fault divorce is a legal concept,” maintains Judith Wallerstein in The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study. “It was never intended to mean no moral responsibility. Children never subscribe to the idea that no one is to blame for the divorce, although they are too protective of themselves and their parents to say so. As young children they blame themselves.”
In the 1970s, marriage-hating feminists supported and even celebrated expressive divorce rights, but they didn’t count on the children of divorce to grow up and share their unedited stories. Certainly they didn’t expect crime statistics to point to a suspiciously high number of jails dominated by fatherless men. And, I doubt they expected statistics to show that divorced women are more prone to violence outside of marriage. But was this ever about liberation? Whitehead notes: “Society’s principal cheerleaders for expressive divorce have been its most economically advantaged and well-educated women, but only their message, and not their privilege has been transmitted to their working-class ‘sisters.’”
There are, of course, many divorced singles who are victims of expressive divorces too. While it does take two to tango, it only takes one to go feral. In an expressive divorce culture, we all lose.
Ben-Peter Terpstra is an Australian satirist and cartoon lover. His works are posted on numerous sites from American Thinker (California) to Quadrant Online (Sydney, Australia).He also blogs for News Real, the team blog of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.