One in four mothers is now a single parent, having made a ‘lifestyle choice’ to rely on benefits rather than a partner, according to a report.
More than half of mothers with children under 13 have never married or lived with a boyfriend and find it ‘rewarding’ to stay at home supported by state handouts, it said.
The British Social Attitudes survey also found that most single mothers preferred to live without a man because so many are too feckless to support them.
To understand this all we need is a modicum of economics as it applies to the mating habits of human beings.
Human children are near unique in the length of time it takes them to become independent. They\’re also near unique in the amount of effort required to get them from birth to that independence.
Thus this whole idea of \”family\” in the first place. It not only takes two to tango but two to raise the results of having tangoed.
No, not talking about the role of fathers, as in teaching the ickle ones a few lessons about male role models and the rest, talking about the need for two humans working together to provide the resources necessary for the upbringing of the child.
Out of this we get the whole dance of the courtship game. We must not just show that we\’ve the genes for reproductive success but also that we\’re likely to stick around for a couple of decades to raise the kiddies.
Now, agreed, this hasn\’t always worked. And we\’ve also built a society where women no longer have that economic need for a male who sticks around. It is possible, even if still not easy, to raise a child or children on the economic resources available solely to a woman.
This is a good thing by the way. It shows that as a society we\’re rich enough for this to be possible. Also that part of those riches created by this liberal capitalism shtick are being spent on increasing the economic liberty of half of the nation.
However, there is also this flip side. If women who want to have children no longer need to tie their apron strings around a man in order to do so then we shouldn\’t be all that surprised that some of them decide not to.
The only way to reverse this is to reduce that economic freedom of women. Yes, this would mean a great deal more than a marriage tax bonus or a reduction in the benefits paid to single mothers. It would require barring mothers from the workforce (as some societies still do and as we largely used to….the well paid parts of that workforce at least).
No, I don\’t think we want to go there either.
We are, quite simply, richer and freer economically than we used to be. Single mothers are evidence of both this wealth and this freedom, certainly they are evidence that women are both richer and freer than in the past. Which leads, inevitably, to the conclusion that we should be celebrating their existence as evidence of how rich and how free we are.
Yes, I know, an uncomfortable conclusion for some. Still true though.