Between 1980 and 2010, the proportion of American women who were married declined from 74 percent to 56 percent. There are plenty of trends during that 30-year span that can help explain the shift in women’s decisions to marry or not: increasing college attendance, growing labor-force participation, increasing rates of incarceration, and changing cultural norms, to name a few. A new study suggests that as their wages increase relative to men’s, female workers become less likely to marry.There are many explanations as to why this is so, but its seems that, just as a man cannot have two masters, a woman cannot have two husbands: many women are married to the State (welfare dependents) or their careers.
But that is not the issue I want to address. Rather, it is the obvious inference that if women are marrying less, then so are men. Moreover, I would suggest that because of decreasing marriage rates, the number of men without sexual partners is going to exceed the number of women without sexual partners. The result of this imbalance will not just be a demographic issues of fewer children and more broken homes, but increased violence and risk of civil war.
I'm going to actually take these issues in reverse order because it will make it easier to understand my point. Perusing an article on what motivates young Muslim men to become terrorists, I followed a link to an article from The Economist entitled "Of men and mayhem." The general thrust of the article is that "[y]oung, single, idle males are dangerous. Work and wedlock can tame them." The article makes a particularly interesting point, though, about polygamous societies:
Any system that produces a surplus of single men is likely to be unstable. Polygamous societies suffer “higher rates of murder, theft, rape, social disruption, kidnapping (especially of females), sexual slavery and prostitution,” note Joseph Henrich, Robert Boyd and Peter Richerson in “The Puzzle of Monogamy”.The article expounds on the "idle hands are the tools of the devil" theme further:
... It is not simply a lack of money that spurs young men to rebel, he explains; it is more that having a job is a source of status and identity.
Throughout history, men have killed men roughly 97 times more often than women have killed women. The reasons are biological. In all cultures, the appetite for mayhem peaks in the late teens or early 20s, “just when males are competing more fiercely for mating opportunities, as in other mammals”, notes Matt Ridley in “The Evolution of Everything”. In “Homicide”, Martin Daly and Margo Wilson put it like this: “Any creature that is recognisably on track towards complete reproductive failure must somehow expend effort, often at risk of death, to try to improve its present life trajectory.” Wars, alas, give young men a chance to kill potential rivals (ie, other men) and seize or rape women. From Islamic State to the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, rebel forces often let their troops treat females as spoils.(Underline added).
For instance, as the author of the article on the motivation of Muslim terrorists observes, if you have 10 women and 10 men, and one man has 4 wives, that immediately means that three other men will not have wives (sexual partners); if two of the men each were to have 4 wives, you would have 6 men without wives (sexual partners).
Our culture has programmed us to see this "polygamous" sorting (multiple female sexual partners to a particular man) as unusual, but it is, rather, natural. Because a woman's hypergamous nature draws her to the highest status male, males of high status have a choice of multiple female sexual partners. Males of a lower status, conversely, may have limited or no opportunities to find a sexual partner. (High school is a perfect example of where this natural sorting occurs: e.g., the high school football team captain with many girls pining after him, and the nerdy boy who couldn't get a date to save his life).
Many societies, and Western society in particular, solved the issue of surplus men through the carrot and stick approach of the institution of monogamous marriage, thereby limiting a man to one wife no matter his status, coupled with shaming women that sought sex outside the marriage. Simple economics and the harsh realities of life ensured that a woman had to seek the protection and support of a man to provide for her and her offspring. Laws and social mores that deemed a woman, by being married, to have consented to sex with her husband ensured that the husband would have his wife as a sexual partner.
Now all bets are off. Because of enhanced educational and career opportunities, and/or government benefits, women are no longer dependent on a male for support. Sex outside marriage is not only tolerated but practically expected in this day and age. Divorce is rampant. In short, monogamous marriage is in a dangerous decline, and the natural sorting of multiple females to a smaller number of high status men is reasserting itself. Even if a man is married, there is no guarantee that he will have a sexual partner. We are increasingly moving toward what, in effect, is a polygamous society, with the concomitant result that an increasing number of young men will be without sexual partners and, as the articles above note, will be idle hands to commit crimes and engage in violence.
I would suggest that we are beginning to see the breakdown of social stability--it certainly has long been apparent in black communities, and is rapidly spreading among lower and middle-income whites. And we have also seen the resultant rage and violence demonstrated by the so-called mass-shooters, which have a commonality of being males with low sexual status. The lure of the video game console can only delay things so long, before disaffected young men in the United States and Europe begin to act like disaffected young men around the world and throughout history.
In 1995, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints released its "The Family--A Proclamation To The World," which included this statement: "Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets." These calamities are beginning to happen right before our eyes.