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2012 October 09 Tuesday
Honey Boo Boo Child And Dysfunctional Lower Classes

The mother of “Honey Boo Boo Child” (apparently a little fat girl who performs in many beauty pageants) follows the incentives in front of her and the result is more dumb fat kids.

Well, let’s look at the facts. June is obese, far from wealthy and stuck in a dead-end life. She did the best with the opportunities provided to her, and in contemporary America that meant having children with multiple men to maximize child support. Next, she took advantage of trash culture and voyeurism to capitalize on her daughter. Now she has her own reality show and is being paid thousands of dollars per episode, and richer than she’s ever been.

Each “bad choice” she made was incentivized. Every time she did something we look down on, she was rewarded for it. If she had simply buckled down and lived a modest, decent life, she’d be in a pretty lousy place today. The idea that simply doing what we’re “supposed to do,” presented to us in that enormous fake of a movie Forrest Gump, will pay off, is just plain wrong for a growing number of Americans.

This isn't the 1950s when people could expect to pair up with a husband or wife and get a factory job that put them at similar status level to a large portion of the total population. We've got a much wider spread of classes and far more cognitive sorting. The poor are dumber on average and the upper classes are smarter on average. The classes have less in common: less shared understanding, fewer shared values, fewer shared experiences with cultural products such as TV and radio shows.

Unfortunately the increasingly dysfunctional lower classes are not expected to adhere to upper middle class norms. The lower classes are breeding faster than the upper classes. Just as unfortunately, this is yet another obvious truth that is taboo. Hard to lessen problems which can't be acknowledged in the mainstream media.

Some men drop out of middle class life and become hedonists. Traditional norms of monogamous marriage and dedication to work are still embraced by most of the cognitive elite. But the elite are not enforcing those norms to the masses. That's a lost opportunity whose costs are growing every year.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2012 October 09 09:37 PM  Civilizations Decay


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Comments
Mike M said at October 10, 2012 10:35 AM:

We provide incentives for women be single mothers to remain unmarried and have more "fatherless" children. We do so with the short sighted excuse that it's not fair to let he child suffer, but this ignores the fact that providing incentives for having children out of wedlock and having no permanent father in the home encourages women to have even more of such children which establishes a vicious cycle. The short term, bleeding heart "solutions" have led to and compounded the long term problem of a nation increasingly populated by a mass of uneducated, unmotivated kids (now adults) with no values.

Yes, I am advocating that the federal government stop it's involvement.

Mercer said at October 10, 2012 11:20 AM:

"excuse that it's not fair to let he child suffer"

Current divorce laws and child support arrangements seem to me more guided by the feeling that it is wrong for adults, especially women, to be "trapped" in a marriage if they are unhappy and bored with their partner. The child's interests are considered to be less important.

Mike M said at October 10, 2012 3:13 PM:

I don't have a problem with courts providing for and enforcing spousal and/or child support payments. A marriage is a contract between two people. If and when that contract is broken, the various parties may have certain obligations that should be honored. One example is a spouse - traditionally the wife, who has foregone a career outside the home in order to take on certain duties that enabled the husband to advance his career and earning potential. The wife should be made whole in terms of her resulting lower earning potential. Similarly, if the union produces children, that was by definition a mutual decision and the parents should provide support for the child in the manner they did when married, i.e. if the mother provided the childcare and the husband provided the income, they should both be expected to provide the equivalent in cash or services subsequent to the divorce - unless they come to some other mutually agreeable terms. The role of the government should be simply to enforce the contracts (the marriage and divorce agreements) between the two parties. Legitimate government duties like this - enforcing contracts - don't infringe on the personal or property rights of other citizens not party to the original contract.

Publicly funded incentives, e.g. welfare/entitlements, aimed at easing the burden of people who have chosen to have a child and then expecting other non-interested parties to support that child take the hard earned income of people who have chosen to make good decisions and reward the destructive behavior chosen by those who have been inconsiderate of their fellow citizens. This wealth redistribution reaches for outside the bounds of the contract between the involved individuals. It shifts the responsibilities of the mother and father onto other members of society and robs them of their rights (to be secure in their person and property) - we shift the responsibility in the wrong direction and we simultaneously encroach upon the rights of the wrong party. This is a recipe that encourages bad behavior.

shiva1008 said at October 10, 2012 4:26 PM:

liking the blog man. You definitely give a different - I would say cutting edge - perspective on things.

Mercer said at October 10, 2012 4:37 PM:

Mike M

When one person decides to break a marriage contract without just cause that should count against them. When a person can break a marriage contract without penalty marriage becomes a weak institution.

Check it Out said at October 10, 2012 4:56 PM:

"A marriage is a contract between two people. If and when that contract is broken, the various parties may have certain obligations that should be honored."

Complete disagree. If the contract -to be bound in marriage- is broken the only obligations should be towards the children, simply because they cannot provide for themselves legally and logically, so making one spouse give payments to the other is a form of slavery and it was abolished long time ago. Making one spouse give payments to the other makes it impossible for a man -or woman if be the case- to rebuild their lives and make another family. Making one spouse give payments to a former one, means that the contract was not really broken. It's like "the judge divorced us, but not really".

It could really start making one of the two to start wishing for the other to just die, and when one starts needing for somebody else to die, there's something wrong going one with both of them.

Mike M said at October 10, 2012 7:52 PM:

Mercer - your point is well taken and I agree. My comments were meant to contrast the "private" economics of a divorce versus the involvement of public finances in the other case. I agree that I didn't make this clear.
My comments regarding divorce neglected the cases where one party has unilaterally breached the contract and I do agree that if the contract is breached due to the actions or inactions of one party, that should certainly carry GREAT weight in any settlement.

Check Out - I'll play along with the hyperbole. If "making one spouse give payments to the other is a form of slavery" because it "makes it impossible for a man -or woman if be the case- to rebuild their lives", then making one spouse assume the task of housekeeping, child rearing and helping the other spouse build his/her career by entertaining his/her boss, etc. is a form of slavery as well as it forces the one spouse to forego building his/her own career and thus rebuild their life after divorce. I'm sure the Taliban would disagree with me and I'm certainly no radical feminist, but there's definitely and significant opportunity cost in being the "stay-at-home" spouse. To borrow from Mercer's point, "When a person can break a marriage contract without penalty marriage becomes a weak institution." It is good when society makes the dissolution of marriage (or other contracts) something that isn't taken lightly and that comes with a price.

Randall Parker said at October 10, 2012 8:29 PM:

The main purpose of marriage ought to be to create an environment for raising children. Its highest purpose should not be held up to be self fulfillment. Society has a compelling interest in seeing to it that children are well raised.

I think we should create a two tier marriage system where a deeper marriage contract kicks in once children arrive.

We should also restore the stigma on illegitimate births.

Mike said at October 11, 2012 10:39 AM:

Although I think Randall's idea of a two tiered marriage is a good one, his other idea, of restoring the stigma of illegitimate births, is probably not going to happen. That stigma was removed by our changing culture. True, the government involvement in subsidizing poverty and single mother homes contributed and sped up the process, but culture cannot change on a dime. That's why I'm ultimately a declinist. Once the culture starts sliding, the odds are it's not going to turn around are restore the Protestant work ethic, and traditional middle class values. A more vigorous culture could replace ours, but there is little likelihood our culture will heal.

Zorro said at October 11, 2012 1:13 PM:

When you consider the percentage of prison inmates who come from no-father homes, the social cancer of single motherhood becomes evident. It is not men who cause most of society's problems, but selfish feminist women who think they can have it all, do it all and have the rest of us pay for it all that cause society's bulk of headaches.

faffy said at October 11, 2012 2:06 PM:

I generally agree with Randall, but I honestly don't see why we need two tiers of marriage contract. In the past, children were an assumed inevitability of man & woman pledging themselves to each other. That is no longer inevitable due to contraception, but at the same time I feel that the state has no compelling interest in whether a couple is "committed" to each other. That's an essentially meaningless thing as far as overall society is concerned. We have no need to make an explicit contract for commitment-without-children than we have a need for an explicit social contract between blood brothers, besties, or any number of other social arrangements that are emotionally important to the individuals involved in them but not important to the broader context of perpetuating society. The social contract that matters is commitment for purposes of raising a child within a culture's values and mores, and I think the state ought to narrow its focus for marriage to those terms.

As for what you say Mike, the stigma against single motherhood would return if the government were no longer actively taking over the roles and responsibilities of family. Such a stigma didn't arise from thin air, but rather inevitably came about because of the financial and social costs single mothers put on their family, friends, and community. Of course it's unlikely that the state will, in its current form, ever willingly shrink to the point that it won't fill that role, but that's a different argument.

Check it out said at October 11, 2012 2:45 PM:

"The main purpose of marriage ought to be to create an environment for raising children."

Yeah, but let's not forget sex.

Check it out said at October 11, 2012 2:59 PM:

"I'm sure the Taliban would disagree with me and I'm certainly no radical feminist, but there's definitely and significant opportunity cost in being the "stay-at-home" spouse."

If the husband has forced the woman to stay at home and never allowed to work, which I think would be practically impossible in western democracies, would be a different matter. Nevertheless in Germany women have recently lost the privilege of receiving money -just for them- from their exhusbands, simply because they can go out and work, and usually with more opportunities than men. That is also true for most Latin American countries. It seems that not everybody who disagrees with us is necessarily a Taliban, unless the German and Latin American law makers are Taliban.

Implying that somebody is a Taliban or a terrorist or a Marxist because they dissagree with us shows intolerance and radicalism. Let's move on, shall we?

Mthson said at October 11, 2012 11:05 PM:

Zorro,

The mothers of prison inmates are single because they and their baby daddies are low-IQ and high-impulsivity.

Some 115-IQ Feminist Studies professor who gets inseminated by another professor is going to have children with an academic temperament.

Being raised without a father is a mild drain on the child's outcomes and quality of life, but it's nothing compared to being raised with low IQ.

lords of lies said at October 12, 2012 7:51 AM:

"Being raised without a father is a mild drain on the child's outcomes and quality of life, but it's nothing compared to being raised with low IQ."

I wouldn't call it a mild drain. While I agree with you that IQ is critical for general life outcome, fathers are more important than mothers for their children's psychological development along 6 out of 7 measures. The short of it:

Single moms => slutty, druggie daughters and delinquent, druggie sons with anti-social issues.

http://psr.sagepub.com/content/16/2/103.full.pdf


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