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The “Progressive” View of Divorce: Better World or Worst Nightmare?

Posted on November 20 2010 10:30 pm
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In George Pal’s classic rendering of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, Rod Taylor moves through time to the far future where he encounters two distinct groups, one prey, and one predator.  The Eloi are passive, child-like people who have no conception of either good or evil.  While peaceful and harmless, they are naive, morally innocent, and incapable of recognizing either evil or good for what they are.  Because of this, they have no psychological defenses against the Morlocks, a degenerate, cannibalistic group of semi-humans who breed the Eloi like cattle and then use ancient air raid sirens to induce a kind of hypnotic trance, in which state the Eloi walk with blank stares right into the Morlocks’ clutches.

Thomas Sowell has called the Left The Anointed. For Anderw Codivilla, they are the Ruling Class. Let me here, in the pages of NewsReal Blog, follow a longstanding metaphorical practice of mine by describing the elites of the Left as cultural Morlocks. These particular Morlocks are parasitic, hostile and alienated intellectual elites who create, define, interpret and disseminate to us an overwhelming portion of that which makes up our intellectual and cultural environment.  In their unique role as subversives, they are always “fattening us up” (in many cases by dismissing or minimalizing clear potential consequences) for some inevitable future “revolution,” “liberation,” or at one time “new morality”.

Now, the “new morality” of the late sixties/early seventies generated, among other things (such as the cult of convenient abortion), a catastrophic increase in divorce and family breakdown.  This led to a “divorce culture” in which divorce came to be re-framed, not as a tragic failure of human relations engendering long term negative effects upon all involved, but as just another “lifestyle option” that, like marriage and family, can be dispensed with at one’s leisure as soon as the disciplines and requirements of successful marriage become too “oppressive”.

As the new Huffington Post divorce page, Huffpost Divorce reminds us, the ideas of the Left, no matter how destructive, malignant, and subversive of civil society (but that’s the point, is it not?), can always be counted on to rise from the grave to afflict the living at some point in time.  Like Freddy Kruger and Jason Vorhees, they simply keep coming back, regardless of the manner in which they were defeated in the last sequel.

A perusal of the various columns in the Huffington Post’s line-up presents us with a cornucopia of decades old leftist cliches and tropes about divorce that have not only been long ago put to rest by serious scholarship, but are unwitting testimony to just what the Left’s “sexual revolution” actually wrought.

One major feature article lays the groundwork:

Decades ago, children of divorce were stigmatized in our society. People assumed that horrible problems must have led to their parents’ breakup. Children of divorce felt shame. They were said to live in “broken families.”

As the divorce rate shot up in the late 1960s and 1970s, the stigma about children of divorce began to fade. Widespread divorce became just another feature of contemporary society. Divorce did not necessarily point to pathological problems in families. Instead, advocates suggested, divorce simply offered liberation for adults who felt unhappy in their marriages. Children of divorce were no longer said to live in “broken families” but in “blended families” or even “binuclear families.”

As the article goes on to say, children of divorced parents have a few more problems later on than children of intact families – like more divorce. However, these are presented as a kind of passing sociological detritus.  Divorce, like leaves and twigs being carried down a larger sociological river, comes and goes through time as culture changes.  The whole idea of the sheer scale and prevalence of divorce present in our society as being evidence of deep social pathology is utterly absent from the analysis.

Other articles return us in similar fashion to the glory days of seventies feminist and sexual revolution ideology.  One article states, defying a mountain of social science data on the subject:

Please know that if one parent has his or [her] head on straight a son or daughter will be far better off with a single parent than in a home where life is devoid of safety or any hope for growth or fulfillment.

If this Mommy Dearest worst case scenario of “a life devoid of safety or any hope” doesn’t sound like the motives behind the vast majority of divorces of which you are aware, join the club.

Another article offers us “Not Freedom, But Liberty in the Wake of Divorce“, again echoing the core thematic elements of the sixties and seventies social revolutionaries.  Are you divorcing and worried about its effects on your children?  Fear not, for there is divorce therapy to ameliorate the destruction of a stable, two parent family.  One writer advises, Cheers-like, as a means of working through the destruction of a marriage, to “be around friends” and then “find something cathartic and fun that you probably don’t get to do often, and just dance.”

After my divorce, I hit the bottle for 28 years. I also danced a lot.

As seventies feminist pop singer Helen Reddy once made clear, we “know too much to go back an’ pretend”.

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