You make reasoned and valid arguments, so I will address them one by one.
That’s not my argument and I don’t like to be accused of racism. I agree with you 100% that this is the case, but the problem is a lot more urgent in the inner-city.
I was not accusing you of racism. I was merely pointing out that my original statement is not universally acknowledged. There are many people who still do not believe that fatherlessness is a problem across the board. Rather they see it as a problem of minorities, including the poor or certain non-European ethnic groups. The fact is that the breakdown of the family is rampant everywhere, except among the college-educated (which is a relatively small portion of the population). And the effect is a negative one for each child, regardless of his other circumstances. The degree to which the effect is negative varies, but they all certainly suffer.
All too often, good and bad behavior do not have their own consequences, at least not until the afterlife. Without steroid testing and recruiting rules, cheaters get ahead and win, while people who do things the right way find themselves fighting an uphill battle. Without laws against insider trading, cheaters get rich while the average person is playing a game to which he doesn’t know the rules. Without regulations, liars get rich by fooling people
You are confusing regulation with laws. Regulation means that you enter into a formal contract (such as a marriage, a driver’s license, a firearms permit, or a listing on the stock market) and agree to abide by the rules of that contract. Breaching the contract (a crime of trespass) results in punishment, usually a fine (which is the legal basis of alimony) but possibly imprisonment (for instance, if you drive while intoxicated or publish faulty accounting claims). That is consistent, as nobody forced you to enter into the contract and you did so at your own risk and with full knowledge of the consequences.
My problem is with making a vice a crime so that you can be thrown in jail merely for an act you conducted which brought no harm to anyone other than yourself.
So what happens to the kids that you sacrifice? How many generations do you waste? And how does it promote a culture of high expectations for men to see their own actions as free of consequence?
This is the famous, “What about the children?” argument that gets thrown at libertarians on a regular basis. I throw it back. You are right! What about those poor, fatherless children whose mothers couldn’t be bothered to keep their legs shut? Where is your sympathy for them?
Okay, that’s just being facetious. The fact of the matter, is that the men’s actions are already relatively free of consequence, which is why many men think birth control and abortion are just fine and dandy. Back in the day, if a man created a child out of wedlock he would be pressured (at gunpoint, if needs be – hence the term “shotgun wedding”) to marry the woman and “man up” to his responsibilities. If he did not do so, he’d be completely ostracized. If he still didn’t marry her, then the woman would be ostracized. This discouraged both men and women from extramarital sex. This social policy, while it seems draconian today, made it clear: a father is essential and required and there is no substitute for him.
Nowadays, we say, “Send a check for $250 once a month and we’ll call it quits.” And if he doesn’t have the money, we throw him in jail at taxpayer’s expense. Since the Mancession began, our local newspaper has had a parade of men listed as “Wanted for non-support.” How does that serve his children? By offering up a fee as a substitute to fatherhood, we have declared fathers as irrelevant. That is why so many women today think there is nothing wrong with single motherhood. That is why they say, “I don’t need a man. I have my own money.” We have made fathers worth 250 dollars a month.
Those men who are “manning up” today are doing so out of a sense of personal responsibility, not out of fear of the state. There are plenty of ways of accounting yourself poor so that you don’t have to cough up the dough. But even those that want to be involved in their children’s lives (and not just reduced to a check) are regularly impeded by the very mothers that plead weakness and poverty. They are turned away at the door (or married fathers are no-fault divorced) and told, “We don’t need you. Just send the check.” In reality, the money is less important to the children than the presence of the father.
Let that be a lesson to us all of the evil impact of unintended consequences.
I am not saying that these children and their mothers should sleep out on the street. Hardly. But that is what private charity is for. Government largess, unlike charity, fuels a sense of personal entitlement and therefore feeds the vice, rather than reducing it. The Catholic Church has always been generous, even to those who were suffering from their own stupidity or to those outside of the law (such as illegal immigrants today). It should continue to do so, and the government should get out of the way.