Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Pill, Socio-Biology and Rational Choice Theory

Two things I like with one I do not. I am fascinated by socio-biology which I think bears out a lot of conservatism, and rational choice theory which often explains unintended consequences of govern. The Pill may end up destroying the West, so its not my favorite.

The whole post by Slate on the Pill boils down to "Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free." That is a saying mother's used to use but which now I guess is "Give the milk for free and stay out of the barn", or some such.

This fellow is not William Saletan who is my favorite in this sphere but he does analyze a problem that has no easy solution. While certain religiously motivated people still are influenced by older views of courtship and marriage, the intervention of technology means that the culture and natural outcomes of life no longer support it.

It is why the nature of marriage has changed and its why our laws regarding marriage are in such flux. If the natural result of marriage and sex is not children chaos in family relations ensues. We are living in that chaos.

One thing this does not adress is that, in fact, surveys reveal that unmarried people do not get as much sex as the married. So there is a first order error in the analysis that should be adressed. Moreover, if one is at the top of the marriagability market for men-say Tom Brady-you can pretty much sleep with a different woman every night. The analysis also omits how hard this is on your memory and calendering. However, one thing that monogamous marriage and the culture that supports it does is provide more opportunities for the less marriagable to marry and have long time relationships and children. The debates over polygamy in the 19th century lead to the conclusion that one man, one vote and one man, one wife were inextricably linked. The Arab and African worlds bear this out. To the extent the analysis in this article is correct we have developed a technology that may lead to fewer and fewer people in the West living, longer and longer lonely lives. The brunt of it falling on those least able to compete. Oh Brave New World indeed.


Anonymous said...

Interestingly, yesterday I heard a doctor state that according to research, people have HALF as much sex when they are married as when they were single. Pick your statistics. I say hurray for the pill, and let's get more condoms on fellas, to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. As for marriage, it's an outmoded institution. While it would be nice (IMHO) if people got married BEFORE they had kids, that no longer seems to be the way things work in this country. I don't know about Brave, but it is a New, or at least Different, World. And that may not be so bad.

jjv said...

Well, after reading your blog I realize that I should have worked "Enzyte" into the post. Also, once the connection between children and sex is cut, sex becomes about pleasure and personal fufilment only. Condoms reduce this for men. Further, men are less risk averse then women. Thus, a new rational choice/socio-biological topic is raised! Oh the joy.

If CRH ever blogged here he would tell you an anecdote from a doctor is no substitute from the multiple data points from many different studies over time. Preferably done by the Urban Institute.

Dave S. said...

If the natural result of marriage and sex is not children chaos in family relations ensues. We are living in that chaos.

As a professor might say, "Develop this further." My initial response is "Wha?" which functionally means the same thing.