Summary: An economist shows the rising rate of celibacy among young millennial men. His analysis reveals much more, inadvertently, as he gushes about the need for women to domesticate men. This is like the smell of smoke in an airliner, a signal we should not ignore.
Slowly the media and public become aware of the radical changes happening in America. Social scientists provide the facts so that we can see the changes, rather than relying on anecdote or myth. That is the good news, as in this graph by Lyman Stone (agricultural economist at the Dept of Ag; see LinkedIn). How many unmarried Millennials have not had sex in the past year? How has this changed in the past 30 years?
The small increase for women (4 percentage points) is easily explained by more obesity, increased focus on careers, and disinterest (see how many dress: they’re dropped out from the dating game). The larger increase for men is more difficult to explain – and potentially the start of a game-changing trend in America.
A modern social scientist, Stone gives us his PC explanation.
I should add here that @Noahpinion suggests porn drives these trends.
I am inclined to agree somewhat! Porn may enable men to be more comfortable not having a sexual partner. Lacking a partner means they don't benefit from the civilizing effect of woman.
— Lyman Stone (@lymanstoneky) May 3, 2018
There is little evidence that porn is responsible for this, but he states it so confidently! It does not occur to him that feminism might be a factor. Perhaps it unleashed hypergamy, so that the bottom tier of men (in terms of sexual market value) are locked out.
Some people called him on his confident myths. He replied by doubling down.
I'm getting flak about the "civilizing effect of woman" line. The flak perplexes me.
Is it a surprise to anyone that a committed relationship with a woman tends to make men better? This is a pretty solid empirical fact: marriage reduces numerous high risk behaviors.
— Lyman Stone (@lymanstoneky) May 4, 2018
What a daft explanation. Getting a job and increasing age both reduce “numerous high risk behaviors” but require no women. That suggests that it is the responsibilities of marriage (as an institution or role) that changes men, not the magic of women. Also, does he believe that gay marriages lack this civilizing effect on men? Oddly, he does not say.
Then he digs deeper into his hole.
Stone ignores the falling crime rate that accompanies the increasing rate of celibacy and falling marriage rate of millennials.
Also, you have to love the casual sexism of this of our era! Experts like Stone wax lyrical about the benefits women provide to men, which they believe so many men are apparently too stupid to see. But they seldom go euphoric over the benefits to women of male partnership, despite women’s great enthusiasm for marriage. All those women reading about “how to get your man to commit” and complaining “those ‘Peter Pans’ who won’t marry women” — don’t they know that women need men like fish need bicycles?
Domesticating men. It works for dogs!
I wonder about the domestication of men that so excites Stone. How would the men who built civilization agree that it was women’s influence that made it possible? Alexander? Caesar? Plato? Nietzsche?
What about men from other cultures? How would they react to Stone’s assertion about the transformative effect of women on men? A 19th century man from the Cheyenne or Apache peoples. A Zulu? A mandarin from one of the Chinese empires? Each of these achieved greatness, in different ways. Imagining how they would see us gives a new perspective on our society.
How many of these men would say the domestication of men in modern America makes us weaker, not stronger? It is a common story in history that a people take a wrong turn and excitedly zoom off a cliff. Perhaps focusing on the power of women over toxic masculinity is our wrong turn. That is what Martin van Creveld says in Pussycats: Why The Rest Keeps Beating The Rest, And What Can Be Done About It. It is a scary book, and (like all of his books) well worth reading.
The problem with scientists
They are one of our best sources of data and insights. But they wrap it thoroughly in ideology. Anti-intellectuals say we should ignore them in favor of anecdote and myths. Instead we should to unwrap it and get the prize at the center.
This sharp increase in the number of celibate young men is a warning sign, like the red idiot light on your car’s dashboard. We ignore it or laugh at it since as a society we do not care about our young men (that’s why we blithely send them to die in pointless foreign wars). It is a signal that our society is changing rapidly in unexpected and perhaps destabilizing ways.