In Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 Charles Murray writes, “From the founding [of America] until well into the twentieth century, it was unquestioned that children should be born only within marriage and that failure to maintain that state of affairs would produce catastrophic consequences for society.” “That universal understanding explains why children born out of marriage were called by an invidious name, bastards,” notes Murray. Today illegitimate has replaced bastard but the result is the same.
Mona Charen, in her column “If Obama had a son”, writes, “While some carry placards demanding justice for [Trayvon] Martin, and others counter that thousands of young blacks are killed every year by other blacks without a provoking anything like this sort of outrage; the larger issue is lost.”
What is that larger issue?
According to Charen, “[T]he violence and mayhem that disproportionately afflicts the African-American community is part of a society-wide disorder. It has a racial angle, but it’s not about race. That disorder is family breakdown, and no discussion of violence or murder or victimization is informed without reference to that overwhelming fact.” [My emphasis]
Charles Murray notes in his book that this “society-wide disorder” has increasingly impacted white children. Murray notes what Bronislaw Malinowski, in his 1930 book, Sex, Culture, and Myth, concluded, “That the ‘principle of legitimacy’ amounted to a ‘universal sociological law’.” Murray notes, “The last half of the twentieth century saw the creation of cultures that broke Malinowski’s universal sociological law.”
Why do African-Americans, with 12.6 percent of the nation’s population, account for 50 percent of the murder victims? Because fatherlessness is most pervasive among blacks.
The illegitimacy rate among all Americans has been rising for decades. In 2012, we reached a grim milestone: The majority of births to women under the age of 30 are now outside of marriage. Among blacks, 72 percent of births are to unmarried women. And while some unmarried mothers go on to marry the fathers of their babies, it’s rare in the African-American community, where only 31 percent of couples are married (In 1960, it was 61 percent).
But the same is increasingly true for whites.
“In America, white nonmarital births have grown phenomenally over the period 1960-2010,” states Murray. According to Murray, “Even in the most recent data from 2008, fewer than 5 percent of babies born to women with sixteen or more years of education were nonmarital. But anywhere below sixteen years of education, the increase in the likelihood of a nonmarital birth was substantial. For women who did not finish high school, the percentage was closing in on levels in excess of 60 percent of live births that previously have been associated with the black underclass.” [My emphasis]
The children from these nonmarital families beget more nonmarital families. Never-married mothers raise girls who become never-married mothers and sons without a father figure to emulate.
Additionally Murray notes, “Having two unmarried [cohabitating] biological parents was associated with worse outcomes than having two married biological parents, and the outcomes were rarely better than those for children living with a single parent or in a “cohabiting stepparent” family.”
Finally, Murray states, “No matter what the outcome being examined – the quality of the mother-infant relationship, externalizing behavior in childhood (aggression, delinquency, and hyperactivity), delinquency in adolescence, criminality as adults, illness and injury in childhood, early mortality, sexual decision making in adolescence, school problems and dropping out, emotional health, or any other measure of how well or poorly children do in life – the family structure that produces the best outcomes for children, on average, are two biological parents who remain married…Never-married women produce the worst outcomes.”
Harriet Martineau (1802-1876), a radical feminist from England who lived in Cincinnati for a short time, wrote, “[M]arriage is in America more nearly universal, more safe, more tranquil, more fortunate than in England.”
Today marriage is nearly extinct in some communities, less safe, less tranquil and less fortunate than before. Never-married mothers are a perpetual breeding ground for the Trayvon Martins of the world.
Cicero wrote, “Prima societas in ipso conjugio est, [The first bond of society is marriage]”.