Arnold Kling’s bad demographic news for libertarians

by on December 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm in Data Source, History | Permalink

Arnold’s post is this:

“Timothy Taylor writes,

Married households with children were 40.3% of all US households in 1970; in 2012, that share had fallen by more than half to 19.6%. Interestingly, the share of households that were married without children has stayed at about 30%. Other Family Households, usually meaning single-parent families with children, has risen.

I am afraid that the number of households married to the state has soared.”

Another way to put this is that we are consuming more of potential gdp in the form of not being around those we do not wish to be around.  This is a kind of extreme individualism in the personality-based sense, though not in the political sense.

Billy Willy December 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm

More bad news for libertarians: mass immigration is bringing in lots of immigrants who have zero use for libertarianism!
Evidently libertarianism was a sociopolitical suicide pact like the now-defunct Shaker Community.
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2234200

Jonfraz December 1, 2013 at 3:31 pm

People with kids tend not to be libertarians either. Libertarianism is a hot house flower that grows mainly in young, single, modestly (at least) affluent males.

Z December 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Few ideologies hold up when they bump into reality. Libertarianism evaporates at the slightest gust. Leftism starts murdering everyone.

Joel December 1, 2013 at 4:01 pm

FWIW, having a kid has only made me more libertarian (and I was pretty libertarian to start with). n=1 and all.

Adrian Ratnapala December 1, 2013 at 6:20 pm

I learned it from my Dad.

Urso December 2, 2013 at 9:49 am

Is that backwards? In other words, libertarians may be less likely to have children. I could think of a couple of reasons that this might be true. Libertarians are probably less interested in traditional institutions like the family – and with the family comes other institutions like church, school, neighborhood associations, all of which you end up getting more involved in when you have kids. Libertarians may be wary of yoking themselves to dependents like a stay-at-home wife, or kids. Also it’s my impression that libertarians are just less interested in other people generally.

Of course, some =! all, but I think these observations are broadly true on a more general level.

The Anti-Gnostic December 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm

53% illegitimacy rates among all those natural Republican voters and Friedmanite entrepeneurs from south of the Rio Grande. Behind closed doors at least, I hope Tyler is telling Caplan he’s making a huge mistake.

Millian December 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm

What? These have all developed recently, largely obliterating older beliefs like the ideological case for slavery. It seems completely cloud-cuckoo to insist that they are self-destructive when they have buried their predecessors.

Careless December 1, 2013 at 5:20 pm

It seems completely cloud-cuckoo to insist that they are self-destructive when they have buried their predecessors

Not exactly difficult to come up with examples of things that take over an environment, replace what was there, and ruin it for themselves and die off.

Al December 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Sure, but that is a trivial statement with respect to the claim that so and so replacements are self-destructive. It is the tendency of people to exaggerate their self-importance, and then to overstate the impact of their fading culture.

Careless December 2, 2013 at 7:21 pm

What the hell happened to the editing here? was it done at random?

Dangerman December 1, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Got any demographic data on that hypothesis regarding the “zero-marginal-personal-enjoyment” population?

I’m kinda inclined to believe you, but would love to read more.

jk December 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Are T-baggers considered Libertarians? Other than hyper rich Silicon Valley types, aren’t 40+ y/o single male Star Trek (the Original Series) fans the only real Libertarians? :)

Tom December 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm

And why is this bad news for libertarians? Because single parent households depend more on welfare and vote for the Democrats?

Ray Lopez December 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I think because welfare moms marry Big Brother is the implication. Goodnight, it’s 4AM and I’m going to bed…

YetAnotherTom December 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Single moms are the single most reliably democratic voting demographic.

mulp December 1, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Thus the South is the Democratic stronghold???

Careless December 2, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Mulp. as always, MR’s Turing test bot,

Luke December 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm

A lot of ideas endorsed by libertarians are bad for libertarians.

Billy Willy is right.

wm13 December 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm

It seems that libertarianism does not point to a stable equilibrium, because the sexual ethos causes people to reject the economic ethos.

Squarely Rooted December 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm

This is profoundly stupid. This can almost all be accounted for in:

-Longer average lives among seniors.
-Deferring of marriage.
-Deferring of children.

The average American couple is getting married later, having children later, and living much longer after their children leave the nest than the average couple in 1970. But this has nothing to do with either “marriage to the state” or “extreme individualism.”

Jonfraz December 1, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Do the stats tease out the couples who are living together without benefit of clergy? Referring to women in such relationships as “single mothers” is a misnomer.

Claudia December 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Nicely put, Squarely Rooted. The logic of the post is akin to blaming extreme individualism for the big fall off in household formation since the recession. I suppose one could spin that story but it’s there are simpler, more plausible ones.

Claudia December 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm

no, only a small part of my job is ‘finding the spurious correlations’ in macro data … the large part is pulling them apart and understanding relationships. identification is a big deal in my work and I use a lot of micro data studies to get at causality. thanks for asking though.

uffs December 1, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Government “jobs” like DEA agent, NSA analyst, prison guard, etc.?

Peter Whiteford December 1, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Exactly right. People should look at the figures in the first chart – the increase in single person households is twice as large as the increase in single parent households.

Bill December 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Squarely Rooted, You must have read the primary source Census article, and not the secondary material.

Another change was the number children who lived with their parents after graduation, and the increase of men who were the sole parent.

If you read the secondary material (Tim Taylor) what he unbelievably says is that the increase reliance on government is based on the belief that two soused have more income if one is laid off, and , get this , they are therefore likely to claim unemployment insurance! Who’d a thought.

Bill December 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Spouses rather than soused and less likely rather than likely. iPad error.

Norman Pfyster December 1, 2013 at 4:49 pm

What makes you think that seniors are not “married to the government”? Tyler has been pretty consistent in thinking that seniors are the most significant public choice problem in developed nations and that aging societies will lead to increased use of government to distribute goods to seniors.

Careless December 1, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Illegitimacy rate in 1970: about 5%
in 2011: 41%

Nathan Goldblum December 1, 2013 at 5:47 pm

That doesn’t mean what you thing it means. What matters is really whether the parents will stay together – the long-term chances of an illegitimate child with parents who stay together are much better than a married couple who splits up after having the baby. To be honest, I’m skeptical of a separate effect from marriage.

Careless December 1, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Don’t be Bill. I was responding to what SR wrote. It cannot “almost all be explained” by the things he mentioned.

Urso December 2, 2013 at 10:03 am

Legally, this just isn’t true. There are a host of well-established rules regarding the dissolution of a marriage, including many related to children specifically. These laws simply don’t apply to unmarried couples.

Of course, laws can change. And they probably will, eventually.

Finch December 2, 2013 at 10:57 am

I don’t have my copy handy, but I seem to recall a lengthy discussion in What to Expect When No One’s Expecting that described research indicating there in fact were major differences between intact families that were married and those that weren’t. I.e., that Nathan G’s assertion was incorrect.

But I don’t recall the details. Anybody else know about it? Sorry about not being more helpful.

Bill December 1, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Careless, the percentage of one parent families has remained the same since 1992 at 9%

Careless December 1, 2013 at 6:13 pm

And female labor force participation hasn’t changed much since then, either. I guess it’s still the same as 1970, right?

Careless December 1, 2013 at 6:16 pm

For a guy who’s always complaining about where axes are started and ended on graphs, Bill…

Careless December 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Seriously, it’s a good thing that you have academic work, because anyone using you as a practical advisor would have comically gigantic holes in their claims. Hey, Bill could be :the biggest ball of missing twine in America”

Careless December 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm

So you haven’t replied two days later and your point was blown to hell. Is that a surrender?

Bill December 3, 2013 at 10:24 am

No Careless, sorry, you can see my comments below responding to someone else citing the Census data and report. Responding is not necessary when you have the facts correct in the original comment, and all the responder does is throw wind at it.

Bill December 3, 2013 at 10:26 am

If you want to see the reply and cite to the report, see response to Roy below.

Careless December 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Yes, bill, congratulations, you accurately cited irrelevant facts. I do not know why you do that so often.

Al December 1, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Libertarians may be too quick to write off this segment. Using the term “illegitimacy rate” suggests that the population is not being intelligently courted. However, there is a steady, long-term composition shift in the unmarried birthers. The teenage population is far less significant in 2012 than they were in 1970. Instead, single mothers are increasingly having children in their late 20s and 30s.

msgkings December 1, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Murphy Brown!

chuck martel December 1, 2013 at 3:37 pm

“This is a kind of extreme individualism in the personality-based sense, though not in the political sense.” Au contraire, that’s exactly what it is. The goal, conscious or otherwise, of the state is to eliminate all other possible forms of allegiance and reduce relationships to one, the state and the individual, with the possible exception of fans of sports teams, etc. We’ve even seen the virtual elimination of loyalty to a particular state except for college football and basketball, the participants of which come from everywhere. The extended family, the kernel of the much-maligned clan or tribe, is disappearing. The nuclear family itself is on the endangered species list because when it is gone the individual will have no options for dependency other than the state. Those audacious enough to attempt to form relationships other than the state-approved variety will be regarded as anti-social criminals, pretty much as they are now. The battle between the state and liberty is in its final stages and the outcome isn’t in doubt.

uffs December 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I don’t disagree with your conclusions but the cause is even more unfortunate; it is not simply enacted by Statists from the left or right, but is the only possible outcome of ever-more-rabid economic competition as well. The complexities and demands of the modern economy make commitment to family and community a liability.

chuck martel December 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm

“The complexities and demands of the modern economy”? Never, ever, has it been easier for total losers to not only survive but in a sense prosper, family or no family. But this is due to scientific and technological advances, not the deepening relationship with the state. One needn’t be very familiar with the modern economy to realize that individuals that have adapted very well to its requirements would likely perish in any more “primitive” environment.

Michael December 1, 2013 at 5:08 pm

“The nuclear family itself is on the endangered species list because when it is gone the individual will have no options for dependency other than the state.”

This is a pretty ridiculous and bizarre line of reasoning to me. Maybe the nuclear family is on the endangered species list because young people now have the financial means, whether through state subsidies or labor value, to flee from their families while at the same time not facing cultural ostracizing for fleeing from their families? I for one have abandoned almost all of my family for several abusive acts (tolerating sexual molestation, beating, psychological manipulation, etc.) Gen X/Yers don’t really see much of a need to hang around with their shitty Boomer parents, so they aren’t.

This has pretty much nothing to do with the state and everything to do with a lot of parents being bad parents.

Careless December 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm

They’re not talking about adults being with their old parents, but parents of minor children being with their children

Michael December 1, 2013 at 5:15 pm

I see. I should have known libertarians would have a passionate hatred for single mothers.

Careless December 1, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Indeed.

Steven Kopits December 1, 2013 at 10:59 pm

We’re confusing socially conservative and libertarian values here.

Social conservatism is about agency, thus responsible parenthood is about duty to one’s children and society. This is not a libertarian value.

Libertarians, by contrast, have no beef with single mothers. The beef is about paying for single mothers. If a woman wants to have a child and can afford to bring one up, so be it. It may not be socially optimal, but it in no way contradicts a libertarian ethos. Libertarians are all about individual choice, and one choice can be to raise a child alone. Libertarians just don’t want to pay for choices that other people make.

chuck martel December 2, 2013 at 9:43 am

” Libertarians are all about individual choice, and one choice can be to raise a child alone.” Most children have two parents. Are you saying that one of them gets no choice? What’s libertarian about that?

Urso December 2, 2013 at 9:53 am

This is perfectly rational, provided of course that you discount the child’s interest to zero.

Tom December 2, 2013 at 10:20 am

You seem quite well-adjusted yourself. Stay away from the explosives.

Careless December 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm

@Kopits: not exactly, although they’re both being thought of together and sometimes intermingled. Libertarians with sight farther than the end of Caplan’s bubble should be terrified of them. Social Conservatives should dislike it for different reasons

Therapsid December 1, 2013 at 3:43 pm

None of this will matter once we have anti-aging threrapy and life extension – which will begin to arrive sometime towards the end of this century. If life expectancy is doubled, then the economy won’t need them to produce 2 children per woman.

The dysgenic future of ill-bred hordes living among the wreck of an advanced industrial civilization will not come to pass. The intelligent and industrious minority will find a way to perpetuate themselves, except as individuals rather than as germ lines.

roystgnr December 1, 2013 at 4:16 pm

When the 1% are also immortal except via violent death, do you expect the envy of the 99% to decrease, or to investigate that “violent death” exception?

mike December 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm

This is the premise of the movie “In Time”

Careless December 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm

If life expectancy is doubled, then the economy won’t need them to produce 2 children per woman.

Can’t imagine how you think this works.

Mark Thorson December 1, 2013 at 8:24 pm

If lifespan is extended but the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease remains the same, I know what most of the jobs will be.

The Anti-Gnostic December 1, 2013 at 9:46 pm
bxg December 1, 2013 at 3:43 pm

> “I am afraid that the number of households married to the state has soared.”
Where is this from? It’s not in the cited post, nor does it follow from the data given there.
Or is this “I am afraid” in the sense of “I am afraid there are monsters under my bed”; I.e.
something of note to your psychiatrist, but not interesting to the real world in any way?

mike December 1, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Single-”parent” (mother) households are virtually all married to the state in the sense that they are entirely dependent on the state as their provider and protector.

Michael December 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm

What a ridiculous statement. Many single-mother households earn a good wage and receive no subsidies from the state–the same cannot be said for AIG, though.

The Anti-Gnostic December 1, 2013 at 5:50 pm

LOL. Outside of independently wealthy actresses, who the hell are you talking about? And speaking of subsidies, ever heard of Title VII?

Careless December 3, 2013 at 3:44 am

“many” in the sense you can count them on your hands

Gurney Halleck December 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm

The reason there are so many single mom households is because Democrats (and Republicans, really) have allowed Government to supplant the provisioning role that even men working class men used to bring to the table. This change has altered the incentives of many poor women to marry, as they are now free to not be careful about getting impregnated by men they find sexy. The most effective thing that can be done is to alter the incentives of women who would use the government as a replacement husband. Women and their spawn should simply not be entitled to any government benefits. However, poor working men who are married should get direct money transfers that only last so long as the man remains married (and therefore aren’t transferable to a woman he gets divorced from.)

Boonton December 1, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Exactly what provisions do you think the gov’t is providing? Food stamps and disability? These are available whether or not a person is married. Granted being married may boost your family income above the eligeability for food stamps, but unless you hover right on the margin all your life it’s generally better to be too rich to qualify for food stamps than the other way around. I suppose you could put Medicaid in the same boat but Medicaid is only useful to the degree you have health needs. A generally healthy family would rather have more cash income than more health benefits.

Welfare in the form of generous cash payments to poor people that go on forever doesn’t exist anymore ever since Clinton signed welfare reform nearly a generation ago (that’s IF it ever existed in that form).

RJ December 1, 2013 at 11:51 pm

“… it’s generally better to be too rich to qualify for food stamps than the other way around.”

Except for this: http://www.empowerpa.org/broken-welfare-system-in-one-chart/

“Welfare in the form of generous cash payments to poor people that go on forever doesn’t exist anymore”

Perpetual welfare recipients just moved over to disability. Crazy checks don’t have any expiration date.

Phil December 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Libertarianism thinks state intervention enables people to live in the non-traditional households that they prefer, creating a constituency for perpetuating and perhaps such interventions and finally that this is terrible for human freedom.

libert December 1, 2013 at 7:39 pm

People don’t make choices that they prefer? Evidence please.

collin December 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Is there a contradiction? A free and libertarian society can only thrive if the state can force all of its citizens to be married by the time they are 24.

The US can go the east Asian solution where people stop having children.

Vivian Darkbloom December 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm

“I am afraid that the number of households married to the state has soared.”

As far as the “implications for libertarians”, this demographic story is incomplete. There are certainly more absent parents than there are “single-parent families”. My guess is that most of those absent parents are not married to anyone, much less the state (unless being in prison counts).

If one considers absent parents, what are the implications for libertarians?

Bill December 1, 2013 at 5:28 pm

If you go to the primary source census material,

From reading the comments,

you would never know

That since 1992

The percentage of one parent families

Stabilized at 9 percent.

Must be mood affiliation.

roystgnr December 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm

http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/12statab/vitstat.pdf

Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2012. Table 86 shows “Percent of births to unmarried mothers” rising monotonically from 26.6% in 1990 to 40.6% in 2008.

It’s not as if they’re compensating by marrying their kids’ fathers in increased numbers afterward, either. See Table 59:

http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/12statab/pop.pdf

Bill December 2, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Roy,

I think you should go to the study on the Census Report on Family Households cited in Tim Grey:

“The other family households shownin Figure 1 (families whose householder was living with children
or other relatives but had no spouse present) increased from 11 percent of households in 1970 .Between 1970 and 2006, the average age of first-time mothers increased from 21.4 years to 25.0 years. Since
1992, however, the proportion of households that are one-parent families (included in the other family households category) has stabilized at about 9 percent.”

After you read the report and see the tables and statistics there, and read again the quote above, you can come back and report your findings. But, for now, I would note you are not tracking the number of households, but rather the number of births to unmarried mothers. The number of households, and births, by the way, increase as total population increases, so when you cite statistics on the growth of the number of births to unmarried mothers from one period to another without adjusting for the change in the total population you are clearly making an obvious error. Think percentages and think number of households as percent of households.

Bill December 2, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Roy, Also, while you are your journey of discovery, you will also note some other features of those one parent family households: 1) you can be unmarried, with children, and have the biological parent in the household and be reported as unmarried; the percentage of unmarried with cohabitation with another partner increased; 2) unmarried with children includes males who have the child…that percentage has been increasing within that category, which is interesting in itself; 3) unmarried, also includes divorced parent with child….which is interesting, considering that if you treat this as a moral question, which is worse: being unmarried when pregnant, or being married and later divorced. I guess one is more middle class than the other.

Dangerman December 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Boy, this is like a seven layer cake of blogspam here.

Just link to the darn Census report.

Bill December 1, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Agreed. You can find the link on Timothy Taylor’s piece. Go to p 5 of the link discussing stability of the percentage of one parent families.

mulp December 1, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I’m confused.

Do these statistics on families indicate the rise of conservative family values over the past four decades in step with a rise in conservative political and social leaning,

or the the rise of conservative family values over the past four decades in step with a rise in liberal political and social leaning,

or the rise of liberal family values over the past four decades in step with a rise in conservative political and social leaning?

If conservatives are “winning” then why are the States where conservatives are winning the most the States where the “number of households married to the state has soared” the most?

And why is it that the Democrats, supposedly the happiest about single parent families, most actively seek to prevent single parent families with family planning, birth control, keeping kids in school, providing aid to low income families to hopefully keep them intact? The working poor, especially intact families, are the ones who need to be helped with such things as subsidized health care, higher minimum wages, childcare, etc. The data clearly show that marriages breakup when the family finances become impossible – its easier for a broken family to find shelter and aid than an intact family. Homeless shelters almost universally break up families.

Careless December 3, 2013 at 3:46 am

There’s no trend of any sort that wouldn’t confuse you.

People exist. Mulp confused.

Boonton December 1, 2013 at 6:30 pm

I’m not sure why a libertarian would be upset by this. Women are individuals, the fact that they can have children without needing to be married to a man increases their individual liberty, no? Strictly speaking unless you can show there’s a lot of forced pregnancies in the US, almost all of these cases are individual men and women exercising their individual liberty. Hello, that’s what libertarians like!

Now libertarians may not like the fact that non-married families tend to use social services a bit more than married ones. But libertarians like Kling who are really conservatives dressing in drag as libertarians seem a bit blind to the way arbitrary categorizing influences this discussion. Consider public schools and tax deductions for children. If you lump that in as ‘welfare’ then almost all families with kids are using the state in some form or another (hey buddy, I’m paying property taxes to send your kids to school 8 hours a day!).

A libertarian world would either treat kids the way we treat pets (you have them, you pay for them including the entire cost of their schooling and health care), in which case the relationship between marriage and ‘welfare’ is much more merky than this data shows. Or it would treat having kids as a type of public service and view the allocation of services and aid to families as no more ‘married to the state’ than we view war veterns who collect pensions and go to VA hospital as ‘married to the state’.

Claudia December 1, 2013 at 6:38 pm

thank you

Claudia December 1, 2013 at 7:33 pm

“Women are individuals, the fact that they can have children without needing to be married to a man increases their individual liberty, no?” … it was a rude awakening for me here that this is apparently not a generally held view among libertarians. Boonton’s comment reminds me of the libertarian principles I once admired. I do think the “problem” for libertarians is children not women and this comment also dealt with that issue. I have no idea what you were getting at with the “dying invalid” and I don’t want to know.

8 December 2, 2013 at 1:40 am

This is the definition of piracy, not libertarianism. Pirates are very free, but they are not advancing the cause of liberty.

Claudia December 1, 2013 at 7:43 pm

enough. my profession is not a fraud. my worldview is dynamic and subject to review all the time … why do you think I like to hang out here? not exactly an echo chamber for me. I do not think it is unreasonable to say thank you when someone expresses well points that I see as important. I will support your right to say things I find offensive and hurtful … of course, we all are accountable for our words … but I am not giving on my intrinsic value or anyone else’s.

Claudia December 1, 2013 at 11:16 pm

20 percent of the comments got deleted. How do you have a conversation around that? It’s a waste of time.

prior_approval December 2, 2013 at 1:27 am

This place has never been about ‘conversation.’ It is a carefully stage managed site which is just part of the larger effort to ensure that certain views are given prominence in public debate. However, considering that posts which would provide facts to show how this works get deleted regularly (I don’t even bother anymore), this would just be another example of another unsupported assertion.

Just like, a few months ago, pointing out how comments were deleted in conversations where links and facts were requested, was considered an unsupported assertion.

This may be an interesting place – but it is not one devoted to anything but its own purposes. Conversation is not one of them.

Careless December 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Yeah, they deleted mike because… who knows.

But that should make you happy, Claudia, that’s moving towards the kind of thread you’ve said you want

Careless December 2, 2013 at 7:34 pm

enough. my profession is not a fraud.

You’re a macroeconomist, right? Citation needed.

Sorry, you guys are terrible at what you try to do.

As I’ve said before, I don’t think it’s because you’re stupid or evil, I think it’s beyond your capacities.

Careless December 2, 2013 at 7:37 pm

(that’s short for “yes, you guys are, unfortunately, and, to some degree, unwittingly, frauds”)

Careless December 2, 2013 at 7:47 pm

my profession is not a fraud.

As mentioned elsewhere, you (as a field) are terrible compared to college aged me. Just how bad would you guys have to be at economics before you’d agree you’re “frauds”?

Boonton December 1, 2013 at 8:28 pm

The libertarian point is that the main reason that women “can have children without needing to be married to a man” is that the government takes money from men at gunpoint and gives it to those “strong, independent women.”

It does? Where? Aside from WIC for pregnant women and Medicaid to cover prenatal care (yes pregnancy is treated a bit differently, but it only lasts 9 months!), I’m unaware of any welfare program that single mom’s can use that single dad’s couldn’t equally utilize.

In fact if welfare is what your complaining about then what exactly are you talking about? Welfare ceased to really exist since nearly a generation ago when Clinton signed welfare reform, if it ever did in the US. If you’re talking about gov’t taking money from taxpayers for anything *other* than national defense and law enforcement then almost none of that money has any relevance to single moms. Almost all entitlement money is spent on those over 65.

My second point was how we categorize these things. Almost all families, married or not, utilize public schools. If having the gov’t pay for your kids’ food or health care is ‘taking money from men at gunpoint’ why isn’t having gov’t pay for your kids’ education (even if it’s with sacred vouchers!)?

To be coherent libertarians must either categorize all of this as welfare, in which case almost all families are ‘married to the state’ at some level except a few very wealthy individuals or a few who make a point to ‘live off the grid’ as much as possible. Or must categorize none of this as welfare and view support for people raising kids to be a type of public service, like support for military families.

chuck martel December 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm

What are truancy laws all about?

Boonton December 1, 2013 at 8:53 pm

I don’t know about how you define ‘big gov’t’ versus other types of gov’t. We can only discuss what you’re attempting to articulate as a libertarian philosophy. You’ve implied that a ‘strong woman’ shouldn’t take advantage of gov’t ‘taking money from men at gunpoint’ for undefined services like, I suppose, food stamps or Medicaid for her children. Well why shouldn’t a ‘strong family’ likewise decline taking money at gunpoint from families with fewer or no children in order to fund not just education but 8+ hours a day of childcare, field trips and other goodies? Or for that matter to take money at gunpoint to pay for grandpa’s dialysis?

It seems to me to people like you ‘big gov’t’ and ‘I’m a libertarian’ are really just filler words and phrases to describe an emotional state you have that’s not really connected to reality. You don’t like the idea of the unmarried 25 yr old woman whose collecting food stamps after she gives birth to her third kid. Yet at your little consciousness-raising rallies you’ll rub shoulders with people who are putting 4 kids through the local public schools, others who are having VA hospitals treat their high blood pressure because a few decades ago they spent 18 months ‘serving their country’ filing papers at some army base, other others who just came from the ‘eldercare lawyer’ who advised them how to move grandma’s house into their name so Medicaid can pay for the nursing home and think nothing of it.

Boonton December 1, 2013 at 10:34 pm

For 10,000 year’s there’s been a libertarian regime that strong families used to provide for food for their children? Exactly where and when did this race of Supermen (where they Aryan by chance?) exist? Historical references please!

I thought real libertarians believed their philosophy was an ideal….a bit like communism….something that never yet existed in history but which could be brought about. Is your story now that this ideal existed until, what, 1968?

The Anti-Gnostic December 2, 2013 at 9:55 am

The welfare state is a modern invention. For all but the current tail of human history, your provision of food for the children you birthed was your responsibility. More to the point, it was the father’s responsibility.

The Anti-Gnostic December 2, 2013 at 9:56 am

@Boonton

Craig December 2, 2013 at 11:05 am

Burial ground from 6000BC. From the link:
Children and teenagers were buried with more grave goods than were adults, indicating the high value placed on children. Skeletons included one of a male aged about 15 who had spina bifida. All of his bones were found to have been fragile. One of his feet was missing and the stump of his lower leg had healed. As his spinal condition almost certainly meant the boy was paralyzed below the waist, this find was important for assessing the society’s commitment to ensure his survival for 15 years in a hunter-gatherer community.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windover_Archaeological_Site

I’m pretty sure that the crippled child’s parents had help in taking care of him. 8000 years ago we were civilized enough to know that the tribe has an obligation to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. What happend.

Boonton December 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm

In contrast to the libertarian philosphy, I would content that throughout most of human history the provision of food for children was a set of responsibilities. The parents were primarily responsible for working, but society was responsible for creating the arrangements that made work work. For example, a feudal lord was expected to protect his land so his peasants had sufficient food to provide for their children.

From a strict libertarian POV, this runs into some problems. Why should I be drafted to fight to defend some lord’s land which I do not own? Why to protect the children of our group? But they aren’t my children.

If you really looked at how human societies have worked for all of human history, you’ll never find one that was really set up on libertarian principles. All of them had essentially a state system which you were not given a choice in joining and which assumed the right to make demands upon the individual far in excess of what might actually benefit that individual (or his children) directly.

Which is why it’s ironic that libertarians are getting uppidty over the demographic figures. From the libertarian POV the wonderful thing about unmarried mothers is that almost all of them represent free individual choices. Don’t harp on about the ‘welfare state’. The fact is if you’re a 24 yr old woman with one or more kids you’re either supporting them yourself, supporting them with child support from the father or supporting them with the help of your family. Whatever you want to say about the US welfare system, very little of it is geared towards women raising children.

The Anti-Gnostic December 1, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Because generally speaking, women are to feelings, not principles. So when single moms feel their kids need more, they will call on whoever they can to ante up, and Uncle Sugar needs votes. And they won’t pause to consider whether their net tax consumption violates the NAP.

That’s why libertarian meet-ups tend to be overwhelmingly male. They are also whiter than Augusta National.

The Anti-Gnostic December 1, 2013 at 6:48 pm

*loyal to feelings

anon December 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm

so are those principles in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? … it takes two to make kids, if not always to raise them. the parent who sticks around might even be the more principled one, don’t you think?

The Anti-Gnostic December 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Welfare, the courts, abortion and the pill all mean that women can sleep with men who make terrible husbands and fathers.

Because, again, generally speaking women are loyal to feelings, not principles.

Boonton December 1, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Actually by law a man can terminate any pregnancy that may happen to develop inside him.

Boonton December 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm

If you feel the fact that women get pregnant and men don’t is unjust discrimination, I suggest you file a lawsuit against God. Please feel free to submit Genesis, Book of as Exhibit A. Otherwise please don’t make your problem understanding human nature an issue for me, I have quite enough on my plate as it is.

Careless December 3, 2013 at 3:47 am

Where’s the fetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box?

Cappucino December 2, 2013 at 12:45 am

In what way can a person be more wedded to principles than to feelings? Without feelings, what is the relationship of the individual to his principles? It’s difficult to imagine an agent, possessed of what we might call free will, who can assess principles without ultimately referencing feelings. Maybe you are confusing the correct idea that principles may be independent of personal feelings, with the illogical notion a person can act on principle, as opposed to feelings.

8 December 2, 2013 at 1:35 am

Rational thought is unemotional.

Dirk Diggler December 2, 2013 at 2:59 am

Holy non sequitur.

A definition of rational thought could include lack of emotion, but that totally misses the point of the previous comment. Behavior and sets of principles are linked by choices, which, in turn, are expressions of incentives.

Boonton December 1, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Exactly what benefits are we talking about here? Kling seems to assume that all single parents are on welfare and would not exist (except for some exceptional cases like Murphey Brown and Madonna) if it was abolished tomorrow.

Yet the facts are:

1. We do in fact live in a more properous time, and less dangeorus one. A woman (or man) by herself is more capable of raising a child today than ever before in human history.

2. Fact is between working and child support from the other parent, a lot (certainly not all) of single parents are not on welfare.

Coherent libertarians have no reason to be upset with the demographic data. That some are indicates either that they aren’t really libertarians or that they caren’t coherent (of course both could also be true).

Guest December 1, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Mike – Average is Over. If you can’t handle the 2013 percentage of people who need social services to survive how are you going to deal with the 2020s, when we have a labor participation rate in the high 40s and even upstanding racists like yourself won’t be able to get a job? It’s only going to get worse so learn to deal with it.

AlphaAlwaysWins December 2, 2013 at 9:31 am

+1 to this.

In the end, we will all live off the state, and it will be great. In the meantime, there will be increasing levels of state dependence, and right-wing politics needs to accept the way things are going.

Cimon Alexander December 1, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Freedom can only thrive among people who are self-sufficient. Personal conservatism is a prerequisite of libertarianism. This realization leads to neoreaction.

DPG December 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm

+1

jorod December 1, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Welfare entrepreneurs don’t need no stinking marriage.

R Richard Schweitzer December 1, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Tyler:
“This is a kind of extreme individualism in the personality-based sense, though not in the political sense. ”

It would be interesting to have your views on how “individuality” has been, and is now being, fomented by the type of family formation (or organization) from which it “hatches.”

You might take a look at the texts referenced in the comment to Arnold’s post.

DK December 2, 2013 at 9:55 am

See the preferences of our most populous immigrants: (Fig. 4.2 specifically):
http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/04/04/v-politics-values-and-religion/

DK December 2, 2013 at 10:06 am

Here (Fig.4.2) are the preferences of our most populous immigrants.

Boonton December 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I was a bit surprised too to see the comment count dropping as I hit refresh. Even more surprising this was happening late on a Sunday night!

Granted many of the comments I noticed vanishing were from a not very helpful commentator. Nonetheless, I wasn’t aware that comments here were moderated except for maybe the very basic protections against blatent spammers. If there is a comment policy does MR link to it somewhere?

Benefits Avatar December 2, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I think I shall explore the benefits of various avatars.

As for who I am, the Anti-Christ WM of course.

Boonton December 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm

My benefits avatar is an African-American never married mother of four chillins, I have no job, never did, I’m in prison, I don’t know if my parents are alive or dead, I have no skills or interest in school, no one in my family has ever served in the military or as a public safety officer.

My Benefits Avatar qualifies for 66 benefits.</I.

Yea I went through this making up my own 'benefits avatar'…some of the first 'benefits' that came up for me were two agriscience positions to fund 'research', something about the American film showcase and a study abroad program.

So basically a whole lot of nothing if the point is just 'money to live' for some hypothetical woman who has no interest in marrying a man with a job or working ajob.

Boonton December 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

My Benefits Avatar qualifies for 66 benefits.

I too tried this site, ‘simulating’ a 25 yr old African-American woman who graduated HS, but nothing beyond, who lived at home with her parents and had 4 kids with an eye towards simply getting generic ‘benefits’ for living basics (food, shelter, medical and possibly some spending cash). Among the ‘benefits’ that turned up was research grants for two agriscientists, some type of film institute, and study abroad options. Without even bothering to see which of these ‘benefits’ were really from the private sector versus ‘the government’, fact is there was little or nothing to indicate getting ‘married to the state’ via welfare benefits would be very lucrative for this ‘avatar’.

Careless December 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Julia will be crushed.

The Anti-Gnostic December 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I’m pretty sure that outside the circle of extended blood relations represented by the tribe, you took care of other tribes by trying to kill them.

Also, even people who are quite generous with investment in their children, care for aging parents, chipping in for extended family members fallen on hard times, etc., are justifiably cynical about transfer payments to anonymous strangers.

Benefits Avatar December 2, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Really? Not geared towards motherhood? Perhaps you mean being a mother.

http://www.benefits.gov/benefits/benefit-finder#results = 66

My benefits avatar is an African-American never married mother of four chillins, I have no job, never did, I’m in prison, I don’t know if my parents are alive or dead, I have no skills or interest in school, no one in my family has ever served in the military or as a public safety officer.

My Benefits Avatar qualifies for 66 benefits.

chuck martel December 2, 2013 at 5:21 pm

“you took care of other tribes by trying to kill them.” More Hobbesian mythology. No tribe ever dropped an atomic weapon on anybody. Tribes aren’t able to extort enough wealth from their members to build aircraft carriers, fighter jets, ICBMs and spy satellites. Intertribal spats never produced acres of white crosses or shell holes. They don’t today, either.

Boonton December 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Tribes aren’t able to extort enough wealth from their members to build aircraft carriers, fighter jets, ICBMs and spy satellites. Intertribal spats never produced acres of white crosses or shell holes. They don’t today, either.

I suggest you read The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker. In both relative and absolute terms our violence towards each other has gone down over the centuries, not up. Intertribal spats may never have produced a WWII but they produce violent death rates (over 30%+) that make the violent death rate of living through WWII (maybe 3%) look like a cakewalk.

Marian Kechlibar December 3, 2013 at 10:31 am

Uh, as if getting killed by a poisoned arrow or spear, and receiving no cross over the final resting place is somehow better.

Tribal societies are extremely violent even today. To the degree that Papuan newspapers carry the section of “War” as a routine, listing all the places where it isn’t recommended to go today, if you want to return.

The one reason why the Amerindians and other indigenous populations were capable of significant and prolonged armed resistence against intruders with modern weapons is precisely the fact that they were extremely skilled at warfare. There were millennia of adverse selectionary pressure against anyone who wasn’t.

Careless December 2, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Damn, Claudia, you should buy whatever algorithm put my post to spam instead of your thread

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