A former classmate from Yale recently told me “monogamy is kind of outdated” and not good for society. So I asked her what her background is and if she planned to marry.
She said she comes from an affluent family and works at a well-known technology company. Yes, she personally intends to have a monogamous marriage — but quickly added that marriage shouldn’t have to be for everyone.
She was raised by a traditional family. She planned on having a traditional family. But she maintained that traditional families are old-fashioned and society should “evolve” beyond them.
What could explain this?
Yes, this is a good question. Let me point out that change doesn’t always work out for the better. Evolve can just as easily mean what some call de-evolve, that is, become worse.
In the past, upper-class Americans used to display their social status with luxury goods. Today, they do it with luxury beliefs.
It is not just the upper class. Since there is no cost in monetary terms, not-so-rich types can indulge themselves also. I wonder what the rich will do with these interlopers…
People care a lot about social status. In fact, research indicates that respect and admiration from our peers are even more important than money for our sense of well-being.
Why yes they do. One might think that in a world of plenty, they might have other things that they could be concerned with. Organized religion used to try to tamp this pre-disposition down a bit; but that is long in the past. We all can now enjoy the luxury of unbridled status seeking. A luxury good it its; as there is a price paid by the seekers and all of those around them.
We feel pressure to display our status in new ways. This is why fashionable clothing always changes. But as trendy clothes and other products become more accessible and affordable, there is increasingly less status attached to luxury goods.
The upper classes have found a clever solution to this problem: luxury beliefs. These are ideas and opinions that confer status on the rich at very little cost, while taking a toll on the lower class.
Yes, it does take a toll on the classes below them. It takes a toll on them also, they just don’t realize it.
For the less than wealthy, they receive endorsement of all sorts of behavior that leads to dysfunction in their lives, and those of their children.
For the wealthy, they partake in the behaviors to the same extent, have money to compensate for their cost, and operate in their smug bubble. Of course, their status seeking is ultimately unfulfilling, just one feeder into classic upper class maladies (e.g, the problem with no name).
Perhaps one might think that they could gain satisfaction from promoting the cause of the latest fashionable oppressed group. I am thinking no. Probably many of them deep down understand that these SJW stances are silly foolishness. What kind of satisfaction can come from that?
One example of luxury belief is that all family structures are equal. This is not true. Evidence is clear that families with two married parents are the most beneficial for young children. And yet, affluent, educated people raised by two married parents are more likely than others to believe monogamy is outdated, marriage is a sham or that all families are the same.
Yes, they do understand. Parents want what is best for their children. They will make sacrifices for them. Making a marriage work is one of them.
Can anybody make a reasonable argument that non-traditional structures are better on average? Note that the key word here is average. The normal attempt to rebut would normally be about some abusive father, with family better off without his immediate presence. Naturally enough, anecdotal evidence does not by itself refute a general trend; but such emotional arguments are often effective.