The Devolution of Culture

by on November 22nd, 2006

In times when our nation has had a tacit recognition of the traditional values that have been tested in the crucible of time, the resulting cultural homogeneity produced both civility and such desirable outcomes as low out-of-wedlock birth rates. As reported this week, that rate is at an all time high and is inversely related to our culture’s overall trajectory.

After working our way through the article’s discouraging statistics, we come to the meta-message, paradoxically delivered by Dr. Yolanda Wimberly, an adolescent medicine specialist at Atlanta’s Morehouse School of Medicine:

More women in their 30s and 40s are hearing their biological clock, and are choosing to give birth despite their single status. Younger women are not as worried about not being married, she added. “I think it’s more acceptable in society” to have a child without getting married, she said.

Mere acceptance of various behaviors is arguably a poor indicator of our collective moral worth because a longitudinal view of the past 50 years would demonstrate a steady descent into a cultural maelstrom which has produced a bitter and noxious fruit.

There is, in Dr. Wimberly’s casual and apparently benign comment, an added worry for those concerned about the growing marginalization of men in society. Their erstwhile indispensability has been savaged by a strain of virulent feminism that has disparaged and stigmatized masculinity and its cousin, authority. But, as history unequivocally demonstrates, nature won’t be denied, and that genetic marker in boys and men is expressing itself in peculiar and not altogether healthy ways.

A secondary insight worthy of exploration is the fact that young women deliberately having children out-of-wedlock boldly, if ignobly illustrates the narcissistic impulse so prevalent in our culture. The quaint notion of commitment, love, marriage, and the moral glue that sustains it–sacrifice–have all suffered at the hand of a blinkered reflex to satisfy a momentary instinct that, these women’s assertions to the contrary notwithstanding, cannot be fully understood when isolated from the natural context of matrimony.

Beyond those more subtle observations, the more mundane but nonetheless potent criticism is that the past two decades have demonstrated that children of single parents are far more likely to inherit a broad array of social, psychological, and economic stigmas that will inhibit their ability for success in life.

That, perhaps, is the quintessence of selfishness, for it provides an abundance of evidence that these women’s values are skewed such that they gladly sacrifice the chances for a normal life for their very own offspring to sate their thoughtless procreative instinct.

Welcome to our Brave New World.

Philip Mella