Welcome to my weekly digest for March 24, 2023.
For new subscribers, this contains a roundup of my recent writings and podcasts, as well as links to the best articles from around the web this week. You can control what emails you get from me by visiting your account page.
For those of you in the Pacific Northwest, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Battle Ground, Washington (suburb of Portland) is hosting a conference on traditional fatherhood this upcoming May 5th and 6th.
Migration and State Politics
My Governing magazine column this month is about how migration doesn’t always turn red states blue. Sometimes it makes red states redder - and transforms their politics.
“California migration turned Colorado blue.” That sums up a common belief about how domestic (as well as international) migration plays out politically. It’s assumed that people moving out of big blue states like California, New York and Illinois turn out to be a political Trojan horse for their receiving Sun Belt red states. Eventually, as in Colorado, this migration would flip those states to blue.
But it hasn’t necessarily worked out that way.
A few years ago, Democrats were salivating over the prospect of turning Texas blue. That still might end up happening, but as of now, as the Daily Beast reports, Democrats “just hope to stop the bleeding.” California migrants to Texas are polling 57 percent conservative vs. only 27 percent liberal. In the 2018 Senate race between the Democrat Beto O’Rourke and the GOP incumbent Ted Cruz, Cruz won newcomers to Texas by a much larger margin than natives, 15 points for migrants vs. only three points for natives.
Click over to read the whole thing.
Marriage Matters for Women Too
The conventional wisdom is that marriage confers great benefits on men, but recent research shows that marriage benefits women too - in a number of tangible ways.
In a new study in the journal Global Epidemiology, we and our co-authors have sought to address those critiques. We examined 11,830 American nurses, all women, who were initially never married, and compared those who got married between 1989 and 1993 with those who remained unmarried. We assessed how their lives turned out on a wide range of important outcomes—including psychological well-being, health and longevity—after about 25 years.
Our findings were striking. The women who got married in the initial time frame, including those who subsequently divorced, had a 35% lower risk of death for any reason over the follow-up period than those who did not marry in that period. Compared to those who didn’t marry, the married women also had lower risk of cardiovascular disease, less depression and loneliness, were happier and more optimistic, and had a greater sense of purpose and hope.
We also examined the effects of staying married versus becoming divorced. Among those who were already married at the start of the study, divorce was associated with consistently worse subsequent health and well-being, including greater loneliness and depression, and lower levels of social integration. There was also somewhat less robust evidence that women who divorced had a 19% higher risk of death for any reason over the 25 years of follow-up than those who stayed married.
Post-familialism can have significant, tangible, even physical consequences for people’s lives.
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Women Going Their Own Way in South Korea
NY Mag: A world without men - In America, we’ve had the MGTOW movement - Men Going Their Own Way - which advocates that men avoid marriage and entanglements with women generally. Apparently in South Korea, they have the female version of this called the “4B” movement.
Soon, Youngmi shaved her head, too, and stopped wearing makeup, joining the so-called “escape the corset” movement happening among young women in South Korea. The movement, which first gained popularity in 2018, saw Korean women publicly turn away from societally imposed beauty standards by cutting their hair short and going barefaced. (Youngmi was not alone — in 2019, a survey found that 24 percent of women in their 20s reported cutting back their spending on beauty products in the previous year, with many saying they no longer felt they needed to put in the effort.) This eventually led Youngmi to “4B,” a smaller but growing movement among Korean women. 4B is shorthand for four Korean words that all start with bi-, or “no”: The first no, bihon, is the refusal of heterosexual marriage. Bichulsan is the refusal of childbirth, biyeonae is saying no to dating, and bisekseu is the rejection of heterosexual sexual relationships. It is both an ideological stance and a lifestyle, and many women I spoke to extend their boycott to nearly all the men in their lives, including distancing themselves from male friends.
For Youngmi and many others who subscribe to its basic premises, 4B, or “practicing bihon,” is the only path by which a Korean woman today can live autonomously. In their view, Korean men are essentially beyond redemption, and Korean culture, on the whole, is hopelessly patriarchal — often downright misogynistic. A 2016 survey by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family found the incidence of intimate-partner violence at 41.5 percent, significantly higher than the global average of 30 percent. While 4B’s adherents may hope to change society — through demonstrations and online activism, and by modeling an alternative lifestyle to other women — they are not trying to change the men whom they view as their oppressors.
In the US, MGTOW has been treated as a “toxic masculinity” movement and many of its advocates deplatformed from sites like Youtube. Something tells me the 4B movement in South Korean won’t get the same treatment.
NPR: South Korea has the world's lowest fertility rate, a struggle with lessons for us all
Best of the Web
NY Mag: Tate Pilled - What a generation of boys have found in Andrew Tate’s extreme male gospel
“I feel like, in general, in mass and mainstream media — this is definitely a very controversial thing to say — masculinity is being painted in a very bad light, then this guy comes along who’s very masculine and he’s inspiring the youth,” Dylan tells me. He wants to be more productive in his life so he can feel less lost, he says, “and then I turn on TikTok and there’s Andrew Tate saying, ‘You have to work as hard as you can, and if you just work on your goals, you’ll achieve them.’” Other influencers aren’t giving point-by-point constructive advice, Dylan told me. “Tate will say, ‘Why are you watching me? Go do something productive,’ and I’ll go do whatever I’ve been procrastinating, like my homework,” he says.
NBER: Fortunate Families? The Effects of Wealth on Marriage and Fertility - You won’t be surprised to hear that winning the lottery makes men more likely to get married.
Christian Post: Why Rick Warren Changed His Mind on Female Pastors - Not only did he recently change his mind, he’s now leading a campaign for female pastors. This is another example of the shift toward egalitarianism I predicted in newsletter #30.
Negativity sells on social media:
New Content and Media Mentions
This week I was mentioned in the Toronto Sun.
New this week:
Be Careful Overly Praising Nayib Bukele - A lot of people have become enamored of the El Salvadoran president’s approach to crime reduction, but there are good reasons to be cautious about him.
Classical Christian Education and the Christian Higher Education Gap (paid only) - There’s an increasing gusher of conservative graduates of classical Christian schools and homeschooling, but not enough aligned colleges for them to go to.
This week’s podcast is the case for saying Yes. The standard self-improvement advice is to say No more often. That’s useful advice, but I there’s another side of the coin. Saying Yes comes with lots of advantages, particularly greater optionality. Paid subscribers can read the transcript.
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Michael Foster and Bnonn Tenant are doing a video class version of their It’s Good to Be a Man book.