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April 9, 2006
David R. Usher

In retrospect, perhaps it was unfair to single-out Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor for the National Review, in my previous article for briskly doffing Matt Dubay as a “deadbeat dad” on Bill Maher’s March 10th show.

As it turns out, Mona Charen, Bill O’Reilly, Dr. Dobson, Jeff Jacoby, and Ken Connor also got it wrong. In fact, I have been unable to find one that got it right.

The case involves Matt Dubay, whose girlfriend got pregnant out-of-wedlock by lying about her use of birth control. Matt subsequently filed a lawsuit, euphemistically dubbed the “Roe v. Wade for Men,” asserting that he should not be held responsible for supporting a child that is the product of an act of reproductive fraud.

Dubay attracted tirades from conservatives and radical feminists alike. In principle, these wildly divergent camps share the same essential philosophy: The divine prerogatives of motherhood somehow preempt the rights of fathers to have any say in marriage, childbearing, and childrearing. For both radical feminists and chivalrous conservatives there is only one outcome: fathers should be nothing more than quiet indentured servants.

We do know this: when conservatives strongly embrace the policies of the National Organization for Women, everybody is wrong.

Dubay is an excellent opportunity for change in conservative thinking and policy because this case is rich with moral and policy issues that conservatives often mis-prioritize or ignore. I will now set it right.

A brief history of Republican social policy mistakes

To understand the critical relevance of Dubay, and why it will bring about a conservative result, a brief historical summary of Republican social policy mistakes is necessary.

By 1964, President Johnson had launched the Great Society with the idea that government welfare checks could solve poverty for single mothers. Instead, illegitimacy boomed. By 1968, the problem had become so expensive that government could no longer afford it.

Changes were made to welfare in 1968. Whenever government gave a dollar to a single mother, it could collect it back from the father, so long as he was not in the home. What started as a war on poverty became, in effect, a perverse arrangement taking from poor men to lift poor women out of poverty. Illegitimacy exploded in the aftermath, while marriage rates declined precipitously.

In 1969, Governor Ronald Reagan signed the first no-fault divorce law into existence. Today, no-fault means that no one cares why divorces are filed, whether or not they are responsible acts, or who is drinking, gambling, or cheating. We just turn the family over to mothers, kick the husband out, and charge him for everything..

Between 1964 and 1996, Republicans did not do anything to discourage illegitimate childbearing by women. They were quick to support liberal federal programs (advocated by the National Organization for Women) designed to establish maximum amounts of child support and to collect it.

Illegitimacy rates soared. Policies that destroyed the marriage market began dissolving middle-class marriages in the 1980’s. Most importantly: three quarters of relationships are emotionally ended by the woman, and about three quarters of divorces are filed by women.

In 1994, Republicans took control of federal government, promising welfare reform and better lives for all Americans. They bought David Blankenhorn’s dual communist messages: “father-absence is the greatest social problem we face” and “Today, the principle cause of fatherlessness is paternal choice.”

The result: Republicans blamed husbands for America’s problems of divorce and illegitimacy – when in fact they did not either advocate or cause it.

In 1996, welfare was simply renamed “an advance on child support” in federal accounting records. The political problem of “welfare” instantly became a giant “deadbeat dad” problem. Unrecoverable welfare collections magically became unrecoverable child support, without changing the associated deficit spending.

In the past decade of Republican control, social data has not improved. Divorce and illegitimacy are still rampant. In St. Louis, illegitimacy has increased: 70% of black children are now born out of wedlock. Republican policy has turned a welfare problem into a social pandemic of historic proportion.

Recently, conservative scholars finally discovered that feminism has been the problem all along. This is a good start, but perhaps forty years too late.

Conservatives still do not have good answers. Most are still living in the problem, bemoaning the state of marriage or pontificating about it without taking any effective policy action to correct the problem.

The compound effects of Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade

Griswold v. Connecticut made contraception an absolute right for women. Pharmaceutical companies quickly responded by introducing the pill and other invisible forms of birth control. Overnight, young women became “easy.” The feminist sexual revolution contained the agitprop and tools enabling women to behave like men while deeply reinforcing Victorian attitudes holding women entirely innocent for what they do. Women became sexually aggressive and often as promiscuous as men, and claimed victim status for everything that came of it.

Invisible contraception also made it easy for women to lie about their purpose in having sex with a man. In assuming the power of God, over nature and culture, to be invisibly barren or fertile at will, the door was thrown open for reproductive predation and fraud.

Advertising the Dubay case as “the Roe v. Wade for Men” is an antipodal representation of the issues involved. This motto was apparently selected on the basis of the astonishing positive impact it could have on marriage if it is won. Dubay has nothing to do with abortion of babies. It has everything to do with abortion of marriage, and reducing it.

Roe v. Wade capitalized on the sexual and social liberation of women. It not only made killing unborn humans legal -- it also established a secondary tenet that children are chattel of the mother. The principles set forth in Roe also extend to womens’ childbearing and marital decisions, which cannot be questioned because it is a matter of “women’s rights.”

America under secular feminism is a far cry from biblical days of patriarchal connection to civilization. Men were indeed responsible for survival and protection of women and children, marriage was an extremely important institution that guaranteed survival of the human race in a relatively moral society, and sex could not be easily disconnected from the act of procreation. Some men abused their roles as leaders of church, culture and marriage; but most did not.

Conservative pro-life advocates have been falling for left sucker punches ever since. Pro-life Christians are terrified that women will abort accidental babies if welfare and child support are not around. They allied with the National Organization for Women in calling for every sort of child support maximization policy imaginable.

This position is the antithesis of moral principle in several ways. It multiplies the number of women who want abortion in the first place. More entitlements stimulates a culture of easy sex and more out-of-wedlock pregnancies – which are often aborted after women change their minds about becoming single mothers a few weeks or months later.

Destruction of the Marriage Market

Feminists crafted an evil mechanism that uses the beliefs of conservatives against their moral goals. Many conservatives feel that women should raise children and men should provide sustenance to the family. Indeed, this is what most men and women choose naturally in the context of marriage.

When conservatives blindly adopt the feminist mandate for entitled single motherhood, they abdicate their moral duty to stand up for marriage and to unwind whatever is destroying it.

If welfare or child support was not an entitlement, women would not be sleeping around in record numbers while either “forgetting” to use birth control or lying about it, as we see in Dubay.

Since child support orders also apply to divorce, women started dumping husbands in record numbers, as Betty Friedan told them to do in the Feminine Mystique.

With endless entitlements available, women have been churning out accidental babies in tremendous numbers for forty years. In their minds, the way out of poverty or becoming “liberated” has something to do with marrying the nearest child support office.

This is not to lay blame at the feet of women. What they are doing is an entirely legal, entitled activity. Judgment goes against legislators and politicians (of both sexes) who went into business with feminists assuming the role of men as protector and provider of the family.

This Cabal has made the world a lot worse by covetously tempting women out of the safe haven of marriage with large amounts of money, false promises of liberation, and bearing false witness against millions of good men to do so. [2 Timothy 3:1-6].

Pro life advocates did the right thing opposing funding of abortion clinics, because abortion clinics abort babies. They made a gargantuan mistake supporting expansive child support policies, because as we now know, this funds spiraling abortions of families. Today we suffer from a continuing plague of illegitimacy, father-absence, and burgeoning amounts of uncollectable child support amounts.

Entitled welfare and child support is still the driver of divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing. We must therefore change our thinking, short-circuit the Beast, and call for changes that move culture towards a more moral society.

The Big Kahuna: Explosive growth of expensive self-entitling social problems predicted by husband-absence has today culminated in Congress being forced to increase the federal debt ceiling to nine-trillion dollars.

Marriage is, in fact, a market

The marriage market behaves the same as any other market. If unfettered, most men and women trade needs and resources happily within a valuable moral institution: marriage.

We have spent more on welfare and undermining the marriage market since 1964 than the national debt. This does not even include hundreds of billions in child support transfers. Yet, record numbers of women and children still live in poverty.

Child support is unquestionably the leading anti-family entitlement undermining marriage. It creates an invalid perception that women can do as well absent marriage. Women either have children out of wedlock or divorce, but later find the economics of the single-parent family do not work and that it is not possible for one person to “do it all.”

A middle-class family requires 1.4 incomes to be a middle-class family. The broken family cannot support two households and a bevy of lawyers without coming up short.

The pivotal cause-effect debate that has been taking place for forty years is now finally settled: Entitlement of non-marital procreation is unquestionably the driver of poverty and the decline of marriage. Entitled divorce and illegitimacy has left more women and children in poverty, and at risk for their personal safety, than any other event in American history.

Stopping at the first moral error: casual sex

Most conservatives rush to declare final judgment at Matt Dubay’s first moral error: he and his girlfriend had “casual sex.” The conclusion: She should be an entitled single mother and he should shut up and pay child support.

By this standard, conservatives ignore the fact that abortion of marriage is a highly immoral entitled activity that must be vigorously opposed.

Is it not a sin to intentionally bring a child into the world absent marriage, and for government to entitle this activity to a rigid standard of support greater than what we expect of married men? Is it not a greater sin to trick men into it by lying about use of birth control?

Where conservatives are dearly passionate about ending abortion of babies (which women are entitled to do after having casual sex), conservatives must be just as resolute about ending abortion of marriage (which women are also entitled to do after having “casual sex” that isn’t so casual).

Stopping at the second moral error: birth control

Conservatives legitimately oppose birth control. But this must not block moral vision about what to do when women pretend they are using birth control, or when birth control fails and a pregnancy ensues out of wedlock.

To use birth control for casual sex is a sin. Is it not a much greater sin to lie about it for the purpose of having a child out of wedlock, thus defrauding a man of marriage, the fruit of his loin and the work of his hands; and denying the child the right to have two married parents?

The greatest moral issue: the feminist state of Ba’al

Dubay presents a rich opportunity to grasp the moral wisdom of turning entitled feminism against itself. The first step towards accomplishing this goal is to prioritize the moral issues, placing the highest emphasis on those that drive the decline of morals and marriage.

Certainly, casual sex, birth control, and illegitimacy are moral sins of the children of God. It is our duty to lead them out of these sins, not to make the sins more attractive by funding them to the ends of the earth.

Is it not a vast collective sin to pre-declare a family divided and finance the kingdom of Ba’al Zebûb, only to increase his power, because individuals on the edges of his kingdom fell into temptation?

The only way to shrink the kingdom of Ba’al is to stop funding it. This can and will be accomplished by a denying child support when divorce or non-marriage is an immoral choice of the woman, and by giving the husband the first right to take custody or elect adoption immediately upon birth, particularly where the husband’s marriage offer has been denied or where the mother lied about birth control. These are the only two moral options that will take control of family, marriage, and reproduction back from radical feminism.

Men can handle single fatherhood without a perverse covetous relationship developing with the State. A young single man with a child is still very attractive marriage material. It is my experience that most men do not want child support from a former spouse, except perhaps in situations of great economic disparity. Historically, government has been want to order or collect it on behalf of men.

Moral consistency requires that conservatives must oppose child support entitlements with the same diligence that they oppose birth control. Both stimulate casual sex, and both stimulate out-of-wedlock births.

A call to action

The Bible is a call to action. Over the past decade, thousands of books and articles have been written bemoaning the decline of marriage, or calling for return to a marriage culture, without calling for specific policy changes that would take us there.

This only drives our angst and settles nothing. Uttering complaints and platitudes will avail us nothing unless the pathway to the answer is brightly demonstrated in each and every article. We have a moral duty to actively lead our children out of Hell. This battle cannot be won on ecclesiastical terms alone. It must take place on secular grounds, the same way the struggle against abortion has been fought.

The operative goal is this: “We must now grant to fathers the same right to be in the family as we have granted to women in the workplace.”

This target is not a liberal vision for "gender equivalency." It is a calling to restore marriage by reforming policies that have destroyed living paternal participation in marriage, family, procreation, and childrearing. When this is accomplished, marriage will naturally grow on formerly-barren soil. Most women will choose to be the primary parent, and most men will choose to be the primary breadwinner.

Is this not the end-state we all so deeply desire? If so, conservatives have no alternative but to substantially change their thinking on Dubay.


© 2006 David Usher - All Rights Reserved


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David R. Usher is Legislative Analyst for the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, Missouri Coalition And is a co-founder and past Secretary of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children

E-Mail: drusher@swbell.net