Families and communities must cooperate in order to compete with commercial forces that are less interested in family and community, even with those that are anti-family and anti-community, even with those corporations that are too big to care much about such things; they must compete with world commerce by establishing stronger local commerce .
To question the values of those who make the big money, who tell us to give our savings to send our daughters to college to provide them with employees who put off marriage, who provide us with necessary "soma"- entertainments necessary to relieve our frustration at this social disintegration, who tell us to make our money by paying them with further capital by buying their stock,and who constantly remind us to buy their mass produced products in chain stores and resturant chains in malls and endless highways devoid of community and its concommitent social restrains, protections, and psycological supports, a lonely "but always free" society(free to consume)- to question this, by suggesting free market cooperations by smaller merchants creating small city-towns with viable cultural strength- to do this is to invite a knee jerk reaction that you are some kind of a collectivist-idealist nut. But the largeness of modern commerce and the anonymity of undue mobility makes us all lose, culturally, sexually, and economically. It is hard for people to see this and it takes time to explain. But enough older married men ought to know that something is wrong, and not just assume without thought, culturally, pridefully, and blindly, that their own process of getting a wife, of competing economically and sexually, was above reproach or was ideal in how it worked out for them. Nor should the unmarried man assume without thought, culturally, pridefully, and blindly, that his lusts have not been exploited and frustrated to his own hurt, economically and sexually, in the long run through coeducation, through undue emphasis on same age social opportunities in his youth and by the cultural shame placed on "exploitive" relationships with younger "powerless" women, except years later when these same women are older, divorced, and saddled with another man's progeny.
The man who "got lucky" in his dad's car as a teenager, "played the field" and "sowed wild oats" as a college student and had "discreet affairs" with younger women when he became older- this man has defrauded other men along the way; he has disempowered them and discouraged them from finding mates. He has hurt women emotionally and economically as well.
The virtue placed on "competition", both sexually and economically, to the undue exclusion of "cooperation" and accountability has hurt our marriage culture and has weakened the economic strength of men and marriage in general. "Messing around" has backfired on men. Unmarried men in their twenties and thirties are increasingly uncertain and cavalier about their goals, hiding a growing despair. The culture that refused to insist on sexual accountability has become emasculated economically. The preference for anonymity has built our present day non-communities that defraud many sexually and economically. Real self-prospering and culture-enhancing communities hardly exist anymore. Real culture (sexual accountability) hardly exists in America, and American non-culture is becoming the world "youth" culture, with products and Americana sold world wide and having great charm to the youth of the 3rd world peoples whose parents cannot build sufficient economic and cultural strength to resist it. Economic growth in these non communities is not tied to staying in one place and trading with one another, thus developing culture, but in moving about while always paying for the same mass marketed products everywhere. This sort of economic growth does not benefit the small, family owned business, the local hardware store, etc. It benefits the Walmarts and the Kmarts. As more and more people are employed by the low income end of big business, they find that they cannot develop their own indigenous commercial strength, or they forget how previous generations did so.
We need, ultimately, to create new small towns, where both sexual accountablility and economic synergy can take place. Until we can get to that we must at least develop viable neighborhoods within the cities where sexual accountability can take place. Smaller merchants and service companies can band together with common community concerns, and if enough do, the power of teamwork can indeed create new communities. Small businesses cooperatives can create safer environments for courtship to take place and can benefit each other economically. Prosperity is through teamwork.
People ought to invest in communities, in cheap real estate together, rather than in big companies on the stock market exchange. They ought to form their own companies in conjunction with other companies in new communities, rather than work for the corporations in metro areas where they must pay a high price for real estate in "prime locations" or must commute and ship goods long distances to the exclusion of family and community life.
More small business, and more localized agricultural trade must charactarize these new communities. Our culture, to survive, must see more movement into less populated areas open for economic development. This must be organized by groups of small companies and their employees, rather than by big businesses. The big companies have their own demographic plan, one that always seems to create a new non-community, an outpost for non-culture, a new place of lonliness and alienation. Small businesses can invest as a group and compete as a group; they can commit to move together and thus can develop community ties and friendships while they empower one another significantly. They can stop paying the middle man for rented space for high overhead businesses and buy low cost space, if they can get enough other "little guys" get on board. One way to do this is through the internet.
It is time to compete with these corporate bosses who retire to gated country club retirement communities. After all, these guys know how to get cheap land and have their communities built there for them. But these are not communities in the traditional sense of mutual trade societies surrounded by nearby agricultural support. They are "getaways", the modern moat of uncrossable economic passage, created by world commerce, supplying a pitance to the local indentured servants who shop at their Kmarts and fast food restuarants and build their homes rather than their own.
The true community is built by older men of wealth or of moderate wealth, men of foresight and cultural vision, who channel their economic strength into their sons, and into their neighbor's good as well, who by neighborly and familial love support the community and the marriage institution. These with cultural vision may yet learn for the common good to encourage their daughters to marry young, returning to education and work a few years into their marriage. They help their sons-in-law to get established in new communities where fresh competition can beat out the cultural disintegration, economic inflation and hype of big businesses and of highly populated areas such as the "megalopolis" we have in the northeast of our United States.
All this empowerment occurs when Christian people especially are culturally awake, aware of their responsibility to love their neighbor and are beginning to understand how this relates to the economic and cultural well being of small communities. They know that forming communities in less populated areas is in line with God's blessing and empowerment of mankind to "be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over ... the earth." This "cultural mandate" to "be fruitful and multiply" was made by God without fear of the population explosion, for to fill the earth was the extent of the mandate, with a view to the larger eternal plan at its completion. The mandate to "subdue ...(and)rule over ... the earth" was made with a view to local agriculture and community growth, not to the polluting commuting non-communities of our modern cities and commutervilles. Our modern cities, congested within, surrounded by commuters without, dependent on long distance shipping abroad, dependent on markets throughout the world rather than close at hand, dependent on big companies, chain stores, agribusinesses and all sorts of "bigness"- these structures cannot provide much encouragement to "be fruitful" or to "fill the earth", because their non-culture and alienation is how they control their consumers and keep them coming to them rather than trading with one another elsewhere.
Consider how these two mandates inform our understanding of marriage culture:
"Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth ..."
"Honor your father and mother, that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you."
Both commandments involve "land", or "the earth" given to man, not at an exorbident cost, but as "given" by God. The land is to be filled, that is, the less populated areas are to be sought out.
"Honor your father and mother" means first, to obey them, then to listen to their council, and then to be grateful for their help. To "be fruitful ..." and to "fill the earth" requires monetary support and guidance given by the elder generation to the younger, so young people are to be grateful for this and respect the council and wisdom of the older generation that helps them and guides them. A real "culture" is intergenerational; "youth culture" is not culture at all, it is a distraction that postpones and dissipates "being fruitful." After the new generation is established, they are to honor their fathers and mothers with financial help according to their ability, doing whatever they can to make their declining years comfortable.
Intergenerational love and trust creates a great cultural empowerment; the parents help their children get established in marriage and careers; the children trust their council and are happily wed and economically empowered, and the growth of the population, even if only moderate, provides economic growth to the community, rebounding to the wealth of the young family, resulting in sufficient means for that generation to provide for its elders in their old age. The older generation has to trust that the younger will do this for them. Such faith will enable them to truly and substantially invest financially and emotionally in their children's development, giving thoughtful planning and counsel.
Parents who counsel their sons to first focus on careers and then to marry a bit older will empower them to be good providers for their families. Parents who council their daughters to first focus on marriage, marrying a man a bit older who is becoming a good provider, will empower their daughters to have children in their prime, when they have the best energy for childrearing, and will insure that they will still have time for education and work while they are still young. Supporting a ten or fifteen year age difference in married couples will enhance other parental efforts to encourage economic responsibility and marital happiness. Parentally involved marriages will be honored by their children.
Not everyone will marry. The culture must also grant honor to those who, involved in artistic and intellectual things, or bogged down by common difficulties, find themselves eventually too old and/or too poor to attract a mate. These must be honored by society for their gifts of cultural enrichment and for their labors, however humble. There must not be shame placed on them, but rather encouragment and protection from the temptations of lonliness, through a generous shared community life. Some singles have great wisdom to share. But let single artists, intellectuals, and poor laborers give up ideas of "messing around." Singles have great influence on the young, and must be careful not to hurt the passing on of parental marriage culture.
Somebody marketed "The Gap". The reason we have so much separate "youth culture" today is because the sub-culture of musicians and entertainers was mass marketed. Those who lived in garrets and circus tents were marketed to those most in need of entertainment- the not yet married. Creative persons were often commited to "romance" and infidelity because temporary relationships provided rich material for their creations. Some, as wayward monks, were fully committed to messing around sexually and never marrying. Gradually they caused their youthful audiences who were in similar straights to envy and imitate their unstable practices. In recent decades, "romantic" culture has given way to "fornication" culture. Romantic songs have given way to "love em and leave em" songs, "goodbye" songs, "please release me" songs and "you no good @#$%" songs. Writers could not help but write about their own experiences, unstable as they were, committed to their artistic careers as they were, but they influenced the young, who caught up in a similar instability, relied on their sympathetic entertainment more and more for comfort. The now massively lucrative entertainment industry currently dominates "youth culture."
Same age or similar age "romantic culture" was inherently prone to drift toward "fornication culture" over time. So it happened that sex became incorporated into the process of finding a lifetime mate. But over time, this also distracted and discouraged many from even finding a mate at all. The decline of marriage then further exacerbated economic decline in many quarters.
"Romantic culture" postponed marriage for the woman. Its ideal around 1940 was the "satin doll", the classy, slightly older, but still young woman in the big city, 21 or older, the mobile career woman who meets the romantic career man. She is "wined and dined" in fancy resuarants by sophisticated men. Sometimes the men were quite a bit older. Fred Astaire was one such, the archtypal classy "wooer" in the top hat, the dapper older man of wealth who overcame the younger woman's disdain over time with his cleverness and dancing charm. But only rich bisinessmen could chase younger women. The reality was different with middle class men. The middle class's ambitions centered on learning- higher education was encouraged, and there was a rapid growth in colleges and universities, and in the teaching profession of higher education after World War II. Women came also, seeking out these ambitious career men, going to college "to snag a man", as the common joke then had it. The middle class became oriented to a more similar age for courtship as men could not help but avail themselves of the women they met at college. Jazz and negro influences also pushed for a more matriarchal culture, and for a more similar age for courtship that goes with it. Many tensions ensued, however, as couples got older, and divorce became common. The rise of divorce also pushed women toward further emphasis on college and careers. Baby boomer couples pioneered "living together". Women who in another culture would have been married in their late teens were "partying" into their late twenties, having sex but "with protection" out of fear that a man would not be willing or able to support them or their children. The "protection" of a condom had, over time replaced the protection of the father. Later this "protection" became even more valued as sexually transmitted diseases spread. The original "protection" against diseases and unwanted pregnancies was the father. What happened to him?
The older marriage age of these women meant that they were burdened with children at a less than optimal point in their lives. The women found homemaking wearisome and unfullfilling at an older age. They envied the men who had interesting occupations to stimulate their intellects. They had gone to school but then they were saddled with the intellectual boredom of homemaking right after they married. Domestic fights ensued, aggravated by differences of opinion as to how to disipline and raise the children. The man felt dispossed of his children as he got older, and the woman clung to them more closely, in order to channel her own frustrated ambitions and intellectual hungers through them.
The women encouraged their children's artistic and intellectual pursuits. But as careers, these often turned out to be impractical as money-makers for their children. Too many pursued higher degrees only to find themselves without a teaching position. In the mean-time, the growth of corporations bottled up ambitious people in highly populated areas commuting across deserts of suburbs and ghettos. This growth carried with it a high cost of living and a high cost of segregation, with a high overhead for real estate and office space in "prime" locations. People, over two or three generations, had gradually been urbanized. But the huge "high culture" pyramid scheme had left only the most shrewed at the top. "A sucker is born every minute." said P.T. Barnam. So then, "Let the buyer beware."
3. The Economics of Marriage
4. Age Difference