Technology can often drastically improve our lives, but it can also sometimes bring about severe, long-term disruptions in our overall social, economic, and moral landscape.
Science came up with the birth control pill decades ago. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for wide availability in 1960. Gradually, it became increasingly legalized and used throughout the U.S. Eventually, millions of women in our country would use it, and millions still do. Additionally, newer forms of chemical contraception such as injections, and patches applied to the skin, have been introduced and successfully marketed in more recent years.
Now, you’d think that with the dramatically increased means and availability, at very low cost, for women to “control” their reproductive schedules and so on, we’d see a correspondingly dramatic decrease in unwanted pregnancy, illegitimate births, and abortions.
Not so. In fact, the opposite has happened. The complete opposite. Unwanted pregnancies, out-of-wedlock births, and abortion rates have skyrocketed — not dropped off. Many people think they know why, and I am one of them.
There are several related theories on it, but most compelling, to me, is the argument put forth by George A. Akerlof and Janet L. Yellin of The Brookings Institute. Their analysis basically confirms what I’ve always believed, and what I’m sure most readers intuitively understand: The sexual revolution precipitated by “The Pill” and by the following legalization of abortion led to the virtual extinction of traditional “shotgun marriages,” because the general lowering of inhibitions about sexual relations between men and women eventually resulted in increased pressure on women in general to have sex without the accompanying commitment of marriage.
Of course, that pressure winds up having results, over time. Human beings are, after all, human beings.
Many men (not all men of course, but many) brought this pressure on women, but the new sexual paradigm really caused a widespread change in men’s psychology and agenda, too — the pressures on men to act according to this new socio-biology are somewhat self-explanatory.
But as the song says, it takes two to make a thing go right.
As I see things, metaphorically speaking, in many areas of life men are the gas, and women are the brakes … and a car at full throttle with bad brakes winds up in the ditch.
Soon, increasing numbers of women became more promiscuous, even turning to newly legalized abortion as a means of birth control when they failed to practice effective contraception (or if their attentive contraception practice failed), while those who tried to retain traditional virtue saw their opportunities for partnership diminished amidst a quickly disappearing supply of old-fashioned men who saw fit, for moral and/or economic reasons, to eschew the new “free love” ethos. Men, meanwhile, faced growing opportunities for adventures with numbers of women who became less and less discriminate about vigilant gatekeeping.
Under such pressure now, many women who don’t exactly revel in the new licentiousness, nonetheless act out their confusion and ambivalence in dysfunctional relationships; and of course, men also have experienced increasing ambivalence and confusion as gender roles have overlapped and become entangled.
Of course, the runaway welfare state aggravates the situation. This is an old topic of contention, and of complete clarity for readers of this website. When the “do-gooders” in government promise more and more benefits for each child born to single mothers, out of “compassion” and “taking care of the less-fortunate”(usually, implicitly in exchange for votes from key constituencies), it only enables and encourages more irresponsible behavior from said victim-class. Not to be hard-hearted or anything, but there comes a point when one has to recognize what’s actually going on.