Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My, he’s gonna make some lucky woman very happy one day

My fellow Conservatives, why do you want people to suffer so? What is it about misery that you value so highly? Forgive my sarcasm. It is a natural reaction to this tripe from Matt Yglesias (the emphasis belongs to Yglesias):

This put me in mind of Monica Potts’ review of Kay Hymowitz:

“Before [today], the fact is that primarily, a 20-year-old woman would have been a wife and a mother,” author Kay Hymowitz told the crowd of about 100 at the Manhattan Institute in New York City. Men would have been mowing lawns and changing the oil in their family sedans instead of playing video games and watching television. In previous decades, adults in their 20s and 30s were too busy with real life for such empty entertainment, Hymowitz says. “They didn’t live with roommates in Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Dupont Circle in D.C.”

Hymowitz’s argument, essentially, is that not only has feminism opened up new doors of opportunity to women, but it’s helped contribute to the growth of a society in which young men are less crushed down with family and household obligations and are spending more time enjoying themselves. Except she means this as a bad thing! In both cases the conservative conceit seems to be that a decline in human suffering is a bad thing because it leads to a corresponding decline in admirable anti-suffering effort….
We can argue whether the unobligated life equates to a happy life but to refer to men who have chosen to be family men as “crushed down” belies a liberal conceit. A certain amount of selfishness is necessary for happiness but a life based on selfishness alone is at best boring and at worst, lonely.

I suspect that Mr. Yglesias is incapable of understanding the joy that is inherent in the mundane trappings of the family life. Given the choice between hot dogs in the back yard and, well, anything else “anything else” would be the hands down winner. It makes me feel sorry for Yglesias. But on the other hand, I’ll happily breathe a sigh of relief on behalf of those never to be born children who will be spared the unhappiness of his uninterested parenting.

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