Re: disappearing fathers

david horne (dhorne@DIRECT.CA)
Thu, 1 Aug 1996 15:16:48 -0700

At 10:50 AM 8/1/96 +1000, you wrote:
>I (Julian O'Dea) wrote:
>>>... However one could equally
>>>> argue that the lack of interest by these men in their children is a
>>>> cultural overlay (resulting from the Government acting as a
>>>> surrogate "father") which displaces the "natural" parenting
>>>> behaviour. If one were a strict sociobiologist (which I'm not) one
>>>> could argue that these men are behaving in a tactically clever way.
>>>> If one can impregnate women and not have to put resources in, maybe
>>>> moving onto further women, this is a "smart" strategy in a
>>>> biological sense.
>To which John Pastore replied
>>>Instead of "government," howbout the constant spamming by
>>>oftentimes promiscuous women about so-called "dead-beat" fathers so
>>>as to be surrogate fathers with the so-called "dead-beat" fathers
>>>separte but added incomes?
>>>While "moving onto other woman" may be the "smart strategy in the
>>>'biological' sense," when will it become the "smart strategy" in the
>>>"financial" sense. That is: when the "dead-beat" father can take at
>>>least his wallet with him?
>David Horne replied to this:
> Fathers, do "take
>>their wallets with them". Income statistics reveal that in the vast majority
>>of cases a woman's income drops when her relationship ends. In contrast, in
>>the vast majority of cases the man's income increases when his relationship
>>ends. Single mothers make up a disportionately high percentage of poor
>>people, and their children often suffer for it.These statistics overleap all
>>boundaries of class, race, and economic position.
>>You can leave the quotation marks off dead-beat when you talk about many
>>absent fathers.Again statistics tell us that high percentages of child
>>support payments are either never made or are not made in full. Governments
>>everywhere are waking up to these facts [facts John, real facts] and putting
>>in place programs to collect the cash. I would like to think that
>>governments have had a great moral awakening but I don't really believe that
>>this is the case. It is much more likely that they have simply come to the
>>realization that if fathers fail in their responsibilities the state will
>>have to stand in with increasingly scarce resources to stand in with.
>>Seems pretty simple to me. So how come so many guys don't seem to get it?
>>Well, it gets back to the old issue of power. Males are used to having power
>>over women. They don't like it when this power is threatened. They don't
>>like being told to leave a relationship. They don't like to be told that
>>"their woman" is leaving them. They don't like being told that they have
>>responsibilities that they can't escape by changing addresses. These are
>>bewildering and frightening things for a lot of men. And when they are
>>frightened they fight back. But its a fight that they're not going to win.
>I was interested in David Horne's comments, which I am still "digesting".
>One thing which occurs to me is that his analysis fits in well with that in
>a book (series of essays) I acquired recently entitled "Signs of the Flesh"
>about human sexuality (I can't remember the name of the author.)
>Anyway this writer's analysis is that basically women induce men to stay in
>relationships and help them with the children by behaving in a compliant
>and amiable way. This is a basis of male power in relationships. In a
>sense I sympathise with David Horne's views but I think while he is right
>in theory he is wrong in practice. Men are not saints (nor are women of
>course) and it is expecting a lot of the average man to cheerfully "pay up"
>when he is receiving nothing tangible in return. It may be "the law" to
>pay maintenance but something can be legislatively in place while having
>minimal real support in the broad community.
> (Julian O'Dea)

When you say "broad community" aren't you really talking about the male
community? I don't think that you'd get much agreement from women that men
aren't obligated morally and otherwise to pay their fair share of child
support. Being responsible is about being responsible not about getting
"something tangible" in return. Legislation is not any kind of a total
answer to the problem, but it is a start. If absent fathers would think more
about the welfare of their children and less about punishing their "ex"
[which is what this whole issue is really all about] then maybe they could
be a little more "cheerful" about paying up.

David H.