Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I’d earn the ire of a character named Turd Flinging Monkey, the nom de plume of a popular online activist. A leader in the Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) movement, which encourages men to avoid romantic relationships with women, Monkey did not take kindly to my new Prager University video talking up the benefits of marriage for men.
In the video, I noted, among other things, that married men work harder (about 400 more hours), smarter (they’re less likely to quit without having found another job), and more successfully (they make about $16,000 more per year) than their single peers. I described these as features, not bugs, of married life for men.
In response, in a video of his own, Monkey unloaded on marriage, arguing that the things I had described as features of marriage were in fact bugs.
For men, marriage equals slavery: “Marriage, in essence, is a man choosing his slave master.” For men, marriage equals unrequited sacrifice: “So married men work 400 hours more per year than single men; that’s not a good thing. They’re not hanging out with their friends… They’re sacrificing their life for other people. Now, you may think that’s noble, but that’s not a benefit for the man.” For men, marriage equals emasculation: it means “giving a woman power over your life, power over your income.”
Above all, for men, marriage equals a soul-destroying divorce: “talk to the men in MGTOW who have had their wallets ripped out their a** in family court. Go to the graves of men who killed themselves after they were unemployed and couldn’t afford child support and faced jail. Talk to those men about how wonderful marriage was… Ask them about the hundreds of hours they work extra each year to avoid going to prison because they owe so much child support or alimony that they gotta move in with their parents.”
Marriage often ends with the man losing primary custody of his kids, a substantial share of his assets, and control of a large fraction of his income.
Some of this, it seems, is about a kind of Peter Pan syndrome, where guys don’t want to grow up and settle down. Some of it is about a kind of individualistic hedonism, where guys don’t want to forego the opportunity to set their own work hours, hang out with their friends on their own terms, and score as much with the ladies as they can. One correspondent, a 29-year-old man named Craig, put it like this: “I bet I’m getting a lot more with high quality women with no commitment” than the average married guy, adding that he has time to “work out and exercise because I don’t work those 400 extra hours a year” that married guys typically do (responding to a point Robert Lerman and I noted in a recent report).
But a lot…