Why No One Wants To Be A Patriarch

Why No One Wants To Be A Patriarch, by Henry Dampier.

Men crave power. How the laws and mores channel this impulse determines the shape of a given culture.

If you want men to join the legions, you make it so that the clearest path to power for a typical man will be to join up with the legions, serve his time, and then marry and be fruitful on his plot of land. If you want men to form households, you given them rights over those households and the families that issue from them.

Change the motivation; change the behavior. But what if it makes society less competitive, via-a-vis other societies?

Men lost the right to use legal force against their wives and children in stages.

… the disciplining doesn’t really go away from society. The switch is just passed on from the father to the policeman and the schoolmaster. The state’s hirelings retain the right to discipline children, although wives tend to be permitted to run wild, especially nowadays, restrained only by their desires and sense of self-interest.

The disciplining also changes from spanking to drugging, often heavy drugging of untested chemicals onto children. …

Patriarchs have no power now, socialism means government looks after you, and women can take their men’s assets and children whenever they feel like it. Increasingly men aren’t marrying or having children. Why bother?


[T]he reason why no one wants to be a patriarch today is that patriarchs have no more legal authority. They have no formal power over their wives or children. They only have influence. Influence is both fickle and distinct from power.

When a child misbehaves in the modern world, there are only a few paths that a parent can take. They can verbally discipline the child (more likely to work in a higher-class household than a lower-class one), they can illegally or semi-legally beat them, they can take them to a psychiatric professional of some kind, or they can feed the kid to the justice system. Schools have their own corrections systems of varying levels of effectiveness.

Further, paternal heads of household can be deprived of their assets and children at any time at the arbitrary whim of their wives. The wife can commit adultery, and the man can still lose his property in the ensuing divorce. The children and the wife alike can be wildly disrespectful to the head of household, and the man has no recourse other than whining.

So what do men do instead?

Returning to the beginning of this post, if we hold that men crave power, and if the role of patriarch no longer confers power, but instead vulnerability, we should assume that the male will to power will instead be redirected into other pursuits in which it’s still recognized. …

Men who aren’t very good at real competitions instead move into fake ones, to get the vicarious sense of power — video games, fantasy football, club sports, internet debating, science, blogging, forum-posting, and other safe outlets for power-jockeying unlikely to bring down too many consequences from anyone with power.

UPDATE: Joanne adds: “Ahem, Blogging is not safe and not fake. The real competition moved from the MSM to the internet.”

hat-tip Matthew