Kate Bolick—it’s time to embrace new ideas about romance and family—and the end of marriage

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 2001, when I was 28, I broke up with my boyfriend. Allan and I had been together for three years, and there was no good reason to end things. He was (and remains) an exceptional person, intelligent, good-looking, loyal, kind. My friends, many of whom were married or in marriage-track relationships, were bewildered. I was bewildered. To account for my behavior, all I had were two intangible yet undeniable convictions: something was missing; I wasn’t ready to settle down....

Ten years later, I occasionally ask myself the same question. Today I am 39, with too many ex-boyfriends to count and, I am told, two grim-seeming options to face down: either stay single or settle for a “good enough” mate. At this point, certainly, falling in love and getting married may be less a matter of choice than a stroke of wild great luck. A decade ago, luck didn’t even cross my mind. I’d been in love before, and I’d be in love again. This wasn’t hubris so much as naïveté; I’d had serious, long-term boyfriends since my freshman year of high school, and simply couldn’t envision my life any differently.

Well, there was a lot I didn’t know 10 years ago. The decision to end a stable relationship for abstract rather than concrete reasons (“something was missing”), I see now, is in keeping with a post-Boomer ideology that values emotional fulfillment above all else.

Read it all (from the cover story of this month's Atlantic).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologySexualityWomenYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

10 Comments
Posted October 20, 2011 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. clarin wrote:

This essay is certainly Bolick’s.

October 20, 1:20 pm | [comment link]
2. sophy0075 wrote:

Ms Bolick’s problem, which she fails to identify, is that she and others of her ilk have been so busy “self-actualizing” through her 20s and 30s that now, having reached a certain age, the good men, the real men, who recognize that there’s more to life than partying, indiscriminate sex, and avoiding responsibility, are all taken. I feel sorry for her that she bought into the myths of NOW etc.

October 20, 1:53 pm | [comment link]
3. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

That strikes me as rather odd logic if you follow the whole essay. She seems to think that because she’s wasted the prime of her life following the “It’s all about my career” crowd, somehow marriage has to change or die to again fit her “I want my cake and eat it to” lifestyle.

October 20, 2:33 pm | [comment link]
4. evan miller wrote:

Truly sad and pathetic.  I hope she’s happy with her self-actualized, self-validated, lonely world.

October 20, 2:52 pm | [comment link]
5. Frances S Scott wrote:

I couldn’t make it all the way to the end of this article.  When the “women’s lib” movement first come to my attention, I was about as “liberated” as I ever care to be.  I was a single parent of 4 teenage and near teenage kids.  I was at liberty to earn a living, pay for car repair, pay for replacement or repair of my washing machine and dryer, replace the screen in the front door, replace broken windows, listen to the woes of the children, attend to their broken hearts…all this while taking 20 - 24 hours of courses at the university, working 32 hours a week in the “rat lab” and grading papers every week for 100 students..and other such responsible things.  I was not about to get “unliberated”; what man, in his right mind, would want to take on a woman with 4 teenish kids?

God did not plan for his children to spend thier lives focused on themselves and their own gratification.  Seemed to me then, and still does, that most of the “womens’ rights” stuff is aimed ultimately at avoiding responsibility.  Too many women were looking at equal pay, but skillfully dodging equal work.  So, financially I’m a washout, so what?  My kids are grown and their kids are grown and their grandchildren are rapidly headed that direction.  All of the adults work hard, stay our of jail and keep their names out of the paper.  They all still speak to me.  I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything worth having.

October 20, 3:01 pm | [comment link]
6. TACit wrote:

Too right, #2:

In 1922 Lenin called a meeting of Marxist intellectuals to study why the Bolshevik Revolution had not spread to the West. According to the major conservative thinker Ralph de Toledano “this meeting was perhaps more harmful to Western civilization than the Bolshevik Revolution itself’”. The two key strategic objectives decided upon at the meeting were:

• Judeo-Christian belief was to be erased by the use of sexual instinct.
• The family and its rights over education were to be eradicated.

These intellectuals moved to Frankfurt becoming known as the ‘Frankfurt School’ and then to the United States…..

(from an article on Anglican Mainstream)

October 20, 6:58 pm | [comment link]
7. TACit wrote:

This interview from last June explains the background and social dynamics of this issue well, from a slightly different perspective, in the first few paragraphs:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/270662/sex-and-empire-state-interview

Kate appears to be on the wrong side of history.  (One hopes NYS is too.)

October 20, 9:21 pm | [comment link]
8. AnglicanFirst wrote:

Amplifying information regarding TACit’s comment (#6.).

I make this comment knowing that the American public has been conditioned to consider even validated and reasoned remarks regarding the subversion of American values and traditions as either ‘fringe lunacy’ or as the fabrications of ‘right-wingers’ and therefore not worthy of recognition, let alone comment. 

I am neither a lunatic nor a right-winger but rather am a well-informed political-military affairs professional who has followed the historical path of radical revolutionaries and their threat to the United States for many years. 

An important part of TACit’s citation is:
“The two key strategic objectives decided upon at the meeting were:

• Judeo-Christian belief was to be erased by the use of sexual instinct.
• The family and its rights over education were to be eradicated.

These intellectuals moved to Frankfurt becoming known as the ‘Frankfurt School’ and then to the United States…..”
is correct.

In fact, this theme was so important to our enemies that it was discussed and acted upon at Soviet Communist Party Congresses during the 1920s and 1930s.

This cited concept led to the establishment of a special section in the NKVD (forerunner of the KGB) during the early 1930s that was specifically tasked with penetration of Western educational institutions and seminaries by Soviet agents trained to ‘blend in’ as ‘ordinary’ students and faculty.  Their goal was/is to weaken the Judeo-Christian underpinnings, traditions and moral values of the the Western nations. 

The United States was seen as a particularly lucrative, vulnerable and strategically important target of this sabotage.

Its all there in writing for those who care to research this matter.

The rest is history.

October 20, 11:25 pm | [comment link]
9. TACit wrote:

That’s very interesting, #7, so I searched a bit online but so far w/r/t the NKVD getting into universities, I have only come up with Mark Zborovsky at Harvard with Margaret Mead in 1950 and then studying at Cornell 1951-54.  Could you suggest where there is more info?

It was the same Frankfurt School actors, I believe, who also set up the European wave of Marxist activism that in 1968 reached Tubingen University where Joseph Ratzinger was theology professor, and in response to which he made the crucial discernment that it was evil and not to be engaged in the campus environment - and moved to Regensburg rather than interact with it.  Years later he publicly debated one of the main proponents, Habermas, on philosophical grounds and came off looking like the brighter of the two.  That this intellectual who also possessed the Christian gift of discernment has teaching authority in the church is a great gift since he can illuminate the connections of social history and theology so well.  Others such as von Balthasar and de Lubac became known in Europe but I’m not sure how accessible they’ve been in English.
Without the moral compass that such rare teachers provided through the morasse of 1960-70s social philosophy and religious inquiry, much of my post-WWII generation such as Kate’s parents simply lost their way, and Kate typifies one sort of results.

October 21, 6:33 am | [comment link]
10. AnglicanFirst wrote:

Reply to TACit (#9.).
You said: ”  Could you suggest where there is more info?”

For starters, I suggest the archival material of the Soviet Party Congresses, particularly those congresses intially forming and implementing policy during the 1920s and 1930s.

I would also recommend information available on the cultural manipulation activities of the NKVD and the KGB and on their penetration of college campus activities during the Vietnam War period.  The latter information can be found in de-classified FBI and CIA reports.  Some of this is electronically avaiable on-line to those who know how to use the appropriate search engines.

I would also look at the archives of the politiocally ‘chic’ oped magazines of the 1920s and 1930s.  Many Americans, some with highly recognizable names, wrote articles supporting or commenting favorably upon the ‘on-coming wave’ of Soviet communism, Italian fascism and German national socialism.

And finally, why not try the archives of Colombia University?  Colombia had a connection with Italian politics during the 1920s and early 1930s until the Soviet Union under Stalin branded German and Italian socialism as heretical.  Even though the congruence in policy, deed and effect of communism, national socialism and fascism is usually indistinguishable.

October 21, 9:05 am | [comment link]
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