About Those Six or So Reasons Not To Send Your Daughter to College

fix the familyIf you checked into social media yesterday, you probably came across this article by Raylan Alleman of the idealistically-named apostolate Fix the Family, in which Alleman gives eight reasons why you do wrong to send your daughter to college.  Last I checked, the article had 69k “Likes” on Facebook, most of which I’m dearly, dearly hoping are ironic.

As you may guess, Alleman relies on false assumptions, fallacious reasoning, overgeneralizations, and bad science to buttress his case. He asserts that “girls” go to college to get a degree, not an education, that a woman’s proper place is in the home as a wife and a homeschooling mother, that the grind of work is below her dignity, that “not having a degree frees her to enter into a marriage with proper roles in which her husband will provide for her and their children,” and that affordable insurance can provide for her in the event of her husband’s demise. His concerns: your daughter at college will attract a lazy man who will supplement her income instead of providing for her, she will be a near occasion of sin, she won’t learn to be a wife and mother, she may be swayed from a religious vocation, and a few other horrors you can go and read if you’re so inclined. That a husband might be a shitty individual who deserves to be served divorce papers doesn’t seem to occur to Alleman, but then, in his knightly quest to fix the family, he doesn’t seem to be thinking about real people.

My “favorite” part is where Alleman cites an OB/GYN so he can say this:

[A] woman is naturally very observant of a man’s faults as long as she is in a platonic relationship with him.  Once she becomes sexually active with him, she releases hormones that mask his faults, and she remains in a dreamy state about him.  We can see why God would arrange things in such a way so that when in a proper state of holy matrimony, she would be less sensitive to his faults and thereby less tempted to be critical of him.  But before marriage she should be very sensitive to the complete reality of the man she will enter into a lifetime commitment with.

Wait! There’s a criticism-suppressing hormone, and we working men haven’t manufactured it?  I asked my wife if she knew anything about it, but in her dreamy state, she couldn’t say, replying instead that her absence of any criticism of me had everything to do with my being practically perfect in every way.  “It’s not me, dear. It’s you!”

Jests aside, like me, Alleman is Catholic.  I would hope that outsiders would know that the norms and roles he peddles here are not in keeping with contemporary Catholic thought about sex and gender roles, but that’s probably not a safe assumption, in part because the foundation of his whole outlook–an idea of sexual complementarity–is, in another form, an aspect Catholic ethics and ontology.  In a nutshell, sexual complementarity is the idea that men and women, by virtue of being men and women, each bring something unique to social arrangements.  If you believe that men and women have some differences and that these differences can complement one another at a social level, then you hold to some notion of sexual complementarity.

Alleman derives, based on his understanding of this complementarity, near absolute norms that he believes should almost always restrict the roles and behavior of each sex. From his reading of Scripture and take on his religious tradition, he concludes that men and women generally should marry, men should be providers and women should be homemakers.  Husbands should be dominant and wives submissive.  These social roles do not give men and women equal power and freedom within society, but this inequality is as it should be for it is the proper consequence of how God intended men and women to relate to one another.  They have equal dignity, you see, an equality that makes every inequality and oppression Alleman champions just fine and dandy.

As a sometimes relatively decent Catholic, I’m not going to advise the good people at Fix the Family to jettison their religion, but I will say they ought to fix their hermeneutic approach to Scripture and tradition.  These can be sources of sound practical wisdom, but they can also be the basis for some morally ugly precepts.  Much depends on how you set out to interpret them.  Personally, I would counsel again a rule of “sacred author said X, therefore X.”  As a rule.  And especially if a literalistic reading has you advocating for oppressive social structures.  They don’t become any less oppressive just because you believe God has decreed their existence.

If Raylan Alleman wants to fix the family, whatever that means, then he’s going to have to put aside his fantasy about the ideal family and work to address the real problems that real families face.  Of course, he’d first have to acknowledge these problems, which would be mean acknowledging his contribution to them.

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60 thoughts on “About Those Six or So Reasons Not To Send Your Daughter to College

  1. It’s hilarious to read their insistence that they’re not sexist, backed up by arguments that basically serve as a summary illustration of the essence of sexism.

    She will be in a near occasion of sin. Just think of the environment that college-age students live in. You have a heavy concentration of young people all living together without the supervision of parents at the most sexually charged state of life they will experience. How can one expect that anyone would be able to avoid these temptations, even on a Catholic college campus much less a secular one? So if it is unnecessary for one to be in a near occasion of sin, is it prudent to willingly put oneself there?

    Here’s the thing: the exact same is true of young men at college. The choice is either to keep your children away from college/university, send them to a Christian one, or seek to teach them moral principles and the strength to resist the temptations that come with the university environment. But the existence of increased temptations on campus isn’t a gendered thing.

    God has always given women abilities to bring value and service to their neighbor, which is what people with jobs do. But to distinguish, as Catholics anyway, it was rarely that a wife and mother did this until the last couple of generations, and look at the impact on family life.

    This actually isn’t true. Aside from peasant women working throughout history, in medieval times it wasn’t uncommon for women to work and even to run businesses. The idea that women’s place was in the house while man’s was the workplace only became predominant in Europe in the 1800s (which was also when the separation of ‘work’ and ‘home’ became more distinct than it had been in the days when farming and artisanry were the most common occupations for both men and women).

    Which fits, because Alleman’s views are solidly Victorian (“the day-to-day grind of a job is beneath the dignity of women” is a perfect illustration of the Victorian ideal of the angelic women creating a peaceful home as a place of rest and happiness for husband and children). The modern nature of employment wasn’t the typical state of affairs in Biblical times, and the Bible did not specific a male-work female-homemaking division, so Alleman is representing his own preferences and biases, not the teachings of scripture.

    (The one thing he says that’s true is that homemaking is wrongly denigrated in the modern age. But simply because it’s valuable doesn’t mean that every woman wants or is suited to do it; and on the converse, there can be men who are suited to it and enjoy it.)


    • Something very similar happens with race. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen someone say or write something akin to, “I’m not a racist. I just think that there are real differences between the races and that some races are better at some things than others.”


      • It’s probably existed at least as long as modern racism has. You can go back to 1800s writings and find people saying [paraphrased] “I’m not racist, I just think blacks are better off as slaves.”

        I think at its most basic level it’s because most people see themselves as good people, and they understand that racism and bigotry towards other people is bad, so they have to qualify even the most racist statements with “I’m not racist”. Because if they were racist, they’d be a bad person.


      • I think this is in part because terms tend to be defined by those within the culture of power, so it is advantageous to define a term like racism in a way that is most generous to those people. As such, racism tends to be defined in such a way that it is limited to overt acts of explicit racism and/or using “nigger”. And even then, it doesn’t always qualify. The result is people saying exactly what you’ve quoted here and genuinely thinking it to be free of racism, since ideas, thoughts, systems, and institutions can’t be racist.



    • “Here’s the thing: the exact same is true of young men at college. The choice is either to keep your children away from college/university, send them to a Christian one, or seek to teach them moral principles and the strength to resist the temptations that come with the university environment. But the existence of increased temptations on campus isn’t a gendered thing. ”

      In his ideal world, 90% of colleges would be all male; 10% would be all female.


  2. On the one hand, he (unknowingly) points to an interesting dilemma among somewhat traditional-minded parents with daughters. I mean, there is a tension between the desire that the daughter not be beholden to a man for her life and welfare while at the same time hoping to some degree that they choose particular elements of the traditional lifestyle.

    He points to these things, but I don’t want to give this pile of garbage the legitimacy of having a reasoned discussion about the tensions between modernity and tradition. Not that he would be interested in said discussion anyway.


    • It is not a pile of garbage, just misconceived. People are ‘price takers’ in the society in which they live. Marriage is not a guarantee and your daughter has to earn a living.

      People forget that a quarter of the workforce was female in 1930 and a third was female in 1957. Many of the female population during the former period were farm wives, who are not at a loss for opportunities for honest toil.

      We have a severe problem with a number of things he alludes to – the process of maturation, education, training, not to mention the with the common internal dynamics of domestic life. Our hypertrophied institutions of tertiary schooling are a huge part of that problem, but his is a very bass-ackward way of addressing that.

      It is a surprise he is Catholic. His idiom is evangelical.


      • It’s not a pile of garbage only in the sense that you might call a pile of garbage a “misconceived” basket of groceries.

        The fact that there are indeed problems with the present state of higher education doesn’t mean that Alleman’s argument has any real merit. This sort of reactionary pap isn’t even interesting anymore, unless you’re the kind of person who believes that the excesses of feminism justify an equally excessive and equally daft traditionalist response.


      • The ‘merit’ is in there, but it is buried under a great deal of chaff and his approach to the subject is scattershot and rhetorically a disaster. The ‘merit’ is in raising the question of what it means to come into your own in this world, what it means to be married to someone – in particular what it means to be someone’s wife, and what the value might be of the higher education colossus (which we managed to do without prior to about 1945).

        You can see some problems as pointed out above. The common themes in the division of labor between men and women work themselves out in the context of available technology. As recently as 1870, the majority of the population was agrarian. You do not have many farm wives any more. Even during the Depression, housewifery was often labor intensive in ways it will never be again. The Catholic communicant faces the question of how to adapt to phenomena like that while respecting certain categorical imperatives. You have some Catholic households with a large brood of kids, so the mother is quite busy, but most people are not particularly fecund even in the course of respecting certain norms. Quebec prior to 1960 had a total fertility rate of 4.0 children per woman per lifetime.


      • The common themes in the division of labor between men and women work themselves out …

        Exactly. So why the reactionary need to assert one specific division of labor as essential and immutable?

        Because ultimately, this isn’t about helping people find the arrangements and the relationships that work best for them. It’s about asserting power over people and pushing them into a specific set of relationships.


      • The ‘merit’ is in raising the question of what it means to come into your own in this world, what it means to be married to someone – in particular what it means to be someone’s wife

        Why “in particular what it means to be someone’s wife”? How is this a more particular question than what it means to be someone’s spouse, generally, or husband?

        and what the value might be of the higher education colossus (which we managed to do without prior to about 1945).

        We also managed to do without the microwave oven, the transistor, credit cards, fiber optics, the laser, the modern computer, every programming language, the Internet, supersonic flight, space flight, the microchip, handheld calculators, personal computers, mobile phones… oh, I’m already tired. Many of them draw their patents more or less directly from the system of higher education we have (or, imported foreigners who came from their country’s university system).

        If you want to write a critique of the higher education, Art, submit a guest post. If you have a specific criticism, spell it out.

        “It’s big” isn’t exactly even an interesting observation.


      • Patrick, you’ve only got 24 hours in a day, no different than in 1930. Life expectancy has improved, but the bulk of that is due to declines in infant and early childhood mortality. For someone who has managed to reach adolescence and certainly for someone who has managed to reach young adulthood, you have not had vast increases in your store of available time. We have invested a whole lot of it in secondary and tertiary schooling. So what do we get.

        You take away farm chores, but the academic schedule for primary and secondary schooling is unaltered. You extend people’s formal schooling from the eight or nine years that was modal in the 1920s to 13 years and then begin adding on escalating quanta of tertiary schooling, but you fill that time mostly with half-assed liberal education in lieu of apprenticeships. Oh, and per the Presdient, ‘college’ (baccalaureate programs) should be universal and per the Democratic candidate for Mayor of New York, pre-kindergarten should be universal.

        And, of course, human anatomy and physiology is largely unaltered. We delay entry to adult responsibility even as the young are rutting on each other at earlier ages (and quaffing street drugs and imbibing). It is perverse.


      • If you want to write a critique of the higher education, Art, submit a guest post. If you have a specific criticism, spell it out.

        I am not having ex parte communicaitons with any of you.

        You really do not need me to spell it out.

        1. You have subsidy driven cost escalation
        2. Academic advising is non-existent
        3. About 30% of student’s time is frittered away on distribution requirements.
        4. There are no core programs worthy of the name anywhere (not that you should have them).
        5. Course scheduling is at the convenience of the professor.
        6. You have had a secular decline in the quantum of instruction due to declines in the length of the academic year and to standard loads.

        The implications of points 3, 4, and 5: the baccalaureate degree is crock. Have one, two, three, and four year programs studying one subject, and commit to an academic year of 500 hours of lectures and examinations.

        Another crock is the ‘master’s degree’, modally a 14 course program in an unrelated subject for which the screen is possession of the baccalaureate degree.

        While we are at it, look at some of our obtrusive vocational programs: the teacher training programs (see Thomas Sowell and Michelle Ker), social work programs (see Brewer and Lait, or look at some course lists); or less obtrusive ones like library administration (consult some wage earners who have worked in libraries, or consult some honest librarians, or consult The Annoyed Librarian blog). Have you noticed also the tribble-like multiplication of management programs (“Health Resources Management”).

        And, of course, there is the investment of scarce resources in academic programs with hardly any students enrolled. I worked at one institution that had dedicated prime space devoted to a “Center for Women Studies” along with a program with 38 corresponding faculty. They averaged two (2) majors per graduating class. They had dedicated building for ethnic studies programs (though with fewer corresponding faculty), even though fewer than six persons per class followed any such course. Some time ago I saw a quotation regarding the womens’ studies program at Yale University – as richly funded as the economics department, with one-hundredth the number of students.

        The victimology programs are easy targets, but you also have investment in conventional programs that do not develop a base in the student body. With humanities programs, this is not a terrible problem, but natural science programs have high overhead. Not every school should have a physics department or a neuroscience program.


      • If you want to write a critique of the higher education, Art, submit a guest post. If you have a specific criticism, spell it out.

        I am not having ex parte communicaitons with any of you.

        Why exactly are you here, Art?

        I ask that sincerely. You don’t seem interested in having actual conversations about hard topics. You’re not interested in sourcing the claims that you make (I’ll note, I found many of the claims you made to be rather broad and contradicted by very brief research on my part, but if you’re not interested in actually engaging, it’s not worth my while to refute the claims you make).

        Basically, you show up here, you make a bunch of broad or sweeping claims, throwing up a framework for something that might be an argument, but when you’re challenged to fill in the gaps, or justify what you’re saying with anything resembling evidence, you say something to the effect of “that’s not why I’m here”.

        So, uh, why are you here?


      • I am here to have a discussion. I am not here to exchange e-mail with “Dave” or “BlaiseP” or any of the rest of you. I am here to discuss issues. I am not here to discuss myself or my household (except for some off-hand references as you see above), or really, anyone else.

        Your general characterization of my posts is tripe, of course, most particularly the notion encoded therein that I am somehow diminishing the mean quality of the discussion. I am not, of course, just raising matters you all have a habit of ignoring.


      • I am here to have a discussion.

        See, I don’t believe that. Here:

        For someone who has managed to reach adolescence and certainly for someone who has managed to reach young adulthood, you have not had vast increases in your store of available time

        This does not match the data I found with just a few minutes of googling. Yes, much of the life expectancy at birth is due to infant mortality. However, life expectancy at age 25 has been increasing since 1930. Life expectancy at 65 has been increasing. You are less likely to be afflicted with chronic or debilitating injuries at age 65. You know, that whole “Social Security is in trouble” argument that you’ve used, here, before, is contingent on people living longer, right?

        You really do not need me to spell it out.

        1. You have subsidy driven cost escalation

        We have subsidy driven everything. Providing subsidies does increase cost, yeah, sure, it also increases availability. To the extent that this is a desirable or non-desirable trade-off, you have to explain why.

        2. Academic advising is non-existent

        Far too general a statement to be anything other than opinion. What do you mean by this?

        3. About 30% of student’s time is frittered away on distribution requirements.
        4. There are no core programs worthy of the name anywhere (not that you should have them).

        You’re saying that Stanford doesn’t provide a decent introduction to the classics to their undergraduates as part of the English requirements? On what basis to you make this claim?

        5. Course scheduling is at the convenience of the professor.

        This got a laugh. I don’t think you know much about how the back-end of most universities works.

        6. You have had a secular decline in the quantum of instruction due to declines in the length of the academic year and to standard loads.

        This is just word salad. If declines in the length of the academic year are a problem, then, uh, fund longer school years? Oh, but that increases the subsidy, so you’re not okay with that.

        What’s your actual proposal, Art?

        That’s not an argument, Art, that’s a list of assertions. Essentially a lot of negative assertions without proposing anything as an alternative. “This sucks, because I say so” is a boring game. Tell me why it sucks, and tell me how to change it so that it doesn’t suck any more.

        Put your neck out there. Make a proposal.


      • Those distribution-of-studies courses are where the rounded education (if there is going to be any) takes place. The rest is career training. Now, there are a lot of problems with those courses. They used to revolve around a core curriculum, but teachers would rather teach their field of specialization, so you find dumbed-down versions of esoteric subjects instead of legitimate “Intro To’s”. Everyone on campus knows which ones are the easy A’s, and they plan their coursework around them.

        I’d love to see a return to a core curriculum. I have my problems with Great Books programs – I’ve never heard of a school that offers them along with top-notch career-training type majors. I don’t think the average student is interested in four years of Chaucer and Hegel. But a mandatory 21 or 30 credits of it would be a tremendous thing.


      • I just clicked on Syracuse’s core curriculum. I’ve never studied there, and there may be some subtleties that I missed on a quick scan, but it seemed like you had to take a few classes each within broad academic areas: writing, math, what used to be called social studies, et cetera. It looked like you could get through the whole thing without ever reading Aristotle, Shakespeare, Genesis, John, Dante, Sun Tzu, Marx, Descartes, or Darwin. And the thing is, I could come up with a slightly longer list, maybe 15 or so, of essential reads that form the sourcebook of world culture, and if you had someone else come up with a list, they’d overlap 80%. These are the Things That Are Quoted More Than The Simpsons, if they need a title. Not the life reading list, but the basics. That’s what I’m looking for.


      • Core curricula are unusual and valuable ones are unknown. What you usually have is one of two things:

        1. Requirements that you take a minima of courses in various arts and sciences divisions, language requirements, and ‘upper level writing requirements’.

        2. Synthetic courses, often assembled according to the avocational interests of professors. I’ve seen some scandals here. (But maybe I just imagined it because I know nothing about how the back end of higher education works, or something like that).

        3. Both.

        Having youngsters on their own dime schlepping about taking a haphazard selection of courses is a suboptimal use of their time and everyone else’s, which is why Allan Bloom advocated reducing baccalaureate education to two years. It is just padding.

        Bloom was an advocate of the philosophy department, who at least trade in discussion that might plausibly aspire to improve your performance. Mathematics and statistics faculties can also equip you with tools useful for other disciplines. Even history surveys might be helpful. I am afraid two semesters of French amounts to…two semesters of French.


      • If I can throw in my two cents as someone in the business (although keep in mind I’m in the private 4 year college sector, so some of what I say may not be universally applivable).

        2. Academic advising is non-existent
        Not true, at least not universally. Community colleges normally employ full time academic advisers, and at my type of college every student has an academic adviser and their registration is not finalized until the adviser approves it. I have less experience with the big public universities shows that U. Mich. has an academic advising office. I can’t say how many students take advantage of it, but clearly it does exist.

        3. About 30% of student’s time is frittered away on distribution requirements.
        These distribution requirements are part of a well-rounded education, asvopposed to a purely pre-professional program. And a well-rounded education is mot just a nuce ideal, but good career preparation. Look at what employers want in college graduates. Most of these attributes are developed by those distributional courses.

        4. There are no core programs worthy of the name anywhere (not that you should have them).
        Maybe I misunderstand, but this seems to conflict with the prior complaint.

        5. Course scheduling is at the convenience of the professor.
        To the extent We can get away with it, yes, because like anyone we’re self-interested creatures (e.g., I avoid 8 am classes because I need to drop daughter 3 off at school at 8:15). But I don’t have anything like complete control. My department has to make sure we don’t schedule certain classes on top of each other, because students may want to take both, and we have to ensure our distributional courses are offered at a variety of times so that students who are blocked out of one schedule block can get into a course in a different schedule block. This problem is exacerbated in science and art classes, where certain classes cannot be offered during lab/studio times. A 1:00-5:00 Thursday afternoon lab actually blocks off a Tu/Th or a MWRF afternoon schedule block. And of course two science/art profs cannot teach in the same lab/studio at the same time.

        And, as another example, my Career Seminar course has to be offered in the evening so I can bring in guest speakers. So I miss a dinner with my family each week, and since it overlaps with my daughter’s swim season, I inevitably miss a couple of her meets, even though I choose the weeknight with the least conflicts.

        I’m not whining, mind. I have more control over my work schedule than most people in the world, and that’s a huge perk. But we’re not as much free agents as it might appear, and in fact a friend of mine in our Bio department who was hired at the same time as me has never been able to set his course times. Because of labs, their scheduling is complex, so they stick to a structure devised many years ago, because it minimizes time conflicts.


      • Art,
        I like Grimm. Maybe you don’t. But if we can get a full-fledged television series (Creative Art!) out of a single distributional requirement for a physics major, I think it pays for a HELL of a lot of folks sitting through “Intro to Philosophy”…


      • Pinky:

        I just peeked at Syracuse’s core curriculum over the weekend (it’s a little labyrinthine) and I see plenty of options there, including classes that would teach the classics. So it’s clearly possible to get a “traditional” classical education. Indeed, based upon scheduling, it might be impossible to avoid some or all of it.

        It looked like you could get through the whole thing without ever reading Aristotle, Shakespeare, Genesis, John, Dante, Sun Tzu, Marx, Descartes, or Darwin.

        Honestly, I don’t know that you need to read Dante’s Inferno unless your area of study is steeped in Christianity. Aristotle I can get on board with, as well as the Bard, but why Genesis and John are on there (I’m assuming you mean the Gospel of) in a secular education is weird. Marx could be useful, Darwin would be confusing because much of his work is now known to be incomplete or misleading or outright wrong (I mean, we can read Aristotle’s Politics, but Physics would be a laughable waste of time for anyone not interested in a thorough history of science).

        Is your objection that you *could* get through the core without reading your list?

        My father’s father thought that any classical education that didn’t include Latin and Ancient Greek was garbage, because of course you needed to read Cicero in the original Latin to really get it.

        I don’t know that this is as much a reflection of a dumbing-down of higher education as it is a change in default priorities.


    • I think those schools specialize in liberal arts rather than in ‘mechanical arts’ – education for leisure. One thing he neglects is that about 40% of those attending baccalaureate granting institutions are studying arts and sciences or fine and performing arts. Their schooling is a signal to potential employers about their general intelligence or trainability. Another tenth are enrolled in teacher-training programs; these aside, the most thickly populated vocational programs are nursing and business. Teacher-training and nursing are conventionally female and certainly trade-programs (though not professional programs) in business have had a large feminine contingent since the early 20th century.


      • 66 percent of Vassar’s new freshman class come from public school. The number was similar when I attended Vassar from 1998-2002.

        The idea that most of these students are still from the upper-classes and don’t need to work for a living is laughable. Most do work and at fairly normal office jobs, careers, and professions.


      • I was referring to the content of their schooling, not their social background. The fellow referenced was insisting that their education was for employment. In a way, it is, thought tertiary schooling in arts and sciences is a hopelessly cumbersome way of accomplishing job market signalling. A large minority of those attending college are not in specifically vocational programs and many that are are in programs that train for conventionally feminine occupations. He does not really get that.

        Re Vassar. The patriciate are invariably a small segment of the population and Sydney Biddle Barrows will amiably tell you they often were skeptical of tertiary schooling for their daughters as late as 1970. I will wager you would have found a great many bourgeois girls at the seven sisters colleges, ca. 1950. A brief personal anecdote was offered me by a seven sisters graduate 30-some odd years ago. She was nonplussed by the affluence of college students of the 1970s. She told me she had in 1948 moved into a dormitory with three-dozen other girls and she said there was one (1) who had brought a record-player with her.


  3. I am a pretty big fan of sexual complementarity. It’s comparative advantage and it makes sense. One of the reasons that I get turned off to progressive feminism is the focus on “equality” in the most rote and mechanical sense of splitting all chores and tasks evenly.

    Of course, I’m not a conservative either, so the idea that there are immutable natural gender roles that we have to enforce is just absurd. If they are immutable and natural, why do we even have to try to enforce them?

    Sexual complementarity is a good thing, but I’m more than content to let couples work out for themselves how they best complement each other.


    • This is more or less what I believe. I don’t think men and women are or need to be identical in terms of their preferences (and thus more men than women in a given career path, or vice versa, isn’t always indicative of a problem that needs solving – this is where I too part ways with the feminist movement.). But people also don’t fit into neat little boxes associated with their gender, and society shouldn’t push the idea that women “ought” to fill certain roles and men “ought” to fill others.


    • Comparative advantage is a very important concept, as is the related concept of specialisation. Of course there are a near-infinite number of dimensions across which people can complement each other, and I think for not-very-good historical reasons the masculine and feminine get much more attention in this regard than they deserve.


  4. The frustrating thing about Alleman’s article is that I agree with about a third of it. Considering I’m a conservative Catholic, I should be agreeing with about 80% of what he writes.

    It is true that we overvalue college. The current equation of college with education is ridiculous. College is overpriced, as well. No argument there. And if a woman intends to get married, it’s not necessary for her to attend college, maybe.

    As for the rest, it’s just wrong. Women are not delicate things that will collapse when exposed to college life, at least no more than men are. You should be raising both sexes to handle exposure to the outside world. Parents are not delicate things who will go on a sinning spree if forced to pay for their children’s college. There are financing options available, including letting the kids work their way through school. I mean, when did that cease to be an option? And again, if you’re not raising your daughters to look for the right qualities in a man, you’ve got bigger worries than their collegiate aspirations. No, it’s just a weird, messed-up article.


    • While we are on the subject, it once was the case that residential colleges were governed under principles of in loco parentis. A man of my acquaintance who was present at the University of Alabama wrote that these disappeared quite rapidly during the period running from 1966 to 1970.


      An ancestor of mine had about five years in a rural school house over and above farm chores, then about six months with a tutor, then commenced an apprenticeship as a tutor. One was introduced to personal responsibility for self-support co-incident with adolescence. We have spent decades making for ever more elongated nonage while at the same time removing administered constraints on sexual expression as well as truncating and distorting one-to-one relationships across the generations.

      In Rebel without a Cause, you saw social pathology which made itself manifest when maturation was suppressed. You had this wretched dynamic between adolescents without any serious work responsibilities and without any serious vocational training and with a mix of failures and abdications in adult supervision.

      Now add to that the repulsiveness of the contemporary residential college – debt financing for haphazard education of ill-supervised adolescents getting plastered and having ill-considered sexual encounters.

      Yes, there are some serious problems with this system.


    • Women are not delicate things that will collapse when exposed to college life, at least no more than men are. You should be raising both sexes to handle exposure to the outside world.

      They need to be able to handle work places and to be able to take care of their mundane business. They absolutely do not need to be able to ‘handle’ exposure to fraternity bacchanals.


  5. What bugs me are the inconsistent and almost certainly wrong assumptions about moral agency, of both men and women. Women are moral agents when they are exposed to sex, but they’re also the victims of uncontrollable sexual urges when exposed to sexual opportunity. Providing an education for your daughter is a failure of a parent’s moral agency. A man’s moral agency with respect to sex and sexual autonomy is irrelevant.

    Does not compute. Does not compute. Does not compute.


      • It seems to me that the old system of men being “honorable” and women being chaste was, necessarily, a self contradicting one. If men were not pressured to be chaste (and goodness knows they were flat out encouraged not to be) then that implicitly accepts that some form of woman underclass was needed to be debauched to provide an outlet for the “harmless fun” of the honorable men kicking up their heels on their time off (same sex outlets, of course, were verboten. Homosexual rights is the offspring of w omens rights; if you undo latter the former will falter).

        Similarly if the only primary virtue women were to was to be chaste then you suffered what our past society historically produced: terrified or frigid women who were either traumatized in bed by their uncommunicative husbands or who regretfully tolerated their new husbands beastly urges and were avoided by their husbands as much as practical while they slaked their desires on their mistresses and prostitutes.

        Frankly the idea of letting these antediluvian concepts revive and returning to that horrific world: men as simultaneously slavering brutes preying and pursuing unrelated women while at the same time playing stern watchmen on the virtue of their female relatives; women as at best either imprisoned terrified Madonna’s or hateful sexless shrews or, at worse, unrespectable and unrespected whores and playthings for the men of the world is repulsive to me.

        And that’s without even going into the crushed, deceptive and imprisoned hellish role that such a world would offer for men of my own nature. How any man who has ever cared a jot for a woman a moment in his life could desire such a thing is beyond me.


      • Have a talk with Patrick. His complaint is that I make a great many ‘sweeping’ statements without evidentiary support, etc.

        “Men were not encouraged to be..” bla bla. I have a suspicion you have confounded the off-stage practice period running from about 1940 to 1970 (or, perhaps, 1920 to 1970), a time of mass military service, with the occidental baseline. Certainly in the Calvinist world my grandparents grew up in, unmarried men were expected to keep their pants zipped and confine their imbibing to occasional binges, and my mother would have happily told you the small town Scotch-Irish upbringing her mother had was much more laconic (though reticent) about sexual matters than the urban Irish Catholic culture in which her mother-in-law was reared.


      • Certainly in the Calvinist world my grandparents grew up in, unmarried men were expected to keep their pants zipped and confine their imbibing to occasional binges

        Can you supply a specific time frame where this occurred? Which decade?


      • Does it occur to you that people might have a different emphasis with their sons than with their daughters, as in ‘honor’ as understood as manifest in bravery v. ‘honor’ as understood as manifest in chastity?

        No, it does not. However, the possibility that a parent doing so risks doing a disservice to both sons and daughters does occur to me.

        A. Bravery and chastity does not represent an either-or choice. Bravery and chastity are important for both boys and girls, and for fundamentally the same reasons. Girls potentially carry a heavier physical burden resulting from unchaste behavior, but their moral and financial burden is, or at least ought to be, equal. So in the arena of moral agency, I see no reason to emphasize the values of honor, bravery, and chastity differently for boy-children than for girl-children. (I did not understand Art to directly suggest that it was such as his challenge explicitly included the concept of emphasis rather than exclusive selection. Nevertheless, framing the breakdown of honor as a prioritization of multiple goods, such as bravery and chastity, necessarily implies a situation in which an either-or choice must be made.)

        B. Chastity and bravery are, at best, an incomplete list of the ingredients of honor. Other virtues of honor — for example integrity, generosity, and industry — are important for raising both for honorable boys as well as honorable girls. I might venture to posit that of these, integrity is probably the most important, for both boys and girls, if the desired end state is an adult who can be described as “honorable,” and one of any sex may possess substantial integrity while also being neither chaste nor (physically) brave.

        C. Chastity as a virtue of honor is overrated. Some among us may have resisted unchaste urges as young people, but most do not. This tells us little of importance about the honor of the person in question, particularly later in life. Those among us who chose to remain chaste as teenagers or young adults are not appreciably more honorable than those of us who indulged. Far more important to a person’s honor are the exercise of skills such as good judgment, restraint, loyalty, and foresight when confronted by sexually-charged situations.

        An aside to point C: Chastity as a facet of prudence, rather than a facet of honor, has something to recommend it. But prudence is not the same thing as honor — and especially if we define bravery as a facet of honorable behavior (as Art’s challenge does), then prudence may be a directly competing good to honor in some situations. The lines between bravery and foolhardiness on the one hand, and prudence and timidity on the other hand represent blurry and inexact transitions from theory to practice.


      • Burt, I am not sure what the point of all the verbiage is. I can render the question simpler: why does it surprise you people emphasize different things in the education of their daughters than they do with regard to their sons, and understand what it means to come into one’s own differently? You seem to have a long complaint about other people’s convictions, but that is not the sort of thing you can address well in a comment.


      • Art Deco, I suspect that men’s chastity was honored more in the breech than in actuality during the late 19th and early 20th century. This was the age of the saloon and the vice district in major cities like the Tenderloin in NYC, the Levy in Chicago, Storyville in NOLA, etc. It was also a time when a relatively high percentage of men did not marry. The culture that encouraged male chastity certainly existed but it was a minority culture even at the time among White Protestant Americans.

        Here is a good book about male culture during the time period:


        North was right, the assumption that women were supposed to be chase and men not created all sorts of problems like some really bad marriages.


      • I’ve thought long and hard about what to say on this post, ignored as much as I could, but brought it in to focus, and I know how to respond.

        First off, I commend so many of you here, for understanding that a girl’s rights are the same as rights. I’m very, very proud of you. Thank you.

        But here:

        Does it occur to you that people might have a different emphasis with their sons than with their daughters, as in ‘honor’ as understood as manifest in bravery v. ‘honor’ as understood as manifest in chastity?

        Because ArtDeco completely nails it. I’m proud of him for seeing this.

        I think there’s a whole lot of projection going on choosing these things to emphasize when we think of honor. There’s the presumption that honor in bravery, meaning being willing to lay your life down to protect her, a spectacular thing. I know my husband feels that way about me. I know, with my whole being. My sons would do this for me, too.

        But this is only part of bravery. It’s also bravery to go out in the world, to act upon it. And part of that is dishonoring other women; ’cause guys don’t have the honor of chastity, they need to be brave. I submit that this man, who claims to want to protect the honor of women, needs to do so because of the dishonor of men. He might imagine himself at a college, with all those tempting women about. I’m going to imagine him with two college-age children, a boy and a girl. He needs to make sure his son is brave, his daughter chaste.

        I suspect he expects his son, off to college, will get lucky at college, and perhaps this man has a thrill of pride at the thought of his son proving his manliness. I know my husband felt this a little bit when he realized our kids were sexually active. But there’s an aspect of this that’s dangerous.

        Because without the standard of honor meaning chaste for his son, too, then by his standards, his son is a bit of a predator when he gets lucky. In fact, I’d wonder if some of the ‘bravery’ expected of a son is the bravery to ask a woman out; to date, to prove that manliness.

        If I were him, I’d hope there are other chaste daughters, as a buffer against that temptation. I want my sons to meet good women, women they have a hope of building a happy future with. Women they can be good friends with.

        But most of all, he fails to comprehend the bravery of his daughter in a world filled with so many predators.


      • Because without the standard of honor meaning chaste for his son, too, then by his standards, his son is a bit of a predator when he gets lucky.

        The idea seems to be that a son sowing his oats is a right of passage, something to take pride in, or something natural and inevitable, whereas a daughter needs to have her virtue protected. From what? From other people’s sons, of course. But that’s crap, on every level, not the least of which is a logic which sanctions or even encourages a set of values which requires the violation of another person’s “virtue” to be realized.

        I’ve given some thought to Art’s position here, since it’s pretty close to a view that I think is defensible, but I’m unable to square the two views. If he threw in an emphasis on young men’s responsibilities here, it might be easier.


      • zic, the problem with honor that Art Deco talks about is that its impossible to square this with feminism and actually harms woman more than it helps them. At its most extreme form you get the concept of the honor-killing, which we really do not want. In its least harmful form you still get a lot of negative baggage that forces both genders into roles that many individual members of those genders find chaffing.

        Using a personal example, gentleness is important to me. Its something that strive for. Under the traditional form of manly honor, being gentle was simply not an option. I’d rather live under a system that allowed me to be gentle rather than forced me into the role of violent protector.


      • I agree. I taught my sons to be like that, too.

        But ArtDeco seemingly values (or speaks to represent people who espouse values) of honor equating to bravery for boys and chastity for girls. As someone who’s been married, and faithful, too, for 33 years, (isn’t that how old you are?) I value some things similarly, but I wouldn’t blindly label them bravery for boys and chastity for girls. I value my husband’s wish to protect me. He values my faith. But I value my husband’s faith, and we both want our children to find people they love, who will honor them, who will be faithful to them, and we want our children to honor and be faithful. Squirreling the women away so the boys can play rather defeats the goal of honor; not to mention the rights of those hidden-away women, and the rights of my sons to be treated like the good men I expect them to be.


      • Art, I’d be referring to a period of time running from the dawn of human history (or before) to up to near the modern world. Men have been wanting to get laid and encouraging each other to try to get laid and competing to each other to try to get laid and thinking up inventive ways to try and get laid (see: almost all of the arts, probably half of economics and probably about half of sociology). Prostitution is one of the oldest occupations in the world. Your base assumption logically requires that women be trapped in this maiden/whore dichotomy that all the rest of my “blah blah” talked about.


      • Art,
        You’re seriously trying to lie through your teeth and say that Scotch Irish folk confined their drinking to periodic binges?
        Hahaha. I have the marketplace to call you liar on that point.

        Scotch Irish were considered the lowest of the low, and not to be hired for industrial anything because they’d get so damn drunk they’d forget to show up to work the Next Monday, and indeed would not come back to work until they were dead broke.

        There’s a reason that dry counties tend to be Scotch Irish, to this day.

        And there’s a reason that women tried harder than hell to hide enough money to feed their family from their husbands, who would otherwise spend every cent.


    • Is it that boys are falling behind or that boys from traditionally non-college bound families aren’t going to college while their sisters are? In my social set, every boy and girl was expected to go to college and did go to college. The main problem seems to be that in the social set that would have gone into blue collar work like manufacturing is having trouble getting their boys to go to college but a relatively easy time getting their girls to go.


  6. I would like to add one more thing. Before I argue the points of the article I would like to take a step back and examine the premise.

    As I said to my wife, I only need one reason not to send my daughter to college: I have no right to send and adult woman anywhere whether she is my daughter or not. The entire article is built upon the premise that women’s behavior is controlled by someone else. (The implication being that daughters are directed by parents; by extension with the man being the person in charge of the parental relationship, the the daughter is directed by the father. Don’t get me started about the husband/wife relationship that this guy describes.)

    I am about to become a father of a baby girl. If by the time she is old enough to consider going to college and she is not capable of evaluating her own circumstances and determining what is in her best interest then I will have to seriously reexamine my role as a parent in her life. If I can’t trust her to make sound decisions for herself when she is preparing for college, what does that mean for the rest of her adult life?

    As I believe it is my role to love, cherish, and protect my daughter it is also my role to teach her how to be an independent thinker, to support her in her decisions provided they do not pose an unreasonable risk to herself or to others, and to allow her to take chances and make mistakes. This is how we as human beings learn and grow. My goal as a parent is to raise a child into an adult who is independent, critically thinking, and capable of giving more to society than she takes. (None of those goals change with the gender of the child, BTW.)

    When it is time, if she wants to go to college, who am I to tell her no; if she doesn’t, who am I to tell her she must. Let us not confuse the way we treat our pets with the way we treat our children.


    Annex: The same reasoning can be applied to the entire web site. “Fix the Family”? I feel a little dirty just for reading the article because I have inadvertently bought into the premise that the family is somehow broken and that some guy who just happens to own an internet domain name is some sort of qualified “family mechanic” who can tighten a belt here and adjust a bolt there to get my family humming along like it is fresh from the factory.

    I broke one of my own rules: Don’t give legitimacy to false premises by arguing the implications of logically applying false preconditions.

    Allow me to demonstrate with an example. People die in car crashes, therefore we should outlaw cars. (At this point I roll out statistics about how many people die in car crashes and about how expensive they are to operate and maintain, how damaging the production and operation of cars is to the environment, etc…) Any counter argument you pose does not change my underlying premise (people die in car crashes) and my conclusion (cars should be outlawed). You can talk about economic benefit of having relatively cheap transportation, but people still get killed in car crashes. You could talk about the low rate that people are actually killed in car crashes, but low rate is not zero. No counter argument will convince me because my logic is too simple to account for it.

    This technique is popular in politics and used on the right (government can do nothing right) and on the left (government is the only way to help). It is a red flag that something is missing. The only way that these types of arguments can stand up is if either counter evidence is ignored or supportive evidence is fabricated. It is an excellent technique for convincing people to side against their own best interest. If you can convince someone of the validity of the false premise without question, then they will often follow the line of reasoning wherever it leads, even if it is damaging to their own position in the long run.

    Along with Mr. Cupp, most of the commenters of this post, and most of the commenters (by my very rough estimation) of the original post, I find myself is stark disagreement to the conclusions that Mr. Alleman has drawn on this subject. That is an understatement, my wife (who sent me a link to Mt. Alleman’s article as a bit of a joke) was actually shocked with how angrily I reacted to this line of crap (not to mention that I almost never respond with comments like this one). And it is important that people stand up to these messages (thank you to Mr. Cupp and all who have commented). Yet, please don’t get bogged down in the mundane tactical fight while simultaneously ceding the strategic high ground by blithely accepting the false underlying premises. Don’t allow these fights to happen on the opponents terms, bring them to you. Make them defend not only their conclusions, but their entire chain of logic. In that argument is where the charlatan is exposed.

    Thanks for sticking with me to the end. :o)



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