My Friends Will Get Married, Have Children and Homes


The Corner links to this USA Today piece on the decline of marriage in Scandinavia with the headline: "Calling Stanley Kurtz."

Yes, by all means, let's forward Stan this article, which adduces a number of highly plausible explanations for the phenomenon—from state social policy that reduces the costs of single motherhood to the ever dwindling rates of religious observance—without resorting at any point to the theory that people are fleeing the institution because it's been tainted by the gays. Maybe he'll even notice (though I'm not holding my breath) that the government's reluctance to promote higher marriage rates has not as yet turned Sweden into a William Butler Yeats poem.

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  1. “per capital (sic) income, education levels, health care and life expectancy in measuring a nation’s well-being. The USA came in eighth”

    sigh. choice of data. choice of data. can’t measure freedom. but you can measure suicide rates. does the un look at that in this measurement? snicker.

    these stories have very little use and are kinda annoying. typical usa today. trying to compare small, homogeneous societies to the us is just about as dumb as the “let’s rethink the decision to go into iraq” battle with the hope of changing someone’s mind.

    yes, these are prosperous societies that really don’t pay as loud lip service to the types of morality we espouse (as a nation), nor do they subscribe to our flavor of the free market. it does not prove anything, except maybe there are no absolutes. and THAT’S sure to bother the pro-bush and pro-kerry crowds.

    and julian, hopefully a fun aside (!), have you ever seen the bit from monopoly (i think varian or mas colell has it) where they looked at the herfindahl index for religion in scandinavia and % church goers? in the us it’s .12 with 43% or so, and in denmark it’s .94 and 03%. and in sweden it’s .71 and 8%. 🙂


  2. Norway’s per-capita income / government coffers are also nicely padded with a crap load of oil lucre.

  3. Overreact, much? Agree or not, Kurtz claimed an association, and his prediction is being born out. It’s just a correlation, but give the man credit for offering a testable hypothesis.

    If the data swing the other way, his critics won’t point to the confounding variables. They’ll call him a moron.

  4. Isn’t this the same Utopia that recently proposed a tax on men simply because they happened to be born male?

  5. All my Swedish friends married late (or have not done so), but have children, long-time relationships, etc. Kurtz, etc., have almost a cult-like fondness for marraige.


    Which Norwegian companies, etc., still have to develop. Norway has built a number of huge off-shore platforms to exploit oil and natural gas. Indeed, it wasn’t exactly poverty stricken before oil and gas were found off its shores.

    ..Kurtz claimed an association, and his prediction is being born out.

    Let’s note that opting not to marry was common in Scadanavia long before anyone thought of gay marraige; if you are going to claim an “association,” it would be helpful if they were temporally consistent.

  6. nathan,

    so norway is the richest of the three scandinavian countries. so what? all three are relatively prosperous and safe. but the other two countries have been able to fund their welfare bloats, um, states just fine. and none of them can hold a candle to luxembourg 🙂

    besides sounding like many danes i know who are jealous of the norwegians’ oil and the swedes’ pop or sports stars, what would their oil have to do with anything?

  7. Gary, drf

    Which Norwegian companies, etc., still have to develop.

    I’m talking less Norwegian “companies” (which are state owned anyway, at least Statoil) but what the Norwegian gov’t pulls down in oil “rents.” (which requires no capital expenditure) My point isn’t that without oil Norway would be some third world slum, but having a large, steady wad of cash filling up the gov’t coffers allows you to be generous with gov’t spending (see Saudi Arabia), be it via a large employer and/or social spending.

    Its akin to comparing a trust fund kid to a blue collar worker.

  8. Nathan,

    I guess its funding their stem-cell research there. 🙂

  9. And it’s another time I get the post title! Although maybe I should admit that I know (and like 🙂 ) obscure ABBA songs.

  10. I fucking swear to god, if you keep linking to NRO, one of these days I’m gonna start spraying bullets.

  11. I always knew the Scandinavians were bastards.

    Who really cares if they are married though. I am kind of agreeing with the Norweigans, why spend the money to get married? What do I get out of it?

  12. Dude,
    Check out it is the funniest shit I have seen in a while. I am guessing that it is done by a bunch of dudes that are seriously bitter about their marriages.

  13. nathan,

    no sale. sweden and denmark have generous welfare and are just as down on marriage. hell, i outta know about that…. 😉

    norway’s oil may have kept her independent from the EU, which i think is a good thing. and they were immune from germany’s and france’s threats back when. of course they got uppity at denmark who promptly beat the piefkes in 1992 and rejected maastricht…

    happy friday,

  14. From TFA –
    “, the state provides maintenance allowances for children (in the event the father does not pay support) ”

    “Here, fathers typically transfer almost all of their time-off to the mothers. . .Scandinavian governments are now considering changing the laws to require men to take more of their share of child leave after the baby is born. ”

    You pay child support in terms of leave? I would like to know more about “dead-beat dads” in Scandinavia.

    “Hanssen says. “Every single war, every single conflict, everything has been based on religion”

    Whew. Guy needs to open a history book.

  15. ” But there’s still a stigma in the USA for women who have a child out of wedlock.”

    There is?

  16. there sure was downstate from here – friend’s sister. there were comments. she ended up going to st louis, but attitudes certainly have changed, in comparison with scandinavia, where nobody cares or even thinks about it, there is somewhat of a difference.

    deadbeat dads isn’t an issue there. i know several couples that had a child, the relationship didn’t work out, and one parent, usually the father, moved on.

    but this is also a society that had on the 1998 newscast of the first public christmas parade in cuba mocking commentary about how “america managed to pollute their ceremony” (when it was an old carib ritual they were dancing at the particular moment) – their closed mindedness abounds in other areas…

  17. What tard wrote the USA Today piece? Am I the
    only one who sees a conflict between these
    statements? Gotta calibrate by bias meter.

    “The government does not think it is their place
    to show people how they are supposed to live”
    “Scandinavian governments are now considering
    changing the laws to require men to take more
    of their share of child leave after the baby
    is born… The other reason is to make men
    more involved in the family life.”

  18. drf

    “there sure was downstate from here – friend’s sister.”

    I was only half-serious. I realize there’s a general blueness, “out of wedlock bad” sort of thing. But frankly I haven’t heard a comment against any particular single mother in years. And I live in Florida, and the Bible Belt’s cinched about as tight as anywhere.

    I suspect that Americans buy the sophisticated Euro meme because so few of them actually know any europeans and don’t know what ignorant assholes so many of them are.

  19. With all due respect, the idea that anyone is “fleeing marriage because it’s been tainted by the gays” is silly to the point of sheer idiocy.

    There are plenty of good reasons that marriage has been in decline for the past 50 years:

    * Originally, the strongest reason to marry was to put on record the husband’s public vow not to abandon any children he might father. Under current law women always have the legal power to enforce this alleged obligation even when no such promise has been made (and even when the woman has lied about birth control to trick the man into getting her pregnant).

    * In many places (especially those where the rate of marriage has fallen the most such as California and Sweden), marriage now imposes severe financial burdens upon the higher-earning partner, such as community property and alimony, regardless of how short a time the marriage lasts or whose fault it is when it breaks up.

    * Marriage is no longer required in most places for sex to be legal, or for someone to be allowed to adopt a child.

    Because of the above listed facts, more and more men quite rightly regard the idea (and any proposal) of marriage with suspicion. Marriage is no longer the balanced deal it was historically; the extreme feminists have stripped all their own obligations (and the man’s rights) out of it while leaving all the man’s obligations, and their own rights, intact.

    In short, the main difference today between a wife and a prostitute is that you can stop paying the prostitute when she decides to stop performing.

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