Phi Beta Cons

Marriage and Divorce among the Educated

The parts of Charles Murray’s new book that I have read are thoughtful and important. But regarding how bright people are marrying other bright people and producing more bright people, thus increasing the gap between the upper and lower classes, what about regression to the mean? Bright parents can have average children.

Leaving that aside, however, there seems to be an assumption that if a doctor married a nurse years ago, or a businessman a secretary, or a college professor an elementary-school teacher, or if any educated man married his high-school sweetheart or the girl next door, they were marrying their intellectual inferiors. But as we know, many bright women didn’t seek careers back then; often they were working only until marriage and children, which was to be their major life investment. I’m sure that there were as many bright women in past decades as there are now, some of whom went to college and some of whom did not, and it’s likely that many of them married bright men, producing many of the bright children who are now running the country (badly, I might add). Indeed, such women formed the human capital that Betty Friedan used as a basis to launch feminism, encouraging smart women to believe that that they had been cheated and were entitled to be angry and resentful.

Also, I still question if the marriages of the college educated are so much more stable after the first ten years. I just hear of too many long-standing marriages of educated people going kaput. The remarriage rate might be better than that of the lesser educated, however, giving the impression of more people being married.

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