On Tuesday’s episode of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” the Daily Wire editor-in-chief talks about a New York Times article that raises the issue of “self-coupling.” Video and partial transcript below:
This is why the culture wars matter so much — I present to you, as Exhibit A in the pitch that the Left is making, this article from yesterday in The New York Times by an associate professor of religious studies at Skidmore College, Bradley Onishi, [who asks], “Could I be my own soulmate?”
Are you your own soulmate? The article describes Emma Watson, the actress, and Lizzo, the rapper and flautist, who are both saying that they are their own One — that they are self-coupling. This religion, Professor Onishi, he says:
For most people, the idea of self-coupling may be jarring, but a closer look might reveal it to be more of an end point of a trend. Marriage rates have been declining steadily since the 1970s. Many of us are “dating” more, but somehow going on fewer dates. Sex is safer and less burdened with shame than in the past, and seemingly more available, but we’re having less of it than we were a generation ago. And despite all these mixed signals, most of us are still looking for The One…
According to Stephanie Coontz, the author of the 2005 book “Marriage: A History,” finding The One used to be about completion. In the 19th century, the rise of the market economy divided the sexes — men into the world of bread-winning work and women into that of unpaid domestic labor. “When these two spheres were brought together in marriage,” Ms. Coontz wrote, “they produced a perfect well-rounded hole.”
That’s ignoring the several thousand years before that, where marriage was actually a pretty congenial relationship.
This approach to partnership, wherein two members of opposite sex complete each other, was essentially religious in origin — “complementarianism,” for the theologians out there — a well-known example being the biblical adage that “two shall become one.” It also recalls Plato’s “Symposium” — one of the earliest purveyors of the soul mate myth — where the comic poet Aristophanes explains that humans were once united in pairs, but were then split into unhappy halves by Zeus…
The ideal of completion hearkens to a time when women were economically and socially dependent on men and marriage was reserved for heterosexual couples. Today, instead of a life-defining relationship, many of us now see partnership as one part of a puzzle that includes a career (which often demands geographic mobility), family, a social life, personal wellness, volunteer work and creative or recreational outlets. A relationship is not the foundation of selfhood, but only a piece.
The redefinition of marriage into one choice among many, just something that you do if you feel like it — the problem is that that may work for a very, I would say very, very limited coterie of people who read The New York Times. It does not work broadly across the United States. But our cultural institutions are all nationalized: Hollywood is nationalized, Netflix is nationalized, The New York Times is nationalized, Facebook is nationalized, and that means that the social bleed over effect, the social trickle-down effect of leftist social policy, which, by the way, is not even engaged in by people at the upper echelons in places like New York and California.
One of the peculiar things you’ll find about Hollywood is the same people who are routinely preaching the virtues of bleeding-edge social leftism — get rid of marriage, have any relationship you want, open marriages, polyamory — those same people tend to get married at higher rates than a lot of people who are actually not living in those areas. They tend not to have kids out of wedlock, particularly a lot, and if they do have kids out of wedlock, they can afford it because they’re very wealthy. Those social messages do not apply equally to everyone.
In other words, just as with every other policy in human life, not all policies affect everybody equally. The fact that folks on the Left seem to think that policies undertaken by liberal elites over at The New York Times or in Hollywood, that those policies affect people in downtrodden economic areas the same way that they do in upper/elite establishments that discarded religion as a social fabric decades ago, just demonstrates a tremendous level of ignorance. Trying to re-shift these definitions of fundamental institutions — that is indeed creating a phenomenon in which the United States is dividing. These [three] phenomena — income inequality rising, the changes in the economy, and the bleed over of social liberalism — this is leading to a toxic brew.
Now, there are people on the Right and the Left who think that the way to fix this is to fix the economic side. The way we’re gonna do this with redistributionism! You’ve got Andrew Yang proposing universal basic income on the Democratic side, or you have people like — as I’ve said — Tucker Carlson talking about regulating out of existence self-driving cars, stopping economic progress, limiting trade, bringing back all these jobs to manufacturing areas, as though that’s ever really going to happen. I have serious doubts about that, considering the technology has basically put a lot of these jobs out of commission.
Then, there is the stuff that is actually in the control of the people who are living today, and that is making the next right decision. The fact is that there are certain factors in your life that are fundamentally going to guarantee [that you] have a better shot at life — finishing high school, not having kids out of wedlock, getting married. These things actually change your life in ways for the better, and the fact that our culture is so focused in on a sort of Marxist materialism, in which if we solve your economic circumstance, that this will solve all of your other problems — this is not right.
Solving the problem of making right and moral decisions that better your life — that is how your life gets better. That means taking seriously the fundamental social institutions that [have] been broken by the Left since the 1960s, focusing on restoring those — because those are things you can do. Not things that you have to wait for some government savior to do — and, by the way, those government saviors ain’t showing up.
Income inequality is breaking out in major blue cities, where they’ve gotten rid of the social institutions and where the ladder to success doesn’t exist even for the underclass in those cities themselves. Forget about red areas versus blue areas — in the cities themselves. You need a restoration of personal responsibility in order to lead to a restoration of the ladder to success that does exist for people who make the best possible decision.