‘Correlation does not equal causation’ and other rules of logic

Stacy McCain has been hitting it out of the park for the last few weeks with stories about Kaitlyn Hunt, Miriam Weeks (the Duke p-rn star), and ‘radfem’ foibles.  But he’s swinging at balls that aren’t going over the plate in his glee to blame women’s liberation for the decline in American wages:

In the past half-century, the “family wage” system has broken down even as divorce has become widespread and more than 40 percent of children are now born to unmarried women. Are these unrelated phenomena?

Let’s talk about the big reasons why a “family wage” system (defined by McCain as a man’s salary being the sole source of income for his family) has broken down.  First up: illegal immigration and legal immigration from third-world countries.  Ann Coulter’s most recent column explains this is beautiful, succinct detail.  Second, the flow of easy money into the housing market has resulted in skyrocketing housing prices – things that few families can afford without two incomes. Third: the easy flow of federal money into education, which makes it harder for kids to get a cheap degree or get a decent job with a high school diploma. Fourth: the federal and state interference with the health-care market, which has driven up the cost of health care. Fifth: ‘environmentalism,’ which chases good jobs overseas and causes the price of energy to increase.

While these things have gone on longer than they otherwise would have because some families have two wage-earners, the underlying problem isn’t uppity women: it’s insane federal policy that makes it too darn expensive to get out of bed in the morning.  Every woman in the country could quit her job tomorrow, get married, and stay at home with the kids, and we would still have massive economic problems.

Economics aside, there’s also the issue of equating contraception, abortion, and career women. Just as a general point: you don’t need contraception or abortion unless both a man and a woman are involved.  For every contraception-using, abortion-obtaining career woman without a family, there’s a contraceptive-using, pro-abortion career man without a family.  She gets to have a fancy career and get ahead; he gets to use his fancy career money only on himself and not to support a family.  It is disingenuous to suggest that this is a woman problem.

While there are always a few nutjobs out there, most of the career women I know – which includes basically all of my girl friends from Tufts and many of my girl friends from law school – get an education and a career because they believe in ‘a girl being fitted to earn her own living, whether she needs to or not.‘ As many of us find our twenties gone and our thirties upon us, with no husband in sight, we develop careers not because we’re trying to destroy the family unit; rather, no one’s taking care of our adult selves. We care about discrimination in the workplace because we have to support ourselves, pay our bills, and save for our retirements.

It’s not a Marxist conspiracy.  To the extent that the goals of feminists are co-terminal with those of all women, it’s because any woman with her head screwed on straight knows that she might have to earn her own living. The disconnect comes when she needs to, or places that goal higher than those of things she values more.

1 Comment

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One response to “‘Correlation does not equal causation’ and other rules of logic

  1. You seem to be contending against an argument that I did not actually make. Complex causation in human affairs makes it difficult to point to one thing as being the exact cause of another thing. But the trajectory of several trends all turned simultaneously in the mid-1960s, and we can say, quite generally, that liberalism was the cause.

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