J. Richard Singleton
Copyright 2009 by J. Richard Singleton
The father of modern sex-crimes should be Albert Fish. The “sweet elderly man” apparently experimented with every sexual perversion known to man at the time, from pedophilia and necrophilia and cannibalism to inserting needles into his genitals. His home life might have been bizarre, but his parents stayed together and attempted to build a happy home for him.
If we are to put our faith in the speeches of moral men like James Dobson, William Bennett and countless other culture-warriors, divorce must be a leading cause of pedophilia and sex-sadism, which any reasonable person would say would be destroying our society more than homosexuality and pre-marital sex between consenting adults. Their thesis is typically rooted in their belief that America’s no-fault divorce system is the catalyst for the destruction of the nuclear family and opens the door to all kinds of immorality—psychological, political, economical and sociological destruction.
Superficially, it would seem that the rise of divorce is a contributing factor to the rise of crime and the imploding of America. “The Index of Leading Cultural Indexes” compiled by William Bennett’s Empower America uses eight indicators of the health of American culture: average daily TV viewing, SAT scores, illegitimate birth rate, single mother rate, children on welfare, teen suicide rate, violent crime rate and Media prison rate. In 1960, the illegitimate birth rate was 5.3%, 8% of children were raised by single mothers and the violent crime rate was 18/100,000 Americans; in 1990, the illegitimate birth rate was over a quarter of total births and the violent crime rate more than quadrupled (“Quantifying…” pg. 3). This turns on the fact that men like Bennett lump together so many crimes as “crime.” Bennett clumps together robbery with rape and murder, making it all but impossible to examine how divorce correlates with the most serious crimes—or how divorce correlates with a single crime, such as pedophilia—or how divorce can be linked to a psychological condition like sexual sadism. Crimes such as “car-jacking” did not even exist in 1960, but became prevalent in 1990. (This is not to push for the decriminalization of drugs but to observe the flaws in the methodology of tracking crime. America is theoretically based on the premise that the “punishment is supposed to fit the crime”—murder is a capital offense but jaywalking leads to a citation.) Bennett ignores the rise of cocaine—then crack cocaine—and the “War on Drugs,” with the former contributing to the collapse of families and the latter significantly increasing the US prison population. [He, in fact, acknowledges that more people are going to prison but serving shorter sentences, which implies that the penal system was different in the 1980s than previous decades. (“Quantifying… pg. 3)] Bennett does the right thing in only listing violent crime and labeling it as such but the effect of the wave after wave of drugs that came into America through the 1970s and 1980s would augment the prison population, which leads to shorter sentences, which leads to more crime. It is easier to blame the break-up of the nuclear family than the dozens of other factors that lead to criminal behavior—partially because it would be impossible to ever “fix” the nuclear family, especially with most conservatives’ loathing of “big government.”