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Bachelors: Menace to Society or its Salvation?

Reader Mike emails a href=”http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/22098/sec_id/22098″this interesting article /afrom emNew English Review /ementitled, “Bachelorhood And Its Discontents.” This piece is definitely worth reading as it analyzes past and present thoughts on the state of bachelorhood. Some naysayers think that bachelors are a menace to society: br /br /blockquoteEssayist George Gilder thinks so. “The single man in general, compared to others in the population, is poor and neurotic,” writes Gilder in his book a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0812904958?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0812904958″emNaked Nomads: Unmarried Men in America./em/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0812904958″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / “He is disposed to criminality, drugs, and violence. He is irresponsible about his debts, alcoholic, accident prone, and venerally diseased. Unless he can marry, he is often destined to a Hobbsean life–solitary, nasty, brutish and short.”/blockquotebr /br /But others indicate that single men might just be society’s salvation:br /br /blockquote“Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men,” wrote Sir Francis Bacon (not a bachelor, but perhaps wishing he were). /blockquotebr /br /Or perhaps bachelors have the time to discover things that married men can’t:br /br /blockquoteSome years ago a noted Japanese researcher analyzed the biographical data of some 280famous mathematicians, physicists, chemists, and biologists and discovered that all peaked professionally in their twenties, at which point their careers spiraled downward. Married scientists suffered the worst decline in productivity. However, those who never married remained highly productive well into their fifties. “Scientists tend to ‘desist’ from scientific research upon marriage,” the researcher told an interviewer, “just like criminals desist from crime upon marriage.” One theory suggests married men lack an evolutionary reason to continue working hard (i.e., to attract females). Though it likely they similarly lack the prerequisite time and solitude./blockquotebr /br /My guess it that a certain amount of bachelorhood is good for society, too much, maybe is not so good, depending on why men do not want to get married. If it is because men enjoy a solitary lifestyle, are more creative or wish to stay single for positive reasons, perhaps it is good. But if the reasons are that marriage is not a fair and egalitarian situation for men and has fewer rewards than in the past, then perhaps bachelorhood is chosen emout of /emdiscontent for the institution of marriage and the way that married men are treated, rather than discontent with married life per se. This type of discontent may not be good for society, the former, may be fine.