February 17, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Smugly wrong. That about describes John Bolch. He writes piece after piece at the site for the Marilyn Stowe blog and all but invariably simply substitutes the most outrageous and inaccurate claims for known reality. Weirdly, it never seems to occur to Bolch that providing some sort of factual support for his opinions might make them more acceptable to his readers. That’s doubly weird given that the man used to practice law. My experience with law practice was that judges and the law itself always demand evidence in support of legal claims and, if a lawyer doesn’t provide any, that lawyer loses the case. I’ll take a wild guess that it’s the same in the U.K. Of course, now that I think about it, maybe that’s why Bolch no longer practices; the whole “producing evidence” thing is clearly beyond him now and maybe it was then too.

In his most recent embarrassment, Bolch both comes out in favor of fatherless kids and informs readers that, really, British courts would never, never discriminate against a father. His first thesis, as I described yesterday, is that divorce is good for everyone, Mom, Dad and the kids. As I said, his reasoning is straight out of the 1960s when we were told that getting out of a bad marriage would make the adults happier and, with happier adults would come happier children.

[S]urely, children are more likely to thrive if their parents are able to get on with their lives, rather than being trapped in unhappy relationships?

See what I mean? Bolch is content to make that assertion (apparently because he fervently wishes it to be true) and ignore the reality that divorce and single-parenthood are quite the opposite of what he claims. In fact, they’re bad for everyone. Does he know the poverty rate for single mothers? In the U.S., it’s 40%. Does he grasp the fact that the children of those mothers also live in poverty? Does he understand that poverty is one of the strongest predictors of a wide range of personal deficits including poor mental health, poor education, higher likelihood of crime commission and incarceration and continuing poverty? None of that sounds like “thriving” to me, but apparently it does to Bolch.

Has Bolch heard of Daniel Patrick Moynihan? Does he know that Moynihan predicted dire things for black people in this country due directly to the destruction of the black family and the sidelining of black men in their children’s lives? Does he know that essentially every one of those predictions has come true and often in ways more destructive than even Moynihan imagined?

What does Bolch have to say about the mountain of literature on the value of fathers to children and the many, many problems visited on kids who don’t have fathers in their lives? Nothing. He can only be so ignorant of the statistical realities about those kids and so blind to everyday reality as to beggar belief. How else to explain such outright stupidity? Of course he may know the facts and simply oppose the obvious public policies they demand, in which case he’s inexcusably dishonest. I can’t say which it is, but only that a man of the least character would be ashamed to write what he does.

The only excuse Bolch offers up for his opinion that kicking dads out of kids’ lives allows them to “thrive” comes here:

The myth, though, in this ‘golden past’ argument is that back in those rose-tinted days fathers played a greater role in their children’s upbringing. They did not. I grew up in a world where parenting was almost the exclusive preserve of mothers, and fathers only played a peripheral role. For example, despite having three children my father never changed a nappy in his life, and I doubt that many of his contemporaries did either. How times had changed by the time I became a father.

It’s true that, back in the 50s and 60s, fathers did less hands-on childcare and more of the earning of the family’s daily bread than did mothers. But for Bolch, the father who works all day to put a roof over his family’s head and is present to his children as a model of behavior and who does things most fathers do, like play with his children, talk to them, provide them the resources they need to live and grow, teach them “guy things” like how to change the oil in the car or throw a football, etc. is the same to a child as a father the child never sees.

Since Bolch knows essentially nothing about his chosen topic, I’m certain he doesn’t know about the recent research into oxytocin demonstrating that human fathers come neurologically equipped to be the second parent, the backup to Mom. But however we’re wired, kids need fathers, even if they behave like Bolch’s did.

The vast and obvious reality is that kids suffer the loss of a father. The loss of a father is nothing like having a father who works long hours to support his family. Bolch clearly doesn’t know it, but being a mother isn’t the only way to parent a child. Indeed, the different ways men and women tend to approach that job seems to be vital to the proper raising of children.

From being jaw-droppingly ignorant of pertinent facts about his chosen topic, Bolch moves on to being hypocritical about it. After all, as his last sentence quoted above seems to indicate, and actual data corroborate, fathers are indeed doing more of the type of parenting of which Bolch approves, i.e. the mothering kind. So, if he approves of the type of parenting fathers are increasingly performing, surely Bolch must look with concern on the very “crisis of fatherlessness” Andy Cook referred to. But no, to Bolch, the fathers of the time when he was a child were expendable because they didn’t change “nappies,” and so are the fathers of today who do. It’s almost enough to conclude that Bolch is anti-dad.

Once again, Bolch’s astonishing ignorance and stupidity have outlasted my efforts at correction. I’ll finish him off next time.

 

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