The Evils Of Divorce

A while back Eric wrote a bit on divorce with the theme that state involvement with personal matters is a bad idea. I had a few comments on the subject but nothing worth a blog post.

I now have something I'd like to say. And it came about because Instapundit linked to this video about a boy whose parents divorced and who subsequently got into drugs and then died of an overdose. I think you can get the gist of the video from watching the first 5 or 6 minutes. I couldn't stand watching any more.

I want to start off with a review of Henry Granju's drug use. Why was he a drug user? Consider what follows informed speculation.

People take pain relievers to relieve pain. Under any rational regime we would be looking to fix the pain and consider the drugs symptomatic rather than causative. For "addicts" the pain is in the brain. And some how if the pain is in the brain we do not consider it "real". But the user has no interest in right or wrong pain. Only in relief.

Now all this pain relief would be a LOT safer under a doctor's supervision. But doctors have only one allowed treatment for the pain in the brain. Cut users off from all drug use.

We really have only two good options: drug distribution by criminals or drug distribution by doctors. Because "prohibited" does not mean "unavailable". It means "distributed by criminals".

That more or less covers the drug and prohibition issues. If you want to look more into the medical aspects you might like:

Is Addiction Real?

OK. Drugs are out of the way as the cause of the event sequence. For that we have to go back a bit further and look at divorce. And why I came to a different conclusion than the video makers after watching as much as I could tolerate of the video.

DIVORCE IS EVIL if you have children. And some times kids turn to drugs to relieve the pain of the divorce. Throw in a step parent and it gets harder. I wouldn't make divorce illegal. But folks ought to think 2E28 times (that is a very big number) before going ahead with it.

I know a kid (and his mother) who went through the same thing. Friends of our family. The divorce devastated him and then a few years later there was a drug "accident". I wouldn't make divorce illegal or harder to get. I would say that more folks ought to man up and find a way to live with their bad choice of mate. For the children. And the children? I would put them under a Drs. supervision at the first sign of drug use - if we got the government out of the prohibition business. In the mean time? Prayer is the best we have got and it ain't much.

The adults ought to be willing to shatter their world rather than shatter the world of a child.

Let me note that I do not believe any law can fix the divorce problem. Courage and a change of heart is required. The law can provide neither.

If our Drug War zealots put more effort into fixing families (by private efforts) instead of railing on about the evils of drugs we might actually decrease the incidence of these problems. The advantage for the zealots is that fighting drugs is easier than fighting bad parenting. You can at least point to piles of dope, cash, and guns. Proof that "something" is being done. Even if it is counter productive (it is easier for a kid to get an illegal drug than a legal beer). What can you point to that "proves" progress is being made with families? Of course the Drug War gains are illusory in the larger sense. But the efforts are photogenic. What pictures can you show to illustrate that something is being done about divorce; that fewer daughters are getting molested by step dads? That fewer kids are dying of a broken heart? Other than a lower incidence of divorce among families with children. Charts and graphs. That is the ticket.

That is why the work ought to be private. We won't know for 20 or 30 years what works. By that time if it is a government program it will be an empire.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 03.07.11 at 07:16 PM


I wouldn't necessarilly diagnose this case -- I didn't have the guts to watch the video. BUT I've known plenty of children of divorce, a lot of them my generation. Yep. You are absolutely correct on the pain it causes. All the happy happy studies in the eighties about how it was better for kids if adults were happy by divorcing always struck me as happy-death. The way people mask their desire to do what's wrong and they KNOW is wrong for someone else as "better for everyone." No, I wouldn't make it illegal. A little bit of the social oprobium wouldn't hurt. However, as long as the government is in the marriage business -- and as we all know, I don't THINK it should be -- returning to "fault" divorce also wouldn't hurt. It would help the social oprobium. I know you've been married a LONG time -- so have I -- and you probably know -- and I do -- marriage goes through good and bad phases. My worst was probably oh, um, nothing justifying a divorce. But I KNOW people who divorced because it was oh, um and "no passion anymore." Of course I've learned if you stick through those patches the passion comes back and stronger than ever. But if you don't stick... well...
Also, though financial laws favor women in a divorce, in some inexplicable way every woman I know who divorced, even when she took "the loot" ended up in serious financial straits in her later years. Again, I agree with you. But most of al, I agree with you on "people should be taught to stick by their contracts. Their contracts with their spouses, their contracts with their kids, their contrats with their businesses. And they should think twice -- always -- about breaking their word. Even when it doesn't affect anyone else, every time one breaks one's word, unless for major cause, taints one's psyche a little.
Just my opinion. I find it easier to live by my word than to live with myself if I break it.

Sarah   ·  March 7, 2011 9:44 PM

Somewhere there is a link to a doctor who has much experience dealing with drug abusers. He, too, thinks abuse is really psychological pain relief, and his is very critical of various programs that expel drug users if they fall off the wagon. Can't find the link.

I think it is obvious that legalization will increase the number of drug abusers. So, it is essential that some sort of support/treatment program be put in place. Otherwise we will have a repeat of the great "free the mentally-ill prisoners" fiasco which shut down our psychiatric hospitals and dumped the sick people onto our streets.

bob sykes   ·  March 8, 2011 7:59 AM

Just my opinion. I find it easier to live by my word than to live with myself if I break it.



If legalization increases the numbers of "abusers" it will not be by much. Before opiate prohibition about 2% of the population was involved with opiates. Some 95+ years into opiate prohibition the number is still 2%.

Could Dr. Lonnie Shavelson be the person you are looking for? If so here is a link:


M. Simon   ·  March 8, 2011 4:01 PM

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