It could be that Bill Maher is too successful on “Real Time with Bill Maher” to have kids. As much as he claims to dislike them, his decision to not procreate is actually something not so uncommon to successful men. The deliberate choice to not marry or reproduce is a right and distinction of men living in first world countries, even when they have the finances to support a family.
Throughout history, marriage and children have been signs of male wealth. In older times, a man couldn’t expect to marry and reproduce if he couldn’t sustain a family. In order to attract a mate, men have needed to be competitive since the cave man days, and wealth (food or money) has always played a factor in whether or not they marry. However, nowadays, modern societies sometimes view marriage and children as a threat to future success. Perhaps this is why Maher has never been anxious to start his own family.
In polygamous societies, a man with a harem full of women and a legion of kids has typically been a wealthy man. If you watch “Marco Polo” on Netflix, you’ll see a good example of this. Kublai Khan, the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, has an impressive pleasure house of concubines. Their sole job is pleasuring him and sometimes birthing his children. Marriage and children used to be the privilege of men who had the money to sustain them. Luckily, when people too poor to support kids procreate in America, there are safety nets in place to prevent an emergency (food stamps, welfare, subsidized housing, etc).
Psychology Today has an interesting article exploring the topic of why men may or may not become fathers. It’s called “On Non-Dads (Or Childless Men)” and was written by anthropologist Peter B. Gray, Ph.D. He cited a book called “The Creation of Inequality,” which mentions the Chimbu tribe of Papua New Guinea as an example of a society that perceives fatherhood as a sign of success.
The book reported observations of the Chimbu and noted there was a social hierarchy among men. Wealthy “Big Men” were successful tradesmen, and they had an average of two to three wives per man. Unless there was a fertility problem, procreation was a given in these marriages. These men made up 15% of the population.
However, there was another 15% of men who were not so fortunate. They were called “rubbish men” and did not reproduce. They couldn’t afford a wife, and no one would help them buy one. Some rubbish men did marry, but it wasn’t the norm. The norm for rubbish men was for them to remain unmarried non-dads for the rest of their lives. Cruelly, these men were errand boys for Big Men who were surrounded by wives and children.
The article closed by pointing out there are many reasons for why successful men living in modernized societies remain non-dads. An American man who doesn’t procreate isn’t necessarily a “rubbish man” who can’t afford a mate or children. Marriage and children can be an impediment to success, because it requires tremendous energy to have a family and be great at a demanding job. This can lead to people either delaying procreation or simply not procreating at all. Though wealth still helps men attract mates, it’s possible that Maher simply views marriage and children as potential barriers to his own success.