Progressing toward Extinction
I was born at the tail end of the baby boom. I remember going to schools from which children poured out like an enthusiastic tide. It was an oddity for a couple not to have children then – and even a minor source of embarrassment. It was also an oddity for people not to marry at a fairly young age. Of course, by this time a kind of stigma was already creeping in at the other end of the spectrum. Families of six or seven, not uncommon in my grandparents’ day, were more and more being seen as socially irresponsible – a throwback to a now distant time in which many babies and children didn’t survive.
Now we now live in a better world where people have been freed from the cultural burden of having big families – or families of any kind. Many young people live in random little groups – making a semi-permanent lifestyle of the arrangements one finds in college dorms. In our particular brave new world, people are free to lavish their attention either on themselves or, if they have some nagging concerns about posterity, on the latest attempt to save the planet. Banning of plastic straws is both easier and apparently more noble than nurturing new human beings. Though still shackled to some semblance of their animal desires through myriad and faddish varieties of sex, today’s young people are, at least, unshackled from the animal consequences. This is what is now called progress. People can hope to binge-watch some anesthetic pablum to the end of their days, uninterrupted by the squeal of their progenies’ voices or the irritating patter of their tiny unshod feet. Children are an inconvenience, and grandchildren are worse.
The West is dying. Our culture has become enchanted with its own self-satisfied and self-sterilizing disease. You cannot argue with the numbers. Any fertility rate below the replacement rate just factually means a dwindling of our kind. The replacement rate is 2.1. The fertility rate in the US is 1.9. In Europe and parts of Asia the rates are even lower. If some individual were responsible for such a decline, we would call it genocide. It would be a war crime.
There can only be one rational objection to the argument that we are marching steadily toward our own extinction. That argument is that the numbers will change. Maybe once we have saved the planet and gotten our population down to some conveniently sustainable level, the fertility rate will naturally rebound on its own. Unfortunately, we’ve become quite accustomed to having our way with nature, then discarding her as soon as we are done with her. Unless our culture fundamentally changes, a rebound of the fertility rate is out of the question. We didn’t decide on a low birth rate because we were running out of resources. Most of the world’s people are materially better off than their grandparents were in the 1950’s – and yet in every continent but Africa fertility rates continue to decline. People didn’t stop procreating as the result of a well-informed collective decision – some national, or international “conversation” we had in the 1960’s. People have stopped having children chiefly for two reasons. First, more and more effective contraception has become available. Second, the family as an institution has lost much, and in some cases all, of its cultural value. People can howl about personal choice, sexual freedom, and female empowerment all they want to – but we can see plainly both the cultural disruption and the hard statistical consequences of the road we’ve chosen. Facts, no matter how inconvenient – are facts.
Most Americans have become accustomed to their laissez-faire morality, their self-interested use of money, and their illusion of personal freedom. They love these things much more than they love posterity. In every generation from the beginning of the world, many people have loved themselves more than anyone else at heart. In the past, however, few whole cultures have wedded themselves so fervently to the god of the insatiable “me”. None that have done so have survived. Societies survive only because the people who constitute them are willing to believe in, and sacrifice for, things greater than their own passing interests. Real things. Things that patter around on tiny unshod feet. They’ve been willing to sacrifice. To make commitments. They’ve been able, somehow, to believe in something grander than veganism, and to look for wisdom from more plausible sources than Greta Thunberg. If our parents or grandparents fell short of our ideals – at least they had them. If they gave birth to less than perfect families, at least they had some solid notion of what a family was.
Everything about contemporary culture seems contrived to make us dwindle. If the left had deliberately planned to destroy humanity, they could hardly have done better. The encouragement of single motherhood creates children who, themselves, have no idea what a family is. They in turn, bring forth the next generation erratically and irresponsibly. What will happen to these pseudo orphans when the last of the grandparents die? Who will raise them? I do not think an army of daycare providers making minimum wage and barely speaking English will create anything but another generation of the confused and unloved. I do not think the morally neutral government schools they will later be warehoused in will help much either. It does not take a village to raise a child. It simply takes parents. We are running sadly short of adults really worthy of the name.
And what has our oh-so-sensitive and tolerant culture put on the pedestal the family used to occupy? Homosexuality, deviancy, and abortion on demand. Each of these chips away at the fertility rate. Homosexuals, obviously, do not breed – and adopting and corrupting other peoples’ children really doesn’t count. The weird transgenderism that has arisen from the “gay and lesbian community” is not a formula for stability or sanity either. What will become of a boy or girl whose gender-confused “parents” have decided to raise the luckless little creature as the opposite gender from what its reproductive organs indicate? Will it grow up to be a robust, psychologically healthy mother or father, or will it be more likely to commit suicide on the altar of its “parents” virtue signaling?
Abortion, of course, is the most direct assault on life of all. Since Roe v. Wade was judicially conjured into law in 1973, the total death toll has been at least 46 million according to CDC statistics. That’s more than 14% of the current US population. Even this number leaves out states like California, who refuse to keep statistics. Abortion has gone from what even liberals saw as an unhappy practice, to the left’s loudest and most militant rallying cry. What can one say about a culture whose most sacred institution is the right to murder its own children?
It would be a mistake to believe that conservatives can somehow coexist with what our enemies have become. We shouldn’t be complacent about out-breeding them. While traditional Christian families do have more children than demographically similar progressives, they still have fewer than they used to. Moreover, as the left propagates by conversion rather than by procreation, it effectively sterilizes a substantial fraction of conservative children sooner or later. I know many older Christians who lament the loss of an adult child to the general pathology of leftwing self-loathing and navel-gazing malaise. Children would interfere with their yoga, their social life, and their competitive consumption. Progressives not only murder their own children, they functionally sterilize as many other peoples’ children as they can. The culture war is, in the end, a fight to the death.