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“One of the things about pretty much all human societies until recently is that they put pressure on their members to have children.”

“One of the things about pretty much all human societies until recently is that they put pressure on their members to have children.”

Professor Glenn Reynolds on the population implosion.

In a recent post at his Substack site, Professor Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit wrote about changing ideas on having children and the impact it is having on society:

Free Will, Children, and the Great Filter

Is the “great filter” simply choice?

People looking for alien civilizations have posited that we haven’t found any because something kills them off before they reach the point of being able to travel across interstellar distances.  This “something” is an unknown – monsters from subspace? Nuclear, biological, or nanotechnological war? — but whatever it is, it’s generically referred to as “the great filter.”

Humans would – mostly – prefer that we not be filtered into nonexistence.  But of course other intelligent species would presumptively prefer that too.  So if a filter exists, it must be something about which they have no choice.

But maybe the filter is choice:  Choice whether or not to reproduce.  And maybe we don’t have a choice about that anymore.

One of the things about pretty much all human societies until recently is that they put pressure on their members to have children.  Some of that pressure was provided by nature in the form of hormones and sex drive, but some of it also came from societal/cultural pressures to reproduce.  Get rid of those and people have fewer kids.

One example is China, where rates of marriage and childbirth are plummeting, far below replacement.  As the New York Times recently reported, even backing away from the one-child policy hasn’t changed things.  Chinese of 50 years ago wanted lots of kids.  Chinese today, on the other hand, don’t care so much.  The cultural chain has been broken, and it won’t restart itself just because the Party realizes it made a big mistake.  People got used to smaller families, and to lifestyles that make bigger families harder and more expensive.


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henrybowman | July 17, 2023 at 1:52 pm

Sociologically, when people are optimistic about their future and see opportunities (i.e., resources) waiting to be exploited, large families are common. When they see economic contractions on the way, like famines, deprivation, and wars, they second guess “bringing babies into such a world.” Physiologically, when resources get so scarce that women drop below a certain percentage of body fat, the reproductive system simply goes dormant.

Here in the US, we have a party championed by a maniac whose entire goal in life is to destroy and squander our resources — petroleum, public wealth, food, and your personal freedom to chart your own path with your own property without being told you can’t. Other maniacs from that same party continually harangue us that our food, energy, and our very planet itself are practically evaporating from beneath our feet and won’t support life “in 20 years.” Much of Europe mirrors the US to a great extent.

In China they were outright told by their homegrown maniac that they would simply be punished outright for having babies, the unintended consequence of which was social instability caused by a generation of incel “preferred” males chasing too few females.

Bottom line is that our having fewer babies is a direct and logical result of our seeing deprivation around every next corner. And a great deal of that deprivation is directly and logically due to “leaders” who actively inhibit, restrict, and even destroy those resources.

What henrybowman said.

Plus, the party currently sitting in the White House — and its ideological allies in education, entertainment, etc. — glorify the “freedom” of being childless (along with being single and/or unattached), portray children as a very-expensive burden to best be avoided, and greatly downplay the joy and fulfillment of raising the next generation.

IOW, they make being single and childless look sexy and empowering, and make the family life seem overly stressful, money-less, and boring.

The reality, of course, is often the opposite, but the powers that be refuse to air that message.

The happiest people I know have children — most have “large” families (by society’s current definition, which is small compared to yesteryear’s) — or at least pour into children as teachers, tutors, mentors, foster parents, etc.

The most miserable people I know are childless by choice, and among them, the most toxic to be around are childless and perpetually single and/or involved in “hook-up culture”. (Which is the cause and which is the effect — “singleness” or “toxicity” — remains to be determined.)

It also doesn’t help that the powers that be support policies that punish the so-called “nuclear family” by incentivizing broken, fatherless homes. The incentivizing happens through tax codes, “entitlement” benefits, and opportunities for which only single parents with estranged or absent partners qualify.

Between the media glorifying the single life and “hook-up culture”, and government punishing married life and “nuclear families”, it’s no surprise fewer people are having kids, and fewer still are having “large” families (i.e. going beyond “replacement” and having three or more).

And don’t forget the Democrat’s war on the children that are left.

The are abortion enthusiasts.

The support and now legislate the mental and physical abuse/mutilation of children in the ludicrous name of “gender affirmation.”

They fully support pedophilia (see: MAPs, what I believe truly means Minor Abusive Pedophile)

Recently, they have been shown to be fully behind child sex trafficking, between attacks on the movie “The Sound of Freedom,” and subtle and not so subtle changes in how they criminally treat it.

drednicolson | July 17, 2023 at 10:43 pm

Without the long-term purpose of childrearing and family-building, sexual gratification becomes just another ultimately empty pleasure, on par with any recreational drug. People in the “hook-up culture” are addicted to romancing and sex in much the same way your average junkie on the street is addicted to narcs. And then those who fail to compete for hook-ups turn to porn, to get some of the same result without the need to interact with the toxicity. In the end, all of them feel the same way once the fix is over: empty. And that emptiness will remain no matter how many times they chase the next fix, until it’s decades later and they’ve exhausted their lives and bodies with nothing to show for it.

Things are in an awful way when children stop being seen as a blessing and start being seen as a burden.

Suburban Farm Guy | July 18, 2023 at 6:42 am

“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”

Society is reacting like an overcrowded population, with all the freak stuff — disregard for life — abortion, homosexuality, gender-bending, modern femininism — as safety valves to prevent excess reproduction. Western societies anyway, guilt-tripping the kids about climate change (the planet can’t survive your existence) but less sophisticated people are still reproducing without a care. So we’re getting a new paradigm soon by the exchange, from the educated dying of civilizational suicide.

If the lunatics get their way.. #RESIST

The Gentle Grizzly | July 18, 2023 at 7:52 am

Let’s not leave out reluctance to marry. As long as women’s power in family court is so heavily biased in their favor, men are reconsidering the 50% likelihood of losing everything.

Steven Brizel | July 18, 2023 at 9:15 am

Societies, and species that do not replicate thenselves die

Philosopher1 | July 19, 2023 at 11:19 am

The burrowing of Feminism into U.S. society has pushed the concept that a woman MUST have a career in order to BE worthwhile and to CONSIDER herself worthwhile. She must push to go as high up the career ladder as she can. The internalizing of this “value” by increasing numbers of women diminishes their chances of having many if any children (and it does some undesirable things to numbers of men, too, thereby indirectly diminishing the producing of children)..