Wow Much demographics Such babies Very annoy So derp

Or maybe not so much demographics. Out of a cohort of more than two hundred acquaintances roughly my age whose doings I’ve followed on Facebook in recent years, I can readily account for only 32 children born to their entire lot and another four on the way. I’m not talking about the elderly here: the cohort I have in mind runs roughly from the ages of 23 to 36. These are not Tri-Met’s honored citizens. For that matter, more than a few of them can hardly be bothered to honor their own citizenship by vigorously exercising their own civil rights and shit, in some cases because so doing would interfere with their unquestioning submission to the every dictate of their religious rulers but more often because the scheduling would conflict with singing and husband-catching contests on television or with being a total schmuck in real life.

These people are in their prime childbearing years. I met most of them when we were undergraduates, but most of the ones I met in high school or after college have completed bachelor’s programs elsewhere. Most of the remainder have completed extensive associate’s-level coursework, usually in nursing. As a group they’re affluent. I’d be surprised if their median household income weren’t above the national average. Many of them almost certainly have household incomes of over $80k, since they include attorneys, physicians, registered nurses, engineers, career geoscience drones, and schoolteachers, and many of them are either married to or cohabiting with other well-paid professionals. (To be fair, being a geoscience industry lifer isn’t necessarily all that professional, and the lifestyle requires either kissing or intimidating all too much frustrated middle-management ass to be tolerable for anyone who can cobble together an alternate career.)

If this crowd is interested in having kids, it should be popping out lots of babies right now. But as any observant student of Doge knows, Wow Much babies Very annoy does not necessarily mean that the newest generation is anywhere near the replacement level for its parents. Here’s the breakdown, as I’ve been able to piece it together from Facebook:

Only children: 14.

Only children in utero: 4.

Children in sibships of two: 6

Children in sibships of three: 12

Total miscarriages: 4

Execute arithmetical summation command Wow Much Maths for total yield=40. This counts four babies lost in miscarriages. This entire crowd of over two hundred, it seems, has attempted to reproduce a grand total of one fifth of itself.

Is all of this probative of some shit? I dunno. Probably. I didn’t do an exhaustive search for kiddos on all active Facebook accounts maintained by current and former acquaintances (that’s right, Zuckerberg, we ain’t all friends), but I have a pretty good running idea of who has and has not gotten into the family way, largely on account of everyone trumpeting news of every positive life development on teh social mediaz for positive social feedback, or, as I prefer to think of it, circle-jerking.

There’s nothing really wrong and a lot really right with honestly discussing negative happenings in one’s life on password-protected social media, in part so that the media in question are not turned into fora for abject group wankery. “For most of my time in Seattle I’ve been depressed as fuck” is not a White Whine. It’s a legitimate cry for help, correspondence with friends and close acquaintances serving as a form of help in such a case, and it may offer the added benefit of reducing the need to submit to psychiatrists.

Yes. We aren’t even to six hundred words and Drs. Karadzic and Hasan have been already been paged for a stat psycho consult. What the hell else did you expect from wandering over here? The point is that few parents, and not many more prospective parents, are reticent about plastering their Facebook feeds with baby stuff, so I doubt that my Facebook contacts are riddled with bashful parents who have some kind of temperamental or philosophical objection to inflicting constant news of their kids on everyone else. True story: a family friend once sent us a round-robin letter including the news that her husband had “got the old snip-snip.” Her words, not mine, and a joyous Advent to you and yours, too. One just knows that people who didn’t have boundaries in the first place will have even worse boundaries once they go online. Actually, I’m surprised that there aren’t more PMS/menstrual cramps/tampon troubles/late period/I just took a huge messy dump/my girlfriend’s on the rag/my boyfriend always comes too soon sob stories floating around the internet with names attached than there are. NB: “My precious snowflake just went poopy in the potty” isn’t any more tasteful. Arguably enough, it’s even worse.

Bottom line: I’ve gotten news of practically every firstborn conceived by these two hundred-odd bougies, and it ain’t a whole lot of kids.

It’s worth paying attention to who exactly is having the kids. One of the four babies on the way is being carried by a Catholic mother of three, a college acquaintance of mine whom I knew to be an absolutely batshit fucking crazy sex scold with a resentful, prurient interest in the contraceptive use of total strangers. Within the past two years I caught her berating another woman on Twitter for using oral contraceptives and their “cray-cray evil hormones.” Three of the four babies lost to miscarriage were lost by friends of mine, also Catholics but not batshit insane busybodies, who have subsequently had three healthy kids in the space of less than three years. By this count, two couples have attempted a full quarter of the reproduction undertaken by a group of my age peers that must contain over a hundred sexually active heterosexual members. All four of the three-plus sibships in this group are being raised by devout Catholic parents.

What strikes me about this isn’t that I know all these Catholic breeders. What strikes me is that not even a minority of the devout Catholic students I knew at Dickinson who have since gotten married have had more than one child. Some of them are still childless years into their marriages despite much carrying on about how marriage is ordered to the conception and rearing of children, and I’m pretty sure that reproductive health problems are not the explanation. The other striking thing is that, as far as I know, none of the many devout Protestant and nondenominational students I knew at Dickinson have more than two kids. Most of the parents among them have one child apiece. Probably a quarter of my Facebook contacts were active in the Dickinson Christian Fellowship, our college’s chapter of Intervarsity, and a number more were active in the Newman Club, so the group of two hundred-some peers under discussion here is very disproportionately Christian.

Hearing about this failure of the tradcon religious to duly reproduce in furtherance of Western Civilization, Ross Douthat wept. And by “wept,” I mean that he maintained a pensive half-smirk like a psychotropically calibrated Cheshire Cat.

The proliferation of only children in this group doesn’t inspire my great confidence. I don’t say this out of the usual handwringing concern that only children are spoiled and turn out poorly adjusted because they never had to share stuff with siblings. I say this as an only child who is personally discovering, to his dismay but not entirely to his surprise, that shit starts getting hard for only children as the journey that we call life goes on (read here, if you’re so tasteless, about ways to take on fuel for this journey). For those of us who are the only children of Silent or Boomer parents, dear mother and father’s senescence is going to be really fucking fun. That is, if it’s even appropriate to phrase that in the future tense. As certain self-help dipshits catering to aging Boomers say, today is a gift–that’s why we call it “the present.” Haw haw. More than a few of them swore that they’d never get old, just like Bob Seeger’s long-ago girlfriend Janey swore that it never would end. Wish they didn’t know now what they didn’t know then, I guess. No, let’s reverse it: I wish they knew then what they still don’t know now, because that degree of future orientation would have produced a less barren and (praise God for the futile thought) less obnoxious generation. At least, as a friend’s mother once told me, “We’ll be playing Van Morrison in our nursing homes.” This sounds excellent until one considers the possibility of the perseverative honored citizens scooting around the hallways on their final trip out to lunch, loudly mewling, “Radio! Radio! Radio! Radio!”

With siblings, there’s at least an opportunity to have some family support in caring for aging parents, since there’s a less than 100% chance that all siblings in a family will be completely and intractably estranged from one another while one or both parents are still alive, and this likelihood drops as family size increases. This is not just grass-is-greener carping from an only child with aging parents; I’ve personally witnessed examples of these dynamics in my extended family. Contrary to the usual bellyaching about selfish only children, quite a few Boomers grew up with stratospheric self-esteem and a great capacity for other-effacement in spite of their having been raised in large families. Listening to musical outfits like the Eagles, one gets the feeling that many of their women were evil temptresses of a sort who would have brought knowing smirks to the faces of Salem’s witch hunters. Listening to the Rolling Stones, one gets the feeling that the men were equally rotten.

There was some bad shit in the zeitgeist, dude; not so groovy, man, why did you have to harsh our mellow, brother, no need to be such a mofo. In terms of care for the Boomers’ aging parents, however, what made the difference between pedestrian obnoxiousness among the children and an Aquarian hellscape at sunset was that the sheer size of the families that the elders had raised. Family size gave these parents redundant care options in their old age, and when mother is wandering around lost in her neighborhood at odd hours or beshitting herself or in need of help getting around the house, you damn well want some redundancies.

Of course the Silents and Boomers wouldn’t take any of this into account. Why you gotta be such a square, mofo? Jesus fucking Christ. Another way to look at this is, no, fuckheads, y’all made your own beds when you were younger, now lie in them while we take salacious pictures, Jacob Riis-style, as an object lesson for future generations.

Radio! Nurse! Rosebud! Radio!

Mercy, this is turning into a nightmare asylum scene from Boardwalk Empire. There’s totally not enough wholesome pornographic vaginal sex on that show and way too much in the way of psychotic people yelling crazy shit while having violent tremors in wicker rocking chairs. It’s like the teens and twenties were a really shitty time for a lot of Americans, like they were really violent and disordered or something.

Don’tcha know, they were exactly that.

This business of highly educated, affluent, married people waiting until they’re pushing thirty to have one and only one child indicates to me, more and more, that there’s something quite disordered about their attitude towards children, and that children per se are tangential to the most disordered aspects of their worldview. I can imagine a number of socioeconomic and policy ramifications of Bougie’s barrenness, none of them good. There are shades of Idiocracy in these dynamics, but what’s worse than any actual dysgenic effects of the poor outbreeding the affluent is the perception among the affluent that they’re being demographically swamped by the poors, especially those of other ethnicities. A tacit objective of the affluent, especially in highly stratified countries with serious racial problems like the United States, is to divert public funds to affluent jurisdictions and away from poor ones, but usually under euphemisms such as “local control of the schools.” A major result is solipsistic complaints from overachieving careerist parents with one or two children each complaining about how the wetbacks/hood rats/white trash/mudsharks/maybe the Cambodians have too many fucking kids and hence public policy providing for social services for their kids, including education, is just a gussied-up form of moral hazard for sexually incontinent untermenschen. With our fertile poor and immigrants, barren affluent, pervasive propaganda from the obscenely rich and their lackeys in government, and ever nastier class structure, the United States is due for a resurgence of really ugly eugenics rhetoric. So far, it’s limited mainly to marginal corners of the internet, but as historians of Austria’s washed-up army corporals know, some really nasty angels of destruction can march in from the margins and burn down the capitol.

Natalist tradcons who complain about the affluent having an aversion to children are barking up the wrong tree. Exceedingly few of the people I’ve known, and even fewer of the women, have ever shown any sign of being truly put off by babies or children. Most of them, again especially the women, obviously love being around the little ones, as broadcast by the eleventy billion Facebook photos showing them with nieces, nephews, and friends’ kids. Most of the complaints that one hears about kids from the barren fall into one of two categories: 1) categorical smears that are actually inchoate reactions to specific bratty behavior suffered at the hands of specific little brats; and 2) shrill, and ultimately insincere, posturing driven by a desire to score points against fertile political opponents, many of the latter being insufferable themselves.

When I’m half-asleep on a couch at a friend’s house and one of my quasinephews is rhythmically smacking me on the thigh, I don’t construe it as anything other than the kid being a brat like any other little brat, and his parents are quick to put a stop to it, so it’s all good. And good grief, the senile elderly are ever so much worse. Some people suffer the same juvenile thigh-drumming and prejudicially construe it as a problem with their parents, and by extension with all parents, especially those who are raising large families, and ultimately a problem with family life, but I’m sure that few of them would really feel that way if they gave it some thought. The little brats are just proximal justifications for lashing out at parents for adult obnoxiousness most of which is in fact completely extraneous to childrearing. In other words, it’s parents with poor boundaries and political sticks up the ass concern-trolling their own children while the childless and hyper-K-strategic parents concern-troll society in its role as the victim of the former parents’ irresponsible parenting and insufferable little brats.

People who are sincerely and abidingly hostile to babies and children are aberrant and vanishingly rare. It’s quite daft to construe deliberately childless couples as having some sort of hatred for the very young, even if they make comments to this effect. Offhand, I can think of no fewer than five sexually active but childless women I’ve known, all of them now over thirty, who came from sibships of four to seven. Some of these women described having had extensive childcare duties for younger siblings by their teens, and at least three have taken very active roles in the lives of their nieces and nephews, sometimes to the point of changing their diapers. That’s another thing: anyone who sincerely believes that family values have been trashed in the United States would be floored by the amount of niece and nephew shiznit in my Facebook feed.

Beyond a certain point, serving as day care for nieces and nephews is a credible get-out-of-babymaking-jail-free card. One of my best friends from college is still childless nearly three years into his marriage, but he and his wife are routinely roped into babysitting his two nieces, roughly 7 and 5 years old, while his brother and sister-in-law, a surgeon and an anesthesiologist, do the doctor thing. Anyone blaming them for not having kids already is either immoral, tyrannical, or insane.

What does worry me is the number of my acquaintances who are married or the next thing to it, established in lucrative careers, and practically unencumbered by childcare duties for relatives, who nonetheless seem to think that this is still not a good month to conceive a child, and if past is prologue, next month will be no better, because a nebulous assortment of professional, financial, and recreational goals keep getting in the way of starting a family. It’s notable that the poor don’t often think this way. Are their modest means the cause or the effect of this mindset? It’s hard to sort out, and I don’t give a particularly huge shit since this question is extraneous to much more serious questions, such as whether public policy will be geared to help the poor raise their children well or used as a cudgel to punish them by way of satisfying the socioeconomic and psychosexual resentments of their betters. If you’ve spent any time around the manosphere, you’ve probably noticed that the specter of attainder has been raised in a demagogic appeal to undersexed men to punish children for being raised by slutty mothers, so it isn’t a febrile parlor game to think about these possibilities.

As I’ve said, this stuff is fucking ugly. It’s a good argument for making preparations to divide the United States into Mexican, Cuban, and Canadian sectors. There was a time, after all, when Germany couldn’t govern itself in a morally conscionable fashion, either. I know, the rest of us gave a quarter of it to Stalin, but he was all up in everyone’s face with threats of scorched-earth invasion, so give a Caucasian a break.

The bougie zeitgeist in the United States is still one in which committed couples with stable employment histories and living arrangements see obstructions to their responsibly raising children popping up like whack-a-moles. This is the opposite of the young adult zeitgeist in the decade or two after the Second World War. The WWII generation wanted to have children, and it quickly set about doing exactly that instead of bellyaching about how pregnancy or childrearing right now would get in the way of this, that, and the other excessive or frivolous goal. It probably isn’t a coincidence that there was exceptionally little public resentment after the war directed at ethnic minorities and the poor for breeding too profligately. Bougie was popping out babies, too. It was what one did. “Take away school funding for their children because we didn’t give them permission to breed” and “sterilize the fuckers” were not especially viable political platforms, although versions of the latter, at least, had been quite popular during the Gilded and Progressive Ages.

The Baby Boom also fell entirely within a secular collapse of socioeconomic inequality. These things are of a piece.

One of the big problems is that Bougie no longer loves the virtue of raising families. In the postwar decades this virtue spoke for itself. Condoms were on the market, and many veterans were familiar with them, but why the hell would newlyweds, of all people, use contraceptives? This was less a question of moral outrage as one of pragmatic bemusement, the assumption being that only a strange ranger would not want to knock up his wife.

Even the argument that Theology of the Body absolutists in the Catholic Church love the virtue of raising families is suspect. Think for a moment about the moral framework that they aggressively promote for marital sexuality, natural family planning. The absolutists can’t even figure out how to consistently define marital sex in positive terms.  They insist on defining it in negative terms, using a neologism that was coined within living memory in opposition to artificial contraception. It’s a latter-day companion to the Levitical “don’t screw your menstruating sister-in-law” class of sexual injunction. You know, here’s a clutch of sexual vices that are utterly contrary to God’s will,  so we’re going to refrain from shutting up about them or about the half-cocked but endlessly analyzed variation of them that we contrived through a synthesis of mostly sound reproductive science with the crazed obscurantism of celibate clerics who blatantly resent other people for their sexual freedom.

Natural family planning is to reproductive health what the Holy Roman Empire was to late Medieval geopolitics: neither is any of the things that claims to be. NFP works wonderfully except for when it doesn’t. If a woman makes a minor mismeasurement of her basal body temperature or has a delay in ovulation, oops, and this ain’t no Etch-a-Sketch, homeskillet. Bizarrely, its very unreliability is trumpeted as proof that it is the only form of family planning consistent with sexual holiness, since it’s mostly comprehensible and reliable but just inscrutable and unreliable enough to allow God opportunities to spring unplanned (but very much Intended) pregnancies on those using it.

The natural law arguments, so called, in support of NFP are even worse. These are separate from the very straightforward natural law argument that sexual intercourse is ordered to the conception of babies, full stop. From a fundamental biological perspective, one free of any context concerning the world into which these babies will be born, that’s all there is to it. In point of fact, there are a number of conflicting natural law arguments against procreative sex, but they’re extrinsic to the natural law argument in favor of it. These arguments concern things such as overpopulation, severe poverty, disease, ecosystems science, and overburdened parents. Responsible adults with intact critical thinking faculties and a big enough pair to do their own thinking will find ways to balance these conflicting interests and come to a reasonable accommodation without turning into slobbering idiots. Not surprisingly, however, NFP is highly favored by servile, easily intimidated, authoritarian personalities who are uncomfortable challenging official institutions on matters of conscience. In their particular case, the most important official institution to honor with abject, groveling submission is the Roman Catholic Church.

This worldview is maybe a wee bit inimical to self-government, a self-government that may not be restored until after the war, when it will be restored piecemeal, if at all, in the Canadian, Cuban, and Mexican sectors.

Natural family planning is a ridiculous attempt at an end run around the natural law of sexuality. It is contingent upon an advanced scientific understanding of the menstrual cycle, thermometers capable of reading body temperatures to within a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, and preternatural self-control on the part of married people with strong sex drives. Its very purpose is to thwart reproduction while maintaining the disingenuous pretense of openness to new life, as the total willingness to have another baby right now because oops is politely called in NFP circles. Contrary to the proposal to divide all gall into three parts after the war as outlined above, hardcore NFP partisans are a marginal set both within the Catholic Church and among reactionaries at large in the United States. The reason that they bemuse or alienate or alarm other Catholics, by the way, has little to do with the latter being hostile to family life or generally beset by sin and a lot to do with the louder NFP sorts being objectively disordered, especially in their thoughts on sex. Reasonable people simply do not want their societies to be taken over by sexually disordered authoritarians. It shouldn’t be necessary to explain why.

NFP has surprisingly little to do with promoting fecundity. If that were the true goal, the sex advice on offer would be much simpler and less repressive: go have some. The choreographed sexual repression of NFP is the real historical aberration in a much longer history of unencumbered sex between spouses trying to have large, sometimes stupefyingly large, numbers of children. There are good reasons for modern couples not to replicate such teeming family demographics, and of course efforts to this end will have an effect on their sex lives. The idea that mores, including sexual mores, must never change in response to changing conditions is amazingly daft. But ultimately, NFP isn’t really about demographic stability or marital stability or a wholesome family life. It’s really an authoritarian social control on its practitioners’ sex lives, a mass of ulterior motives with an aboveboard motive popping out of the woodwork now and then, as if by chance.

And yes, I’ve been dogging on the family planning (sic) method (sic) used by the handful of couples who have attempted to have nearly half of the babies conceived by my two hundred-odd bougie peers. But it’s also the method avowedly used by at least one couple in the latter group who, as best I can tell, are trying to put off babymaking for reasons of professional advancement. I’m not objecting to their sex lives, since it’s their problem, but some of them might object to my sex life, which, by their unilateral reckoning, is also their problem. As a rule of thumb, those who complain about other people going to massage parlors are the same ones who need to get the hell into a massage parlor. This goes for chicks, too. All finger-wagging and no fingering makes Jill a very tense girl. It isn’t profane of me to say that prostitutes, in their discretion after the fucked, serve as secular complements to priests bound by the seal of the confessional; it’s merely vulgar, and if you came here for unadulterated highminded spirituality, LOLZLOZLZOZLO, ’cause I ain’t sellin’ that shit straight. And again, my problem isn’t that these people aren’t getting enough; it’s that their lashing out at others because they aren’t getting enough.

But maybe I’m approaching this thing from the wrong angle, as he said. Acceptance of this unhinged, totalitarian moral framework for sexuality seems to be one of the most reliable markers of those few couples who are willing to reproduce at above the replacement rate. In other words, the emotional barrier to fecundity is so high that the only way to surmount it is to submit to an overbearing crackpot sexual morality that has been stripped of any meaningful historical or general ethical context. The problem here is not that NFP is stone nuts, although in its more extreme forms it is exactly that. The problem is that the mainstream bourgeois culture in the West is so reflexively hesitant about procreation that being an obscurantist extremist or kook is practically the only way to stave off a coming demographic decline of Japanese proportions. In any society there is a significant minority that is unable or unwilling to bear children. In the developed world today, this minority is huge (in some places, it’s a majority), and it’s up to the remaining breeders to make up the difference. When the breeding pairs have one child apiece, that difference won’t be made up, since they’re only going halfway to reproducing themselves.

Sure, it’s shrill and facile to compare people to endangered wildlife by using the language of wildlife biology, but it’s worthwhile to consider how alarmed wildlife biologists would be by exactly the same reproductive patterns among apparently healthy animals. Advocating a return to a state of nature is morally wrong (nature raw in tooth and claw ain’t for people any more than we ought to eat one another), but the comparison of our own reproductive patterns to those of tigers or elephants is something that we’d do well to keep in mind, lest we veer from overpopulation to an extreme form of depopulation, which is likely to bring its own social pathologies.

Of course religious minorities will outbreed the population at large, and of course some of them will be regarded as quite weird. The Mormons in Napoleon Dynamite country think nothing much of popping out half a dozen rug rats by the age of thirty. In the back hollows of Southern Utah, dirtbag polygamist patriarchs do everything unlawfully in their power to do likewise to four or maybe six wives apiece by the time their multiple betrothed are in their mid-twenties. In certain Ultraorthodox communities that embarrass the hell out of other Jews, the custom is to conceive a brood of a dozen-odd with one’s first cousin and then let social services raise the retarded ones. (I have an aunt who made a living in this fashion. Her husband happens to be one of the most incredibly self-loathing Jews on earth, although technically he only hates half of himself, and it’s a half that the rabbis don’t recognize in any event. Don’t hold your breath waiting for him to make aliyah.)

American Catholics used to keep up with these sects, but then they went soft, or maybe decided that no, Father, four in fact is enough, and if you disagree you’re free to father some kids of your own. For “four,” feel free to substitute lesser nonnegative integers to taste. In this context, NFP looks like a pitiful last stand by the breeder traditionalists, and of course it isn’t working, given that it’s totally about openness to life except for the big part about how to not get knocked up while also not resorting to anything like condoms or nonvaginal sex because those things don’t carry a risk of unintended pregnancy. And of course the Mormons and the Amish haven’t cratered their own birthrates: their natalists encourage fertility instead of counseling couples to delay pregnancy while simultaneously fetishizing the rawdog to the point of disrupting their sex lives. That is, they’re straightforward, not duplicitous. (The Lubavitchers have some repressive sexual strictures, and all kinds of other strictures, mostly from that old-time Leviticus. As I said, they embarrass other Jews.)

If these groups sound like a saving demographic grace, keep in mind that they’re tiny subcultures. This is good news for those who hate religious conservatives with high birthrates, not such good news for those who appreciate a viable, well-raised, well-adjusted youth population. If you’re a resentful asshole with leftist politics, raise a joyful voice in the garden, for these enemies are less numerous than they are fecund.

I have some hope that the Mormons and the Dutch in particular can pull our collective chestnuts out of the fire. They raise their children well and have good relations with the gentiles and the English, which are what they call us, even those of us who have German surnames and Jewish blood. I’m less optimistic about the Ultraorthodox Jews because, frankly, some of them are way too inbred and consequently have way too many drooling idiots on public assistance. The stories are obscene. The Ultraorthodox, Latin American immigrants, and a number of Muslim populations seem to present assimilation problems that the Mormons and the Dutch Brethren don’t, although not necessarily serious ones. The epic clash-of-civilizations rhetoric that one finds in #TCOT circles is overwrought, and Muslim political violence would fall dramatically if Western governments stopped systematically bombing the shit out of poor Muslim countries.

No sane modern country wants the birthrate of the Gaza Strip. Israel and Palestine both have unusually high birthrates because they’re at war and their citizens are trying to outbreed each other. It’s madness, and specifically a sort of madness that would lift like so much morning fog under a stable peace. Cut flower producers in Gaza can’t compete against Ethiopian growers in the European market because the Israeli customs inspectors who admit their shipments for transit to Ben-Gurion Airport are total dickwads who happily let perishables rot in inspection queues. If that kind of cruel nonsense is the cost of a fertile society, we might be better off romancing virtual girlfriends in the tradition of Japanese losers, and we’d definitely be better off having public sex with the flowers of England at Magaluf.

At the same time, there’s a happy demographic medium between Japan and Gaza, one that my bougie acquaintances are not on track to reach. If I’ve counted their children accurately, these people are coming into their thirties with a lifetime birthrate of about 0.4 children per woman and showing few signs of getting this number up. In demographic terms, this is tiny. It’s the stuff of a thunderous population crash. David Clayton-Thomas didn’t sing about how there will be four-tenths of a child born in this world to carry on, or two tenths. It’s one of these, I think, but I’m blocking on the math, and by the way, I’ve never learned a damn bit of calculus in my life. He didn’t propose sharing that one child born in this world with four other dying boomers, either.

And before the crash? Radio! Nurse! Rosebud! Radio! That’s why we have Filipinas, so that there will in fact be a nurse. It’s a nice thought, anyway. Our nursing homes are already atrocious.

Thus averreth your loyal 32-year-old childless bachelor. Yes, I live in a glass house, and hey, check out this wicked cool rock in my hand. But this means that I won’t give your little brat undue shit for rhythmically smacking me on the thigh, because I know it’s karma and kiddo’s presence means that you’ve done half your part to raise enough people to wipe our asses when we’re ancient of days.

Enjoy the ride.

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6 thoughts on “Wow Much demographics Such babies Very annoy So derp

  1. Your take on NFP is both novel and, upon reflection, undoubtedly valid. Any approach to breeding other than “It occurs naturally and we don’t think about it.” is bound to be at least a little pathological, and in that sense NFP and the wanton breedus interruptus characterizing the contraceptive age have a lot in common.

    If that makes any sense.

    • It looks like I posted my first reply to your comment above as a separate comment, so a notification may not have gone through to your WordPress account.

      The more I think about it, the more I dislike the reflexive bourgeois opposition, even hostility, to teenage pregnancy, and for the same reason to out-of-wedlock pregnancy. This opposition doesn’t seem to really be about child welfare, although it’s often presented in such terms. If it’s a question of fathers being around to help raise their children, many of the ostensibly absent fathers who live away from their children are already around on a very regular basis.

      This pretty much explains the parlance of “baby daddies” and “baby mommas.” The entire relationship between a mother and a father in such an arrangement is mutually understood to be one of coparenting. It revolves around their child or children. Would marriage or common law marriage be a better arrangement than separate households? Theoretically, yes, and in many cases it works out better in the concrete than single or quasi-single parenting, but applying such a rough principle to everyone as an iron rule is madness. It’s another collectvist intrusion into the private lives of families.

      Some of the shriler elements on the alt-right propose placing the children of unwed mothers in orphanages. This is a form of child abduction by the state, either on its own behalf or on behalf of whatever crooked religious organization or private contractor runs the orphanages. These people write about how orphanages in the old days really weren’t that bad, which is fucking insane; many orphanages were provably quite awful, and even the best ones provided haphazard guidance to their wards. These people are so eager to punish the mothers for being sluts that they’re ready to preemptively place their children under the institutional care of total strangers. It’s one thing for social services to remove children from parents who are egregiously incompetent and without support from other relatives: ragingly psychotic, constantly three sheets to the wind, too depressed to get out of bed, unable to abate chronic squalor, routinely violent, that kind of thing. It’s quite another to remove them because dad isn’t involved enough but really because mom couldn’t keep her legs shut.

      The foster care system in most jurisdictions today is a different kind of nightmare in its own right; there but for the grace of God go all of us who haven’t gone. It’s a terrible, terrible idea to break up families without compelling exigent circumstances. The United States already needs much more social services oversight and reform than it’s about to get, so the least that can be done to limit the damage is to limit referrals to serious cases. Social workers and the like end up with more power than they can responsibly use, and they end up using it disproportionately against racial minorities and similarly disfavored groups. It can get ugly.

      Proposals to establish (or reestablish?) bastards’ orphanages come from the fringes, but preening about being married when other parents aren’t is unfortunately rather mainstream on the religious right. I’ve seen entirely too many examples of it on Facebook. There are weird class elements to it, but they can be hard to sort out from all the moral posturing, and even the shrillest advocates of marriage raise good points about the extra stability and support that children receive from having their parents together. As a general principle, encouraging marriage seems to be a pretty solid idea, but the devil is in the details, and some of these screechers are not detail-oriented enough to give half-decent advice in any specific case. And few things will more reliably blow my goodwill than complaining that “baby daddy” and “baby momma” are somehow terms indicative of deficient parenting because they’re trashy or that unwed parenthood is inevitably a path straight to hell for the children. People who can’t or won’t recognize when other parents are making a good-faith effort to raise their children well and doing a decent job have a moral and civic duty to shut the fuck up.

      Or, as I also like to put it, allow me to pair a cheese with your White Whine. It should pair quite nicely with a Manchego fuck yourself. So much of the “family values” nonsense in the United States in my lifetime has been wanton concern-trolling of teh childrenz over trivialities that are frankly much more bothersome to easily butthurt adults than they are to kids. It’s quite reasonable, and completely proper, to assume that parents are making a good-faith effort and doing an adequate job and to deal with obviously unfit parents on an individual basis. The opposite is a form of presumed guilt, and it leads to some very dark places.

      The idea of teenagers being inherently unprepared for parenthood is a weird artifact of modern civilization. This is especially true of teenage girls. There are upsides to waiting, especially in a heavily populated urban society, and I wouldn’t presume to tell a fifteen-year-old to get on with it already while she still has the energy to chase kids around the house, but most of the moral panic about teen pregnancy concerns young women who are biologically adults and of an age at which women historically got pregnant all the time. We moderns are the anomalies here. This is not a case of “babies having babies.” That’s rank daftness combined with helicopter parenting. The shortcomings that these girls face as parents are a lot more pedestrian and easily overcome than that, especially with support from their extended families (another historical commonplace that has fallen by the wayside in much of the modern world). It may not be a great idea for them to have kids so soon, but it probably won’t be an unmitigated disaster, either.

      That is, unless one is a prissy bougie, in which case all bets are off. In a healthy economy with relatives nearby, teenage parenthood shouldn’t be socioeconomically calamitous. The poor often take it in stride because their expectations of economic and professional success aren’t stratospheric. It’s the bourgeoisie and haute bourgeoisie who freak the hell out about early parenthood getting in the way of things like college. And why can’t a woman go back to college when her kids are a bit older, or be able to support a few kids in adequate material security without a degree, especially if her husband or baby-daddies are chipping in? No one has ever offered a truly credible explanation for the former, and the explanation for the latter is straightforward: it’s treachery by the upper-middle and upper classes. What early parenthood (especially motherhood) really interferes with is full and equal participation in the dog-eat-dog credentialing scams, extortion rackets, and ass-kissing contests that pass for private enterprise in the United States these days.

      You might be interested to read some of the things that have been written about single motherhood, stepfathers, and the like on the alt-right/MRA/PUA sites. If you page through Sunshine Mary and the Dragon, Return of Kings, Chateau Heartiste, Captain Capitalism, Alpha Game Plan, etc., you’ll find some crazy shit about “carousel riding sluts” (hint: not David Clayton-Thomas’ idea of a carousel), “alpha fucks and beta bucks,” “younger, hotter, tighter,” ad nauseam. These people breathlessly claim that only a sucker would raise another man’s children. (If he gets along with them well enough, why the hell not?) Some of them seem to sincerely think that men should adopt the family values of male lions (don’t raise the other guy’s kids–eat them!) because anything less would be moral hazard for aging sluts. Meanwhile, the PUA’s among them insist that men let themselves down (and again provide moral hazard for aging sluts) if they seduce women who are anything less than smoking hot jailbait.

      • You have many good ideas in there, as you often do, but sometimes it’s a little overwhelming.

        Nevertheless. The first step back to sanity is realizing how anomalous we moderns are on this score, as you have. In my grandparents’ day about a century ago – not that long in historical terms, obviously – high schools were a relatively new and strictly urban thing. Most people finished their formal education with grade school and it was apprenticeships and working after that, and it’s not at all difficult to see that this is much more consonant with biological mating imperatives than pathological modern practices.

        Just as had been the case for almost all of recorded history, no one thought anything was terribly amiss with a girl getting married at 17 or 18. I mean that might be a little young, but shrieking in horror at the marriage of anyone under 25 is a bizarre modern affectation.

        Unfit parents are another important subject in this context. In a relatively healthy and economically just society this would hardly ever be a governmental or even a church problem. Natural law provides uncles and aunts to pick up the slack for parents who wind up dead or disabled. Or unfit. And if people are thinking straight and are economically capable this just happens as a matter of course with no one having to say anything.

        But in our society today people are neither thinking straight nor are they, on the whole, economically capable of the adjustment, and these two deficiencies are related as you have grasped which is enormously insightful, if you don’t mind my saying so.

        How much of our pathological approach to these things is driven by a residual, conflicted puritanism and/or slut-shaming? Good question.

        I link to Vox Day’s blog and sometimes look at the Alpha Game stuff. I suspect that outside of a few really frustrated and pathological men with an ugly mean streak no one takes any of it very seriously. If their point is that there’s a lot of wreckage to sift through in male-female relations at this point, well, granted. To the extent their answer is mindless cruelty and degradation of themselves and others, it’s just sort of pathetic.

  2. There are good moral reasons for people to limit their breeding, having to do with overpopulation, family finances, family dynamics, parental health, and so forth. There is, however, a huge caveat: all of these are ultimately individual judgment calls, and they’re properly left that way. Individuals may use unsound judgment and make bad decisions, but state or church interference in matters of reproduction (and generally in matters of childrearing, too) has a way of being truly disastrous. A society ends up with some version of progressivism run amok. The flavor of this progressivism may be secular and liberal or it may be conservative and religious, but regardless of whether it tends towards “The Handmaiden’s Tale” or “1984,” it’s bad news.

    NFP is one of the most bizarre movements I’ve ever observed. The whole sexual ethos surrounding it is disconcerting enough that when I was in RCIA, my main gut check before I went through with baptism into the Church had to do with whether our RCIA instructors and parish priests were as officiously fixated on sex as the crazies in my college’s Newman Club chapter. Thankfully, they weren’t. I probably would have dropped out of RCIA had sex become a recurring theme like it was at our Newman Club meetings. I had a feeling that the NFP zealots were projecting a marginal sort of sexual repression onto the Church, but it was mostly inchoate at the time, and I knew a number of people who had done an excellent job raising large families using NFP or a roughly similar method. I also had a feeling that some of the NFP zealots had a narrow understanding of Church history, e.g., they were obsessed with the conference programming at Franciscan College in Steubenville, OH, a school I’d never heard of, but had nothing to say about the Jesuits.

    What I did know was that a cradle Catholic turned Calvinist theologian had offered to summarily baptize me in his bathtub at a house party one evening, meaning that the proper reaction to Reform theology was to run like the wind, preferably towards a church whose preachers would be taken out of public ministry for doing such a thing. A handful of crackpot laymen hijacking a lay student ministry seemed preferable to a church that ordained the equally crazed into formal ministry. This made it easier to deal with these loudmouthed sexual zealots who were clearly out of their minds over sex and apparently intent on speaking on behalf of the entire Roman Catholic Church, lay and clerical alike. They were a huge annoyance, and sometimes distressing, but at least I knew that they weren’t the only legitimate spokesmen for Catholicism.

    Another disconcerting thing about these zealots was their refusal to accept the existence of any sort of political dynamics within the Catholic Church. It was an ahistorical, naive worldview. The Vatican is, after all, the modern continuation of ancient Roman government and the sectarian manifestation of Italian politics. The Newman Club zealots were aided in their ignorance by the contemporary Vatican politics under the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The hard lines that they favored were also favored by the reigning papal administrations, especially Benedict’s, so it was easy for them to argue on the basis of papal infallibility and the like. It’s become harder to advance the same hardline reactionary obscurantist nonsense in the name of the entire Church under Francis. They still try, but they have to resort to more openly political language because their faction has been forced into the opposition under Francis’ papacy.

    The bottom line about these NFP extremists, I think, is that they’re naturally authoritarian cult followers. Under different circumstances, they might have fallen in with Synanon or the Church of Scientology or Aum Shinrikyo or Wahhabi extremists or any number of other cults. As it was, a number of them were involved in hardline Republican Party politics, which they conflated from time to time with Church teachings. It was one big mixxy-uppy of this is what one must believe. Such people are dangerous. The craziest woman in that crowd, the one who complained about other people using birth control, looked for all the world like she would have made an excellent citizen-informant-propagandist for the KGB and the Politburo. Hers was exactly the mindset that totalitarian regimes need in their citizens.

    Not coincidentally, the sexual morality that this woman and her colleagues promoted looked an awful lot like the Junior Anti-Sex League in “1984.” They very much wanted private sexual relationships either eliminated or brought under the formal public jurisdiction of collective bodies. This is a classic totalitarian power play. It is for exactly the same reasons that totalitarian rulers interfere in families (e.g., forced collectivization and adoration of Pavlik Morozov in the schools under Stalin, forced spouse-swapping at Synanon), and it’s also why prostitution is inherently subversive of authoritarian government. Family life and prostitution both cultivate private relationships free of state interference.

    Conversely, sex serves as an extremely effective wedge for cult leaders and government officials with totalitarian aims, and it becomes more effective as the level of popular sexual frustration increases. Injecting NFP politics into a campus environment is a golden scheme for organizing sexually repressed authoritarians into a political force. There’s an existing population of young adults who have been fully sexually mature for several years surrounded almost exclusively by other young adults, all or almost all of them intentionally putting off starting families for socioeconomic and professional reasons. And of course they’re horny as hell; their sex drives aren’t even tempered by the family, work, or community responsibilities that they would have to people of other ages in a non-collegiate environment. There are sensible reasons for college students to defer family formation, maybe shortsighted and ill-advised but perfectly rational as responses to prevailing socioeconomic conditions, and there are also frivolous and decadent reasons, like wanting to extend a fuckfest unencumbered by childrearing into one’s thirties.

    So in a very real way, NFP activists are voices crying out in the wilderness. There is practically no coherent natalist thought on most residential college campuses, so maybe incoherent quasinatalist thought is better than nothing. It’s hard to say, since it comes at a steep civic price. Paradoxically, the only serious natalist thought in academia occurs at community colleges, since they’re where nearly all students with children of their own end up. A bit of it diffuses into low-ranking state schools (like Bloomsburg), and very occasionally into selective universities, along with the students practicing it by way of raising their own children. It’s an unfortunate and rather amazing state of affairs that childrearing is so devalued by the Cathedral that natalism has been reduced to a very sporadic intellectual tradition manifesting itself almost exclusively as a practicum. The only way to come across it is to go to a community college campus and hang out with students who have kids. Many of these students are single mothers, so it’s a good idea not to go in yelling about the necessity of marriage or the specter of slatternly ruination, neither form of decorum is a given in the “family values” crowd.

    But in an equally real way, campus NFP activists are also hypocrites. They want other people to get on with babymaking, often by accident, while they defer their own family formation into their mid- to late-twenties. And the means by which they insist that couples prevent unwanted pregnancies is an insane synthesis of duplicity, augury, and Russian roulette. Childless NFP activists are simply too callow to understand the burdens of childrearing. It’s bumptious in extremis for them to claim that, say, a 25-year-old single mother of three would be immoral to go on the pill. Not only is it not their decision to make, but they’re also trying to boss around someone who is clearly not averse to motherhood.

    This stuff gets really hairy. I have a gut feeling that some of these tradcon family values types are really trying to run a regulatory capture and social control scheme on the poors. If they really believed in family values and child welfare, they wouldn’t go about smearing other parents as sexually dissolute. Not single mothers with various baby daddies, not teen mothers. If they truly loved the virtues of family life, they wouldn’t be screaming bloody murder about the vices of others who entered into family life in a manner not to their liking.

    “It occurs naturally and we don’t think about it” is in fact the default reproductive philosophy in much of the lower class, especially among younger adults. And they’re hated for it. On the right they’re hated for their sexual laxity, and on the left they’re hated for their lack of future-time orientation. Both bougie factions hate them for using colloquialisms like “baby daddy.” Neither side notices or cares that they openly care about their own babies.

    This might not be a problem if Bougie had a baby at the breast by age nineteen, or some manners. But you’re right that we’re a frivolous society.

    • I think you’re putting too much stock into reactionary follies. Let’s stipulate that this sex subject drives people crazy. That’s no more than St. Augustine wrote about 1600 years ago.

      I don’t know what the balance is. Sexual repression breeds one kind of pathology, sexual incontinence another. Aquinas was very matter of fact about it all, following his hero Aristotle.

      Catholicism has two traditions about all this. One is dominated by the St. Paul/St. Augustine view that sexual incontinence is an especially pernicious human failing. That was early. By the 13th century, it seems like Aquinas had come to terms with nature, and lust was one thing to deal with among others. It seems to me like the Church regressed in the 19th century in response to the puritanical leanings of some strains of Protestantism. Even going back to St. Paul, the Church had not been particularly puritanical.

      It’s impossible to understand anything about Catholicism without an appreciation for sacraments and the priesthood. Protestant baptisms are (usually) valid. Why? Form, matter and intention are all there, and you don’t need a priest. Protestant marriages are valid. Even Moslem marriages are. Why? Marriage is a self administered sacrament, not requiring a priest although of course you can have one. Which is why one of the church’s traditional commandments was that you couldn’t get married in secret. Why prohibit something if it is not even possible?

      I’ve seen people go nuts over Marian apparitions, and they exhibit the cult like irrationality that you have noticed and justly recoiled from. So what? They can go that way if they want to, up to a point, and it’s not my concern. Their sin is still between them and their confessor, and mine between me and mine. Just like the Pope’s, infallible or not.

      Go to a traditional Mass sometime. Most of the prayers of the priest, who is after all there to perform a miracle, are about how unworthy and sinful he is. In some ways that says everything you need to know. We deal with our own sins our own way. But Mass you need a priest for, unlike a baptism or a marriage, and if sinlessness was a condition no one could do it.

      None of which is to condone sin. I have mine and you have yours. Yours are your business, not mine, but if anything I say is helpful that is surely enough for me.

      I hope this doesn’t strike you as impertinent. You’re sort of brilliant, and my instinct is to tread lightly, but I don’t want to beat around to bush or respond with a bunch of mealy mouthed shit, either

      • That wasn’t impertinent at all. Your explanations of Catholic doctrines, liturgies, and so forth are some of the most thoughtful and clearly presented ones that I’ve ever read. Oftentimes people trying to explain the same things bog down in minutiae or weird intellectual or political disputes, resulting in material that is indecipherable or insufferable. And I’m certainly prone to be all over the place in my own writing.

        One of the things I try to discern when reading or listening to extremists is whether their particular style of extremism seems viable as a mainstream movement. If they sound no more consequential than a street preacher yelling about hell in front of Penn Station, I don’t give them a lot of thought. It’s when they’re offering something that sounds like it might achieve critical mass that I get worried. This is obviously a judgment call, a subjective assessment on which reasonable people can strenuously disagree.

        I fear that the MRA/PUA crowd is dangerously close to critical mass. They appeal to festering sexual resentments that most mainstream leaders are too craven or chickenshit to discuss with any honesty. Already, Ken Cuccinelli has come within a percentage point of winning the Virginia governorship after running a campaign heavy on MRA memes, and Mike Huckabee has referred to public assistance for single mothers as “Uncle Sugar.” So these memes are arguably already mainstream within the American right wing. Even when they’re confined to the crazed fringes, PUA/MRA activists can be dangerous. They may be shut-in losers, but they’re shut-in losers who hack and leak activists’ nude photos and send them credible death threats in retaliation for political speech that they dislike. Some of the stuff on sites like 4chan and Reddit suggests that there’s a large reserve army of resentful, marginalized young men waiting for a latter-day Hitler to lead them to the bloody Promised Land.

        Sad to say, quite a few of these reactionaries seem too deeply resentful to be reached with anything but appeals to their resentments. They seem beneath the reach of the sacraments or any virtue conferred by the sacraments. One way of looking at this is that they’ve hardened their hearts, but I think the more salient truth is that they’re vulgar people who need to be reached on a vulgar level. Since so much of their resentment has to do with sex, the only viable way I can see to defuse them is for them to somehow achieve sexual companionship. Whether this takes the form of marriage, dating, hookup arrangements, or prostitution doesn’t bother me because the level of sexual frustration that they live with is clearly destabilizing American society.

        Present-day sociological conditions are a perfect storm: a mainstream society drenched in the crassest and coarsest expressions of sexuality, a Fourth Turning high in socioeconomic inequality, a cocooning zeitgeist, ample third-wave feminist preening, and low rates of sexual activity among young adults all at once. On top of this, Americans are aggressively conditioned, in good times and bad, to cultivate resentments for people freer and less frustrated than themselves. This does not bode well. At least the MRA/PUA types are mostly just keyboard warriors so far, with an occasional venture into real-life carnage by the likes of Elliot Rodger. I fear, however, that Fabius Maximus may be right that this is the start of a revolution, in some of the worst senses of the term.

        A lot of the material on the MRA/PUA sites looks ridiculous. To take an extreme example, many people reading the bizarre, wildly off-color poetry published by Great Books for Men would be floored by its outlandishness and unable to imagine anyone taking it seriously. But I suspect that many readers do take it seriously, regarding it as a sort of liturgy or saga about the inherent treachery of women. How many, I have no way to say, but just having a community that believes such things and wants to refashion society in opposition to them seems dangerous enough.

        Maybe these things are just functions of high technology allowing all the mewling nuts to congregate in one make-believe place. I’d love to discover that I’ve been overreacting to this stuff. But I wonder.

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