21.10.13

LOSING THE FUTURE.

Via Media contemplates the microstructure of declining birth rates in prosperous countries.
Some feminists see low birth rates as a natural and entirely desirable response of women around the world to better educational and professional opportunities—not to mention the availability of cheap and reliable birth control.

But if we look at America’s case, we don’t just see hipster ZPG worries and feminist career building at work; we see a general crisis of the entire system by which our society reproduces its biological substance and cultural values from one generation to the next. If a mix of ecological consciousness and conscious choice by empowered women were driving our birth rate, one would expect to see that even as the quantity of new babies fell, the quality of their life circumstances would rise. Women might delay birth until their careers were on track and so might have fewer babies overall, but the babies they did have would be born into more affluent and stable homes. Those who chose to limit the number of children they had because of ecological worries would again be expected to have fewer children, but would have more resources to devote to their care.
Thus does the mix of babies change.
While there certainly are families who fit these descriptions, the state of American children casts doubt on the likelihood that these are the factors driving our fertility shift. More and more American children are born to single mothers, many (though of course not all) of whom are economically or socially disadvantaged in some way. Reflecting that reality, the percentage of American children living in poverty is rising. Other social indicators—like food insecurity, education inequality, and children born out of wedlock — point to declining well being among American children, with the youngest often suffering most.
Worst case scenario:
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."
Or as Via Media would have it,
This can only be seen as a spectacular, and spectacularly dangerous social failure. It is a catastrophe of historic proportions, but we are reacting to it with a mix of learned helplessness and willed ignorance.
Or simply being non-judgemental?

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