(this article originally appeared December 5, 2014 in Stepkid Magazine)
One recurring theme you hear in both mainstream media and alternate right narratives is how the birthrates of native born populations of Europe, the US and places like Japan are below replacement levels and that we need to either import more immigrants or start having more children if we want to survive. I say, no we don’t. At the very least, we can’t know yet if we do or don’t.
Are we committing suicide or preserving ourselves?
The reason why intelligent people have less children is that they recognize how much of a responsibility taking care of a child is and think ahead about how they can pay for it. Other demographics seem to have a shorter time horizon and less impulse control(see the lollipop time horizon study.) They don’t think about any of that “down the road” stuff. They just pop out babies and let the chips fall where they may while society is left to clean up the mess. We don’t know what the long term future holds. It could be that breakthroughs in medical technology will lead to humans having much longer lifespans, and thus there would be less of a need to increase birthrates. Encouraging responsible people just to start primitively pumping out babies indiscriminately whether they can afford them or not just to get their numbers up, is not forward thinking. If you want to encourage them to have more children, work to provide an environment where having and raising children is seen as affordable and logical, and not as a liability. Our present society isn’t it.
In the early 70’s, capable working class guys could get a factory job right out of high school that paid 30 to 35k per year. plenty of money to start a family on in those days, and so they did. 40 years later, those jobs are gone and salaries haven’t increased much, while the cost of living has. Having a child can be a financial disaster for a person who cares enough to be responsible for them. I have a friend who got his girlfriend pregnant and now pays $1000 a month in child support(even though he doesn’t even have visitation rights,) which amounts to nearly half of his take home pay check.
As far as a culture that views children as a liability as “committing suicide,” I would urge you to take a look at what happens in the wild when populations of animals grow wildly. It often leads to mass starvation and disease and ends up destroying the whole herd. Or you can just take a look at Africa to see the result of people living on pure “id” and how it
affects a civilization.
There’s no way to know what the long term future holds based on present birthrates. There are too many variables involved. In the 60’s and 70’s people were convinced there would be massive overpopulation(Soylent Green, The Population Bomb, etc.) Those projections didn’t pan out. Just because birthrates are declining below replacement level(a favorite topic of Pat Buchanan) among certain demographics, doesn’t mean the population will decline all the way down to zero. It could be that we have way too may people right now, so after it gets down to the point where we are once again running around freely in the open spaces of the post apocalyptic frontier or merely mining the underground caverns of mars, babyfever could return in some form.
It’s not defeatist to believe so either. Defeatism would be having a bunch of children you can’t afford and then thinking the resulting generation of poorly raised, dysfunctional, meth addicted white trash would be somehow be a step forward for civilization(but we got the birthrates up!)
For one thing, it’s irrelevant whether sperm counts are reduced, as in the near future they won’t be required for reproduction. Advanced scientific intelligence is more of an evolutionary advantage in the long term than just pumping out babies. Through medicine, eradication of diseases which had wiped out entire populations of primitive people put us way ahead of “build huts and hump” crowd. The real question is not whether we can reproduce at the same rate, but whether we can be smart enough to separate ourselves from the overbreeders to create an environment where we can thrive. The technological advances I’m talking about aren’t “pie in the sky” Heinleinian dreams. They’re in the works. No one is talking about Highlander style “immortality,” but there’s little question that in the future people will be living much longer than they do now. Most likely, people in the distant future will look back and think how short and miserable our lives must have been, the same way we look back at the days before people had electricity, cars, running water, etc.
It’s cool though. Some people would rather we all live in trailers and bone down all day to create kids we can’t afford, because you know “we’ll have more Caucasian and Japanese people!” They advocate going down to the level of backward peoples so we can reproduce irresponsibly like they do and keep up with them. I’d rather us climb to a higher level entirely, one that man has not yet reached. While the others are out there in their wife beaters, smoking overtaxed Winston cigs, juggling their 8 kids(that they won’t be able to see because they can’t make the child support payments) trying to outbreed mobs of barbarians and battle it out with them on the streets, we’ll be off in our own homeland putting up a force field to keep out the riff raff, so they can’t interrupt us while we’re interacting with virtual reality porn and trying to watch marathons of Battlestar Galactica(upbeat 70’s version, not the bleak and castrated remake.)