April 9, 2015

What will sex education sound like when the government sees a need to encourage young women to get pregnant?

The NYT has an article titled "Sex Education in Europe Turns to Urging More Births," but there's precious little in it about how a society — having given sexual freedom and birth control to women — can foster a rebirth of birth.

The comments at the NYT are loaded with statements that we don't need more people on earth. Now, the article is mostly about the need to keep up the birthrate, so I understand why people are responding on that level, but it's interesting that so few accept the presentation of the problem.

My criticism of the article is that it didn't do what the headline made me think it would do and get into a topic I've been concerned with for years. What if, over time, with perfect reproductive freedom, the choice to avoid childbirth is far more popular than we'd ever imagined? One solution would be to back off from women's freedom and equality, and I don't like that. So the thought experiment is: Assume women will continue to have the power to avoid childbirth and complete freedom to exercise that power. Assume we agree that the birthrate must be increased. What can we do?

ADDED: I just happened to run into another NYT piece from a week ago, "No Kids for Me, Thanks":
Meghan Daum, the editor of the anthology ["Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids"]... said, “It’s undeniable that watching this culture play out — the helicopter parenting, the media fixation on baby bumps and celebrity childbearing and -rearing — is overwhelming, and it’s natural that people would react against it.”
“I can’t tell you how many baby showers I’ve been to where the woman who’s having the child has this moment of ‘Oh, my God, what have I signed up for?’ ” Ms. Daum said. “I think there are people in the book who may have made a different decision if they’d been living in a different moment.”...

Laura Kipnis wrote about her “profound dread of being conscripted into the community of other mothers — the sociality of the playground and day-care center, and at the endless activities and lessons that are de rigueur in today’s codes of upper-middle-class parenting.” ...

But “it’s the parents who are selfish,” said Mr. Dyer, pointing to families typically own larger cars and use up more resources. Regarding “any environmental consciousness, the needs of their family get ahead of everything else,” he said in an interview. “In terms of behaving in a civic way, I feel my behavior is always exemplary.”...
I found that article via "The self-deception of the intentionally childless," by Damon Linker, which made a creepily death-focused argument:
So what good do today's childless couples aim at? I'd say something like pleasure — material rewards along with the self-satisfaction that follows from achieving high social status through career advancement.... If someone truly feels no sign of dissatisfaction at the prospect of pursuing one pleasure after another until both the desires and their satisfaction simply wink out of existence at the moment of death, then such a person might be a consistent hedonist, might really consider pleasure the highest good. But how many people truly, honestly feel that way? How many will truly, honestly experience no flood of regrets when faced with the prospect of annihilation...

It's true: The immortality afforded by procreation is an ersatz immortality...  But we can imagine [our descendants'] lives.... There is no such comfort for the hedonist.
Seems like he's just expressing a preference for one pain/pleasure mix over another. The title of Linker's article highlighted "self-deception," but he ended by embracing self-deception — the self-deception of seeing immortality in having descendants. The childless could just as well seek comfort in the continuation of humanity.

148 comments:

Bob R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

Approximate line in DVD, old teacher asks biology teacher

OT: You teach biology: is it possible for a 48-year-old woman to get pregnant?

BT: It depends what she looks like.

gadflyjohn said...

In vitro gestation, if the problem is childbirth.

Texas Annie said...

You get more of what you subsidize. The writing is on the wall.

tim maguire said...

I think most people would rather be parents than not be parents. In a totally freely chosen scenario, birth control would be used to prevent births before the parents are ready and after the parents have enough children (2 or 3 most of the time).

In the developed world, childraising is hard, it's expensive, and it is sevrely over-regulated by government and overly constrained by societal expectations.

If we want more children, we have to foster a society where there is less second-guessing of parental choices and an economy where the average couple can have one parent stay home if they want and have an affordable support system if they both want to work.

MayBee said...

Stop pushing two career families as the most noble option.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Get rid of the social safety net, particularly Social Security and Medicare. If you want security after you retire, raise some productive citizens who care about you personally.

Renee said...

Make men slaves. Formerly known as marriage. You know, the ball & chain.

What made us desire a larger family?

I guess the idea of never being lonely.

A lot of kids & adults only get together when it is an organized event.

Things are more spontaneous.

But people are not going to take that risk.

It's a risk. So unless you get along with your in-laws, it isn't easy.

paminwi said...

Maybe the "women" of the world are truly starting to believe the mantra that men are not necessary anymore.

What the heck is going on with verification - I had to pick sushi pictures?

Jim in St Louis said...

We can subsidize and incentivize. The Roman Empire (among others) granted women special privileges, for example if she had 4 sons then she would be able to inherit property, if she had 6 sons she could testify in court. I forget the latin phrase but legally she was made into an honorary man. Some mothers were given social privileges to the best seats in the theater and at the games, cash bounties would be paid to fertile families.

So the freedoms and liberties of women would not necessarily have to decrease in order to the population to increase.

Amichel said...

Seems to be natural selection in action. The sort of people who don't want any children, or maybe only 1, eventually will die out. In their place will be the devout Muslim or Orthodox Jewish families with 7 kids.

My name goes here. said...

"Assume we agree that the birthrate must be increased. What can we do?"

Welcome our new Mormon overlords.

Bob Ellison said...

What can we do?

Rape!

That might not be popular.

Ban condoms!

Ditto. Not a good solution.

Import Muslims?

Bob Ellison said...

In Germany, women get Kindergeld for the children they rear, and they get increasing amounts for each child. An interesting solution.

Terry said...

Shouldn't this have a tie-in to the Darwin Award post below?
I hate the "Darwin Award" snark. The better educated classes have fewer children than the poor and working classes.

H said...

One realistic response is (will be) to reduce the need for more children by reducing the number of dependent elderly: postponing the retirement age and medically assisted suicide.

John Kindley said...

What can we do?

Inform women that the earlier and more times they give birth the lower their risk of breast cancer. I've always wondered what your opinion was of the Wisconsin Law Review student comment I wrote on this subject back in 1999.

BDNYC said...

More contextualized female emotion infusing this post.

Seriously though, it's troubling when women avoid having families. One man can impregnage dozens or hundreds of women. But a woman is limited to a single pregnancy per 9 months. It's not like the baby-hungry women can really pick up the slack.

tim maguire said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...Get rid of the social safety net, particularly Social Security and Medicare. If you want security after you retire, raise some productive citizens who care about you personally.

The problem with that is you would also have to get rid of the mobile society. Get rid of the mobile society and within a generation we are no longer a first world country.

traditionalguy said...

The best part of freedom is people usually do what they want to do.

Loving children is not everybody's bag. Many women are like O J Simpson's wife who happily aborted every pregnancy ASAP.

But there are many other people who want the job of loving children and enjoy doing the Christian Family game by its rules.

But The Christian Family Game's rules is why Gays despise Christian culture for enforcing their rules.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The problem with that is you would also have to get rid of the mobile society.

Why? The elderly are entirely capable of being mobile too. Many choose to move to Florida or Arizona after they retire. There's no reason they can't move in with one of their children, and move with them as needed.

Or, the children could just pay their parent's expenses while the parents live where they like. That's what we're already doing with Social Security and Medicare.

jr565 said...

Supposedly we have a biological imperative to spread our seed and multiply. Maybe our technological culture has made us evolve socially into one that needs to neither spread our seeds or multiply. If so, we will eventually implode as a country due to complete indifference on our parts. Or active sabotage from some people.

the issue is not the excess of population, a la The Population but the dearth of population. We're not going to have the numbers to maintain the social structure.

Deirdre Mundy said...

So, we have a few practical problems. 1. Delayed marriage. The widespread acceptance of extra-marital sexual activity has caused people to delay marriage and childbearing until they're not as fertile.

2. The high cost of education in terms of time and money-Also delays children, since people choose not to have them until they've achieved career goals and paid off debt. Again, later childbearing = less childbearing.

3. The fact that many people DON'T see a point to children. To encourage people to have more than that token one or two, you'll need to get them to believe in something bigger than themselves, something that sees children as a positive good as opposed to a drain on society.

Now, that could be religion, but government schools can't promote religious belief, and so "God likes babies" is going to be limited to a few sub groups.

So... to really promote birthrates, you need to promote a secular religion... like extreme patriotism. Whip people up into a fervor. Have them ready to reproduce for the good of the Fatherland. Encourage the people who are more intellectually and economically successful that their duty to their beloved country involves babies, and fete them accordingly when they step up to the plate.

I'm sure nothing could go wrong there.....


****
More realistically, I think a lack of social supports for young families is a big issue. Most of their parents aren't yet retired, families don't tend to live in close proximity to each other, and many areas are purposely unfriendly to families. I mean, try to park a family-sized vehicle in an urban area! It's ridiculous.

CAFE standards should go too. And car seat laws should be submitted to rigourous analysis instead of 'safer MUST be better.'

Also, I think a waiting period for post-partum sterilizations would help. I know many women who got sterilized early on in those first few sleep-deprived, nursing all the time, worried months. A year later, they regret it and wish they could get pregnant again.

It should be illegal to sterilize someone without a several month waiting period, because docs are really taking advantage of flustered new mothers who will feel differently in a few months. How hard would it be to say 'Let's wait 6 months and see if you still feel the same way?"

Realistically, I think it would take a miracle to increase birthrates in any western country without drastic measures like banning abortion. Of course, without abortion, there would be a source of babies for those 'delayed childbearing and lost the fertility window' couples......

Apparently I'm a robot again today.

buwaya puti said...

Kindergeld is far less attractive to the rich women (or read that as rich or accomplished, amounts to the same thing in general, over time). The benefits are likely to seem paltry to the people you want most, and richly rewarding to those you want least, so it is dysgenic.
The only solution is to make children fashionable. The woman quoted as objecting to the fashion trend to gush over pregnancy and babies is on the right track, but from the other side. How to do that bit of engineering fashion ? I have no idea, I think fashion is the work of the devil.
As for the why of children, well yes its immortality, but a collective one. Modern society has lost much of its traditional collective sense. In the old days one had a family as an entity, a shared enterprise. People had obligations. You owed your parents grandchildren. In some cultures you owed your distant ancestors.

SJ said...

@johnkindley,

I can imagine "breast cancer awareness month".

Every article, headline, TV discussion, and radio mention of breast cancer starts with Did you know that women who have children by age 25 have much lower risk of breast cancer?

Followed up by it's smarter to have children in the context of a long-term, committed relationship. Not a one-night stand, or a fling.

The first statement may not be perfectly accurate.

But it's probably closer to the truth of the underlying study than most news articles about healthy diets.

Alexander said...

You don't like it, but it's coming.

The only thing left to decide is will it be a system that promotes male responsibility and protection of women, as well as recognizing the legal status of women as individuals, or will it not.

If Europe's social order changes and the native women start having kids, you can still have the former. If you think you can whistle your way through the demographic graveyard while your youth are replaced with Muslims (and it's not as if the non-Muslim immigrant cultures have a proud history of individual right and female equality), you are looking at the latter.

As a legal question though, I believe that our system already allows women's freedoms to be completely curtailed in order to ensure adequate reproductive rates. And I haven't seen women raising a fuss about it:

After all, if it is accepted that the government can infringe upon the rights of men - up to having him give his life - in order to raise an army to defend the state, it most certainly can infringe upon the rights of women to any capacity - in order to birth that army.

mccullough said...

Benefits to the elderly will be cut eventually in Western Europe. Their model is dependent on a higher fertility rate. The first people whose benefits will be cut are the childless. It will happen in the US as well.

jr565 said...

"Ignorance is Bliss said...Get rid of the social safety net, particularly Social Security and Medicare. If you want security after you retire, raise some productive citizens who care about you personally."
In the case of social security, won't it destroy itself? There won't be enough people paying into the system, since this generation or the generation after won't have the kids. And you need more people paying into the system to pay for the people retiring.so, give it a few more generations, social security will go the way of the dodo.

Peter said...

"Assume [SOME] women will continue to have the power to avoid childbirth and complete freedom to exercise that power."

And then consider that some women will either not have that power, or will live in cultures where they are socialized to want many, many children.

So, what would Darwin say? The meek may or may not inherit the earth, but the fecund surely will. Perhaps it's time for environmentalists to re-evaluate the meaning of "sustainable"?

PB said...

What will it look like when they "conclude" all forms of sexuality is genetic, test everyone and then require people to pair up only with those deemed suitable? If they say you're homosexual you must pair up with other homosexuals regardless of your own desire.

Aussie Pundit said...

a topic I've been concerned with for years. What if, over time, with perfect reproductive freedom, the choice to avoid childbirth is far more popular than we'd ever imagined?

We have that situation already in many modern societies, and in many such societies birth rates are very low.
However, even though it drops, the birth rate doesn't go to zero and if the drive to procreate has any heritability or influence on the mores of subsequent generations, the curve should bend upwards again at some point.

To put it another way, humans are highly unlikely to just stop breeding. Evolution doesn't work that way.

PB said...

The government will only "encourage" young women to get pregnant when they figure out how to do it without men.

What's special about two?

Kyzernick said...

The wife wants 3 kids. I'll be happy with one or two, but I'm willing to keep trying until we have a boy. We're currently childless, because we're selfishly enjoying our time together and trying to travel the world a little before getting tied down with young-uns. But it'll happen. And it's not self-delusion to feel that a child is a legacy that lives on once you've passed. I think someone lobotomized our hostess right around June of 2008, and she's just never coming back you guys.

Bob Ellison said...

Aussie Pundit, species do go extinct. All the time.

The big question is: why should we care?

As buwaya puti noted, there are tribal reasons to want to continue the human race, and those reasons are probably shaky these days.

Without religion, why bother making babies?

buwaya puti said...

As for why so few, in the NYT comments, accept the arguments, its because of the accumulated propaganda of the last 50 years, especially among those of a certain intellectual tribe. People do not turn on a dime.

Scott M said...

A perfect capital investment opportunity in exowomb technology.

An interesting twist on the question would be, "How much more willing to have children would you be if you didn't have to give birth to them yourself?"

David said...

The future belongs to the fecund.

Renee said...

"humans are highly unlikely to just stop breeding. Evolution doesn't work that way."

Yeah, but we have free will to make decisions. Humans do not work solely on instinct.

Some rules of evolution don't apply.

Renee said...

Giving birth is the easy part.

buwaya puti said...

And to tie this whole business to the gay thing, well, yes it is connected in many ways. One of them -
If gays are fashionable, then they are role models. People who aspire to live like they do, and to similarly shirk family obligations, will be less likely to reproduce.

Dennis Novak said...

Birth rate has been a problem in most affluent societies. Rome had big issues with replacement. Once there is no perceived economic benefit to children, which correlates with the shift from an agrarian to an urban society, the birth rate drops off. Europe is committing demographic suicide.

Browndog said...

BDNYC said...

More contextualized female emotion infusing this post.

Seriously though, it's troubling when women avoid having families
.

Glaring, to me, the ommission of the term "family" in the piece.

A single woman pumping out ward's of the State will get you branded as a "hero".

Getting married, having a husband and raising your children--that sounds like a threat to freedom that Althouse is concerned about.

BTW- a few years ago, Putin instituted a number of policies in Russia to encourage the growth of Russian "families" to counter the decreasing population of native Russians.

One of the policies to promote Russian families was a ban on pro-LGBT propaganda.

It became all the rage celeb leading into the Olympics.

Brando said...

What made populations increase in the first place? Two things--(1) lack of birth control and poor health standards meant more pregnancies and a need for more births as many kids wouldn't live very long, and (2) more kids meant more helping hands for farm work. Without that, people would likely have done what we do now, and have only enough kids to replace our population (1 or 2 per family on average) and many having no kids at all.

So I suspect countries with falling populations will do what a lot of them already are doing--heavy subsidies to have more kids (which I guess those kids will pay for when they grow older). We're not about to abandon birth control or go back to farming.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Jim said:

I forget the latin phrase but legally she was made into an honorary man.

Transexual?

Though in the US these days it is more often a man made into an honorary woman surgically.

John Henry

AJ Lynch said...

What Texas Annie said at 7:53.

It does not bode well for America that its smarter people tend to have fewer children than the dumb people [I am being serious here]. Though what kind of wussy, librul kids would some of these smart people raise anyway?

Fen said...

Nah. The Islamists are breeding along just swimmingly in Europe, so I don't see what the problem is.

Wait what? Did the NYTs just realize the consequences of abortion on demand coupled with a growing immigrant population that refuses to assimilate?

And here I thought Multiculturalism was da Bomb?

Europe will still exist. It just won't be Europe. Better go visit Paris while its still there. Pack a burqa just in case.

Renee said...

It's a culture problem, resulting in problems with public policy.

Without a culture of love for the family, the government can try lots of things spending millions on "healthy marriage & responsible fatherhood" programs.

You can try to foster love of the family, but expression can be limited. Too many people fear being mislabeled by SJW as homophobic fueled by the media elite.

sparrow said...


"Without religion, why bother making babies?"

There are practical reasons - children support you in your old age. No one in more vulnerable to abuse in a nursing home that those without advocates. Of course not all children will make good advocates but they are a more likely pool than the random stranger.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I've actually noticed a bimodal distribution in my old college crowd.

Barring physical issues, couples either have 0 or 1 child or more than 4 children.

One of the deciding factors seems to be the age at which they had their first child.

People forget that childbearing years are really short. I got married at 24, and I'm about to be 38. Doctors are already telling me that odds are I won't get pregnant even one more time, and I'm healthy. My only possible fertility issue is my age.

My classmates who put off babies until now? They'll also be lucky to get one. But that's almost certainly going to be their only one.

gerry said...

Once Western Culture embraced the culture of death which assesses all sexual behavior as equivalent, valid, and moral, and elevated individual taste to the level of moral arbiter, that wrapped things up.

Now we are incompetent moralists, and external events - events that implicitly use population age as a component of calculations - are building into a conglomerate, Obama-designed, Middle East disaster.

Iran’s position in the Middle East today parallels the position of democratic France in 1914: an ambitious power with grand ambitions at the cusp of demographic decline, whose last chance to assert its regional dominance is at hand.

I will admit it's been a good run.

Deirdre Mundy said...

In college, a friend's mother (who was a sociologist in a big DC think tank and published all sorts of books and papers that got talked about everywhere-- a successful career woman) told me that the ideal way to do things is to have the babies first, THEN build your career.

Because, she explained, you're only physically capable of childbearing and child-rearing for a short time, but you can read and write and think and argue until you die.

More young women need this talk, I think. Too many think "I will have children once I'm successful."

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Have hearts, dear folks.

religious people are outbreeding non-religious folks. Eventually they will be outnumbered, outvoted and irrelevant.

We see this is Europe where Muslim immigrants are outbreeding native Europeans by 2, 3 or 4 to 1 depending on what stats you use.

Ditto Israel where the hardline orthodox Jews are outbreeding the less orthodox by pretty large margins.

Mormons emphasize (used to emphasize?) large families because it allowed them to get big enough to be significant. (Anyone heard from the Shakers recently? Me neither)

Catholics used to be severely discriminated against in the US but they emphasized large families and became a significant voting block. Other reasons for the large families as well, of course.

In the end the breeders will own the world. And that is probably a good thing.

Fuck for humanity! Fuck for political freedom! Sex is your sacred political duty! And it is fun.

Lazlo can probably make something out of that.

John Henry

jimbino said...

religious people are outbreeding non-religious folks. Eventually they will be outnumbered, outvoted and irrelevant.

Right, but every kid is still born an atheist.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Oh, and 'Cash prizes for large families' would be unlikely to increase family size. Sure, those of us who have a mess of kids would appreciate the treat, but... while money is nice, I think TIME is the real thing holding people back.

They also mistakenly assume that if one child takes x hours of time, 6 children must take 6x hours.

In reality, I find that more kids is LESS time consuming than when I had an only. With more kids, they play and talk with each other. They get each other snacks and drinks. Cooking for 3 people isn't any worse than cooking for 8. People forget that there are economies of scale involved.

And the biggest issue with kids is the MENTAL effort spent on them. When you have more kids, you're not the only person to listen to the 5 year olds long and winding speeches. The loving and patience gets spread around.

jimbino said...

No one in more vulnerable to abuse in a nursing home that those without advocates.

Folks are more likely to be abused by family members and those they trust than by strangers.

Fen said...

So, what would Darwin say?

Darwin would chide us for assuming the human species would evolve to become more intelligent and civilized. We think a "Star Trek" future is inevitable, assuming we don't blow ourselves up along the way.

Darwin would say evolution is currently selecting those with higher a constitution and endurance. Breeders. And that "Idiocracy" is more likely in our future than "Star Trek".

Someone has written a paper on how the human intelligence peaked during the Renaissance, and its been downhill every since then. Because as civilization has advanced, its removed many dangerous factors that took stupid people out of the gene pool.

I think this means we are doomed to extinction much sooner than later. Declining intelligence and ever more dangerous technology is not a healthy combination.

Fen said...

BTW Deirdre, its a pleasure to read you and have you here. Hope you stick around.

Fernandinande said...

"And one of the first things to do--pending regulative reform--is to prepare the minds of women to take a truer view of their dominant natural impulse toward service and self-sacrifice. They need to realize more clearly the significance of their mission to conceive, to develop, to cherish, and to train--in short, in all senses to mother--the next and through that the succeeding generations of man."

Deirdre Mundy said...

Fen- Thanks. I've actually been reading Althouse religiously for years--- it's just I only comment if I have something to add.

It's been odd watching regulars come and go over the years...

I Callahan said...

You get more of what you subsidize. The writing is on the wall.

Yup. Welfare mothers squeezing them out because they get more money, and middle-class and richer parents having more financial problems when they do have more kids.

Birches said...

In college, a friend's mother (who was a sociologist in a big DC think tank and published all sorts of books and papers that got talked about everywhere-- a successful career woman) told me that the ideal way to do things is to have the babies first, THEN build your career.

Seriously. My junior high choir teacher started her teaching career my first day of junior high. I thought she was old then, but she had finished raising her kids and decided to go back to teaching. My niece ended up at my same junior high almost 20 years later. Guess who's still there?

I Callahan said...

In their place will be the devout Muslim or Orthodox Jewish families with 7 kids.

And the welfare momma, which you left out. If that's natural selection, we're screwed.

Anglelyne said...

Scott M: A perfect capital investment opportunity in exowomb technology.

An interesting twist on the question would be, "How much more willing to have children would you be if you didn't have to give birth to them yourself?"


I doubt that's much of a consideration for most women. IME women who express a lot of squeamishness about pregnancy and childbirth tend to have negative attitudes to the whole parental investment gig, not just the physical aspects of reproduction, so it's not as if an exo-womb is going to get them all enthusiastic.

There will be some, for sure. I once worked with a Brazilian doctor who was fully intending to hire some lower-class woman for surrogate-womb services, and of course she would have the maids and nannies to take care of the rest of the child-rearing work. She talked as if this were the most normal and proper thing in the world - she didn't waste her valuable time and roughen her skin scrubbing her floors, so why should she waste her valuable time and ruin her figure carrying and bearing a child when the world was full of poor people who needed work?

Jane the Actuary said...

Here's my read on it: when the culture changes to the point that what's "normal" is having small numbers of children, there's very little that government policy can do to change things. I'm inclined, as well, to think that in this respect, the one-child family is particularly likely to "stay put." if low birth rates are the result of a greater proportion of the population choosing to have no kids, but those families with kids, still having multiple kids, then you can imagine that trends'll reverse over time because each living adult came from a family of multiple children. If the norm is to have one child, and you grew up as an only child, then you'll perceive one-child-families as "normal" and do likewise. And if it feels like a totally alien thing to have more than one kid (and if your culture is OK with abortion-as-backup-birth control), then a few TV commercials aren't going to change anything, nor will, really, child benefits, subsidized daycare, and the like.

For what it's worth, here's some data on the U.S. situation.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/janetheactuary/2014/06/mystery-demographics.html

and Germany
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/janetheactuary/2013/08/whats-going-to-happen-to-germany.html

and you can head over to the CIA World Factbook to gawk at the exceptionally low TFRs.

The World Bank also has historical TFRs -- here's an old post of mine: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/janetheactuary/2014/06/heres-something-fun-data-from-the-world-bank.html

Sorry, that's a lot of links. But it's a really interesting topic, and I think it's fascinating to look at these sorts of changes over time and think about their causes.

Birches said...

and middle-class and richer parents having more financial problems when they do have more kids.

After two kids, the financial hardship does not increase.

Helicopter parenting will decrease with more children per family, because no parent has THAT much time to a crazed OCD.

For most middle class, the tax savings that come from going from a two income to one income family mitigate most of the income loss. But there is cutting back---home cooked meals instead of take out, no brand new cars, perhaps children will have to share a room. (eegads!)

Gahrie said...

I am childless, and I do feel guilty about it.

Not guilty enough to get married however.

Gahrie said...

What made us desire a larger family?

The need to have children survive to adulthood to take care of us in old age in the age before Social Security and Welfare.

Texas Annie said...

Which was cause and which was effect? The sexual revolution and birth control accompanied by an increase in out-of-wedlock births? The welfare state which compensated at a higher rate for additional children of single parents and an increase in out-of-welock births? Bothe happened almost simultaneously so it is difficult to separate, but again I believe that you get more of whatever you subsidize.

Renee said...

The purpose of two incomes is not for the kids, but to buy a home where single moms/fatherless kids can not afford to live on one income.

A parent can stay at home, but they will have to live in a less desirable neighborhood.

Browndog said...

Moe Tom asks. “is this true?”
HOW WE ARE BEING TAKEN BY LIBERAL PROGRESSIVE AGENDA

How to get $75k in benefits for you and your girlfriend.
Follow these proven steps.

1. Don’t get married to her.
2. Use your mom’s address to get mail sent to.
3. The guy buys a house.
4. Guy rents out house to his girl girlfriend who has 2 of his kids.
5. Section 8 will pay 900 a month for a 3 bedroom home.

6. Girlfriend signs up for Obamacare so guy doesn’t have to pay out the butt for family insurance.

Deirdre Mundy said...

You know what would make life easier for families with kids in a mobile society?

Free childcare. But not "All day daycare while you work" Instead, drop offs like the ones at gyms, but where you could go grocery shopping or run to the dentist.

Maybe a playground in the medical park, with a few child minders to tend scrapes....

I'm not sure how you'd swing it in a litigious society... but a grocery store with a 'playland' where parents didn't have to supervise? It could have higher prices and STILL attract shoppers like crazy.

The problem is that it wouldn't work as a 'market-based' solution, because as children become rarer, there's less of a market for 'things that cater to families with children.'

Renee said...

Mortgage has to be based on one income, not sure how many 30 year old women have banked up 150k along with her student loans completecompletely paid off.

40 maybe, but her fertility is out the window.

Birches said...

A parent can stay at home, but they will have to live in a less desirable neighborhood.

Not entirely true. We live in a very affluent neighborhood, but we saved up before we had kids for a downpayment. Did we live the lifestyle of the affluent and childless? No. Sometimes I felt jealousy of seeing my friends' cruises or exotic vacations or their nice furnished apartments, while we were living in the (cheap) ghetto. But now I don't have the stress of working and daycare and a large house that I'm never home enough to enjoy with a spouse I barely see or communicate with.

Deirdre Mundy said...

One reason so many big families homeschool is that once you have a parent at home, home schooling is cheaper than public school.

You can live in a less desirable district. You avoid the expense of 'packable' lunches. (Hot leftovers are cheaper.) You avoid the assorted technology/book/fundraiser fees.

Buying a box curriculum for my kids is still cheaper in 'dollars spent' than it would be to RENT the books at the local schools. And we hand them down, so the $$ is only for kid #1.

The thing is, to be able to afford a large family, you basically have to live a counter-cultural lifestyle. So... it's going to be an odd, offbeat choice, because most middle class women are horrified at the thought of hand-me-down clothes, passenger vans, and board game nights with homemade pizza instead of an expensive dinner out and a movie in theaters.

I have no idea how you could make this lifestyle stylish---part of the way big families live is by eschewing style so we can get things cheap. And a nation of 'looking for deals' would result in fewer deals!

In some sense, with our used clothes, used cars, etc., we're like remoras. We're making a good life off the waste of others.

Birches said...

Mortgage has to be based on one income, not sure how many 30 year old women have banked up 150k along with her student loans completely paid off.

Leave New England. Now it becomes infinitely easier to have more children and afford a better house.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

What if, over time, with perfect reproductive freedom, the choice to avoid childbirth is far more popular than we'd ever imagined?
Then, do all the societies who are outbreeding, and soon outvoting us cultural sophisticates need excoriating for denying their women the same rights of childlessness ours now exercise?

Deirdre Mundy said...

It's actually "Deirdre"--- my parents chose the least common spelling, so I answer to anything close. :)

I wouldn't say that 'mothering' comes naturally. I was never a baby person, nursing takes practice and work, every baby enters your life as a stranger.

It LOOKS easy after a few years, because you've gotten to know each other and have a rhythm going. But I'm a hot mess with other people's children. I'm really only good at MY kids, because I've had practice.

One thing having a big family does for people-- it gives them a tribe. The shared jokes/traditions/memories/activities make for a common culture.

That might actually be one way to sell the new generations on babies, actually. The idea that you can have a tribe in a world that's increasingly fragmented.

Oh! Anne-- I just thought of another way to change the culture on kids. We need a 'Will and Grace," but with a large, traditional family. Not the Duggars. Normal people who could actually be your neighbors.

It would take 15-20 years, but it could create the 'new normal.'

Of course, Hollywood is still lost in the ZPG woods....

Browndog said...

I see many are using the criteria for child bearing/child raising through a practical/financial prism.

I'll add the seemingly lone voice for love, fulfillment, and sense of purpose.

Coupled with the inherent human need to reproduce...naturally.

Renee said...

Better homes in the middle of nowhere? I may be a social conservative, but I'm still a Northeastern snob.

Freder Frederson said...

I bet, throughout history, pre-social programs too, love and biology and simple human acceptance of God's continuing gift of children during a wife's fertile years led to many more children than any great plan to have little people that would one day grow up to keep you alive.

My God you are naive. People had so many children because they had no access to effective birth control and they were ignorant.

Freder Frederson said...

For all you people who supposedly love your liberty so much, you sure seem eager to institute draconian programs to force (certain) people to have more babies.

buwaya puti said...

I am just fine with having mothers exert draconian force to have their kids make some grandchildren.

Renee said...

I'm not for draconian measures.

Like I said, it's a cultural problem governments can't solve.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Actually, my husband was pegged as the 'never have kids' one in his family too....

And he's the only one with kids....

Gahrie said...

I bet, throughout history, pre-social programs too, love and biology and simple human acceptance of God's continuing gift of children during a wife's fertile years led to many more children than any great plan to have little people that would one day grow up to keep you alive.


Really? Then how do you explain the fact that this necessity is still effecting people's behavior today?

The whole sex selection thing in India is because daughters marry, move in with their husband, and take care of their husband's parents in their old age. If you don't have any sons, there is no one to take care of you when you get old. Throw in ultrasound and abortion, and hey presto, the next thing you know, hundreds of millions of girls are missing.

Gahrie said...

People had so many children because they had no access to effective birth control

And you are ignorant. The rhythm method, IUDs and condoms have been around for centuries.

Birches said...

Better homes in the middle of nowhere? I may be a social conservative, but I'm still a Northeastern snob.

We live in an metro area. I could never live out in the boonies. I grew up in the city and feel most comfortable with people around. But we're out West, so even though housing prices have gone up exorbitantly in the past two years, they're nothing like New England. I could never move back East. I'd die from the flat landscape and never seeing the sun.

Megan McArdle has written extensively about how the Coasts and the middle are often talking past each other when we speak about Cost of living.

Birches said...

actually, I wasn't the maternal one at all.

Me too.

Birches said...

The thing is, to be able to afford a large family, you basically have to live a counter-cultural lifestyle. So... it's going to be an odd, offbeat choice, because most middle class women are horrified at the thought of hand-me-down clothes, passenger vans, and board game nights with homemade pizza instead of an expensive dinner out and a movie in theaters.

That's why it's nice to join a Church where these things are normal. My kids really don't know any different---though we don't homeschool, I know quite a few who do. (I still pack my kids hot leftovers for school lunches--lol). At our old house, we lived next door to a Pastor's family. Though we were not of the same faith, we enjoyed the camaraderie of having similar lifestyles. We were the only people on our street who left for Church on Sunday mornings. It was fun to give each other a little wink out on the driveway as we all loaded up in our Sunday bests.

n.n said...

The obvious answer is womb banks, which have popular support with the male trans-equality movement.

The less obvious answer is to determine if anthropophobia is a progressive condition caused by genetic mutation, indoctrination, or social pathologies.

The wrong answer is planned obsolescence and debasement of human life, which includes normalization of womb banks and sperm depositors, as well as growing the abortion industry.

Eleanor said...

How timing when you have your kids affects your life becomes very obvious when you attend a class reunion. When the flyer came for our 20th college reunion, my former roommate and I laughed. The day included face painting for the kids and seminars for us on how to plan for paying for college. She and I had kids who were already in college. Now the whole bunch of us are retired or nearing retirement. Those of us who had our children young had long years of uninterrupted careers. Our friends who had kids later are ending their careers in about the same place we did. It was harder for them to maintain a high level position accompanied by motherhood than it was for the rest of us to be mothers and drones. The women who decided not to have kids or waited too long mostly ended up single or divorced. At retirement they are no better off than those of us who sometimes had one income, but mostly had two. With our kids long since grownup and with kids of their own, the "early breeders" have been free to spend our income on life's pleasures for awhile. Our college tuition money and expensive weddings are well behind us. The "late breeders" are still constrained by needing to have funds available to support their almost grown up kids, but not quite. Their memories of a cruise vacation are 20 years old. The "early breeders" went last week. There are pluses and minuses for all kinds of lifestyles, but the message to young women to get an education, have a good start in your career before you marry and then to save to buy a big house and have some fun before you become a parent is the loudest one out there right now. Even if still only want one or two kids, the case for having the kids younger can still be made, but few people are making it. If you do have your first kids in your 20's and find parenthood is your calling, there's time to fill a minivan.

Meade said...

Deirdre Mundy said...

"In my family I was pegged as the 'probably never going to marry and have kids' and my sister was labeled the 'little mother.'

So.... I never had to learn cooking/cleaning/sewing skills. Better just to focus on academics. I'd be single and have takeout and a maid anyway.......

So.... now I have 6, and my sister is single and a high-powered corporate lawyer.

And I'm still learning what other moms consider 'basic life skills.' (Mostly b/c my kids are in 4H and teaching ME.)

So I tell my kids, 'don't let anyone put you in a box. Learn EVERYTHING you can, because you never know what you'll use.'


The weird thing is, the OTHER moms of big families I know were also pegged as the 'probably never going to have kids' ones in their families.

It's like there's been some breakdown in the ability to predict life choices.....

4/9/15, 10:19 AM"

SOJO said...

I actually would have liked a societally accepted opportunity to have kids *very early* without ruining my life, still being able to go to a good college, still pursue goals, etc. I'm talking as young as 12-15. ( Imo, JHS and HS were a huge waste of time and I would have happily jettisoned the idiotic social life raising a kid or two to age 5 before I went off to college.) When college was more male and people got married earlier, marital or family housing was common and it should be returned.

Obviously current society is not structured to support this except on the poor, uneducated levels and perhaps a few boho trust fund kids. Multiple generations would have to be involved. A long term husband most certainly would not be.

The typical pattern of education until grad school, working a few years, then having from 27-35 to get married, get established and pop out a baby takes a fertile period of 35ish years and reduces it to a societally acceptable 8 years. That's nuts.

I remember when Sinead Oconnor had her baby at 19 after changing her decision to abort as she was waiting in the clinic. Her rather odd reasoning was that a man wouldn't have to give a child up for his career so why should She? ( I don't think a man with a recording contract would have been so hot to keep his baby.) Of course in the near future she would have rock star $$ so could call her own shots. She ended up having 4 kids by different dads from age 20-40. Lisa Bonet is another. One early kid and two late ones...all by not artificially narrowing the circumstances under which she had kids.

A bit of crazy artist in there, but a far preferable path than earlier women either not getting pregnant or getting abortions to keep the illusion going of a single, sex-focused extended youth for their 70s men.

holdfast said...

In our fairly wealthy, and relatively conservative (for the Northeast) suburb multiple children are, unconciously in most cases, a status symbol - it shows you can afford all the ancillary costs of sports, activities, etc. - and usually it shows that you can afford to have one spouse stay home or work only part time (and have an au pair in many cases). Three kids is the norm, and four are not uncommon.

So we're heading for a place where the top 5% of earners will have a bunch of smart but helicoptered kids with a high chace of autism spectrum from assortive mating, and the lowest quartile or so will have lots of kids, generally also paid for by the top 5% via taxes. The skilled working and middle classes will have fewer as they are squeezed by stagnant wages, high taxes, and crappy schools (outside expensive areas). So, a powerful gentry/upper class, a vast underclass and less and less middle class - that is literally UnAmerican.

SOJO said...

And then there is the aspect of not penalizing people for having kids, or having a different career pattern (gap years, later start) in the US corporate culture.. Good luck with that.

Freder Frederson said...

And you are ignorant. The rhythm method, IUDs and condoms have been around for centuries.

IUDs have only been safe and effective since the fifties. As for the rhythm method, again an invention of the 20th century. Condoms are indeed much older, but general use for family planning (as opposed to not getting a disease from your favorite prostitute) was very rare.

Gabriel said...

I hate the word "dysgenic".

If poorer and less educated people are having more children raised to adulthood, then they are the fittest ones for the environment in which they live.

The dual-professional couples with no kids, or one perfect kid, are the less fit for the environment in which they live.

Doesn't matter to evolution what qualities we think are the good ones to encourage. If low-class women are pumping out wards of the state from different men, and these kids are growing up to criminals or layabouts, well evolution produces jackals and slugs as well as bees and butterflies.

If you think the environment is favoring qualities that are not desirable for the society you want to live in, figure out how to change the environment. Schemes to pay "good" parents tohave more kids is just producing kids who are less fit.

Gabriel said...

Oh, and not to Godwin or anything but Nazi Germany used to offer cash prizes and awards to families of "good" people, who were "rich in children", and they used to punish "bad" people with lots of undesirable kids, which they classified as "large families".

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

On the contrary, the childless are not contributing to the continuation of humanity.

tim in vermont said...

Darwin has this all sorted and in a couple of centuries the world will be peopled mostly by religious "nut-cases" who believe in having children.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

But “it’s the parents who are selfish,” said Mr. Dyer, pointing to families typically own larger cars and use up more resources. Regarding “any environmental consciousness, the needs of their family get ahead of everything else,” he said in an interview.

Damn that's some tasty Statist brew served up warm--how dare the family take precedence over the State! The good of Society must come before petty preference for one's own blood--how have bourgeois concerns for one's offspring not been thrown off already? Loving mothers who place their own children before the good of the collective must kneel on broken glass to learn--all of this could be avoided if we'd just embrace the future and turn children over to the State to raise.

Smilin' Jack said...

Darwin has this all sorted and in a couple of centuries the world will be peopled mostly by religious "nut-cases" who believe in having children.

Look around. We're there already.

readering said...

Basically, as women became emancipated the number of children women gave birth to decreased. It will be interesting to see how soon women become emancipated in the last societies with high birth rates--Africa and South and Southwest Asia.

Jack Wayne said...

Ann, you may not be interested in a axlotl tanks but they are interested in you.

damikesc said...

Don't want kids?

Fine.

Have fun with your social welfare system which relies on the youth to work to support your indulgent asses.

And, since you don't want kids, how can you justify not supporting budgets that don't balance completely like every one of those people, you can bet, don't.

But The Christian Family Game's rules is why Gays despise Christian culture for enforcing their rules.

Gays would be wise to not play the game of "You can kill the unborn because they're not really human"

...because "not really human" can become an AWFULLY elastic concept.

Katrina said...

"Look around. We're there already."

Then it does not appear as if atheists are viable from an evolutionary standpoint.

Check out the latest Pew poll. The secular atheists will not inherit the earth.

Jay Vogt said...

. . . . Anne asks, "What will sex education sound like when the government sees the need to encourage young women to get pregnant?"

Personally. I think it will sound like a Barry White album.

Katrina said...


"One thing having a big family does for people-- it gives them a tribe. The shared jokes/traditions/memories/activities make for a common culture.

That might actually be one way to sell the new generations on babies, actually. The idea that you can have a tribe in a world that's increasingly fragmented."

That's a great comment. My BIL comes from a family of 12. They get together at Christmas and for a huge get-together around the 4th of July. They are indeed a tribe onto themselves and those relationships more than make up for having to wear hand-me-downs and share bedrooms as children.

tim in vermont said...

Look around. We're there already

Oh just wait. Wait til abortion and abstention of all kinds wipes out part of the gene pool. Wait while the capacity to believe deeply in a higher purpose becomes more and more adaptive as the plenty provided by capitalism anesthetizes more and more genetic lines to their doom.

tim in vermont said...

It's not just the nihilists and other forms of atheists who can't adapt to plenty. People who can't handle the plentiful food will also slowly fade until we are adapted to our diet. For pretty much the same reason.

Katrina said...


Right, but every kid is still born an atheist.

4/9/15, 9:10 AM

That's a pretty dumb observation. Kids are born not knowing very much.

No, they're not thinking "Why am I here? Who created me?" They eat, sleep, and poop. That's it.

Kyzernick said...

"Right, but every kid is still born an atheist."

True. But then they grow up.

Ambrose said...

"The comments at the NYT are loaded with statements that we don't need more people on earth."

If you make a habit of reading the comments to NYT articles, you will see that no matter what the issue is, a consensus will quickly form that it can be addressed by (i)more federal regulation and (ii) fewer people in the world.

Alexander said...

If you make a habit of reading the comments to NYT articles, you will see that no matter what the issue is, a consensus will quickly form that it can be addressed by (i)more federal regulation and (ii) fewer people not like them in the world.

Fixed that for ya!

One notes that for all the wringing of hands and running for fainting couches, these people aren't clamoring for all like-minded people to heroically sterilize.

They want the same thing every population does - to outbreed its competitors. However, being fans of neither competition or breeding, the 'solution' isn't to win the game so much as try to guilt everyone else into losing it.

tim in vermont said...

Right, but every kid is still born an atheist

And here we've been told every kid is born a Muslim...

Big Mike said...

One solution would be to back off from women's freedom and equality, and I don't like that.

Go read Brave New World. Just be careful to wear grey and not black.

damikesc said...

They want the same thing every population does - to outbreed its competitors. However, being fans of neither competition or breeding, the 'solution' isn't to win the game so much as try to guilt everyone else into losing it.

Indeed. Which is why when they start discussing overpopulation, I ask them why they haven't killed their wives or kids yet.

n.n said...

It will sound less like today's establishment of a degenerate cult where the government sees a compelling need to reduce the problem set through capital execution in order to secure taxable assets.

jimbino said...

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Michael K said...

I didn't read all the comments but I would suggest the best way to get the birth rate up is to make the economy do well. Europe and Obama's America are staggering along with 0-2% growth and the population is keeping about there, too.

Get 4% growth back and I suspect there will be more babies as people believe they can afford them and afford stay at home moms. My daughter-in-law has three kids and runs a very successful business from home.

Smilin' Jack said...

It's true: The immortality afforded by procreation is an ersatz immortality... But we can imagine [our descendants'] lives.... There is no such comfort for the hedonist.

Sure there is. We can take comfort in imagining your descendants' lives. How sharper than a serpent's tooth, etc....

Alex said...

The problem I have with Republicans is they view women as breeding units.

Katrina said...


"Sure there is. We can take comfort in imagining your descendants' lives"

And you can see the future. Wow.

I can see why you hate the idea of God. You don't like the competition. You're omniscient in the tiny little world that exists between your ears.

Katrina said...

Alex said...
The problem I have with Republicans is they view women as breeding units.

Yep, Alex that's it.

*rolls eyes*

n.n said...

Alex:

Not breeding units, but mothers, by choice. Not abortion, but conception. Women and men do have a choice.

The Democrats' perspective is that women are womb banks, execution chambers, and taxable assets.

Jon said...

BTW- a few years ago, Putin instituted a number of policies in Russia to encourage the growth of Russian "families" to counter the decreasing population of native Russians.

One of the policies to promote Russian families was a ban on pro-LGBT propaganda.


And it's worked. Russian fertility has risen from a low of 1.2 children per woman to 1.7.

n.n said...

Every child is not born an atheist but rather idealistic. We are born to perceive a large intersection between the logical domains, but not to selectively reject them without evidence or probable cause (i.e. unacknowledged faith).

Rhythm and Balls said...

Assume we agree that the birthrate must be increased.

Assuming that Annie's ever capable of giving a reason for her assumptions is to assume the impossible.

Rhythm and Balls said...

If the world has trouble accommodating an extra 7 billion (especially with increased flooding) then it would only make sense to assume that a certain UW law professor will house them.

Fighting with the latter assumption only proves you incapable of going with the flow of this very important thought experiment.

n.n said...

Browndog:

Western societies hate Putin because of an enduring prejudice. Liberal societies hate Putin for rejecting selective exclusion (i.e. pro-choice equality) and normalizing or promoting functional behaviors. His public acknowledgment of human evolution and its fitness function, and establishing a suitable religion or moral philosophy -- rejecting libertinism -- is known to cause apoplectic seizures in his critics.

jr565 said...

Deirde mundy wrote:
Oh, and 'Cash prizes for large families' would be unlikely to increase family size. Sure, those of us who have a mess of kids would appreciate the treat, but... while money is nice, I think TIME is the real thing holding people back.

also wouldn't gays view this as a discriminatory policy since they can't have kids without needing a surrogate?

Freeman Hunt said...

Exempt the parents of large families from paying into social security.

Rachel Rudensky said...

I didn't read all the comments, so maybe I missed something. But why are we assume the decision not to have kids is the woman's decisions? In so many couples I know, it's the husband who wants to stop having kids while the wife would be happy with more.

Cynicus said...

35 and pregnant with my 4th child. You should only have children if you have enough love to give each child. Having kids requires a certain amount of faith that it will work out and sacrifice by the parents of our own desires. It is easier if you are religious or enjoy bucking the trends.
I ask older people if they worried about the right things when they were my age. They always say no, they worried about the wrong things. Maybe the same is true for the upper class. They are worried about the wrong things and want "financial security" rather than giving it up to God. They want to raise children without worrying or feeling poor or making do. I enjoy doing things I'm scared to do and succeeding.

tim in vermont said...

If the world has trouble accommodating an extra 7 billion (especially with increased flooding)

You did know that during the last interglacial,the Eemian, temperatures were higher than today and sea levels where much higher. That was 500,000 years ago or so, and polar bears survived it, and humans survived it.

For millions of years prior to the onset of glaciation, the world was significantly warmer than today and there were 38 species of great apes living in that lush tropical world. Humans will survive.

It will certainly be a different world, but it won't be Venus. CO2 has been much much higher in the past and Earth didn't become Venus.

furious_a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
furious_a said...

, "What will sex education sound like when the government sees the need to encourage young women to get pregnant?"

Something like Ceaucescu's Romania?

Fred Drinkwater said...

IIRC this is from Mark Steyn, and it seems to encapsulate the comments so far:
"The future belongs to those who show up."
The only thing that really aggravates me about all this is being told by the childless how to raise my own kids so they will be fit for the future. My internal thoughts generally run to "F You. Want to have a say? Pay the piper."

Birches said...

In so many couples I know, it's the husband who wants to stop having kids while the wife would be happy with more.

This is true. My spouse is reluctant to have more children though I would be happy to give it another go. I understand his reasoning. He worries about being able to financially provide for five while still being there for each child individually.

wildswan said...

Adults living right now in the US see a majority of other adults want two or fewer children. 35 % have 1 or 0 children, 40 % have two.

But the majority of American adults in the next generation will come from the families where the women freely chose to have three or more children. They will model a way to be a first world woman and enjoy a family. That is the only "solution" - that men and women see families as a good they want.

Oppressed women will go on choosing the self-destructive way out of their dilemmas which contraception and abortion provide.

Don't believe UN population projections - they all assume that low fertility will just go away. I think not. See fashion pages in the NYT.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Birches-- I'm not sure that one NEEDS to be there for each child individually-- or, at least, not all at once.

Different kids have different needs at different times.

As it is, the three boys at my house are happy to share their 'roughhousing with Dad' time. And they get their one on one time by stalking and pouncing. (I.e. -Dad is washing dishes! I will stand here and make him talk to me about Minecraft, legos, and boy scouts until his ears fall off....)

(The girls tend to take their Daddy time in the form of board games...)

Birches said...

Birches-- I'm not sure that one NEEDS to be there for each child individually-- or, at least, not all at once

That's how I see it from my perspective, but I'm not gone all day as he is. We'll see what happens. I'm still nursing an infant, so we're not in a rush to make any decisions one way or the other. I will say this most recent child is the first time I've felt like I could be done with childbearing. A girl I went to school with just announced she was pregnant with her sixth. I don't think I've got that in me.

Trashhauler said...

I've thought about this a bit. What makes women more worthy of protection and support than men? Traditionally, it was because they were mothers or potential mothers. As a general rule, deference towards all women was based on the biological imperative.

But having children isn't the priority it once was. Heck, even marriage isn't about having children now. So, legitimately, what extra value to society do women have that men do not? And why should we care what happens to them any more than we care about what happens to men?

CStanley said...

What Trashhouler sums up the tragic failure of the feminist movement.

Instead of recognizing the unique contribution that females make through childbearing and rearing, women assented to disconnecting sex from procreation and downplaying the maternal role in order to claim a greater role in the workplace- while still thinking that they should get more deference than men do.

jvermeer51 said...

The NYTimes ran an article a couple of years ago noting with horror that half the Jews in NYCity under 20 were those weird Jews. You know, the ones who take the Abraham thing seriously. If the bitter clingers, who tend not to vote liberal, end up having the majority of children, the left is faced with the prospect of loosing power. Then what will their attitude be to the most sacred ritual of liberalism; killing unborn children? 1. Loose power, 2. every woman's right. Which of dees?

AnWulf said...

As always, the father seems to be left out here. There is a safe, easily reversible birth control for men being tested. Look for the birthrate to drop even faster once approovd ... no more trap-babies.

Under the laws now, I don't want any more than the one I hav who now an adult. Men are at high risk of not only losing their children but being made into peon thru ridiculous child support laws/guidelines. Until custody and support laws are reformd, I cannot recommend wedlock or fathering a child to any man.

I R A Darth Aggie said...

Don't worry, this problem will disappear once modern civilization collapses upon itself.

kurt9 said...

I've said it a thousand times before and will say it again. The obvious solution to this, both for the individual and for society as a whole, is the biotechnological cure of aging and death SENS-style. Get over the "pro-aging trance" and this is the obvious solution to the problem.