*I generally refuse to publish unedited or sloppy blog posts, and so, with the time crunch that has come from having a second child, I have hundreds of rough drafts and never publish them. This blog post, as soon as the baby wakes up, wherever I am in the draft, I am going to hit publish. So it won't be perfect or remotely up to my standards. My husband says that my B-level work is still very worth reading. So... I apologize for the quality of this post. I hope he is right and it is still worth reading!*
This study made big news:
Populations around the world are expected to decline in a big way in the next hundred years. For some reason, educated, working women do not want to have enough babies to replace themselves. There is nothing Japan can do to get their women to have babies. Nothing Europe can do. They have "tried everything." Except an honest conversation about the problem.
All countries following the Western model need positive population growth. Why? Because of the Ponzi scheme that is their system of taking care of old people. Uncomfortable truth #1: We don't HAVE to take care of old people. It sure it a nice thing to try to do, but it is literally costing us children. Entire peoples may disappear from the world because the burden was too great. Mother Nature didn't intend for people to live so long, and those peoples who dedicate their resources to prolonging the lives of their old rather than caring for their young, those who try to defy Mother Nature, will perish, if not immediately, slowly, over generations. Dear Old People, Every five years you live past 65 costs you a grandchild. How many years passed 65 do you really want to live?
[Note: Many 65 year olds are still productive. I told a doctor friend of mine that I wanted to die with dignity while death was still a choice that I could consciously make, and she recommended that from the age of fifty on I get a cognitive evaluation every two years. Then I could measure my decline. The problem is that losing the ability/courage to die consciously will happen as part of the decline. Catching the right moment is hard. But if enough people tried to, we would have good data on the ideal time to say our goodbyes. (E.g. Maybe once you decline by more than 60% you will lose your ability to die consciously, so the right time to say your goodbyes is when you are at 70% and then at 65% you go.) I think many people, especially men, do go consciously. In The Myth of Male Power I read that the majority of suicides are committed by men over the age of 75. I wonder how many of these "tragic suicides" were actually acts of facing death bravely and rationally.]
Because Western countries must have population growth and their own people are not breeding, immigrants must be imported to prop up the system. Uncomfortable question: Are we sure that the freedom of the West isn't a breed expression of Native Europeans rather than something that any culture can acquire? We know that different types of ants build different types of homes, different types of bees build very different types of hives, etc., but the media and social sciences pretend all human breeds are the same. (Biological sciences no longer pretend this.) The question is: how similar CAN we be? Because the Western system is based on an extreme individualism that has not been able to work successfully in any of the collectivist nations where it has been tried. It is extreme individualism that leads to free societies and free societies that innovate. There are immigrants who become extreme individualists, but that is the exception rather than the rule--just Google the demographics of the Libertarian party.
A hundred years ago Native Europeans had a 25% market share of the world population. Today they have 10%. By the end of the century it will be 5%. Importing immigrants to sustain population will only work long term if those immigrants CAN become extreme individualists. Uncomfortable truth #2: For immigrants to become extreme individualists, we need to be encouraging assimilation, not cultural retention, the melting pot, not the salad bowl. And we need to fight any tribalism we see arising in Western countries. Dear Hong Kongers: You were nurtured in individualism for centuries, did you become individualists? Will you fight China for your freedom now or join the oppressive collective? Can individualism really be taught?
We don’t HAVE to constantly import immigrants. We could not support our old people instead. Or, we could tell American women the truth: Don’t want immigrants? Don’t want demographic change? Have more babies. But instead we get the message to have less babies because of overpopulation and no one understands why all the immigrants.
Uncomfortable truth #3: Don't forget IQ. The immigrants must not just be able to adopt extreme individualism to get humans to Mars, they must have high enough IQs. Instead, we live in Idicoracy. It's not just immigrant IQs that are a problem, but the breeding population in general. The army won't employ people with IQs lower than 84 because they will always cost more than they are capable of producing. Just as every five years an old person lives past the age of 65 another grandchild isn't born, every low IQ immigrant and every low IQ person who breeds, every person with an IQ of 84 or lower costs the birth of another baby with an IQ of 116 or higher.
If doing your part to help humanity meant not breeding and supporting others in their breeding, would you do it? Interestingly enough, smart liberals do this every day. They don't breed because of overpopulation, but they support high tax initiatives to support the children of the low IQ who breed even if they can't care for their children. Smart conservatives do this every day as well, through charity and adoption.
Uncomfortable truth #4: Africa is the only area of the world with positive population growth. But would it have positive population growth without Western charity? Are we not just choosing our old people over our own children being born, but African children over our own children being born? Dear Atlases of the World: The world needs more of you, not more of the people you carry. Stop carrying other peoples children and start making your own.
Industrialization leads to a plummeting of fertility rates. Uncomfortable truth #5: Another road to greater fertility in industrialized nations is allowing children back into the labor force. Perhaps with more regulations and oversight than there was 200 years ago. Children used to be so useful that people had lots of them. The Amish still put their kids to work and they have positive population growth. Simply allowing children to be useful again (maybe just a little?) could enable our old people Ponzi scheme to keep going. My eight year old worked thirty hours a week last year on a TV show, finished two grade levels, and had play time. But then, he learns quickly and has a full-time mom, not sure most kids could do that. But they could probably manage working twenty hours a week and finishing one grade level with play time. Allowing children to be useful doesn't HAVE to mean coal mines and no play time.
Maybe I should not call these uncomfortable truths but rather uncomfortable conversations we should be having?
Uncomfortable truth #6: Oppressing women also leads to positive population growth. If educating women and allowing them in the labor force leads to the destruction of entire societies ... why on Earth would we do that? We are more interested in being fair than in being alive? Discussing this with my friends in Nicaragua, many women would actually be very happy to "be oppressed" at home with the children ... as long as their husbands do not beat them and do not abandon them. Women are forced into the workforce, not always because they want to be there, but because it is not safe to stay home with the kids. If you forgo your career (like I did) then your marriage better work out. It is super risky and makes the woman super vulnerable. In fact, being a mom who stayed home with her kids is one of the greatest predictors of poverty in old age. But we don't HAVE to solve this problem by sending women into the workforce. The problem could also be solved by not allowing men to have second, younger wives. (That's what happens in Nicaragua.) Strict marriage laws that forbid second marriage, stricter infidelity laws, stricter divorce laws, or just societal pressure could suffice to get women back at home raising babies. Or maybe second wives are fine, but no second families i.e. you have to marry a woman your own age. Or maybe divorce is only allowed after the children are grown, and your first wife is entitled to half your paycheck for the rest of her life. (I actually think that's how it should always be. Married men with wives at home should bring home two paychecks, one for him and one for his wife. Then they can negotiate spending from there. Too many stay at home women feel powerless to negotiate with their husbands as they see the money as "his.") If this sounds horrible to men, remember, in exchange you get the workforce back! No more tiptoeing and sensitivity training! No more sexual harassment lawsuits! No more sexist hires!
[Note: I am tossing out possible solutions in order to point out that we don't HAVE to do things the way we are doing. If the ideal of life is self-realization, no one will be married for very long, because self-realization requires growth and staying with the same person doesn't lead to that. But that is not the exercise in this post. The exercise is how to deal with non-replacement level fertility rates in developed nations i.e. the question implies coercion/statism immediately because individualists would not care about such things.]
Uncomfortable truth #7: Democracy doesn’t work. Aristotle pointed out that democracy will always lead to socialism, because in order to get votes, those in power offer free stuff. There always has to be more free stuff to beat the last guy, so socialism is inevitable. This could be postponed by only giving
the vote to the producers in society, not the leeches. And that seems fair to me. Those of us paying taxes should get a vote. Old people no longer paying taxes shouldn’t and anyone on welfare definitely not. Just throwing out ideas.
And lastly, respectful parenting hinges on a highly individualist society. Collectivists cannot be respectful to their children because their children are soldiers for their tribe, not free agents to lead lives of self-realization. Collectivist societies suck. But they might outcompete individualist societies because we are can’t seem to join together to protect and defend our culture. Individualism, as beautiful and innovative as it is, will be gone if we individuals do not join together and stand up for it ... and if we don’t breed. But as individualists -- do we even care?