Thursday, July 16, 2020

Population Demographics: Uncomfortable Ideas No One Talks About

*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?


  1. so in love with this blog. talk about a rabbithole i fell into with an insane plethora of knowledge!
    just to have this discussion..
    maybe i am not understanding point/discussion #6, but mandating staying in one marriage? creating strict laws against a second bride? i know we need to protect initial choices of sustaining the already creted families, but doesn't this kind of go against raising a child free of choices, and then, when adults, they must make a commitment for life? As Tamsin Astor says in her book Force of Habit- Unleash Your Power by Developing Great Habits, "Our relationships were shorter, due to shorter life expectancy," and even though Nicaragua is a much different culture than the Western World, should we assume that this is the ultimate answer?
    I cannot even say America does is much better with Alimony, but it does support your sensible direction on protecting the stay at home mother..
    I guess my point is, we see the flaw in being a Job-Mom, but what about a Job-Spouse? Many see coercion and enslavement in their long prescribed marriage.."death do us part.."
    Maybe a solution, too, would be stay at home incentives. Not necessarily welfare, but hefty tax breaks for the parent leading the education role in the childs life (reduced property tax, because thats heavily based on the school district, etc.)
    Anyhoot, just continuing the uncomfortable discussion :-) Cannot say I am right, then again I have not thought about a lot of these points so thank you for your "unrefined" blog post after such a hiatus!!

    BTW my FAVORITE uncomfortable truth is #7! THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE PROBLEM WITH DEMCOCRACY in merely four sentences! and your solution seems flawless to me! I've been reading Mark Levine's work on discussing tyranny in our society, and the future risks it is impairing our children with because of all of those we elect that lobby the "free stuff." Plunder and Deceit is where he insists the failing side of democracy comes from the "Liberal" perspective, but hey two wings to this Bald Eagle, right??

  2. Hi Dev,

    On strict marriage social customs: Yes, 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. (So the question implies statism immediately because individualists would not be concerned with such things.)

    In Europe, especially Scandinavia, they have made having children as painless as possible: free daycare from six weeks on, in home help for two years, two years paid leave for both parents, etc. None of these things have raised their fertility rates! Why?! Does self-realization as the purpose of life (extreme individualism) make people simply uninterested in having children?

    Or is it the lack of freedom? In much of Europe it seems that parents have little power to raise their children how they want to, especially where homeschooling is illegal. It could be that fertility rates are tied to lack of parental freedom. Since the parent is just the person providing the hotel room and food for the child and the real parent is the state, maybe that makes parenting too unsatisfying?

    Or maybe it is because the women all go back to work. Maybe Scandinavia needs to focus (as you suggest) on ways to reward and protect stay at home moms. But then, the state loves the two parent working household--twice the taxes!

    I think Hungary recently offered a huge tax break for life for any woman that had four children or more. I wonder if that will work.

    On Democracy: They never talk about this when they talk about the fall of Rome, but Julius Caesar could not get the nobility to like him or want him as emperor, so he had to get the peasants to support him. He did this by offering free bread. He gave free bread to something like 16k people. And then it became a thing. A hundred years later 100k people were on the free bread dole. Three hundred years later it was millions of people and they had to overtax all of their provinces to pay for the free bread. I am sure I am getting the details of this story wrong, but you get the idea--it may have been socialism that made Rome fall.

    Anyway, thanks for your comments and ideas! Yes, just a brainstorm. :)

  3. Hi Roslyn,
    First of all, thank you for posting!!! Your “B-level” work is absolutely worth the read, and an oasis of interesting ideas in what has felt like a desert of virus memes.
    After our conversation on face book when you posted a similar article, I got to thinking about why this topic brings up uncomfortable feelings for me. I feel an instinctive “who cares? Let people have as many/few children as they want”. I realized that this ‘push-back’-type feeling probably stems from being raised in a very controlling religion, one that overtly and subtly pressures members to have as many children as possible. I spent my mid-twenties leaving and ‘detoxing’ from the religion, but it still affects me. So I think that when I hear about people wanting to have just 1-2 children, on a subconscious level that seems like freedom, because it is so different than how I grew up. Anyway, I write all that to say “thank you” because your writing has helped me examine my own biases!
    About the meat of the piece—the study was fascinating and sobering. In my lifetime, and certainly in my daughter’s, the world could be a very, very different place. The replacement fertility rate is average 2.1 children per woman, which doesn’t seem like that many. It even seems like Europe should be doing fine (after all, I know plenty of native Europeans with 2 or 3 kids). What many people don’t realize, though, is that fertility rates have never exceeded 90% of women. Meaning, even in times of peace and prosperity, only 9 of 10 women will have children (due to choice, infertility, lack of partner, etc). In times of war or famine, the number can be much lower. If we do the math, to reach a replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman and 1 woman in 10 has 0 children, then 3 in 10 must have *3* children and the remaining 6 must *all* have 2 children each. It seems unlikely that 3 in 10 educated, high-IQ women will have 3 children and that the remaining 6 in 10 will *all* have 2.
    Just for fun I did the math: I calculated the fertility rate for my students’ families one year when I worked in early childhood (infants-4/5yr olds). The mothers all worked, all were educated, I would guess all had at least average IQ, most being above. The city I worked in (and the parents, from what I knew) were pretty liberal. Some were religious, most were not (I would qualify only one family as being very religious/observant). Their rate was 2.16, so just above replacement levels. However, that takes into account no 0-children women (all of the children were biological) and we only reached that rate because one of the mothers had 6 children. If I take her out, the rate falls to 1.9. If I look at the remaining families non-mathematically (as in, just look and guess if they are at/above replacement levels) I would have guessed above, because the majority had 2 or 3 children (out of 17 families, 4 had 1 child, 8 had two children and 4 had 3 children). But they weren’t quite at replacement levels. They were close, though, probably because I worked in a fairly affordable area (Midwest). Seeing the actual math of getting to 2.1 children per woman is fascinating—it is really difficult to do!

    1. Thank you for replying, Cynthia! Lots of fun things to think about and respond to. I would love to hear more about the religion you grew up in and what compelled you to leave and where you are at with your family this days. I have been studying conservative religions for the last year and have to say that from a fertility coercion seems to be highly effective!

      Yes, replacement fertility is actually harder than people think. Thank you for the math!

    2. Hi again, Roslyn. Thanks for replying. Got to get ready for bed soon, so I'll just reply to this comment for now.

      I grew up in the LDS/Mormon religion, 4th+generation on both sides. Very active/observant. As a young adult, a lot of the social issues bothered me (mostly women's issues) but they bothered me so much because I *really* believed it was all true. And if it was all true, how could certain policies/doctrines etc feel so wrong? That was painful for a long time.

      Then, that tiny question entered my mind of "what if it isn't true?" and I tried to look at it with unbiased eyes. The more I looked, the more I saw that, as much as anything historical can be proven/not proven, there was almost no way it was true. I remember saying "reality is important to me"--and the foundation of the church was not, to the best of my understanding, based in reality.

      Eventually, my husband and I left the church and "came out" to our families. They all had negative reactions at first (shock/blame/shame/guilt) but I will give them credit that they all still tried to maintain the relationship and not "shun" us.

      Now that the dust has settled, things are as good as they can be. We visit them, they visit us. We are supportive of each other. Obviously, it would be wonderful if they had a similar philosophical life-view as us, because that leads to closeness. (I actually have 2 brothers who also do not attend, and my husband has one sister who "came out" to him after we did. So relationships with those family members have improved and deepened.)

      For years after leaving the church I just kept with the motto that "reality is important to me" and tried to make most of my decisions evidence-based and rational. I had never heard of Objectivism and only barely heard of Ayn Rand. About two years ago I found your blog and it was mind-blowing. I read all of your blog, many of the books in your bibliography (and still reading!), read Atlas Shrugged (and other works by Rand and Branden) and I'm soaking it up! I've always, always been a freedom-loving person, but I learned (from Disney and my religion) to bury my 'bad' feelings and only have/desire 'good' things. And I still agree with Laura Ingalls Wilder that "Freedom means you have to be good", but my idea of who decides what is good and why is very different now.

      I am so happy to have my intellectual freedom. In the church every idea, every philosophy is analyzed from the lens of "how does this fit with the gospel/church". Now I make my analysis of "is this likely to be true or false? Does this improve or harm my life/my family" No idea, no matter from whom, is taken on faith.

      Because of all the social support (most local congregations have playgroups for the mothers, they bring meals when someone has a baby, etc) mothers are able to have many children. Frugal living, marital fidelity, the importance of family/children, and the duty to have as many children as financially/physically possible are also highly emphasized. Because of this, in all my years in the church (in 7 different states, moved a lot as a child/young adult), I can think of only two families who had 1 child and very few who had just 2 (probably less than 15% of any congregation). Obviously, some only had children by adoption, and would therefore be counted as "0" for fertility measures. 3-4 children was by *far* the most common, with at least 2-3 families in any congregation having 5+ and usually 1-3 families having 8+ (the most fertile family I met had 12 children--even in the church this is unusual!). For example, my mom has a group of 5 friends that she has had for 25 years--2 of them have 3 children, 2 have 4 and one has 5. This is typical. Social support+religious pressure+lots of stay-at-home moms = higher than replacement-level fertility.

      Anyway, that may be so much more than you wanted to know! Off to get ready for bed!

    3. Thank you for the info! I am studying religions right now and will get to LDS in a year or so and would love to be able to contact you and ask questions if you're into it :)

      In the mean time: Rand kind of stole Neitzsche's ideas and made them more popular and accessible. So if you like her definitely give Neitzsche a read -- he's negative though, whereas she is positive. But he's so funny. His books are like long, ranting blog posts. But I think coming from LDS, the book you would enjoy the most is Individualism and Collectivism by Triandis and then A People That Shall Dwell Alone by MacDonald. If you read them let me know, would love to chat about them!

  4. Which brings us to the Uncomfortable Truths/Conversation Starters: #1) We don’t have to take care of the elderly. I agree. As our populations age, the burden on working age adults will continue to increase. I’ve heard today’s 30-40-somethings referred to as the “sandwich generation” because we are sandwiched in between taking care of aging parents as well as our own children. This is too big a burden for many to bear, leading to health problems, financial problems, divorce, etc. An idea I have to solve this problem is to change the culture around death and dying. I wish that elderly people, when they know they are starting to decline and feel they don’t have much more to contribute, could gather their loved ones, say good-bye, and then peacefully pass away (make this legal!). Why shouldn’t a person get to decide when her life is over, with some dignity, instead of slowly languishing, being propped up by expensive drugs whilst having very little quality of life or productivity? I do disagree, however, about the number 65. I think it may be a helpful place to start, but I know people in my own extended family much older than that who are still working and even supporting their own grandchildren and great-grandchildren. If dying was respectful and dignified and we didn’t fear it so much, I think many people would be capable of making a rational choice to let go at the ‘right’ time for them and their families.

    #2) For immigrants to become individualists, we have to encourage assimilation. Yes, obviously for one’s entire world-view to change, he or she must assimilate to the values and culture of the Western society. I am less convinced, though, that this is necessary to the degree implied above. If intelligent, hard-working people live in a Western society but still act in a more collectivist way, would that be a problem? The world needs Hank Reardons, extreme individualists, but those Hank Reardons need lots of people ‘underneath’ them to get the work done. The second-generation immigrants I know are not the entrepreneurs, but they are engineers and scientists, helping the entrepreneurs make their ideas flourish. I guess where this could get tricky is if the state gets too involved. If we have fewer and fewer really smart individualists, those who are more collectivist could perhaps more easily cede control and autonomy to the government?

    How would you categorize a group like the Amish? Extreme individualists? Collectivists? They don’t have much government oversight, but they have a lot of community involvement and pressure to conform (and they lose their community if they don’t choose to go along with the rules and expectations). I think that humans do function best in small, tight-knit groups, such as the Amish, but there will always be those who don’t ‘fit’ in the group. How much liberty can/should one give up for the safety, security and strength of belonging to a group? I do think a **big** part of the answer is Non-Violent Communication! If we all communicated more respectfully (and eventually thought more respectfully, towards ourselves and others) I think it would be possible to live in groups but guard against tribalism. I think about this a lot…..

    1. #1: Yes, thank you for pointing out where this post needs some clarity. I will update it.

      #2: I think that collectivists acting collective while living in an individualist society will destroy that individualist society because they will outcompete the individualists and eventually replace them--a group is more powerful than an individual.

      This is especially true in politics. For an individualist society to work there must be a meritocracy. Collectivism destroys meritocracy--people are hired not on their excellence but on their membership in a specific group, businesses are shopped at not because they are the best but because their owner is a member of a specific group, political policies are voted for not because they are moral or immoral but because they will help or hurt your group.

      Because the individualist is choosing between A, B, C, D, and E all of these candidates, policies, or products get 20% of the individualist customers. The collectivist on the other hand chooses between only A and D as those support his collective. Businesses A and D are going to do better, they have a larger customer base. The completion/trade is not done on equal footing.

      Collectivist groups are usually highly corrupt. They don't see the world in terms of a universal right and wrong morality. For a collectivist, the right thing to do in a given situation is whatever benefits your collective. There is a fantastic book on this called Individualism and Collectivism. Its critiques of individualism were quite eye opening for me.

    2. The Amish are highly collectivist, but unlike all other collectivist groups, they they take the lowest jobs, have taboos against wealth, and do not vote or engage in politics. But they absolutely DO outcompete other farmers as they do not have to pay social security taxes and enjoy the unpaid labor of many children. However, due to the fact that farming is the lowest paid job and no one else really wants it and all they do by being the best farmers is to force other farmers to get better paying, higher status jobs, it would be a long time before their collectivism damaged the society.

    3. After thinking on collectivism and individualism, I guess that all very controlling religions would have to be collectivist. Which means I grew up in a collectivist culture (at least at church). This is fascinating to me. I definitely need to do more study in this area. I'll look into the book you mentioned above.

    4. I highly recommend Individualism and Collectivism by Triandis. Really eye opening!

      Most religious groups are collectivist in some ways, but post reformation Christianity tends to have an individualist streak in that they believe in objective truth. In general, the most important difference between individualists and collectivists is that individualists are loyal to concepts whereas collectivists are loyal to their group. Individualists believe in objective truth. Collectivists believe truth is flexible, and the truth they choose to believe is whatever best serves their people. Individualists are loyal to their ideals of what is right. Collectivists believe that whatever serves their people best is what is right. Collectivistic peoples don't create high-trust societies nor do they pursue individual ideas that might not benefit their group (objective science). For how could a collectivist, who doesn't care about objective truth or even believe in it, do proper science?

      I thought a Christian would tell the truth, even if it got him or his priest in trouble. Is that not the case?

  5. Uncomfortable Truth #3) IQ—yup, here is the crux of the ‘problem’. The high-IQ women are having fewer children and are often subsidizing the lower-IQ children through taxation. I don’t know if I totally agree about the conservatives. Many conservative, religious people donate money/time/resources to single mothers or children in 3rd world countries, but they also have 2+ children of their own. What I’m trying to say is that I can see how high taxes put a financial burden on intelligent women which may prevent them having more children, but I don’t think donating to charity puts a financial burden on intelligent women which prevents them from having children. Not from what I’ve seen having grown up in such communities.

    One-And-Only by Lauren Sandler has an entire chapter about this (the author is an only child and has an only child, hence the book). In the chapter she talks to a lot of population researchers who say what you are saying—that educated, working, non-religious (often liberal) women are very likely to have just one child and that religious women (high-IQ or low) are very likely to have 2+ children, meaning that in a generation or two, the social fabric of the country will be very different. It a sketch at the end of the chapter she asks one researcher “So, should we have more children to save the world?” and he laughs and says “Well, we would have to have faith for that”. Even though it is funny to the author, it isn’t to me. I do want the world to have more rational, freedom-loving people, so I plan to have more children. ;)

    This is also true if I look at my husband’s family (he is one of 8 siblings), the fertility rate is 5.625! Except for us, no one has fewer than 5 children. Except for us, everyone is very religious/observant. The women are all educated, all are stay-at-home mothers (one works part time), and I would say have a mix of average to above-average IQ (they all have at least some college education). His family has much higher-than-average fertility, even for their religious group, but it does illustrate the point that the higher-IQ fertility will most likely come from religious folks.

    1. #3: Only 3% of high IQ women will end up in poverty as adults, regardless of the situation they are born into. What follows is that any charity given has a 97% chance of it going to a low IQ person and of therefore subsidizing more low IQ children being born or surviving. (Though regular IQ people do make up some charity recipients, it's a low percentage. The bulk of the recipients of charity are people with low IQs. Also, people with low IQs will end up poor most of the time regardless of the financial situation they are born into. This is from The Bell Curve.)

      I want the world to have more freedom-loving people too! But especially high IQ people that can get the human race to Mars. I am SO excited about that really want it to happen in my lifetime!

      That is interesting--a community of high IQ, college educated, stay at home moms?! Where? I want to join!

  6. Uncomfortable Truth #5) Children in the labor force. What a fascinating point! I’ve never thought of this in relation to fertility rates, but I think you’re on to something. If children were working (and happy—I bet they’d love it), it would be more fun to raise them, so women would want to have more of them. Also, if they were more productive at home (cooking, cleaning, etc), it wouldn’t be such a burden to raise them. I see no reason why a child of 8 or 9 should not take care of his/her own laundry and be responsible for several family meals/week. I have neighbors across the street (age 9) who LOVE to help me cook. If I were their parent, I would ask them to cook dinner for the family at least once a week. Why do parents expect their children to be ‘perfectly behaved’ and have ‘perfect’ grades, but then not even let them walk to the corner store, or run a lemonade stand, or cook a meal? If they can manage their school work, can’t they manage a cross walk, and a bank account and a stove? I really think this point has a lot of the answer for western women. The only trick is, for kids to have this kind of autonomy (and the respectful relationship with their parents that enables them to *want* to contribute) they would need homeschooling or at least a stay-at-home parent.

    1. Yes, schooled children would have a much harder time contributing as schooling takes all day. Homeschooling takes 1/3 as long, leaving the kid with much more time to be useful.

      Children's lack of freedom in today's society is beyond ridiculous. Children in Europe and Japan are expected to go to school on their own, taking public transportation and whatnot, without their parents by the age of 8. They do week long sleepovers away from their parents at 6....

      My son could manage a hot stove at around 2 1/2. He could chop perfect potatoes before he was 4. Children are seriously underestimated. There is a book on Amish parenting called More Than Happy that talks about that.

      Here is a video of 2 year old Anders making eggs:

  7. Uncomfortable Truth #6) Women in the workforce. There is no way of getting around this one—I have personally never met a woman who works full-time (in a traditional, 8-5 type job) and has 2+ children, particularly when the children are young. It just doesn’t work (not without full-time help, anyway). Even the mothers I wrote about above, at my former workplace, all of them worked, but none of them with more than 1 child had a full-time, traditional-schedule job. As they had a 2nd or 3rd child, all of them scaled back to part time, or had their own business (photography, artist, etc) or had a spouse who could work from home/stay home. But it certainly does put women in a tough spot—have more children and be at risk financially, or keep one’s financial autonomy at the expense of another child? Society-wise, the first option is really the only choice. But the second one is what most educated women are choosing, because it is very difficult to not prioritize one’s own livelihood. I must say, I was surprised to hear your solutions to this problem included a lot of very strict laws. I would bristle at enacting most of those.

    I think one solution is for women to be very, very picky in their choice of a spouse. First a woman must be honest with herself and what she wants out of life. If she really wants a life-long commitment, to build a type of family that will last for generations, (a kingdom, in reference to another of your posts) then she needs to be the type of woman and marry the type of man who can build that family. I think she can still do that and have an education and career—before children. If a woman finishes college at 22, she could work 5 years, live very frugally, build a nest egg and still have time to have 2+ children. If a woman has been homeschooled and starts a business or attends college at a younger age, she would have time to work for 10 years before having children. She could build up a pretty good nest egg in that amount of time! That, combined with being very picky about a spouse and prioritizing the marriage relationship would offer women more security without paternalistic laws.

    I really love your post that talks about the people, not the job, being the dream. I think this is especially true for women. I think most of us would choose excellent relationships over our ‘dream job’. I was so worried in college about figuring out what my ‘dream job’ was and I was also worried about picking something that *could* work with having a family. I wish someone would have told me it is basically impossible to have a ‘dream job’ and a family at the same time. I wish someone would have advised me to pick something for which I had an aptitude (not necessarily a passion) that would make a good living, do that for 3-5 years, and then quit and have kids. I probably would have chosen something like accounting, made good money, and enjoyed philosophy, design, child development in my free time.

    1. #6 is a tough one. High IQ couples have very low divorce rates. It is the low IQ women -- and their children -- that benefit from icky legislation. There is a great book on this called The State of White America. It is about more than white people, but white people are used as the case study.

      Me too. So much. (On people being the dream, on not wasting so much of time believing in the whole dream job thing.)

  8. Uncomfortable Truth #7) Democracy. I’ve never thought about the socialistic aspect to democracy, but it makes total sense. Why are social security/medicare costs exploding?? Because no candidate can touch them—the older people are the ones who vote! Only letting the producers have a vote is an interesting idea, but I see some complications. What about stay-at-home mothers? Do they get a vote? What about older people no longer producing but taking care of grandchildren? Do they get a vote? (Basically, how do we account for non-paid labor?).

    Your last point is poignant: “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?” I think many of us don’t care because we are so distracted by Hollywood/overwork/numbing our feelings etc. We would care *if* we had better self-esteem and more freedom. The more I read your blog, the more I learn about non-violent communication, the more I get in touch with my true feelings—it all leads to wanting to lead a productive, interesting, free, rich life. If I was parented in a different way, I would have been realizing a lot of this a long time ago. Ergo, respectful parenting, I think, will create the type of individualists who *want* to found kingdoms.

    1. #7: I would say that all stay at home moms are earning 50% of their husband's paychecks, and that is exactly how the pay should be distributed as well. Great question about how to account for unpaid labor. One solution would be to make sure all labor is paid for. Another solution would be that you lose your vote once you start taking from the pot, so an old person who is not taking their social security retains their vote. A young person on disability does not retain their vote. People in jail (being supported by the state) do not retain their vote.

      But also, I am super agains social security. I really like the way it is done in Singapore, where retirement savings are taken out of your paycheck and you can't touch them, but they go into a private account, not a Ponzi scheme. They do the same with medical. People have to put money into a medical account every month. It is taken out of their paycheck and they never see it. But it is their money to use, not some insurance scheme.

      You would like you will be (are already?) an amazing mom. Where do you live? Want to hang out?! :)

    2. I am a mom! I have a 3-year-old daughter, and I’m far from perfect, but I work really hard at having a respectful, mutually enjoyable relationship with her. Aside from Emmi Pikler and Magda Gerber, your work has been the most helpful and influential for me, so thank you for this blog and your book.

      I would **love** to hang out. I’m in Michigan (it’s a beautiful place to visit—the third coast; also a good place to live: neighborly people, very little homeschool oversight, affordable…. ;) ) and you’re welcome here anytime. I also hope to make it to Nicaragua someday.

    3. Hi Cindy -- Are you the same person as Cynthia? I am going to start a collection of people I want to visit and plan a big road trip. I will have you down for Michigan :)

    4. Yes, same person. For some reason the day I was making comments the computer wouldn't post Cynthia anymore (some comments were erased, argh. Have to go back and re-post), so I used my google account which apparently goes by Cindy. Both are me :) so excited to be on the road trip list!