The baby bust is here. There are news articles that comment on the lower fertility rate in not just Europe and Japan but in America. Fertility is now around 1.6 for the United States. It’s the major social problem that the progressives does not think has a government solution. First, the left would need to admit it is a problem since fewer humans means less carbon. There is no need to address it except to feed the economy and Social Security. In their pre-approved messaging downloaded into their minds from the media, we’ll just use immigration to fix our social welfare Rube Goldberg schemes. This is another one of those problems that points to the cultural rot of the modern West.
The United States only has a 1.6 fertility rate, which is deeply sub-replacement now. A decade ago, pundits said worrying about fertility was a white anxiety issue. Now more pundits see the issue as noteworthy. Broken down by race, it’s a broad problem that affects all groups as formerly fertile populations now hit numbers that the lowest group in the mix, Asian-Americans, were at just a decade ago. Some rightists have explained the only people forming families consistently and having strong TFRs are Hispanics and right wing whites. There is some r-selection vs. k-selection going on, but it does not explain the entire picture. Whites do tend to have some “planning” and do not just churn out kids in filth ridden hovels. They say things like “let’s have a house before we have a kid”. It is forward time orientation. Misguided in our post-scarcity society but understandable. There is an argument that whites may be dropping their fertility due to being bundled in a nation with now at 40% non-white. Have fewer kids but guarantee they don’t fall into the underclass and that misery.
There is more to it. I agree with all of those ideas that others point out, but there is a region spared most of this pain that has seen declining TFRs: New England. Check the statistics for each state. New England’s six states are the bottom six for states in America. Regional TFR is most likely 1.4, which is on par with Japan, Italy and Germany. These states avoided the immigration flood of the southwest. These states are overwhelmingly white, so the argument from some that it has to do with race compositional change falls flat. Outside of specific areas in Massachusetts and Connecticut, the cost of living is affordable and the average salary level is high. Much of New England enjoyed a boom in education and FIRE industry employment. The economic argument falls flat, too.
The problem is cultural. The left is in a death drive and these states are very ideologically left. Maine-2 went for Trump by a hair, but the rest of New England is deep blue. This is what secular states with decayed civic institutions result in. This is when atomization sets in, and few have a good connection not just to the past but to even their own families and immediate communities. Hedonism pushes fertility down, and that is tied to the old Pied Piper of “If God ain’t real, neither is the devil, so live it up”. Do Disney people have children? Has that been studied yet? The chase for maintaining teenage interests continues in an extended adolescence. Travel becomes a substitute for fulfillment. Cruise any social media outlet for the single white woman meeting shamans and mystics in South America for a new experience in their lives.
This is not all of it but very few problems are single variable. This affects enough New Englanders at the margin. There are no churches, and if there are, they do not attend, to remind them of the past on the stained windows and future in the pews. Their families are smaller, disconnected and interactions are replaced with their television and Internet media consumption. Their cultural identity is to those electronic tribes. The power of that entertainment is too much. Their fun is too much to give up. How are they going to do cosplay with a kid? How are they going to take two vacations a year with a kid? Video games can be played with kids, and family vacations are magical memories the same as (albeit different than) going to Peru for ayahuasca trips. Fun would be blocked. They’d have to wait for their kid to go to bed before having sex. This is how disconnected from performing the basic function of species survival Americans have become. Just one more vacation. Just one more cosplay. Just one more cat gif. I don’t have time for kids.
Senator Josh Hawley has pushed a pro-natalist message consistently since arriving in DC. He talks about policies to make building a family easier. Europe has these policies. They do not have replacement level fertility. It is more than monetary planning. It will take a re-orientation of status to elevate the stay at home mom to ‘mom’ and the mom who works to ‘working mom’. That was once how we described the maternal split, but now a mom is assumed to work while a stay at home mom is rarer and gets the alternate phrasing.
Our culture would need to have steady messaging of the value and joy in having children. This would involve Hollywood content, advertising and even late night television promotion. If television can depress fertility in Brazil, it can raise it in America. The American people can be psyopped into fearing a virus that kills 0.3% of the population. With enough steady messaging, we can get them to have a child or have one more kid. Senator Hawley’s measures are a nice suite of policies, but the battle is far deeper and broader than anyone wants to tackle.
Desire is mimetic. There is a natural desire for kids latent in even the most hardened bachelor or girlboss but cultural messaging is heavily anti-natalist. The mass cultural messaging must consistently message having children as a status boost. Children should be considered a positive addition to a complete life in all cultural content. Not a burden but a blessing. That we have to consider a message to bring forth new life is an indictment of our culture but is a harsh truth about our fallen nature.