Socialists and the dearth of babies
Several of my recent posts have focused on the American Left’s death cult, otherwise known as unlimited abortion. As I’ve stated repeatedly, the Left’s risible claim that abortion does not take a life, combined with its obsessive demands that the right to abortion be unfettered up to, including, and even after a viable baby is born has turned me from a fairly mindless, garden-variety, pro-Abortion, old-time Democrat into someone who is edging remarkably close to being pro-Life. Even though I can still accept situations in which an abortion is reasonable, I’m so disgusted by the Left’s death cult that I want to run as far away from it as possible.
The Left doesn’t just have a death cult, it also has a lack of life cult. It is true that American women still seem to be shtupping like rabbits. In 2013, following a five-year drop in baby-making, American women gave birth to almost 4,000,000 new babies (and aborted about 300,000 more). Americans are therefore just about holding their own demographically.
In Europe, though, the demographics are a nightmare, which goes a long way to explaining Angela Merkel’s bizarre desire for her country to be repopulated with Muslim Arabs. While the Muslims are picking up where they left off in 1683 and looking towards a European conquest, Merkel is obsessively focused on cheap labor to care for an aging German population.
What’s fascinating about Europe’s declining baby numbers is that it’s entirely possible that the problem isn’t just because women are making good use of birth control and abortions to limit family size. Instead, as has been happening in Japan for a long time, it may be that the Europeans have lost interest in sex entirely.
I don’t have any scientific basis for reaching that conclusion. What triggered the thought is a video that a Danish travel company made urging wannabe grandmothers to buy their children vacation packages to the sexy warm climates in which they are most likely to get pregnant:
The video’s tone is light (and creepy, frankly, as when the wannabe grandmother helps undress her son’s wife), but the problem is real: Denmark’s population is collapsing.
What’s most bizarre to me about the video is that it implies that the population is collapsing because young Danes aren’t that interested in sex anymore. One can readily imagine that when one contrasts playing video games, texting, Facebook, and watching TV with sex’s complicated emotions, time-consumption, pregnancy and disease risks, and plain old messiness, sex just isn’t worth the bother.
Indeed, my suspicion that sex may be too much effort for some people isn’t based solely on guesswork and a Danish commercial. It appears that American teenagers aren’t leaping into bed anymore because it’s easier, and safer, to text and Instagram each other than it is to have sex. As the mother of teens, I can’t help but applaud this trend. From a parenting perspective, it’s a good thing. From a national perspective, though, it’s a demographic disaster if your population can’t even be bothered to replace itself any more.
Right about now, you should be wondering what all of this has to do with socialism, which is a promise I made in the post title. Denmark is a good socialist country. Germany and Italy are good socialist countries. Japan, although less obvious about it, is a good socialist country. Why are socialist countries (with Israel standing as the lone exception, and that’s probably because of the Orthodox Jews) no longer having babies or even having sex?
I’ve got a theory. It’s a totally unscientific, completely personal theory, but it’s my blog, so I get to spell it out here.
Having babies and raising children is hard. And yes, that’s a very obvious theory (along the lines of this gem from Monty Python), but there can be a virtue in being obvious.
The thing about socialism is that it promises us that life won’t be hard. Instead, per Herr Karl Marx, in a well-ordered socialist nation, the inevitable standard will be “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need.” Effortlessly, those who can work will, and those who can’t work will be supported.
In reality, of course, socialism follows a different pattern. While it may start out with each person working according to his ability, it very quickly becomes a system in which people work according to their willingness to work. At a certain point, if there’s no significant return on effort, the workers begin to realize that work is . . . work. Unless you’re fortunate enough to have a job you love, it’s much nicer not to work. And so it happens that the workers turn longing eyes on those who cannot work and, eventually, the workers decide that they cannot work either. (And of course, when too many people stop working, the government has two choices: coerce the population, assuming its members are young enough to work, or import labor.)
During Europe’s halcyon Cold War days, when American footed the defense bill, socialist governments kept the workers happy by giving them incredible benefits that were essentially paid for by America’s worker bees. While Americans worked 40, 50, 60, and 70 hour work weeks to fund the United States’ contribution to defeating communism, Europeans without defense expenses socialized their medicine, shortened their work weeks, lengthened their vacations, and set their retirements early. Life was easy. You either didn’t work at all or, at least by American standards, you didn’t work very hard.
What’s not easy, though, as I mentioned, is that darn child-rearing stuff. Pregnancy is tough on many women. Labor isn’t called labor for nothing. Infants destroy their mother’s figures, deny their parents sleep, make a wasteland out of their parents’ sex lives, and sometimes push their parents to the brink of insanity. Toddlers are, if anything, worse. Even during the so-called golden years — from 5 or 6 through puberty — children in the West make heavy demands on their parents time, patience, and money.
And then there are the teen years. Admittedly, my experience with teens is anomalous, because I prefer teens to the other age groups. Most people, though, look on the teen years as the most difficult time to be a parent.
I knew that parenting would be difficult. Indeed, I knew it so strongly that I didn’t want to be a parent. But even less than wanting to be a parent, I didn’t want to be like the voluntarily childless couples I knew. These were people who avoided having children solely because they didn’t want to deal with the pain, cost, fatigue, and frustration. To a person, they were unbearably self-centered, selfish, stodgy and, lastly, they were somehow pathetic. They were unfinished. Neither husband nor wife had every completed the maturation process.
While life has a way of throwing curve balls at us (everything from infertility; to illness; to aged family members who take the energy, time, and money a baby normally takes), it’s always seemed to me that a fully developed human life must follow a specific trajectory: We go from being cared for by others, to being self-sufficient, to being responsible for another. It’s that last phase that marks the final transition from childhood to adulthood. And absent those curve balls, the caring for another part of development requires children.
In socialized countries, though, this whole process gets short-circuited because people never have to reach the second phase of development (the self-sufficiency part). How can Europeans even think about being responsible for others when their country promises them that they’ll never have to be responsible for themselves? And yes, of course that’s a gross generalization, but something needs to explain why so many people in socialist countries have opted out of babies and, increasingly, are even opting out of the work that goes with the kind of sex life that can result in a baby.
Is the above the raving of someone who’s being pulled in too many directions or do you think I might be on to something?