Capitalists Discover the Family

Bill Frezza, a Boston columnist and venture capitalist, writes “Will Aging Childless Voters Enslave My Future Grandchildren?”:

“If demography is destiny, democracy is toast,” he writes: “. . .Now consider the fate of modern democracies as birth rates plummet. Educated, liberated 20- and 30-somethings are increasingly dodging the rigors of marriage and parenthood as they search for self-actualization, zipless hook ups, and ecological consciousness. Growing ranks of childless, single citizens are dealing themselves out of the cycle of life. This has never happened in all of human history. These people have no particular stake in the world they will one day leave behind. And yet they vote, in increasing numbers as they age.

This powerful shift in our cultural foundations is meticulously outlined in a recently released study titled “The Rise of Post Familialism: Humanity’s Future.” Its many chilling charts and graphs show how country after country across the developed world is hurtling toward population implosion.

It takes a live birth rate of 2.1 children per woman to maintain a stable population. Birth rates across Southern Europe have plunged below 1.5, and are expected to drop even further as Euro Zone economies continue to contract. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan are converging on birth rates closer to 1.0, literally halving their population each generation. Even the Black Plague didn’t do that. . .”

Lisa Boucher
Lisa Boucher

When European settlers first inhabited the Pacific Northwest, the rivers were so full of salmon during spawning season that it was said you could walk across the river on their backs. After more than a century of dramatic population growth and rapacious resource extraction, most of the salmon runs have vanished. There are countless stories like this across the country. The evidence leads to an overwhelming conclusion — that our population level has far exceeded the carrying capacity of the land. Our society exists in a condition that William Robert Catton called ecological "overshoot" in his 1982 book of the same name. The defense of marriage must acknowledge this reality if it is to have any appeal to those born in the 21st century, as they face the consequences of the mess that older generations created. It does no good to argue that fertility rates must not fall below replacement levels. That is equivalent to advocacy for collective suicide. The message should not be that we need to maximize the number of children; it should be that we need to raise them in the best possible way. The fundamental purpose of marriage is not about QUANTITY; it is about the QUALITY of future generations.