February 14, 2012

What We Talk About When We Talk About Contraception

From my new column in Taki's Magazine:
What has the recent hubbub over “contraception” really been about, deep down? On the surface, it’s all maneuvering for the 2012 election, but the passions unleashed, especially on the liberal side, suggest motivations that are more inchoate than tactical. 
Few topics are more important than the quantities and qualities of future human beings. But the question of whom the government nudges to reproduce (or not) is a subject you are no longer supposed to discuss thoughtfully, so it mostly flares up as anger.

Read the whole thing there.

108 comments:

Thrasymachus said...

The war was and is not against Catholics only or specifically, but the wrong kind of white people-organized, non-elite white people. Once those people got to be more trouble than they were worth, a new people began to be elected by enfranchising blacks and opening up immigration- including to a large number of Catholics, but people who would cooperate with the elite rather than oppose it.

Birth control including abortion is *extremely* important to a certain type of woman for whom having a baby before the age of 30 would be a personal disaster, but don't want to ensure that through the traditional method of abstinence. They can't comprehend people who *want* to have kids sooner, and think if they do it has to be an accident.

f3823d48-81c3-11e0-88da-000bcdcb2996 said...

There's a much simpler explanation for this. Readily available contraception is the very basis of the sexual revolution & thus one of the 'sacred' principles of the present post-christian west. Without contraception, sex ceases to be for pleasure only, it's no wonder that the defenders of the current social order are furious at the thought of any restrictions on contraception.

Anonymous said...

Only one problem with you analysis Steve.
Italy, the home and founder of catholicism has some of the world's lowest birth rates.As does Spain the most zealous fighter for catholicism in history and all of the hardcore millenia old Europena catholic nations.
Evidently when it's a choice between the pious pontifications of a bachelor pope and your pay packet, the pay packet wins every time.

Anonymous said...

I actually read a fairly convincing article about the low birthrate countries. The rate is not so low in the English-speaking countries, France or Scandinavia, as it is in the Mediterranean or Germany. The conclusion was that motherhood was something of an all-or-nothing thing - do it the right, traditional way, stay-at-home mother, etc., or not at all.

Georgia Resident said...

Bottom line: It's perfectly okay to talk about whites reproducing too much, but it's a mark of ultimate evil to suggest that out-of-control breeding by blacks and Mexicans is anything other than wonderful.

Linda Blair said...

It's obvious to me you don't know anything about what the Church teaches on contraception.

It's almost as if Justin Bieber had been your guest columnist for this one...

The Pope said...

Refusing to have sex denies a soul the opportunity to be born. Therefore married couples must copulate at least twice a week.

Caveat: Female orgasm or any kinky stuff will cause juvenile delinquency, homosexuality, and numerous other moral defects in any offspring conceived during such deviant sex.

NOTA said...

It's worth noticing thwt the current dust up centers around people with jobs that include benefits. I don't think this is the group a eugenicist would be most focused on encouraging to ue birth control. What's our policy now wrt providing birth control to people on public assistance?

SFG said...

Agree with the commenters above. This is mostly about feminism, not race. The Sex And The City types need, if not abortion, then at least the Pill, and they want to make sure it's easy for them to get it.

Personally, in my opinion, once you toss off the MSM shackles, all sorts of new political possibilities emerge. I'd like to see eugenics to raise the average IQ and time preference so we can have or approach social democracy like those folks in Sweden and Germany...and lousy as the NAMs are now, do you really think if we started encouraging their smartest members to breed (and decreasing the number of ghetto bastards) we couldn't deal with a lot of our problems?

Besides, without religion, I don't have a problem with the Pill.

SFG said...

Agree with the commenters above. This is mostly about feminism, not race. The Sex And The City types need, if not abortion, then at least the Pill, and they want to make sure it's easy for them to get it.

Personally, in my opinion, once you toss off the MSM shackles, all sorts of new political possibilities emerge. I'd like to see eugenics to raise the average IQ and time preference so we can have or approach social democracy like those folks in Sweden and Germany...and lousy as the NAMs are now, do you really think if we started encouraging their smartest members to breed (and decreasing the number of ghetto bastards) we couldn't deal with a lot of our problems?

Besides, without religion, I don't have a problem with the Pill.

JSM said...

"The conclusion was that motherhood was something of an all-or-nothing thing - do it the right, traditional way, stay-at-home mother, etc., or not at all."

Of course. Feminist cant notwithstanding, the requirements of a full-time job and mothering an infant are utterly incompatible.
Infants cry at night.
You try getting up, dashing down the hall 3 times between 10 pm and 6 am, and then working 8 hours. And keep it up for months on end. But no fair falling asleep driving, now, mind.
Not to mention the fact that evolutionary psychology makes abandoning a tiny infant in the paid care of non-relatives for 10 hours a day, every day, about as pleasant as having your guts ripped out and stomped on.

Having the luxury of knowing that, if babe wakes up at midnight, that's ok, I can catch a nap tomorrow when babe naps, having the luxury of knowing my child is safe because my child is in my presence, those "luxuries" make the idea of having a baby sound like heaven. Take away those "luxuries," why would any intelligent woman choose such insanity?

FredR said...

So when Paul Ehrlich convinced James Bowery not to have kids back in the 70s, that was really collateral damage in the protestants v. catholics fight that ran from the mid 19th to the mid 20th century in America?

welcome to gummtown. pop 1. said...

Catholics have grown weak culturally, politically, etc.
Libs attack Catholic Church not because it's powerful but because it's been weakened. IF Catholics were as powerful as Jews, they would not be attacked so often.

With the Catholic Church, the biggest problem is not the issue of contraception but the matter of contradiction.
On the one hand, the Catholic Church tells its flock to go and procreate and have lots of babies. Be fruitful and multiply, etc.
Yet within the Church, its priests and nuns have been told not to have babies and to be celibate.
Its clergy are supposed to be so pure of heart and flesh--just like Jesus--, but the Catholic masses are supposed to act like rabbits?
For its clergy, the Catholic Church has been urging spiritual contraception; they mustn't have sex, period.

Whatever the dogmatic rationale for this, it did serve to maintain a hierarchy between Church leaders and the masses. Clergy was pure and clean of flesh, masses were 'animal' in their sexuality. Since masses gave into temptations of the flesh, they needed the advice and approval of the Church in holy matrimony at the very least. And the masses of fleshly pleasure has to routinely confess their sins to the clergy. Even so, it must have been weird to, on the one hand, uphold the ideal of celibate priest who didn't have sex/kids, and, on the other hand, the fecund flock who should be multiplying like rabbits. (At any rate, if the masses respected the clergy for its greater purity--celibacy--in the past, now most people find Catholic celibacy among priests freaky, unhealthy, and icky. It leads to less respect.)

Given that the smartest people joined the Church for many centuries, this could mean the smartest people in Catholic society didn't produce kids. Imagine if Church policy had been different. If every Catholic priest family had 7 to 10 kids--and if those kids grew up wanting to be like their dad--, Catholicism would be growing and far more powerful.

Smartest people haven't been joining the church for some time. In the past, the Church was the only game in town and highly respected(and even path to power and privilege). So, smart kids could sacrifice sex for respect and power by becoming priests. But there are so many options for smart people to rise high today; why would they join some organization that says 'no sex'? No wonder then the Catholic Clergy has been recruiting dregs, freaks, homos, and pedos.

But even the flock are leaving. In the dull dreary past, it was a fun cultural event for unwashed illiterates to attend church. You got to sing, you got to meet people, you got to enter the beautiful cathedral(and you really feared God in your ignorance). Also, Church provided stuff for the poor. But with secular welfare state providing freebies and with so much non-stop entertainment 24/7, why would the masses the Church for anything? Also, given all the temptations of sex, music, movies, etc, people just find Church morality old, fogey, and out of touch.

If Catholic Church wanna survive, it will end the policy of spiritual contraception for its clergy. Then, more healthy virile men will join the church, and they'll have lots of kids. Imagine if Buchanan's father had been a priest. He wouldn't have had nine kids, and there would have been no Pat Buchanan.
If cop have kids and those kids grow up wanting to be like their old man, same would be true of Catholic clergy families. If a priest could have a large family, more straight males would join, and his kids would grow within the bosom of the Church.

Aaron B. said...

A couple problems with the article:

To be fair, liberals want *everyone* using contraception as much as possible. They see human beings in general as a negative force, and figure the fewer people there are, the more resources there will be for them to enjoy. Also, they see universal contraception as a prerequisite for a society that's guilt-free about casual sex, which is one of their main goals. By destigmatizing contraception and making it available everywhere from schools to bar restrooms, they've been able to get whites and wealthier people on board with this plan. Only poorer blacks and illiterates haven't gotten the good word, so liberals are still trying to reach them.

I won't deny that, on some level, they have fears about an Idiocracy scenario, but if that were their prime motivation, you'd see them encouraging smart, wealthy people to have babies, and they don't do that either. They want everyone having as few babies as possible.

Also, the divide between Catholics and Protestants on contraception isn't as traditional as you suggest. All Christian churches opposed contraception until relatively recently. I think the Anglicans were the first major denomination to okay it in the 1930s, and other Protestant faiths followed later. Before then, it was universally condemned. Martin Luther put it on the same level of sinfulness as adultery or incest, and other Protestant rebels of the time were equally against it. It was illegal in most states in this heavily Protestant country until the mid-1900s.

When Humanae Vitae was being written, people assumed (and leaks from dissenters inside the Church suggested) that the Catholic Church would bow to social pressure like all the others had, so it came as a surprise when HV affirmed the Church's opposition to all forms of birth control. Dissenters did their best to confuse the issue, and some people never did get the real word, and still think the Church changed her position in some way in the 60s.

Chicago said...

This is a very low trust society. Everyone is suspected of having a hidden agenda, and what's more they'd probably be right. A government bureaucracy is probably the last thing one would want making decisions about these things, especially this government.
It's viewed by many as simply being a demographic struggle for power but not spoken of in those terms.

Marlowe said...

Concerning the Catholic influence on the 60s generation (or the post 1964 lack thereof referred to in the article) it seems germaine to look at the inspirational role of the French-Canadian Catholic writer Jack Kerouac on young Americans of the peirod via his most famous works, On the Road, The Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels. I found the Wikipedia description of his politics pretty funny:

Politically, Kerouac found enemies on both sides of the spectrum, the right disdaining his association with drugs and sexual libertinism and the left contemptuous of his anti-communism and Catholicism; characteristically he watched the 1954 Senate McCarthy hearings smoking cannabis and rooting for the anti-communist crusader, Senator Joe McCarthy. In Desolation Angels he wrote, "when I went to Columbia all they tried to teach us was Marx, as if I cared" (considering Marxism, like Freudianism, to be an illusory tangent).

He had a deep interest in Far Eastern religion and philosophy (writing a biography of Siddhartha Gautama in 1955) and played a strong part, through his presentation of its concepts within his novels, in the popularization of Buddhism among the 60s generation, yet he, by his own testimony, remained a fairly devout, lifelong Catholic:

The term “Beat Generation” was invented by Kerouac during a conversation held with fellow novelist Herbert Huncke. His fame came as an unmanageable surge that would ultimately be his undoing.

Kerouac's novel is often described as the defining work of the post-World War II Beat Generation and Kerouac came to be called "the king of the beat generation," a term that he never felt comfortable with. He once observed, "I'm not a beatnik, I'm a Catholic", showing the reporter a painting of Pope Paul VI and saying, "You know who painted that? Me."


According to Kerouac, On the Road "was really a story about two Catholic buddies roaming the country in search of God. And we found him. I found him in the sky, in Market Street San Francisco (those 2 visions), and Dean (Neal [Cassady]) had God sweating out of his forehead all the way. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY OUT FOR THE HOLY MAN: HE MUST SWEAT FOR GOD. And once he has found Him, the Godhood of God is forever Established and really must not be spoken about." According to his authorized biographer, historian Douglas Brinkley, On the Road has been misinterpreted as a tale of companions out looking for kicks, but the most important thing to comprehend is that Kerouac was an American Catholic author - for example, virtually every page of his diary bore a sketch of a crucifix, a prayer, or an appeal to Christ to be forgiven.

I would say that Kerouac encouraged a lot of young Americans to go on the road and search for God over the course of the 15 years from 1965-1980 a pretty big achievement for a Catholic writer.

Anonymous said...

Prejudice is based on instinctive, intuitive, or deeply embedded emotions/biases without or standing in the way of rational thinking.

"The most remarkable fact about System One is that it has immediate access to a vast store of memories that it uses as a basis for judgment. The memories that are most accessible are those associated with strong emotions, with fear and pain and hatred. The resulting judgments are often wrong, but in the world of the jungle it is safer to be wrong and quick than to be right and slow.
System Two is the slow process of forming judgments based on conscious thinking and critical examination of evidence. It appraises the actions of System One. It gives us a chance to correct mistakes and revise opinions."


Liberals will say conservatives rely on System One 'thinking'. They believe without really thinking and remain within the box of their ready-made assumptions and biases.
Liberals, being intellectual and rational, are more into System Two thinking. Initially, this may have been true, but it seems like liberals today are less into careful analysis of facts and evidence than instilling/embedding certain ready-made emotional reactions to certain issues/ideas in vast majority of people. For example, when Murray rationally discussed racial differences in IQ or when Summers mentioned the issue of sexual differences in IQ at tail ends, liberals just freaked out. Liberals use sensational media imagery where 'racism' is associated with burning crosses, KKK, Holocaust, weeping Noble Negro, etc. What may have begun as a rational challenge to readymade racial prejudices now relies on the same kind of emotions/reactions/tropes as old-time 'racism'. Liberals may be anti-bigoted but they feel and 'think' as ideological bigots; they don't think before they know; they know they're right because they FEEL right with their pool of correct ideas-associated-with-emotions. Even before they think about race or racial differences, they instantly go into huffing-and-puffing mode of Lawrence O'Donnell, ranting and spitting, or Chris Matthews with tingle up his leg when he sees a clean-cut black guy.

So, what may have begun as System Two thinking among liberals to challenge the System One bigotry of the right has taken on the manner of System One thinking. 'Anti-racism' operates by instant recognition of images and symbols; it divides the world instantly into good vs evil, us and them.

System Two may birth a new view, but for that view to be sustained for the masses, it must be associated with System One mechanism. Liberals don't want the masses to think about race. They want masses to watch Hollywood movies where 'truth' amounts to 'racism' = cross burning on your backyard; and 'anti-racism' = magic negro with a little white mouse.

Anonymous said...

A typical example of a Kahneman experiment is the coffee mug experiment, designed to measure a form of bias that he calls the “endowment effect.” The endowment effect is our tendency to value an object more highly when we own it than when someone else owns it. Coffee mugs are intended to be useful as well as elegant, so that people who own them become personally attached to them. A simple version of the experiment has two groups of people, sellers and buyers, picked at random from a population of students. Each seller is given a mug and invited to sell it to a buyer. The buyers are given nothing and are invited to use their own money to buy a mug from a seller. The average prices offered in a typical experiment were: sellers $7.12, buyers $2.87. Because the price gap was so large, few mugs were actually sold.
The experiment convincingly demolished the central dogma of classical economics. The central dogma says that in a free market, buyers and sellers will agree on a price that both sides regard as fair. The dogma is true for professional traders trading stocks in a stock market. It is untrue for nonprofessional buyers and sellers because of the endowment effect. Trading that should be profitable to both sides does not occur, because most people do not think like traders."


The reasoning behind the above argument seems flawed. First of all, most of what we buy--foodstuff, clothing, furniture, TVs, etc--have nothing to do with endowment effect , so I'm not sure how much endowment effect would have on society.

Also, maybe the seller who overprices the 'special' item(that he feels an attachment to) is being rational in an irrational way. He may seem irrational in overpricing an item(therefore, reducing the chance of selling it), but maybe a part of him really doesn't want to sell it. By jacking up the price, maybe he's trying to ensure it won't be sold since the item has special meaning to him. So, his failure to sell the mug may actually be a kind of gain. Not having sold it, he has no profit but he still owns the mug that he cherishes. So, sell or not sell, he gains.

Suppose I own a guitar that I cherish. Part of me wants to keep it, part of me wants to make money. The part of me that wants to hold onto the guitar may jack up the price because, on the subconscious level, I fear losing possession of it. Selling it will make me some dough but I'll lose what I really love. So, the price I set is partly to ensure it won't be sold. But if someone is willing to pay the ridiculously high price, that may be consolation for my loss since the monetary reward is so great. Either way, I win. If I don't sell, guitar I love is still mine. If someone buys it, I lose my beloved guitar but I've made a shitload of money which is good consolation.

Piper said...

For all that the chattering classes wish the lower orders would moderate their birth rates, they seem unable to get their preferences turned into real policy.

No amount of "free" contraceptives can counteract the cash incentives of the EITC, TANF (ex-AFDC), Food Stamps, etc.

The inner establishment is taking the outer one for a ride.

Anonymous said...

It’s reassuring that deep down, even liberals have common-sense apprehensions about population control. They vaguely grasp that after a half-century of expensive exertions, we’re still pretty clueless about how to solve the problems caused by 14-year-old black girls having babies; therefore, let’s figure out ways that they will have fewer babies.


Still, you aren’t supposed to say this. Many progressives don’t seem capable of consciously thinking this anymore. Thus, public discussions go off on irate tangents.


What liberals do you know? EVERYONE I know who works directly with this population wants reversible sterilization and is not shy about telling anyone who will listen.

This isn't a liberal/conservative divide; this is a class divide, a divide between people who had the resources to get the degrees to position themselves to work in clean offices managing lower government workers and the tax money that supports the whole edifice and the people who actually have to interact with Shaniqua, Lupe, and Tanqueray.

Anonymous said...

Italy, the home and founder of catholicism

--------

Stop right there.

(!)

Anonymous said...

The conclusion was that motherhood was something of an all-or-nothing thing - do it the right, traditional way, stay-at-home mother, etc., or not at all.

Except the "traditional way" is impossible without the rest of society going along with you. Nobody can manage being stuck at home alone with small children without permanent damage to their marriage and sanity, and once you've got state subsidized childcare, enough of your neighbors put their kids in that you don't have anybody in walking distance to help you out.

Americans are batshit crazy in this area. You all have some kind of picture of a good traditional mother that is made up of equal parts June Cleaver, Ma Ingalls, Carol Brady and Marmee, driving an minivan, still looking hot, probably homeschooling, totally available to nurture a brood of white children and so grateful to her hardworking husband he gets to put his feet up and get served by this lovely piece at the end of his grueling day in the code mines.

This is a fantasy that American women have colluded in creating in order to get through the miserable hell of isolation with toddlers. European women are no such fools; they put their kids in creches or don't have any.

It is dead certain that someone is itching to comment that women who really love their children just accept no bathroom privacy, unbroken sleep, or uninterrupted meals for a decade at a time and do it with grace and style. Sure, and if people were angels, communism would work. Conservativism is about accepting human nature, and women also are human beings. Nothing will reverse the slide towards idiocracy until it sucks less to be a mother.

Anonymous said...

Actually, whenever, wherever society gets TV/ the media...

Birthrates collapse.

Religion doesn't matter -- nor does culture.

It's a GLOBAL phenomenon.

And, by now, even the third world is getting hip.

-----

To put it crudely: the moment it's possible to watch TV instead... hauling the lady off to bed is curtailed.

And beyond that: mate satisfaction declines as one and all are introduced to staggering beauties -- show after show -- man and woman -- that make ones current spouse plain gruel when compared.

--------

Free contraception for the poor/ dummies may be the only way to counter 'Bell Curve' statistics.

Which is to say: if the right-side of the Curve hardly reproduces -- a curtailment of the left-side may be necessary -- lest a population bloom and bust occur.

( c.f. Roman Empire, last days, for how that works out. )

Anonymous said...

A few comments here are quite ignorant about modern-day Italy and Spain. These countries are very secular and liberal and they're only nominally Catholic.

The rate is not so low in the English-speaking countries, France or Scandinavia, as it is in the Mediterranean or Germany.

France and Scandinavia are English-speaking?!? All of Europe has low birth-rates. When people mention the UK and France having high-birth rates they always leave out immigrants such as African and Muslim women having lots of children and effectively replacing the native population. Opps.

There's a much simpler explanation for this. Readily available contraception is the very basis of the sexual revolution & thus one of the 'sacred' principles of the present post-christian west. Without contraception, sex ceases to be for pleasure only, it's no wonder that the defenders of the current social order are furious at the thought of any restrictions on contraception.

This. THIS is the crux of the problem. This is what it's about: recreation vs. reproduction.

Anonymous said...

I know this site loves to cluck cluck over how it sees the truth when others flinch. But in all honesty I don't get the sense that liberals are all in a pretzel because they can't face the implications of their thinking about birth control as regards race. In fact, seems to me I have read a lot of liberal opinion that is pretty forthright about the need to reduce births in the underclass. True, liberals opining along these lines don't luxuriate in the race angle the way one might her. There's likely still some vestigial memory of those genocide charges from a few decades ago. But it's not like people are tongue-tied about it.

I also don't agree that liberal upset over contraceptives is mostly deflected anger over restrictions on *others* ("Being furious at the Catholic Church over its anti-contraception stance at least serves as an old-fashioned outlet for white liberals’ sublimated crimethink.")

Most blue state women I know--and I know a lot--are upset because they see the church deigning to dictate to *them*, and to people like them. The anger is a lot more direct.

Anonymous said...

Here's an editorial that came out 3 days ago in The Detroit News calling for putting contraceptives in the water supply:

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120212/OPINION03/202120303/Michigan-breeding-poverty

"Since the national attention is on birth control, here’s my idea: If we want to fight poverty, reduce violent crime and bring down our embarrassing drop-out rate, we should swap contraceptives for fluoride in Michigan’s drinking water.

We’ve got a baby problem in Michigan. Too many babies are born to immature parents who don’t have the skills to raise them, too many are delivered by poor women who can’t afford them, and too many are fathered by sorry layabouts who spread their seed like dandelions and then wander away from the consequences.

Michigan’s social problems and the huge costs attached to them won’t recede until we embrace reproductive responsibility."

Anonymous said...

Bottom line: It's perfectly okay to talk about whites reproducing too much, but it's a mark of ultimate evil to suggest that out-of-control breeding by blacks and Mexicans is anything other than wonderful.

The elites talk about high birth rates in Africa and other parts of the 3rd world all the time. Read their policy papers and listen to their conferences some time. They explicitly talk about improvements in public health, feminism (education and work for women), access to contraception, etc. as means to lower fertility.

Maya said...

"I actually read a fairly convincing article about the low birthrate countries. The rate is not so low in the English-speaking countries, France or Scandinavia, as it is in the Mediterranean or Germany. The conclusion was that motherhood was something of an all-or-nothing thing - do it the right, traditional way, stay-at-home mother, etc., or not at all."

That's a great argument from the point of view of someone like... me. Or you. Or someone with a journalism degree. Kids are precious individuals, so either commit to doing right by them, or or reconsider becoming a parent.

However, that's not the reason why the English speaking countries and France have higher birth rates. The real reason is that these states import the types of people who breed like rabbits, without giving much thought to their children's future. What, you thought it's the ethnic French who are are popping out a kid every year? Italy and the rest of the Mediterranean don't attract as many immigrants. Germany attracts a slightly different class of immigrants. In my 2 year experience, working in a heavily Muslim immigrant community in Europe, the Turks didn't have as many kids as the Arabs.

Maya said...

1. If the government committed to holding these teenagers and mothers of 6 to the same standards they have for suburban parents, the vast majority of the children would be removed from their households. This would also stop the gravy train and whatever attention, pride and satisfaction these women might get from becoming mothers. They'd still get pregnant accidentally, of course, but, at least, they would start considering the pill and stop making pregnancy pacts. This strategy would be more expensive for the tax payer in the short run, but it would pay off very quickly.

2. I'd be fine with my taxes funding small payments to any woman receiving any type of federal aid (pell grants, free lunches and charity care in state supported clinics included) every 3 months for testing negative for pregnancy up to the age of 30.

Carol said...

It's perfectly okay to talk about whites reproducing too much,

...and in doing so, we indoctrinate our own to not have kids, and feel guilty about the ones they do have.

Hence a missel aimed at one group misses and hits the wrong target.

Patricia said...

I agree w/ Thrasymachus.

Steve, I think your biggest blind spot is that you believe liberals view minorities the way you do.
Liberals really, really like minorities. If anything, they want more of them.

Liberals want to "flood the zone" with contraception because they see it as "uplifting and empowering" as Thrasymachus alluded to.

Catholics are doing several things worthy of rage in the liberal mind:
a. Denying the poor and oppressed this wonderful power
b. Increasing the number of people they hate: Catholics
c. Fear of the power that increasing numbers of Catholics would have over the liberals' lives.
d. Hatred of the philosophy of Humanae Vitae

Your theory about peace between American Catholics and Protestants resulting in declining birthrates for Catholics seems too narrow.

Birthrates have been declining all over the world irrespective of race, creed, wealth, etc.

Maya said...

Thrasymachus:
"Birth control including abortion is *extremely* important to a certain type of woman for whom having a baby before the age of 30 would be a personal disaster, but don't want to ensure that through the traditional method of abstinence. They can't comprehend people who *want* to have kids sooner, and think if they do it has to be an accident."

Are you suggesting that the women who consider birth control extremely important in the planning of their lives insist on FORCING every other woman to use it until the age of 30? That's a bit of a stretch. Access to legal methods of contraception means that a woman can choose to use them, not that she will get the abortion pill forced down her throat while she sobs for the baby she wants and loves. Even if your ridiculous assertion that every woman who wishes to put off or forgo motherhood is baffled by the idea that someone might want a kid a bit earlier were true, it would have no effect on the women who wish to become mothers in their 20s.

You think that the ideal method of planning is abstinence before the first attempt at conception? Did it ever occur to you that some (a lot) of those women who wish to put off motherhood are married and that the decision was made as a couple? On the men's issues cites that i stumbled upon last year, there floats an idea that men would like to marry young virgin girls who would love to stay home to dote on the children. It sounds logical and makes sense overall. Yet, in the real world, I've never met an educated, responsible, healthy man who wanted this scenario for himself. Firstly, even though most men would count a large number of previous partners against a potential life partner, do you realize that most people are also weirded out by 30 year old virgins? Emotionally stable professionals don't like signs of emotional instability. People who have a sexual history that is too rich and varied or nonexistent by the age of 30 are suspect when it comes to their ability to intimately connect with another human being.

Most of my older brother's friends are in their early thirties. Most have been married for a few years, and some are expecting their first child or recently had their first child. Everyone is married to a woman his age or a couple of years younger. Everyone is married to a woman with, at least, a bachelor's and who spent her youth making sure that she can support herself, though the men tend to be more educated and/or earn more, on average. Some of my friends are beginning to get married as well, with similar trends.

From everything I've observed, it's the wives who want to put the baby earlier on the timeline, while the husbands reason that the family needs to take a few more steps in order to be ready.

Seems like, in today's world, those women who had the need for birth control to aid them in planning a future tend to be healthier in every way, better educated and better married.

Anonymous said...

In the secular religion of the West, non-procreative sex is the most important sacrament. Any hint of an attack on contraception - even the current nonsense story about making some women buy their own contraception - is seen as a form of religious heresy, rather as if somebody in 10th century Rome had wondered aloud if Jesus was really the Son of God.

Ray Sawhill said...

What's wrong with seeing sex as having to do BOTH with reproduction and recreation? And why does no one mention the visionary/aesthetic/poetic dimension of sex? There it is, easily available, cheap, no carbs ... Why not avail yourself of it?

Hey there, dogmatists: most people are going to have sex thousands of times in a typical lifetime. Even in the most reproductively fecund relationship, only a dozen of these couplings are going to result in offspring. So why not enjoy all those other couplings? And why not cultivate a culture of sexual enjoyment?

Good god, food's a similar topic in some ways. Food is primarily about survival and nutrition, sure ... But why ignore (or avoid or deny) the pleasure side of cooking and eating? Pleasure (and the leisure that enables it) is one of the great things about life. If you're going to go to the trouble of achieving and maintaining this whole "civilization" thing, why run away from the benefits of it?

Are there a lot of Catholics taking part in these comments-threads?

Hats off to Steve, btw, for a characteristically daring and incisive column.

Anonymous said...

One of the things that is really unbelievable about these discussions is how the "normal" perspective is always male. You all seem incapable of imaginatively entering into the role of the person who bears and cares for the children.

PREGNANCY SUCKS. INFANT CARE SUCKS. Think about these other things that suck, that involve pain, danger, and/or longterm sleep deprivation: medical school, coalmining, crab fishing, political campaigning, powerlifting. Motherhood should be like medical school, powerlifting, or campaigning - a difficult endeavor that brings honor and maybe even wealth. Instead, it is like coalmining or crab fishing. What men do those things? Ones with no better options. Motherhood is dangerous, painful, and exhausting and in our society is rewarded only by the love of your children. When was the last time any of you did anything for pure love?

Women are human beings and human beings make the best deals available to them. Lower class women who don't have access to high status work can improve their lots by having children. The smarter the woman, the less is this true.

This feature of reality is staring you all in the face. For all the PUA/HBDsphere's fappery about demystifying vagina, you can't really see women as people because it would mean giving up your inner picture of some magical good mommy who is going to kiss all your booboos and make it better. This is even stupider than the image women carry around inside them of a Prince Charming because women actually DO marry for money and it works out ALL THE TIME. What you guys believe about women and family life is pure childish fantasy.

Baloo said...

Good Tom-Paine-ing as usual, Steve. This is linked and commented by that old crank, "Ex-Army," HERE.

Anonymous said...

1. If the government committed to holding these teenagers and mothers of 6 to the same standards they have for suburban parents, the vast majority of the children would be removed from their households.

You're deranged, Maya. The government is already up the butts of teenage moms and what they grow up into. When they get up a suburban butt it makes the news and you hear about it because it's so rare.

I homeschool my kids in a white low tax, low service jurisdiction and the state can't touch me because it barely knows I exist.

White suburban parents did that shit to themselves and they have no one else to blame for it.

Patricia said...

"Readily available contraception is the very basis of the sexual revolution & thus one of the 'sacred' principles of the present post-christian west. Without contraception, sex ceases to be for pleasure only, it's no wonder that the defenders of the current social order are furious at the thought of any restrictions on contraception.

This. THIS is the crux of the problem. This is what it's about: recreation vs. reproduction."
____________

I disagree. Contraception is part of the equation, but the antibiotic revolution was the first and most important enabler of the sexual revolution. Without it, and the sharp increase in men believing fornication was no longer immoral (starting in the 20's, but not women until the 60s), the will and money to develop contraceptive technology would not have been there.

Antibiotics meant many fewer horror stories are gossiped about. STDs seem to be rare or just a little bad for the few who get them. They just retreated from our collective conscience.

Conservative sexual mores, though, have been making a comeback and will continue to do so. The increased promiscuity bred more lethal viral diseases and spread them out until the vast majority of the First World has been touched (increasing the ease of transmission breeds greater virulence).

It is analogous to the Flu Pandemic being caused by World War I's industrial scale packing of sick soldiers in trenches and on trains.
_________
"Recreation vs. Reproduction" is on to something, but isn't enough. The force caused by some having fewer children is extremely powerful and pulls nearly everyone else in to follow suit.
The biggest reason, in my opinion, is inflation caused by the increased purchasing power of the barren or nearly barren.

Propeller Island said...

Except the "traditional way" is impossible without the rest of society going along with you. Nobody can manage being stuck at home alone with small children without permanent damage to their marriage and sanity...

I know what you mean and frankly find it amazing that it took so many comments before someone pointed this out. Child care is hard.

In the traditional societies this was relieved by grandmothers, maiden aunts, sisters, cousins, and other assorted female relatives. That's why children lived with their parents (or parents lived with their children) -- three generations under one large roof. "It takes a village..." and all that.

Society is atomized now. Living with one's parents is a social taboo and a cause for ridicule. Since birthrates are low, people have fewer relatives, so fewer potential helpers - a vicious circle. Husbands had to take up the slack; but we are in general not so good at doing the job that no man was required to do in all the millenia of the past history. And this puts more strain on the marriage.

Anonymous said...

"

"PREGNANCY SUCKS. INFANT CARE SUCKS. Think about these other things that suck, that involve pain, danger, and/or longterm sleep deprivation: medical school, coalmining, crab fishing, political campaigning, powerlifting."



But shitting sucks too, but we keep eating.
Working sucks too but we keep working to pay the rent and food.
Sports is painful and exhausting but people do it cuz it keeps them fit and energized.
No pain, no gain.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for free abortion to underclass folks. Better spend $500 on abortion than $500,000 on education, welfare, and law enforcement to raise dumb kids of dumb women.

Anonymous said...

"Of course. Feminist cant notwithstanding, the requirements of a full-time job and mothering an infant are utterly incompatible.
Infants cry at night."

I'm all for Brave New World form of clone baby creating. This way, we can create a million copies of Pierce Brosnan and Sean Connery. And they would be raised by the superstate. That'd be cool.

beowulf said...

Only tangentially related, but this made me think of Whiskey...

Financial Sex Aid: Florida Co-Eds Seek “Sugar Daddy” for College Degree... So what is the ratio for these consenting adults? Well, most dating websites have more men than women. But at seekingarrangement.com, it’s the opposite. The ratio is 20 sugar babies to every one sugar daddy.
http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/02/14/financial-sex-aid-florida-co-eds-seek-sugar-daddy-for-college-degree/

Anonymous said...

All of Europe has low birth-rates.

What about Ireland, Turkey, the Balkans and Caucasus?

Anonymous said...

If you're going to go to the trouble of achieving and maintaining this whole "civilization" thing, why run away from the benefits of it?


Decadence (which is what you are extolling) is a side effect of civilization. It's not a benefit of it though, and if taken to extremes it's the death of civilization. There is no civilization where people cannot exercise self-restraint.

jeanne said...

"What's wrong with seeing sex as having to do BOTH with reproduction and recreation?"

I'm Catholic and this is the Church's position, except that reproduction is more important than the recreational aspects; they're not two co-equal considerations.

And it makes sense, in light of the particular shapes and functions of the sexual organs. You understand that besides being sexy, female breasts provide milk for infants, yes?

Why, from the design of the sexual apparatus, and the overwhelming effects on human nature, it's almost as if Someone wanted us to be fruitful and multiply.

Ray Sawhill said...

Anonymous 2:48 writes: "Decadence (which is what you are extolling) is a side effect of civilization. It's not a benefit of it though, and if taken to extremes it's the death of civilization. There is no civilization where people cannot exercise self-restraint."

*If taken to extremes" is the key thing here, isn't it? So why fight the general "enjoying the benefits of civilization" idea? Why not specify and take issue with "taking it to extremes" instead?

Civilization's a lot of trouble. If you aren't getting something out of it, then why bother with it at all?

Anonymous said...

"Americans are batshit crazy in this area. You all have some kind of picture of a good traditional mother that is made up of equal parts June Cleaver, Ma Ingalls, Carol Brady and Marmee, driving an minivan, still looking hot, probably homeschooling, totally available to nurture a brood of white children and so grateful to her hardworking husband he gets to put his feet up and get served by this lovely piece at the end of his grueling day in the code mines."

Sounds like you have never actually been in a real coal mine. Anyway, I actually know some of those homeschool moms. Some are hot. Some are not. But you sound more crazy than they. According the the first wave feminists, women could do anything. They could be just like guys. Now apparently, they can't even do as well as my forbears out on the Dakota prairies. Talk about no one around. Fourteen kids and five miles from town and freakin' 20 below zero. Yeah, they were real women back then I tell you. If they hadn't done it, we wouldn't even be here to sit in the air conditioning complaining of how hard our lives are, WAAAA!

Good grief. Take your zoloft or ritalin or whatever it is you take and chill. Chances are you don't even know what hard is. And you sure as hell never went in a coal mine or lived in a sod hut, you whining little princess.

Anonymous said...

PREGNANCY SUCKS. INFANT CARE SUCKS. Think about these other things that suck, that involve pain, danger, and/or longterm sleep deprivation: medical school, coalmining, crab fishing, political campaigning, powerlifting.


Life sucks, if you choose to look at things that way.

I think a better way to look at it is that the things which are most fulfilling are the most difficult. The guy on the crab fishing boat is living life far more intensely than is some cubicle-dwelling office drone. Dedicating yourself to power-lifting, or parenthood, is both more difficult and more rewarding than a life of hedonism and instant gratification, of sex and shopping.

Anonymous said...

Financial Sex Aid: Florida Co-Eds Seek “Sugar Daddy” for College Degree... So what is the ratio for these consenting adults? Well, most dating websites have more men than women. But at seekingarrangement.com, it’s the opposite. The ratio is 20 sugar babies to every one sugar daddy.
http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/02/14/financial-sex-aid-florida-co-eds-seek-sugar-daddy-for-college-degree/


Yup, that's what I did. I married an older man that I men when I was 19 and in college. We're still married 23 years later. I wouldn't really call him a sugar daddy, but he was a real grown up man, not a "boyfriend" not ready for real life with no job and no prospects like college boys. Really college boys are only appropriate dates for high school girls because neither are ready to get married. Girls 18 and older are old enough to get married. They shouldn't be dating guys who are not. They should be dating guys about 5 to 10 years older.

Svigor said...

"The rate is not so low in the English-speaking countries, France or Scandinavia, as it is in the Mediterranean or Germany.

France and Scandinavia are English-speaking?!?"

^^^This is why people comment as "anonymous." And why people assume you're a 'tard if you post as "anonymous," even if you aren't.

Was it really so hard to extrapolate the comma?

Anonymous said...

Civilization's a lot of trouble. If you aren't getting something out of it, then why bother with it at all?


Civilization is indeed in a lot of trouble, when a significant number of people start to think that civilization is a necessary but unpleasant pain in the ass which we put up with in order to enjoy exotic foods and exotic sex.

We "bother" with civilization because without it our lives would be nasty, brutish, and short. It's not actually some elaborate scheme whose purpose is get you a lot of nookie.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid said: PREGNANCY SUCKS. INFANT CARE SUCKS. Think about these other things that suck, that involve pain, danger, and/or longterm sleep deprivation: medical school, coalmining, crab fishing, political campaigning, powerlifting.

Hunsdon replied: I think you're overstating matters by quite a large degree, and committing the fallacy of focusing solely on the negative. Pregnancy (per my lawfully wedded spouse) is at times uncomfortable. Childbirth is, it is true, uncomfortable, but the epidural did wonders in that regard. As for infant care, it can be exhausting, by my wife thinks on the whole its worth it. (Of course, I let her stop mining for coal while our children are young.)

Anonymous said...

Where I live, low IQ and low status teens don't want to use birth control nor do they want to abort babies: they want to get pregnant and have those babies. And_they_DO.

How do white liberals not understand this?

Anonymous said...

Good grief. Take your zoloft or ritalin or whatever it is you take and chill. Chances are you don't even know what hard is. And you sure as hell never went in a coal mine or lived in a sod hut, you whining little princess.

Yep, that's Americans. And you wonder why you can't get a date.

Anonymous said...

"No amount of 'free' contraceptives can counteract the cash incentives of the EITC, TANF (ex-AFDC), Food Stamps, etc.":

Yes, the girls to whom I just referred have seen momma and grandmamma get checks in the mail each month, get a fairly decent house (sometimes a very, very nice house) for a pittance of what it rents for to non-Section 8 tenants, get food stamps, get medical benefits, including vision, and it all comes with babies. That, and more. Why the hell use birth control? Plus, the teen, not really too bright anyway, thinks she'll be different from mamma and grandmamma in that her baby-daddy will love her, love the kid, and yes, marry her.

I've come to the conclusion that progressives don't give a damn about the results of their policies, that they just want to stick it to anyone who doesn't speak pc.

Elites can't stand to be proven wrong since answers aren't what they're looking for in their policy stances anyway.

As for women's issues, women who've graduated from elite schools and lesbians (they are sometimes the same, sometimes not), drive the policies, this one included. Obama is quite pussy-whipped.

Anonymous said...

At least the ratio of "suck it up buttercup" comments to sane recognition of the raw deal American parents are expected to accept and enjoy is slightly better than it was even five years ago. Maybe there's hope.

Anonymous said...

"Yep, that's Americans. And you wonder why you can't get a date."

LOL, not only can we get dates, we can also get mates!

We make more babies than you guys. Heck, even our libs and lesbians have more babies than you do in Europe.

Aaron B. said...

"What's wrong with seeing sex as having to do BOTH with reproduction and recreation?"

As Jeanne said, this is exactly the Catholic position, and has been at least since St. Augustine wrote it down. Purpose #1 is procreation (and education of the children; once you procreate you have to raise them), and #2 is mutual comfort of the spouses.

Nowadays, the procreation side gets discussed more because that's the one people are fighting against. (We're giving each other "mutual comfort" left and right and inside out, so priests don't exactly have to teach us about that one right now.) But those two reasons have always come as a set.

By the way, feminists and other Pill pushers predicted that legalizing contraception and making it widely available would improve society in numerous ways. It would reduce divorce, because couples could have more sex without worrying about pregnancy. It would reduce child abuse, because people wouldn't have children they didn't want. It would reduce teenage pregnancy, because obviously teens would just use contraception. It would reduce poverty, because people wouldn't have more children than they could afford. Basically, life would be rainbows and unicorns once we had the Pill.

The cranky old pope, Paul VI, predicted just the opposite: more divorce, more marital strife, more illegitimacy, more abuse. People scoffed and said he was out of touch; what would an old, white, celibate priest know about marriage and sex?

Who was right?

Whiskey said...

Steve, you're missing a big player: WOMEN.

American White Catholics became Protestant-like because the Pill and Condom meant women could control their own fertility, and DO.

IMHO, no offense, only Roissy and Devlin have really understood that society-changing technology. As profound as gunpowder or the printing press or steam engine.

Catholics stopped having lots of kids because the Pill and Condom let Catholic women stop having them. And indeed, with anonymous urban living and rising female income, as Roissy just posted today, Upper class WHITE first-marriage ages are rising. With profound implications therein. Notably, fertility.

First Marriage Age at 35 (after decades of basically, slutting it up in the city) implies only one kid. Or halving White Upper Class numbers every generation.

Contraception means basically, sexual freedom (for the first time in history) for women. This is as profound a social change as the factory system, literacy, or gunpowder.

Whiskey said...

Aaron B -- The central notion of the Father Brown mysteries by Chesterton was that priests who heard confessions regularly knew more of human behavior than any but the most hardened cops and war veterans. So the predictions coming true surprises no one. People tend to need to confess and find absolution/forgiveness.

The battle over contraception is basically one over female sexuality and freedom. This is unique in human history -- as radical a change as the steam engine was in removing animal/human labor from much work.

Black women tend to have lots of abortions, but their fertility seems relatively stable (2.1 or so). Hispanic women have lots of kids, starting obviously at their teens. White women's fertility among all religions and classes have collapsed, save Mormons who with massive communal social pressure push their young women into marriage and motherhood a lot sooner. White lower class women have kids without marriage, increasingly, while Upper class women wait until first marriage (mid thirties or so) guaranteeing only one kid. Whom all their hopes are put on. They COULD marry earlier, but prefer to play the field with Alphas until settling down with a beta male they don't much care for as their looks rapidly fade.

IMHO trying to control female sexuality is both stupid and futile. Instead women need to know the score (as opposed to the multitude of lies served up daily to them):

They run a razor's edge of triumph or disaster in their personal lives. Absolute freedom means absolute responsibility. There is no recovery from loss of their sexual market value. The stability of the Welfare system is an illusion soon to crash. International competition for resources will not usher in an age of global peace and prosperity but ugly sacrifice and shortages. Their best bet for a decent old age is both a loving and good husband and multiple kids able to care for them. And only they can make choices that increase their chances for this.

Most women most of the time if given the unvarnished truth are perfectly capable of making choices good for themselves and society as a whole. But they need the truth not comforting lies.

Darwin's Sh*tlist said...

If you're correct, then the left has been able to delude itself particularly well about the upper end of the socio-economic scale.

There's a panoply of progressive hobby horses that all have the effect of suppressing fertility among the educated: academic credentialism that loads bright people down with student loan debt during their child-bearing years; higher taxes, which cut into the affordable family formation you've discussed previously; new-urbanist/smart growth land use policies that drive up the cost of desirable single-family housing; a child custody and support system that makes men more reluctant to take the paternal plunge, and finally, secularism and environmentalism generally.

I can't see them re-examining all of these things and risking being called racist (after all, what's the point of being a white liberal if you can't accuse your inferiors of bigotry).

Anonymous said...

Great Python reference, the beginning of the aforementioned skit has the tagline: The Third World.....Yorkshire
I'm guessing Yorkshire was full of Irish Catholics at the time.

TGGP said...

Off-topic, but Noah Millman's review of "Clybourne Park" is titled What We Talk About When We Talk About What We’re Talking About. I need to google where that phrase came from.

Anonymous said...

This isnt true. Native French and Scandinavian women have much higher fertility rates than do native German and native Italian women. Immigrant women in France only raise the tfr there by .02. The official govt. stat agency there calculated the figure a few years ago.

As for Scandinavia... yeah, I'm sure the 25,000 Somalis and Arabs (combined) in Finland are the reason why Finland's tfr is 1.8-1.9, not 1.3-1.4 like Germany and Italy.

Anonymous said...

Turkey is at replacement. Ireland is just below. The Caucasus varies, and the Balkans is very, very low.

Anonymous said...

Progressive dummies don't like to admit the inconsistency between their positions: they wish people, esp. the poor, to use birth control, yet they pay what is, in essense, a "living wage" (all goodies from welfare added up) to them for having those babies.

E said...

There is no chance that birth control will ever be banned in this country. This holds true even if Rick Santorum is elected president. Opposition to contraception is, in this day, an eccentric life-style choice rarer than vegetarianism. There is absolutely no legitimate reason---unless resentment and revenge count---to force Catholic charities to fund contraception.
I don't care if it offends people's sensibilities; I don't care if you want to bring up the church sex scandal (most Catholic priests, to state the bleeding obvious, are not molesting boys). The people who staff Catholic charities chose to work there (they didn't have to). In fact, Catholic charities itself doesn't have to actually run the services that are helping in their communities. That they are doing so is a credit to their organization. Vindictive attempts to punish them by forcing them out of public service to avoid violating their consciences win no sympathy from me, even if I disagree with their opposition to birth control.
Some people seem to think the people who run Catholic charities are resources to be exploited, not persons with spiritual, mental, and psychological concerns deserving of equal consideration to those who disagree.
And the idea that the exploding illegitimacy rate in the underclasses has anything to do with the pope's opposition to the Pill is, to put it plainly, self-evidently horsesh*t. These people do not care what the Catholic church has to say about birth control, and they are vary well aware of its existence. They do not lack "access," they choose not to use it.
In any case, I agree with the posters who do not see crypto-racial anxieties in the New York Times crowd. This is nothing more than another flash point in the ongoing progs-vs-trads cultural war.

James Kabala said...

I don't usually agree with Whiskey, and even here I disagree with large portions of his post, but he is certainly correct that women embraced the pill enthusiastically. Such attitudes even reached the one remaining conservative area of pop culture, country music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DcdONaKSQM

(This song is rather shocking in its bluntness even today.)

Hunsdon said...

Whiskers said: IMHO trying to control female sexuality is both stupid and futile. Instead women need to know the score (as opposed to the multitude of lies served up daily to them):

Hunsdon replied: Whiskers is saying that our salvation lies in the reasoning capacity of women, their ability to see through the pretty lies and comforting vanities.

And he was just praising Roissy?

Good Lord, man, talk about the moldboard plow some more, or the neo-Vikings.

Steve Sailer said...

Then there's this Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty duet:

"You're the Reason Our Kids are Ugly"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFq6eZBS1iM&feature=related

Anonymous said...

"The people who staff Catholic charities chose to work there (they didn't have to)."

I've watched tv a lot the last week, got a sampling of comments from all the talking heads on all the network and cable shows, yet not once did I hear from anyone, "Hey, got a problem with the Church's policy for what its insurance package covers and what it doesn't? Don't work there. No one is forcing you to take the job."

I can't believe I haven't heard people on the right say this.

One thing is clear--a law that's 2000+ pages long is full of government control of individuals. I can't understand how even liberal people who are smart in other areas of their lives can tolerate what really is tyranny.

Feminine (not feminist) female said...

Amazing. Does no one reading this blog recognize the great joy that children bring to their parents?

Yes, it is difficult to raise children - but it is the most important work that most of us do during our lives. The "women's movement" would have helped women if it had highlighted the value of raising children and creating a clean and healthy home - instead of encouraging young women to become more like men.

Prediction: within two generations abortion will once again be viewed as a heinous crime, and people will understand that children are not a burden but a treasure.

My biggest worry is that the worldwide "birth dearth" is not due solely to contraception, but something else - something that has yet to be identified.

swimming swan said...

'Then there's this Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty duet:

"You're the Reason Our Kids are Ugly"'

A song especially significant to you, Freckles?

Ray Sawhill said...

TGGP -- FWIW, as far as I know usage of the "What We Talk About When We Talk About ..." thang as a title comes from a 1981 Raymond Carver short story collection, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." But maybe something else proceeds it. Not a recommendation, by the way -- I don't like Carver much.

Anonymous said...

TGGP: It's the name of a collection of Raymond Carver short stories.

BTW, differential birth rates between European countries aren't rocket science. In Germany, eastern Europe and the Mediterranean countries where women are either expected to be housewives or to work outside the home, then come home and cook, clean, and cater to their infantile husbands, the birthrates are stunningly low.

In countries with pro-natalist policies like France and most of Scandanavia, where motherhood is valorized and subsidized and women are better able to balance work and family, you have birth rates pretty close to the replacement rate. Pretty simple, really.

Ray Sawhill said...

Anonymous 3:41 writes:

"Civilization is indeed in a lot of trouble, when a significant number of people start to think that civilization is a necessary but unpleasant pain in the ass which we put up with in order to enjoy exotic foods and exotic sex."

So you love hour-long commutes, unstable currencies, 50 hour work weeks, malls, parking lots, pollution, financial-system collapses, tax forms, etc? Glad to hear it. But surely it's not a surprise to learn that some people aren't crazy about these things? And let's not even think about those tens of millions of people whose view of western civ is understandably peevish: Native Americans, Polynesians, Australian aborigines ... These day also: Iraqi and Afghan peasants. Yeah, "civilization" has been great to them.

"We 'bother' with civilization because without it our lives would be nasty, brutish, and short."

Are you aware of the research demonstrating that people, when they went from being hunter-gatherers
to being agriculturalists -- ie., when "civilization" entered the picture -- lost height, developed awful new diseases, and lived shorter lives?

LINK

"It's not actually some elaborate scheme whose purpose is get you a lot of nookie."

Ah, you alone in the history of the universe are privy to the true meaning and purpose of life. Don't hold back, please share it with the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Although Northwestern Europe lead the world in starting the welfare state ( Australia and New Zealand being the exceptions that prove the rule. ) it was the good old US and A that lead the world in contraception. The US had the world's first effective commercially available birth control pill available in 1957, whereas socially libertine France didn't legalize it until 1968 and Japan until 1999! America's cousins Britain and Australia also legalized it soon after the US did ( Anglosphere worldview, anyone ). So the US has had birth control available in some form in some areas for over half a century and yet... some people still haven't got the message.

I guess they want babies because they know realistically they are not getting into Bryn Mawr or Wellesley, nor are they going to be living a Sex and City lifestyle with a highly paid white collar job in the big city. The availability of the pill plus the welfare state should have lead to poor women becoming economically independent of men and much lowered their birth rate and yet women in the slums continue to have babies. You see how these facts can be very inconvenient for a well educated member of the MSM commentariat. Only an evil, horrible racist would even imagine that some people of different racial backgrounds might not respond to welfare state incentives like Europeans and Asians do ( Even with a 40 year lag in approving birth control pills and a stingy welfare state, Japan still has one of the world's lowest birthrates. ) Their must be another possibility!!! I know!!! more social services!!! Problem solved without validating that horrible Charles Murray.

David said...

>yet they pay what is, in essense [sic], a "living wage" (all goodies from welfare added up) to them for having those babies.<

Living wage has nothing to do with welfare. A wage is pay for work. You are talking about a guaranteed minimum income, which is different.

Cindy said...

There's one thing that liberals are completely wrong and that is overpopulation. It's almost as bogus as AGW.

The world is starting to have declining birth-rates and even if the entire religious population didn't use contraception and abortion guess what? There still wouldn't be overpopulation. Why?

Here's the deal: liberals are ignorant about the ways to control population. Everybody controls population one way or the way. The difference is that liberals do it through BIRTH whereas conservatives do it through DEATH.

Religious people are A-okay with justified wars and killing criminal adults for example. With today's technology we have weapones of mass destruction that could wipe out the entire human race if we wanted. Just because Catholics don't like killing unborn children and contraception, does NOT mean that they don't approve of population reduction. They do. They do it through DEATH, instead of reducing at BIRTH. They would wage wars and whatnot.

Get it?

And don't say that contraception does not have the same effect as wars. They do. It's causing environmental degradation, poisoning the water supply, releasing hormones everywhere and weaking the health of women everywhere.

Drunk Idiot said...

I've watched tv a lot the last week, got a sampling of comments from all the talking heads on all the network and cable shows, yet not once did I hear from anyone, "Hey, got a problem with the Church's policy for what its insurance package covers and what it doesn't? Don't work there. No one is forcing you to take the job."

I can't believe I haven't heard people on the right say this.


I can believe it. I don't watch TV (except for college basketball), so I missed whatever lame arguments conservative talking heads sputtered out on the cable news shows. But what's there to see!?!

Most Conservatives let the Left frame every single freakin' argument, and in turn, begin their counter arguments by accepting the Left's frames and language (language being the Left's weapon of choice). Once you're arguing your case on their terms, you're more or less screwed.

The only way to argue with a Leftist is to immediately demolish the Leftist's frame. Only then can you make your counter argument. Unfortunately, this concept is lost on the vast majority of conservatives (because they're not as tricky or mendacious as the Left -- Newt Gingrich notwithstanding).

Laura said...

It is not correct to equate "sex as recreation" with the Catholic doctrine that one of the purposes of sex is "mutual comfort". With sex as recreation, the idea is that there is not necessarily any purpose: the point of sex is to have an orgasm, which is just a tautology, not a statement of purpose. Once you accept sex as recreation, there is no flavor or configuration of sex that is improper, because anything that will give someone an orgasm fulfills that tautology.

On the other hand, the "mutual comfort" idea is that one of the purposes of sex is strengthening your relationship through pair bonding. This does rule some things out, because not all flavors and configurations of sex are compatible with the purpose of bonding. For example, one night stands are out, because there is no relationship there to strengthen.

In the Catholic understanding, pleasure is the means by which you have sex, not the end in itself.

Anonymous said...

BTW, differential birth rates between European countries aren't rocket science. In Germany, eastern Europe and the Mediterranean countries where women are either expected to be housewives or to work outside the home, then come home and cook, clean, and cater to their infantile husbands, the birthrates are stunningly low.

In countries with pro-natalist policies like France and most of Scandanavia, where motherhood is valorized and subsidized and women are better able to balance work and family, you have birth rates pretty close to the replacement rate. Pretty simple, really.


Very, very wrong. The countries with high birth rates like France and Scandinavia are full of immigrants giving birth. Also you
are quite wrong of Germany and Mediterranean countries. They're just as secular and just as liberal as any other European country. Just because they aren't overtly feminist like Sweden, doesn't mean they are hotbeds of the patriarchy. There is a different variety of feminism present in those countries.

SFG said...

"What's wrong with seeing sex as having to do BOTH with reproduction and recreation? And why does no one mention the visionary/aesthetic/poetic dimension of sex? There it is, easily available, cheap, no carbs ... Why not avail yourself of it?"

Ray, this isn't France.

Hunsdon said...

Feminine female said: Amazing. Does no one reading this blog recognize the great joy that children bring to their parents?

Yes, it is difficult to raise children - but it is the most important work that most of us do during our lives. The "women's movement" would have helped women if it had highlighted the value of raising children and creating a clean and healthy home - instead of encouraging young women to become more like men.

Hunsdon replied: Oh sweet Jesus yes. My daughters are the eye in my head, the light of my life, the continuation of my line, the reason to get up in the morning, the reason to lay down early to get sleep, the answer to why on long dark howling nights.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5.26 you're simply wrong. France in particular has lots and lots of birth rate statistics, and guess what? It's population growth is being driven by the natives, not differential rates among immigrants.

“INED, France’s National Institute of Demographic Studies, has done some detailed research and concluded that France’s immigrant population is responsible for only 5 percent of the rise in the birthrate and that France’s population would be rising anyway even without the immigrant population."

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/Walker/2008/04/30/Walkers-World-French-births-soar/UPI-20871209568785/

jody said...

we talkin' 'bout practice.

-allen iverson

S.Anonyia said...

"There's one thing that liberals are completely wrong and that is overpopulation. It's almost as bogus as AGW."

Alright, so the putrid slums of Bangladesh are just a myth then? I guess the earth can support 15 billion people, who knew.

Overpopulation is not occurring in first world nations, but it is out of control in the developing world. The only reason all these people are even being sustained at all is due to Western (medical, infrastructure and food) aid. The Sahara is expanding due to crappy land-use methods in Africa causing desertification. 10s of millions of people live in uninhabitable deserts; just look at Egypt.

How is it a myth? In order to be a conservative you must actually support policy which conserves(key word here) Western Civilization. Which includes preservation of the lands which have fostered us throughout the years. Currently we are being swamped by exponential growth of 3rd worlders- guess where they are going to migrate as their lives become more miserable due to overpopulation? Also guess who's military is going to get dragged into foreign conflicts caused by overpopulation?

If you don't think overpopulation is a big deal then you're basically a religious (and weird) liberal.

S.Anonyia said...

"Amazing. Does no one reading this blog recognize the great joy that children bring to their parents?"

Children bring decent people joy. Children are their lifeblood, their heirs, the reason worth living. They cherish and nurture them. I don't understand why this blog keeps implicitly attacking upper middle class white women's reproductive choices. So they want 2 children instead of a giant brood. How is this bad? It is a model all should aspire to. And the kids they do have are well loved and grow up to be productive citizens for the most part- if they can avoid the influence of more undesirable people. If you want them to have more kids, start giving cash incentives for college educated couples to have 3rd or 4th children. This was actually attempted in Louisiana a few years back- of course it was struck down as "racist" though.

However, stupid people? They'd just as soon go out to a club and leave junior at (43 year old) grandma's. Their kids wreak havoc on the world, whether it be by breaking into houses, or robbing grandparents at gunpoint. Steve is right. When people talk about contraception, this is what they are trying to prevent. And the people on this comment section are lacking foresight to attack the few things keeping the population of the underclasses under control. Or at least has the potential to if it is pushed more.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why this blog keeps implicitly attacking upper middle class white women's reproductive choices. So they want 2 children instead of a giant brood. How is this bad?



They do not want 2 children. And a lower-than-replacement-rate fertility level is a problem for obvious reasons.

Anonymous said...

So you love hour-long commutes, unstable currencies, 50 hour work weeks, malls, parking lots, pollution, financial-system collapses, tax forms, etc?



Dear God. Now you think that civilization is "hour-long commutes, unstable currencies, 50 hour work weeks, malls, parking lots, pollution, financial-system collapses, tax forms, etc".

You are already in a deep hole, Sawhill. Stop digging!

Anonymous said...

Are you aware of the research ..


And you cite Jared Frickin Diamond as your "research"?


you alone in the history of the universe are privy to the true meaning and purpose of life.


The topic was civilization, you blithering half-wit. Not some Anthony Kennedyesque "meaning and purpose of life".

But from the standpoing of "the universe" the purpose of life is to procreate and to reproduce, not to enjoy itself.

Ray Sawhill said...

Does sex as "mutual comfort" sound as gruesome to anyone else as it does to me?

Anonymous said...

"Does sex as 'mutual comfort' sound as gruesome to anyone else as it does to me?"

If it refers to straight sex, I dunno. But I'd think gay sex is a 'mutual pain the ass'.

Ray Sawhill said...

Anonymous -- If Jared Diamond doesn't suit you, how about Loren Cordain (cited by Cochran and Harpending in "The 10,000 Year Explosion) or Marshall Sahlins? As far as I know it's accepted fact that the transition to agriculture left most people shorter and more ill than they'd been as hunter-gatherers. Razib takes a look at the most recent literature and concludes "Yes, on balance agriculture did result in the deterioration of health."

LINK

Feel free to come up with objections, and sources for your objections. Can't help noticing that you've been a little chintzy with facts, research and citations so far.

"From the standpoing of 'the universe' the purpose of life is to procreate and to reproduce, not to enjoy itself."

Ah, now you're claiming the ability to speak for the "the universe." Awesome. May I sit at your knee and soak up some more of your cosmos-spanning wisdom?

Ray Sawhill said...

From anthropologist Clark Larsen:

"The shift from hunting-gathering to farming created a number of negative health effects. First, rates of infection increased, reflected by the periosteal reactions on skeletal remains. Evidence of iron deficiency, evidenced by porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia, also increased, as agriculturalists relied heavily on a single iron-deficient crop as their source of food. Linear enamel hypoplasias and microdefects of tooth enamel were more frequent in farmers, due to malnutrition, disease, or other sources of stress. In addition, the teeth displayed greater rates of dental caries following the transition to farming, as the diet focused on high carbohydrate consumption. Finally, with the transition to agriculture, the accumulative effects of nutrition, disease, and other sources of stress were reflected in the reduced skeletal growth and development in children and in the reduced adult height."

LINK

An informative look at a study comparing hunter-gatherers to agriculturalists in the American mid-west:

LINK

Anonymous said...

Overpopulation is not occurring in first world nations, but it is out of control in the developing world.

Overpopulation is not so much out of control now, but it was in the "Green Revolution" years of 1945-1972. It is only now that the developing world is reaping the detriments.

The only reason all these people are even being sustained at all is due to Western (medical, infrastructure and food) aid.

Again, the Green Revolution, which happened before those societies had proper knowledge of population dynamics, women's rights, and access to family planning.

Hunsdon said...

Ray Sawhill said: As far as I know it's accepted fact that the transition to agriculture left most people shorter and more ill than they'd been as hunter-gatherers. Razib takes a look at the most recent literature and concludes "Yes, on balance agriculture did result in the deterioration of health."

Hunsdon replied: Agriculture includes not only the raising of crops, but the domestication of animals. Since so long the mind of man remembereth not, the pastoral nomads of Central Asia would, every so often, erupt out of the steppe and conquer piddly little unimportant civilizations like China, and India, and Persia, and Byzantium. I take it as an article of faith that they did not suffer (or at least, not to such a degree) the impaired health of farmers.

Anonymous said...

Most women most of the time if given the unvarnished truth are perfectly capable of making choices good for themselves and society as a whole. But they need the truth not comforting lies.


And what exactly is in that for alpha dudes?

Anonymous said...

"And don't say that contraception does not have the same effect as wars."


No, it doesn't.

Wars reduce the number of stupid violent people. Birth control reduces the number of smart conscientious people. And vaccines explode the number of stupid violent people.

Student of demography said...

Just a note about "over population." The rise that we have seen since the end of World War II in the numbers of people all over the world did not spring from people bearing more children. The "demographic transition" was brought about by public health measures, largely sanitary in nature, that led to a huge drop in deaths at all ages, especially among infants and children. Seen in that light the rise in the population numbers seen during the 1960s was not a disaster, but signified a phenomenal improvement in people's lives. As it takes a generation or two for people to realize that they do not need to give birth to five children to see one or two of them grow up into adults, couples continued their usual pattern of births for a while. Nowadays women are bearing fewer children even in India and sub-Saharan Africa. Indeed, the decline is so severe in some countries of Europe and East Asia that demographers and astute policymakers have reason to be concerned. Remember, though, that despite the drop in population growth in the U.S. in the 1920s and 30s, the 1950s brought a completely unanticipated rise in our own population. People can and will change their behavior in a generation or two.

Anonymous said...

"All Christian churches opposed contraception until relatively recently. :

Even George Orwell in one of his essays had qualms about contraception. I wish I could remember which essay.

Anonymous said...

"And beyond that: mate satisfaction declines as one and all are introduced to staggering beauties -- show after show -- man and woman -- that make ones current spouse plain gruel when compared.'

That's probably true. I fell in love with Dorothy Hamill as a child and I have to have that kind of face to marry. Thrown in Jacklyn Smith and I'm doomed.

TV and Dorothy Hamill poisoned my mind when it came to women.

Anonymous said...

The Obama Administration's move is not about birth control. Like Obama/Holder's insistence on applying anti-discrimination laws to ministerial posts, it is an assault on the institutional independence of churches and other groups (Rotary and women, Boy Scouts and gays, etc.). Ultimately, they must all be forced to do what the Left defines as "good." Under such a system, there is little real liberty, other than the right to shag whomever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want.

Given the demographic changes of this country there is little reason to think that the Left won't eventually have its way.

Anonymous said...

Does sex as "mutual comfort" sound as gruesome to anyone else as it does to me?

That phrase jumped out at me too, not as "gruesome" but as embarrassingly square, which is what a lot of paleocons are, I guess, but to each his own.

Anonymous said...

And vaccines explode the number of stupid violent people.

I can see why mercury preservatives are needed in vaccines - to make the stupid violent people more docile.

Anonymous said...

The rise that we have seen since the end of World War II in the numbers of people all over the world did not spring from people bearing more children.

The "demographic transition" was brought about by public health measures

It was a mix of both, really.

Seen in that light the rise in the population numbers seen during the 1960s was not a disaster, but signified a phenomenal improvement in people's lives.

This phenomenal improvement not only enabled more already-born children to live, but also enabled women to give birth to more children, and men to fertilize more women.

In Third World peasant cultures, women were little more than baby-making machines. And is it takes decades for culture to change, especialy conservative ones, it meant that in the Green Revolution years, healthier women could better fulfill their breeding duties.

Consider also that the urbanization of that era brought millions of young people from the farms to the cities, leading to a perceived rural population shortage.

So before the Green Revolution, the average Third World family could manufacture 8 children, but only two survived to adulthood. After, the average family popped out 10 kids, 6 lived.

Anonymous said...

Some folks say women who make more money will not date men who make less money. But maybe that's just half the equation. Maybe many women are willing to date/marry guys who make less. The bigger problem could be that guys who make less may lack the confidence to approach women who make more.