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The rise of baby doomers Parenthood is seen as a troublesome burden

A future worker? (Getty Images)


April 25, 2023   5 mins

As the media cycle lurches from the promotion of one existential crisis to another, demography continues to dominate. In the UK, low birth rates and ageing populations mean we won’t be able to afford healthcare and pensions; we have too many of the “wrong type” of immigrants and too much of the “wrong type” of emigration. Of course, some countries have it worse. China, having shot itself in the groin with its one-child policy, is set to become smaller than India, for whom a growing population could be either a blessing or a curse (take your pick). Globally, fertility rates are falling, but eco-worriers remind us that “overpopulation” continues to contribute to the climate emergency.

Amid such hysteria it’s unclear whether we should be encouraging the patter of tiny feet or reducing the reproduction of ginormous carbon footprints. What is clear, however, is that none of this hyperbolic claims-making is really about demography — a complicated and specialist discipline based on the statistical study of human populations. It’s more about doomography — a fatalistic cultural trend that relies on elementary maths about big and small numbers to give a clever-looking veneer to sublimated anxieties about social and economic problems.

In my research field of generational conflict, for example, tensions over housing, pensions, cultural values and a range of other issues are routinely treated as problems arising from having more older people than younger people. This evades the nuanced discussions that need to be addressed in their own terms: inciting kids to “mug Grandma” for her pensioner perks will do nothing to help today’s workers gain a better standard of living now.

Worse, the doomographic mindset evades the very question it pretends to focus on: why have we become turned off reproduction? While acknowledging the problem of demographic determinism, it is surely right to think that a slowdown in population growth represents something significant and potentially troubling, and to consider its potential causes. Sociologically, one trend that stands out, certainly in Western societies, is the discomfort we have with the idea of renewing ourselves.

The study of generations involves engaging with reproduction on three levels: biological, social and cultural. Biological reproduction is common to all species, but for humans, having a baby usually involves the prior decision that this is something you want to do. It’s a personal choice, assisted by modern reproductive technologies but not given by these — birth rates tend to fall as societies develop, regardless of access to contraception or abortion. But like all choices, having a baby is framed by prevailing social and cultural dynamics and relationships. At its most basic, if having a child is seen as a key component of a meaningful life, people will couple up and get on with it; if becoming a parent is regarded as a troublesome burden, couples — or one half of a couple — are likely to dither, delay or decide that it’s all too much bother. And they do so in a context where their peers are wrestling with the same anguished choices.

It’s hardly controversial to suggest that the prevailing sentiment of cultural pessimism in Western societies makes the 2020s an inhospitable time for a baby boom. Yet the narrow instrumentalism of doomographic thinking leads to wishful thinking as well as apocalyptic prophesying. For instance, attempts to explain why young people delay, or avoid, having children as a consequence of purely economic factors often lead to reductive claims about the prohibitive cost of housing or childcare. Now, these factors certainly make it more difficult to start and sustain a family, and policy should address them — but our ancestors managed to create us despite having much less wealth. Focusing only on the factors that frame individual decisions also misses the bigger question, of what drives societies to reproduce themselves in the first place.

Into this confused debate, a major report launched last week by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) — 8 Billion Lives: Infinite Possibilities — was breathlessly upbeat. The report notes that while “climate change, pandemics, conflicts, mass displacement, economic uncertainty and other issues fuel concerns about over and under-population”, in reality, “human reproduction is neither the problem nor the solution”. On paper, I agree with every word of the above — except that I’ve followed the work of UNFPA for years, and I’m suspicious.

The UN’s report seems to mark an abrupt shift in rhetoric from the organisation that, at the turn of the century, was at the forefront of promoting fears about overpopulation (1999: 6 Billion – A Time for Choices) and the impact of population growth on the environment (2001: Footprints and Milestones — Population and Environmental Change). Though UNFPA has long been careful to acknowledge “the violations that can occur when family planning is used as a tool for ‘population control’”, this has gone hand in hand with its own promotion of “empowerment and autonomous family planning” as a way of controlling the size and shape of populations (2022: Seeing the Unseen — The Case for Action in the Neglected Crisis of Unintended Pregnancy).

Look a little closer, and it swiftly becomes clear that many of these sentiments have not simply vanished. Instead, UNFPA’s current foregrounding of gender equality, bodily autonomy, and sexual and reproductive health and rights is both a continuation of the “progressive” language of population control that it has been developing for years and a new twist in the doomographic tale. What matters now, says UNFPA, is that nation states stop worrying about reproducing themselves, and instead open themselves up to the possibilities afforded by open borders and the movement of labour. In other words, we should push forth with “solving” the number problems of richer countries by taking workers from poorer nations, and provide more childcare so that all women can work as well.

When the report was launched in Brussels, at an event organised by Friends of Europe, Dubravka Ơuica, Vice-President of the European Commission for Democracy and Demography, spoke of the need to protect the rights of women and girls in a world of eight billion, commenting further that “demography transcends borders”. All of which, again, sounds very lovely. But is declining fertility really something that should merely be shrugged off? Where is the future orientation in a society that doesn’t see the need to reproduce? Demography may “transcend borders”, but a society in which children are conceptualised primarily as future workers of wherever they end up is not one that is conducive to actual people having babies.

This is where the problems of cultural and social reproduction reveal themselves. At the heart of the culture wars consuming many Western societies is a conflict over the relationship between the past and the future. One side sees a generational continuity rooted in the norms and values that have grown up over time and looks to reproduce the relationships and institutions that have given life meaning: hence the tendency to focus on attachments to family, community and nation, and the reaction against disruptive globalising trends. The other side sees a future that can only be made possible by “freeing” people from history, often through the aggressive promotion of a “year zero” ideal that imagines we can cauterise our relationship with the past and start all over again. The cultural legacy of modernity is disclaimed as “problematic”, economic development is decried as “destructive”, and even the sexed body is presented as an impediment to individual self-realisation.

The polarised character of this conflict of course hides a more nuanced reality. The generational transaction has never been a pitched battle between the past and the future: those who derive meaning from the past do not actually live there, nations are always changing, and values and attitudes evolve as society moves on. But the very fact that we are engaged in debates about the problem of who we are and were means that the foundation for reproducing ourselves starts to look rather shaky.

All this insecurity has been sharpened and accelerated by the response to the pandemic, where initial, official excitement about the construction of a “new normal” revealed a nose-pinching distaste for the “old normal” that has been shaped over generations. It turned out, of course, that replacing our battered old society with some kind of disembodied techno-utopia was neither possible nor desirable: the “new normal” is a more fragmented, fractious, unstable and expensive version of what we had before.


Dr Jennie Bristow is a sociologist of generations and author of Stop Mugging Grandma


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Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

If the author is right (and i think she is) that the values of a society need to be understood and accepted in order to be transmitted from one generation to the next, at least in a broad sense; and that the failure to accept values that’ve stood for generations leads to a reluctance to reproduce since it’s not clear what type of society one wishes to introduce new life into; then it follows that migration on a large scale will inevitably lead to a weakening of those values due to the cultural differences between those being brought into a society from without, where those values are different and sometimes even inimical.
In other words, choosing to utilise immigration to replace low birth rate populations can only lead to further societal breakdown. I’m not making any judgment on that process, simply drawing what appears to be an inevitable conclusion.

RM Parker
RM Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I think you’re onto an uncomfortable truth. Additionally, as we become more mobile, we become “anywhere people”, rather than “somewhere people” (I think that came from Paul Kingsnorth).

That deracination undermines social cohesion and leaves countries culturally vulnerable and actually weakened: this can apply to both the donors and recipients of migration, potentially. When you have no roots, you don’t value where you are: a country becomes a commodity to be exploited, not a home. I’ve seen it happen and been dismayed, as I don’t see anyone coming out of this process wearing a smile.

This isn’t xenophobia, incidentally: it’s about community and shared identity. But then, identity is for each individual to assemble like an ikea flat-pack in the world we’re making – and maybe that’s the root of many of our current problems.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  RM Parker

The anywhere/somewhere terminology came from David Goodhart, not Kingsnorth. See: _The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics_.

RM Parker
RM Parker
1 year ago

Thanks – I’ll go digging about for that!

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  RM Parker

I predict you will like the book.

Jane McCarthy
Jane McCarthy
1 year ago

Once you know about David Goodhart’s distinction, it’s impossible to un-see it, the evidence for it is everywhere and overwhelming.

Jane McCarthy
Jane McCarthy
1 year ago

Once you know about David Goodhart’s distinction, it’s impossible to un-see it, the evidence for it is everywhere and overwhelming.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  RM Parker

I predict you will like the book.

RM Parker
RM Parker
1 year ago

Thanks – I’ll go digging about for that!

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  RM Parker

a country becomes a commodity to be exploited, not a home.
I believe that’s what has been happening to America for at least twenty years. The goal is maximization of economic potential and profit, pure and simple. California (admittedly an extreme case, but likely a harbinger of the future) is at a point where the services and rights enjoyed by illegal immigrants are almost indistinguishable, in practical terms, from those enjoyed by a citizen. And there is little pressure on new immigrants to assimilate or even learn the language. They are just more warm bodies to be fed into the economic machine.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

There were American politicians and groups saying same thing hundred years ago. Why were they wrong then (US went on to be the World’s strongest nation) and why would it be wrong now? In fact there is a case to be made that immigration has been the nuclear core at the heart of US power

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Look at it now

Alan B
Alan B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Consult US history: For better or worse those politicians succeeded in curtailing mass immigration until the postwar era.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan B

The Ellis Island “heyday” of 1880-1920 is a huge counterweight on your ambitious claim. It’s true that a much higher percentage of those admitted (rather than captured and sold) prior to WWII were Euro-descended.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

They almost completely stopped it in the 20’s, and I believe there were periods prior to that it was stopped in order to force assimilation.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

They almost completely stopped it in the 20’s, and I believe there were periods prior to that it was stopped in order to force assimilation.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan B

The Ellis Island “heyday” of 1880-1920 is a huge counterweight on your ambitious claim. It’s true that a much higher percentage of those admitted (rather than captured and sold) prior to WWII were Euro-descended.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Before 1965-dominant groups were European which matched the ancestry of the native population. After 1965-dominant groups are non European.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The critical difference 100 years ago (around the time my dad’s parents immigrated to the USA) was an expectation on both the part of US society AND immigrants that they would assimilate, and become Americans, not the increasingly fragmented stew we have now. Many of us in the States still believe the quaint idea that defensible borders and a shared language and values contribute to a healthy nation state.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Past immigrants were a mixed bunch and forced to adapt to US culture. That culture has been eroded by later waves. OTOH, by the third generation adaptation arrives until recently as many disdain foundational principles.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Look at it now

Alan B
Alan B
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Consult US history: For better or worse those politicians succeeded in curtailing mass immigration until the postwar era.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Before 1965-dominant groups were European which matched the ancestry of the native population. After 1965-dominant groups are non European.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The critical difference 100 years ago (around the time my dad’s parents immigrated to the USA) was an expectation on both the part of US society AND immigrants that they would assimilate, and become Americans, not the increasingly fragmented stew we have now. Many of us in the States still believe the quaint idea that defensible borders and a shared language and values contribute to a healthy nation state.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Past immigrants were a mixed bunch and forced to adapt to US culture. That culture has been eroded by later waves. OTOH, by the third generation adaptation arrives until recently as many disdain foundational principles.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

There were American politicians and groups saying same thing hundred years ago. Why were they wrong then (US went on to be the World’s strongest nation) and why would it be wrong now? In fact there is a case to be made that immigration has been the nuclear core at the heart of US power

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  RM Parker

https://youtu.be/PUdyuKaGQd4
Alice Merton – No Roots
Thankfully, roots aren’t required to make good music.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nona Yubiz
Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  RM Parker

The anywhere/somewhere terminology came from David Goodhart, not Kingsnorth. See: _The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics_.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  RM Parker

a country becomes a commodity to be exploited, not a home.
I believe that’s what has been happening to America for at least twenty years. The goal is maximization of economic potential and profit, pure and simple. California (admittedly an extreme case, but likely a harbinger of the future) is at a point where the services and rights enjoyed by illegal immigrants are almost indistinguishable, in practical terms, from those enjoyed by a citizen. And there is little pressure on new immigrants to assimilate or even learn the language. They are just more warm bodies to be fed into the economic machine.

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago
Reply to  RM Parker

https://youtu.be/PUdyuKaGQd4
Alice Merton – No Roots
Thankfully, roots aren’t required to make good music.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nona Yubiz
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

SM I suspect if the immigration was from the likes of Canada, Aus, NZ into the UK you’d have no problem with it. Is it fair to assume what you really mean is immigration from less westernised cultures potentially with different values?
Given we have a Hindu heritage PM, a Hindu heritage Home Sec, a Caribbean heritage Foreign Sec etc, and a Muslim heritage First Minister in Scotland, I don’t buy any contention some might make that our great country is incapable of effective cultural assimilation sharing our best values with the best from others. One of the things makes me most proud to be British.
I think international population movement inevitable and although we may only see relatively slow change in our remaining lifetimes I cannot see that pace doing anything but speed up over time. We can be King Canute if we want, for a while at least.
For me therefore the response is not open borders for anything so silly, but managed migration where coming here requires some naturalisation process focused on values, contribution to society, and is two phased at least – initial stay and then formal citizenship if demonstrate the on-going requirements. Of course how we’d conclude on our shared values etc and how we’d design the ways in which understanding is demonstrated complicated and would generate much debate – but a healthy debate.
Demographics will drive this so it’s about how to do it, not whether it’s going to happen.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I made it perfectly clear that i made no judgment on the conclusion to be drawn from the article. It’s typically leftist to assume your pride in the UK at being able to assimilate migrants is your exclusive preserve, whilst acknowledging that migration only works that way if it’s controlled. We can, at least, agree upon that.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Do they assimilate them, though? I would argue the right is fine with a limited number of migrants who either work temporarily in order to fill a labour gap and then leave for their country of origin OR who immigrate and assimilate.
The Left seems quite happy to have in migration but positively undermines assimilation through various methods ranging from the constant bashing of the UK (or other western nation of choice) to positive encouragement of large blocks of mini nations within the UK that seem to operate under quasi-legal rules of their own (see representations of Mohammed in schools)

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You stated what you deemed to be the inevitable conclusion. That involved judgments.
You then compound with ‘typically leftist’.
Usually you are better than that.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Do they assimilate them, though? I would argue the right is fine with a limited number of migrants who either work temporarily in order to fill a labour gap and then leave for their country of origin OR who immigrate and assimilate.
The Left seems quite happy to have in migration but positively undermines assimilation through various methods ranging from the constant bashing of the UK (or other western nation of choice) to positive encouragement of large blocks of mini nations within the UK that seem to operate under quasi-legal rules of their own (see representations of Mohammed in schools)

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You stated what you deemed to be the inevitable conclusion. That involved judgments.
You then compound with ‘typically leftist’.
Usually you are better than that.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It is terribly difficult to make a dysfunctional society functional, but much easier to make a functional society dysfunctional. It is likewise terribly difficult to lift a dysfunctional person out of his dysfunction, but much easier to cause a functional person to become dysfunctional. Falling is easier than rising. This, if one dares mention it, is what Conrad had in mind, when he wrote: “The Heart of Darkness.” When we look into a dark heart, we discover that it is our own.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Non sequitur. Just because elite politicians and the middle classes are comfortable, doesn’t mean that migrant diversity doesn’t undermine the we-identity of the country. Whether we can manage this is a different matter. Immigration leads to higher growth rates so in good times, the liberal diversity model with high social and spatial mobility works fine. In those circumstances we can ring fence the white and asian ghettos in Northern textile towns and manage their decline.
But in the context of a systemic recession, high interest rates, rising unemployment it may be a different matter. Would conscription work the same way today as it did in the 1940s/50s? I doubt it? America was never able even to dream of the fiscal transfers that were routine in Scandinavia essentially because hyphenated Americans never shared the level of mutual identification. Social democracy is always an exclusive form of solidarity. Sweden is now looking more like America in this respect. So the tensions between dynamism and social cohesion are real and unpredictable. If we bank on some continued growth, then managed migration is as you suggest probably expedient and beneficial in plugging the demographic deficit. But for this to work the left had better become much less squeamish about the subtle coercion that would be necessary for integration and to build that level of mutual identification. Conscription would be a good start: kids starting their lives with a shared experience and a struggle against a common enemy (platoon sergeant ). But when one of the hosts of Good Morning Britain started screeching at a guest for flying the flag of St George (https://twitter.com/GMB/status/1650751695142498304?s=20) , you can assume this will be an uphill battle. The Lotus Boys have it about right here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShAIWZwYB8Y Saddiq Kahn and the woman from Good Morning Britain makes ethno-nationalism much more likely – along with the incessant leftist drone/word salad in relation to decolonization and white supremacy. On the other hand and much more positively
Aman Bhogal makes by far and away the best case for inclusive English civic nationalism [ https://twitter.com/AmandeepBhogal/status/1650034450095304705?s=20 ]
Basically the greater economic pain and contraction you see, the more discriminating should be the process of immigration and the more gently coercive and ascriptive the process of integration. The more growth, the more energy, the the greater the fiscal largess you are banking on, the more liberal, mobile and open society can be. Personally, I’m with Paul Kingsnorth- and I suspect we are in for a rough ride. In which case a detached and realistic understanding of what will tip our trajectory away from ethnic nationalism and towards civic nationalism is crucial. But that probably means embracing and not shying away from symbols of shared nationhood – and certainly not calling everyone who is not an intersectional leftie, a fascist

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephen Quilley
j watson
j watson
1 year ago

I agree with the symbols of shared nationhood and how we are overlooking these as part of how we integrate and assimilate inevitable trends and needs in migration.. We just might disagree a bit on what those are but the discussion needs to happen IMO, and then we use what we all can align behind.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It’s an empirical sociological problem. But channelling Philipp Rieff (and Clifford Geertz) the symbols have to be ‘thick’ not ‘thin’: i.e. a shared description of reality that implies not just minimal behavioural obligations, but a common, a priori, cognitive, affective and evaluative framework and context for social life; which means in the context of politics shared (Christian/post-Christian) religious and ideological frameworks and beliefs – as opposed to ‘thin’ rationalizations and arguments that use more generic or consensual language. For Rieff this is part of a broader argument that until recently, all social orders transcribe a sacred order – which is to say, the latter ‘funds’ the former with shared meanings, ontologies and moral codes. Our current (postmodern) culture ….is degraded because it uniquely has abandoned any sacred order and has lapsed into relativism and the constant cycling of thin/superficial symbols and meaning frameworks. In terms of this discussion, the Tony Blair UK of Britpop, Blur and Oasis – let alone anything that awful Narinder Kaur on Good Morning Britain might come up with is perilously thin and superficial. Some version of what Alan Bhogal expresses would be the minimum…. (Geertz, 1973. Interpretation of Cultures, p 3-30; and Phillip Rieff My Life among the death works 2006) .

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It’s an empirical sociological problem. But channelling Philipp Rieff (and Clifford Geertz) the symbols have to be ‘thick’ not ‘thin’: i.e. a shared description of reality that implies not just minimal behavioural obligations, but a common, a priori, cognitive, affective and evaluative framework and context for social life; which means in the context of politics shared (Christian/post-Christian) religious and ideological frameworks and beliefs – as opposed to ‘thin’ rationalizations and arguments that use more generic or consensual language. For Rieff this is part of a broader argument that until recently, all social orders transcribe a sacred order – which is to say, the latter ‘funds’ the former with shared meanings, ontologies and moral codes. Our current (postmodern) culture ….is degraded because it uniquely has abandoned any sacred order and has lapsed into relativism and the constant cycling of thin/superficial symbols and meaning frameworks. In terms of this discussion, the Tony Blair UK of Britpop, Blur and Oasis – let alone anything that awful Narinder Kaur on Good Morning Britain might come up with is perilously thin and superficial. Some version of what Alan Bhogal expresses would be the minimum…. (Geertz, 1973. Interpretation of Cultures, p 3-30; and Phillip Rieff My Life among the death works 2006) .

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

I agree with the symbols of shared nationhood and how we are overlooking these as part of how we integrate and assimilate inevitable trends and needs in migration.. We just might disagree a bit on what those are but the discussion needs to happen IMO, and then we use what we all can align behind.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It really isn’t inevitable – it is a political choice. Look at Japan for example, or Saudi Arabia, Hungary or indeed China. I don’t want to be rude, but this defeatist, despairing, ‘what can you do?!’ culture is a major cause of our current ills. We entered the then EEC on exactly this kind of false premise. That did by the way very little to address Britain’s economic woes, which has to wait until Margaret Thatcher was elected. I do agree however that a major component of the strategy of ‘progressives’ is to present all sorts of loaded and highly contentious issues as ‘inevitable’ so as to take them effectively out of democratic and even direct political control.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I made it perfectly clear that i made no judgment on the conclusion to be drawn from the article. It’s typically leftist to assume your pride in the UK at being able to assimilate migrants is your exclusive preserve, whilst acknowledging that migration only works that way if it’s controlled. We can, at least, agree upon that.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It is terribly difficult to make a dysfunctional society functional, but much easier to make a functional society dysfunctional. It is likewise terribly difficult to lift a dysfunctional person out of his dysfunction, but much easier to cause a functional person to become dysfunctional. Falling is easier than rising. This, if one dares mention it, is what Conrad had in mind, when he wrote: “The Heart of Darkness.” When we look into a dark heart, we discover that it is our own.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Non sequitur. Just because elite politicians and the middle classes are comfortable, doesn’t mean that migrant diversity doesn’t undermine the we-identity of the country. Whether we can manage this is a different matter. Immigration leads to higher growth rates so in good times, the liberal diversity model with high social and spatial mobility works fine. In those circumstances we can ring fence the white and asian ghettos in Northern textile towns and manage their decline.
But in the context of a systemic recession, high interest rates, rising unemployment it may be a different matter. Would conscription work the same way today as it did in the 1940s/50s? I doubt it? America was never able even to dream of the fiscal transfers that were routine in Scandinavia essentially because hyphenated Americans never shared the level of mutual identification. Social democracy is always an exclusive form of solidarity. Sweden is now looking more like America in this respect. So the tensions between dynamism and social cohesion are real and unpredictable. If we bank on some continued growth, then managed migration is as you suggest probably expedient and beneficial in plugging the demographic deficit. But for this to work the left had better become much less squeamish about the subtle coercion that would be necessary for integration and to build that level of mutual identification. Conscription would be a good start: kids starting their lives with a shared experience and a struggle against a common enemy (platoon sergeant ). But when one of the hosts of Good Morning Britain started screeching at a guest for flying the flag of St George (https://twitter.com/GMB/status/1650751695142498304?s=20) , you can assume this will be an uphill battle. The Lotus Boys have it about right here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShAIWZwYB8Y Saddiq Kahn and the woman from Good Morning Britain makes ethno-nationalism much more likely – along with the incessant leftist drone/word salad in relation to decolonization and white supremacy. On the other hand and much more positively
Aman Bhogal makes by far and away the best case for inclusive English civic nationalism [ https://twitter.com/AmandeepBhogal/status/1650034450095304705?s=20 ]
Basically the greater economic pain and contraction you see, the more discriminating should be the process of immigration and the more gently coercive and ascriptive the process of integration. The more growth, the more energy, the the greater the fiscal largess you are banking on, the more liberal, mobile and open society can be. Personally, I’m with Paul Kingsnorth- and I suspect we are in for a rough ride. In which case a detached and realistic understanding of what will tip our trajectory away from ethnic nationalism and towards civic nationalism is crucial. But that probably means embracing and not shying away from symbols of shared nationhood – and certainly not calling everyone who is not an intersectional leftie, a fascist

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephen Quilley
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It really isn’t inevitable – it is a political choice. Look at Japan for example, or Saudi Arabia, Hungary or indeed China. I don’t want to be rude, but this defeatist, despairing, ‘what can you do?!’ culture is a major cause of our current ills. We entered the then EEC on exactly this kind of false premise. That did by the way very little to address Britain’s economic woes, which has to wait until Margaret Thatcher was elected. I do agree however that a major component of the strategy of ‘progressives’ is to present all sorts of loaded and highly contentious issues as ‘inevitable’ so as to take them effectively out of democratic and even direct political control.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Of course it could be that the powers that be thought that one of the benefits of large scale migration was to weaken national identity and social cohesion amongst the native population to make them less difficult and more malleable.
Was it Macmillan who feared that the British people were ungovernable?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

I share this sentiment too. Ultimately though we end up with a society much like the US where those who feel they have no stake in society turn to crime.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

I share this sentiment too. Ultimately though we end up with a society much like the US where those who feel they have no stake in society turn to crime.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Although that might be right, the case of Japan in particular demonstrates that drastically limiting immigration isn’t necessarily any help in recovering birth rates. Indeed I think the case of Japan, from my understanding a very traditional and culturally cohesive society, slightly falsifies the whole thesis that cultural and social factors are of prime importance in birth rates. I think it’s little more than technology eliminating the need for more hands to help on the farm as well as providing the means by which to avoid procreating. The lack of workers to provide for your pension or to look after you in your dotage is just too far removed from the everyday experience of people of child bearing age to be meaningful.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jake Prior
RM Parker
RM Parker
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I think you’re onto an uncomfortable truth. Additionally, as we become more mobile, we become “anywhere people”, rather than “somewhere people” (I think that came from Paul Kingsnorth).

That deracination undermines social cohesion and leaves countries culturally vulnerable and actually weakened: this can apply to both the donors and recipients of migration, potentially. When you have no roots, you don’t value where you are: a country becomes a commodity to be exploited, not a home. I’ve seen it happen and been dismayed, as I don’t see anyone coming out of this process wearing a smile.

This isn’t xenophobia, incidentally: it’s about community and shared identity. But then, identity is for each individual to assemble like an ikea flat-pack in the world we’re making – and maybe that’s the root of many of our current problems.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

SM I suspect if the immigration was from the likes of Canada, Aus, NZ into the UK you’d have no problem with it. Is it fair to assume what you really mean is immigration from less westernised cultures potentially with different values?
Given we have a Hindu heritage PM, a Hindu heritage Home Sec, a Caribbean heritage Foreign Sec etc, and a Muslim heritage First Minister in Scotland, I don’t buy any contention some might make that our great country is incapable of effective cultural assimilation sharing our best values with the best from others. One of the things makes me most proud to be British.
I think international population movement inevitable and although we may only see relatively slow change in our remaining lifetimes I cannot see that pace doing anything but speed up over time. We can be King Canute if we want, for a while at least.
For me therefore the response is not open borders for anything so silly, but managed migration where coming here requires some naturalisation process focused on values, contribution to society, and is two phased at least – initial stay and then formal citizenship if demonstrate the on-going requirements. Of course how we’d conclude on our shared values etc and how we’d design the ways in which understanding is demonstrated complicated and would generate much debate – but a healthy debate.
Demographics will drive this so it’s about how to do it, not whether it’s going to happen.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Of course it could be that the powers that be thought that one of the benefits of large scale migration was to weaken national identity and social cohesion amongst the native population to make them less difficult and more malleable.
Was it Macmillan who feared that the British people were ungovernable?

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Although that might be right, the case of Japan in particular demonstrates that drastically limiting immigration isn’t necessarily any help in recovering birth rates. Indeed I think the case of Japan, from my understanding a very traditional and culturally cohesive society, slightly falsifies the whole thesis that cultural and social factors are of prime importance in birth rates. I think it’s little more than technology eliminating the need for more hands to help on the farm as well as providing the means by which to avoid procreating. The lack of workers to provide for your pension or to look after you in your dotage is just too far removed from the everyday experience of people of child bearing age to be meaningful.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jake Prior
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

If the author is right (and i think she is) that the values of a society need to be understood and accepted in order to be transmitted from one generation to the next, at least in a broad sense; and that the failure to accept values that’ve stood for generations leads to a reluctance to reproduce since it’s not clear what type of society one wishes to introduce new life into; then it follows that migration on a large scale will inevitably lead to a weakening of those values due to the cultural differences between those being brought into a society from without, where those values are different and sometimes even inimical.
In other words, choosing to utilise immigration to replace low birth rate populations can only lead to further societal breakdown. I’m not making any judgment on that process, simply drawing what appears to be an inevitable conclusion.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
1 year ago

The globalists wet dream. Destroy national values and culture – a horizontal world, not a vertical one.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
1 year ago

The globalists wet dream. Destroy national values and culture – a horizontal world, not a vertical one.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

My wife has spoken about the poignant sadness of motherhood in the letters her grandmother (now deceased) wrote to her grandfather. It’s clear she wanted to pursue her own goals in life but the obligation of having children was the priority and expectation. Fortunately despite simmering stigmas we have the option and personal freedom to make those choices and celebrate the liberation and benefits of being child free, like many others it seems.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I can understand how your wife gets to choose – but not how you have a choice.

MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

It began with the development of language. Since we’ve been able to talk, it’s much easier to find partners who share our priorities, including the desire to have children (or not). If you want children, don’t partner with someone who doesn’t, or you really won’t have a choice. And, contrary to what you’re implying, men also have means to withhold their seed (to use language the bible bashers down here would prefer), with the advantage of not having to worry about being raped.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

Indeed a happy mutual understanding as opposed to an Onanian discourse.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

Indeed a happy mutual understanding as opposed to an Onanian discourse.

Jane McCarthy
Jane McCarthy
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Because having a child is not the simple, selfish “lifestyle” decision of one partner. It takes two to make a child and to raise a child.
The sexual revolution blinded us to this simple, existential fact about being a human animal.

MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

It began with the development of language. Since we’ve been able to talk, it’s much easier to find partners who share our priorities, including the desire to have children (or not). If you want children, don’t partner with someone who doesn’t, or you really won’t have a choice. And, contrary to what you’re implying, men also have means to withhold their seed (to use language the bible bashers down here would prefer), with the advantage of not having to worry about being raped.

Jane McCarthy
Jane McCarthy
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Because having a child is not the simple, selfish “lifestyle” decision of one partner. It takes two to make a child and to raise a child.
The sexual revolution blinded us to this simple, existential fact about being a human animal.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

All well and good enjoying the liberation and benefits of being child free until you expect other peoples children, who they raised at largely at their own expense, to then pay higher taxes to fund your retirement and healthcare as well as that of their own parents.

Retirement is funded by todays workers not by any fund. No kids, means no workers for future entitlements. Yes you can further exploit mass migration, which has hugely detrimental effects on the most vulnerable sections of our country, depressing wages and increasing living costs, but ultimately you’re imposing costs on others to pay for your entitlements.

This doesn’t mean that everyone should be forced have children but those that do, certainly deserve far greater financial support, and yes, that should mean generous tax credits for those with children funded by higher taxes on those without. Otherwise you’re having your cake and eating someone else’s.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

I’ll wager we have put more in than we take out compared to people who have children. And that’s fine.
My wife and I have funded our pensions throughout our working lives and won’t be relying on the state pension if and when it ever arrives.
We have also been subject to taxation of course, centrally and locally, which has paid for the education and social welfare of other people’s children, which has no direct benefit to us, but as you suggest, eventually they may contribute to our welfare in the wider picture.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Ah the I’m paying for your kids education argument. You received an education, as we all did, so your not just paying back for something we all received but also because the generation below is smaller, since fewer people are having children, you’re paying proportionally less than other generations did to fund the education you benefited from, whilst at the same time forcing the younger generation to pay proportionally more for your retirement, because fewer children means means a higher ratio of retirees to workers.

In fact it’s highly likely that by the time todays workers retire the entitlements you enjoyed will have been removed because they are unaffordable due to demographic decline.

I have no issue with people not having children as a personal choice but the don’t tell yourself you’re funding others education or are self sufficient because you have a private pension. Many families would have a private pension if they could have afforded one but also, even a private pension is dependant on available labour to not be lose all value due to inflation. You’re still dependant on the labour of other peoples children but so are their parents who actually bore the costs of raising them. Your lifestyle is dependant on shifting generational costs from yourself to someone else’s children and I don’t see how that can be a defensible position.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

There’s a cost/benefit ratio for all tax contributors, but it’s blindingly obvious that those with children receive more benefit from the system over the course of a lifetime. That applies to both general tax and council tax. I don’t have any problem with that however, it’s for the good of our community and nation after all.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

So it is blindingly obvious that your parents receive more benefit from the system from the system over the course of a lifetime or are you an individual in your own right?

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It’s not at all obvious because it’s not true.

In fact, it’s absolutely baffling that anyone could believe that. Pensioners already received around 50% more per head than children do and this is before you take into account the non state funded cost of having children born by the parents. But these children will be expect to pay for the welfare of those who didn’t have children, as well as their own parents?

Not having a children leaves you significantly better off personally but under the current system, other people’s children much worse off.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Oops. You seem to have forgotten that the parents of said children will be drawing their own pensions in time, all on top of the benefits of having their children educated and cared for. How remiss!!

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The parents of those children have paid far more towards raising them from their personal finances than the childless will have contributed in tax towards them and as I explained in a previous post, since you received an education yourself for free, you are obliged to pay for that of the next generation as well regardless if you had children or not, as do the parents of those with children, who also pay tax, though you seem to have forgotten this.

On every financial metric families with children are worse off than those without. The amount of tax you pay that goes towards families with children is nowhere near what they contribute themselves, nor covers the amount you will then extract from their children when you retire.

Their children’s labour will have to support both themselves and their childless counterparts upon retirement, as there is less labour to support more pensioners. This is not a difficult concept but it seems to consistently elude your comprehension, though I expect you simply prefer the fiction to the truth.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

You’ve convinced yourself of some kind of strange narrative. There’s no way of knowing how much these children you refer to will pay towards my welfare, since it depends how old they are, what their tax burden is, when I retire, if I qualify for state pension and when I die. That’s a lot of variables!
What is clear however, if comparing two couples of equal income and tax burden, then the ones with children will get more benefit from the system. Would you disagree?

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

What matters is not a hypothetical individual burden, which will vary, but the generational one, which is incontrovertibly higher due to population decline increasing the dependency ratio. Meaning that current and future generations are subject to a higher tax burden than pervious ones because of their choice to have less children.

With regards to the individual tax burden. Everyone receives an education, you paying tax despite not having children merely balances the books and pays back what you received in the first place, whilst those who do have children pass the cost down each subsequent generation. The cost is either paid off or rolled over. No one is paying for anyone else’s education. You’re actually still better off because as the size of generations declines the proportional cost decreases so you paid less than your parents generation did for you.

However your retirement will cost the current generation proportionately far more than your parents generation did, as there were more workers to bare the cost. So yes, you pay proportionally less than your peers and their children.

You also totally disregard the costs of having children which are not tax payer funded, which is the vast majority. A two parent household with two children is always worse off than a two adult house hold with no children, all things being equal, but you will be dependant on those children’s labour for your future prosperity.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

You also totally disregard the costs of having children which are not tax payer funded, which is the vast majority.

I disregarded it since that’s not the issue you raised, which was about tax.
An interesting discussion however, which I’m certain will not go away any time soon.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

You also totally disregard the costs of having children which are not tax payer funded, which is the vast majority.

I disregarded it since that’s not the issue you raised, which was about tax.
An interesting discussion however, which I’m certain will not go away any time soon.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

What matters is not a hypothetical individual burden, which will vary, but the generational one, which is incontrovertibly higher due to population decline increasing the dependency ratio. Meaning that current and future generations are subject to a higher tax burden than pervious ones because of their choice to have less children.

With regards to the individual tax burden. Everyone receives an education, you paying tax despite not having children merely balances the books and pays back what you received in the first place, whilst those who do have children pass the cost down each subsequent generation. The cost is either paid off or rolled over. No one is paying for anyone else’s education. You’re actually still better off because as the size of generations declines the proportional cost decreases so you paid less than your parents generation did for you.

However your retirement will cost the current generation proportionately far more than your parents generation did, as there were more workers to bare the cost. So yes, you pay proportionally less than your peers and their children.

You also totally disregard the costs of having children which are not tax payer funded, which is the vast majority. A two parent household with two children is always worse off than a two adult house hold with no children, all things being equal, but you will be dependant on those children’s labour for your future prosperity.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

You’ve convinced yourself of some kind of strange narrative. There’s no way of knowing how much these children you refer to will pay towards my welfare, since it depends how old they are, what their tax burden is, when I retire, if I qualify for state pension and when I die. That’s a lot of variables!
What is clear however, if comparing two couples of equal income and tax burden, then the ones with children will get more benefit from the system. Would you disagree?

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The parents of those children have paid far more towards raising them from their personal finances than the childless will have contributed in tax towards them and as I explained in a previous post, since you received an education yourself for free, you are obliged to pay for that of the next generation as well regardless if you had children or not, as do the parents of those with children, who also pay tax, though you seem to have forgotten this.

On every financial metric families with children are worse off than those without. The amount of tax you pay that goes towards families with children is nowhere near what they contribute themselves, nor covers the amount you will then extract from their children when you retire.

Their children’s labour will have to support both themselves and their childless counterparts upon retirement, as there is less labour to support more pensioners. This is not a difficult concept but it seems to consistently elude your comprehension, though I expect you simply prefer the fiction to the truth.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Oops. You seem to have forgotten that the parents of said children will be drawing their own pensions in time, all on top of the benefits of having their children educated and cared for. How remiss!!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

So it is blindingly obvious that your parents receive more benefit from the system from the system over the course of a lifetime or are you an individual in your own right?

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It’s not at all obvious because it’s not true.

In fact, it’s absolutely baffling that anyone could believe that. Pensioners already received around 50% more per head than children do and this is before you take into account the non state funded cost of having children born by the parents. But these children will be expect to pay for the welfare of those who didn’t have children, as well as their own parents?

Not having a children leaves you significantly better off personally but under the current system, other people’s children much worse off.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

There’s a cost/benefit ratio for all tax contributors, but it’s blindingly obvious that those with children receive more benefit from the system over the course of a lifetime. That applies to both general tax and council tax. I don’t have any problem with that however, it’s for the good of our community and nation after all.

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

’they may contribute to our welfare in the wider picture’: Yes, someone else’s children will probably be needed to lift you in and out of bed, wash you, and feed you.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Tonkyn

Living the dream!

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Tonkyn

So one should have children so that they can lift you out of bed, wash you and feed you? Talk about motivation…

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Tonkyn

Living the dream!

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Tonkyn

So one should have children so that they can lift you out of bed, wash you and feed you? Talk about motivation…

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Ah the I’m paying for your kids education argument. You received an education, as we all did, so your not just paying back for something we all received but also because the generation below is smaller, since fewer people are having children, you’re paying proportionally less than other generations did to fund the education you benefited from, whilst at the same time forcing the younger generation to pay proportionally more for your retirement, because fewer children means means a higher ratio of retirees to workers.

In fact it’s highly likely that by the time todays workers retire the entitlements you enjoyed will have been removed because they are unaffordable due to demographic decline.

I have no issue with people not having children as a personal choice but the don’t tell yourself you’re funding others education or are self sufficient because you have a private pension. Many families would have a private pension if they could have afforded one but also, even a private pension is dependant on available labour to not be lose all value due to inflation. You’re still dependant on the labour of other peoples children but so are their parents who actually bore the costs of raising them. Your lifestyle is dependant on shifting generational costs from yourself to someone else’s children and I don’t see how that can be a defensible position.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

’they may contribute to our welfare in the wider picture’: Yes, someone else’s children will probably be needed to lift you in and out of bed, wash you, and feed you.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Perhaps you’d rather shuffle off before you’re a burden to anyone’s child. The burden of care is very heavily weighted towards the last few miserable, painful years, missing out on those in exchange for a life you can lead on your own terms might appeal to some. Which is not to say it’s better than having children, but I think it’s a weak argument. I would have had children if I met someone with whom bringing them up would have been fun, but getting into a dismal relationship so I can have children that can provide for me when I’m too old to enjoy life anyway sounds like a miserable existence. Give me ten minutes with a shotgun when I get to 75 rather than 50 years of misery when I’m 30.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

So that is your binary choice about kids? Talk about reductive
also, how close are you to 75? Methinks you might not be so eager to blow your brains out when the situation is staring you in the face.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

So that is your binary choice about kids? Talk about reductive
also, how close are you to 75? Methinks you might not be so eager to blow your brains out when the situation is staring you in the face.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

I’ll wager we have put more in than we take out compared to people who have children. And that’s fine.
My wife and I have funded our pensions throughout our working lives and won’t be relying on the state pension if and when it ever arrives.
We have also been subject to taxation of course, centrally and locally, which has paid for the education and social welfare of other people’s children, which has no direct benefit to us, but as you suggest, eventually they may contribute to our welfare in the wider picture.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Perhaps you’d rather shuffle off before you’re a burden to anyone’s child. The burden of care is very heavily weighted towards the last few miserable, painful years, missing out on those in exchange for a life you can lead on your own terms might appeal to some. Which is not to say it’s better than having children, but I think it’s a weak argument. I would have had children if I met someone with whom bringing them up would have been fun, but getting into a dismal relationship so I can have children that can provide for me when I’m too old to enjoy life anyway sounds like a miserable existence. Give me ten minutes with a shotgun when I get to 75 rather than 50 years of misery when I’m 30.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I can understand how your wife gets to choose – but not how you have a choice.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

All well and good enjoying the liberation and benefits of being child free until you expect other peoples children, who they raised at largely at their own expense, to then pay higher taxes to fund your retirement and healthcare as well as that of their own parents.

Retirement is funded by todays workers not by any fund. No kids, means no workers for future entitlements. Yes you can further exploit mass migration, which has hugely detrimental effects on the most vulnerable sections of our country, depressing wages and increasing living costs, but ultimately you’re imposing costs on others to pay for your entitlements.

This doesn’t mean that everyone should be forced have children but those that do, certainly deserve far greater financial support, and yes, that should mean generous tax credits for those with children funded by higher taxes on those without. Otherwise you’re having your cake and eating someone else’s.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago

My wife has spoken about the poignant sadness of motherhood in the letters her grandmother (now deceased) wrote to her grandfather. It’s clear she wanted to pursue her own goals in life but the obligation of having children was the priority and expectation. Fortunately despite simmering stigmas we have the option and personal freedom to make those choices and celebrate the liberation and benefits of being child free, like many others it seems.

M Harries
M Harries
1 year ago

We have three sons and a daughter – 27, 30, 37 and 39. None are intending to have children.

Alan Bright
Alan Bright
1 year ago
Reply to  M Harries

Why is that?

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  M Harries

I have three, all saying the same.

Simon S
Simon S
1 year ago

What are their stated reasons?

Simon S
Simon S
1 year ago

What are their stated reasons?

Simon S
Simon S
1 year ago
Reply to  M Harries

Please do tell us the reasons they give. My best friend’s daughter (32) says she does not want children, but from what I understand is not very forthcoming as to why (economics is not their problem; she is extremely intelligent, climate “aware” and probably veers in the woke direction for lack of wider information exposure). Her parents hope it is because she doesn’t want a child with her current boyfriend and that with someone else it would be different.

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon S

Why does your best friend’s daughter have to want children? Why does any woman for that matter? My own daughter and many of her friends in their 30s don’t because it simply does not fit into their own life plans. No man can possibly understand (and this is not a criticism) how pregnancy, giving birth and motherhood affect a woman’s life, personal and professional, physically and emotionally, not always, but often times, not for the better. Younger women (like maybe your intelligent friend’s daughter) in 2023 no longer buy into the “rosy” notion that having babies, in a society that still penalises women when they do, is the ultimate fulfilment in a woman’s life.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago

Indeed becoming a CEO is every woman’s desire? Much depends on what “ultimate fulfilment” might mean. Looking back many years for me, family now much more important than the money I made. Clearly the money made life easier, not rich, but enough.

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
1 year ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

So for you it boils down to Mummy or CEO?!That is your problem.

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
1 year ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

So for you it boils down to Mummy or CEO?!That is your problem.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago

Indeed becoming a CEO is every woman’s desire? Much depends on what “ultimate fulfilment” might mean. Looking back many years for me, family now much more important than the money I made. Clearly the money made life easier, not rich, but enough.

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon S

Why does your best friend’s daughter have to want children? Why does any woman for that matter? My own daughter and many of her friends in their 30s don’t because it simply does not fit into their own life plans. No man can possibly understand (and this is not a criticism) how pregnancy, giving birth and motherhood affect a woman’s life, personal and professional, physically and emotionally, not always, but often times, not for the better. Younger women (like maybe your intelligent friend’s daughter) in 2023 no longer buy into the “rosy” notion that having babies, in a society that still penalises women when they do, is the ultimate fulfilment in a woman’s life.

Alan Bright
Alan Bright
1 year ago
Reply to  M Harries

Why is that?

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  M Harries

I have three, all saying the same.

Simon S
Simon S
1 year ago
Reply to  M Harries

Please do tell us the reasons they give. My best friend’s daughter (32) says she does not want children, but from what I understand is not very forthcoming as to why (economics is not their problem; she is extremely intelligent, climate “aware” and probably veers in the woke direction for lack of wider information exposure). Her parents hope it is because she doesn’t want a child with her current boyfriend and that with someone else it would be different.

M Harries
M Harries
1 year ago

We have three sons and a daughter – 27, 30, 37 and 39. None are intending to have children.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago

We homeschool, went back to Church and play a lot of traditional music. Our 4 kids seem all to want children. I hope so

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

I’ve been talking it up with my young children


Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

I’ve been talking it up with my young children


Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago

We homeschool, went back to Church and play a lot of traditional music. Our 4 kids seem all to want children. I hope so

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

Great article but I don’t understand why she states that contraceptives and high abortion rates have not contributed mightily to the problem. Also, since I’ve been alive I’ve never seen any generation think about future consequences; it’s a hale of a lot different to be childless in your 70’s than it was in your 30’s(Louise Perry)

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

Great article but I don’t understand why she states that contraceptives and high abortion rates have not contributed mightily to the problem. Also, since I’ve been alive I’ve never seen any generation think about future consequences; it’s a hale of a lot different to be childless in your 70’s than it was in your 30’s(Louise Perry)

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
1 year ago

Wonderful essay. I’m looking forward to more by Dr. Bristow. She makes a great point about the sub-intellectual thinking that goes into some of our major decisions; the kind of decision-making that would baffle an economist. Or a Socialist. Perhaps the downfall of the West will be a simple lack of pride; pride of self, place, family…
But, of course that’s too doomish a plot line. More likely some completely unanticipated change will lead to something entirely new.
I often find myself wondering if there’s something more instinctual going on. The fact that we have all sorts of reasons, excuses and formulae to “explain” away our instinctual reactions is just a function of being “the chattering species”.
Unfortunately, too many commenters got hung up on (suprise, suprise!) immigration; a topic both downstream and tangential to the matter at hand.

Last edited 1 year ago by laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
1 year ago

Wonderful essay. I’m looking forward to more by Dr. Bristow. She makes a great point about the sub-intellectual thinking that goes into some of our major decisions; the kind of decision-making that would baffle an economist. Or a Socialist. Perhaps the downfall of the West will be a simple lack of pride; pride of self, place, family…
But, of course that’s too doomish a plot line. More likely some completely unanticipated change will lead to something entirely new.
I often find myself wondering if there’s something more instinctual going on. The fact that we have all sorts of reasons, excuses and formulae to “explain” away our instinctual reactions is just a function of being “the chattering species”.
Unfortunately, too many commenters got hung up on (suprise, suprise!) immigration; a topic both downstream and tangential to the matter at hand.

Last edited 1 year ago by laurence scaduto
William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

Unfortunately parental alienation is often used as a weapon by women against men. Men simply don’t want to provide them with ammunition.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

Unfortunately parental alienation is often used as a weapon by women against men. Men simply don’t want to provide them with ammunition.

Fred Oakley
Fred Oakley
1 year ago

Lazy waffle.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred Oakley

As you demonstrate, lazy and concise isn’t necessarily better

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred Oakley

As you demonstrate, lazy and concise isn’t necessarily better

Fred Oakley
Fred Oakley
1 year ago

Lazy waffle.