The Other McCain

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Are ‘Commitment-Phobic Men’ to Blame for England’s Declining Fertility?

Posted on | March 13, 2018 | No Comments


Earlier this month, the British Fertility Education Initiative (FEI) advised that sex education in schools overemphasizes contraception and fails to warn about the risks of delayed childbearing. The median age at first birth in the United Kingdom is now 30. “Fertility delayed is fertility denied,” as demographers say, and approximately one-fifth of British women are doomed never to become mothers:

The rising age of women having children is a cause of concern, the group of academics and experts said, and the pain of involuntary childlessness should not be underestimated.

This isn’t just a personal problem. In societies where birth rates decline below “replacement level” (an average of 2.1 births per woman, the rate necessary to maintain population stability), there will eventually be too many retirees dependent on government pension programs with too few workers to pay the taxes needed to support these programs. In 1999, officials in the European Union sounded  the alarm about this trend, and Jim Sedlak of the American Life League warned that the U.S. could soon face similar problems:

“The ‘success’ of the population controllers in Europe is now taking its toll,” said Sedlak. “The average number of babies per woman has fallen from 1.95 to 1.65, and there is no end in sight.”
“In order to turn things around, four things are necessary,” Sedlak said. “First, the world has to understand that there is not an overpopulation problem, but a problem of too few children. Second, everyone in our society must accept large families and stop using peer pressure to convince people not to have more children. Third, governments and rich philanthropists must stop giving money to population control programs. Finally, young people getting married have to be thinking of having four or more children.”
“We have one generation to turn things around,” Sedlak said. “After that, it may be too late.”

Raising awareness of the danger of demographic decline is difficult, because the liberal elite are so committed to promoting propaganda myths about the (wholly imaginary) dangers of “overpopulation.” From the standpoint of the population-control crowd, declining fertility is good news, and what about the extreme Left? If this trend produces social and economic crises, a sort of demographic Cloward-Piven strategy could be exploited to produce radical political change. Thus, many influential forces in society have a motive to obstruct understanding of fertility-related issues, and there is widespread confusion about the causes and effects of current trends. Mary Wakefield isn’t helping this:

I have several female friends in their early thirties who’ve wanted a baby for a while. Ninety-five per cent of girls do, says the FEI. The trouble for them hasn’t been the cost of childcare or a demanding career. The trouble has been finding a man who’s even halfway keen to settle down.
All my pals looking for Mr Right report identical patterns of behaviour. Dating is now all online. So they scroll through endless profiles and eventually make contact with a promising guy. Cue weeks of pointless text-ing followed eventually by an actual date. The evening often goes well. There might be a snog, more texting and another date arranged. After that: nothing. The promising man, who’s caught wind of a woman with family plans, submerges back into the internet to scroll through the options again. . . .
If online dating turns more men into commitment-phobes, I don’t see why anyone should be surprised. It’s women for the most part who feel the urge to nest and breed — as we all once quite freely acknowledged before gender became a choice. Most men don’t feel the same need to play house. It took the threat of public shame, fear of God and the censorious tutting of mutual friends to chivy a man towards family life. Online, dating strangers, who’s to see or care? . . .

You can read the whole thing, but it doesn’t get better. It doesn’t seem to occur to Ms. Wakefield to wonder why so many of her female acquaintances waited until they were in their early 30s to get serious about trying to find a mate. What were these women doing when they were ages 18-24? Because those are, in fact, the biological prime years, when a woman has the optimal chance to attract a male partner.

What happened to Ms. Wakefield’s friends, I would imagine, is that they squandered their youth in a series of dead-end relationships, negotiating from a position of weakness despite the inherent advantages a young woman naturally has in the mating market. The simplest way to express this is to say that, in the economics of sex, men represent the demand side of the equation, and women are the supply. This perspective dictates certain strategic considerations, the kind of old-fashioned common-sense stuff your grand-grandmother understood, but which seems to have been forgotten by so many allegedly “empowered” young women.

Blaming men for the dismal prospects of the 30-something single woman is erroneous, because any woman who is still single past the age of 30 must have already made many strategic errors, otherwise she would have been married long before. Unfortunately, riding the carousel tends to inflate a young woman’s sense of her own attractiveness. She’s getting plenty of offers when she’s 21, why should she fear for the future? By the time she realizes her sexual market value is declining, she has already missed her best chance at that fairy-tale happily-ever-after ending.

Youth is a precious resource, and ought not to be wasted. Teach young people — men and women alike — to be marriage-minded from the start. Certainly my kids have been equipped with the knowledge that marriage, not mere “dating,” is the desired goal, which is why I’ve already got four grandchildren, although none of my kids are yet 30. Such outcomes are still possible, if children are correctly instructed, and it is toward the proper instruction of youth that we ought to turn our attention, rather than wringing our hands over the pathetic plight of the 30-something singles who’ve already passed their sell-by date.