Monday, June 16, 2008

The world is panicking over birthrates. Again.

Baby Bust!
“Europe is facing a demographic disaster,” said quondam Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in his February concession speech. “That is the inevitable product of weakened faith in the Creator, failed families, disrespect for the sanctity of human life, and eroded morality.”
. . .
The developed world is experiencing a wave of pro-natalist sentiment that threatens to bully the childless, tax the single, and reorient states toward the production rather than the protection of citizens. In most developed nations with below-replacement fertility, governments are attempting to align incentives so that women will use their bodies for the purpose of childbirth. In the U.S., right-wing religious groups are calling for a rollback of contraceptive freedom and a return to patriarchal arrangements, all in the name of something called “demographic balance.”

It may sound like a movement of sorts, but it is far from cohesive. Although pro-natalists share an obsession with procreation, they are driven to this anxiety by a host of different fears. As a group, they worry that their countries are admitting too many immigrants, and too few; that we have liberated women too much, and not enough; that welfare states are too strong, and too weak. Pick any divisive social issue—a lack of religiosity, say, or an excess of the same—and you can find someone to draw the connection to demographic decline.
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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Freemales

THE FREEMALE OF OUR SPECIES
For someone whose only “must have” is a life in which I am interested and that I like, the unsolicited but persistent suggestion that by not having children, I had missed some mythical boat came as quite a shock — especially when the questions wrinkled up their nose in some badly-misguided effort to empathise with the barren creature they saw before them.

Before I got the hang of dealing with these people, it was genuinely alarming when they cornered me.
. . .
So, imagine my relief when I read the latest from the Office of National Statistics (in the United Kingdom): There are more than half-a-million people like me, and so pleased are we with our unmarried, childless lives that we have created a whole new breed of women — the Freemale.
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