Thursday, 10 March 2011

Say goodbye to traditional marriage

In the Guardian today, Jill Filipovic was celebrating the demise of traditional marriage in western societies.
It's finally time to ring the death knell for traditional marriage. ..... Conservatives are right: traditional marriage is under attack. But the assault isn't just from gay men and lesbians who want the right to enter into marriages of their own. Heterosexual Janes and Johns are also reshaping holy matrimony: they're marrying later, they're marrying less, and for reasons other than having children. And it's making them (and their kids) happier and healthier.

Jill makes a long list of largely unsubstantiated claims about the state of personal relationship. The thrust of her argument is clear; we are all better off without marriage. However, she does make one very telling point.
More women are also forgoing childbearing – nearly twice as many women have never given birth today than in 1976. And when we do have children, we're doing it later: the average age of childbirth is now 25, compared with 21 in 1970.

Traditional marriage, which presumably means monogamous heterosexual life-time relationships were very good at achieving one thing - producing children. Jill seems to have neglected the profound significance of that fact.

Virtually all advanced economies have fertility rates below 2.1 children per woman. In some countries, such as Germany, Italy and Japan, the fertility rate is closer to 1.4.

The consequences of these kinds of fertility rates are mathematical. The population will, within a generation, begin to age, and then the population will decline. The only solution to ageing and population collapse is either boost the fertility rate or import large numbers of migrants.

Europe has opted for the latter strategy. The problem for Jill and her liberal experiment in personal relationships is that many of these new arrivals do not share her vision for marriage. Migrant fertility rates are higher largely because tradition marriage is stronger in these communities.

Ultimately, the future belongs to breeders. This is not a value judgement, it a fact of life. A society that does not produce babies has no future.


chefdave said...

There is a third solution, if members of a society decide to shun marriage and childbirth then their wishes could be respected without further interference.

If the future belongs to the Chinese or the Indians or the Islamists then that's fine by me, so long a that future is pursued in China, or India or Somalia, not Britain.

Anonymous said...

"...if members of a society decide to shun marriage and childbirth then their wishes could be respected without further interference..."

...until that society eventually vanishes completely, and exits the human race. Some people are quite ecstatic about this idea (, but personally I see it as the personification of the laziness, selfishness and arrogance that blights Europe as a whole. I guess we will deserve what we're going to get.

chefdave said...

"until that society eventually vanishes completely, and exits the human race."

Well it depends on what you think the point of human existence is. I've also held the utopian belief that individuals should be able to determine their own futures, and if that means choosing not to procreate then so be it.

Clearly you have other plans for us though.

Tomrat said...

Childbearing is hardly incentivised (particularly in the right places, I.e. where monetary incentives aren't required) when the state takes over half your income with impunity and disabuses many of us of the responsibility children represent, including the tools and resources needed to deal with the job.

Sod them; I'm instructing my daughter and any subsequent children I have when they are old enough to understand to take their wealth-generating powers and their child production elsewhere, and let Europe go to the dogs.

droog said...

Why should I care if my society has no future? What is "my" society to begin with?

If the country changes once I'm gone it's not my business. I may worry about my offspring but since I'm not having any, the issue is moot.

It seems both in the USA and Europe fertility rates among immigrants drop sharply on the second generation; the offspring only know "this" society and the costs/benefits of it, and start to behave accordingly. The choices seem to be breeding a lot in a less desirable society or breeding less in a more desirable society. Clearly over here one choice is favoured over the other. In what one may consider a tautology, the other choice is favoured elsewhere.

It is what it is.