Opinion

The Conservative Case for Natalism

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Posted: Jun 27, 2019 12:01 AM
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The Conservative Case for Natalism

Source: AP Photo/Peter Dejong

Government intervention has long been the hobgoblin of activists on the American right, who have viewed it as something to be avoided or accepted only as a necessary evil. The deity of the free market has been exalted above all else, and consumerism has become the religion across America as a result. Market worship has even superseded the family as the primary component driving society, as America strays from its Judeo-Christian heritage toward a worship of the self.

Adam Smith's vaunted invisible hand has guided Americans to become more isolated, despondent, self-centered, and temporal. As such, native-born Americans are having fewer children, and the family unit is rapidly dwindling. We see society busting at the seams as diversity and multiculturalism exacerbate tensions and turn stable communities inside out, with low-birth rates giving rapacious capitalists an excuse to bring in more foreigners for cheap labor. We see the underpinnings of a lost civilization with the notion of posterity doing better than the previous generation being a distant, fading memory. Dogmatic libertarian views will continue to aid this burgeoning hellscape, as they have for decades, because it's good for the corporate bottom line.

American conservatives cannot roll the dice on the marketplace correcting the problem of birthrates organically because it will never happen. The CDC claims the U.S. birthrate is in a record slump with numbers trending steeply downward. The current state of cultural decay will prevent any demand from occurring to remedy this existential threat. The market is only a reflection of the hearts and minds of American consumers, and the consumer has been inundated with anti-natalist propaganda from cradle to grave. Virtually every multinational corporation has displayed rainbow-affixed logos throughout Pride Month, for example. Regardless of one's take on LGBT rights, it is a movement that by its very existence means less natalism, and it is being widely embraced on a scale never before imagined.

Other social movements reflect the anti-natalist biases of society as well. Abortion on demand is the rallying cry for half the nation. Over-the-counter birth control is a remedy championed by Christian conservative lawmakers. Careerism is stressed as women and men go through their 20s, when previous generations would be raising a large family. Young people who should be nurturing future generations are instead having sexual encounters with multiple partners and studying for a degree that will hardly get them a minimum wage job. The crippling debt they accumulate in the process will be another hurdle against starting a family.

The process that America is undergoing is reminiscent of what all great empires go through before they crumble into ruin. Stanford professor A.M. Devine pointed to the scalding hot baths of the Romans causing severe testicular damage as the likely reason for the decline of birthrates in Rome, but there may have been varying causes such as contraception and abortion, poisoning from the use of unsafe lead cooking vessels, and noblemen seeking sole heiresses to increase their personal worth. It is one of the many parallels that ancient Rome has with America. A decadent empire, abandoning its morality and character, more concerned with luxuries and frivolities than all else, will never stand.

The U.S. is not alone in this crisis, of course, as Europe is right there beside us. Europe has its fair share of problems, illegal immigration being chief among them, but market worship in their right-wing movements is not one of their maladies. Even the most pro-capitalist leader rising in Europe, Nigel Farage of the ascendant Brexit Party, supports a robust social safety net including nationalized health care for his people. European leaders understand the need to protect services that help the masses, and that the common man must realize that outsiders are coming to overwhelm those services. This is how conservatives win votes while piecing back together our broken society. It comes as no surprise then that Europe is far ahead of the U.S. when it comes to tackling the birthrate crisis and promoting natalism.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has led in this regard. While being lambasted by the liberal press for his regressive illiberalism, his policy proposal is actually a good deal for women. The details of Orban's proposal include special access to loans from the national bank for married couples, the extending of existing loan agreements to families, mortgage relief provided after the birth of a family's second child and further relief provided after subsequent children are born, women who have four or more children are exempted from income tax for life, subsidies for large motor vehicles for families with three or more children, universal day care services provided free of charge, and the ability to defer child care payments to grandparents.

In certain ways, American conservatives can build upon Orban's proposals by providing up to a year's worth of maternity leave at a new mother's given place of employment. Women will be empowered by pro-family conservative proposals such as these, which allows them to more easily have children and a career without having to choose one or the other. It also puts feminists on the spot, forcing them to show they are anti-family communists rather than pro-female liberators. If a woman decides that she wants both a family and a career, a logical and rational decision to be sure, the feminists will turn on these women for being too empowered. This could trigger an exodus of socialist-leaning women to embrace the right-wing as the guardian of their freedoms.

The concept of “demeny voting” where parental units are given additional voting power for having more children could also be considered as a long-term goal in the West. The liberal West has turned suffrage into a bedrock right, but it should actually be considered a privilege. Too many voters without a stake in the betterment of posterity – illegal immigrants, welfare recipients, the bureaucratic class, etc. - dominate at the polls. Any ominous forecasts that the Founding Fathers made about the evils of democracy have been fulfilled and then some by the odious status quo. Giving families with many children more voting power would begin to settle the score with those who vote, rather than work, for their keep.

Of course, American conservatives should not jettison the entirety of their platform. Nobody in their right mind is suggesting to end advocacy for lower taxes, fewer business regulations, and slashing government waste and burdensome bureaucracy. In fact, these pro-family proposals will help accomplish those goals by creating a more diverse coalition. It will no longer be stuffed-shirt white guys with corporate pedigrees and noxious attitudes funded by billionaires as the primary stewards for these policies. Trump was able to broaden the conservative coalition in America with the forgotten working man whose back had been broken by outsourcing, but the coalition could be broadened even further. The U.S. engine of prosperity should be used to fund bustling, American families, provided they are not foreign born or already subsidized by the government in some manner.

Adopting the war-time mindset is the only option that American conservatives have right now, other than fealty and submission. This means no option can be off the table. What matters is the end result, not the process in how we get there. If government intervention can ensure stronger families and a restoration of Western Civilization, there should be no hesitation in pushing for it. The fate of mankind is more important than proving the labyrinthine theorems of some economics lecturer to be correct. It is not worth sinking into an irreversible dark age in order to adhere to the late Milton Friedman's scribbles. Government policy is the last chance at reversing the decline in birthrates, and natalism is our last hope to save the U.S. and the West.