Where did all our children go?

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Sylwia Mazurek, Public Domain

There is a noticeable trend among young adults to postpone having children, not just for years but, in many cases, permanently. The long-term repercussions of such a movement for our country, will be significant and in many ways negative. Among the factors accounting for this trend are “green” extremism and the toxicity which has so deeply affected the current political environment.

Does the visceral dislike Republicans hold for Democrats, and vice versa, extend to marriage; to bearing children? Do other political factors, chief among them extreme fear of climate change, impact such vital personal relationships? The answer to both queries appears to be “yes.”

At the extreme, beginning in 2006, there has developed a movement to deliberately de-populate the planet by refusing to have children – “anti-natalism.” There even have sprung up umbrella organizations such as “Antinatalism International” and the “Voluntary Human Extinction Movement” to provide structure and publicity.

To be honest, I had not come across the term “anti-natalism” until noting mention of it recently in an article about the degree to which fear of climate change was causing individuals to alter their lifestyles, including deciding not to have children. On further investigation, I discovered it appears already to have enticed several celebrities to advocate on its behalf, even if only indirectly.

Perhaps foremost among those with celebrity status who have come to question the morality of having children, is New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who, as far back as 2019, posed the question to whoever might have been listening, “ Is it okay to still have children?” because of what she viewed as the accelerating ravages of climate change.  That same year, Britain’s Prince Harry, now an avowed left-winger living on America’s left coast, declared that he and his wife Meghan would limit their stable of offspring to two, out of deference to the endangered global climate.

Not only are individuals jumping on the no-more-children climate change bandwagon, but prominent business entities as well are dipping their corporate toes into the controversy. 

Morgan Stanley, the New York based multinational investment management and financial services company, last year alerted investors that bringing a child into the world is “7-times worse for the climate in CO2 emissions annually than the next 10 most discussed mitigants that individuals can do.” It is unclear exactly what that statement means, but clearly it reflects the notion that having children represents a dire threat to Mother Earth.

The United Nations, always eager to raise the alarm against the developed world and the United States in particular, recently issued what it labels a “Code Red” warning for all of humanity because of climate change. While stopping short of formally endorsing anti-natalism in this context, the U.N. has been among those organizations issuing regular, apocalyptic warnings about global overpopulation since the 1970s.

Drilling down from the international level to the family, the vehemence with which Republicans detest Democrats, a favor returned in at least equal measure by Democrats toward Republicans, also appears to be infecting even personal, marital relationships. For example, a poll conducted last December revealed that at least among college students, more than 70% of Democrats would not knowingly even date a Republican

This aversion to dating, much less marrying, and far less having children with someone of the “other” Party, while not new, has displayed a sharp increase over the past decade. Lasting, inter-party relationships, such as that between dyed-in-the-wool Republican Mary Matalin and Democrat firebrand James Carville, are becoming ever more rare as the deep and consuming animosity between the two parties grows. Overall, marital unions between Republican and a Democrat have sunk to a clear minority.  

Whether for fear of increasing the “carbon footprint” a new child brings to the world, unwillingness to form a lasting personal relationship with a member of the “other” Party, or the economic cost of raising a child (calculated to be $300,000 for a child born today), the birthrate in the United States remains at its lowest ebb in history

Green extremists might cheer this decline, as might other countries and movements seeking to harm or supplant the United States on the world stage, but in the medium and long-term, a nation riven by internal divisiveness and suffering a declining population is ill-positioned to remain a top-tier power. 

And a nation without children would be a very unhappy place, indeed.

What Is Feeding the ‘Anti-Natalism’ Trend?

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.