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The Neo-Natalist Argument: Help! We Need More Babies!

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The Case for the Status Quo

I like kids. They’re really great. I have one. And obviously, humans need to keep having some children every generation; failure to do this will result in our species’ extinction, and that would obviously be bad.

There is no shortage of humans, however. There are over seven billion of us, and there are more today than yesterday. That mass of humanity has put a strain on our planet; quite aside from the obvious dangers presented by global warming, we’re running out of raw materials we use to keep our society going.

Stabilizing the population is, long-term, a good idea. Fewer people use fewer resources. There are more resources available for each person left to use. Yes, we still need children — and given how many people keep having kids, I suspect we’ll have enough.

Of course, that doesn’t mean those kids will be the “right” kind of kids. The subtext to the Douthat argument is always that the “right” kind of children — American children, preferably white — are not being born fast enough. If you hold to views of races as distinct, separate and different, this is a problem, but it’s primarily your problem.

We don’t live in the past. An ever-increasing population is no longer necessary to spur growth. We have made tremendous strides in automation, amazing advances in computing. More importantly, by freeing women to be the important part of society they always should have been, we’ve dramatically increased the number of people able to work to make the world a better place, without dramatically increasing the population.

We’ve managed to do all this without draconian measures, such as China’s disastrous, oppressive one-child policy. Instead, we’ve done it by increasing the ability of women to make decisions for themselves. If we drop the birth rate to zero, then yes, we’ll need to worry about it. Until then, I’m pretty comfortable with a population that is growing just fast enough to keep up.


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4:40PM PST on Jan 3, 2013

God bless you Andrea S.

No more human born until 500 years
from now. There far-far tooooo many
humans using up all of the earth natural resources.

What are we to do when its' ALL GONE??????

Wherever you go there once was a forest.
Plant & protect Danny's trees for life.
Trees are the lungs of the earth.

3:01PM PST on Jan 3, 2013

Are you kidding... The less we need is more people! It doesn´t matter how good would you think your ecological alternative is, it becomes destructive in such a large scale. Overpopulation is the key for every major and permanent ecological desaster. I´ve decide myself not to have any children and it will be my gift to this planet

6:56AM PST on Dec 19, 2012

This echoes a widespread Victorian middle-class attitude: that, since God had afforded you wealth, intelligence, education and the associated advantages, it was your duty to reproduce as fast as possible so as to populate the world with similarly perfect people and outcompete the poor, criminally-minded demographic of untermensch prone to breed like rabbits and pollute society with their impious, uncared-for offspring.

At best, this C19th outlook was highly flawed (plenty of wealthy, educated, "pious" Victorian gents secretly saw prostitutes, kept "fallen women", molested boys and brought home venereal disease to prove it; plenty of "sheltered," graceful wives were prone to sudden, incontinent affairs with men from every walk of life - it's human nature to be drawn to the exotic - gene pools strengthen through maximal variety). Anyway, delinquent, societally difficult kids also emerge from privileged backgrounds; so wealth and education cannot assure God's Grace.

At worst, the notion feeds cultural supremacism - the idea that an Enlightened Intelligence endows a superhuman race of Westerners, who must then work to outbreed the culturally inferior masses of the Third World. It's a short cultural step from the eugenics and ethnic cleansing which infect dogmatic societies (consider the fierce cultural idealism of Magda Goebbels, raising six beautiful babies for the Third Reich only to murder them when her dream turned sour).

11:08PM PST on Dec 13, 2012

Unfortunately, and sadly I completely realize where the condition of the Earth is heading at an ever increasing acceleration. I simply choose not to bring into this world someone who is going to have it far more difficult, in almost everyway, than I do now. Water, food, all costs of everything, more stringent divisions between the well to do and the have nots. Sorry. My decision not to procreate is for their(potential child) best interest.

2:57PM PST on Dec 13, 2012

Yep, we can't take care of all of the people on the earth now, so let's make more humans that we cannot take care of. Douthat needs to get out in the real world. And don't get me started about "my body, my choice" because I get fired up about that.

2:54AM PST on Dec 13, 2012

Misogyny at its finest.

10:48PM PST on Dec 12, 2012

NO need to the "help!" call. We have MORE than enough people in the world right now. What is wrong with this man? There are already so many people here that NEED help. Thx for posting.

10:36PM PST on Dec 12, 2012


10:31PM PST on Dec 12, 2012

Tiffany......Great comment........
.Common sense evidently does not exist in the human brain!!

Wherever you go there once was a forest.
Plant & protect Danny's trees for life.
Trees are the lungs of the earth.

9:04PM PST on Dec 12, 2012

child abuse is reported every ten seconds in the united states and 5 to 6 children die daily from abuse. This doesn't count death from disease, lack of medical services, lack of food, and lack of supervision. 80 percent are under the age of 4. Also the numbers are grossly underestimated due to missed cases, negligent case managers, Please lets take care of the children in our own community first! My daughter's preschool is asking for socks and underwear for infants to teenagers. This facility provides excellent food because they know this is the only good meal some children receive. Statistics prove we as a country are failing our children. Stop the insanity, over 7 billion people on earth. How much more can this planet or its inhabitants take?

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