James Innes-Smith

How having babies fell out of fashion

How having babies fell out of fashion
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With all of our institutions now firmly under the iron fist of progressivism it was only a matter of time before social justice mission creep slipped under the doormat and into the home. You can only promulgate the idea that we live under a tyrannical patriarchy for so long before young people take notice and begin to lose trust in the whole idea of intimate relationships with the opposite sex. Fourth wave feminism has shifted its focus from the work place to male/female relationships and a growing underclass of men is turning its back on women by joining poisonous underground groups such as INCELS and Men Going their Own Way (MGTOW).

Why would any young person choose to settle down and have kids against such a toxic backdrop? Well, increasingly they aren't. In Bari Weiss' recent article entitled First comes Love. Then Comes Sterilisation the writer reveals that 'Americans are making fewer babies than we’ve made since we started keeping track in the 1930s. And some women… are not just putting off pregnancy but eliminating the possibility of it altogether.' Last year, the number of deaths exceeded that of births in twenty five US states – up from five the year before. The marriage rate is also at an all-time low, at 6.5 marriages per 1,000 people. 'Millennials are the first generation where a majority are unmarried (about 56 per cent).' The number of young men (ages 18 to 30) who admit they have had no sex in the past year tripled between 2008 and 2018. 'Cities like New York, where young, secular Americans flock to build their lives, are increasingly childless. In San Francisco, there are more dogs than children.'

Some of this will be down to lifestyle choices, of course, but there appears to be something more disturbing going on. As Weiss points out 'the message from this young cohort is clear: Life is already exhausting enough. And the world is broken and burning. Who would want to bring new, innocent life into a criminally unequal society situated on a planet with catastrophically rising sea levels?' 

I would go further and argue that young men and women are losing a sense of their shared humanity. A malign force that sees conflict as the only way to resolve perceived inequalities has captured their minds. After all the sexual abuse campaigns and anti-male rhetoric of the past few years is it any wonder the young feel less disposed towards each other? In a recent survey of 5,000 single US citizens by the dating service Match, 80 per cent said sex was less important to them now than it was before the pandemic. In the UK the 2020-21 Natsal-Covid study, which replaced the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, paints an equally depressing picture. Sex is seen as a minefield where one wrong move can lead to assault or a lengthy court battle over issues of consent. Why take the risk?

Of course it isn’t only women who are choosing to remain single and childless. Increasing numbers of men, both young and not so young, tell me they won't commit out of a fear of making a bad decision and ending up with the ‘wrong’ woman. The proliferation of dating sites has made them picky and uncompromising. In many cases they’d much rather a quiet life in front of the PlayStation than, as one 36-year old put it, ‘being locked in an interminable Relationship with someone I hate’. Others told me they feared accusations of being ‘part of the toxic patriarchy’. Worryingly responsibility is seen not as a meaningful way to live but a form of enslavement. In extreme cases I heard men describe strong, opinionated women as ‘feminazis’.

Social justice activism has sown so much discord between the sexes that many women view the act of having children through an entirely political lens, as I discovered at a recent press dinner. As the only man at a table of around twenty female journalists aged between twenty-five and thirty-fiv,e much of the initial chat didn’t concern me. But when the conversation eventually turned to marriage and children, I felt I should speak up, rashly perhaps considering how outnumbered I was. What surprised me was the almost unanimous contempt for both the institution of marriage and of family life more broadly. When I argued that the evidence seemed to suggest that it was perfectly natural for women to want to marry and have kids the level of indignation seemed disproportionate. 'It's all the patriarchy's fault, men have conditioned women to want kids' seemed to be the general consensus or as one thirty-five year old put it 'what women really want is to f*** and have a good time without the pressure to breed'. 

I pointed out that men often struggle with the burden of their own biological instincts, which they immediately dismissed as 'unacceptable, socially constructed behaviour' driven once again by the all-pervasive patriarchy. You could argue that a group of ambitious young journalists is hardly representative of most young women but, having subsequently spoken to a cross section of thirty-something females, there appears to be broad agreement with the idea that men and women's sexual proclivities are more a product of social construction than biological instinct.

There may be a certain amount of truth in this but the danger now as I see it is that we are socially constructing the young away from intimate relationships altogether, thereby condemning them to a life of loneliness and resentment, the consequences of which really will be catastrophic to the future of the planet.