Modern Child-Raising and Fertility Rates

White people aren’t having a lot of kids these days. If you’ve had a kid, maybe you know why.

I can see why rich English people hand their children over to nannies and ship them off to boarding school as soon as possible. Kids are cute and fun, but they’re also frequently a giant pain in the ass. I spend a lot of time on the road, and I can lay on the bed in the hotel, and it’s so, so quiet. The kid isn’t screaming, or crawling as fast as he can towards the most dangerous object in the room. My wife can bug me about stuff, but only on WhatsApp and Skype, which provides me with a filter.

OK, I realize part of the problem is I’m a pussy. Nick B. Steves has eight kids and a lot more time on his hands than I do. I’m guessing his wife knows not to bug him when he’s saving the world by blogging. But since the average white guy is a lot closer to me than him, my experience is probably more reflective.

I wrote before about our experience with progressive baby care. The current way of caring for children is extremely time-consuming. My wife does not have a job and yet has her hands completely full with one baby. People in the old days had a lot more kids, without as much trouble it seems. What is the difference?

I think kids just didn’t get as much care. They didn’t get as much attention, or as much sympathy. Kids had to survive partly on their own. Pre antibiotics, a lot didn’t. Bruce Charlton writes often on the “mouse utopia” experiment, and compares modern society to the mouse utopia. Sometimes I would wonder about my son’s will to live. Getting him to eat was a great struggle. Acid reflux medication helped a great deal, but that’s a very recent innovation. Some days he will eat solid foods, some days he refuses. I don’t think cave parents spent an hour coaxing the cave baby to eat, while he screamed and threw most of it on the floor. Until recently, I think, the kid ate, or didn’t, mom was busy with other stuff, not to mention dad.

At least we have a kid. A lot of my wife’s friends have fertility problems. Our child is healthy and normal, but we hear a lot more about autism and other developmental problems these days.

That comes largely from trying to have kids when you’re older, I guess. Having fewer children at an older age reflected resources available to the couple, from the historical record in England, according to Greg Cochran. Having just fewer children, for whom you can then each give a bigger share of your resources is a reproductive strategy originating in France in the late 18th century, according to Sarah Perry, which then spread to England.

You could have three sons, one who gets the farm, one who apprentices to a blacksmith, and one who joins the army. Or you could have one son, who you could send to school and who then be a clerk. If you were a little better positioned you might send him to public school where he would be sodomized by an older boy. If the older boy later gets him a 1000 pound a year position with the civil service, you have hit the jackpot, his sore bunghole notwithstanding.

The sore bunghole may be metaphorical rather than actual, but it is real in any case. People wanting security as functionaries of the elite must submit to their value system. The child will be stripped of his identity, but he and his descendants will live higher up the food chain, and there will be fewer of them but they will have a better chance of survival over generations, at least you hope.

If you have more children, they will have to compete harder- against each other for family resources, and then having less family resources, harder against others in their age cohort for community resources.

This has always been the case for the upper classes, who have mostly always used a small family strategy. Not having access to elite resources in any case, most lower classes have gone with the large family strategy. Those close to but not in the upper classes had a choice, and as a global economy and government and corporate bureaucracies emerged, moved to the small family strategy.

Another option was available to the middle classes for a short period of time in a limited geographical area, large family and large community resources allowing for both a large family and upward mobility. This was the golden age of the US middle class, generously estimated from 1950 to 1985. Houses in white neighborhoods were cheap, K-12 education was good and free, and state university was good and cheap. People assumed this was normal and thought it would last forever, and only now, a generation later, it is dawning on people that it was a short-lived anomaly.

But I’m getting off my point. Declining living standards are an old story. And poor, stupid people often have a lot of kids, so it can’t be that hard.

I think having kids has to be a value, and being committed to it people invent a way to make it work. Somebody heard me complaining about my kid’s sleeping habits and strongly recommended something called “Baby Wise” which seems to be you put the kid on a schedule and stick with it. I looked into it, mainly out of curiosity and it’s described as borderline abusive by some. But this must have been how people did it in the old days.

My wife likes books by an English nurse named Tracy Hogg. It’s attachment parenting but with tricks that make it more workable. Still, you’re on your own. The boy refused to eat in the high chair, and we were going crazy. The other day I’m putting him in and he starts to yell as I put on the straps. So I leave them off. My wife is putting the bib on, and he starts to yell, so I tell her leave that off. And he’s happy as a clam and eats like a horse. But I figured it out only by accident.

I don’t think that having and raising kids is something that middle-class white people have a good grip on. People would have more kids if there was a better system, but one isn’t readily available.

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About thrasymachus33308

I like fast cars, fast women and southern-fried rock. I have an ongoing beef with George Orwell. I take my name from a character in Plato's "Republic" who was exasperated with the kind of turgid BS that passed for deep thought and political discourse in that time and place, just as I am today. The character, whose name means "fierce fighter" was based on a real person but nobody knows for sure what his actual political beliefs were. I take my pseudonym from a character in an Adam Sandler song who was a obnoxious jerk who pissed off everybody.
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16 Responses to Modern Child-Raising and Fertility Rates

  1. Joe says:

    I had four kids, I thought I was fighting against the immigration wave. So I thought. Life was ok, till my ex wife figured out it she would get more money on welfare + my child support. She had affairs too, but I did what I could to hold the family together. After 6 months or so I realised I was now just a financial slave, so I sold everything, packed my bags and went to another country. That was years ago. Remarried and happy, now I just watch the west implode from afar.

  2. PA says:

    Infants are woman’s world. No man finds baby-fuss anything but a strain on his patience. But women need extended family support to deal with babies; alone without a network of hens they can snap or more commonly just become bitches. Having a son will start becoming much more rewarding to you once he gets past 3 years old or so, when you can spend time with him without catering to his every physical need. It is fantastic at six or seven, when you can talk.

    You reap what you saw. Fatherhood styles change with times and vary by personality but he needs to feel that you give a damn about him. I wrote two posts on the subject of fatherhood on my blog within the past two weeks, if you’re interested. Not deep analysis in their case — one is Zbigniew Herbert’s translated poem and the other is snippets of insight from popular songs. An older post titled “How to help prevent mudsharking” is written for fathers of girls, but it has things that apply to raising a son as well.

    Good post, BTW, and I value the original analysis you once again wrote.

  3. Hizzle says:

    Let’s not forget the largest problem: Any white baby born in America now is part of not just a minority, but a despised remnant (unless he’s high up on the food chain, directing minorities against whites much further down).

    You mentioned Mouse Utopia: remember the observation about the “beautiful ones?” These were the ones who groomed themselves and had a generally high quality of life, but they had given up on the struggle for survival (reproduction, etc.) I think lots of white males (due to feminism, immigration, rising cost of living) are “beautiful ones.” They have hobbies, some pleasures, but no real meaning anymore.

    White fertility is now, of course, what the Germans call a “Teufelskreis.’ (Doom Loop). If a white person is thinking about having a child, they have to factor in not just the usual costs now, but the fact of hated minority status in an unpredictable, balkanized land. This I think is what secretly is stopping most whites from having babies, which creates a feedback loop, and makes the problem worse: whites fear minority status->whites don’t have babies due to fear-> Rate of becoming a minority rapidly increases.

    Rinse, lather, repeat.

    Whites would never of course frame their reticence to have children this way. Much as Jared Taylor talks about whites asking about “the school district” in order to gauge the whiteness of a neighborhood before buying a house, whites would cite some proximate reason for not having children. You would be dismissed as a fear-monger/nut to say, “I don’t want to have kids because the majority-minority dominated future will be a horrible place for any white children born into it.”

  4. Michael Kozaki says:

    The current way of caring for children is extremely time-consuming.

    Big families merely get more efficient care. We have more kids than Nick Steves (and no grandparent help at all) yet don’t feel overworked.

    One or two kids harder to raise than 8. With many kids, a system is required and all the individualism just goes away. The tricks to making kids easy in any quantity:

    1) Breastfeed.
    2) Eliminate processed food and sugar (diet & exercise is >50% of kid problems).
    3) Baby in an attached bed until 1-2 yo, nursed on demand.
    4) Rarely drive (shop twice per month), walk/bike everywhere.
    5) Homeschool and eliminate TV gets rid of most of the other issues.

    One more thing: I don’t think women are capable of organizing a family well. Just what I’ve seen. SAHM these days tend to be irresponsible and not very rational about organizing things. All the families I’ve seen that work well the husband sets the tune.

  5. Ryu says:

    Part of it is keeping the USG off your case.

    It seems like unless one is on top of the kid 24-7, it is child abuse (except if a mino single parent does it.) It is so easy to lose one’s kid to CPS today.

  6. nickbsteves says:

    I’m not saving the world thru blogging any more than you are dude.

    I do think kids in the past got less care. And within reasonable limits, that’s probably not a bad thing.

    • You are saving the world at least a *little*- I on the other hand am just complaining.

      I got less care and attention than my older brother and sister, and while I resented it bitterly at the time, I’m better off for it.

  7. Augustina says:

    I had six kids in pretty quick succession. No, you can’t give them high levels of attention, and that is good for them. Look at most Millenials: special snowflakes indeed. They need safe spaces when someone disagrees with them. Yes, it’s hard. But nothing good in life is easy.

    Have a few more kids, they entertain each other. Trying to endlessly entertain kids isn’t easy. I think that is why so many small families sign their kids up for so many activities. My kids didn’t need all that– they had each other. They drew maps of our property and its surroundings with placenames taken from their favorite books. They would write lists such as “You Know You’re a (last name) When…” with all sorts of their little kid traditions and inside jokes. For some reason this involves lots of blankets. And plaid. Heck, we’re our own culture, our own ethnic group.

    The second generation is now here, and my daughter who married a man from a large family now has a surfeit of aunties nearby to help her with her two little ones. And they are beginning their own little culture. And so it goes, ever onward.

  8. Ryu says:

    There is something I wanted to ask you about, Thrashy.

    Did you vaccinate your kid? Where do you come down on that debate?

    • We vaccinated. Most pediatricians (at least where we lived at the time) will not treat an unvaccinated child.

      I never investigated this. Honestly I think anti-vac is probably a hippie thing with no scientific basis. Vaccines certainly have side effects- he was sick for a week after the first round- but offer protection as well.

  9. Michael Kozaki says:

    I never investigated this. Honestly I think anti-vac is probably a hippie thing with no scientific basis.

    We investigated; each vaccination is different. When the potential deaths from a certain vaccine begins to match disease death, we skip. On a few, I even calculated the risk from driving to get the shots exceeds the disease risk.

    The ones that did make real sense (if you trust the data, considering death only): Hib, Heps, Tet. But hygiene, health, diet, and community really improve the odds for upper-middle class types (the ones usually not getting the vax).

    We’ve got no truck with vax, but sadly the pro-vaccine bias makes thinking people leery. Worse than MMGW; pro-vaxers overtly anti-scientific and totalitarian. I don’t know if it’s about money, or just people’s inner Stalin.

  10. spandrell says:

    In the old days people gave less care; and what was given was exclusively given by the mother. Today women expect to have rest time, so they expect men to share in the burden; this creates the need for more coordination that is really feasible, etc.

    I do suggest that you stop caring so much. If your wife isn’t working she does not have her hands full. No way. It doesn’t work like that. I got kids. Yes, they’re annoying. But you don’t have to agree. If he’s bored get him a tablet and hook him on Youtube 5 hours a day. Yes, it’s not ideal. But it’s better than getting you so stressed out that you don’t want more children. And it’s probably better than having the kid go outside unsupervised and drown in the river at 2 as was so common not so long ago.

  11. spandrell says:

    And for God’s sake stop making your life harder and give your baby what he wants to eat. If he likes candy give him candy. If he’s not hungry let him go play. Some kids are more orderly than others, if your child is a pain in the ass those are your pain-in-the-ass genes manifesting themselves. You can’t fight it; there’s plenty of time to discipline the kid after he gets to school.

  12. shabbygoy says:

    Lots of kids are just spoiled and indulged. Don’t do it
    Don’t let modernity frighten you from exerting your authority
    with them.

  13. celtic spirit says:

    A better system would be grandparents and other extended family who live closeby. And women who stay home and raise their babies. No job or profession will ever bring women the joy and satisfaction that raising their children provides.

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