America's One Child Policy?


Jonathan Last, over at the Weekly Standard, writes about the new baby implosion: the birth dearth has already hit Japan, Singapore and is about to hit China. What happens to a society which basically gives up on having children, preferring other alternatives?  Consider the case of Singapore, which successfully campaigned to reduce fertility—then realized it now had a shrinking population implosion on its hands, tried to reverse course with pro-natalist policies . . . and failed miserably.

What’s the point?

First, it is far easier to deconstruct the traditional norms that persuaded people to make difficult sacrifices—like say channelling sex and childbearing towards marriage, constrain divorce, or valuing children over pleasurable consumer goods—than it is to reconstruct them once they are gone.

Second, the essay makes clear that religion and willingness to have children are pretty closely related in the U.S.  If the government adopts norms that such religious communities are civil wrongdoers for continuing to value traditional ideas about sex and marriage—watch out.