Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Decadently Wandering Uterine Minstrel, I--or, WTF Is Douthat on About?

Ross Douthat regularly seems to struggle with the idea that the little people who become big people are made in the bodies of already big people. I've covered this before, regarding Douthat, even having examined his works employing a device I think of as The Rumpy Chair, and am still a little taken aback when he reveals still more misunderstanding about the agency of the baby-having sex.

The general argument of his latest column is that wimmens is having less babies, and this means less general productivity as less workers are being created. Okay--I will grant that generally, young'uns are the toilers, and they gotta come from somewhere. What I resent is the notion that this social need obliges any individual woman to cease with her decadent tired-ass excuses, and gets with the baby-making, already.

No, really:


Beneath these policy debates, though, lie cultural forces that no legislator can really hope to change. The retreat from child rearing is, at some level, a symptom of late-modern exhaustion — a decadence that first arose in the West but now haunts rich societies around the globe. It’s a spirit that privileges the present over the future, chooses stagnation over innovation, prefers what already exists over what might be. It embraces the comforts and pleasures of modernity, while shrugging off the basic sacrifices that built our civilization in the first place. 
Such decadence need not be permanent, but neither can it be undone by political willpower alone. It can only be reversed by the slow accumulation of individual choices, which is how all social and cultural recoveries are ultimately made.

My barren individual womb isn't stagnating. It isn't undeveloped real estate. It isn't exhausted.  My ass is. You know what? If more women, men, etc, were paid a living wage and could get a nest egg going--they might even choose fertility. But some might not anyway, because 7 billion people on this planet is a fuck-ton, and probably not a sustainable population what with our environmental demands in terms of various resources. In other words, if we've fallen below the replacement rate as a society, it might not really be such a bad plan in the long run, even if there's a short-term economic downside.  My recommendation regarding allocation of resources isn't to fashion new, cheap human worker units, but to address the concentration of the control of resources in the hands of people at the top of our "food chain" and consider whether their lifestyles are, perhaps, more decadent than any individual's (for which read, mostly woman's) childlessness.

1 comment:

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I've covered this before, regarding Douthat, even having examined his works employing a device I think of as The Rumpy Chair, and am still a little taken aback when he reveals still more misunderstanding about the agency of the baby-having sex.

Chunky Reese Witherspoon done broke Ross' brain.

If more women, men, etc, were paid a living wage and could get a nest egg going--they might even choose fertility.

Funny, those conservative economic principles have a lot to do with people having smaller families.