Sunday, August 04, 2013

Can't we beat this?

Lauren Sandler is an American woman who advocates that women should have no more than one child. She does so on the basis that more than one child hampers a woman's autonomy and so it is liberating for women to have just the one.

Here is a sample of her writing:
What if, for those who didn’t feel otherwise compelled to have more kids, they decided instead to opt for greater pleasure and autonomy, for other opportunities for personal advancement and self-fulfilment?

...To be sure, low fertility accompanies a weak economy without fail. But to blame the markets for what happens in our bedrooms misses a radical reshaping of our worldview. It’s not just the economy, it’s liberation. The pursuit of happiness has emerged as our new national ideology, trumping the age-old belief that parental duty is the very definition, of adulthood.  Some think it’s the height of selfishness; I say it’s progress.

...Over the past century, adulthood has come to promise more than just duty, but pleasure...we envision a liberated existence, one of satisfaction and fulfilment, a life built upon intentionality and individualism rather than obligation and role-filling. This liberated adulthood exists at odds with parenting...Instead of making a choice to enlarge our families based on stereotypes or cultural pressure, we can instead make that most profound choice our most purely independent one. It might even feel like something people rarely associate with parenting: it might feel like freedom.

That is exactly the kind of outlook you'd expect to emerge from within an advanced liberalism. If the aim is to maximise your individual autonomy, then you're going to have a problem when it comes to family life. Family life makes demands on us. It requires stable commitments that restrict what we might choose to do at any particular time. Family life, in other words, impedes our autonomy.

So what do liberals do? They try to recast the family to make it fit in better with autonomy. They can do this in a variety of ways. A commitment to family life can be delayed. Divorce can be made easier. There might be calls for the having of children to be "fitted around" a woman's life rather than be a core aspect of it. Lauren Sandler's solution is to have the absolute minimum number of children.

(A more radical solution would be to have no children at all; and the most radical solution is to simply live alone.)

The important thing to recognise is that within the framework of liberalism it doesn't make sense to commit to large families.

A traditionalist movement would therefore have a very considerable demographic advantage. If we were able to maintain a more traditional culture of family life, we would almost certainly have a much higher fertility rate than the surrounding liberal culture.

(Of course, that would only be an advantage if we were able to educate our children along traditionalist lines rather than having them become the next generation of liberals.)

Lauren Sandler's views are more evidence of what a dead-end road liberalism is for the society which adopts it. If we can operate within a different framework we will have a strength that liberalism lacks.

21 comments:

  1. My oh My.

    According to this view, duty and pleasure cannot exist in the same life. Nor, evidently, did anyone live anything but a mindless lot of drudgery before 1913 or so.

    Such vapid arrogance; and yet, you could make the case that this is implicitly what a lot of people think when they make important life decisions.

    Mark, you've been around the last issue (differential rates of reproduction for the traditional and non-traditional) a few times at this site. It's nice to think hopefully in such terms, but the success of such factors requires a serious separation from mainstream society. Otherwise, liberalism continues apace, cannibalizing the young of others as it always has. A parasite never has to produce its own means of sustenance if the host does.

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  2. No children at all is the de facto liberal solution.

    "A traditionalist movement would therefore have a very considerable demographic advantage."

    Sigh. As I said in my deleted comment, the liberals will simply import more non-whites to negate any such "advantage". If you have four kids, the liberals will import four hundred non-white kids. There really shouldn't be any dispute about this, since they are actually doing it.

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  3. Rob,

    We would have a demographic advantage when it comes to fertility.

    As for immigration, we know what's happening there, since as you point out it's already happening. There are parts of Melbourne now in which there are hardly any Anglo/Euro young people. These areas are lost to us.

    But it's wrong to use that to promote a defeatist "you can't do anything". Australia is a big country. There are still many millions of us. There are still many tens of thousands of us being born.

    I want to see a regrouping of the more loyal and conservative remnants of our population, but that needs leadership and leadership means moving beyond the "old right" attitude of looking for ways to justify not doing anything apart from looking with a morally superior disdain on modernity.

    The first step that has not been taken yet is to reach a point of real conviction. That conviction brings the kind of strength we need to move forward.

    There are identitarian men (and women) in France who have moved beyond the old right model. Whether their politics is the right one I can't say from this distance. But they are right in moving forward with conviction.

    I cannot stress enough how much we are burdened by a failed older understanding of what it means to be on the non-liberal right.

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  4. but the success of such factors requires a serious separation from mainstream society. Otherwise, liberalism continues apace, cannibalizing the young of others as it always has.

    Correct. You can't just have kids and then hand them over to be indoctrinated by the liberal institutions.

    At the same time, I don't think you can entirely retreat from the mainstream either. If we do that the mainstream remains too strong and we remain too weak and vulnerable.

    You have to have people challenging within the mainstream (challenging the grounds of liberal morality, asserting a traditionalist one, winning at least some electoral support, building up an alternative media etc) whilst at the same time you try to create real trad communities in one or more places.

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  5. "There are identitarian men (and women) in France who have moved beyond the old right model. Whether their politics is the right one I can't say from this distance. But they are right in moving forward with conviction.

    I cannot stress enough how much we are burdened by a failed older understanding of what it means to be on the non-liberal right. "

    Yes but the French are a nation and homogeneous ethnic group bound by blood and honour and an attachment to land. One can tell the geographic origins of a French family from their name. In addition they have a long history as a nation and a magnificent culture.

    Australians, like Americans, are immigrants who have largely lost touch with their roots and many are of mixed ethnicity further complicating the sense of identity and national coherence.

    People don't come together and fight as Whites or Asians or Africans. They fight as French or Germans or Japanese or Koreans out of a sense of ethnic loyalty and solidarity.

    The average Australian, like the average American is one quarter English, one quarter Irish and half something else. Such peoples have no tribal sense of blood, honour and loyalty.

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  6. Mark,I have read your comments for months ( glad I found this site, don't feel so alone in my views) and agree with 99% of everything you say but Rob is right and the last 50 yrs of western European and Australian back his comments. You can teach your children traditional values and the state will reprogram, short of living in a mud hut in the bush it cannot be avoided. Liberalism is an unnatural state, it will collapse, but not for several life times at least. I.e when the wealth that allows such behavior runs out. Unfortunately if your a western male alive now your stuffed and we will all be long dead before the pendulum swings back, defeatist I know but it is reality. I have retreated to the remote end of Kangaroo Island because of this crap. Wish I was born 150 yrs ago, no tech, but I and males I know would be happier.Lets see the liberal types enforce their crap on the Mohammedans, should be entertaining.

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  7. Mark, I partially agree on engagement, but one has to be careful regarding the way one engages. Here in America there is still -- even among solidly conservative, homeschool types -- widespread denial about the scope of the problem. People are deluded into thinking, at the end of the day, that the system is "ok." You can point out to them the now-inevitability of our minority status, they'll agree, and then five minutes later they're back to believing another Reagan is to appear from thin air and somehow garner enough Mexican votes to cruise into the White House. They can't bring themselves to believe how bad things actually are.

    At some point, participation in many aspects of the system is to accede to a kind of soviet execution, stamping approval on one's demise. This is a difficult matter that needs situational care, but over here at least, it's clear that more severe measures are needed.

    On another matter, I found this little chestnut over on Sandler's site (in an essay extolling the hip new hatred of motherhood):

    "As one demographer who works on policy issues quipped to me last year at her office in Paris, “What we need is a feminist government to help women because in France we can’t find feminist husbands to help us do it.” Here, we have none of the former, and too few of the later. - See more at: http://laurensandler.com/2013/02/the-new-vogue-of-hating-motherhood/#sthash.VeOwpKLg.dpuf"

    This is a wonderful encapsulation of the destructive hubris implicit in feminism; it is the unchecked impulse of hyperamy run wild. At the heart of things is the unavoidable fact that women, insofar as they wish to retain SOME bit of their feminine role as mother, must in one way or another submit: either to the light authority of one good man, or instead, to the impersonal iron force of a few distant men in the state, who then COMPEL other men to labor for her. Feminism justifies itself by autonomy language, but at the end of the day, what they desire is an omnipotent but distant "big man" -- someone who makes the world safe for them to do whatever they please.

    I'm not sure they even understand that they are doing this, since they have been raised to feel entitled to have others labor for them without incurring any obligations in return.

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  8. Australians, like Americans, are immigrants who have largely lost touch with their roots and many are of mixed ethnicity further complicating the sense of identity and national coherence.
    This is not true at all. The race/ethnicity/nation denial argument is a common argument of the left.
    It is also fallacious. Not everyone in Australia is an immigrant. Twisting the definition of immigrant to smugly say Australians are illegitimate people is insulting, rude, stupid and wrong.
    I want people like you would go back to your own country.

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  9. Last post should be wish. Not want.

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  10. "Advanced liberalism" yes, but considering the previous work by this writer including that which cast evangelical Christian children in a negative light and her own heritage, it additionally suggests a deeper rooted animus towards Western civ.

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  11. Anon (8.42),

    Australia was remarkably homogeneous until the 1950s. We were also far distant from other shores. This created a strong sense of a national culture and sense of peoplehood.

    We have to be careful not to read back the way we are now to how things stood in past decades.

    I can remember even in the 1970s having a sense of the richness of the national culture and identity, one that had within it a sense of far horizons and something I used to think of as an Australian "dreaming".

    It was a wonderfully enriching aspect of life, which is one reason I have grieved its loss so much and am so reluctant to accept the watered down version of life offered by liberalism.

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  12. Craig,

    With the new media there is no reason why traditionalists can't communicate their views to a larger audience. The intellectual class in Australia is remarkably small. With just 100 people you could make a real splash here. Parents who maintain a strong relationship with their children and who make the effort to communicate their values do also have an influence.

    But my main response to your comment is this. I understand that you have chosen to retreat. But I don't see the purpose of you advocating for that on a site like this. If, as you believe, all is lost, then you don't need to push the idea. If, though, you are wrong, pushing the retreat line can only do harm - it saps those who might have become active of the conviction they need to move things forward.

    So by all means feel free to comment, but I'd ask you to avoid the theme of defeatism.

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  13. "Australia was remarkably homogeneous until the 1950s. We were also far distant from other shores. This created a strong sense of a national culture and sense of peoplehood. "

    The Australian true identity is the WASP identity created by the English, Welsh and Scots settlers in the country who founded the country and its institutions. This was subsequently diluted by large numbers of Irish Roman Catholic non WASP immigrants who are not compatible.

    A return to Australian identity is therefore a return to WASP identity.

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  14. Lauren Sandler should move to China.

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  15. Irish
    We do not have much Irish ancestry here. Australia is not the US. Australia has always been predominately English.

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  16. Anonymous insists:

    "The Australian true identity is the WASP identity created by the English, Welsh and Scots settlers in the country who founded the country and its institutions. This was subsequently diluted by large numbers of Irish Roman Catholic non WASP immigrants who are not compatible."

    Um, so what, Anonymous, do you intend to do with Evil "Micks" like ... um, myself? Just wondering what sort of treatment we can look forward to from the likes of you.

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  17. Pius,

    On the one hand, anon understates the Catholic Irish presence, which was greatest early on (up to 30% if I remember correctly) falling to about 15% in the twentieth century. The English, Welsh, Scots, Irish - all were involved.

    On the other hand, I don't think it's fair to respond to the assertion of a WASP identity with insinuations of violence or malevolence.

    In general, I don't think that this is the time to play up English/Irish divisions, so I'd ask everyone to leave this one alone.

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  18. I offer liberals a solution to the issue of motherhood and childbearing: government funded artificial wombs. That way everyone could have a child of their own without depending on anyone else to support them, be inconvenienced by pregnancy or having a willing partner.

    sex would be completely removed from the realm of family planning and men and women would only get together for the purposes of recreational sex.

    The standard liberal response is some combination of incomprehension and horror.

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  19. Very well, Mr Richardson, in response to your remark I apologize for my comment at 21:02. And no, I am not called Pat Hannagan.

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  20. Speaking from experience, there is a huge loss of autonomy from the first kid, and after that the loss of autonomy is relatively far less. I would say that 75 or 80% of the constraint - loss of free time etc. - is the result of having one, with the remaining 20-25% from kids two and on.

    Indeed, after you have one kid, you will quite naturally find children not a burdensome constraint on your autonomy, but a delight that you want to increase by having more.

    So, this dimwitted liberal female can't do math. No surprise there.

    She is an only child, and has only one child, and therefore thinks that is what everyone should do. Totally solipsistic... no surprise there.

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