Low fertility rates are common in the Western world at least among western peoples. Almost everyone who is touched in some significant way by Western culture takes a hit to their fertility rate. This isn’t a problem in and of itself, as long as the trends are temporary but firstly it is not sustainable and secondly it there are confounding factors in society. A culture is reliant on people. A culture lives and dies by its people. Wherever there are empty wombs there is a dying culture or sub culture. Everywhere culture changes over time but babies are the most efficient transmission vehicle of culture over a non-human scale time period (over one lifetime) Babies are the most adept at learning a language, culture and norms. They are the only truly natural way to transmit these things. Outsiders can pick up on the extraneous quirks of most societies some. Sometimes many (depending on the differences between groups) can emulate the native culture. But it will always be just that, an emulation. Even if you took the best emulators in a culture, and they tried their hardest, without original copies the divarication of memes, cultures and norms would create a mutant and empty strain of the culture.
Behind every culture is a rich history. This history which, besides the psychic value, caries with it snippets of information This information is often unconscious and unqualified by reason. Human society does not use rationality to determine the best memes. On a long enough time scale the best memes are the ones that win out in a biological and economic sense. The nuclear family did not win because someone thought it up, it won out because it provided many advantages both systematic, eugenic and incentive wise that gave Western Europeans a distinct advantage in social and economic organization. Systems begin often with unconscious or semi-conscious heuristics. Each heuristic acting like a hypothesis on society. The best hypothesis, not in a rational sense, one that reflects the culture and biology while conveying distinct advantages wins out. No one person can predict the best meme, system or culture for a people, not just because of the information or calculation problem but because they can’t predict what will come naturally or easily to the people. A theoretically superior system which is forgotten in two generations is still a loosing systems from the perspective of culture (the stability and sustainability of social technology is just as important as advantage).
The efficiency of transmission of culture through children is essential to the survival of culture and social technology because the essential elements which invoke advantages may be non-obvious or imperceptible at individual or even city wide scale (or alternatively on an intra-generational time scale). People are not fungible and cultures have a high mutation rate in the absence of parent child transmission ( a fact that makes modern public schools so subversive and toxic). To not have children not only imparts your family with a biological disadvantage but decreases the chances of the perpetuation of culture. If we consider the culture, social technology and even dialect to be a commons, then to not have children is to free-ride. You are free-riding on the efforts of your ancestors and all those who helped raise you. Their investment becomes much less viable as the norms language and culture die with you. When one considers the implications of HBD this imperative becomes even more important. Additional costs of sub-optimal cultural transmission are increased transaction costs, and low societal trust. These increase the need for top down pressure rather than social self regulation.
To please Gnon or at least abate his wrath we must view civilization as a millennia long investment in improving people, social tech, technology, institutions, culture, norms and lowering free-riding.
In the modern context there are additional complications.
- Whoever shows up wins this included the next generation
- An influx of new blood and culture increases the need for new warm bodies to maintain cultural integrity
- More immigrants means more children needed to keep society from degrading
- The best of society needs to be able to replace itself or else society falls into a disgenic death spiral
- Inter-generational Wealth Transfer
- You need warm bodies to pay for the welfare for the old
- Immigrants aren’t going to take care of your grandparents
- Inter-class Wealth Transfer
- If you let the wrong sort of people pop out children and a greater rate than you your welfare state for the poor is bound to collapse
- not necessarily modern problem but none the less you need warm bodies to show up to win no matter what your technological or economic advantage
- More warm bodies mean more influence on the world scale
- This assumes you aren’t getting too close to the Malthusian ceiling for your society.
- More warm bodies mean more influence on the world scale
What I am not saying:
- I am not saying everyone needs to have children. Just most people
- There are not roles in society for the celibate. There clearly are and there are also clearly people who would benefit themselves and society by dedicating themselves to something other than reproduction and raising children
- That a society needs to increase its population. This may or may not be necessary on a long term scale, but in a modern context it is prudent and wise.
- That people who choose not to have children are bad people given how much:
- Modern Women Suck
- Modern Marriage Sucks
- Modern Society Sucks
- At some point in a society someone has to man up though
- There should be rampant reproduction without regard for Malthusian ceiling or the care of the children. Quality matters as much as quantity, but there is still a minimum quantity to continue playing the game.