Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Say goodbye to traditional marriage

In the Guardian today, Jill Filipovic was celebrating the demise of traditional marriage in western societies.
It's finally time to ring the death knell for traditional marriage. ..... Conservatives are right: traditional marriage is under attack. But the assault isn't just from gay men and lesbians who want the right to enter into marriages of their own. Heterosexual Janes and Johns are also reshaping holy matrimony: they're marrying later, they're marrying less, and for reasons other than having children. And it's making them (and their kids) happier and healthier.

Jill makes a long list of largely unsubstantiated claims about the state of personal relationship. The thrust of her argument is clear; we are all better off without marriage. However, she does make one very telling point.
More women are also forgoing childbearing – nearly twice as many women have never given birth today than in 1976. And when we do have children, we're doing it later: the average age of childbirth is now 25, compared with 21 in 1970.

Traditional marriage, which presumably means monogamous heterosexual life-time relationships were very good at achieving one thing - producing children. Jill seems to have neglected the profound significance of that fact.

Virtually all advanced economies have fertility rates below 2.1 children per woman. In some countries, such as Germany, Italy and Japan, the fertility rate is closer to 1.4.

The consequences of these kinds of fertility rates are mathematical. The population will, within a generation, begin to age, and then the population will decline. The only solution to ageing and population collapse is either boost the fertility rate or import large numbers of migrants.

Europe has opted for the latter strategy. The problem for Jill and her liberal experiment in personal relationships is that many of these new arrivals do not share her vision for marriage. Migrant fertility rates are higher largely because tradition marriage is stronger in these communities.

Ultimately, the future belongs to breeders. This is not a value judgement, it a fact of life. A society that does not produce babies has no future.

1 comment:

  1. Any older, happily married couple will testify to the huge value their commitment to each other, at a young age, has been a measure of a deep and lasting contentment. A powerful asset when ageing replaces the hormonal vagaries of youth. If children and grandchildren are part of this scenario, all the better. It still remains, however, that a lifetime of sharing and caring makes for a more peaceful later life and eventual death.