Memo 08.12.2020 10 minutes

Kin in the Game

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Portrait of baby boy (2-5 months)

Life won’t wait. Neither will babies.

One glorious day, 2020 will be over. Then, sooner than you think, the China Virus will vanish. The cursed election cycle and all the rest of the present madness will be a bad memory.

Perhaps some fresh madness will take its place, but still: the future will arrive. Your future. God willing, you will be there to greet it, alive and healthy, relatively sane. You will realize that you have many, many more years of life ahead of you!

Which is why you need to have a baby. Or have another one. Start tonight!

No Life Matters

As virus cases curve up, birth rates are going down. They’re now reaching terminal velocity. Birth rates have been heading downhill worldwide for a while, but they crashed this year. America’s baby production was always pretty robust compared to the suicide death pact of Europe, but in 2019 the number of babies born to each woman—er, individual with a cervix—sank to an average of 1.7. We need 2.1 to stay above replacement rate to survive as a people. Italy and Japan, for example, are already in inescapable death spirals: it’s too late for them to pull out (so to speak).

Folx, there is no time to waste! COVID has already scared too many fertile couples into delaying pregnancy. A recent Brookings study predicts “300,000 to 500,000 fewer children born in the U.S. in 2021 than there would have been absent the crisis…the number of babies never born is likely to greatly exceed the number of Americans who’ve died from coronavirus.”

Empty cribs coast-to-coast is a tragedy that will last way longer than this stupid, annoying pandemic. Fertility and time are fleeting. Chasing a toddler does not get easier in your forties. Make haste!

To liberals, not having babies is a feature, not a bug. If there’s one thing the Left agrees on it’s that babies are chaotic evil. Don’t believe me? Try going to the market with a mom and at least three cranky children and note the vicious reactions. There is no more hated person on this earth than a woman who dares to have more children than can reasonably fit inside a shopping cart.

There is no political ideology more vibrant these days than the baby-hating anti-natalist movement. It is pure No Lives Matter nihilism, dedicated to stopping humans from reproducing. It goes beyond abortion, even. Terminating children already in the womb is messy. This movement instead wants to convince you never to have them, and if you must, no more than 1.5. They wish to arrest potential children—those not yet conceived, the souls who exist as hazy figments in God’s imagination—from being willed into being.

It’s all the predictable result of 50 years of dual-income economic policies, anti-family social norms, abortion on demand, birth control pushers hooking prepubescents on the Pill, and climate harpies who see each baby as just another unwanted carbon footprint.

If you dare to visit mainstream millennial social media, like TikTok, you will encounter an army of self-sterilizing lunatics who shout their abortions, peddle their sex show livestreams, and brag about how many SSRIs they take. These young people, mostly girls, have been brainwashed into committing genetic suicide.

Even worse, they do it with joy. They are following the Pied Piper of Despair right over the cliff, along with the babies they’ll never have.

Kinless Wonders

Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s 2018 book Skin in the Game explored the thesis that those making decisions which affect others should accept some personal or professional risk. He explained the concept succinctly in a Medium article: “The captain who goes down with the ship will no longer have a ship. Bad pilots end up in the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. He or she who wants a share of the benefits needs to also share some of the risks…. Never trust anyone who doesn’t have skin in the game.”

Let’s take it a step further. It’s one thing to have skin in the game when negotiating a deal or sending soldiers into battle. But to care about surviving beyond a single human lifespan, a civilization needs kin in the game.

As a personal matter, you need your own kin in the game. No kin, no descendants. Otherwise what was the point of all this? All this not throwing yourself through a window, all the eating right and quitting smoking and obeying the law, getting good grades and making a living? What will have been the actual point?

The captain of a plane tries hard not to crash because he has skin in the game: he himself is aboard. Now imagine a captain flying a plane containing every last one of his future relatives—his entire genetic lineage extending out a thousand years!

Well, guess what? That’s what you’re doing, at this very moment. Piloting yourself through life and carrying all your future descendants literally inside your body.

Family trees have to be watered. Don’t let yours shrivel and wither once your wizened eyelids are sewn shut in the mortuary. I have childless girlfriends; I wonder sometimes why they bother with…anything. Why? To maximize pleasure? To contribute some worthy piece of work to the world? That’s fine, I approve of pleasure! And meaning! They just haven’t figured out that the most pleasurable and worthy moment in life is holding a newborn that’s five seconds old.

Picture this: instead of dandling your darling grandchildren on your knee in your decrepitude, you’re wandering dollar stores seeking your favorite flavor of cat food, 10 cans for a buck. You cry when you hear children playing at the schoolyard down the street, when the sullen home health aide who hates you finally cracks the window in your musty room.

You’ll have no one to check your headstone for typos. You won’t have a headstone—why bother? No one will visit your grave. Your existence will have been a shadow cast in darkness.

It’s like the old saying: the best time to plant another tree was 50 years ago. The second-best time is today.

Babies as Survival Gear

Already have a kid or two? That’s a wonderful start! My advice is to try for one more, now, tonight. Life is unpredictable. You may not be able to do it next year, or in five years, when you’re “ready.”


My argument is: do your best to have one more than you are totally comfortable having. You won’t regret it.

Life is too hard! Babies are too expensive! My local public school has a 1 rating on Great Schools! 

That’s just the culture of death talking, man!

It’s true, many things make creating large-ish families difficult. I would love to see the government give fat bonuses out to legal American citizens for each child they have after their second one. Universal baby income for all!

Still, creating your own dynasty is one of the very few actions a person can take to start digging us out of this mess of despair and ruin. No untested vaccine is required. No mask must be worn. No civil war has to be fought.

Because the true antidote to the nihilism and bleakness swirling around us is to double down on life—joyous, chubby, sweet-smelling life.

Deep down you know I’m right.

Ovarian Supremacy

A contented woman I know with a sizable brood was once asked to explain why she had so many children. Her answer was beautifully simple: “I had them for them.”

She had them so they would get the chance to experience life! How many young couples out there, drained and exhausted by the ludicrous grind of the last few years, can even begin to contemplate the utter selflessness required to live your life that way?

A hard ask for many. Luckily, having babies just for their sake, plucking a few lucky souls out of the firmament and handing them a golden ticket to The World, is not even the main reason to have them.

The main reasons to have more kids, if you can, are selfish reasons! You get to indulge in the purest, most hedonistic desires, and I’m not talking about the blessed moment of conception.

I’m talking about building a hedge against the coldness of life and aging. As Bob Seger put it, it’s strange how the night moves, with autumn closing in. This all ends, much faster than you’d like. You can’t go back and get pregnant five years ago. Sure, it’s nice to feel those tiny little hands in yours crossing the street, but what you really want is those same hands to hold yours as you lay dying. You need three pairs of hands, because you’ll want them working in shifts!

Love’s Labor Won

I’ve happily aged out of the maternity racket. I hit my dinger and I hung ‘em up. I had as many babies as I could reasonably produce given my advanced maternal age; the last one arrived in my early forties. We have an heir, a spare, and change.

Anything over four kids is true f-u fertility. Five is the fertility equivalent of a neck tattoo—hard to hide that questionable life choice when you’re out in public.

Many people react in horror to hearing I have more than four children. For others, mainly the trads, the follow-up question I usually get is “how many more do you think you’ll have?” I silence these wide-eyed optimists by whispering my age in their ear. Advanced maternal age, clinically speaking, starts at 35, and I am now old enough to be my youngest’s grandmother.

Why do people hate big families? Because we use too many resources? I drive nowhere, we fly rarely. Here’s why: It’s the fecundity, stupid! There is no more despised person than the mother who dared have one more child than you did. The two hate the threes, the threes hate the fours. But once you blow past those JV numbers, you’re truly free. You are committed to the lifestyle now—and anyway, you won’t hear angry customers muttering under their breath at the grocery store because there will be a baby screaming in your Ergobaby carrier and a charming toddler throwing bananas out of the cart.

All Children Left Behind

Before it was called off (a coronavirus silver lining!), Harvard was planning a conference this summer on the evils of homeschooling. There, noted legal scholar and barren shrew Elizabeth Bertholot (oh, the irony!) would no doubt have voiced some opinions about the drooling illiterates who dare to keep their children far from her bony clutches. Here is a quote from her:

“Many homeschooling parents are simply not capable of educating their children. Many have such limited educations themselves that their ability to teach complex or advanced academic subject matter is doubtful.”

This is what Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Berthelot thinks about you, you absolute imbecile with all those filthy, loud children. Since you are an idiot too dumb to use birth control, you probably could never get into Harvard, so she’s probably right.

Do not dismiss these childcare “experts” as fringe quacks! Ms. Birth-a-Lot is exactly who President Harris would put in charge of the Department of Education. Boom: homeschooling gone.

Kamala Harris, who left the game with no chips, may actually get to be president soon via a remarkable inside straight (the flop: Biden picks her for V.P.; the turn: Trump loses thanks to the China Virus and mass ballot harvesting in swing counties; the river: Biden bites the dust).

If the game plays out like that, our newly crowned Queen Mamala (as her adult stepchild calls her) will seize the reins. She may unleash a coven of childfree crones, led by Fraulein Ocasio-Cortez. AOC, predictably, has sworn off children to save the climate. Cortez and the rest will relish crushing femaleness, fertility, families, and the highly endangered Great American Male.

These sterilized and bloodless “leaders” do not care about your burgeoning dynasty and the nascent traditions and legacy you are trying so hard to form in your little home. They may attempt sweeping social programs to trample the plains and stamp out the fires you are hoping to kindle. But…the more of us there are, the better. And we are outbreeding them!

We can fight them with an infantry of infants, platoons of preschoolers. We will leave vast minefields of foot-piercing LEGOs in their path and thwart their coming advance!

Regrets, I’ve Had a Few

“Don’t do anything you’ll regret” is a life rule I’ve tried to follow. It’s probably stopped me doing dumb stuff over the years. It kept me in check during my oat-sowing years (mostly). Idiots twist this into their own personal YOLO mantra of “I regret nothing,” and while that sounds beautiful coming out of Edith Piaf, it requires you to rationalize your catastrophically bad choices. You will have regrets, no matter how hard you try. But you can at least make an effort to avert a big one, a mistake you cannot fix later: wishing you’d had more kids.

This year, triggered by the terror of 2020 and my youngest shedding the last of the delicious baby chubs, I have been struck with my own small but sharp regret. Why didn’t I squeeze another baby in during the lengthy gap between my last two children, when I thought I was too old and was convinced I was “done”?

Yes, I’m turning into Liam Neeson at the end of Schindler’s ListI could have saved one more. 

Who did I forget to give a golden ticket to?

I’ll never know, and now he’s lost to me forever.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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