December 3rd, 2012
Over at the Standard I’ve got a long-ish piece up about (1) what the data on Hispanic immigration looks like and (2) the more important trend toward singleness in America. There’s a lot to say on the subject that I just didn’t have space for so to some degree this is really mood-setting for What to Expect.
Shorter JVL: We’re effed.
Re declining marriage rates, I keep thinking of what happened to family farms when Junior and Little Missy decided to move to the big city instead of climbing on that tractor with Dad. Many, maybe most of them, eventually went corporate. The analogy to ordinary life is selling out to government. Julia’s best prospect is Washington.
Re Hispanics, it’s useful to consider the travails of Guatemalans trying to emigrate legally to Mexico, and those unfortunate enough to be caught illegally there. Someday the Rio Grande may extend to the Pacific and be stocked with crocodiles.
Superior analysis. I could not agree more with the prescription that conservative voters should focus on changing the culture for the good, rather than settling in to pander to its current decadences. It is also a very important observation that politicians have very little power over the direction these cultural trends move.
However, if we are serious about being voices crying in a cultural wilderness, there are some very formidable golden calves of western egalitarianism that must be faced. The post-modern concept of personal fulfilment and self-worth is among the more important idols to confront.
A person could easily get away with publicly lamenting the societal and familial costs of men seeking to draw too large a share of their sense of fulfillment from their careers. I happen to believe the lifestyle of the absentee father, staying at the office until 9:00 on weekdays and 3:00 on Saturdays, “chasing the carrot” of corporate “success,” can be very corrosive to his own child-rearing efforts and his marriage. If you could show divorce and adultery rates, as well as the delinquency rates of his teenaged children, were all higher among career-obsessed husbands and fathers, a productive conversation about remedies and balance could flow from it. You also wouldn’t have the added distraction of artillery salvos from the conformocrats of PC secularism because you’re not hitting any really sensitive nerves by suggesting men are doing too much bread-winning.
However, if you were to introduce data that supports the idea that women seeking too large a share of their personal fulfillment from their careers were corrosive to families, neighborhoods, or societies; you could expect not only resistance from the normal enforcers of PC, but you would get more than your fair share of stiff-arms and wagged fingers from those we could call the “typical” Romney voter: suburban to exurban married religious whites.
I happen to hold the belief post-modern man and woman, in all their natural narcissism, tends to strongly see their worth in their vocations in the labor force, sometimes even from things as cheap as a job title or the prestige of the person’s employer. What makes devout, weekly religiosity such a strong predictor of fertility, among many other factors, is the (admittedly waning) propensity for a man to see his primary worth in the execution of the father and husband vocations. Ditto for women seeing their primary worth in the execution of the mother and wife vocations. Good luck trying to have an honest, low-emotion discussion about the latter.
There have always been long-hour business hot-shots and inventors who didn’t come out of their laboratories for days at a time; but with the widespread decline in our collective sense of being part of an intergenerational stream of God’s children has also come a militantly stubborn individualism that refuses to consider the consequences of choosing paycheck fulfillment over growing God’s kingdom fulfillment, especially among women. It’s easy to talk about men’s complicity in this self-absorbtion, real as it is, but they aren’t the ones with the wombs our future so desperately needs.