Currently, the most embarrassing of the allegedly populist right-wing enthusiasms is the pro-natalist position. The idea, in a nutshell, is that family formation is good for society, so why not create government programs that encourage family formation? …
Human reproduction doesn’t require a P.R. team. Who would think that activities humans have engaged in for millennia require government incentives, except the unhappily married or those who consider heterosexual sex a horrible drudgery?
What was the worst calamity ever to befall this country? … It was the government paying women to have kids.
During the most destructive period in American history, the rollout of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society programs, the federal government thought it would be a peachy idea to pay women to have babies. You’ll never guess what happened next!
Lots and lots of women started having babies — at a clip that didn’t allow time for acquiring a husband first.
Within a decade, the world had gone to hell, taking the black family down with it. While many blamed the implosion of the black family on African customs, slavery, the Middle Passage, Jim Crow and so on, a black demographer at the Rockefeller Foundation, Erol Ricketts, looked at the evidence. It turned out the black family was thriving until the What-Could-Go-Wrong? Great Society programs of the 1960s. Based on nearly a century of U.S. Census reports, Ricketts found [PDF] that between 1890 and 1950, black Americans married at higher rates than whites.
The marriage rate for black women fell below 70% for the first time in 1970. Today, we’d hold ticker-tape parades if 70% of black kids were being raised in intact families. …
We’re told that tax credits, payments, subsidies — extra votes! — for having kids is “pro-family.” You know what’s “pro-family”? Life is pro-family. Any government intervention repeals the natural consequences of life, and is, therefore, anti-family.
But if we’re too afraid to let life take its course and want a government program to give us happy families, how about 30-to-life for adultery and divorce? Sending out a government check to those who manage the amazing feat of human reproduction is simultaneously dysgenic and small-bore.
Back in the 1960s, conservatives could only predict disaster from these allegedly pro-child policies. By now, we’ve been running the experiment for more than a half-century. We’re living the disaster. Paying women to have kids actively destroys families, which I believe is the opposite of “pro-family.” …
The main way the government could do that is by eliminating 90% of itself, but that’s not in the cards.