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Don’t Freak Out About Falling Fertility Rates

There's an easy way to make more Americans: immigration.

John Duarte Blend Images/NewscomJohn Duarte Blend Images/NewscomLyman Stone, an economist at United States Department of Agriculture, is extremely worried about America's fertility rates. In a new Medium post, Stone highlights "the great baby bust of 2017" and warns that "fertility is falling faster than you realize."

But he fails to make a convincing case that recent fertility-rate declines are something the U.S. should panic about. Because even if recent trends are irreversible—and that's a big if—the U.S. is uniquely positioned to solve population problems via immigration.

Using the most recent data, Stone presents an interesting snapshot of American births in the infancy of the Trump era. In 2015, America's "total fertility rate" (TFR)—the number of children per woman projected by the end of their childbearing years if current age-specific birth rates hold—was 1.84. This dropped slightly to 1.82 last year, and was down to 1.77 for the first six months of 2017.

Other countries that have experienced similar drops—Canada and Japan in the 1970s, France in the 1970s and 1980s—have failed to get back to replacement-rate fertility of 2.1, notes Stone. Pro-natal policies can only do so much, and sometimes fail entirely (something Ron Bailey explored here last week).

Yet immigration has been able to combat fertility replacement rate problems in France. And Canada "managed to stave off serious population risk" thanks to its liberal immigration policies.

So why, if our population plummets, can America not simply import more people? Even if our reputation has suffered some recent blows, there are still no shortage of people from all around the world clamoring to come here. Immigration from pretty much any target group we desire—including women of child-bearing age or families that already have young children—could easily be ramped up should our population require it.

In a follow-up post, Stone admits that immigration can solve some fertility-replacement problems, but suggests that because immigration has been down lately, "the U.S. is likely to have underwhelming amounts of immigration in the future." Thus, "this lever just won't get you as much change as it used to" and isn't a viable solution.

Stone treats immigration levels as some sort of immutable trend, rather than a direct result of governmental policies. Changing these policies may be politically difficult, but it's preferable to the total cultural and societal preference overhaul Stone recommends. And should our demographics become truly dire, immigration reform is likely to pick up steam.

Demographic doom is far from certain. As Bailey pointed out, "fertility is falling because people are making trade-offs between having more children and more education, more career advancement, more disposable income, and more leisure," as well, "so [people] can invest more in helping the children they do have to lead successful lives. Falling fertility is a sign that increased wealth and technological progress have given increasing numbers of people greater freedom to decide if, when, how, and with whom they want to reproduce."

This is a good thing for the American economy and promises foreseen and unseen positive effects that could offset the negatives of a depressed fertility rate. In terms of fertility downturns, America has seen much worse. While he worries we will never recover from our fertility recession, Stone presents fertility fluctuation data that is fairly normal in modern times.

We all know about the mid-20th Century baby boom that reversed 130 years of near-steadily falling fertility rates. But after rising to 3.27 in 1947, the total fertility rate dropped down to 3.09 in 1950. Then it shot up to 3.77 in 1957—almost on par with 1900-1901 levels—before falling below three in 1965.

By 1976, the total fertility rate was down to 1.74, an all-time American low. But then things started to reverse course slowly and choppily throughout the 1980s, climbing back over two in 1990. Then five more years of fertility rate declines and a decade of rate creep, reaching 2.12 in 2007—the highest rate seen since 1972. By 2010, however, the rate was back down to 1.92 and has dropped slightly or remained steady each year since.

If the past 100 years are any indication, a sharp fertility rate drop in one year, or a string of decreases, does not mean an irreversible trend. Nor does it portend doom.

For more on America's cycle of under- and over-population hysteria, check out this great Kerry Howley piece from Reason's archives.

Photo Credit: Mareen Fischinger, Photographer Westend61/Newscom

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  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I really dislike people who call themselves pet parents. It's really sad.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    There's nothing wrong with not having kids, but I confess that I find the whole "dog parents" thing weird and pathetic. If you choose to not be a parent, own it. Don't try to pretend that the four-legged critter you bought on sale at the pet store is your "child".

  • Mickey Rat||

    A pet is a "child" who never grows up, who is always dependent on you. A pet as a substitute for raising a family is either sad or delusional.

  • Juice||

    Never grows up and dies when a teenager. Sad.

  • Mickey Rat||

    More never has an independent adulthoid and gies straight into senior dementia.

  • ||

    Never grows up and dies when a teenager. Sad.

    Or *spoiler alert* saves Timmy from a well or contracts rabies fighting off wolves and has to be put down by the eldest son.

    Fuck. Even The Greatest Generations' pets were more independent, reliable, and hard working than millenials(' pets).

  • Eric Bana||

    A pet as a substitute for raising a family is either sad or delusional.

    I think it's wrong to view it as a substitute. It would probably only be a substitute if someone were infertile but desperately wanted children. People who choose not to have children but have pets that they like to spoil just really like spoiling their pets and love them dearly. They probably call them their children to show how much they care for their pets, which is more than what they would feel if they had a baby that they regretted.

  • Paloma||

    It's pretty common though for people to not only call them their children, but to expect OTHER people to treat them like they are their children. "My dog is just as important to me as your kids are to you" is something that's said way to often, as if they are educating other people to not be so uncaring.

    A guy came into our local Target store the other day with a miniature HORSE, that had the tag "service animal" on it and "do not touch". This Target also has a grocery section. The horse stunk the place up and the guy was not only oblivious, but a bit put out because other people fail to understand his weird "need" for this horse to soothe his nerves and "steady his walk". That's right, everyone else is insensitive and needs "education".

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I hate the legal obligation put upon places for service animals.

  • BYODB||


    That's right, everyone else is insensitive and needs "education".

    Only victim's have rights, after all, so it's understandable that everyone wants to position themselves as a victim somehow.

  • CE||

    Police officers hardest hit.

  • Mickey Rat||

    I had hiped ir wad understood that the criticism was for people who are infertile by choice rather than circumstance, and that either way a pet is not really comparable to a child except in the most shallow comparison.

  • Eric Bana||

    I don't think you understood my comment.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It is really not the same. I say this as someone who truly loves animals. It is simply not the same as a child.

  • Rhywun||

    Thank god.

  • Eric Bana||

    It is very different. Pets are substantially better than children, in my opinion.

  • Episteme||

    Pets are not your furry children. They're your furry roommates.

  • BYODB||

    I don't get it myself. My fiancé is starting to act like our cat is a baby, and I can't help but constantly make jokes about how we should have a kid since she's already treating the damn cat like a child. I don't think she finds it that funny though.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I think it might be that increased fears about having children, the responsibility it brings, and the impact that has upon ones lifestyle is butting up against the likely inborn urges we have as humans to have a family. So it's getting transferred on to our pets.

    Certainly, in general, people's whole view of pets have changed dramatically in the last 50 years even. It's still weird for me, as a youngster, to see the Flintstones or something where the dog is let loose outside in the evening, to go wander and do whatever dogs do at night. That's pretty damn uncommon today.

  • Juice||

    inborn urges we have as humans to have a family

    It's odd. I just do not have this feeling or urge.

    Sometimes I wonder what it would be like, but I still have a big aversion to the actual thought of it. Not sure why.

    I don't really care that much if I die childless though. Not that big of a deal to me, but it is something I'll miss out on that most people don't. Oh well. It won't matter once I'm dead.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It's odd. I just do not have this feeling or urge.

    I will clarify that I didn't mean to imply that everyone had this urge, though my statement clearly did imply that. There is still significant variation among people, but my guess is a lot of the Pet Parent types are dealing with that urge.

  • Juice||

    Yeah, if you're treating your pet like your baby, then you probably want a baby. Or, it's just that you're parenting instincts are making you feel that way toward your pet.

  • Paloma||

    Except babies don't stay babies, they grow up, and start to have their own ideas of what they should do and how they should live life. Pets never do. People who treat their pets like kids and their kids like pets are seriously fucked up.

  • Eric Bana||

    If you don't want children, then you're not really childless; you're childfree.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I don't get it myself. My fiancé is starting to act like our cat is a baby

    You know what that means...

  • Pro Libertate||

    BABY-MAKING TIME!

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Better hurry up the wedding so that you two can finally make love for the first time. Start making babies.

  • BYODB||

    Pssh, boyo I haven't been that Christian since high school. As soon as I hit college it was sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I will pray for you every single day.

  • BYODB||

    Please don't, I don't need that kind of attention from the big guy upstairs ^_-

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    That ticking sound BYODB hears around the house is his fiancé's uterus... she's not gonna be hitting 'snooze' on that action much longer, otherwise their baby is going to look remarkably like that neighborhood kid who mows lawns.

  • BYODB||

    Shit man, I was wondering where I lost my wristwatch!

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I am delighted by your fisting joke. Good job.

  • ||

    I don't get it myself. My fiancé is starting to act like our cat is a baby

    You know what that means...

    You can still send the message that you're not a 'Get up in the middle of the night and feed the baby' kind of person while avoiding charges of infanticide by shaking the cat to death?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Yet immigration has been able to combat fertility replacement rate problems in France.

    Uh-oh.

  • DJF||

    And has boosted the French car industry with their new wonderful burn the car holidays

  • Citizen X - #6||

    That is an old French student tradition that has been culturally appropriated by immigrants.

  • JoeBlow123||

    Hahaha

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    So why, if our population plummets, can America not simply import more people?

    Like we do TVs and washing machines?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Just another type of widget, completely compatible.

  • ||

    It is like the idiots at Reason think human beings are fungible. Thay a doctor killing zombie-believing savage from Malawi = 140 +IQ neurosurgeon from England.

  • Juice||

    What about a 140+ IQ neurosurgeon from Malawi?

  • DJF||

    But what about a 140+ IQ libertarian neurosurgeon from Malawi?

  • zach oriana||

    Malawi has an average IQ of 69 and 18M people. That means there's only about 70 people in the entire country with a 140 IQ.

  • Kivlor||

    Shh... don't point out racist things like that. Evolution only takes place from the neck down. You're collectively judging people! Bigot! Racist! REEEEEEE!!

  • buybuydandavis||

    Evolution only takes place from the neck down.

    Noice.

    Got to remember that one.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Odd how the two guys claiming to be part of an intellectually superior race can't spare the neuron activity needed to consider whether there might be factors *other than genetic* at work in Malawi's IQ rate. Like, say, all of them.

    Or maybe... just maybe... YOU'RE the retarded ones.

  • zach oriana||

    Intelligence is 86% genetic by age 25: http://www.psy.miami.edu/facul.....curdir.pdf

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Education has nothing to do with it? Parental intervention has nothing to do with it? Social pressure has nothing to do with it? Bullshit.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "But a study says!"

    -every gun control, socialized healthcare, narcotic prohibition, protectionism and luddism advocate ever

  • Paloma||

    Let's hope at least 50 of them move here before they get executed by some paranoid warlord or other.

  • Kivlor||

    Let's hope at least 50 of them move here before they get executed by some paranoid warlord or other.

    Here's a horrifying thought: They probably have already gone. They're here, or in another country, and there are no phenomenally high IQ people left in Malawi. Which is unbelievably horrifying once you realize that IQ is something like 70% heritable. That's how brain-drain works. It literally sucks a people dry of their best and brightest, and leaves them unable to produce more of them.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Very good point.

  • ||

    Like we do TVs and washing machines?

    It's funny that I get chastised as being divisive for using the word 'import' when referring to immigration only to have Reason use it intentionally and literally in the same sense if only propositionally.

  • ||

    Like we do TVs and washing machines?

    I do like the idea of, when the delivery guy doesn't show up during the window, blowing up his house in order to motivate him to import your appliances faster.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    No one would ever do that to Chinese girl babies. Ever.

  • BYODB||

    That awkward moment when Reason makes the explicit case that we need more brown immigrants to shore up our social safety net's to catch all those white people who are retiring who didn't save anything because they were told the Government would support them.


    At least you're being halfway honest about it now, I suppose.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Modern day colonialism.

  • BYODB||

    It's go a step further and say it's modern day indentured servitude.

    Either way it's a shitty reason to import more people, that being to keep promises that were always impossible to be kept. I'm sure the Reason authors don't see it this way, necessarily, but it's the overarching reason why Democrats in particular want more immigrants but don't want to actually reform the immigration system.

    If those immigrants are formally admitted into the country, they become eligible for the benefits that they're intended to pay into, but not receive. That way you can extract more money for social services without a corresponding increase in expenditures down the line.

    Pretty naked opportunism, but I see Reason gleefully plays into it.

  • Episteme||

    At least the Japanese are just building robots to replace their lack of children. It doesn't solve the long term financial issues, but it does somehow seem like a more decent solution to getting work accomplished.

  • vek||

    Personally I think we need to get birth rates up in the industrialized world. Not back to explosive growth, but maybe right around replacement. Even if it's a touch under it's not a hard decline to manage. But when you get to where Japan, some countries in Europe are etc it has the potential to blow up the whole system.

    People who think we're going to fix our country with immigration are fools. A nation of some sort might continue to exist, but it won't be anything like the America we have today or the one from the past, which was of course even better (other than technological advances that have made us richer). We're going to end up with endless infighting between all the random groups with totally differing views, socialism up the ass, and it's going to be a nightmare to live here. I'm jealous of my father who got to grow up in the real America of old, of which I barely caught a tiny peek at towards the end. If we don't change immigration policy soon this country is going to be a shit show. All the virtue signalling and wishing it will work out well isn't going to make millions of years of biology that makes us prefer people who look like ourselves, talk like ourselves, and share culture go away. Endless infighting is all we will have in this century going forward.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    That not-so-awkward moment when someone comments without reading the article.

  • BYODB||

    It seemed like a more interesting topic regarding immigration than to panic-monger over 'falling fertility rates' that are still way, way above simple replacement. I'd suggest that if ENB wants to cry about fertility rates that maybe she should research what minimum viable population represents in Biology and where that value is for humanity.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Doubling down on not reading, then. You do you, BYODBy.

  • BYODB||

    No, in fact I read the article. It's just that the article is such a non-sequitur I thought that I would address the logical conclusions of the article rather than the bullshit contained in it. That's because the bullshit in the article is a pointless exercise in non-information and idiocy, given that I actually understand what the fertility rate measures as well as what genetic variation is required for a stable and healthy population.

    Any fertility rate that meets at least replacement is fine. Period. There is no imperative to ramp up birth rates for any logical biological reason, therefore this article was written for some other reason. Given it's a political magazine, the conclusion appears obvious.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Well, if we're agreed that you were addressing things ENB never argued or even mentioned, we're all set. Odd that you used the word "explicit," though.

  • BYODB||

    I find the argument to be pretty explicit but that's because it's the only logical reason to write such a blatantly and obviously wrong article. She doesn't come out and say it, it's true, but I felt that the word 'implicit' was short-changing how obvious her underlying point was.

    Clearly, I overestimated other people's knowledge of negative population growth and deductive logic capacity.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Wow you really didn't read it, did you? It's a wonder you managed to comment on the right article at all. Unless your strategy is just to pepper every article with clueless conspiracy-tinged nativist nonsense.

  • BYODB||

    Question:

    Do you believe that an average of more than 1.00 - 1.5 is a dangerously low fertility rate?

    Obvious Answer:

    No.

    So the article poses a question with a simple answer, and then suggestions some other answer as a solution to an imagined problem.

    There, happy now? I've commented on the content of the article.

    Now, one might ask why an answer was posed as a solution to a non-problem, but by all means continue to pretend that I didn't read the article who's content is a complete non-sequitur.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    You never saw Idiocracy, did you?

  • Kivlor||

    It's not BYOBD that didn't read the article...

    ENB flat out argued that we need immigrants because it is easier than making policy changes.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    1) no, she doesn't

    2) if she were, those 'policy changes' would be social welfare programs to promote fertility, so lol

    3) shouldn't we go with the easier solution?

    4) the whole freakin' point is that Stone did not make his case that this is something to panic about and run to the govt for solutions, because a) the cause of the fertility shift may have more benefits than costs and b) the fertility rate shifts a lot and may well bounce back. jfc

  • BYODB||

    If ENB was not making that argument, then why was immigration even mentioned? Because Stone mentions it as a possible solution? Maybe, but that doesn't seem to matter in any way, shape, or form and it wouldn't serve to explain why most American women would all suddenly become barren at the same time. If it's sociological, which would be the most likely scenario outside of disease, why would immigrants fix it unless they don't integrate? And if it's disease related, immigrants don't fix shit.

    Because even if recent trends are irreversible—and that's a big if—the U.S. is uniquely positioned to solve population problems via immigration.

    ????

    So right here she's saying straight up there isn't a problem. Ok, well that is a fact. But if there was, she postulates, moar immigration fixes it!

    It's an Ouroboros of stupid.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    So right here she's saying straight up there isn't a problem. Ok, well that is a fact. But if there was, she postulates, moar immigration fixes it!

    Yes. What is hard to understand about that?

  • BYODB||

    The fact that the two most likely scenarios for actually falling birth rates (I.E. below what's necessary for replacement, or negative population growth) would be sociological or disease factors, and immigrants don't fix either of those things?

    Pray tell how immigration would fix negative birth rate caused by actual factors that are known to produce such a scenario outside of simply completely replacing or absorbing the native population?

    Answer: It doesn't.

    It's obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that ENB started with her answer, and worked backwards to find some way to jam that solution into a problem that doesn't have jack or shit to do with it.

    She might as well be saying that after all the White American's die off the Spanish will reclaim the land because, well, that is exactly what she's suggesting. It's one of the dumbest things I've read from a Reason author yet, and this includes Dalmia.

    The only remaining answer for the 'why' I could come up with is that she fully recognizes that during this theoretical die-off of all American's someone would need to pay for their care. Then again, I'm assuming there is some logic there at all. In fact, I could be way off base and she simply didn't think at all.

  • Kivlor||

    1) yes she does.
    2) His major non-immigration policy that's so difficult--according to ENB--is telling women who want to have more kids, to do just that. His alternative was that we cut spending and plan for lower taxes in the years to come.
    3) Not if the "easier solution" is a bad solution.
    4) The whole point of both of the linked articles is we need a cultural shift in attitude towards women who want to have kids choosing to have kids, as in encouraging it. He actually admits that Russia's ever-increasing government rewards for childbearing have only succeeded in the short-term and that they were failures in the long-term.

  • CE||

    Or you could eliminate the income tax so families have more money to raise more kids if they want to.

  • Kivlor||

    CE that's an option, but you'd have to do something to replace the income, or reduce spending--both of which ENB and Stone seem to find unpalatable. So that leaves us with... a national sales tax? Higher taxes on trade goods? This still won't change much in terms of birth rates.

    Here's a government approach on encouraging more births--one that actually has a particular benefit to higher IQ people: Go full Rome and tax childlessness. Give people till 25 to have a kid, or start paying taxes. Give them till 30 to have 2 or more taxes. Additionally, 100% estate tax for adults w/o kids who would inherit anything.

    Or we could go the 3rd route, which I don't know why everyone opposes, which is to stop screwing with it, let people make their own decisions, and NOT "import" backwards savages or pay natives to have kids. If we have an economic, population, and power decline, then so be it.

  • BYODB||


    Or we could go the 3rd route, which I don't know why everyone opposes, which is to stop screwing with it, let people make their own decisions, and NOT "import" backwards savages or pay natives to have kids. If we have an economic, population, and power decline, then so be it.

    I absolutely agree, even while I do find your repeated use of the term 'savages' to be a bit hyperbolic. You've explained that bit enough to make your point clear though, and I'm not going to get my panties in a bunch because of your verbiage here.

    IQ testing of those nations, though, I suspect is incomplete or not comparable to the United States so I hesitate to agree with that particular plank but on a testable knowledge base alone they would likely fail in the American economy. So I feel that the argument still stands. (I.E. We have enough ignorant and uneducated American's, we don't need to import more.)

  • Kivlor||

    Yes. It's pretty mean language. And I don't mean they're evil. But on average they Re not smart. And that is fine in their lands, but not in ours.

    Worse is this ridiculous concept that if we invite people who are very anti freedom here that they'll magically be like us. They have been against freedom all their lives, but if we hand them a flag, and claim they're one of us they'll love liberty.

    Our time is coming, 250 years is the natural life cycle of an empire...

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Sure, way to guilt me

  • CE||

    Can't have more parasite than host.

  • ||

    So we have to import 3rd world flotsam and jetsam to support the likes of ENB who cant even take the time to make a sammich much less raise enough children to support her virtue signaling ass?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Finally, someone gets it.

  • BYODB||

    Now now Troy, we both know that women like ENB are just here to tell other women how they should live. That's what modern feminism is.

  • Domestic Dissident||

    Have you seen what her "husband" looks like? It's probably questionable whether he even knows how to make a baby.

  • BYODB||

    I don't go there, I'm sure both Elizabeth and her husband are fine people. I just want fewer articles that ask retarded questions that are easily answered that are then followed up by lengthy discussions about some other unrelated solution that just-so-happens to be a pet cause for the publication.

  • Domestic Dissident||

    I understand. I go there so others don't have to. :)

  • Hugh Akston||

    Why are declining birthrates supposed to be a problem?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Because my social security check isn't going to cash itself.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I mean why is it supposed to be a problem for people who aren't parasites like social security recipients or homeowners.

  • Mickey Rat||

    When you have been a feeder all your life, you start to look forward to being the vampire.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Its their right! They paid their dues.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Depends on your values, of course. Labor is still a resource and there's the Hayekian/Caplanian(?) argument that more minds means more shared information and specialization and ingenuity. So even if capital improvements mean fewer people can produce more than in the past, a falling population could still result in regression.

  • BYODB||

    Boy, that's a pretty stupid view. Please note how many innovations originate in countries with the highest birth rates. (Hint: Virtually none)

    Falling birth rates coincide with lower infant mortality rate, because you don't need as many spare babies when the one's you already have live.

    This is a widely known fact that some Reason authors apparently have a rough time with. It makes their 'moar immigration' arguments look like they're working from their solution backwards to find a problem it solves.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Boy, that's a pretty stupid view. Please note how many innovations originate in countries with the highest birth rates. (Hint: Virtually none)

    So are you being disingenuous, or do you honestly not comprehend the argument I referenced above?

    No, the argument is not that more people is sufficient to generate innovation. Just as a bunch of capital or labor or natural resources are not sufficient to generate wealth. The argument is that it is an important, perhaps necessary, component.

  • BYODB||


    ...more minds means more shared information and specialization and ingenuity.

    Or, to reword that in a way most people would recognize, if you have an infinite number of monkey's they will eventually produce Shakespeare.

    No, the argument is not that more people is sufficient to generate innovation. Just as a bunch of capital or labor or natural resources are not sufficient to generate wealth. The argument is that it is an important, perhaps necessary, component.

    Gotcha, I stand corrected. You're stating something that's so blindingly obvious that you might as well have stated 'without oxygen, no innovation occurs'. Fair enough, I guess, but hardly insightful.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Diane gets it^

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    As a staunch advocate of reproductive choice, I agree such language can be problematic. Often it comes across like we're shaming people for electing to have fewer children, or none at all.

    However, since the ultimate goal of any serious libertarian is unlimited immigration, in this context I think it's permissible to describe fertility rates as being "too low." Anything that can be used to argue for open borders, should be.

  • Juice||

    The case for open borders has nothing to do with fertility rates (at least no one should try to make it so). It's all about the morality of threatening peaceful people who have harmed no one but who crossed an imaginary line.

  • DJF||

    Like property lines?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    So, ol DJF, that company Cards Against Humanity just bought a piece of property along the US-Mexico border in an effort to stall The Wall. Presumably, they are in favor of allowing people to cross the border. If CAH allows it, is a non-American in Mexico allowed to cross into CAH's property?

  • KDN||

    Let's take the compromise position: yes, but they aren't allowed to leave except to reenter Mexico.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Eminent Domain CAH property for the wall.

    Its a stupid CAH publicity stunt and caused me to never buy their stuff again.

    As CAH goes into bankruptcy, they can look back at why it cost them hundreds of thousands on legal fees to defend their border property from eminent domain which is a right of government enumerated in the Constitution.

    CAH's reasonable compensation should be $1. Case closed.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    You use "right enumerated in the Constitution" interchangeably with moral way too often. That's always your fallback.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    BUCS, you are mistaken, as usual.

  • Microaggressor||

    That awkward moment when somebody not named Tony argues in favor of confiscation of private property for $1 on a libertarian website.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Aw, poor Microaggressor does not like the Constitution and its eminent domain clause.

    CAH knew the land was being used to build a wall and chose to buy land that will be given reasonable compensation during eminent domain proceedings. They purchased it anyway.

    No sympathy for CAH.

  • Mithrandir||

    "..
    eminent domain which is a right of government enumerated in the Constitution."

    It's also a shitty socialistic government right that anyone who believes in property rights should be vehemently against.

    But yeah, since it is in the Constitution it somehow isn't socialism. I see.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Well, the endgame here is to get DJF to embrace the view that the border is held in common by the public as communal property, with the rules and maintenance of the property determined by democratic vote unconstrained by any overriding liberal principles. Which is to say, embrace socialism.

  • Mickey Rat||

    People who want eminent domain reform should be annoyed with that. Exploiting laws meant to curb abuse of eminent domain in order to block a legitimate functuon if government will diminish support of eminent domain reform.

  • Mithrandir||

    I don't want eminent domain reform. I want it abolished. ED in any form is socialism, plain and simple.

    It should be the government's job to offer a price that can't be refused or else GTFO. Any entity should be able to do whatever the fuck they want with their property. Suggesting otherwise is inherently anti property rights.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    "in any form is socialism, plain and simple."
    Socialism is government controlling the means of production.

    Communism is the government control of all property.

    This Constitutional Democratic Republic was founded with eminent domain as a restricted tool for government to expand roads. This should not be used as a tool by government to go after people or take everyone's land. Property rights should also not be a tool for people to prevent a border wall protecting the USA border.

    CAH should not have the unrestricted ability to prohibit defense of the USA because it disagrees with enumerated duties of government laid out in the Constitution.

  • Mithrandir||

    "I believe in property rights but..."

    Shut the fuck up.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The sign of someone stupid who loses a discussion.

    Property rights as protected by the constitution and national sovereignty.

    You cannot abolish an enumerated duty of the US government without changing the constitution.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    I, for one, took it as "the sign of someone realizing that his opponent is too dumb to be worth engaging".

    You have no collective right to MY property. If the Constitution says that you do, then the Constitution IS WRONG ABOUT THAT. Because it was not written by gods, and the men who did write it were flawed and hypocritical. Stop worshipping it and get this equation through your head:

    Non-Aggression Principle =/= US Constitution
    Non-Aggression Principle > US Constitution

  • Mithrandir||

    ^^ is the correct answer.

    You absolutely cannot support both the government-mandated confiscation of private property at any time for any reason (read eminent domain) and still support property rights. The two are inherently mutually exclusive, regardless of what some document that was written hundreds of years ago by politicians that are every bit as fallible as today's politicians says.

  • Juice||

    Why are declining birthrates supposed to be a problem?

    Exactly. Is the Earth overpopulated or isn't it?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Libertarians and conservatives are reclaiming government.

    Lefty response is mass hysteria to create more brainwash victims in lefty schools to counter said gains in taking back government from lefties.

  • Kivlor||

    dude, lefties don't care about these people being put in schools, because it's not necessary. They're talking about importing millions of guaranteed voters, whose IQ is so low there is no way you could explain to them the merits of free markets and labor over the simplicity of gibsmedat.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    At this point, the lefties want to use every method they can to get voters. Schools, immigrants, lying, accusations of sex scandals, firing squads, concentration camps, etc.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Why are declining birthrates supposed to be a problem?

    Because some wacky people value their civilizations and don't want them to cease to exist.

  • vek||

    Right? If only the ancient Romans had stopped having babies after the 2nd Punic war then Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East would have been spared all of that innovation and culture being spread everywhere!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Stone admits that immigration can solve some fertility-replacement problems, but suggests that because immigration has been down lately, "the U.S. is likely to have underwhelming amounts of immigration in the future."

    The one thing we all know about trends is that they continue unchanging forever. That's why Manhattan Island is completely buried in manure, and everybody in the world starved to death in the '70s.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You mean there might actually be a libertarian moment?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Who knows, man. Who knows.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Every damn time I post here is a libertarian moment. Suck on that Gillespie.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Jacket is folded all nice and neat, for later battle with BUCS.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    *in foreign accent*

    "How much for the voman?"

  • loveconstitution1789||

    We have enough people in the USA. We don't need mass immigration nor mass fertility rates.

    Everything will be just fine.

    Calm down.

  • Kivlor||

    But who will pay for all these government programs in the aging population? It's not like this is a libertarian website, where the authors would be expected to oppose finding ways to continue big government.

  • MasterThief||

    I think it's fair to say that many of the writers here hold open borders as the most important libertarian principle. As BYOBD has been ranting here, it really does look like ENB worked back from her solution in search of a problem for which it can be applied. So people in our society are choosing to have fewer children later in life due to financial and other factors. Would it not be better to let people make their choices based on these factors? If our population is declining then there are probably good reasons for it. I would suspect that after those factors are worked out that our population would level out again.
    The article doesn't make a good case for why our population should be kept the same or increased. If we bring in others to fill in those numbers then we are exacerbating the decline of the native population. Do we care about the native population or not? Is this being proposed to keep our welfare system seemingly funded? Or is this all just another excuse to argue that a nation is not something that should exist so our borders should be eliminated?
    It's even sillier when considering that environmentalists keep complaining about overpopulation while actively trying to give third world peoples more resources so they can continue over-breeding.

  • Kivlor||

    Jesus Christ ENB.

    "Let's fix our childlessness by importing borderline-retarded low-iq savages just like we'd import wine or nestle chocolate syrup. What could go wrong? It's totes working great for France! I mean, it's not like they can't even have Christmas markets for fear of the immigrants murdering native Frenchmen en-masse over it."

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    I guess everyone outside of the US is a borderline-retarded savage. I always learn so much from you, Kivlor.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    He is being extreme with the savage part but life sure is cheap in many countries outside the USA.

  • Kivlor||

    In general, most of them are. If that upsets you MJ, too bad.

    The reality is that places with high fertility are in general very low IQ. To the point that the "140 IQ neurosurgeon from Malawi" basically doesn't exist. In the US the median IQ is ~100. In Africa, it's ~70. To get people on par with us, you have to look at people 2 standard deviations above the norm. To get to that 140 IQ, you're looking for someone ~5 standard deviations above normal in that group. South of the border is 1 standard deviation below us...

    Now, work is requiring higher and higher IQs as we technologically advance so think about that...

  • Kivlor||

    Let's add to this the reality of low IQ and criminality, especially violent crime. Yup.

    We totally need to "import" these cultured, beautiful, wonderful people to our backward country as if they were any commodity. They will improve us so much. They'll enrich our culture and our women. We're the real backwards ones with our "colonized science" and our eurocentric ways of thinking. What about shamanism and magic? I mean, science classes don't include that at all! You're right MJ, it was wrong of me to refer to those people as savages.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Out of all this, I'm most confused as to why you used quotation marks around "import," when you're the one who introduced the term...

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Oops, it is introduced in the article.

    *rolls up newspaper*

    Bad ENB! That's not the accurate term to use!

  • Hail Rataxes||

    They'll enrich our culture and our women.

    What mask?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    The libertarian position on birthrate:

    1. Have as many or as few kids as you and your spouse/partner/polyamor/creche want and can take care of, and then support them until they can support themselves.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Something you and I agree on.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    and then support them until they can support themselves.

    This is where libertarians lose most people.

  • Microaggressor||

    We skipped the adult daycare step?

  • MasterThief||

    That sounds like a self-regulating approach! Can't have such an idea be proposed by a libertarian magazine.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    There would be a LOT more babies if certain people and the government would stop making criminals out of kids that have sex with or sext each other.

  • ||

    I wonder how much of this population bust is the (in)direct result of state generated/propagated fear mongering about overpopulation, global warming, destruction of natural resources, and the rest of the impending doom being propagated as science by the public education machine?

    I mean, it's nice to say that the government shouldn't be encouraging people to have kids but it's been pretty fundamentally and intentionally scaring most of them out of the proposition well before puberty sets in.

  • Kivlor||

    When I was in elementary school this narrative was pushed. I've often wondered how much of the choice to not have kids is related to it.

  • BYODB||

    All I can tell you is I've never believed any of that shit and I still don't have kids. That said, in the next five years I probably will if statistics are to be believed. And, honestly, I kind of want them anyway since I've done the math and my fiancé and I have a 75% chance of ginger kids.

    The world needs more soulless gingers, I think.

  • Kivlor||

    I married a soulless ginger. We've got 2, with one on the way, and if we can afford it we'll have more in the future. Neither of us bought into the "there's too many people" trope obviously, but man, I know a ton of people to spout it, and who claim that's why they had only 1, or even 0 kids.

    There's nothing more magical in my life than coming home, seeing my kids' faces light up when I walk in the door, and hearing them squeal "Dad!"

  • ||

    I was actually thinking about my middle one. My oldest, through no (and even despite) external encouragement, is a decided right-wing, law-and-order, curmudgeon... a begrudged libertarian or a glibertarian if you will.

    My middle one, on the other hand, is a naive, bleeding heart who works hard and aims to please. He loves his siblings and, at this point, seems like he would love to have a big family. However, if you told him the world were dangerously overpopulated and he should really forego having children, despite seeing all the open land and abundance around him, he would forego having children.

    The third is still TBD. He's still at that age where he greets everyone everywhere with an energetic hello and a big smile.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I married a soulless ginger.

    Is there any other kind?

    When I saw the South Park episodes on Gingers, I thought they were hilarious. I had no idea "Ginger" was a real thing.

    I grew up in Hawaii, and there just weren't enough whites for us to get fussy and throw some out of the club. We needed all we could get for self protection. Whitey is not always on top of the pecking order.

    Point
    Gingers have no souls

  • buybuydandavis||

  • TGGeko||

    Why is "importing" humans a better option than say shrinking welfare, increasing tax deductions for children, reducing regulations on child rearing related industries or any other option?

  • Ron||

    our government never shrinks even when it is serving fewer people. Locally some people want to spend a lot more money on school structures luckily several people pointed out that they just closed a new school due to lack of students

  • CE||

    Why not just build androids?

  • BYODB||

    I just want a handroid. You know, like an android for...err nevermind.

  • Mickey Rat||

    When did your fixation on Thing begin?

  • ||

    Why not just build androids?

    Why not just pay the Chinese to build them and import them?

  • lap83||

    Good lord, even the dog in that picture must know it's a sham marriage.

  • lap83||

    nttawwt

  • Kivlor||

    Thinking more on this article I have 2 additional questions for ENB:

    1) If low fertility is not an issue, why bother with immigration?
    2) Why is it "preferable" we have societal and cultural preference to discourage women having kids when they want them?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Answer to 2: Misanthropy.

    It just turns out t hat having a high tech society steeped un feminist values is not a survival trait.

  • Kivlor||

    That's what it seems like. But when we plug that in we get: "It's preferable to have a society and culture based on hating humanity as opposed to one that encourages women to have as many kids as they would like to and can afford."

    I'm not saying it's not misanthropy, it's just that I think there is absolutely no way ENB could say that without feeling some intense shame.

  • Ron||

    Japan is solving its problem by building robots that will probably pay into the system as well as any immigrant could and robots don't argue or riot, at least not yet anyway.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    First panic this week: There aren't enough jobs for people because of robots.
    Second panic this week: There aren't enough people to do the jobs.

    Everything works if you let it.

    and...

    You think infertility is bad now, just wait till the robots take *that* job...

  • AlmightyJB||

    Well robots can just build more robots, population problem solved. I hope robots are nicer than people. I think as long as no one tries to program morality into them, they should be ok.

  • buybuydandavis||

    The Japanese are building robots to increase productivity per capita
    Which seems a desirable end in itself for the mass of Japanese

    The "let's import more human widgets" benefits those who would hire the widgets, and harms those who would compete with them in the labor market.

  • CE||

    Yet immigration has been able to combat fertility replacement rate problems in France.

    As Dr. Phil might say, how is that easy immigration thingy working out for you, France?

  • CE||

    So why, if our population plummets, can America not simply import more people?

    Why not just have fewer people living here, with more room for everyone? Are the old, leisure-class people sponging off the young, working-class people or something?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Well I think the argument is that population growth drives economic growth more than even productivity gains from technology does. Which is why it's an economist sounding the alarm. Obviously, there a lot of other factors to consider, especially as the government sector and the welfare state continuers to grow.

  • Dick Puller, Attorney at Law||

  • AlmightyJB||

    "infancy of the Trump era"

    How long are we thinking the Trump "era" will be? A millennia?

  • buybuydandavis||

    The God Emperor will rule forever!

  • Entelechy||

    Compare the population density of the original 13 states when the constitution was written with that at the time when the 15th amendment established the income tax/

    So far so good- even with Ellis Island operating 24-7 the total population was still well under 100 million.
    But since then, the popuation has almost quadrupled, as has the size of government.

    The division of the same amount of land among an ever growing number of hands has historically led to nations people want to leave.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Never fails
    Reason writes about immigration and hilarity ensures

    Yet immigration has been able to combat fertility replacement rate problems in France.

    Yeah. Cause everyone looks at immigration in France, and says "let's be just like them!".

    So why, if our population plummets, can America not simply import more people?

    Certainly we can. In fact, we could all shoot ourselves in the head and bequeath America to the Chinese. Or the Mexicans.

    What Reason either doesn't get, or simply refuses to admit, is that Americans actually want America to continue to exist, not merely to have humans walking the soil Americans once did. There aren't a lot of countries that have assembly lines churning out even approximate Americans for us to import.

    After all Americans have shot themselves in the head, and 300 million Chinese have moved in, is that the America that Americans were seeking to preserve? I think not.

    Falling fertility is a sign that increased wealth and technological progress have given increasing numbers of people greater freedom to decide if, when, how, and with whom they want to reproduce

    Or, it's a sign that when a family could be supported by one wage earner working 9-5 instead of both wage earners working 45 hour weeks, people had more kids.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Just give everyone a passport

    https://youtu.be/flRELYUqmUE

  • buybuydandavis||

    A couple words I never heard anyone interviewed in the video use to describe British culture:
    Freedom
    Liberty

  • buybuydandavis||

    I remember when the Open Borders Uber Alles crowd would get their panties in a wad when I'd talk about "importing" people.

    Now Reason has gotten open about importing human widgets. More honest. Good.

    Maybe they'll start broaching the subject of how *libertarian* those imported widgets are, and whether importing them will make the US more or less libertarian.

    Kind of relevant for a supposedly libertarian magazine.

  • Sprague Pond||

    Right. A backhanded pitch for open borders. Immigrants aren't bad, but only merit-based and controlled. Seventy years of traditional conservatives in Big Agriculture and the Chamber of Commerce exploiting an unlimited flow of illegals to keep labor costs down, competing right up there with the Clintons in their pious immorality. It's illegal; it's immoral; it forces them to commit identity theft to survive; it hurts the rest of the nation's wage-earners; it's grossly unfair to the exploited; it's expensive, and it ends now. Trump may be a vulgarian, but he's spot-on here.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "exploiting an unlimited flow of illegals to keep labor costs down, competing right up there with the Clintons in their pious immorality."

    *ag* labor costs. Not "labor-in-general" costs. Ooh, those damned Kulaks...

    "It's illegal"

    Who cares?

    "it's immoral"

    If it weren't in the best interest of the illegals, they'd go back where they came from; if it weren't in the best interest of the employer, they wouldn't hire them; and the native born can get a job in some other sector. Every argument that applies to free trade and automation, applies here as well.

    "it forces them to commit identity theft to survive"

    About as much as drug prohibition forces people to use fentanyl, yeah.

    "it hurts the rest of the nation's wage-earners"

    NO! NOT THE CANDLE-MAKERS!

    "it's grossly unfair to the exploited"

    So legalize it and get rid of the laws that enable the exploitation.

    "it's expensive"

    So is the 100,000,000,000$ we'd need to spend to keep them out.

    "and it ends now"

    TBC 3-7 years from now.

    "he's spot-on here"

    Eth-Nat moron.

  • Sugarsail||

    the falling fertility rates are mostly due to the misanthropic environmental worldview that holds that humans are a vile ruinous scourge on the planet and that the world is overpopulated. People that hold traditional religious values instead of worshiping the earth and animals are less inclined to despise humanity and more inclined to prosper through procreation. That is, the modern environmental worldview is not merely environmental stewardship but a maladaptive psychological trait that is being weeded out through natural selection.

  • John Thacker||

    Fertility has partially declined because of technology, but it has indeed also declined because of the increase in the social safety net, as research demonstrates. Partially that is because of people not needing/expecting their own children to support them in old age, but others' children instead. Partially that is because of the impact during potential childbearing and childrearing years of higher taxes, making it more difficult for people to afford the children that they both say that they want and would have otherwise absent the taxes. (I realize that some people have strong concerns when trusting women to say how many children they want; presumably those people also oppose any efforts to address "unwanted births" since via revealed preference there must be no such things as those either.)

    The net fertility depressing effect of Social Security and its taxes exceed any boosting effect from the relatively much smaller child tax credit. (The same is true of most other countries, including those with things like parental leave because other taxes are higher still. There are a few exceptions, like France, with particularly generous and effective pro-natalism policies. That isn't the US, though.)

    Immigration won't really fix the problem in the long term. I'm pro open borders, but there simply aren't enough immigrants to solve the problem, and today's willing immigrants have below replacement TFR anyway.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    ^ this is what I was going to bring up before I got distracted by all the Eth-Nat woodlice

  • JoeBlow123||

    Dumb article.

  • FertilityBoost||

    Fascinating article! I'm personally very interested in fertility issues, so I started a blog where I cover that topic: fertilityboost.net

  • vek||

    Ugh. Personally I think we should try to encourage social norms that push us back up to replacement rate or so. We don't need massive growth, just to be stable, or even shrinking more slowly. That deals with the economic issues with a fast decline. I think it's a cycle and feminism and other progtardedness is wearing out its welcome, which might in fact make a swing back to more traditional values. All of these lonely people dying alone (the early low/no kids folks from the 70s etc) telling people they wish they had had kids might help too.

    As far as immigrants, you can bring them in if you want, but all you idiots that think America will still be America are fooling yourselves. Nobody but native born white people believes in any of the ideals of America. 90% of blacks are against it. 60-70ish+ percent of Hispanics, and so on. I don't see anybody but MAYBE Asians coming around because they don't have an inferiority complex.

  • vek||

    Everybody else hates everything about America statistically on average. So importing millions of them, while native born population declines, is a recipe for a socialist hell hole, AND also anti white racism will go through the roof. Look how bad it is starting to get now when whites are still 2/3 of the population... Can you imagine when it's 40% or 30%? It's a nightmare I don't even want to think about.

    IF we went to a merit based system instead of importing the most worthless and economically unviable people like we largely do now, that might somewhat fix things economically... And I would find that a minimally acceptable situation, although I'd still prefer not even that... BUT the culture will be gone, and government will go to shit even worse than now. I would rather have a declining population like Japan than flush what little freedom we have left down the toilet by importing millions of foreigners. If shrinking populations is the new norm, go down as your own country, not some mismash of random people from all over the world hating on the actual native born in their own damn country!

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