“The future is shaped by the people that we send into it. And we must never forget that the child tugging on our pant-legs is one of those people.”
The year is 2005 and the drive to upward mobility and abundant access to education has created a dwindling birthrate. As college-educated Americans postpone parenthood for career advancement, they’re sharply outbred by their lesser-educated peers. Within decades the IQs of average Americans drop significantly as natural selection is upended. By the year 2505, the population is composed of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals in the never-ending pursuit of carnal satisfaction. You may recognize this as the opening scene of Mike Judge’s 2006 comedy, Idiocracy. If you have not seen it, it comes highly recommended. Sadly, it seems at times more documentary than comedy. Judge misses the mark in his correlation between education and intelligence, but he nails the correlation between education and fertility rates.
A survey of fertility rates in the United States shows that the blue states generally lag behind the fertility rates of their red counterparts. There are many reasons why this is, but in general, the cultural values of liberal America place a higher emphasis on individual fulfillment and less emphasis on raising a family. Much like the opening scene of Idiocracy, liberal America generally delays child-rearing in pursuit of career advancement and thus starts having families much later than their conservative counterparts. While conservative America has a higher high school graduation rate, liberal America opts for advanced education at a much higher rate. The result of this is a much narrower window during the childbearing years for liberals that lessens the opportunity for successful reproduction. An additional correlation exists between fertility rates and the percentage of the population identifying as religious. By overlaying state fertility rate maps with rates of religion, a similar picture to that of the higher education map emerges.
It has been said that conservative America is having all of the babies and liberal America is raising them. Given the cited birth rates and the cultural hegemony enjoyed by the American Left, it is a hard assertion to dispute. It is a common scenario for conservative parents to send their kids off to higher education institutions, only to return as raging liberals. And though there is an adage that everyone is liberal until they get their first career job and start paying taxes, I believe that we’re seeing this is true in far fewer cases. There was a time when leftist policy and activism were largely concentrated in the academic setting, but of late they have presented throughout corporate and media institutions. Thus, ideology once abandoned in the career world now enables career advancement.
Try to find any sector of popular culture that is not dominated by leftist activism and you will be met with quite the challenge. Whether television programming, music, movies, gaming, social media, or sporting events, etc., no cultural institution in America is not dominated by leftist agendas. Public schools are no exception to this generalization. Recently the largest teacher’s union in America voted to embrace and promote Critical Theory in the classroom. Similarly, they promote sexuality and gender identity in public schools. In the management of Covid-19, these same unions were also the primary proponents of keeping children out of the classrooms, despite the recommendation from pediatric medical experts for them to return to in-person instruction. At every point, these organizations have pursued political agendas at the expense of the children’s education.
At the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, my wife and I purchased Chromebook laptops for our children to access and complete their school assignments remotely. These computers give some control over accessible content and the time-allotted for its consumption. What began as a parent-friendly and convenient way to check off the kid’s assignments, quickly mutated into an attention-draining and activist-curated time sink. Admittedly, mom and dad appreciated the moments of quiet as the kids consumed hours of “educational” games and YouTube videos. Unfortunately, this content is curated by organizations like PBS, and the result is children’s content that aligns with their political agenda. In addition to the type of content the kids were exposed to, there was also a noted shift in the behavior of our kids toward impulsivity and impatience that caused reconsideration of the benefit of these computers.
If you are wondering what can be done in this leftward march when all cultural institutions are dominated by the political left, conservatives must start by taking back ownership of their children’s rearing, beginning with the content that they consume. Our children’s response to excessive screen time led us to ban screens for the Summer, and on their last day of school, their laptops and tablets were locked away. A shift to imaginative and active play was nearly instantaneous and without a single complaint. It is clear that unfettered screen time is nothing more than the abdication of parental responsibility out of convenience, and must be strictly limited and with better content oversight moving forward.
In addition to controlling the content that the children are exposed to in the home, it’s more important than ever to take positive steps to engage and control the content that they are exposed to while parents are not with them. For many parents, this will require exercising parental choice in who is tasked with educating their kids. This may require moving them to a different school, school district, private school, or homeschooling them. Or this may require engaging with the local school boards and PTA’s in addition to educators to better scrutinize the content that children are exposed to while at school.
Finally, there is no institution better suited for preserving cultural values than religion. It comes as no surprise that the advancement of leftist ideology comes with the decline of organized religion in America. Yet, religion remains one of the strongest corollaries to a healthy fertility rate. If you have been absent from religion, consider getting your children back in church and allowing the church community to reinforce the values you wish to instill in your children. Given the disparate fertility rates along ideological lines cited above, if those who are making the kids resume raising them, the leftward march will in time take care of itself.