The fertility rate is way down, and yes, that’s a huge problem

For most of my life, so-called experts have been warning us to have fewer (not more) kids. This was sometimes even couched in subtly racist terms. Historically, there has been a tendency for environmentalists to support abortion (having fewer children is seen as good for the environment) and to oppose immigration. I’m not suggesting this was anything close to a majority opinion, but there are certainly examples of people making these arguments.

In many ways, though, it’s insane for a nation to aspire to a smaller population. First, there is the symbolic point that having children is a sign of optimism about the future. Healthy civilizations replace themselves; depressed or demoralized societies do not.

There are all sorts of other repercussions associated with having fewer children. For one thing, it helps to be able to field a standing army for conventional battle. But also consider the math. A larger population expands the pool of potential inventors and entrepreneurs (maybe the kid who would have cured cancer was never even born). There’s also the fact that our welfare state needs young workers to support an aging population. I could go on.