I like the optimism explanation. It’s easy to see why folks would refrain from reproduction if they thought their kids had only a broiling, denuded planet full of wretched consumer-zombies living pointless lives in cookie-cutter McMansions and soulless big box strip malls to look forward to. ~Will Wilkinson

Via Ross Douthat

On the other hand, more than a few conservatives who already have children and are having still more certainly fear that their children will have to face exactly this kind of future (and present), which would be one of the reasons why they are so vehemently opposed to most or all of the things Mr. Wilkinson describes.  So that leaves me with something of a puzzle: are Americans optimistic in Mr. Wilkinson’s view because they believe that the future will not be like the dreary consumatopian wasteland that he has painted above, or are they optimistic because they look at the same dreary consumatopian wasteland and see its better qualities?  Or is the key to American optimism (and thus relatively higher birthrate) the active embrace and celebration of said wasteland?