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Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

The Left Finally Discovers the Need for Marriage and Children

The politics that produce the most children win.

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Credit: Tsakno Fedor

A few weeks ago, the editorial board at the Washington Post sounded the alarm about how political differences are exacerbating the problem of low marriage rates: “The problem with polarization, though, is that it has effects well beyond the political realm.… One example is the collapse of American marriage.” As women are becoming more progressive, men are becoming more conservative, and these political differences are consequently hurting marriage rates.

For this reason, the editors call for a shift in behavior. Ideally, men would move on from their misogynist political views while women show these men compassion and help them change their ways. More importantly, society at large would stop using politics to define their identity: “A cultural shift might be necessary—one that views politics as a part of people’s identity but far from the most important part.”

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There are two ways to read this editorial. The most obvious way is to read this as one more warning about the upcoming population crunch that will result if birthrates remain at current levels. Conservatives (like myself) have been making this point for years now, often associating the decline in religiosity with a decline in family formation. Even people like Elon Musk have spoken on this issue, encouraging today’s adults to have more children for the good of humanity.

A less obvious (but more important) way to read the editorial is to treat it as a wakeup call for the left. Although leftists dominate nearly every academic institution, media outlet, and government office, all this will soon unravel if single women, the main voting bloc for Democrats, stay single and refuse to have children. Already, these women are already less happy than their married counterparts and increasingly dependent on antidepressants to maintain their “liberated” lifestyle. This mental health crisis will only worsen as these women age past the childbearing years and become lonely cat ladies. 

The fear of feminine loneliness can be seen in leftist writer Amanda Marcotte’s vitriolic rebuttal of the Post editorial, defiantly titled, “It's a good thing most women don't want to date Trump voters.” Even though Marcotte’s essay takes every opportunity to childishly trash Trump-supporting men—“supporting Trump is much like refusing to bathe, blowing your nose in your hands or farting loudly on purpose”—it also reveals the panic felt among leftists about this political divide. For all her negativity and derision, Marcotte doesn’t actually disagree with the editorial’s conclusion that politics is forming a barrier between men and women. She just doesn’t want to be blamed. Yes, leftist women are not marrying, and yes, this is because many men are stupid losers who like Trump, but it’s not fair expecting the dynamic and beautiful women of the left to compromise and settle. 

Marcotte is not altogether wrong. It really is unfair to blame today’s women for the current predicament since they were conditioned to be the way they are now. They grew up in progressive feminist culture that pushed career over family, politics over principles, feelings over facts, and blamed all world’s ills on men and masculinity. They were raised to be empowered girlbosses who would forgo the burdens of a husband and children. As writer Rachel Cohen admits in Vox, today’s women are inundated with countless stories that reinforce this sterile vision of femininity. Now, when they’re confronted by the possibility of having a child with the boyfriend with whom they’re cohabitating, like Cohen apparently is, they’re riddled with angst.

This is probably why most feminist writers today have a weirdly obsessive hatred for “tradwives,” women who celebrate and promote their domestic lifestyle on social media. Both Marcotte and Cohen bring up tradwives in their essays even though this group of women is tiny relative to the female population at large. It’s as though the tradwife is the 21st century version of Virginia Woolf’s “Angel of the House,” the ghost of the good Christian wife and mother who haunts the modern woman trying to flout old cultural conventions and be independent. 

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Meanwhile, conservative women who actually want to marry and have kids are doing just that. In the conclusion of their manual on raising conservative children in a woke environment, conservative moms Katy Faust and Stacy Manning express what everyone else is starting to see: “The data don’t lie; Woke ideas are neither life-giving nor life-making. This means that while the Woke might currently hold the cultural power, they are not producing children at a sustainable replace rate.” The population overall will peak and decline soon, but conservatives can take heart that the pendulum will swing back their way.

For those wondering what this looks like in the real world, they can direct their attention to South Korea, which is already showing the effects of a politically and sexually polarized populace. Not only is the country’s birthrate one of the lowest in the world, its current president Yoon Suk Yeol won his election by specifically appealing to disgruntled men, blaming feminism for the country’s problems and promising to abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

Unfortunately, for those hoping in a political solution to this dilemma, they will ultimately be disappointed. As the saying goes, politics is downstream from culture, and the decline in marriage and children are the result of a sick culture. No government policy or censorious editorial will persuade men and women to put aside political differences and have children with one another, especially if the whole generation of men and women have internalized the message that such a lifestyle is a recipe for misery

Only a cultural reset will result in boosting family formation, and this necessitates a profound reexamination of values, education, and role models. For the time being, conservatives have been leading on this front and are reaping the rewards. Instead of mocking them and the notorious tradwives, leftists should consider learning from them before they go the way of the dinosaurs.

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