The High Tech Pronatalists

The High Tech Pronatalists February 9, 2023

We used to be told that overpopulation will destroy civilization.  Now that we are seeing dramatic plunges in birthrates, the new fear is that a collapse in the population will destroy civilization. Tech moguls and future-oriented researchers are turning to “pronatalism,” meaning literally “pro-birth,” looking for solutions to the problem.

The good news, especially in our pro-abortion and anti-family society, is that culture-shapers and policy makers are recognizing the importance of having babies.  The bad news is that many of them are looking to technology to make that happen.

Sharon Kirkey has written an article for the National Post entitled The new push for more babies: How tech elites think it will save the planet.

As an example of the new pronatalism in Silicon Valley, she cites Elon Musk, who has 10 children with various mothers.  He tweeted that “Population collapse due to low birth rates is a much bigger risk to civilization than global warming.”  Population collapse, “not overpopulation,” he says, is an “existential problem for humanity.”  That is to say, it threatens humanity’s very existence.

Pronatalists fear that ever-fewer children being born will mean an aging population with fewer workers to support them.  Fewer workers and fewer consumers will mean economic contraction.  Living standards will decline, governments won’t be able to fund their social programs, and innovation will stagnate.  Civilization, says Musk, “will crumble.” Musk has also said,  “civilization will indeed die with a whimper in adult diapers.”

Kirkey also quotes Malcolm and Simone Collins, the founders of pronatalist.org, who warn that “humanity has a very real chance of experiencing an extinction event.”  On that website, they warn of “Genocide Through Inaction”: “Without intervention, ethnic groups like the Koreans and the Emirates will approach near extinction within a few generations. At current birth rates, there will be six great grandchildren for every hundred Koreans. This is equivalent to a disease that wipes out 94% of the population.”

This new pronatalism is not about right wing conservatism and religious zealots intent on oppressing women by forcing them into child-bearing, as the feminist and population-bomb critics are saying.  The Collinses are definitely leftwing secularists.  The Collinses lament that it’s the more “authoritarian” and more religious cultures are having the most children.  “Essentially, every world culture that does not have strong religious convictions and low egalitarianism is being ‘weeded out.'”

What they want is to find a way for progressive societies to breed more, without sacrificing “women’s rights” and “free” lifestyles.  “Progress the world has made in terms of women’s rights, freedom of speech, environmentalism, racial equality, gay rights, etc. runs the risk of systematic erasure if we fail to intervene.”

On the Pronatalist website, they promote “the five child pledge,” but they also promote single parenthood and “new family structures.”  And, in tune with our current cultural mindset, they put their trust in technology.  For example, egg, sperm, and embryo banks:

We work with families to approach the often-daunting task of freezing sperm, eggs, and embryos—a process that enables people to have large families of their own despite postponing childbearing in order to first pursue ambitious careers or create an optimal scenario for child rearing.

Kirkey reports on the Collinses bigger ideas:

What could save us, they say, are artificial wombs that would make childbearing truly egalitarian, or a reproductive process, currently being tested in mice, that could permit the creation of human embryos using skin, muscle, liver or blood cells that have been coaxed into behaving like egg and sperm cells. Embryo screening and selection also figure into their plans.

This reminds me of the “hatchery” in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, a factory in which babies are genetically engineered, fertilized, incubated, “hatched,” and educated to meet the society’s need for various kinds of workers.  All without the encumbrances of marriage, parenthood, and the family.

Kirkey says that a quarter of the world’s countries have implemented pronatalist policies, most of which are geared to helping families and supporting children.

This includes China, which ruined itself demographically and morally with its “two-child” law, with its forced abortions.  Now China has a “three-child” policy, which it pursues by limiting the availability of birth control as well as offering free fertility treatment and longer maternity leaves.  Russia is offering a “Mother Heroine” award of one million rubles ($21,600) to any woman who gives birth to 10 children.

These heavy-handed governmental programs and dehumanizing technology are no substitute for the real solution: to build a culture of life that truly values children, not just as workers for the economy but for their intrinsic value.  This will require a renaissance of the family.   And what some pronatalists insist on decrying, even as they admit its effectiveness:  “strong religious convictions.”

 

Illustration: Population Down by j4p4n via Open Clipart, Public Domain

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