It’s supposed to be good sense among the better classes that large families are something only for religious zealots who hold backwards views about women still have. In the eyes of the new class, having many children is a sign of backwards beliefs. It is also a crimp on the lifestyle that the better sort of person is supposed to enjoy. How can both spouses ‘lean in’ at the office when there are six or more children to take care of? Sending just one child to Harvard costs a lot of money out of pocket. How can anyone afford to send seven of them in that direction?
Not to mention that exciting sex life that you are supposed to be having through your 40s, 50s, and 60s. Surely, it gets really complicated to manage your polyamorous thirds and fourths when you have so much parenting to take care of. Let’s not even get into how you can convince your wife to get to know her horse a little better when she has all those kids to take care of, like the cool liberals do when they’re on vacation.
The trouble with this point of view is that it’s really becoming outmoded. Too many people have been sent to American universities, the value of the degrees has become debased, and the educations that it provides are providing diminishing returns. The ultra-high-investment lifestyle family is not providing the same windfall that it did in the 1970s and 1980s, when the drop in overall fertility became both stylish and popular.
In a country with declining social trust, creating larger families which are tight-knit confers some strong advantages.
When the press is full of lies, you need an extended family with trusted networks of their own to provide you with accurate information about changing conditions in politics and markets. When the public information clearing-houses provide only lies and disinformation, the people who believe that material will suffer major disadvantages. When the published statistics are false, being able to call up someone in the family to get the accurate information confers some real advantages.
When all the phone lines are tapped, and your ‘smart’ television is listening to your living room banter, being able to walk over to a friend’s house, turn on the water faucet, and talk business can be of incalculable value. When technological surveillance becomes endemic and widely abused, blood-bonds become much more reliable relative to the alternative.
The micro-family model only makes some sense when public institutions are trustworthy and not liable to brutally predate on everyone who trusts them. If the public institutions are predatory, then the connective framework that micro-families rely upon is now actively dangerous to their health rather than supporting their potential.
Additionally, the micro-family household tends to be beset by terror about the health and conformity of all the children. When there is only little Jayden in the house, along with the minipoodle named ‘Kucinich,’ any eccentricity or physical problem with the vulnerable members of the family becomes cause for obsession and fear. A quirk in the child can be magnified, with the aid of an army of psychiatrists, to be Austism Type V, plus Minor Depression, plus ADHD Nervosa, gluten intolerance, and a side of Gender Dysmorphia, to be treated with a handful of daily pills plus hormone injections.
When there are several kids, it becomes less tempting for the parents to turn any minor problem into a full-blown disaster. Further, when there are real medical problems with one child, the healthy ones make up for it, making it less of devastating family tragedy.
Large families will confer out-sized advantages as modern states find it impossible to meet their obligations. The people who have whole-heartedly adopted the micro-family / big nation-state model will suffer severe adaptive pressures as the state must cannibalize some of those people in order to feed its larger mass of dependents. The people who find themselves more capable of withdrawing from that predatory system will enjoy certain survival advantages.
While it may in some ways be a greater expense, requiring a larger initial investment, if the integrity of the family can be maintained, there is no better place to put money to work.
The large networks of trade, communication, and military alliance are breaking down in the Western world. What replaces them is not nothing, but smaller, tighter, less easily monitored networks based on trust and blood. Where that starts is the family network, which has the advantage of being self-renewing.
The fear that people feel about the increasing tyranny and unpredictability of the modern state structures can only be properly assuaged by building competing networks. The fear can’t be assuaged by marching around with silly signs and begging for reform. Hungry beasts need to eat, and you make yourself less appealing as a meal by becoming harder to catch and meaner to kill. You don’t become that way by trying to convince hungry wolves that sheep are not delicious, or that it is wrong for wolves to eat sheep.
Let them eat someone else instead.