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A womb with a view

I regret to inform you that Yoram Hazony is at it again. Hazony’s schtick is that he has a big family—sort of Israel’s answer to the von Trapps (minus the singing nun). He likes to tell you about his big family at every opportunity—rather like, well, Abraham. Hazony has an idea, not an original idea, that the problem is that people don’t have children today—and, in a way, this is connected to past childlessness because we have been formed by the Enlightenment and the Enlightenment philosophes didn’t have children either (except Rousseau, who famously abandoned his). So we have become childless like the philosophes, and that is why we are all so infatuated with leftist ideas today.

The idea behind this point is quasi-Machiavellian—look at what people do, not what they say. When you have children, you will become conservative—presumably because you will see the ugly maw that is childish selfishness but also because you will have to “man up” and provide for them every day at your job, away goes the video games console and out come quarterly reviews (“It’s your time to shine”). Forced to face reality by the mewling brat, you will begin to become costive over mortgages, economic instability, and the cost of living—you will ruefully observe the latest pronoun kerfuffle and mumble into your surreptitious post-work pint (just getting your strength up before you go home) that they should just concentrate on important things, like the economy.

Names: Jenny Caroline, Jenny Laura, Edgar, Henry, Jenny Eveline, Jenny Julia. Karl Marx’s children—plus one unnamed child that died in infancy, to make seven in all. Rather like Hazony, Marx had the Abrahamic instinct—he liked a big family. Apparently, his large family did nothing to dissuade him from his advocacy for Communism—nor did it dissuade Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, or the myriad other leftists throughout history who have had families (often quite large families). Clearly, to have children does not automatically make you into a right-wing person.

The reason is fairly obvious: it is not that people advocate for left-wing ideas because they are naïve about what humans are and the truth is revealed to them when they have children (after all, they were children once themselves—everyone knows what children are like, having been one and been around them for twelve years by default). Left-wing theories are much more abstract than that, and people who hold them will not be dissuaded just because you can show them one acquisitive or selfish individual—or child, even their own. Similarly, the Enlightenment philosophes were not such drooling idiots that they were unaware as to what children were, so that to have their own would have changed their philosophies—indeed, they would be liable to say that their ideas were motivated by concern for the poor urchins beaten by their irrational parents for no reason, like Spanish donkeys, or misused in their apprenticeships.

The other side to the Hazony thesis is that it will make you responsible—I think the idea is that the nascent progressive political activists, awfully concerned about pronouns, will simply find themselves too harried by their infants and financial obligations and so will forget “all that rubbish” in their exhausted state. This reminds me of a sentiment expressed by Gore Vidal—in a self-serving homosexual way, but with a germ of truth—that said that freedom depends on all-male brotherhoods and that tyrants always like a man to have a family because then they “own him”, detach him from the brotherhood. You know the deal, you would like to protest the system…but then you think about little Edwardo in his crib and you have second thoughts—more pertinently, you think about the endless nagging you will have to endure from the sow that birthed Edwardo if you lose your job or, worse, get into a public scandal.

While Vidal was motivated by the typical homosexual fantasy that all heterosexual men are secretly homosexuals just hopelessly brainwashed by pussy and that, somehow, there is a way to detach them from the fetid crinkles that they so adore, he also had a point. The married man with children is passive, he is system conformist because he wants to protect his progeny (not unreasonable) and he also fears the harridan at home. He has to be respectable—both to get on at work and to keep the old lady satisfied. Women are very sensitive to social pressure—if he steps out of line she might admire him, find him more sexy for a while, but ultimately if he stands against social mores she may well be out the door with the kids. Hence Vidal has a point—the suburban dad, admirable as he is in his way, is an owned man. He has his little pleasures—he sneaks out to the pub, he dandles his child, he digs his allotment; and yet he is not going to “change the world”, as students so often want to do. He is owned.

Doubtless, if you read the scatter graphs, this means that, technically, men with children are “conservative”—simply taken to mean they do not favour “change”. In the quasi-Machiavellian line, it is well-established that societies with many unmarried man—men unable to marry and settle down—are unstable for this reason. Of course, that is just quantitative political science—it says nothing about the direction in which these unmarried men incline. For example, many men in the West are unmarried because marriage has collapsed as an institution, women sleep with dozens of men before “settling down”, and, really, family life is impossible; perhaps such men could be inspired to change society in a right-wing direction—towards traditional values.

However, if they follow Hazony’s small-c conservative advice, they will become “conservative” drones for a system that is set up to be antithetical to traditional values. Hence Vidal—notorious buggery aside—is more right than our Hebrew friend: the free man is often unmarried, tyrannies use families as social control mechanisms to dampen resistance—to make men tied up in humdrum financial affairs or to put them “under the thumb”.

It’s all academic really, since family life does not exist in the West—and even multi-billionaires, such as Elon Musk, have their children brainwashed into transgender ideas (which are supported, by law, in the very workplaces oh so dutiful family men will slave—working in Pharaoh’s armies, to use an analogy to which Hazony may relate, in order to support the beast that will turn their own children against them).

Further, ultimately, to have a family—of whatever size—does not solve the big problems in life, anymore than being wealthy or popular does. It is only an asinine person who could say otherwise. However big your family you could pack them off to a family reunion in Jerusalem tomorrow and the plane could suffer a substantial mid-air failure and they could all be killed. Unlikely, yet not impossible—it has happened. Then where are you?

Similarly, you can consult anything from the Bible to Shakespeare to your own street and see that families are not necessarily happy (to say the least)—some people are utterly miserable in their families and the situation is worse because they are expected to lie about it because it is family (all parents have their favourites, yet you are absolutely forbidden to say—though we all know; oh yes, we all know).

Ultimately, Hazony, pretended religiosity aside, offers a materialist prescription—the solution to life’s problems is a large brood, hard work, and oodles of money; and there is a similarity to the Petersonian prescription, which is to work as hard as possible—and he says that because work is a distraction from the awful void out there faced by the materialists. Anyway, here’s one man in history who never had any children—and he wasn’t a philosophe either, though he was, in a manner of speaking, enlightened: Jesus Christ.


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Nov 02, 2022

In his essays on Christianity and Culture, T.S. Eliot argues that high variance in fertility is ideal-- some will have many children, others none, according to their personalities and abilities-- rather than everyone being expected to have 2.1 children upon pain of social death. The thing is, we aren't averaging 2.1 children, so in the long run might witness social death.

Nov 03, 2022
Replying to

The key in that phrase is “pain of social death”; it’s a feminine concept—what other people think about you, not what is rational. It’s not rational for men to have children in the West as stands, so they don’t.

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