In the “culture wars,” one of the battle grounds is between parents and the Childless by Choice crowd. I think I’ve seen someone mention over on flutterby.com (though, not apparently on that thread) that the unintended result of this is that “breeders” will be passing their values on to the next generation while the “childless by choice” crowd won’t. It is interesting that Foreign Policy has an article on this very subject: The Return of Patriarchy.
Patriarchy does not simply mean that men rule. Indeed, it is a particular value system that not only requires men to marry but to marry a woman of proper station. It competes with many other male visions of the good life, and for that reason alone is prone to come in cycles. Yet before it degenerates, it is a cultural regime that serves to keep birthrates high among the affluent, while also maximizing parents’ investments in their children. No advanced civilization has yet learned how to endure without it. … As the United States is discovering today in Iraq, population is still power. Smart bombs, laser-guided missiles, and unmanned drones may vastly extend the violent reach of a hegemonic power. But ultimately, it is often the number of boots on the ground that changes history. … The greatly expanded childless segment of contemporary society, whose members are drawn disproportionately from the feminist and countercultural movements of the 1960s and 70s, will leave no genetic legacy. Nor will their emotional or psychological influence on the next generation compare with that of their parents. … By contrast, nearly a quarter of the children of baby boomers descend from the mere 11 percent of baby boomer women who had four or more children. … This dynamic helps explain, for example, the gradual drift of American culture away from secular individualism and toward religious fundamentalism.
(emphasis all mine) Wow! I’m definitely a “breeder” (four children puts me squarly in that category!) and I’m assuradly more conservative than most people in the “childless by choice” crowd, but I’m still a little uneasy with many of the conservative, fundamentalist crowd. But this article makes me wonder if, in fact, we could be witnessing a the beginnings of a long term shift back towards larger families.