I did tell you I’ve been thinking a lot of heretical thoughts, right? Downright heresy against the fundamental principles of the society that brought me up, and the unwritten rules of the one who adopted me.
I suspect the reason for this … taste for heresy — yes, yes, you’re going to need two bolters — is that I acculturated ONCE. I acculturated willingly, and have no intention of reversing it (I’m not sure it would be possible, honestly. What’s seen and learned can’t be unseen and unlearned) but I’m also the fish who saw the water. (Insert heretical thoughts about Moses growing up between two cultures which probably prepared him for his role, honestly. Whatever divine intervention came after.)
People normally don’t see culture. Just like a fish doesn’t see water. It’s just there. It’s the way things are.
But if you’ve acculturated, at least if you’re the kind that thinks too much (oh, hai there) you do. And you can’t unsee it.
For example the other day I was walking past a pedicure and manicure place. Their shop window had hands and feet and a lot of pink roses. So far so good. But it also had a pair of feet where the ankles were bound with a pink ribbon… Yep, Asian place, and I’m sure it doesn’t mean the same in their culture, but my immediate thought was “bondage, with kindness? Gift bondage? What the heck?” And that’s why I looked in, and realized it was an Asian place, and realized they didn’t see the semiotics of the thing the same way. (To be fair, it’s harder if you come from a culture that “far” culturally from the US. Portugal is — mostly — Western, or at least we share a lot of things, and it was far enough. Until I started doing covers, I didn’t realize my fonts weren’t congruent with what the rest of the US saw. “Historical fantasy” for me was “horror” to the average person.)
Anyway, lately I’ve been running into things having to do with kids and population. There was a post on Facebook about how right now the biggest suicide risk group is around 13-14. And the highest suicide rate. Which is unheard of.
I pointed out that every culture who lets strangers raise their kids gets into trouble. There was the usual protest of “but I can’t.” And I get this. Honestly I do. I know how difficult it was for us. Probably cost us not only my potential income (writing is not a patch on multilingual scientific translation, which back then could not be done remote) but also, ultimately my skills, as I don’t remember half of what I learned but used last 30 years ago. And also I have no resume. Right now, if indie and cover making doesn’t work, my recourse is to go trippingly to Walmart and become a cashier.
There were also at least fifteen years of heroics, trying to get the soit-disant career off the ground, while raising the two boys (while husband was working 18 hour days) and skills I had to learn like furniture refinishing and sewing, just to keep us living a decent life. Also everything was cooked from scratch (that’s not a hardship, btw) Husband learned to keep our cars going (not possible now, with everything on computers) and we both learned to renovate houses from the ground up. And eh… our big vacations were to Denver, and visits to my parents (who often paid half the trip) were at best every three years, which means the kids had no extended family in their lives.
As I write this, every car in this family is over 20 years old and one is in the process of self-destroying and will have — somehow — to be replaced.
I UNDERSTAND the price one pays to raise one’s own kids. And you can add to that general societal disapproval. The number of people who sneer at me and treat me like an idiot because I was a stay at home mom beat the number of people who treat me like a human being 100 to 1.
HOWEVER I think — shoals still ahead not withstanding — we did a better job than strangers could have done raising the sprogs. At least I hope so. The younger one, particularly, with his sensory issues would probably have been identified as having behavioral problems. (I mean they tried that in middle school.) And put on psychiatric drugs. And destroyed.
Look, there are fine daycares. Excellent places. The best of them is not as good as medium-level parent. Trust me, there’s a difference. I KNEW as a kid when I was being watched by even very nice strangers that they didn’t CARE the way my parents did.
There’s other things going on. I haven’t looked into it in decades, but when kid was five or so I read about research on a mechanism by which … this is hard to explain… by the age of 3 kids “download” the mind of their principal caregiver. Yes, there was a mechanism for it other than “magic.” They studied kids who were adopted and even kids who were watched by other people, and found that their minds were closer to those who looked after them than their genetic relations.
Now, it’s been at least two decades since I looked at the research, and maybe it wasn’t even valid, but think about it. Do you want to risk THAT? I didn’t.
Anyway, historically, societies who gave their kids to strangers to raise, from Ancient Rome to Imperial Britain (at the aristocratic level) crashed hard, fast and ugly once that became widespread. And had EXACTLY the same problems we have with our youth.
That’s your first heresy of the day. The second one is:
I came across this book. Or rather a talk by its authors.
How it happened was like this: I thought I’d like to hear a favorite song I don’t own, went to youtube and accidentally clicked on an interview with the authors.
I haven’t read the book, yet, I ordered it, but it is due in FEBRUARY (no, no clue why.) So all my impressions are from that interview.
- They don’t follow my line of reasoning and think we’re already in trouble. This is because none of them has stopped and thought about whether censuses are “real” or who the hell counts illiterate peasants in trackless Africa. Or how come the great AIDS die off in sub-Saharan Africa was never reflected in our figures, or for that matter, they never got adjusted down after it was proven the USSR had been spinning numbers wholesale. And who in hell actually tracks figures from places like the Arab countries or China, where communication is more propaganda than anything else?
- They didn’t do that, they swallowed the censuses wholesale (Rolls eyes) and think we have 7 billion and will peak at 11 billion mid century. (Yeah, good luck with that.)
- What they’re sounding the alarm on is the fact that we have a falling birthrate across the world, like India and China are reporting (and I don’t remember which is which) 2.1 children per woman and 1.5 children per woman. Assume that whatever the Arab world and Africa are reporting is unsubstantiated bullshit. The developed countries, including us, are below replacement rate. (And that’s without counting the shennenigans in our censuses, too.)
So far so good. I think the alarm should be sounded faster and higher, but yeah, we’re in trouble bad as a species. Particularly when you add in that most kids simply aren’t marrying, or if marrying not having kids. (As a former friend in Portugal told me “It’s the most absurd thing. We’ve forgotten how to make babies.”)
We don’t know what rate of population fall will collapse the economy. And we DO NOT know how many people it takes to keep civilization going.
This is because, despite the fact that the fall is obvious and coming at us fast, our establishment is still worried about the “overpopulation crisis.” If this reminds you of something else they’ve gotten backwards, you have it. So even saying population is falling or that it might be a bad thing is an heresy. They have my admiration on that.
BUT THEN they proposed as a holding measure, open-borders immigration to make up the numbers in the west.
Head desk, head desk, head desk. I guess it’s to be expected. These people are demographers, therefore they SEE people as widgets. But people aren’t widgets. And cultures aren’t all “equally valid.”
Importing vast quantities of third worlders, from countries, btw, where the population is also likely falling but where the CULTURE is so vastly embuggered that they can’t look after their former population will do nothing for keeping the west going. And if the West crashes — sorry, guys — civilization as we know it, crashes along with it. Sure, China will go on, for a while at least and probably eventually have a global empire. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
More pertinently, I’m coming to the conclusion that “culture” is … organic. Think of it as a group mind. In many ways it has a mind of its own. And its OLD. And when disrupted it dies. Now, I’m anthropomorphizing culture and this is not exactly what I mean, but it seems that contra the “plastic culture” and “Tabula rasa people” views of the last century (which filled 100 million graves) cultures are things that have to be respected and can only be changed incrementally, or the POPULATION the culture belongs to interprets it as being conquered and stops having kids or functioning. Which is where most of the west is with socialism. (The slow death of socialism. When it doesn’t kill fast, it still kills.)
Bringing another culture (or a couple) into the west just makes the clash of cultures happen harder, faster, and makes it more likely neither will survive. And nor will civilization.
The fact these smart heretics missed that is… mind boggling. And a sign of how the failed ideologies and false assumptions of the 20th century are still with us.
Now, I know how to save us, of course. But it’s something I can’t do alone, except by incremental influence of the culture. And you have to be prepared to be considered heretics and lunatics if you buy into this program. Because everyone knows OVER population will kill us. (Like everyone knew the Soviet Union was far more prosperous than the West.)
First, we MUST beat socialism back on all fronts. Both because it’s a culture incompatible with the West, and because our back brains interpret having it imposed on us as “having been conquered” and proceed to destroy the population; and because more power of the state means less power of the family, smaller families, atomized dysfunctional families, and strangers raising your kids. None of this ends well.
Second, we must make it easier for women to work from the home. Yes, I know. I KNOW. There are those who think women shouldn’t work at all. But in Western culture women have always been treated as human beings. Which in the present era means learning to read, write and use their minds. And if they do that… well, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Also, honestly, being ONLY child carers is a recipe for helicopter parenting. Women have always worked. Cottagers and farmers worked — both parents — with the kids around them. That’s most of our history. In prehistory women foraged with the kids. It was only the industrial revolution that broke that (to an extent, though often kids worked with their parents) and the 20th century “liberation” that destroyed it. Kids are not widgets and they’re best with their parents biological or not. The resistance to working from home is stupid and based on a desire to control people. When you go out to build over, under and around, try to make this a humane world where families can work together from the home or whatever space they work in, and the kids can grow up around their working parents.
Rebuild the West.
Look, I’ll be blunt. The crash might already be inevitable. The mistaken assumptions of the twentieth century might be stretched across our path like an invisible wire, ready to trip us as we come running. It might be impossible to turn around in time, even if this heresy too hold.
BUT if Western Culture, English Enlightenment culture remains with its principles of respect for the individual and a law-abiding community, we WILL rebuild.
We might rebuild anyway, yes, but we don’t know what frankenstein culture will emerge from this broken world. And some cultures are less functional than others.
A friend thinks rebuilding is unlikely already because it’s mostly the underclass (national and global) reproducing and the genetic material is poor. To the extent we’ve yet to figure out (lots of mechanisms, including the mirroring thing above) how biology and culture intersect, he has a point. But we also know what happens when you dump a bunch of what we’ll call “poor stock” in a very British way, in a place to sink or swim, with no help. We know that from parts of the US and from Australia. The first step is tons of deaths. The population self culls. But what actually survives is no better and no worse than large populations of mankind.
So the genetics doesn’t worry me, except that it might prolong the length of the dark night of civilization. Best if the dark night doesn’t come. (Even if massive dying is inevitable in any amount of civilizational crash.)
So, go out and learn the history of the West, and teach it to the young, and sweep Marxism and Howard Zinn’s lies into the dustbin of history.
Build under, build over, build around. The time is short, and we MIGHT still have a bare chance to avert a worldwide civilizational crash.
Teach the children well. We might end up having to trust them to rebuild.