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The New Red-Diaper Babies
New York Times ^ | December 7, 2004 | David Brooks

Posted on 12/07/2004 3:51:25 PM PST by RWR8189

There is a little-known movement sweeping across the United States. The movement is "natalism."

All across the industrialized world, birthrates are falling - in Western Europe, in Canada and in many regions of the United States. People are marrying later and having fewer kids. But spread around this country, and concentrated in certain areas, the natalists defy these trends.

They are having three, four or more kids. Their personal identity is defined by parenthood. They are more spiritually, emotionally and physically invested in their homes than in any other sphere of life, having concluded that parenthood is the most enriching and elevating thing they can do. Very often they have sacrificed pleasures like sophisticated movies, restaurant dining and foreign travel, let alone competitive careers and disposable income, for the sake of their parental calling.

In a world that often makes it hard to raise large families, many are willing to move to find places that are congenial to natalist values. The fastest-growing regions of the country tend to have the highest concentrations of children. Young families move away from what they perceive as disorder, vulgarity and danger and move to places like Douglas County in Colorado (which is the fastest-growing county in the country and has one of the highest concentrations of kids). Some people see these exurbs as sprawling, materialistic wastelands, but many natalists see them as clean, orderly and affordable places where they can nurture children.

If you wanted a one-sentence explanation for the explosive growth of far-flung suburbs, it would be that when people get money, one of the first things they do is use it to try to protect their children from bad influences.

So there are significant fertility inequalities across regions. People on the Great Plains and in the Southwest are much more fertile than people in New England or on the Pacific coast.

You can see surprising political correlations. As Steve Sailer pointed out in The American Conservative, George Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility rates, and 25 of the top 26. John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest rates.

In The New Republic Online, Joel Kotkin and William Frey observe, "Democrats swept the largely childless cities - true blue locales like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Boston and Manhattan have the lowest percentages of children in the nation - but generally had poor showings in those places where families are settling down, notably the Sun Belt cities, exurbs and outer suburbs of older metropolitan areas."

Politicians will try to pander to this group. They should know this is a spiritual movement, not a political one. The people who are having big families are explicitly rejecting materialistic incentives and hyperindividualism. It costs a middle-class family upward of $200,000 to raise a child. These people are saying money and ambition will not be their gods.

Natalists resist the declining fertility trends not because of income, education or other socioeconomic characteristics. It's attitudes. People with larger families tend to attend religious services more often, and tend to have more traditional gender roles.

I draw attention to natalists because they're an important feature of our national life. Because of them, the U.S. stands out in all sorts of demographic and cultural categories. But I do it also because when we talk about the divide on values in this country, caricatured in the red and blue maps, it's important that we understand the true motive forces behind it.

Natalists are associated with red America, but they're not launching a jihad. The differences between them and people on the other side of the cultural or political divide are differences of degree, not kind. Like most Americans, but perhaps more anxiously, they try to shepherd their kids through supermarket checkouts lined with screaming Cosmo or Maxim cover lines. Like most Americans, but maybe more so, they suspect that we won't solve our social problems or see improvements in our schools as long as many kids are growing up in barely functioning families.

Like most Americans, and maybe more so because they tend to marry earlier, they find themselves confronting the consequences of divorce. Like most Americans, they wonder how we can be tolerant of diverse lifestyles while still preserving the family institutions that are under threat.

What they cherish, like most Americans, is the self-sacrificial love shown by parents. People who have enough kids for a basketball team are too busy to fight a culture war.

 

E-mail: dabrooks@nytimes.com


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: birthrate; brooks; bushcountry; davidbrooks; exburbs; natalism; natalists; stevesailer; sunbelt
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1 posted on 12/07/2004 3:51:26 PM PST by RWR8189
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To: RWR8189

No wonder there are so few children in blue counties. Blue county schools are among the worst in the non-Muslim world.


2 posted on 12/07/2004 3:58:28 PM PST by ReadyNow
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To: RWR8189
Natalists are associated with red America...

I wish we could go back to when the Left-wingers were the "Reds".

3 posted on 12/07/2004 3:58:58 PM PST by Polybius
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To: RWR8189

I'd go for 3 or 4 kids if it wasn't so much work. Hats off to those who can handle this many kids without breaking anything against a wall, you have the gift of patience.


4 posted on 12/07/2004 4:01:57 PM PST by MaineRepublic (Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. -- Euripides)
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To: RWR8189

The NYTimes hasn't a clue to what morality, family, GOD, and country are all about!

These people are dumbfounded by what was the norm only 40 years ago.

Our country crashed beginning with the johnson regime, trashed by the carter inept hell, and almost totally demoralized by the clinton.

demoralized? What is the word for the exact opposite of MORALS?


5 posted on 12/07/2004 4:02:50 PM PST by steplock (http://www.outoftimeradio.org)
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To: RWR8189

I liked the article, but you can tell that they are dumbfounded by real America.


6 posted on 12/07/2004 4:05:06 PM PST by steplock (http://www.outoftimeradio.org)
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To: RWR8189

A comforting report.

Reflecting upon societal trends for the past 40+ years, how gullible many of us have been to the destructive influences of: Hollywood mores, environmentalists' panic stricken warnings of "overpopulation", womens lib "life without men", psychobabble "blame someone else", Marxist educators and the "Hate American Life" press pimps, resulting in a noticeable lack of respect for our founders Judeo-Christian philosophy of decency.


7 posted on 12/07/2004 4:09:06 PM PST by highflight (use your own oxygen -I need mine)
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To: RWR8189
George Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility rates, and 25 of the top 26. John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest rates.

I'll bet Kerry won the states with the highest abortion rates.

8 posted on 12/07/2004 4:09:52 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (God is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: Tax-chick

You natalist! ; )


9 posted on 12/07/2004 4:10:42 PM PST by annyokie (If the shoe fits, put 'em both on!)
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To: ReadyNow
The meek FERTILE shall inherit the earth.
10 posted on 12/07/2004 4:10:43 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (God is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: annyokie

Natalist ... O, ne Zot!


11 posted on 12/07/2004 4:11:43 PM PST by Tax-chick (Benedicere cor tuo! Quomodo cogis comas tuas sic videri?)
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To: Tax-chick

LOL Whotta pathetic term for parents, eh?


12 posted on 12/07/2004 4:12:53 PM PST by annyokie (If the shoe fits, put 'em both on!)
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To: RWR8189

Hubby wants four, I tell him I want five but secretly hope for an even half-dozen.

What can I say? I'm addicted to babies LOL


13 posted on 12/07/2004 4:14:05 PM PST by Eepsy
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To: steplock

To properly raise a child, one must be self-sacrificing of time, money, a clean home, and sleep.

One must worry more about another's future, rather than one's own.

One must put another first.

One must face the pain and danger of pregnancy and birth.

Such real sacrifice is repugnant to the self-serving ("It's all about me!) mantra that is the core of the Liberal value system.

Recall the NYC woman, pregnant with triplets who coldly watched saline be injected into the beating hearts of two of her children. And why? So she did not have to leave her precious rent-controlled space and go shop at CostCo, buying mayo in gallon jugs.


14 posted on 12/07/2004 4:15:28 PM PST by MeanWestTexan
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To: All

Our neighbors just had their 8th. They can't believe we "only" have three. LOL Needless to say we are in a red state. We have a small to average sized family in our church.

Many couples our age or older were convinced the world was going to end soon and only had one or two children. Couples younger than us tend to have three or more.

One of my cousins had five kids and was a little embarrassed by it, but someone kindly told her "You are the kind of folks who *should* have a big family because you will raise them right."

Ann


15 posted on 12/07/2004 4:15:42 PM PST by Cloverfarm (W is for Women)
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To: Eepsy

Want my brand new one for three months?

I want her back after she can sleep through the night, though. LOL.


16 posted on 12/07/2004 4:16:20 PM PST by MeanWestTexan
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To: Mr. Silverback; pro Athanasius; OrthodoxPresbyterian

ping


17 posted on 12/07/2004 4:18:18 PM PST by Rytwyng (we're here, we're Huguenots, get used to us)
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To: Eepsy

Good luck with four... no five... er... six? babies. I wanted to have four myself, but infertility changed my plans. It's so unfair that some women can get pregnant so easily (and then go kill the baby), and the women who want desperately to have a baby, can't. I have one little girl, it took us ten years to conceive her, and I am grateful for her every single day... even on the days where nothing will make her happy. :o)


18 posted on 12/07/2004 4:18:33 PM PST by P-Chan Penny (When Informed Women Vote, Republicans Win!!!!!)
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To: Eepsy

I have an old friend who comes from a family of 14 children. When she married, she told me she wanted a small family, say 6 children.

Quite a few years later, there are 5 - all girls. I haven't asked her if they're trying for a boy.

Her kids are some of the nicest, well behaved, accomplished young ladies I've ever met. All pretty, too. One married, one engaged.

And all homeschooled.


19 posted on 12/07/2004 4:19:25 PM PST by little jeremiah (What would happen if everyone decided their own "right and wrong"?)
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To: RWR8189

I raised my children this way, starting in 1983. This is nothing new...it's just what conservatives have been doing forever.

I wonder if the writer can back up the claim that "natalists" (read: crazed baby maachines) tend to marry earlier. I know plenty, including me, from the boomer generation that waited a while, at least until we had our bachelor's degrees.

Too busy to fight a cultural war?? Think so? Come get some, leftist pukes!


20 posted on 12/07/2004 4:20:11 PM PST by DC native
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To: P-Chan Penny

Congrad-u-lations!

Infertility sucks.


21 posted on 12/07/2004 4:20:16 PM PST by MeanWestTexan
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To: RWR8189

Good piece, though it's largely taken from Sailer's article. Andrew Sullivan has a lot of glee attacking the red states, but a lot of what he bashes them with has to do with the high birth rates of the red states. Massachusetts or Pennsylvania may have a low divorce rate because their population is older than that of other states. It's similar for other statistics. Blue states seem closer to zero population growth and hence don't experience some of the strains that that growth can bring. Consequently they aren't as troubled about the influences on children today.


22 posted on 12/07/2004 4:20:53 PM PST by x
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To: MeanWestTexan

Yes, infertility sucks alright! I will be bringing my adorable baby girl to the Freeper ball... anyone else going? :o)


23 posted on 12/07/2004 4:21:27 PM PST by P-Chan Penny (When Informed Women Vote, Republicans Win!!!!!)
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To: Polybius

Red is the color of Passionate Masculinity my friend. Its about time we recovered it from the Communists!


24 posted on 12/07/2004 4:21:36 PM PST by Clemenza (Gabba Gabba Hey!)
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To: RWR8189

Thanks for my new tag line.


25 posted on 12/07/2004 4:22:22 PM PST by Alouette (Red county Natalist)
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To: RWR8189
If you wanted a one-sentence explanation for the explosive growth of far-flung suburbs, it would be that when people get money, one of the first things they do is use it to try to protect their children from bad influences.

Actually, it's that when people get money, they move to the 'burbs to keep the communists that typically run the big cities from taxing every dime of it away from them and jamming Marxist ideology down their throats and their children's throats.

26 posted on 12/07/2004 4:22:58 PM PST by Hardastarboard
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To: Polybius
I wish we could go back to when the Left-wingers were the "Reds".
When I first read the title I thought they were going to be talking about babies of Commies.
27 posted on 12/07/2004 4:23:18 PM PST by HungarianGypsy (We are the pirates who don't do anything....)
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To: MeanWestTexan
Such real sacrifice is repugnant to the self-serving ("It's all about me!) mantra that is the core of the Liberal value system.
Bingo!
28 posted on 12/07/2004 4:25:03 PM PST by oh8eleven
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To: Eepsy

When we were first married, my husband and I wanted five. After we had our first we thought two or three would be better. Apparently, God had other ideas, though, since we now have five.


29 posted on 12/07/2004 4:25:47 PM PST by HungarianGypsy (We are the pirates who don't do anything....)
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To: MaineRepublic
I'd go for 3 or 4 kids if it wasn't so much work.
Remember, the Good Lord never gives you more than you can handle.
30 posted on 12/07/2004 4:26:30 PM PST by oh8eleven
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To: RWR8189

I wonder how the fertility rates would compare if they took into account the babies that are aborted in blue states. I guess I now have a name for myself, a natalist, seeing as i want a minimum of four children. :)


31 posted on 12/07/2004 4:32:21 PM PST by Celtic Rose (It may be prudent in me to act sometimes by other men's reason, but I can think only by my own)
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To: Eepsy
I'm addicted to babies LOL

And why wouldn't you be?


32 posted on 12/07/2004 4:33:09 PM PST by Tax-chick (Benedicere cor tuo! Quomodo cogis comas tuas sic videri?)
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To: Tax-chick

Where is the picture of the colicky infant at 2:00 AM? ;)


33 posted on 12/07/2004 4:35:17 PM PST by MaineRepublic (Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. -- Euripides)
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To: Eepsy

I wanted four but had to settle for three - the wife wouldn't cooperate!


34 posted on 12/07/2004 4:42:06 PM PST by Rummyfan
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To: Clemenza
Red Square was called Red Square long before the Communists, back when it was filled with active churches where services and prayer went on around the clock. "Red" was a synonym for "beautiful," "important," or "principle."

In every Russian peasant home, there was a "red-corner," that had icons of Christ and the saints. The red-corner was basically the family chapel and place of prayer, and it was called the "red-corner" because it was beautiful and because prayer was the most important thing that happened in the home.

So call me a red, for all I care. I'm certainly no "blue-blood." No need to recover it from the commies -- it has been the possession, with a positive meaning, of Christian Russians for a long time, and I'm sure they'll be happy to share the heritage with all of us Christians on this side of the pond, as well.

35 posted on 12/07/2004 4:43:17 PM PST by Agrarian
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To: RWR8189
If you wanted a one-sentence explanation for the explosive growth of far-flung suburbs, it would be that when people get money, one of the first things they do is use it to try to protect their children from bad influences.

Bad influences like greedy, big-city liberals.

36 posted on 12/07/2004 4:46:11 PM PST by Spirochete
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To: RWR8189

In my neighborhood we have the most kids in the 30 years I have lived here. Only one of the near families has a trophy kid who can't play because his mother fears life. The others have 2 or 3 kids per family and are growing up in a real neighborhood with lots of kid friends like the one I grew up in.


37 posted on 12/07/2004 4:48:10 PM PST by bert (Don't Panic.....)
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To: oh8eleven

I wanted two, and I got three. I had twin daughters after our son.

The good Lord does know what you can handle.

I wouldn't trade my girls (or my son) for anything!


38 posted on 12/07/2004 4:49:55 PM PST by luckystarmom
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To: bert

Same with our son's neighborhood. Kids are out playing basketball, kick ball, skate boarding and so many other things. Kids are out when they come home from school, after dinner when it is light and on weekends. It was fun to hear the sounds of laugher, hollering to each other and even those sounds when they flip the boards. Kids SHOULD play outside and get away from those mind numbing games on a screen. More exercise playing outside ... less ridalin for those who are on it.


39 posted on 12/07/2004 4:51:36 PM PST by cubreporter
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To: steplock

You're not familiar with David Brooks? He wrote this, not the Times.


40 posted on 12/07/2004 4:55:58 PM PST by stands2reason
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To: DC native

My BIL was 34 when he got married....his youngest is number 7.


41 posted on 12/07/2004 5:02:24 PM PST by stands2reason
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To: RWR8189
Could be me! But my reply to David Brooks is:

What's it to you?

Why would a 'real' man worry about others' business so much?

42 posted on 12/07/2004 5:14:40 PM PST by xtinct (I was the next door neighbor kid's imaginary friend.)
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To: highflight

Here, here. It is a disgusting shame that our traditional American values have become part of the fringe because of those you listed.
Time to take back the country.


43 posted on 12/07/2004 5:14:49 PM PST by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (I'm fresh out of tags. I'll pick some up tomorrow.)
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To: DC native

--- I wonder if the writer can back up the claim that "natalists" (read: crazed baby maachines) tend to marry earlier. ---

I believe that should read "earlier than all the myopic NY Times writers that haven't seen or spoken to a red stater in the past 30+ years".

The only thing these morons know about red states is that the cars look like little ants from 30,000 feet up.


44 posted on 12/07/2004 5:15:15 PM PST by lews
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To: Clemenza
As far as I know, the color blue is associated with conservatives in virtually every country in the Western world save the U.S.
I've been told that the American use of blue to denote the Democrats only dates to the mid-1970's when the major TV networks reversed the traditional associations so as not to have their liberal friends painted (rightly IMHO) with the communist brush.

One assumes that it's no accident that the "Bonnie Blue Flag", besides by Virginia's, has long stood for individual states' rights as guaranteed by strict interpretation of The U. S. Constitution.

Personally, I consider myself a "true blue" conservative.
45 posted on 12/07/2004 5:17:57 PM PST by GMMAC (lots of terror cells in Canada - I'll be waving my US flag when the Marines arrive!)
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To: MeanWestTexan

You are absolutely correct......raising a child is not for the narcissistic.

Tom Tancredo, one of the greatest guys in the House of Reps represents Douglas County, CO......wonder if he has anything to do with creating an environment conducive to child rearing.

Conservative base flock to him, or did the conservative base just elect one who shares their values? Interesting Chicken / Egg conundrum.


46 posted on 12/07/2004 5:21:23 PM PST by Conservative Goddess (Veritas vos Liberabit)
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To: ReadyNow

They eat their young.


47 posted on 12/07/2004 5:25:07 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: RWR8189

And I think Brooks is very wrong, wishfully wrong about thinking families with multiple chidren aren't active in the culture war...they are often on the cutting edge because they have a lot at stake...


48 posted on 12/07/2004 5:26:26 PM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

No, they abort them.


49 posted on 12/07/2004 5:29:44 PM PST by Gaetano
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To: Tax-chick

THAT is a BEAUTIFUL BABY!!! : )


50 posted on 12/07/2004 5:40:25 PM PST by Politicalmom ( Since Bush was selected in 2000, shouldn't he be able to run again in 2008?)
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