So Mary reminds us of the seemingly bad news that the demographic “crisis” has made welfare states worldwide unsustainable.
The good news, in her opinion, is that the welfare state has the main cause of the erosion of proper responsibility for and dependence on the family. Maybe it’s the main cause of the demographic crisis.
So here’s another piece of good news that I like to highlight: The road to serfdom never gets to serfdom.
Here’s another, according to Mary: Once the welfare state is unable to compete with family for a person’s loyalty, the family might well make a comeback. Well, it might.
But Mary exaggerates when she suggests that Americans are dependent on a cradle-to-grave welfare state. Our welfare state, in my view, is too minimalist to have been the main cause of the withering away of children, especially among our sophisticates. Social Security has never been enough to make anyone feel all that secure.
So I emphasize individualism, in Tocqueville’s sense, as a cause of our birth dearth. Tocqueville was wrong to think that that “heart disease” wouldn’t enter the homes of America’s nuclear families. The flooding of the workforce with women wasn’t caused by the welfare state. And today the erosion of our various safety nets (not only entitlements but unions, pensions, churches etc.), so far, hasn’t been good for stable families.
And we can’t forget that “the global competitive marketplace”—perhaps as a form of individualism—hasn’t been so good for families. We remember Rusty Reno’s largely true claim that capitalism has already won. And the promiscuously pro-choice logic of libertarianism can be understood as our “bourgeois ideology.”
So let’s leave it at saying that the picture is a lot more complicated than Mary leads us to think.