Or, as some of our fellow conservatives call it, “taking responsibility for their lives and not having more children than they can afford.” Indeed, Douthat seems to acknowledge that on the part of the individual while lamenting the collective outcome.and
But this is an argument that we conservatives apply nowhere else that I can think of. Indeed, most American conservatives, myself included, rail against collectivism in much less significant arenas. Let government try to force us to change to a more energy efficient lightbulb or regulate the water capacity of our toilets and the calls for revolution ring out across the land. Encourage us to buy more energy efficient automobiles through tax incentives and corporate subsidies and you’re a tyrant. Suggest that we turn off electronic devices that aren’t in use and you’re at very least a dirty hippy and probably an out-and-out commie. But suggest that women give up the advances they’ve made over the last half century because somebody has to have more kids, why, what could be more reasonable?I think that this point is completely correct. Even worse, there are a lot of policy choices that we could implement if we decided (as a society) that we wanted more children. Just consider programs like "Aid to Families with Dependent Children" that could be reinvented. Or we could subsidize childcare. Or add in mandatory long maternity leaves. Why not use incentives to try and improve collective outcomes?