The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
              FILE - In this file photo taken May 19, 2010, "Octomom" Nadya Suleman wears a t-shirt promoting pet birth control outside her home in La Habra, Calif.  Suleman has checked herself into a rehabilitation center, citing anxiety, exhaustion and stress. A statement from Suleman

Why Octomom may be ‘the greatest hero of all’

In his new book ”What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster,” Weekly Standard senior editor Jonathan V. Last strikes a dour note about America’s demographic trend.

“We’re not having enough babies. Doom to follow,” Last told The Daily Caller in an interview.

“Once a country’s fertility rate has been sub-replacement for a couple generations, its age profile inverts so that there are more old people than children,” he continued, expounding on the doom he predicts will follow.

“The economy stagnates because there are too few innovators and entrepreneurs and there isn’t enough investment capital. The entitlement state teeters on collapse because there aren’t enough workers to support all of the retirees. And the country loses the capacity to field an effective army because (1) the pool of military-aged men and women is too small and (2) defense gets cut in order to prop up Social Security and Medicare.”

According to Last, that’s actually “the best-case scenario.”

“The worst-case is that you wind up in something like Mad Max, only with the Thunderdome being run by Grandpa Simpson,” he said.

Which is why Last concedes that Octomom could actually be considered “the greatest hero of all” for doing her part to increase America’s fertility rate.

But isn’t America’s demographic problem far less serious than that which is faced by countries in Europe and Asia?

“Sure, I suppose. In the same way that a woman who just got knocked up is less pregnant than a woman in her second trimester,” Last said.

“Look, the Europeans are ahead of us and the Asians are ahead of them, but we’re all on the same curve and that curve runs straight to Doomsville.”

See TheDC’s full interview with Last about his book and whether we can reverse our demographic course below.

Why did you decide to write the book?

I became slightly sort of totally obsessed with demographics several years ago after reading Phil Longman’s masterpiece, “The Empty Cradle.” Demographics is one of those subjects, like numerology or celebrity breast implants, where once you start looking at it, you see it everywhere.

Also, you’ve probably heard how the publishing industry is having this Golden Age right now because of the Internet. I figured it was a good time to hop on that gravy train. The Reverend’s gotta eat.

What is America’s coming demographic disaster?

We’re not having enough babies. Doom to follow.

Look, I’ll be straight with you: Having kids blows. You spend 25 years working like a dog to arrange your life in a very particular manner: You go to the gym, you read lots of interesting books, you take cool vacations, you watch football on fall afternoons and catnap during the commercial breaks. You hang out with friends in the evenings to have elevated discussions about Kierkegaard and/or drink yourselves stupid. Life is so good you can taste it in your spit.

And then you have a kid.

That life you built for yourself? It does not diminish by 20 or even 80 percent. It is utterly and totally obliterated. Napping on the sofa during football doesn’t become an occasional treat. It becomes nothing more than a rumor of some lost age.

If you have a baby you will never doze on the sofa while watching football again. This is a point I cannot emphasize enough.

So, like I said, we’re not having enough babies because people enjoy having interesting, fun, lives.

This may not sound like such a bad thing, except that when a society doesn’t have enough babies, all sorts of Very Bad Things happen.

Basically, our choice is to ruin our own lives by having kids, or ruin everyone’s life by not having them.

Or, as P.J. O’Rourke says in his brilliant blurb for “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting,” “The only thing worse than having children is not having them.”

What will the consequences of it be for the nation?

Once a country’s fertility rate has been sub-replacement for a couple generations, its age profile inverts so that there are more old people than children. The economy stagnates because there are too few innovators and entrepreneurs and there isn’t enough investment capital. The entitlement state teeters on collapse because there aren’t enough workers to support all of the retirees. And the country loses the capacity to field an effective army because (1) the pool of military-aged men and women is too small and (2) defense gets cut in order to prop up Social Security and Medicare.

That’s the best-case scenario, by the way. The worst-case is that you wind up in something like Mad Max, only with the Thunderdome being run by Grandpa Simpson.

You think I’m kidding about generational warfare, but a couple weeks ago Japan’s Finance Minister said publicly that old people ought to “hurry up and die.”

(Only slower. And with more intensity.)