And how many siblings?

Mark Steyn points out, quite correctly, that many if not most of the problems of Western society are ultimately demographic:

[Greece] has one of the lowest fertility rates on the planet. In Greece, 100 grandparents have 42 grandchildren — i.e., the family tree is upside down. In a social-democratic state where workers in ‘hazardous’ professions (such as, er, hairdressing) retire at 50, there aren’t enough young people around to pay for your three-decade retirement. And there are unlikely ever to be again.

And why will there never again be enough young people? You do know where the babies that grow up to be young people come from, don’t you? Young people still like to fuck!

This also points to the vexing question of why there aren’t more youngsters going into the “STEM fields”, the professions where creativity can result in something enduring.

Bluntly: They ain’t gonna get paid.

If you know — know for sure — that if, as a young person, you go into a productive field, you are never going to be rewarded for your productivity because any return will be immediately skimmed off to pay for the three-decade retirement of your elders, what’s the point in learning to be productive? Calling for the younger generation to work harder so as to provide their parents and grandparents with comfort, while they must content themselves with a tiny fraction of the fruits of their labor, is just a call for volunteers for slavery. It’s no real surprise that they’re seen as such, or that the response of the real, ultimately rational young people is “Fuck that for a game of soldiers!” Instead, they angle for their own seats on the gravy train.

The problem is made worse by Progressive ideology. Every society ever has agreed that taking things away from people is Bad, right up to the Socialists, whose initial impulse came from people who noted angrily that Workers weren’t getting their Fair Share of production. Of course there’s a loophole: It’s not just all right, it is positively Virtuous, to take things away from Bad People in order to punish them for being Bad. It is therefore Progressive to define anyone who has things as Bad, in order to justify taking them away. Producers will inevitably have more than parasites, up to the point where what they have is <hiss>redistributed</hiss>. It follows that the productive must be defined as Bad People, in order to justify depriving them of what they have produced — and few want to be Bad, to be seen by society as Evil, so even if they don’t see a future of slaving away for no return they choose the Good by avoiding productivity.

This has long been the case in the STEM fields, especially engineering, where the diligent, creative, and productive have seen the fruits of their labor go largely to Management and other offshoots of politics. What they got in return was job satisfaction. Even if they didn’t get a lot of money, they could point with pride to the bridges and moon rockets they built. I have an acquaintance who is quietly proud that some of the things he made using machine-shop tools are now on Mars, components of the rovers. No more. Newt Gingrich is a wild-eyed visionary! He wants to build moon bases! This cannot be borne! Technical resources must be directed to Saving the Planet, and (not incidentally) preserving the lifestyles of the parasitic classes. It’s not a wonder that young people don’t go into science, technology, engineering, and medicine. Not only are they difficult studies, not only is it clear that they won’t get paid proportionately for their efforts, they won’t even be allowed to build anything cool. No spaceships — it’s gonna be incremental improvements to wheelchairs and portable oxygen generators right up to the point where they’re needing them. This is (ahem!) not a particularly exciting prospect for an enjoyable career.

And I don’t know how many offspring Mark Steyn has, but as an intelligent and rational person he might well have seen this situation coming — and, if he did, might well have concluded that producing another few slaveys or parasites wasn’t worth the effort. How about it, Mark?