Spending some good family time way out east. In the DC area, out to Leesburg, VA, then Baltimore and now in the West Virginia mountains. This makes it difficult to blog daily, but it does give a new perspective for fresh contemplation. It occurred to us that life sure must have been rough for those early settlers … so far from anything, no communication, health care, or even civilization. They left their families, friends, and heritage behind them.
But they came to America anyhow. Why? For two reasons, I suppose: religious freedom and economic freedom. And those two are under a larger umbrella of simply freedom from oppression. Most of them knew that life would be difficult, even severe, but they did it for their children and grandchildren — lives yet to be, but they felt responsible for nonetheless.
How ironic that our generation — the so-called Baby Boomers — have turned all that on its head. We have not only largely abandoned religion, but we’ve left our children and grandchildren with unbelievable crushing debt. In 1980 our national debt was only about $1Trillion; now it is about to surpass $17Trillion. We’re riding off into the sunset, and the young ‘uns are left holding the bill.
But it’s worse. There are so many of us, born between 1946 and 1964, and we are retiring at such a rate, that we are about to further bury younger generations with obligations for our social security and medicare.
I’m not sure how to fit fertility into this non-judgmentally. Take this at face value only. Whereas previous generations routinely spawned offspring at 4, 6, 8 or even 12 children per family, our generation determined that the best numbers were 2, 1 and 0. Three was deemed an extraordinary “sacrifice” (but not a blessing). Four? Oh horrors.
The generation that followed observed and learned. The national fertility rate is now below 2.0 per female for the first time ever.
And perhaps it is no wonder. Perhaps: A) they see our extravagance and want to live at least as well; B) they don’t want their children to have to pay OUR debts.
On that cheerless note, I’ll sign off for now.