Monday, May 20, 2019

Commentary: 'Raising White Babies in Retirement' by Graham H. Seibert

As I survey my longtime acquaintances, fellow members of the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers, I am disheartened.  Few of them had more than two children – many had none. An inordinate number have children who are gay or plan not to marry. They may strongly oppose having children.  

Even among those children who marry and have children, the majority have been conditioned to be committed liberals, embarrassed by the politics of us their parents and resolute in not wanting to pass on traditional American values to their children. Though we are at the age at which the third and even fourth generation should be part of our lives, they aren't. Almost nobody I know has the four natural grandchildren necessary to continue their bloodline.  Harvard sociologist Carle Zimmerman noted this phenomenon as early as the 1930s. If my mother's parents, are to have great great-grandchildren, they will be through my baby children. Three of their four children, three of their four grandchildren, and the oldest three of their five great grandchildren had no natural children. My father's side of the family is only slightly more fertile, all without benefit of marriage.

Similar sad facts will be true of many of you who read this. Are you willing to accept society's verdict that you are evolutionarily irrelevant? That the world has no need for your progeny?  That you should while away the remaining three or four decades of your life meaninglessly, with indifferent children who will not give you grandchildren, at least not at all like you, and perhaps a wife who doesn't care about not having grandchildren, maybe not too much about you, or is already gone?

If you are not content with this fate , read on. You can do something.

Summon the energy to make another family. A century ago our farmer forebears were still behind the plow at this age. Some were still raising children. Many of you have been working out all of your lives with the express intent of staving off old age. What for? Simply to spend those extra years playing golf and traveling? No! Put that fitness to use.  The older generation even today in Eastern Europe and Latin America finds the energy to be active in raising grandchildren. They believe in family, and they contribute what they can. You can too – even if you have to make your own grandchildren.

What are the risks? Older men carry twice as many de novo mutations in their sperm. However, these 10 – 30 new mutations, though they are generally more damaging, are lost among the hundreds of deleterious mutations inherited from prior generations. Depending on definitions and statistics, the risk of some genetic disease appearing in any child runs between 1% and 5%. It is inherent in sexual reproduction, only slightly elevated with older fathers.  If the risk is offset by your passing on high intelligence, an agreeable personality and good looks, it is well worth taking.

Is it fair to the children? They don't compile actuarial tables for men of 60 sufficiently fit to attract partners young enough to have children. The chances are strong that you will live to be 90 – to see your grandchildren.  But even if you die, you will leave a respectable widow, presumably with enough money to get by, and intelligent and personable children. This is far better than the lot of a woman whose younger husband runs off with a bimbo. Or, in this day and age, an ungrateful woman who pushes her husband out the door, sucks him dry and constantly vilifies the desiccated corpse as she denies the children contact with their father. We of the older generation inherited and retain a stronger system of values, one which will appeal to potential partners and is well worth passing on to children.

Marrying a younger woman does subject a man to social risks. People will question your motives. Female acquaintances may be nervous and standoffish, male acquaintances will on the one hand tell you you're crazy, and on the other wonder why they didn't have the courage to do it themselves.  There is a strong possibility that the majority of your new friends will turn out to be of your wife's generation. It's refreshing being around younger people. Participating in play groups with parents of other toddlers will keep you active. You may even be appreciated for diapering skills you learned long ago and can teach to their generation.

At the age of 60, every man finds himself in a different financial situation. The common denominator is the promise of a government pension. While it appears doubtful that governments can make them last, they do provide a foundation. A man who earned a government pension in the West can live adequately in either Eastern Europe or South America.  You can live on income, saving your nest egg for the hard times that appear likely to come.

Once you accept the idea of a second family, you confront the practical problem of how to do it. Finding an intelligent and personable woman who wants to have children in this day of feminism is hard enough. Finding one who will have them with a guy a quarter-century older is a bigger challenge.

Human beings are herd animals. Women get a lot of advice from their friends on the subject of marriage. Unless there is an overwhelming amount of money working in your favor, most of a woman's friends will share the received wisdom that she should choose somebody closer to her own age. The women's magazines have done a good job of spreading fear about autism and other conditions associated with the father's age. Her friends may not be a very numerate but they will be able to calculate "Oh my God, when you're 55 he'll be 80!" Which is pretty frightening if at her age she doesn't even know people of 55.

Your chances of finding an educated, intelligent woman – one who could succeed at a career – who wants children whatsoever are not that great in the West. Those who want them can afford to be pretty picky, and they will probably not break with convention by marrying an older guy.  The obvious solution is to look in places where the women have more incentive to get married.

In less-developed countries parents still make it pretty clear to their daughters that they want grandchildren. Salaries are not that high for women or anybody. Marriage provides financial stability. These countries usually have more turbulent financial histories than the postwar West. They know better than to trust government promises about pensions, healthcare, and even justice. Women appreciate the security provided by a husband and children more than in the coddled West.

If you conclude that a foreign bride might make sense, there is a question of where to look.  Many American men marry Asian and Latin American women. These women are usually conscientious and family-oriented, though by culture and evolution they can have a more transactional view of marriage, regarding it as a matter of mutual obligations to be fulfilled as much as a romantic relationship. People in those civilizations have mindsets different than yours.  Children will inherit personality and pick up cultural traits from their mother. If you want a child of your own culture, it is probably a good idea to marry a more similar woman. Somebody with a European background.

If you follow the argument above, the question becomes where to find a wife. You can still find prospects in the West, especially if you have good religious bona fides, such as with the Mormons or Hassidic Jews…in which case you didn't read this far in the first place. Otherwise you probably want to look abroad.  You have to go beyond Canada, Australia/New Zealand or Western Europe, as they are afflicted by the same cultural decay as the United States. That pretty much narrows the choice down to the southern cone of South America and Eastern Europe.

The two choices have quite a bit in common, starting with a history of political mismanagement that has kept them relatively poor – making a foreign husband look attractive by comparison. They are family-oriented. Governments are sufficiently ineffective that they leave you alone. They don't have the tools to spy on citizens or the means to thoroughly propagandize them. Political correctness is less rampant -- corruption is so transparent that the politicians are not afraid to let the people say what they think.

Anywhere you go quite a few people will speak English. Nevertheless, especially if you're going to live there, a knowledge of the local language is a great asset. Spanish is far closer to English than any Slavic language.

Bringing a foreign bride to the United States is risky. She will form a circle of friends among those countrywomen who are also married to Americans, and American women in the community. They will teach her American values – consumerism, political correctness, and perhaps the American way of divorce.  She may decide that once she gets American citizenship she no longer needs you. If you can manage it, you are better off taking the burden of adjusting to a new society upon yourself.

There are several advantages to planning to live in your bride's country.  First, if you settle in as you are looking for your mate, you will find that you have a much broader selection. You don't want the hungry look of a fellow who is just prowling for a woman. You will be far better off as a guy who demonstrates the freedom and curiosity to start a new life in a new country, who just happens to be single. The same rule applies throughout the world: don't chase them, make yourself attractive and let them come to you.  The rule is valid even for short-term visits. A new friend came for a week in 2016, impressed our Toastmasters club president with a knockout speech, and is now married to that lovely, much younger woman.

Children born overseas will enjoy dual nationality. There are several additional advantages to raising them abroad. The most obvious is that they will grow up bilingual. Native English is an asset everywhere in the world.  You will have the benefit of the support of her family, who will probably believe in marriage and offer help with your children. They will teach the children their culture. Whatever it is, it is likely to be more coherent than what is left of yours.

Your children will probably get a better public school education abroad than in the United States. The fact that diversity is not an issue makes a huge difference. Since there is only one group, teachers don't have to pretend that all groups of students are equal. Diversity considerations do not pervade the textbooks, tests, discipline regimes, grading systems and so on. Teachers know what they can expect from kids, and they are more likely to demand it.

Since they will be American citizens, your kids will always have the option of returning to the USA for college. Though it is becoming increasingly evident that higher education in the United States is overpriced, ineffective and liberally politicized, it is still worth retaining as an alternative.

Poorer parts of the world are conservative. Although they are tolerant of homosexuality, it simply isn't as common. The absence of gay pride and transsexual advocacy groups probably has something to do with the fact that these conditions are not as manifest in traditional societies.  It is delightful to see groups of children on the school ground none of whom has been tagged with a diagnosis such as ADHD and none of whom seems to be ill at ease with the sex they were born with. They have simply never been presented with the idea that things might be otherwise. They learn to live with who they are – and in most cases turn out fairly normal.

Little girls like little boys, and the boys are not afraid of the girls. They grow up in the expectation that they will be like their mothers and fathers – heterosexual and married. They wouldn't even call it that. They would simply say they see themselves as normal.

The decision to start a new life is usually not made abruptly. A man may sense it as a possibility for years, even decades before it becomes a reality. There are several steps to take as this possibility starts to take shape in his mind.

Staying in good physical shape will top the list. If you're going to have 30 years' life expectancy at the age of 60, you had better be physically fit. Nobody will look at you askance if you start working out or start bicycling to work, stop smoking and reduce your drinking.

Likewise, nobody will think it's weird if you start to learn another language. Lots of people speak Spanish. You could feign an interest in Slavic literature. You may have a family connection with one of the countries that interests you.  Such a connection can have the added benefit of winning you residency or citizenship.

Get liquid. You don't want to be anchored by real estate or a business. Bank and brokerage accounts can be managed from anywhere in the world. Many wealth advisory counselors recommend that you have some assets overseas simply as a form of diversification. If you have enough of an estate for this to be a plausible consideration, you can use it as an excuse to check out countries you might want to investigate for a second family.

Become a joiner. The Internet will tell you which organizations are present in cities to which you might consider relocating. Get active in church, Habitat for Humanity, community choirs, alumni associations, social club such as Lions, Rotary and Kiwanis, and  speaking clubs such as Toastmasters. The latter has the advantage that it gives you a built-in platform to tell people about yourself, and it has a younger membership, including a fair number of single women of childbearing age. Whatever the group, the skills you develop making new friendships are immanently transferable to another society. You might get lucky and find the woman you're looking for without taking the radical step of leaving the country. If you can, more power to you.

All of these steps will increase your freedom of action. They will put you in good stead however you decide to use the last decades of your life.  For me, starting a new family has been transformative. I threw away my Prozac within months of moving to Ukraine. Simply being around people with a purpose in life gave purpose to my own. Now, with a wife and two children not only dependent on me but openly appreciating my company, I am as happy as I have ever been.

This is my challenge to you. Get out of your cul-de-sac. Put yourself back into the mainstream of evolution. Fulfill your obligation to those prior generations whose hard work and belief created and nurtured you. Find a strong partner, and together work to create a new generation endowed with your good character and the beliefs springing from your tradition. You can do it.


Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Graham H. Seibert. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right. 




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