The following is a transcript from the Pro America Report.
Welcome, welcome. It’s Ed Martin here on the Pro America Report and thank you for joining us, a lot to cover today. You know, yesterday’s program, if you saw if you listen to it or if you saw any of the segments as we post them. Over on social media and also in the podcast included an interview with a professor, a professor at Catholic University, and it was really interesting to to speak with her. Her name is Catherine Pakaluk. I’m I was making sure I pronounce that right. Pa-ka-luk. Pakkaluk. And I was practicing. She’s a professor over at the Catholic University of America, and she has a new book called Hannah’s Children: The Women Quietly Defying the Birth Dearth. And so, but here’s what I wanted to tell you.
I you know, sometimes when you have an interview with someone thoughtful and she got me thinking a lot and I was. Listen, you start to listen for things. She was. She’s been, she wrote and then she spoke with us yesterday about the experience of of of families having five children or more and she talks about what they what she discovers there’s the new book that’s coming out in a few months.
But after I listened to her, I kept seeing the question, seeing the problem of low birth rates everywhere I looked, including I don’t know if you noticed the Chinese Communist government had a bad day, couple of days. The economy dropped dramatically, but more telling is that they have a problem, an accelerating problem in China, and the Communist Chinese regime. 1.4 billion people, they have a problem because there’s a declining birth rate, and for, I don’t know, two generations, 3 generations. The Chinese communists have said to families, you know, have one child at most, have two child, two children. They’ve limited dramatically. I remember in Indonesia in 1992-93 when I was there, I was there on a research fellowship. There were statues in towns, and the phrase was cukup dua, cukup dua. Which meant two is enough. And it these were efforts to limit the population from having larger families by encouraging them in all sorts of ways. Some of the ways draconian, some you. Know that that they would you know, penalized people dramatically, but generally it was persuasive.
That was Indonesia. And Indonesia is very influenced by the Chinese Communist regime and policies and in various ways, but China’s got a Problem. The Chinese regime has been trying for a few years now to incentivize and change the mindset of the Chinese people on population, on on having families and for births in China. This is from the Wall Street Journal, births in China, dropped by more than 500 thousand last year to just over 9 million in total, accelerating the decline in the country’s population. As women especially shrugged off the government’s exhortation to reproduce.
The point here is you cannot keep going in the Communist regime if you’re not having families. If you’re not having a replacement, a birth rate for workers and everything else.
So this is what I want to say about this. We have the same problem in America. They have the same problem in Europe. Places like Italy and others. It’s a real problem. I mean it’s it’s a. It’s it’s not just a democratic, demographic question. You know the the fools in the 1970s that pushed overpopulation. It turns out they were exactly opposite. Right now we have a problem not in the world, by the way, but a problem in the West with under, you know, with underpopulation. And the question of what you do about that is the problem because as as Catherine Pakaluk said on the interview yesterday, you can’t just incentivize, there’s there’s no magic way to incentivize having kids with government, you know, incentives. It doesn’t work as well as people want, want to believe they, they think that they can somehow. You know, kind of tax incentivize their way through it. It doesn’t work as well as you think and it doesn’t. It doesn’t change behavior as well as one would, you know hope I guess is what You’d say so anyway.
The the question, by the way. The the great character at. The at the beginning of. Of this, in the 1970s there was a famous book I can’t remember if the actual book is called Overpopulation. I think it was, but there was a whole movement. And and it was actually centered on out of Washington University. And that was Peter Singer was one of the people who talked a lot about the overpopulation issues. But anyway, back to this Chinese problem.
The Chinese regime can’t change behavior, and so they have a problem. And and the economy falls apart. And so here’s what I was thinking about.
Could it be? That the Communist Chinese demands that their people not have larger families over the last 40 years is the seeds of their end. Because if the economy stalls in the Communist Chinese regime, if the command control economy doesn’t work, you end up having this cascading effect. You know you you can’t say that you see, no one can say that they see social unrest in Communist China today. You don’t. You’re not allowed to see it. You, the Communist Chinese, don’t allow it. You can’t say. That you see a burgeoning property rights movement or, you know, a kind of Western style freedom and and kind of free market, it doesn’t it it’s it’s all command control.
But you also couldn’t have said couldn’t have predicted exactly what would happen at the end of the Soviet Union. Where the Soviet Union was held together by. A vision of a. Strong military and and competing with the West and suddenly. They couldn’t do it anymore because they didn’t have the ability in their economy to hold it together and and that happened very rapidly. And so my thought here my question is in in my head is, is this a problem of population and birth decline? Is it the, you know is it is it the leading indicator Of of a major problem for the Communist Chinese regime.
And if 1.4 billion people get dissatisfied, that’s a lot bigger than the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had a sprawling empire. I mean, the Soviet empire was across historically important places and and. And, you know, the, the, the parts of Europe. And and Asia towards the Soviet Union where the, I mean it was this historic, I mean it was places that we knew, names that we knew and and – but the size and scope of the population of China, you may not know the places as well, but I can assure you 1.4 billion people a break up of the Communist Chinese regime in some meaningful way would be extraordinary.
And I mean beyond belief actually. Hard to actually picture
But. Listening to Professor Pakaluk I you know, you start to realize, this is the problem and this is where I bring it back. What you need to know today – it’s the problem of the family.
Now you can say and I think even Catherine Pakaluk, the professor from Catholic University, even she says it’s about the the the book is about us as describing Hannah, Hannah’s children, and talking about the women deciding. But and the and the Chinese, the article on within the Chinese regime is that the Chinese regime has tried to influence women’s decisions to have more children.
But it’s a family question. Right? If you don’t have family supporting jobs, if you don’t have a a structure that sets up that makes it so that a a person, a woman thinks and feels that she could have a have a child and that it would work out because there’s a a, a spouse there, husband there taking care of kids. I mean being a part of the taking care of and supporting.
And so this, the Pro family part of this. Is another piece of the puzzle.
And which brings me to later this week. We’ll be heading over to Washington DC for the March for Life, and people will literally, my kids will be going on buses to go for the March for Life and and all across the country, people will come and the March for Life. And of course it’s a changed March For Life, what started as a commemoration of the holocaust of Roe V Wade and Doe V Bolton. Every January 22nd. March on Washington to say why is the law being, you know, used this way against we the people. That’s how it started.
And of course, Roe V Wade and Doe V Bolton are, been overridden by the Dobbs decision year and a half ago and in June in June of 2022. And so the 2023 and the 2024 March for Life, these two last year and then coming up this week are very different because. Used to be marching against the behemoth of Roe V Wade, Doe V Bolton. You know, March up to the Supreme Court and say why? Why are you doing this? Now that’s gone.
And now the question is, how do you, how are you for life? How are you for life, not just against Roe V Wade, but for life.
And one of the ways is this question of population, having families, birth rates and and I think we’ve got to figure out, as I said to Catherine Pakaluk, it can’t be just a tax incentive. It’s also got to be leadership. It can’t be just a national conversation. It’s got to be local and familial and. We’re seeing some of that. But across the world, people are struggling with this. And that no more pressing place, no more pressing set of issues than what we’re seeing out coming out of Communist China. And and it should be. It’s a mixed blessing right? There should be. It’s gratifying to see the Communist Chinese regime failing in its vision, but it’s bad for people and bad for the world and bad for humanity. To be struggling so fundamentally with these issues, so a lot to unpack. That’s what you need to know.
It’s Ed Martin here on the Pro America Report. We gotta take a break and we will be, by the way, I will have Catherine Pakaluk back on the show to talk about her book, which comes out in about 60 days. Make sure people hear about it and and get connected to it. So I look forward to that. We’ll take a break. E Martin here on the Pro America Report, back in a moment.