We are not libertarians here at F&H. We believe that the state has the godly duty to promote the good of the nation within its jurisdiction, and there are few things within this jurisdiction more important than ensuring the survival of the nation in future generations. So it is well within the state’s rights, responsibilities even, to pursue policies which promote an environment in which above-replacement-rate families can thrive. However, divorcing the national birthrate from the context of Christian morality and the traditional family will have serious negative long-term repercussions, whatever the short-term benefits.
Do It For Denmark
Last week, the Danish travel agency Spies launched a promotion called “Do It For Denmark.” Not only do Danish couples who book their travel through Spies get a discount, but if they conceive during the trip, then they will also receive three years’ worth of free baby supplies from Spies. Here’s the ad for promotion (the scene in the thumbnail is brief and mainly there to get people to click on the video):
First, notice the rationale given for why this is necessary. More babies are needed to support the aging population (0:12) and to help future Danish business (1:16); that’s it. No wonder the Danish business community is having to bribe people to have children with these wretchedly poor motivators. Who in their right mind would shackle themselves down to an expensive, disobedient, tiny human for 18+ years just to support the welfare state and Danish corporations’ bottomline? On the other hand, obedience to God’s commands, the joys and blessings of the normative Christian familial structure, and the desire and duty for the continuation of national and familial lines have been more than sufficient, and more Christian and less superficial, motivators for Christian Europe for almost 2,000 years.
Secondly, what exactly is this “Denmark” for which people are supposed to “do it”? With ethnonationalism being the normative principle of organization for all of mankind throughout history, a people and their country were interchangeable. When speaking of what was good or bad for a country, it was understood that the discussion concerned what was good or bad for the particular people of that country. 100 years ago, it would have been understood that doing it for Denmark actually meant doing it for the Danish people. However, with the triumph of Marxist anthropology, this is no longer the case. As the video makes clear with the inclusion of the swarthy third-worlder (1:45), “Denmark” doesn’t mean the Danish people in this context, but merely everyone who happens to live in an arbitrary piece of land on the coast of the Baltic Sea, regardless of whether they are actually Danes or just a motley collection of third-world border-jumpers.
Thirdly, this push for conception takes place outside of its proper context of the Christian family. Notice that she’s not even wearing an engagement ring, much less a wedding band (1:09). Putting aside the question of Christian morality, which is practically more likely to result in this situation: a family with an amount of children above replacement rate, or a one-off with a broken family? And when the majority of them do result in broken families, will that make the welfare situation which this initiative aims to fix better or worse? This and the homosexual couple (1:45) make it clear that the video is really just a marketing gimmick to encourage random couples to have sex on vacation rather than a serious attempt to create a sustainable increase in the birthrate.
Fourthly, if the couple had actually “done their duty” (1:41), then Denmark wouldn’t need to be running travel promotions trying to bribe people to have babies. In 1913, the Danish birthrate was 3.43, a full child higher than simple replacement. One hundred years later in 2013, it was only 1.67, almost a full child below replacement. If people like that couple had actually done their duty, having enough kids and then teaching those kids to have more children, then Denmark wouldn’t be facing an aging population and below-replacement birthrate today. This is not to take a holier-than-thou stance, however, as America is a little bit further behind western Europe – but we’re headed down the exact same path.
In contrast to “Do it for Denmark,” let’s look at two attempts to combat falling birthrates in the early twentieth century.
Médaille d’Honneur de la Famille Française
Instituted in May of 1920, the Medal of Honour of the French Family was designed to honor the mothers of large families. The medal was given at three levels: bronze for four or five children, silver for six or seven children, and gold for eight or more children. The only requirements were that the parents and children were French, the eldest child was at least sixteen years old, and that they were raised with dignity (dignement). Additionally, several other categories of people could receive the medal:
- foster parents, French or not, raising French children
- people raising orphaned French children for at least two years
- war widows with at least three children
- persons rendering outstanding service in the field of the family (for example, family associations)
This medal remains active even today, but it has been largely stripped of meaning and its positive elements over the past three decades. I couldn’t find any information on what “with dignity” meant, but I would guess that it would be similar to the mother being “worthy,” as stated below.
Ehrenkreuz der Deutschen Mutter
Established in December of 1938, the Cross of Honour of the German Mother was modeled after the French medal, but took it a step further in many areas. Some major criteria must have been met for a mother to receive the medal:
- that both mother and father were ethnic Germans with none of their four grandparents on either side being of foreign origin or Jewish
- that the mother was “worthy” in having never been in prison or having an affair, an abortion, or committing any moral taboos such as prostitution, promiscuity, or interracial relationships, among other criteria
- that the children were live births and free of hereditary illnesses or genetic disorders
- that the family lived an orderly, self-sufficient life and maintained a nurturing home environment, free of alcoholics, criminals, or social delinquents
As with the French medal, this medal was available on three levels: 3rd Class Order (bronze) for four or five children, 2nd Class Order (silver) for six or seven children, and 1st Class Order (gold) for eight or more children.
In the wake of WWI, the sexual liberation of the 1920s, and the transition from a rural to an urban society, Europe faced a rapidly declining birthrate which, in several cases, dropped below the replacement rate in the interwar years. Their response was unanimously to encourage an increased birthrate within the context of marriage and amongst their own co-ethnics. The suppression of immorality and the offering of social and financial incentives like the Cross of Honour of the German Mother to large German families allowed Germany to produce a 50% increase in their birthrate by 1939 back up to replacement rate over the rock-bottom rate at the end of the Weimar Republic in 1933.1 Of course, as Kinists, we would never condone the totalitarianism or euthanasia which often accompanied these German policies, but within the context of Christian morality, good ideas like this medal can be borrowed without copying the entirety of the program. The government cannot in and of itself increase the birthrate, as shown by the ineffective efforts of modern Sweden. However, in conjunction with the family and the church working on the individual level, the government can create incentives on the national level to create an environment in which the family’s and church’s work can flourish. I agree that Denmark’s low birthrate is a problem, yet the solution is to encourage the birth of more ethnic Danes via social and financial incentives to large families within the context of Christian morality and the traditional family – not offering short-term bribes for random couples who happen to reside within the borders of Denmark to have sex.