The far right alliance dedicated to the cause of raising the U.S. birth rate

The far right alliance dedicated to the cause of raising the U.S. birth rate

Gaby Del Valle writes:

The threat, we are told here this weekend, is existential, biological, epoch-defining. Economies will fail, civilizations will fall, and it will all happen because people aren’t having enough babies.

“The entire global financial system, the value of your money, and every asset you might buy with money is defined by leverage, which means its value depends on growth,” Kevin Dolan, a 37-year-old father of six from Virginia, tells the crowd that has gathered to hear him speak. “Every country in the developed world and most countries in the developing world face long-term population decline at a level that makes growth impossible to maintain,” Dolan says, “which means we are sitting on the bubble of all bubbles.”

Despite this grim prognosis, the mood is optimistic. It’s early December, a few weeks before Christmas, and the hundred-odd people who have flocked to Austin for the first Natal Conference are here to come up with solutions. Though relatively small, as conferences go, NatalCon has attracted attendees who are almost intensely dedicated to the cause of raising the U.S. birth rate. The broader natalist movement has been gaining momentum lately in conservative circles — where anxieties over falling birth rates have converged with fears of rising immigration — and counts Elon Musk, who has nearly a dozen children, and Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán among its proponents. Natalism is often about more than raising birth rates, though that is certainly one of its aims; for many in the room, the ultimate goal is a total social overhaul, a culture in which child-rearing is paramount.

NatalCon’s emphasis on childbirth notwithstanding, there are very few women in the cavernous conference room of the LINE Hotel. The mostly male audience includes people of all ages, many of whom are childless themselves. Some of the women in attendance, however, have come to Austin with their children in tow — a visual representation of the desired outcome of this weekend. As if to emphasize the reason we’re all gathered here today, a baby babbles in the background while Dolan delivers his opening remarks.

Broadly speaking, the people who have paid as much as $1,000 to attend the conference are members of the New Right, a conglomeration of people in the populist wing of the conservative movement who believe we need seismic changes to the way we live now — and who often see the past as the best model for the future they’d like to build. Their ideology, such as it exists, is far from cohesive, and factions of the New Right are frequently in disagreement. But this weekend, these roughly aligned groups, from the libertarian-adjacent tech types to the Heritage Foundation staffers, along with some who likely have no connection with traditionally conservative or far-right causes at all, have found a unifying cause in natalism. [Continue reading…]

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