“you should have had more children when you had the chance.”
My maternal great-grandfather had five children, four of whom lived to have families of their own. His son, my grandfather, also had five children, two sons and three daughters, who grew up as part of a dense network of cousins.
On my father’s side, the families were a little smaller. But my dad was one of three siblings, meaning that I had six aunts and uncles overall.
Then the social revolutions of the 1970s arrived. There were divorces, later marriages, single parenthood, abortions. In the end all those aunts and uncles, their various spouses and my parents — 12 baby boomers, all told — only had seven children: myself, my sister and five cousins.
The Obama White House’s “Life of Julia” ad campaign in 2012 — featuring a woman whose every choice was subsidized by the government from cradle to grave, with a lone child but no larger family or community in sight — seemed to many conservatives like a perfect confirmation of our fears: Here was liberalism explicitly pitching the state as a substitute for kith and kin.
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