‘We have kept back the pudding for you, sir,’ said Mowett, ‘and meanwhile Mr Butcher has been asking us riddles, some of them most amazingly clever. The present one, that we cannot find out, is What is never out of fashion?’
Jack tried to think of something witty to say, but wit was not at his command so soon after trying men for their lives and he sat there shaking his head, looking interested and amiable. Various suggestions came from up and down the table, but never the right answer. ‘No, gentlemen,’ said Butcher, ‘you will never guess it, though yours is quite a manly service. What is never out of fashion is the getting of bastards, ha, ha, ha!’
— The Reverse of the Medal by Patrick O’Brian
This plot is interesting. It’s taken from Reddit “Spikes in live births outside of marriage in England and Wales during the World Wars.” The author of the plot says the data came from the Office of National Statistics. Download the spreadsheet. There’s plenty of interesting information.
Data collections like these are never exactly certain, especially the farther one goes back in time. But this one is reasonable. It’s impossible to say with certainty, but it appears the gradual downward trend from 1845 to WWI is real.
What caused that trend? Of course, many things, because each birth had a different cause. But it may be that increasing civilization brought on by a burgeoning middle class was at least partly responsible.
The war blips are easy to explain. War is a sinful time. Husbands are away and soldiers are at play. I can’t see any real controversy in this interpretation. The timing of the spikes, given these are births in England, are surely partially the result American soldiers billeting in the Olde Country. The natural price to pay for war assistance?
The rates recovered after WWI, but never did after WWII, during which a new, and very brief, plateau was reached.
Then came the real war, a global war, the most destructive revolution the world has ever seen. There was the initial flirtation with the battle in the early 60s, and then a pause for consideration, where it was thought This might be enough, as the Greatest Generation (they said) exited their fertile years.
That’s when the storm really hit. It still rages. And, I’m delighted to tell you, it’s worse than you thought.
Why? Because this plot is not what it seems. It is an under-count of bastards, because the ratio is calculated as births “Outside marriage or civil partnership” and the sum of those and “Within marriage or civil partnership”. A civil partnership does not a marriage make. I can’t tell from this data what percentages of births came from actual marriages, but it’s a good guess this is a declining number.
In 2017 there were 352,270 marriage or “partnership” births, contrasted with 326,836 known bastards. It’s nearly a tie. And might even be one, or worse, depending on those “partnerships”.
There is a very slight near leveling off in the latter years. Perhaps this is accounted for by Muslim immigration, which is picking up steam. The change in rates from this source depends on the assimilation rate of Muslims, versus the influx of newer “old-fashioned” blood.
The world wars fought with steel had natural end points. One side looked for the other to raise the white flag, after which hostilities ended, and thus so did the war-caused getting of bastards.
Who is there to surrender to in this world war, and who does the surrendering? How can the war end when there is no way for people to know the fighting has ended?
Morals are loosened in war. When you’re in it what’s happening around you begins to look natural, as I admit to once believing, especially as the the war lengthens. This has been a very long war. More than half a century now, and hostilities are increasing.
Pleas from religious have some effect, but usually they are not decisive. So it’s not likely Muslims in England, unless they become a majority, will have much more effect. Christians in England are surrendering at rates faster than new ones are created.
The losing side usually gives up when it realizes its cause is hopeless, that to continue to fight has no upside. What could this realization hit here?
One clue is in birth age. For some reason the statistician normalizes mother’s mean birth age by some formula. At any rate, in the late 1930s the mean was 28-29 and is now approaching 31. Data before the 30s aren’t available, but would be lower. From 28 to 31 doesn’t sound much, but this is the mean, meaning roughly half the mothers are older than 31. The mean can’t, the claims and hopes of medicine and feminists aside, increase much more. The Office only bothers calculating rates up to 44 years old.
And (in Table 2) the rate per 1,000 women of births to mothers 40+ is now 16, climbing from a low in the 1970s of about 4-5. But, recovering from WWII also saw even higher numbers of 40+ births, up to 20.8 when the men came marching home in 1947.
The fertility rate in 2017 was 1.76, another number not seen since WWII. And this is, as mentioned, after Muslim immigration.
All this points to a surrender coming soon. Maybe as much as 40 years, maybe as few as 10. Events have a way of sneaking up unannounced.