Birth Control & the Decline of Civilization

The Imaginative Conservative | 9/1/1996 | Steven Kessler
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Traditionally, the type of men that women wanted to marry embodied all the classic standards of male achievement: educated, physically fit, able to hold down a job. But in 1960, everything changed. A watershed moment produced an oral contraceptive known as “the pill.” No innovation has fundamentally altered the premises of civilization quite like birth control.

In The Sociological Tradition, Robert Nisbet referred to the Industrial and French Revolutions as the two great ideas of the western world.[1] No two events so dramatically altered civilization as significantly, their temporal overlap only intensifying their effects.

Revolutions - Ideas - World - Idea - Control

If the two Revolutions are the two great ideas of the Western world, then the third great idea must be birth control. No innovation has fundamentally altered the premises of civilization quite like birth control.

And then everything changed. In 1960, a watershed moment produced an oral contraceptive known as “the pill.”[11] By 1964, 6.5 million married women were using the pill, and by 1972, the Supreme Court extended access to the pill to unmarried women via Eisenstadt V. Baird; in 1973, Roe V. Wade fully legalized abortion.[12] The ease of application and the accessibility of the pill and abortion upended the civilizational premises described above.

Benefits - Women - Society - Advances - Economy

The benefits women and society at large incurred from these advances are highly beneficial. They help our economy, set the precedents for women as positive role models, they allow women the opportunity to choose to have a family when they are ready, and enable a typical household to have two earners.

One of the most intriguing unintended consequences of the pill is that it lowered the cost of sex to women. Pregnancy made sex extremely costly for women, so therefore, women would traditionally only sell sex to men at the high cost of marriage. Now, without the risk of pregnancy to those willing to use...
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