The pro-family power couple and their out-of-the-box approach to population decline

The Energizer Bunny can’t hold a candle to Malcolm and Simone Collins. Who are they? Some of the world’s foremost pronatalists, two high-profile happy warriors for humanity. They’re the brains behind and should be familiar to Mercator readers:

Malcolm and Simone Collins radiate powerful self-confidence. As a married couple they have operated companies on five continents that collectively pulled in US$70 million every year; raised a private equity fund; directed strategy at top, early-stage venture capital firms; written three best-selling books; served as managing director of Dialog, an elite retreat for global leaders founded by Peter Thiel; and earned degrees in neuroscience, business, and technology policy from St Andrews, Stanford, and Cambridge.

We’ve also mentioned them here, here, and here.

Independent thinkers

Without a doubt, the Collinses think for themselves. Some call them zany; things they say are jarring to traditional pro-family types. But it would be a colossal mistake to dismiss them. They are dedicated, tech-savvy, and understand modern social mores and contemporary thinking (or lack thereof). Not only that, they’ve three children and plans for more. The planet trembles.

So when Aporia’s clickbait headline “Reversing the Fertility Collapse” popped up, the Malcolm Collins byline meant required reading.

Following the headline was a perplexing subhead:

You can't buy fertility, and imposing values through government fiat doesn't work. New and fortified religions are the only realistic solution.

“New and fortified religions?” Before trying to unpack this, keep in mind that Malcolm Collins doesn’t think like the rest of us. That’s actually a plus for our side. He is brilliant and quite likeable to boot. If we are all in for the family, we should listen to pronatalist voices from across the spectrum, whatever their religious inclinations:

Our podcast, Based Camp, focuses on the topics of sex, politics, genetics, and religion. The first three are understandable obsessions for leaders of the pronatalist movement but the last often perplexes newcomers. Religion? This confusion is amplified when they ask why we haven’t written a book on pronatalism and realistic solutions to falling fertility rates and we point out that we have and it's titled The Pragmatist’s Guide to Crafting Religion. 

I understand that The Pragmatist’s Guide, agree with it or not, is a most thought-provoking book. Religion makes all the difference.

Religious impact

In the West, religious faith and fertility have simultaneously declined. Correlation and causation? Collins understands, though his ideas are not “conventional”:

[H]igh fertility requires not just a strong, religiously infused culture… but one whose members feels like a threatened minority that is starkly different from its neighbours. This would explain the perplexingly high Jewish Israeli fertility rates.

I suspect there are two major forces at play. The first is just common sense. If you have daily reminders that people who look, act, and think like you might be “replaced”, that is a strong motivation to have kids.

This recalls The Great Replacement – conspiracy theory in academia, but reality on the ground – that has much currency in Europe, which is teeming with third-world immigrants. New laws, signage, mosques popping up and rising crime are the visible indicators. Just visit a major European city and ask about the “no-go” zones. But that has not motivated indigenous Europeans to make more babies. Rather, it seems that they’ve opted to die out. Did two fratricidal world wars lead to terminal demoralisation and spiritual exhaustion?

But to take Mr Collins’s point, no Western country meets his other fertility criterion, a “strong, religiously infused culture”. In fact, most Western governments are hostile to religion.

Sadly, traditional Christianity is being sidelined by the secular faith of PC, wokeism or whatever is the latest iteration (PC scripture is conveniently fluid). Adherents of this new religion are zealous. Tolerance, diversity and inclusion are preached, but those lovey-dovey dictats are not extended to the unwoke, who are the sinners (bigots, racists, antisemites, etc).

Many churches preach mammon worship, prioritising social gospel over salvation. Personal “empowerment” and “saving the planet” come before family. When one faith fades, another replaces it. That is the post-Christian West.


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Collins continues:

The second force at play is more subtle. When a government imposes a culture’s value system, the forces of intergenerational cultural evolution that made the culture strong in the first place begin to atrophy. If a person lived their life in a mech suit which moved their body for them, all their muscles would eventually atrophy.

Abortion restrictions are a good proxy for how much the government is enforcing value systems/perspectives that religions should be enforcing on their own. Removing the responsibility from a religion to motivate individuals to exercise self-control will destroy that religion over time.

Indeed. In today’s Brave New World, the state is supplanting family, church and much else. Not good. The post-World War II nanny state has a life of its own, insulated from popular input. Bloated bureaucracy means boatloads of well-salaried sinecures. Families are taxed to support a meddlesome managerial state that is choking the West under the guise of “democracy” while enabling welfare-warfare state crony capitalism. This creates social and financial stress on families, thus fewer children.

Collins fully understands the criticality of religion. Here, he has much in common with people of faith across the globe. But he seems to think that religion should somehow adapt to technology. It should be the other way around. 

The only way to ensure ancestral traditions work as intended without updating them for the age of technology is to include within them a mandate for a pre-industrial lifestyle. 

This is why the only groups that seem to show durable resistance to fertility collapse are those that either ban their members from engaging with technology or have social practices that lower the economic potential of their adherents.

First, “economic potential” is not everything. Humanity is already monetised to the max. Would the “Asian Tiger” countries sacrifice some of their economic potential in exchange for replacement fertility? Not now. But who knows what could happen when populations crater, and a Children of Men scenario kicks in.

Around the world

Three groups with the world’s highest fertility rates are the industrious Amish, who shun most modern technology and prosper; Haredi Jews, where the men focus on studying religious texts; and the tribal people in Niger, who live barely at subsistence level. These groups are as different as can be.

What they have in common is they are 1) religious and 2) not high-tech dependent. That is not problematic. If you’ve ever seen a family phubbing, physically together but emotionally remote on their devices, you can see that technology is a mixed blessing.    

High-tech has changed the world. But we’re getting to the point where technology, especially AI, is mastering rather than serving humanity. As Collins points out, adjusting to technology will boost economic productivity. But can it help us become fecund again?

Religion redux

Collins says, “The old ways have failed us” in today’s high-tech world. But the “old ways” were abandoned long ago. That could be the problem. Collins, a veritable guru of the information age, believes that a deleterious technophobia looms:

This is the crux of why we are raising our kids in a new religious system. It is also why we encourage others to attempt to edit their pre-industrial systems with practices that will make them competitive in an age of AI and the internet. All religious traditions evolve—the drastic social and technological changes that pose new threats simply require that such evolution happen faster.

And if you are interested in the specific religion of our family, we lay it out in a Substack piece titled Tract 1: Building an Abrahamic Faith Optimized for Interstellar Empires. 

Space does not permit delving into that essay, though it provides valuable insight into how Malcolm and Simone Collins think. They have IQ points to spare. While I may not agree with them on various points, we completely agree about what is really important: staving off extinction. To that end, they are building a fast-growing technophilic pro-family movement, a much-needed force for pronatalism, regardless of religious persuasion.

I’m glad this dynamic duo is on our side. They are, in a word, formidable.

What do you think of the Collinses' ideas? Are they on point or out of this world? Weigh in below.

Louis T. March has a background in government, business, and philanthropy. A former talk show host, author, and public speaker, he is a dedicated student of history and genealogy. Louis lives with his family in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Image: Pexels


Showing 3 reactions

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  • Paul Bunyan
    commented 2024-03-26 08:12:21 +1100
    Mentioning the “great replacement” is a thinly-veiled racist dog-whistle. It indicates that only members of certain “races” should be increasing in number. It obviously reveals concern about declining birth rates among Caucasians.

    And since Louis indicated worries about Asian tiger economies and their falling birth rates, I think it would be beneficial for him to ask the people who live in those countries what they think.

    Among other things, it’s unrealistic to expect people to have children until AFTER they have a secure career, a decent income and a stable life. And yet that’s what Stephen Shaw is encouraging with his 3-part documentary series Birthgap. He demonstrates concern about women who wait to long and find they are unable to have children.

    Considering the alternative of increased poverty and human misery, I think his concerns are in the wrong place.
  • mrscracker
    “[H]igh fertility requires not just a strong, religiously infused culture… but one whose members feels like a threatened minority that is starkly different from its neighbours. This would explain the perplexingly high Jewish Israeli fertility rates. I suspect there are two major forces at play. The first is just common sense. If you have daily reminders that people who look, act, and think like you might be “replaced”, that is a strong motivation to have kids.”
    Perhaps so but Ultra Orthodox & Hassidic Jews behave in much the same way in the States. There’s a very large Hassidic community in Lakewood, New Jersey that has one of the highest fertility rates on the planet, only slightly below Niger.
  • Louis T. March
    published this page in The Latest 2024-03-25 21:56:12 +1100