“Demography is destiny,” sociologists and demographers tell us.  No.  Morality is destiny.  Demography stems from that, as does economics.  Americans now are learning that lesson the hard way.

Tax rates, debt, deficits, trade policy, monetary policy, government spending, and other factors all affect economic growth and prosperity.  But they’re all trumped by demographics—and above that, morality.

America is now reaping the economic whirlwind of several long-term trends.  The Baby Boom of 1946 to 1965 nearly doubled the birthrate of the previous 15 years, which had included the birth-suppressing Great Depression and World War II.  Returning victorious GIs were eager to start their families, and Rosie the Riveter was even more eager for the maternity ward and the kitchen.  The 1950’s wasn’t the staid, puritanical period leftists like to demonize.  But Christian morality still held out until the deluge after 1965, as one can see in the movies of the two periods.

After 1965, the Birth Dearth struck.  Births eventually dropped by half.  And unlike previous low periods, there has been no strong recovery.  The culprit was the decline in morality accelerating in 1965: widespread use of the contraceptive Pill, the only generic drug with a capital letter; the New Morality, which institutionalized the old vices of fornication, adultery, and sodomy; feminism; the end of the Catholic-dominated Motion Picture Production Code, leading to copious nudity and profanities in popular films; the legalization of hard-core pornography.  More: the imposition of the Great Society and its debilitating welfare programs; the Vietnam War, which dragged on and divided the country severely; and the phony Population Explosion propaganda against babies.

But behind all that was Christians’ loss of heart.  Can’t blame that one on Hollywood or the government.  Protestants were shaken by such now-forgotten books as Honest to God, by Anglican bishop John A.T. Robinson, and The Secular City: Secularization and Urbanization in Theological Perspective, by Harvey Cox, a Baptist minister teaching at Harvard Divinity School.  Cox wrote, “God is just as present in the secular as the religious realms of life.”  Not exactly words to get a man to charge the VC at Da Nang.  Or to get a mother through her fifth childbirth.

Although the Catholic Church’s dogmas didn’t change at Vatican II, which ended in 1965, the secular media and such heretics as Hans Küng and Charles Curran tried to make it look as if the old morality were gone.  Pope Paul VI, timid as usual, hesitated in reaffirming traditional Church teaching on abortion and contraception.  After finally issuing the excellent encyclical Humanae vitae in 1968, he did little to enforce it.

My late friend Frank Yegge was a young father during that period.  “Everything has changed,” he remembered formerly good Catholics saying, justifying their descent into sexual decadence.  “No, it hasn’t!” he kept telling them.

Translating morality into demography, what it comes down to is this: A man’s prime earning years are ages 30 to 65.  After that, he commonly retires and begins living off his investments and taxpayer-funded Social Security.  So, he’s spending, not earning and investing.  He also commonly moves with his wife to a smaller and cheaper home or apartment.  Younger families then pick up the slack with producing, investing, and home buying.

The first Boomers, born in 1946, turned 65 this year.  But the Birth Dearth, starting in 1966, didn’t produce enough kids to replace them.  There have been 50 million abortions since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court edict.  The 1973 class of “fetal matter,” as pro-aborts call them, would now be 38, living in all those vacant houses and working and shopping in all those vacant storefronts.  They would be paying taxes to reduce the deficit and debt.

It takes about 40 years for the antinatalist morality to rip up the demographics.  Something similar has already happened to Japan.  In 1948, Japan legalized abortion, sharply cutting the birthrate.  She suffered 1.17 million abortions in 1955.  In the late 1980’s, her economy fell into what are now two “lost decades” and counting.

China now is soaring.  But Mao liked high birthrates, if only to replace the 60 million he slaughtered.  The market reforms Deng Xiaoping instituted 30 years ago were accompanied by the infamous “one-child policy.”  In about a decade China will suffer her own economic stagnation from too few young workers.

For America, the pain is just beginning.  No babies, no future.