Elon Musk Wants You to Have a Baby

Elon Musk Wants You to Have a Baby

We all know that Elon Musk likes procreation. He has 11 kids, after all. The tech billionaire currently has twins with an executive at Neuralink, two children with his on-again-off-again girlfriend Grimes, and a gaggle of children with his ex-wife, Justine Wilson. The billionaire was also accused of asking a former SpaceX employee if she would “have his babies.” The guy is pretty liberal with his sperm, to say the least.

But Musk isn’t just concerned about his own breeding habits. He also wants the rest of the world to think about how they can up their household headcount, too. He proved this, once again, during a conversation with the Cato Institute on Wednesday, the prominent libertarian think tank founded by Charles Koch. The conversation, which was meant to discuss “liberty” (the libertarian codeword for “free markets”) in Argentina, dovetailed, at one point, into a conversation about plummeting global birthrates and why the current “baby bust” could signal a catastrophic outcome for the human race writ large.

“I do worry about certain existential risks, like the low birth rate, which is accelerating in most countries,” Musk said. “This is one of those things that I think is underrated as an issue—which is that if there’s no humans, there’s no humanity. You have to make them somehow. I think we should be very concerned about the accelerating implosion of the birthrate.”

Musk continued: “This is a super big deal. Basically, nothing else matters if there are no humans. As an initial premise, you must first have humans for there to be civilization—unless we’re going to leave it all to the robots…I don’t have a great solution to it but it must be solved somehow or humanity will dwindle to nothing.”

During his pro-procreation diatribe, Musk also took the opportunity to take a swipe at the environmentalist movement, which is an admittedly weird move for a guy who runs an electric car company.

“I do think that one sort of bad thing about the environmentalist movement is that—in the extreme form of the environmentalist movement—people start to view humans as a plague on the surface of the Earth, as a fundamentally bad thing, with the implication that if all humans disappear somehow Earth would be better off,” Musk said. “This is the Extinctionist movement. I think you can really, at a fundamental level, think of things as a fight between the Expansionist and Extinctionist philosophies. And that’s what really matters.”

“If humans go extinct or civilization collapses, whatever policies we may have are irrelevant,” he continued.“So, first and foremost, we must have an Expansionist philosophy for civilization and for consciousness. We must seek to go beyond what we’ve done in the past to increase the number of humans.”

“So the final message is go forth and procreate,” the Cato Institute interviewer said.

“Yes,” Musk said, grinning.

Musk isn’t totally wrong that dropping birthrates is a legitimate concern for many countries, though commentators have generally disagreed about the severity of the problem as well as what to do about it. The jury is also still out on what exactly is causing droves of young people all over the world to opt out of family life. Some people have blamed feminism, the growth of “anti-family” cultures, and the “radical” “Left.” Others, like Musk, blame a pervasive, pessimistic worldview that dissuades people from having kids.

It could also be that, due to years of runaway costs for things like housing, education, and childcare, it’s become prohibitively expensive for most middle-class people to actually have children.

An article in Vogue last year asked if having kids had become a “luxury item,” one that only upper-income brackets could comfortably afford. Given that one study clocks the total cost of raising a kid from diapers to a high-school diploma to be about $US300,000 in the U.S. (this is not even to mention the increasingly costly 4-year college degree that has become a necessity for white-collar jobs), you can see why the median American might be somewhat priced out of something like that. That said, it’s typically lower-income communities that have the highest birth rates. So the situation is complicated.

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