Contraception doesn't merely deprive one's own children of siblings. It deprives one's nieces and nephews of cousins; and it deprives one's grandchildren, grandnieces and grandnephews of aunts, uncles, and cousins - on down the line. After several generations of contraception most of us do not know what extended families are like. To compound the problem, American hyper-mobility ensures that our few remaining relatives live hundreds of miles away, and American individualism ensures that we don't share the same religious beliefs anyway.
Have you noticed that our politicians, even the most corrupt, are never charged with nepotism anymore? Nepotism requires family, and we don't have families. I never understood the horror that some people have for political nepotism. In the old world it was called aristocracy. Of all forms of corruption in a democratic republic, nepotism is the most human and understandable. Aren't we supposed to prefer our relatives? To the extent that we still have dynastic families like the Kennedys and the Bushes, I view that as a good thing. It's really a shame that George Washington didn't have fifteen children.
Anthony Esolen grew up in a town of 5,000 with twenty of his cousins. Twenty. That means, of course, that he had aunts and uncles in the town as well. He writes that "kinship is the foundation of community life", and that cousins, in particular, "provide you that straight passport into a community".
Extended family is the reason Americans survived the last Great Depression; the absence of extended family is the reason we won't survive the next one. The close proximity of many relatives - relatives who, more or less, share the same religious faith and code of morality - is the best form of social insurance there is. When hard times come, as they come to all eventually, there's a cousin with a spare room, a cousin who can loan you the rent money, an uncle who owns a business and needs a clerk, an aunt who can move in while you recover from surgery, etc., and they all live close enough to be of help in an emergency. Furthermore every family has its eccentrics, people who just don't "fit in" and conform very well to social expectations, for whatever reasons. Nowadays such people are a heavy burden, but in healthier times they could be assimilated into the extended family. The "crazy uncle" perhaps couldn't hold down a job, but maybe he could entertain the children and do odd chores for the family: there was no reason he needed to be destitute.
There are some on the political "right" in America who reserve their greatest wrath for the "welfare state" and its clients. I'd like to know how many children these pundits are having. What are they doing to restore the extended family?