The author over at Meaning in History makes sense of it all. (By the way, Ms. Petito's unfortunate end is one of the results....)
...O’Neill focuses on the catastrophic birth rates in the West. Or as I would say, the secularized West. The current generation, he argues, is in the grips of an anti-human Neo-Malthusian ideology. O’Neill sees this crisis as the result of wildly anti-human ideologies that view humans as basically so much carbon, or in terms of their carbon footprint. He cites various surveys that show the younger generation as embracing dystopian Green ideas to explain this.
I prefer to express the dilemma a bit more simply—I see these pop-ideologies as more in the nature of rationalizations for a basic attitude. The rejection of reproduction—normally considered a basic human instinct—arises from the loss of meaning. It’s a kind of ‘what’s the point’ reaction to a world that doesn’t offer meaning or a sense of direction. Unfortunately, the societal institutions that have traditionally been charged with articulating that meaning have abdicated that responsibility and embraced the secularized world view—a modern trahison des clercs. The intellectual bankruptcy they have left in their wake leads the generality of people to a spiritual lassitude—a limp willingness to basically go along with whatever comes down from government—or a lashing out in search of simplistic ideological solutions. A search for a meaning in secularization, a form of self salvation through activism. Thus, I would argue, the willingness to embrace dystopian ideologies—global warming, looming global pandemics—that demand simple solutions....
Or as Fr. James Schall might put it: "What IS good?"