TCS Daily

Culture and the Demographic Crisis

By Frederick Turner - August 7, 2006 12:00 AM

A study of history may cast some light on the present demographic crisis in Europe and the developed world -- in which several nations have fallen below the population replacement rate -- and on the current controversy over immigration here in the US.

For hundreds of years historians have wondered what happened to the Roman Empire in its last days. They agree that there was a demographic collapse in its urban Italian heartland. They noted that Romans themselves became outnumbered in their own country -- while remaining as a shrinking elite, the "domini" (the root of the "dons" of Spain and the Mafia) that became a feudal aristocracy in the middle ages.

The demographic collapse was variously attributed to lead poisoning by water systems or ceramics, the moral decay brought on by Christianity (!), the destruction of infrastructure by barbarian invasions, venereal diseases, and other causes. But many nations have multiplied boisterously in conditions of chemical pollution, religious fervor, political and military chaos, and disease -- much of sub-Saharan Africa can be cited as a current example.

Environmentalists like to cite ecological and climatological causes for population decline, and they are surely right in some extreme cases, mostly in closed systems and isolated islands like Easter Island, Greenland, and the oases of Central Asia, the South American Pacific coast, and New Mexico. Certainly the ecological/technological/economic Titanic sometimes simply crashes and sinks. But often it remains intact while mysteriously emptying out of its inhabitants, and sometimes ticketless passengers replace them. And that is what seems to have happened in Rome, and to be happening now in Italy, Scandinavia, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Estonia, Hungary, South Korea...

If we eliminate all external causes for population collapse, what is left is people's own reproductive choices. The reason people stop replacing themselves is, I would argue, cultural.

What, basically, persuades people not to have babies even when they have the political, social and economic stability to do so? Among the eras and nations where this phenomenon occurs or occurred one basic characteristic stands out: the loss of a transcendent future. What I mean by "transcendent" is some ideal or love or hope or faith that rises above the interests of the self, the practicalities of expected income, the security of predictable outcomes, and the lifetime of the individual. What I mean by "future" is that it is an ideal, love, hope, or faith that extends beyond the present and is not satisfied with an instantaneous and eternal reward in the now.

Religion is the way that humans attempt to put into language, stories, art and ritual their guesses about such things. As a species whose major and unique specialization is language, we are meaning-seeking beings, and when the buck of meaning has been passed around the various contents of the world about us, it ends up usually in the plate of religion. One hypothesis about demographic collapse that might be worth checking out is that it happens when a nation loses its religion.

The proverbial Martian, visiting this planet, might well ask why almost every group of humans has some kind of elaborate, weird belief system involving spiritual beings, a big story or narrative about the world before they were born and the world after they die, and a code of behavior involving not only practical moral relations and behavior conducive to cooperation, but also utterly impractical injunctions, mystical practices, and duties to the dead and to other beings not present. The Martian might be astonished at the metabolic cost to the organism of making and maintaining such things as cathedrals and pyramids and priesthoods and sacred libraries and holy images and sacerdotal robes, and be scandalized at the ecological and economic costs of ritual sacrifice, taboos, and restrictive financial practices.

The Martian might well recognize our need and thirst for meaning, as a linguistic species, but might well ask why the human race had not adopted a sensible position like secular humanism or existentialism. In such views the meaning of things is rooted in human life or experience itself, where in Keats' words, "Life's self is nourish'd by its proper pith".

Only after a study of the evolutionary history of the species would the Martian come to the shocking realization that the reason such sensible, inexpensive and prudent views did not prevail across the globe was that every society that adopted them had died out from lack of natural increase. He would note that all the cultures of the present day that had taken the intelligent position on meaning were undergoing demographic collapse and would, in geological time, be extinct tomorrow. The Roman Empire collapsed just at the moment that all belief in its old polytheistic religion had dissipated. Christianity was the religion that succeeded it -- but it was the religion of the teeming masses of Europe, not of the Roman Empire as such. Constantine did not so much as capture Christianity for the Empire as hand the Empire over to Christianity.

We are, of course, not Martians. But we might well choose the long golden afternoon of a culture in which the pleasures of food, gardening, education, lovemaking, sports, hobbies, art, fashion, and conversation would conduct us sweetly to a drugged and painless ending. We would be experts in enjoying the moment to the full. We could choose our sexual lifestyle. We would be living in a culture in which the opportunities, perspectives and pleasures of the two sexes would be fully shared and virtually indistinguishable. We might be as happy as any being can be that has a built-in dissatisfaction with the accustomed.

The nuisance of the younger generation would almost have fallen silent. Keats died childless; but we might want the pleasures and joys of childbirth, if only once. If we were to have our one child, we would know that she would be compensated for her lack of aunts and uncles by being the inheritor of our fortune, the beneficiary of an expensive education, and a member of the class of dons or patricians who will lord it over the duskier, more superstitious, and more numerous masses who will immigrate to serve her and her friends.

But it would be into the hands of those naïve masses that we would be passing the history of the world. Perhaps at some future time they too might have the leisure, scholarship, and detachment to turn to the relics of their cultural predecessors -- or at least those that had escaped the iconoclastic fury of the mullahs of the intervening darkness. If they were to do so, they might be amazed by the beauty of our arts and the sunny humanism of our cultivation of the human body, though repulsed by our moral license, as we were when we dug up the ruins of Pompeii.

I do not personally accept this Spenglerian future of decline. As an immigrant myself, and a believer in the free movement of capital, information, and labor, I cannot accept any solution that shuts the borders. There are counter-examples to the pattern I have suggested, such as China and India, which kept their cultural and demographic vitality and their religious love and veneration through millennia of invasion -- and another exception perhaps, America itself. I believe that it is possible to have a high and reflective civilization whose transcendent love, faith and hope burn as hotly as that of the mullahs, and in which one can still hear the lovely din of a schoolyard at recess. But if I were still a European, as I once was, and not an American, as I now am, I might not be so sure.

TCS Daily Contributing Editor Fred Turner is Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities, University of Texas at Dallas. His book, Natural Religion, comes out this month.



Yet another reason to stop the socialist left.
During the course of my college "studies" (mostly of the opposite gender, and the various types of fermented refreshment available to me,) I had the opportunity to meet quite a lot of Europeans, and I noticed a trend that was distinct and obvious: Every one of them came here filled with cynicism about the world and left here filled with entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to return.

I worked as a telemarketer for about a year in college, and met an Englishman (with American parents) who had just arrived in the States for school. When I met him, he was hooked on drugs, cynical about his economic prospects, and had no hope for his future. After a few weeks in America, he cleaned up his drug habit, started talking about how he was going to make a real living, and actually joined the Army. He is fighting in Iraq as we speak.

I also met a German who came here complaining that, back home, the only thing he had to look forward to was months of unemployment and welfare while he tried to find a job. He talked about his friends who were living off of welfare back home, and didn't even bother to look for jobs or a future. They drank, smoked dope or farted around and got in to trouble all day. After a few months here, he and I started a business and he started another one shortly after our venture failed. He plans to come back and continue his operation here in the States because here he says he has: "The option to have a future if I choose."

These two are typical of the Europeans I met. People from socialist countries see that they have the opportunity to shape their own destinies in America, and leave demanding to do so. In their home countries, socialism has reduced their prospects to lives taking orders in drudge jobs under crushing tax burdens or a lifetime on welfare. Here, they can be a part of a technological, economic and social revolution that has consistently provided better lives for generation after generation of children.

Rome fell when people started looking to the government for bread and circuses. The government of the United States can avoid the fate of Rome and modern-day Europe by getting out of the way and letting people shape their own destiny through hard work and a little bit of risk.

Catholic Immigration
Today, America's immigrants are predominantly Catholic. So where does that put us in this supposed "World War III" against Islamo-fascism? I would think solid ground, but not so for "Christian America" (Conservative Evangelical/Fundamentalist Protestants). I guess sometimes being Christian just isn't good enough...

" I would think solid ground, but not so for "Christian America" (Conservative Evangelical/Fundamentalist Protestants). I guess sometimes being Christian just isn't good enough..."

Silver Spoon Liberals
Maybe the socialists have a point.

When you die, none of your money should be passed on to your children. (Of course, so many are not having children.)
What would the economies and politics of the northeast look like if all those trust fund babies had to work for a living?

That would be interesting
Although I too would like to see the outcome of that no inheritance policy, it's still at it's core unethical (it's your / their money and they have every right to do what they choose with it and regretably that also means splurge it all away).

That being said I think there'd be a whole lot less blue on the map.

I wonder what Ted kennedy would be doing. Probably and executive for Absolute ro something.

Somewhat weak article
This piece repeats a bunch of weak arguments that have been made numerous times elsewhere, notably by Mark Steyn. While atheism and decadance are no doubt factors, the economic realities of child-bearing are--as with most human affairs--the overriding consideration. Children are no longer required as farm labor, and they are enormously expensive to rear. Furthermore virtually all societies are experiencing falling birth rates, not just Western ones.

Demographic problems in India and China are quite serious as well. Massive shortages of females will likekly prove more destabilizing than simple low birth rates.

Finally what this article utterly fails to account for is that we no longer live in an age where things change over centuries and millenia, but rather in an age of rapidly acclerating technological change which will--assuming things do not end in some horrific meltdown--completely obviate all concerns over birth rates relatively soon. By the end of the century we should have absolute control over many factors including disease and artificially conceived, gestated and delivered children. We will very likely halt and possibly even reverse aging. Nanotechnology promises "fabs" which can cheaply produce any material thing we could want, ushering in an era of universal wealth.

Sure those are utopian visions, however unlike the Roman era when the year 100 AD didn't look all that much different from the year 400 AD in terms of the basics of daily life--2100 for us will be VASTLY different than 2000. 99% of the "problems" we have today will either have been elimiated or replaced by far graver ones.

Urbanization alone...
3rd world birth rates are falling faster than ours.

It seems urbanization alone will cause a decline in birth rate. Welfare (particularly for the old) may also cause a decline in birth rate look at the old USSR.

BTW I think Americans are about a religious as people. Menonites still have large families. Will they one day be a significant percent of the population?

Weird how you miss the point so cleanly
That was odd.

You missed the point entirely.

Here is the relevant passage:
"Certainly the ecological/technological/economic Titanic sometimes simply crashes and sinks. But often it remains intact while mysteriously emptying out of its inhabitants, and sometimes ticketless passengers replace them. And that is what seems to have happened in Rome, and to be happening now in Italy, Scandinavia, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Estonia, Hungary, South Korea..."

The point is NOT that 'falling birthrates' are, in and of themselves, inherantly a problem. There would be no issue if all those 'ticketless passengers' were also experiencing falling birthrates.

But they are not.

In America, massive influxes of hispanic immigrants and 2nd and 3rd generation hispanic communities are growing at astounding rates, at the same time the birthrates among most non-hispanics is falling, or at least growing far less rapidly. (This is an oversimplification, I know, but still valid nonetheless).

In Europe, things are much more dire. The overwhelming tide of muslim immigration, combining very high birth rates among that community with a dramatic decrease in birth rates among the indigenous people there.. well, one does not need to be a genius to figure out the inevitable end of that road.

The point is that, among the 'indigenous' cultures of the United States and Western Europe, birth rates are falling, while among the separate cultures of hispanic and mulsim immigrants the birth rates are extremely high.

This is not ambiguous, it's a fact.

The question the article raises is one of WHY? Why would these cultures lose interest in maintaining their populations? The loss of a sense of religious identity and context is one possible answer, as the article mentions, but there are many others.

No amount of 'technological prowess' will enable a culture to continue to exist if it is squeezed out by a more rapidly-breeding culture.

Technically, such aggressive demographic invasion is a form of cultural warfare, and boy are we losing.

Thre are a number of issues causing birthrate decline
Urbanization is certainly one as is technology. These two combined, in the U.S., have dropped the number of families farming to unbelievably low numbers and the number of kids those families now have is just slightly higher than the average for white urbanites.
Farm communities once had the youngest population in the country, now they are the oldest (average age in most farming communities is around 60, my home town is 64).

But, there are other factors as well. Like it or not, this is one of the reasons for the battle against illegal immigration, not that the others more commonly noted aren't valid as well. Immigrants, especially illegals, tend to have a lot more babies than the present home-grown population.

Easter Island
The population of Easter Island did not collapse until after Westerners visited it, and brought the usual host of diseases.

James Cook writes of a thriving population on his first visit to the island.

One common thread
Those who are optimistic about the future, tend to have more children.
Those who are strongly religious, tend to be more optimistic about the future.

last time I checked, Catholics were Christian
I'm guessing that rhampton is so unfamiliar with actual Christians, that he actually believes the stereotypes of the left are accurate.

To him, fundamentalist equals, stupid and bigoted, and he won't let anything as trivial as mere facts get in the way of his opinion.

I believe rhampton is suffering from a belief in the myth that fundamentalists are ignorant and bigoted.

If child bearing was truely impeded by the expense of kids, you would expect that the rich would be having lots more kids than the poor. The rich after all, can afford it. On the contrary (even leaving out those on welfare) you find that child bearing is inversely related to income.

"existential Vacuum"
One danger with 'educated' societies is they think they know it all. There is no need for religion, eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. Why bother with those pesky kids, they cost money and won't let me pursue my (insert your passion here). I'll have kids when 'I' am ready.

But if you look at what books are selling and what our 'stars' are doing, spirituality is in high demand. People need a meaning for life.

"The idea behind this therapy is that man is driven by his search for a meaning in life. This differs from the psychoanalysis perspective (driven, at this time, by the ideas of Sigmund Freud) in that the psychoanalytic school believed that humans were driven by their unconscious desires. For Frankl, the need for meaning seems to outway the unconscious. In fact, he goes into detail about the negative effects that the abscence of meaning, or what he calls the "existential Vacuum," has on people. To illustrate many ideas, he often uses his experiences in the concentration camps, as well as various cases for treatment (which help to solidify his view of life, and therapy)."

Maybe it would be a good thing for our society to allow gay marriage and polygamy.

I would much prefer to live in a society of Mormans in Utah than in San Francisco.

I think the biggest reason is selfishness.

Raising children is paradoxically a selfish and selfless act. Selfish for wanting to expand your genes and selfless for the sacrifices it takes.

So the DINKS (dual income no kids) must be too selfish to find the time to raise kids, or are they selfless because they know their genes are not worth contibuting to the pool?

Many people do not consider the Catholic Church to be...
...a christian institution. They got so far from christianity a one point that they tried to depopulate southern France becuase people where worshiping accourding to the Bible.

Very good post!!
You hit the nail on the head, but I wonder how many of the DINKS would agree?

And the problem is?
I really don't see any of this as a "crisis". Civilizations rise, Civilizations fall. It's a cycle. Considering that we'll all be dead before long, who really cares? We don't have a "future" per se, least ways not "here" therefore I don't see the "urgency" of the issue. Our kids will re-invent themselves or be killed by those who hate them because of their demographic or be enslaved or none of the above but there really isn't anything we can do about any of it. And I must say that from what I've seen "Western" Civilization's are the least survivable as they sow within themselves the seeds of their own destruction.

So......grap a cup of coffee and enjoy the day.

And you haven't slit your wrists yet?
What a positive outlook!

That was a very good comment aboutthe selflessness of the genetically unworthy to further contribute to the gene pool.

MIT Professor:
"He told his first wife they couldn't have children because he didn't want the distraction, according to a news report."

Send in the Clones!!!
No seriously, let's just clone ourselves into superiority. And while we're at it lets get rid of a few pesky irritations along the way, like the need for glasses or flat feet.

Tancredo or Reagan?
The World According to Grover
The American Prospect, July 6, 2006

...The big question mark is immigration, and I tend to be to the left of where the President is and -- I don't think it's quite right-left ... MY CONCERN IS TOM TANCREDO WILL BECOME THE FACE OF THE MODERN REPUBLICAN PARTY. I handed out here my favorite quotation in the whole world, which is a quotation from a Republican minister, not speaking in some obscure church somewhere, but speaking to the religious bureau of the Republican Party, the RNC, where he made the Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion comment, which convinced Roman Catholics for a hundred years that Republicans don't like them. Can you imagine how many priests there were at this meeting of the Republican religious bureau where a guy felt free to compare Roman Catholicism with treason?

So that that's the big open question. If the face of the Republican Party is Reagan and Bush, we'll do fine. If the face of the Republican Party is Tom Tancredo ... last year 4.1 million people were born, 900,000 Hispanic. If you speak ill of people, they think you do not love them. And is the challenge ... how Republicans talk about the immigration issue, have a reasonable policy. I think we need more people in the country; I'd like to have more people in the country. But how do we do that in a way that keeps folks happy?

Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and serves on the board of directors for both the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) and the American Conservative Union (ACU).


America's Protestant Majority is Fading NORC Research Shows
National Opinion Research Center (NORC), July 20, 2004

...The recent Protestant decline comes in large part from the loss of younger adherents and a related drop in the retention rate," he said. Up until 1993, about 90% of people who were raised Protestants remained Protestants as adults, while by 2002, the number had fallen to 83%. Immigration will probably further decrease Protestant numbers but will keep Catholic rates stable, said Tom W. Smith, Director of NORC's General Social Survey,

as usual, rhampton does not read the article he posts
Or at least, he can't read it with open eyes.

OK, one nutcase declares that tancredo is anti-roman catholic, based solely on the fact that he is against illegal immigration.

The only point you're managing to prove rhampton, is how closed your mind is.

What have you done for me lately
If the best you can do is cite examples from 400 years ago, you haven't cited anything.

Do have any actual cites of people, especially prominant Republicans, who do not believe that Catholics are Christian?

Middle Class
"On the contrary (even leaving out those on welfare) you find that child bearing is inversely related to income."

Quite right. In fact, birth rates are also inversely related to Freedom and Capitalism -- and it's no coincidence. Wealth and opportunity allow the individual to turn inward, that is to be selfish with their time and money. Good parenting, however, requires sacrificing for others (the family) at the cost of outside personal development. This outward directed energy manifests in a great many socially beneficial directions like continued education, political activism, and entrepreneurialism.

But for the poor, children are the one thing the have the power on which to decide. Furthermore, children provide the entertainment and personal fulfillment that would otherwise be missing in life but for lack of opportunity. In many agrarian societies, children also supplement the income by working at a young age, which in turn limits their future development.

The lesson being; if you want a higher birthrate, increase the poor and oppressed in society -- either by immigration or policies that weaken the middle class.

Not so sure about that positive outlook, at least for Christians

If Christians are optimistic about the future, it is the distant future (e.g., after death). The Bible tells us to expect problems, lots of them. During good times and bad, we are expected to serve God.

The attitude many non-Christians interpret as optimism, I think, is Christian joy. This is very different because it is not linked to present or future circumstances.

My guess about the Christian tendency to have kids is God, as revealed through the Bible, values family and regards children as a unambiguous blessing. They are an end in and of themselves and not a means to anything selfish. They are certainly not a means to someone else's happiness.

I have two children, and much of the time, they are a hassle. If one is focuses one's own happiness as the primary meaning of life, the argument in favor of having children is not as strong, especially in the early 21st century of Western prosperity (the author gets at this a little bit).

The Bible lays out a blueprint for how to live one's life, and children are a valuable part of it. In my neck of the woods, a church congregation without lots of children scampering about is regarded as dying.



Norquist Angers Relgious Right
Grover Norquist is not some "nutcase," but he does spark the anger of the Conservative Evangelical/Fundamentalist Republicans:

Grover Norquist Betrayed Conservatives, Critics Charge, October 19, 2005

A number of conservatives are seething over the fact that Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), was the featured speaker at a fund-raising event for a group of homosexual Republicans last weekend. One pro-family leader called Norquist's appearance "AN ACT OF UTTER BETRAYAL."

...Gary Glenn, president of the AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION of Michigan, noted that Norquist has clashed with conservatives over same-sex marriage in the past. According to a Jan. 16, 2004, report in the New York Times, "Norquist said some potential Republican voters might be turned off by raising the issue to a constitutional level, just as they were by too much talk of guns or abortions."

...Cathie Adams, president of the conservative TEXAS EAGLE FORUM, also criticized Norquist's presence at the fund-raiser. "If he was a serious economic conservative, Grover Norquist would not have accepted the invitation or the honorarium for speaking at a fund-raiser for a group bent on the destruction of traditional families," Adams said.

"It's deceitful to pretend to defend sound economic principles while UNDERMINING THE VERY FABRIC OF SOCIETY," she added.

Wrong lesson
"But for the poor, children are the one thing the have the power on which to decide. Furthermore, children provide the entertainment and personal fulfillment that would otherwise be missing in life but for lack of opportunity."

Children provide hope and the opportunity poor parents in other countries did not have. With many children, the cost of taking care of parents is less of a burden to the children.

Instead of weakening the middle class promote families. Morman and Catholics tend to have large families and many large Morman families are upper middle class.

Eliminate state controlled k-12 education (vouchers) and you will also see a positive change in society.

But, abortion might also solve the problem. Selfish people will reproduce less.

Liberal Protestants
Most Protestant churches are milque toast liberal whose values change with the politics.

And then again
I guess the historical facts that the Bible was defined by the only Church @ Nicea and preserved only by Monks laborously hand copying it would get in the way of some people's beliefs.

Anytime I go by a Catholic Church, I see a cross just like I see at any other church and many have "Christ" (the King, the Redeemer) in their name.

Utah's Diversification
Mormon portion of Utah population steadily shrinking
The Salt Lake Tribune, June 22, 2006

Within the next three years, the Mormon share of Utah's population is expected to hit its lowest level since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints started keeping membership numbers. And if current trends continue, LDS residents no longer will constitute a majority by 2030.

...Utah's ongoing religious diversification has little to do with the LDS Church or its teachings, but rather is a reflection of the economy, according to Pam Perlich of the University of Utah's Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Perlich sits on the committee that projects state population growth, in part with the help of these LDS numbers. She also reviewed The Tribune's analysis for accuracy.

"When economic growth goes up, minority population goes up, and this is kind of a code word for non-Mormons," she said ... Immigrants from Mexico, who are not generally LDS and tend to have large families, have greatly influenced this ongoing shift, Perlich said.

I agree
I agree this article is intelectually weak. It had me up until the word 'transcendent'. Ugh. Go read 'Don't Look Now, But the World Economy Is Booming' which is a very interesting article here on TCS. Then look up 'demographic shift'.

This helps explain the main reason birth rates fall as a country becomes more prosperous. Initially, a high birth rate is necessary to replace people when there is also a high death rate. As healthcare, sanitation, etc improve, the death rate falls. There's a transitional increase in population as the birth rate declines at a slower rate. Eventually the birth and death rates even out according to the 'demographic shift' theory.

So, with that as background, this author presents the term 'demographic collapse' which apparently means a birthrate incapable of sustaining a population. Is he really afraid that humans will die out from lack of procreation, as the Martian observes?

'He would note that all the cultures of the present day that had taken the intelligent position on meaning were undergoing demographic collapse and would, in geological time, be extinct tomorrow.'

As SmooveB points out, technology is accelerating to the point where human biological procreation may become unneccessary or vastly different. Cloning, gestation outside the womb are not inconceivable possibilities. These sorts of things will happen this century, not geological time.

In geological time, the sun will burn out and our galaxy will collide with Andromeda. Perhaps we will have made the leap to space and started colonizing other planets long before then. Surely colonization would be an incentive to expand our numbers. Or perhaps humanity will be dead long before then.

Or, is the author really just afraid that if us white folk dont breed more then the Mexicans and Muslims will take over the place?

'But it would be into the hands of those naïve masses that we would be passing the history of the world.Perhaps at some future time they too might have the leisure, scholarship, and detachment to turn to the relics of their cultural predecessors -- or at least those that had escaped the iconoclastic fury of the mullahs of the intervening darkness. If they were to do so, they might be amazed by the beauty of our arts and the sunny humanism of our cultivation of the human body, though repulsed by our moral license, as we were when we dug up the ruins of Pompeii.'

I'm not sure which parts of this are sarcasm and which are serious. I can understand the motivation to want one's own 'tribe' to prosper. To not see one's culture be swallowed up by another.

It's a valid question to ask why population growth turn negative among wealthy cultures. According to the author, "the loss of a transcendent future". 'What I mean by "future" is that it is an ideal, love, hope, or faith that extends beyond the present and is not satisfied with an instantaneous and eternal reward in the now'. The author fails to qualify whether this future he speaks of is in one's own lifetime or sometime beyond.

Apparently, the author thinks that religion is the only thing that can keep us from destruction. That our ammoral, hedonistic and humanistic lifestyles filled with art, leisure, and sex (just for the enjoyment, not reproduction) will be our downfall. Hmmm, sounds like Pat Robertson or the Pope, morallizing about Babylon or contraception.

Of course some people have less or no children for selfish reasons. Duh! More disposable income or free time, etc. Some people HAVE children for selfish reasons. The biological nuturing instinct, something to show off and dress up, whatever. We all maximize our utility (econ speak) according to our own selfish needs and wants. Dont try to sell me on the need for some vague 'trancendent future'.

and therefore, should we all embrace Orthodox Judaism... 5,766 years old and counting?
By this logic, one should seriously look into the world view, morality, social norms, and so on, of Orthodox Judaism; a population that has maintained it's identity since antiquity. For example, the obligation to "be fruitful and multiply" requires a husband and wife to bear and raise (or adopt) one son and daughter (at least) into adulthood. While its a chicken and egg question -- do the Jews keep the Torah (Code of Jewish Law) or does the Torah keep the Jews?! They are certainly on the short list of the most ancient, condinuously surviving social group. At least it should give the rational scholar pause to see why it has survived -- if survival matters.

as usual, rhampton can't tell the difference between anecdote and data

now we know why rhampton's a liberal, he wants to create more poor people.

according to roy, this gives the Mormons the right to kill any and all non-Mormons.

Christian's believe that no matter what happens, God is in control, and that God's plans are good. (Even if we can't see that good from our present position.)
This is the optimism that I was speaking of.

Tancredo's immigration stance is mainstream for both left and right.
A little polling data with completely unambiguous results:

"National polling data could not be more emphatic — and has been so for decades. Gallup Poll (March 27) finds 80 percent of the public wants the federal government to get tougher on illegal immigration. A Quinnipiac University Poll (March 3) finds 62 percent oppose making it easier for illegals to become citizens (72 percent in that poll don't even want illegals to be permitted to have driver's licenses). Time Magazine's recent poll (Jan. 24-26) found 75 percent favor "major penalties" on employers of illegals, 70 percent believe illegals increase the likelihood of terrorism and 57 percent would use military force at the Mexican-American border.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (March 10-13) found 59 percent opposing a guest-worker proposal, and 71 percent would more likely vote for a congressional candidate who would tighten immigration controls.
An IQ Research poll (March 10) found 92 percent saying that securing the U.S. border should be a top priority of the White House and Congress.
Yet, according to a National Journal survey of Congress, 73 percent of Republican and 77 percent of Democratic congressmen and senators say they would support guest-worker legislation."

That means that both the left and the right, Democrat and Republican support Tancredo's postition. The only people who don't are the numbskulls in Congress.

As to your anti-Catholic bigotry claim, if it is true, then there are a lot of self-hating Catholics out there. 24.5% of the population in the United States identifies itself as Catholic. ( If so, at least 16.5% of those Catholics must be bigoted against themselves.

Forget the numbers for a moment and ask yourself: Is this bigotry and hate, or is there a rational explanation? I believe there is a rational explanation, namely concern about the fact that we no longer have any real border enforcement permitting thousands of tons of drugs, weapons and terrorists in to this country. Furthermore, we have 13 million people here in this country who live here illegally, take advantage of our social service safety nets, and the safety of this country without giving anything but maybe an occasional tax dollar for it. If Canadians started flooding in here like this, we would do the same thing, Catholics or not.

Come now, not warfare?
It sounds like what you're upset about is that the inheritors of Western culture will not be your children, but someone else's children.

The Mexicans now coming to the us like our culture very much. Should we begrudge it to them?

If you think someone is waging demographic warfare on you, convince your wife to have more children. Other people are just doing what comes naturally. They don't mean it as a personal slam against you.

As for the apparent vitality of Muslim birth rates, and the general weakness of Caucasian replacement numbers, maybe you should consider the wisdom of the old saying "Be careful how you treat people on your way up. You're going to meet those same people on your way back down."

Anecdotally, SBC Children Slipping
SBC Leader Alarmed Over Young Adults 'Dropping Out' of Churches
AgapePress, August 7, 2006

Dr. Frank Page, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) says he is disturbed that many students in both public and private schools -- EVEN CHRISTIAN PRIVATE SCHOOLS -- are leaving the church once they graduate...

...Some blame the church "drop-out rate" among young people after they graduate on the secularist influence of America's public schools. However, the SBC's president observes, "The sad thing is that we're seeing that number of dropouts from church [among] those who went to public school and private school, and that's an unfortunate trend."

Although he admits he has no "hard numbers" to back up his contention that graduates from private Christian schools are leaving the church almost as rapidly as others, Page says he is referencing anecdotal information heard from this year's Resolutions Committee at the recent SBC meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina. "It is a disturbing trend," he asserts, "and part of it is that OUR CHURCHES HAVE BECOME ONE- OR TWO- GENERATION CHURCHES, and we've failed to learn how to reach out to this younger generation."

"according to roy, this gives the Mormons the right to kill any and all non-Mormons."


The obvious solution
We can keep our secular humanism and our demographic strength by quickly and efficiently developing engineered negligible senescence, which a properly advanced species should have done by now any way.

Demographics problems are for the statists of all stripes.
There is no natural demographic problem. The only problems are made by the citizens themselves. The economics of demographics is simple:
As the nation ages it acquires capital. It then does one of two things with that capital: 1. It buys stuff from a place with lots of labor, or 2. It buys foreign labor and imports it to the US. Both countries or cultures are better off. This is exactly what is happening between the US and China, and Japan and China.

Enter social security and other bankrupt concepts. These "investments" do not depend on labor from other countries. Instead they depend on labor within the country. This theft of labor would be put into capital. Instead it is squandered in the low return government pyramid schemes.

Mother's at home
""Sweden experienced a period of slack in the economy that soon led to a sharp rise in unemployment. Soon after, fertility declined from 2.1 children per woman in 1992 to about 1.5 in 1997.

"In economically insecure times, people tend to postpone having children," Ms Ronsen says.

Norway has enjoyed a steady economic growth since the early 1990s. Marit Ronsen believes it is a combination between that growth and the family policy that has kept the birth rates here on a steady high. "

Of course, the best answer is to lower taxes to allow one parent to stay home on one income.

Norway is a special case in that they have significant oil income to spread around and a pretty sound work ethic.

Borders, Language, Culture
"Forget the numbers for a moment and ask yourself: Is this bigotry and hate, or is there a rational explanation?"

Both ... there are some people (less than half) for whom making permanent a Protestant majority is in fact their primary motivation. Such people honestly (and incorrectly) believe that should the Protestant majority slip away, so too will America -- for example commentator Michael Savage.

And yes, Catholics can be bigots too.

Hmm... yet you missed MY point entirely

I am less alarmed by a putative "invasion" by the "other" than you seem to be, hence my lack of attention to what you perceive to be the "point" of the article.

My main point--which you ignored in your haste to sound the alarm bell over the brown-skinned mauaruders--was that this entire issue would likely be moot by the end of the century due to the world-changing technological (and attendant social) change which appears to be imminent in the 21st century. The article failed to address this which is odd considering TCS frequently features artivles on the "singularity" and similar themes.

I appreciate your candor, but...
Michael Savage does not speak for all of the Protestants in the Republican Party. Nor does the preacher you referenced earlier. I know you acknowledge the fact that this group of bigots you discuss is less than half of those who oppose illegal immigration. However, in your earlier posts you characterized Republican Protestants as a monolithic entity that is opposed to Catholics. Your recent statements are a dramatic shift in position from:

"Today, America's immigrants are predominantly Catholic. So where does that put us in this supposed "World War III" against Islamo-fascism? I would think solid ground, but not so for "Christian America" (Conservative Evangelical/Fundamentalist Protestants). I guess sometimes being Christian just isn't good enough..."

Even in its modified state, your claim that anti-Catholic bigotry is a motivating force is still a lie. A little less than 46% (1/2 of 92%) of America is not anti-Catholic. Even if a tiny minority of Protestants is opposed to 13 million people being in this country illegally because the illegals are Catholics, that does not mean their beliefs are sufficiently widespread as to cause the numbers of people opposed to illegal immigration to jump up to 92%.

-r is stretching, again
I don't see how this post has anything to do with any of the above subjects.

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