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Thursday, September 02, 2004

Democrats Are Dying Off

The United States is becoming more conservative. This trend has perhaps started decades ago and it seems to me that it has accelerated in the last four years. We're near a threshold where the Democrats may never again hold a majority in Congress and may rarely, if ever, hold the presidency.

I believe the country is becoming more conservative primarily because of changes in populations and because of the ideologies that lead to those changes in populations. The bottom line is that Democrats don't have as many children as Republicans. Also, the concept that teenagers rebel and do the opposite of their parents is a mostly a myth. Thus, every year, more Republicans are born than Democrats. For example, consider the following:

I think a lot of the answer can be found in birth-rate differentials -- demography is destiny. To put it bluntly, in the name of "empowerment," the Left has birth-controlled, aborted, and maybe also gay-libbed itself into a smaller role in American society. Yes, it was their personal-is-political choice, but others will benefit politically. We might consider, as just one example, what's happened to New York City. In 1973, the Big Apple had a population of about eight million; the population of the United States overall was 211 million. In 2004, the Apple was still at around eight million, but the country's population, in the meantime, had increased by nearly two-fifths. It's not automatically a bad thing for a population to stay stagnant -- unless, of course, the goal is to wield power through the ballot box.

What's shrinking New York and other yuppoid places is the paradoxical impact of prosperity upon fertility. Nationwide, some 44 percent of women aged 15-44 are childless; but those childlessness numbers skew above average in high-income states such as Massachusetts, Vermont, and Colorado. By contrast, the lowest percentages of childless women are in downscale states such as Alaska, Mississippi, and Wyoming. In other words, those who have the most capital -- financial, but also, often, intellectual and educational -- are the least likely to have children.

This phenomenon -- yuppie singles and couples walking down what is literally a demographic dead end -- is witnessed across the Western world. [...]

One who saw all this coming was Charles Galton Darwin; his 1952 book, The Next Million Years, argued that human history is first and foremost the story of populations. As he wrote, "The fundamental quality pertaining to man is not that he should be good or bad, wise or stupid, but merely that he should be alive and not dead." That is, underneath all the concern about the pursuit of happiness and the promotion of the general welfare is one unyielding bottom line: either the population reproduces itself, or it doesn't. [...]

And so the more recent Darwin offered a grim prediction: the future of the world belongs to illiberal religions. Or, if you prefer, conservative religions, including not only Christianity, but also Islam and Hinduism. How come? Because those faiths that emphasize traditionalism, including traditional sex roles, are more likely to be procreative. In modern countries, feminists are free to be feminists, but if they don't have feminist children -- which is to say, boys and girls who sustain the "free to be . . . you and me" philosophy -- then the politics of the future will be shaped by those hands that do, in fact, rock the cradle -- after putting a baby inside.

And that's what's been happening. The right-to-life movement, and the social conservative movement overall, is more than holding its ground. As The Wall Street Journal observed in an August 30 news story, states that might have once been thought to be solidly Democratic for John Kerry are, instead, "in play." And why is that? Because the population-blossoming parts of the state are Republican. As the Journal explained, "Minnesota's Scott County outside the Twin Cities; St. Croix County outside Eau Claire, Wis.; and Deschutes County around Bend, Ore." are the places where the vote-ducks are to be found.

The idea that the Gopher, Badger, and Beaver states, and their 25 electoral votes, might be in play for a Texas Republican fighting a foreign war would seem absurd to the anti-war liberals and hippies who once dominated state politics. But maybe those lefty folks aren't around any more. Nearly four decades after the sit-ins of the 60s, ex-radicals are more likely to be staging die-offs -- their own. And oh yes, they forgot to have children. The future belongs to the fecund.

A Second article gives further supporting statistics:
In states where Bush won a popular majority in 2000, the average woman bears 2.11 children in her lifetime -- which is enough to replace the population. In states where Gore won a majority of votes in 2000, the average woman bears 1.89 children, which is not enough to avoid population decline. Indeed, if the Gore states seceded from the Bush states and formed a new nation, it would have the same fertility rate, and the same rapidly aging population, as France -- that bastion of "old Europe."

If Gore's America (and presumably John Kerry's) is reproducing at a slower pace than Bush's America, what does this imply for the future? Well, as the comedian Dick Cavett remarked, "If your parents never had children, chances are you won't either." When secular-minded Americans decide to have few if any children, they unwittingly give a strong evolutionary advantage to the other side of the culture divide. Sure, some children who grow up in fundamentalist families will become secularists, and vice versa. But most people, particularly if they have children, wind up with pretty much the same religious and political orientations as their parents. If "Metros" don't start having more children, America's future is "Retro."

Unless these trends change, the United States will become very conservative over the next decades. The rest of the world will follow as more conservative strains of Islam and other religions maintain high birth rates. My primary reason for supporting Kerry is to slow the rapidity of becoming conservative. I think that it's all but inevitable that the trend continues. I guess I should have had more children...

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