Home of the Muppet Imperial Moderator Corps

Kind of depressing article...

Anyone read this? Thoughts?

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007760

(It's long.)
Permalink sixtyten 
January 5th, 2006
Meh, too long.
Permalink Star Wars Kid 
January 5th, 2006
"he design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birthrate to sustain it. Post-Christian hyperrationalism is, in the objective sense, a lot less rational than Catholicism or Mormonism."

What? Can you throw together any more hyphenated words? It's worse than German. "Hi, I can generate long strings of somewhat related words so I must be smart."

I can play too: The monothiestic-utilitarian-judeo-christian-neo-conservative-demographic group.

See, I'm smart too.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 5th, 2006
Just one comment:

"And they say we Canadians aren't doing our bit in this war!"

Several tongue-in-cheek comments were made in the article regarding Canada's contribution to the war on terror, yet in reality we contributed a sizeable, and very important, contribution to the efforts in Afghanistan, and just announced a major additional deployment to Afghanistan (of highly trained special forces - not wide-eyed 17 year olds). It got this guy laughs and chuckles, but he's perpetrating a myth.

Now, of course we weren't involved in the Iraq war, but I think it's debateable if that's a part of the war on terror...
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
January 5th, 2006
Anyone have any comments on the core thesis of the article? Is the western world facing extinction, or is this the same sort of chicken little stuff the guy mocks in his brief discussion of environmentalism?

"Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and you'll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canada's fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That's to say, Spain's population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy's population will have fallen by 22%, Bulgaria's by 36%, Estonia's by 52%. In America, demographic trends suggest that the blue states ought to apply for honorary membership of the EU: In the 2004 election, John Kerry won the 16 with the lowest birthrates; George W. Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest. By 2050, there will be 100 million fewer Europeans, 100 million more Americans--and mostly red-state Americans."

Seems pretty convincing to me.
Permalink sixtyten 
January 5th, 2006
The essence of the article is the same sort of fear mongering that has happened many times before. When I was a kid we were told that pollution meant that drinking water was soon going to be gone, the world would have 20 billion people by the year 2000, and soon the land would be covered with landfills.

Of course trends fluctuate, and it has always been folly to draw any sort of straight line based upon current rates. My Roman Catholic, largely Irish/Scottish parents carried on the cultural explosion mandated by the religion, having 5 kids. I know other families a generation before that had 15+ kids. Of course this didn't continue. The Muslim world is just following the precedent of the Catholic cultural explosion at the hands of "go forth and multiply" demographics, but the scope will likely be vastly reduced given how quickly following generations usually liberalize.

Here in Canada various government initiatives to increase the birthrate - including daycare initiatives which were derisively mentioned in that article, added to the existing social healthcare which reduces the onus - are having a signficant impact. It'll take a few years for the effect to be fully seen, but we seem to be awash in baby strollers, and people openly contemplating several kids.
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
January 5th, 2006
Dennis,

So you're thinking is that the main reason he's wrong is that he's assuming the Muslim cultures seeing the most population growth won't begin to liberalize at some point? That seems reasonable.
Permalink sixtyten 
January 5th, 2006
It is a little too dire in its predictions, but it is true that white europeans will be much more rare 200 years from now then they are today. By 2050 in the USA, hispanics will be the majority and white people will be the minority. Does it mean extinction for mankind? No...there are many races that no longer exist today.
Permalink Phil 
January 5th, 2006
I don't think he's arguing that mankind will become extinct. Rather, I think he's arguing that liberal democracy may become extinct. That we're going to enter something like a "New Dark Ages".
Permalink sixtyten 
January 5th, 2006
>>> The essence of the article is the same sort of fear mongering

His point is that worrying about water pollution, overpopulation, gay rights, etc., are keeping western societies from worrying about their own inward collapse.

>>> My Roman Catholic, largely Irish/Scottish parents carried on the cultural explosion mandated by the religion, having 5 kids.

I forget how many kids you have... is it 2 or were you the guy with twins? I have 3 siblings, my wife has 3, but we left having kids until too late so we'll almost certainly only have 1. As he points out, we're well below replacement rate...

>>> demographics, but the scope will likely be vastly reduced given how quickly following generations usually liberalize.

The difference is that the classic US-style melting pot has largely been replaced by multiculturalism. Even if Muslim immigrant birth-rates decrease over the next few generations, "western" birthrates are already down, and there's no sign of the birth-rates decreasing in the countries muslims are emmigrating _from_.

>>> social healthcare which reduces the onus - are having a signficant impact. It'll take a few years for the effect to be fully seen, but we seem to be awash in baby strollers, and people openly contemplating several kids.

No they aren't. Quebec has been outright paying people to have kids for years and their rate is still about the lowest. (no, I haven't double-checked this...) I think there may have been a bit of a boom 2 years ago, and maybe you're seeing the same thing, or maybe we both have kids who are about 2 years old and were paying more attention to strollers for the last while :)

Anyway, I agree with the basic idea: western society is dying off, because westerners are dying off. Underlying reasons and ultimate outcomes are arguable, and what to do about it seems to be impossible (any suggestions?).
Permalink Ward Bush 
January 5th, 2006
>Underlying reasons and ultimate outcomes are arguable, and >what to do about it seems to be impossible (any >suggestions?).

One possibility is to encourage the liberization of Muslim nations. Of course, we all know how well THAT is working.
Permalink sixtyten 
January 5th, 2006
>>> That seems reasonable.

No, at best it remains to be seen... There's no sign of liberalization in the countries the immigrants are coming from. If they keep having tons of kids and the kids keep immigrating, then it doesn't matter if the previous waves of immigrants have their birthrates go down. "Westerners" are still going to get swamped.

You can see signs of it already: who are the grad students in science and engineering at the closest university? How many of them _don't_ have foreign names? (I mention sci/eng because those are the departments I have some contact with).
15 years ago, half the students at UBC were asian.
Permalink Ward Bush 
January 5th, 2006
"By 2050 in the USA, hispanics will be the majority and white people will be the minority."

Yo, para uno, dar la bienvenida a nuestros capitanos españoles nuevos.

Felipe
Permalink Philo 
January 5th, 2006
"capitanos" ? LOL
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 5th, 2006
Yeah, Feliz Navidad there Philo.
Permalink Star Wars Kid 
January 5th, 2006
Yeah, I couldn't remember "master" and it wasn't worth looking it up. :)

philo
Permalink Philo 
January 5th, 2006
Jefe?
Permalink Star Wars Kid 
January 5th, 2006
That's the word I was trying to think of. :)
Permalink Philo 
January 5th, 2006
Anytime, bud. :)
Permalink Star Wars Kid 
January 5th, 2006
WSJ opinion columnists are certifiable.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 5th, 2006
> WSJ opinion columnists are certifiable.

So birth rates in most "Western" nations aren't below replacement?
Permalink sixtyten 
January 5th, 2006
I consider this planet to be overpopulated. A birthrate below 2.0 for a while would do the earth good.

Unfortunatly this is only the case in the western world, but what's the problem anyway? Nice people will inhabit our place after we're gone. They may have a different skin color, but I seriously can't consider that a problem.

Will the western world still be liberal democracies after we're gone? Does it matter? Is our current solution the optimal one in all eternity?

Could it be that western democratic liberals just aren't fit for survival?
Permalink Peter Monsson 
January 5th, 2006
"Will the western world still be liberal democracies after we're gone? Does it matter?"

It's the same sort of "fear of change" that drives the elders in countries like Iran to reject Western influences and to push for a more traditional society. People imagine what they're use to as the optimal worldly experience (geesh, I've used this same observation three times in a week, in disparate scenarios), and if someone grew up beating his six wives and killing his daughter for getting raped(*), then he doesn't want Madonna coming and ruining all of that.

Personally I think it's a crock to fear a Muslim invasion by women-enslaving hoardes. Apart from the war-torn countries, most of the Muslim world is modernizing and liberalizing: Apart from some superficial differences people have largely the same life-style and beliefs.

(*) - No, I don't think that's what Iran is generally like, but that's the sort of "right" that some isolationists want to protect
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
January 5th, 2006
>> WSJ opinion columnists are certifiable.
>So birth rates in most "Western" nations aren't below
>replacement?

So you're crazy too, huh?

Well, I guess it don't matter since you're doomed to extinction. You hear me? DOOMED!
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 5th, 2006
Oh, and one of the largest groups of immigrants to Canada is largely-secular Asians that eagerly adopt the ways of their new home, while bringing lessons and knowledge from their old.
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
January 5th, 2006
> So you're crazy too, huh?

Uh. I'm not saying he's right. I was just wondering if you maybe wanted to elaborate a little bit on why you think he's certifiable. I thought the article was an interesting read, and I guess I was looking for reasons why he's wrong.
Permalink sixtyten 
January 5th, 2006
The article is prettily and wittily written - the author would be a whizz at stand-up.
Permalink trollop 
January 5th, 2006
>I was just wondering if you maybe wanted to elaborate a
>little bit on why you think he's certifiable.

Uh, the whole crying doom thing. Western civilization isn't going away any time soon. Even with non-replenishable birth rates, it will still take hundreds upon hundreds (even thousands) of years for the civilization to just disappear.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 5th, 2006
> Even with non-replenishable birth rates, it will still take hundreds upon hundreds (even thousands) of years for the civilization to just disappear.

You should probably work on your reading comprehension. The article's not saying that civilization is going anywhere. It's saying that as the percentage of people in a civilization who would rather live under Shariah rises ("According to a poll taken in 2004, over 60% of British Muslims want to live under Shariah--in the United Kingdom") the character of the civilization moves from liberal to repressive. That doesn't sound completely insane to me. The main thing left to determine is whether or not that 60% figure is trending upward or downward (i.e., does Western society liberalize immigrants or not), and whether it is representative of the opinions of Muslim immigrants in other Western nations.
Permalink sixtyten 
January 5th, 2006
What you said:

>You should probably work on your reading comprehension. The
>article's not saying that [western] civilization is going
>anywhere.

Subtitle of the article:

>The real reason the West is in danger of extinction.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 5th, 2006
We should probably just quit arguing. This is getting sort of ridiculous. There's a world of difference between my original quote and my quote with "western" bracketed in. Yes, the article makes the case that western civilization may end up being replaced by a much more repressive civilization; it will become extinct. I thought that you thought that the author thought that all of civilization was disappearing.
Permalink sixtyten 
January 5th, 2006
Nevermind. I'm an idiot. You said Western. I think I'm confused at the moment.
Permalink sixtyten 
January 5th, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

Other topics: January, 2006 Other topics: January, 2006 Recent topics Recent topics