Wednesday, March 15, 2006


A few people, most notably Mark Steyn, have been writing lately about demographics and the way they affect civilisation, especially modern Western civilisation. With declining birthrates, simple statistics show that the majority of children will be borne by a minority of women, and thus, inevitably, this minority of women (and the men to whom they're partnered) control the future.

This article is perhaps the best at stating the basic, impartial mathematics of future demographics.

"The key difference is that during the post-World War II era, nearly all segments of modern societies married and had children. Some had more than others, but the disparity in family size between the religious and the secular was not so large, and childlessness was rare. Today, by contrast, childlessness is common, and even couples who have children typically have just one. Tomorrow’s children, therefore, unlike members of the postwar baby boom generation, will be for the most part descendants of a comparatively narrow and culturally conservative segment of society. To be sure, some members of the rising generation may reject their parents’ values, as always happens. But when they look around for fellow secularists and counterculturalists with whom to make common cause, they will find that most of their would-be fellow travelers were quite literally never born."

The apparent fact is that civilisations are self-correcting in favour of children, and in favour of the ideas that are conducive to reproduction. Any idea, no matter how wise, attractive or enlightened, that does not encourage women to have babies will inevitably die out when its adherents fail to pass it on to a new generation. We can dream all we want about a future of women enjoying childless existences with fulfilling careers and vibrant social lives, but as a future, it is a physical impossibility. The future can't help but belong to the mothers of large families.


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