Demographic Winter Bleg

February 21, 2008 | 89 comments
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I’m looking for more information about the people associated with the Demographic Winter film.

For one, I’m wondering to what degree this is a Mormon project. A fellow named Smoot appears to be a major sponsor and Merril Jenson is listed as doing the music and I get a “strengthen the family” vibe.

For another, the production values look high and what discussion there is on the website looks credible (though a 1.3 TFR for Europe as a whole is on the low side, if I recall) but I’d like to get some sense for the scholars and sources they rely on before I spring for a copy of the DVD. The people who put this film together appear to be as alarmist as I am and that worries me a little.

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89 Responses to Demographic Winter Bleg

  1. Kathryn Lynard Soper on February 21, 2008 at 11:12 am

    “Stout, a Brigham Young University graduate, and McLerran, executive director of the Family First Foundation, a grant-making organization based in the aptly named Salt Lake City suburb of Bountiful, are among the hundreds of Mormon profamily activists who have made common cause with conservative Catholic and evangelical ideologues. In fact, it was the collaboration of Mormon and evangelical activists that birthed one of the guiding documents of the movement, The Natural Family Manifesto–a conservative call to arms co-written by Paul Mero, head of the Mormon think tank the Sutherland Institute, and Allan Carlson, the grandfatherly evangelical academic at the forefront of the cause.”

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080303/joyce/2

  2. Adam Greenwood on February 21, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks, KLS. I suspected something like that was afoot.

    On the merits of that piece in general:

    I went into this Nation piece on conservative demographic panic hoping for a smart, nuanced left-wing take on the thorny problem of the West’s changing demographics – one that took some jabs at the “demographic winter” hype and accused social conservatives of using the spectre of population decline to justify their nostalgia for pre-modernity and the patriarchy (which would be a fair accusation, in some cases), but also acknowledged that demography is going to cause some real problems for developed societies over the next century, and grappled seriously with the possibility that falling birthrates might be one of the larger challenges facing the socialist, tolerant, post-historical paradigm so dear to readers of The Nation.

    Instead, the piece basically reads: Patriarchy patriarchy patriarchy, Catholic evangelical fascist, Mussolini Hitler, racist racist racist. I guess The Nation knows its audience, but still …

    http://rossdouthat.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/02/demographic_winter.php

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2008/02/demographic-winter-denial.html

  3. Adam Greenwood on February 21, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    I noticed that Philip Longman is associated with the project, which gives me reason to think its probably credible, if perhaps given to strongly stating its case.

  4. Peter Brown on February 21, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    This project is the inevitable conclusion of rational-based social conservatism. Though rarely expoused in such way, it is the social right\’s version of an \”Inconvenient Truth.\” The press on it spends so much time on the biblical literalism that its more vocal proponents parellel that it is completely overlooked. The focus of the debate has therefore been on familial neutrality and equal rights for homosexuals and multicultural acceptace of all family types. Rarely do people generally discuss the demographic aspects of this kind of familial pluralism, but evidence of it is already taking place in Western Europe.

    It isn\’t unprecidented. Pat Buchanan\’s \”Death of the West\” expouses many of these concepts.

    Ironically, any eventuality of a demographic winter will probably also bring with it a new Dark Age. The youth populations that are still exploding come from very fundamentalist reaches of the globe. They bring with them sharia expectations in law where heresy is punished by death. Sounds very 12th Century to me.

  5. Adam Greenwood on February 21, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    rarely expoused in such way, it is the social right\’s version of an ”Inconvenient Truth.”

    Not altogether reassuring.

  6. bbell on February 21, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Adam,

    As you know this is one of my favorite topics. The trend lines look bad and even the Bretheren are starting to take notice. I feel that its possible for Europe to swing the other way and return to family and children creation. Its also possible for the US to change. But the US is simply a few decades behind where Europe is today but our birthrate has been bolstered by fecund immigrants

    The left has a vested interest in protecting itself from the potential of Sharia law or even a society influenced by it. A quick look at the status of women and homosexuals in Islamic countries makes 1950′s America look like a paradise of freedom by comparison.

    Unfortunatly they are more scared of cultural conservative christians from their own culture who have been influenced by the enlightenment and believe at least in the US of a separation between C & S. As opposed to Sharia law and second class citizenship or Dhimmitude (see Saudia Arabia)

    The Arch-Bishop of Canterbury’s recent comments on Sharia represent how hollowed out the west is becoming

  7. Adam Greenwood on February 21, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    BBell,
    I part ways with many of my fellow demography alarmists on Islam v. the West. If all Muslims vanished tomorrow, the birth dearth would still be a bad problem. Its not a subset of the War on Terror or what have you. I agree that folks who are concerned about”encroaching Islam” should be concerned about demography though from that narrow perspective its not apocalyptic.

  8. Jonovitch on February 21, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    It will be interesting to see if my local PBS station airs this, as the producers are hoping. And if they do, if it will air a second time. :)

    Also of note, a producer of the film has already rebutted the attack piece from The Nation. Rebuttal:
    http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/392695729.html

    Although I am wary of sensationalism, whatever the source, these guys seem to have their numbers straight. I don’t know that I agree with the alarmist tone that the arguments take on, but I do appreciate the apparently extensive research the filmmakers have done — as opposed to the straight rhetoric that spewed out of the Nation’s article.

    Jon

  9. Adam Greenwood on February 21, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Great find, sir. This passage in particular was promising:

    “In fact,” says director Rick Stout, “most of those interviewed for the film do not consider themselves ‘conservatives’ at all. Besides a smattering of pro-family activists, interviewees addressed the crisis of falling birthrates from an academic perspective.”

    Those who appear in the film include sociologists, demographers, and economists (among them, a Nobel laureate in economics) from some of the most prestigious universities here and abroad.

  10. Jonovitch on February 21, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Yes, it never hurts when your ultra-conservative agenda is backed by liberals, academics, and a Nobel laureate. *grin*

    Jon

  11. Bob on February 21, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    I hope this is not a Mormon project. I don\’t think the population of the world is dropping. If the worry is the rich white world (developed societies) is not having enough kids, that\’s a different story. Cultures and ways of doing things do change, or end. But new ones come along, and most of the time do a better job.

  12. Jack on February 21, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    That’s fine, Bob. If any other race or culture were headed for extinction we’d be rending our robes in disgust.

  13. Ray on February 21, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    I took a course in college nearly 20 years ago that focused directly on this issue. The professor was criticized heavily within the student body and faculty for the way he approached it – basically dwelling on demographic disparities among various racial, ethnic and religious groups around the world (and particularly within America) and how similar trends in the past led to various conflicts and upheaval. It was a fascinating class – and just about everything he predicted so many years ago is playing out now.

  14. Adam Greenwood on February 21, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    I don\’t think the population of the world is dropping.
    The world as a whole isn’t and probably won’t for decades. But drops in births are a leading indicator and the trends are clear.

    If the worry is the rich white world (developed societies) is not having enough kids, that\’s a different story. Cultures and ways of doing things do change, or end. But new ones come along, and most of the time do a better job.

    The good thing about wanting decline and extinction is you usually get what you want.

  15. Huston on February 21, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Bob, \”Cultures and ways of doing things do change, or end. But new ones come along, and most of the time do a better job.\” Tell that to the Romans after the Visigoths came storming across the Rhine. Or post-Nephite Mesoamerica.

    I agree with bbell that the Brethren are taking notice of this. In the Worldwide Leadership Training broadcast a couple weeks ago, Elder Oaks and Elder Holland noted that members should stop mocking other members who \”have more than two kids.\” At our stake conference this last weekend, a member of our stake presidency quoted President McKay about having as many children as you can support.

    Perhaps they\’re thinking, as I have been for a while, that too many people have taken the \”counsel with the Lord and have however many children as you see fit\” teachings as a green light to scale back and be comfortable in this materialistic society.

    Anyway, I haven\’t seen this film yet, but would love to. The reigning magnum opus of the demographic decline issue is Mark Steyn\’s column, \”It\’s the Demography, Stupid,\” from the Wall Street Journal a couple years ago. If you haven\’t read it yet, it\’s required reading: http://opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007760.

  16. Bob on February 22, 2008 at 12:30 am

    I thought we had put this kind racism behind us, I guess not. I have read Toynbee. These are not knew ideas or fears. The world will not stop having babies. The White race may fall behind the Yellow or Brown race. But Culture will continue to improve, it always has.

  17. Ray on February 22, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Wow, Bob.

  18. Huston on February 22, 2008 at 1:09 am

    Bob, with all due respect, where do you see racism in this discussion? Frankly, your reference to “White…Yellow or Brown” races is simplistic to the point of being distorted. Nobody’s talking about inherent ethnic superiority here, but the idea that every culture is absolutely equal to others is illogical. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” and civilizations that produce egalitarianism and immunizations are preferable to those that produce widow pyres and genital mutilation. Refusing to see that is just pandering, and THAT’S the real racism in the 21st century. Your assertion that culture has always improved ignores an awful lot of history, including what I said before.

    When the Nephites discovered the people of Zarahemla, they found this native population to have a “corrupted language” because of their lack of written records (and a subsequent loss of religious tradition). The colonizers took the appropriate action: they taught the people of Zarahemla history and literacy, and the natives eagerly appointed Mosiah to be their king. (Omni 1:17-19). The lesson about proper cultural perspective should be obvious.

    So, regarding our people (the current inheritors of the Anglo enlightenment, of any ethnic origin), YES, we desperately need to be worried about the drastic drop in demographic influence. Our children may well inherent a world even more hostile to our values than the one we already inhabit.

    The good news is how the Church is growing overseas. The gospel is the best means ever of transmitting the virtues that made Western Civilization great, and the progress of the Church abroad is reason to hope this will survive. Bob’s correct that those Americans of European descent may well be in the midst of the twilight of their cultural dominance (as 3 Nephi 20:14-16 seems to suggest). I only hope, for the future’s sake, that the Church grows strong enough to preserve for the rest of the world that atmosphere that helped give rise to the Church in the first place.

  19. Richard O. on February 22, 2008 at 1:14 am

    Bob,
    You might want to read something about the history of Western Europe between about 450 A.D. and 1100 A.D. Not exactly a happy time for those that lived through it, especially if you value literacy, travel, trade, and living in a fairly peaceful physical environment.

    The issue isn’t necessarily the white race vs the rest of the world. Check out the birth rates in Japan, China, and Korea.

    As for the “expendibility of the West” (U.S, Canada, and Australia included), that may not be how huge numbers of people in the “developing world” feel. Check out which areas of the world seem to be attracting emigrants and which ones seem to export them. Nothing quite as honest and insightful as watching how people vote with their feet.

  20. Ardis Parshall on February 22, 2008 at 5:55 am

    Bob’s view is simplistic and his bald way of stating that view may be irritating, even offensive, but I don’t think he is entirely wrong in picking up a racial vibe. Paul Mero contributed two op-ed pieces to the Salt Lake Tribune soon after Katrina that stand out in my memory as two of the most breathtakingly racist articles I have ever read in the modern mainstream press. Comment 1, noting Mero’s/Sunderland Institute’s presence somewhere in the neighborhood of the issue, set off alarm bells in my mind, and I admit to reading all later comments with the possibility of a racist interpretation. It isn’t necessarily there, but it’s easy to read racism into comments if you suspect it might be there.

  21. Peter LLC on February 22, 2008 at 7:54 am

    The idea that every culture is absolutely equal to others is illogical. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” and civilizations that produce egalitarianism and immunizations are preferable to those that produce widow pyres and genital mutilation.

    Huston,

    I see your widow pyres and raise you deforestation via Agent Orange. I see your genital mutilation and raise you Nagasaki and Hiroshima. And so on.

    With all due respect, what’s illogical is comparing the backyards of other civilizations to the front yard of your own. Having the nerve to then suggest that others are guilty of pandering or exhibiting “the real racism in the 21st century” while you are carefully discerning the fruit by which others shall be known by is just icing on the cake.

  22. John Mansfield on February 22, 2008 at 9:27 am

    From George Bernard Shaw’s Man and Superman:

    ANA. At all events, let me take an old woman’s privilege again, and tell you flatly that marriage peoples the world and debauchery does not.

    DON JUAN. How if a time comes when this shall cease to be true? Do you not know that where there is a will there is a way–that whatever Man really wishes to do he will finally discover a means of doing? Well, you have done your best, you virtuous ladies, and others of your way of thinking, to bend Man’s mind wholly towards honorable love as the highest good, and to understand by honorable love romance and beauty and happiness in the possession of beautiful, refined, delicate, affectionate women. You have taught women to value their own youth, health, shapeliness, and refinement above all things. Well, what place have squalling babies and household cares in this exquisite paradise of the senses and emotions? Is it not the inevitable end of it all that the human will shall say to the human brain: Invent me a means by which I can have love, beauty, romance, emotion, passion without their wretched penalties, their expenses, their worries, their trials, their illnesses and agonies and risks of death, their retinue of servants and nurses and doctors and schoolmasters.

    THE DEVIL. All this, Senor Don Juan, is realized here in my realm.

    DON JUAN. Yes, at the cost of death. Man will not take it at that price: he demands the romantic delights of your hell whilst he is still on earth. Well, the means will be found: the brain will not fail when the will is in earnest. The day is coming when great nations will find their numbers dwindling from census to census; when the six roomed villa will rise in price above the family mansion; when the viciously reckless poor and the stupidly pious rich will delay the extinction of the race only by degrading it; whilst the boldly prudent, the thriftily selfish and ambitious, the imaginative and poetic, the lovers of money and solid comfort, the worshippers of success, art, and of love, will all oppose to the Force of Life the device of sterility.

  23. Huston on February 22, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Ardis, I appreciate your point of view, but I don’t understand why so many people seem to WANT to look for traces of racism in our society. That tendency in many of our citizens smacks of indoctrination, if you ask me. If we have to interpret the details of cherry-picked artiles to find it, then perhaps it just isn’t there.

    Peter, interesting that to rebut my position (most of which you ignore), you drag out Agent Orange and the bomb, not exactly salient features of our culture (the latter only representing a singular occurence in all our history). It’s not “our front yard vs. their back yard,” it’s representative examples of the total aggregate weight of what does matter. You might call it jingoism, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t right.

    If any collection of societies other than those to which we refer as Western Civilization were starting to take notice of their advanced demographic suicide, everybody would get on board and twist themselves into knots trying to help. Where’s the lamentation for the decline of the West?

  24. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 9:59 am

    I will remove any further accusations of racism that are made without evidence or argument. If you’re going to indulge in Godwinite smears, you can at least make some kind of pretense of explaining why concern for falling birth rates means you’re racist. Bob, you’re on notice.

  25. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Our previous discussion on the subject is here:
    http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=2841

  26. Ardis Parshall on February 22, 2008 at 10:42 am

    If we have to interpret the details of cherry-picked artiles to find it, then perhaps it just isn’t there.

    Or perhaps it’s there, but we’re oh-so-savvy that we’ve learned to disguise our baser drives behind code words, unless we’re so boorish that we don’t care what people think.

    kind of pretense of explaining why concern for falling birth rates means you’re racist

    It doesn’t, unless the concern is only over “our” falling birthrates because “their” steady/rising birthrates threaten “our” loss of political/economic/whatever dominance. That doesn’t appear to be the case among participants in this thread — Richard O. did mention China/Japan/Korea, broadening everyone else’s concern for Europe and Euro-America — and you, Adam, in particular have written on this topic frequently enough that no one should doubt that your honest concern is *not* racism, but what falling birthrates mean to the family and Church and society and God’s plan. Still, it is not wrong to look at one’s fellow travelers from time to time — especially when they’re generating the media that will shape the view of converts to the cause — to be sure our goals and motives really are compatible, and that we’re not being used for all we’re worth to support someone else’s agenda.

  27. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Before anyone wants to level the racism charge at me and others who are worried about demography, please explain why the following concerns are racist:

    (1) Birth rates are falling world-wide. Iran and Brazil have recently dropped below the replacement rate, for example. China has been for awhile. Japan’s birth rate has been so low for so long that it is actually losing population. South Korea’s birth rate is below replacement. Thailand’s is at replacement and dropping. India’s is still somewhat above replacement, but dropping, and the Indian south, where the prosperity comes from, is below replacement.

    (2) Even if birthrates were only falling in the developed world, there are not enough high-skills, high-endowment immigrants from elsewhere to fill the gaps in those categories in the developed world countries. In any case, large scale emigration of their best and brightest would not be good for second and third world countries.

    (3) Immigration isn’t cost-free because people and cultures aren’t fungible. Even assuming optimistically that healthy assimilation is likely with high rates of immigration and low birth-rate domestic populations, assimilation is still not cost-free. In any case, increased immigration is a *solution* to the birth dearth problem, not an attempt to explain the problem away.

    (4) Within races and ethnic groups, in modern times the wealthy successful people who are most likely to pass human and genetic capital have the least children.

    (5) Raising children is a profound and life-altering experience. It is holy. We should be concerned that our neighbors will not or cannot have this experience. Even white people are our neighbors.

    (6) Within the United States and in Europe, the proposed solutions to the birth dearth apply to all races. There are no “whites only” child tax credits.

    (7) Liberals like Philip Longman worry that the tolerant, secular cultures we’ve managed to create in the developed worlds are vulnerable because the tolerant, secular types don’t have kids.

    The fact is that if you look at the reasons demography advocates offer to try and persuade people that dropping birth rates are a bad idea, the reasons aren’t racist. Go to this left-center site, for instance, http://demographymatters.blogspot.com/2008/01/tomas-sobotka-on-fertility-trends-in.html , and look at their arguments for why Eastern Europeans and Southern Europeans should be very, very concerned about demography. None of them have to do with “little brown brother.”

  28. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Thanks, AEP. Still, unless you have some smoking guns, I’d rather you not accuse people of racism in this thread. People can have hidden motives in anything, but as long as their goals and stated motives are compatible with mine, that’s good enough for me.

  29. bbell on February 22, 2008 at 11:28 am

    #7,

    Adam,

    In the US the “birth dearth” is directly responsible for the upcoming financial troubles with Social Security and Medicare. Europe’s birth dearth is worse and their welfare state is larger so there problems will be larger. But Europe is in the beginning of what I see as as coming civil war between an older secular culturally weak european society and a younger culturally confident Muslim minority. The opening shots (french riots, Danish riots, London bombings) have already been fired. As the Muslim population grows they will become more and more assertive in the conflict. See the history of Lebanon or Kosovo for further reading. Ray has it exactly right.

    I blame the Boomers for the upcoming problems in SS and Medicare. They simply did not have enough children to pay taxes to support them in their old age.

    Japan and South Korea are facing real economic problems due to their refusal to pro-create in adequate numbers. I have a good friend here who is Korean in my ward. She has 3-4 kids and when they go back to Korea they are treated like space aliens in public because they ahve so many kids.

  30. Rosalynde on February 22, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    This is a topic I’ve followed for some time with interest, but I’ve yet to come across an approach I can really get behind. I wish I could find a conservative treatment that forthrightly acknowledges the enormous costs exacted of women who bear many children—-not that those costs ought to trump any other consideration, but they ought to be a part of any ecology of “natural” reproduction. And of course there’s the the vexed meaning of “natural” itself: from an evolutionary perspective, a woman bearing and raising ten surviving children is as “unnatural” as magic birth control pills.

    And while I find the rhetorical tactics of the overpopulation crowd to be ugly and frequently reprehensible——still, looking at those graphs of global population, well, mustn’t things stabilize eventually? What happens in the very longest views of human history?

    But on the liberal side so often there’s only denial and footling bigotry.

  31. Ivan Wolfe on February 22, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    r perhaps it’s there, but we’re oh-so-savvy that we’ve learned to disguise our baser drives behind code words.

    That’s the same type of reasoning conspiracy theorists use – there is no evidence against the proposition, only evidence for it. If someone refutes your argument, just turn it back on them and claim it’s hidden, or they’re in on it, or that they just don’t see the patterns you see. The accusations of racism that typically turn up in discussions like this one (or in debates about immigration) often rely on claims that are (practically) treated as irrefutable.

    See, it’s all in the hidden codes and cyphers – but if you refuse to see it it’s because you’re blind to the truth, or else part of the conspiracy. Most of the people who cry racism in these debates use the same rhetoric as the 9/11 “truthers.” So color me unimpressed and somewhat annoyed.

  32. John Taber on February 22, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    “The accusations of racism that typically turn up in discussions like this one (or in debates about immigration) often rely on claims that are (practically) treated as irrefutable.”

    Not when a town councilor who keeps pushing legislation ostensibly aimed at “illegal aliens” is clearly aimed at the town’s increased Hispanic population. (And said councilman says he doesn’t like the town’s demographic change.) Such is the case where I live.

  33. Ardis Parshall on February 22, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    The accusations of racism that typically turn up in discussions like this one (or in debates about immigration) often rely on claims that are (practically) treated as irrefutable.

    Not in the very specific case I referred to originally — the op-ed pieces by Paul Mero — which blamed the tragedies of Katrina on the blackness of the sufferers, and claimed that the nice white Mormons of Sanpete County would have risen above such suffering had a like disaster struck there. I regret that I cannot link to those op-ed pieces which are now in the Tribune’s fee-accessible archives.

    I despise conspiracy theories, as I’ve stated on T&S more than once, and I wouldn’t be part of one. I had a very specific, very blatant case in mind.

  34. John Taber on February 22, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Ah yes, Paul Mero of the Sutherland Institute, right? I wonder if he really understands what those who throw out the term “full quiver” mean.

  35. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Racism is a serious charge, y’all. AEP, I understand why you wanted to defend yourself against the claim that you were intuiting racism based on nothing (though the statement Ivan Wolfe quotes certainly lends itself to that). But without the text of the editorials, and/or some evidence that Mr. Mero had a material role in the Demographic Winter documentary, I do not think its appropriate to continue to charge him with racism. John T., the same goes for you. I do not want further ‘racism’ smears without specific links to particular demographic arguments and without you addressing the points I raised in #26 above.

  36. Peter LLC on February 22, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Peter, interesting that to rebut my position (most of which you ignore), you drag out Agent Orange and the bomb, not exactly salient features of our culture (the latter only representing a singular occurence in all our history). It’s not “our front yard vs. their back yard,” it’s representative examples of the total aggregate weight of what does matter.

    No, Huston, my rebuttal isn’t interesting, it’s illogical, which is was my point about your reductionist view of culture/civilization that states “civilizations that produce egalitarianism and immunizations are preferable to those that produce widow pyres and genital mutilation,” as if these were mutually exclusive categories.

    Your concern that “our people (the current inheritors of the Anglo enlightenment, of any ethnic origin)” preserve their “values” and “the virtues that made Western Civilization great” is perhaps well-founded, especially considering that our people apparently lack the moral and ethical wherewithal to prevent what you suggest are non-salient features of our culture, i.e., the use of advanced technology (Yay! We are a culture that values scientific advancement!) to kill more or less indiscriminately, though I suppose this might be part of an unfortunate but necessary defense of our values and virtues that make us great.

    Anyway, I’m not convinced that pitting genital mutilation vs. egalitarianism comes close to providing “representative examples of the total aggregate weight of what does matter.”

    But even these were representative examples of their respective cultures, how do you weight each one?

    As an example, let’s say some throws out the keywords “Persian culture” into a crowded supermarket aisle. One customer scowls darkly, wags her finger and disapprovingly mutters “burkha” while another bursts into smile and squeals “algebra!” And both are right. How does each response factor into your aggregation?

  37. Ardis Parshall on February 22, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    My name is Ardis. Not AEP.

  38. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    acknowledges the enormous costs exacted of women who bear many children

    Rosalynde,
    that’s a fair point, but I think in some ways it relates more to your concerns–and perhaps to Mormon arguments about family size?–than it does to the kinds of concerns and solutions you find in the public demography debate. The concern isn’t that people are no longer having 9 kids. The concern is that enough people are no longer having 2 to 3 kids. And the proposed solutions are usually things like subsidizing childrearing, which would lower rather than increase the “enormous cost” of having children. Other proposed solutions include trying to rebut the widespread Western attitudes that children are selfish burdens on an overpopulating planet, but to the extent that this succeeds, I imagine it would only pressure women to have “many children at enormous cost” in the marginal cases.

  39. Kevinf on February 22, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    I have been following this thread quietly, actually deleting a couple of posts, and watching where it is going. I’ve learned a lot here, but I’ve got t weigh in on two things:

    bbell, you’re blaming boomers for not having enough kids? I think you might have some facts that need checking. Boomers married younger than successive generations, and had more kids. Not as many as their parents, but younger generations are not having as many kids as their boomer parents. As for this boomer parent, I am the proud father of six kids. My generation in the church has had more kids than the current generation of young families, but I watch and see how expensive it has been (and still is) for them to get an education, find a home and start families. We’ve now had two of our married children move back in with us from time to time to try and jumpstart their education and get homes, but it’s tough under these economic conditions. This seems to be a joint problem, and economics in the developed world seems to be part of the problem.

    Second, Adam, I respect that you have strong feelings on this, but this quote you made strikes me as an odd juxtaposition:

    “(4) Within races and ethnic groups, in modern times the wealthy successful people who are most likely to pass human and genetic capital have the least children.

    (5) Raising children is a profound and life-altering experience. It is holy.”

    I totally agree with number 5, but I’m having trouble with number 4. Are you saying that “wealthy successful people” should have a greater obligation to pass on “genetic capital”? That seems to resonate with some of the eugenics movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Don’t take offense, but I don’t agree with the idea that wealthy successful people are genetically superior than the poor. I thought that was what the PEF was all about. Please let me know if I have misread this.

  40. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Peter LLC,
    Is it unreasonable to want to preserve your way of life if you cannot conclusively demonstrate that your way of life is superior to all others on offer?

  41. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    KevinF,
    I’m not sure why the statement (Boomers married younger than the generations after them and had a higher birth rate than those generations) rebuts BBell’s idea that the boomers didn’t have enough kids. It could just be that succeeding generations were really, really bad. Fwiw, though, the boomers on average had kids at or above the replacement rate.

    “I don’t agree with the idea that wealthy successful people are genetically superior than the poor.”

    That’s fine. Not sure I agree with that idea myself. But is it “racist” if one is concerned that wealthier, more successful higher IQ blacks or hispanics or whites tend to have fewer children than their poorer, less successful, lower IQ counterparts within their race? Note also that human capital does not equal genetic capital.

  42. Peter LLC on February 22, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Adam,

    It is unreasonable to want to demonize others’ ways of life if you cannot conclusively demonstrate that they are a threat to your own.

  43. Christopher on February 22, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    But is it “racist” if one is concerned that wealthier, more successful higher IQ blacks or hispanics or whites tend to have fewer children than their poorer, less successful, lower IQ counterparts within their race?

    Yes, it is.

  44. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    I would imagine its unreasonable to demonize it anyway.

  45. Ivan Wolfe on February 22, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    I had a very specific, very blatant case in mind.

    Except that in post #20, make the move from that apparently blatant case and apply to the nearly all the comments here – that’s hardly a specific case – that’s blanket damnation of all the commentators. In #27, you claim the racism is there in secret code words and then you make a move to an even more general application.

    I usually admire your studiousness and scholarship. Ardis, but it this case you’re reading racism where it may not be. You even admit it’s not so clear in post #20, yet now you claim it’s clearly “blatant.” Consider my post more of a warning than an attack – I’ve studied the rhetoric of conspiracy theorists, and in your attempts to pin racism on certain types, you’re partaking in the same rhetorical forms and moves.

    [Ivan W., I've asked Ardis P. to back off so it follows you should stop sniping at her. Thanks.]

  46. Bob on February 22, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    #26: “(4) Within races and ethnic groups, in modern times the wealthy successful people who are most likely to pass human and genetic capital have the least children.” ….That is Racism.
    #24: “make some kind of pretense of explaining why concern for falling birth rates means you’re racist. Bob, you’re on notice.”
    …….Unless you bring race in, there is no ‘falling birth rate in the world
    #18: “Bob, with all due respect, where do you see racism in this discussion?”
    ………. If “Demographic Winter” and this tread is not about saving the White Western Culture, what is it about?

  47. Kevinf on February 22, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Adam, I haven’t used the “racist” term or accused you of being racist, so I’m not sure why it showed up in your reply to my comment. But there is a question about why you equate wealth and success with higher IQ’s, and poverty with lower IQ’s. Lack of opportunity or personal initiative may have something to do with it. It’s not racist, but it might appear prejudicial on other grounds.

    As to the other issue, I was responding to a blanket accusation by bbell that he “blames boomers” for this problem. I think that to a great extent, as we move from an agrarian to an industrial and now to a service/information based society, the social and economic requirements for large families certainly have changed. My grandfather’s multigeneration farm in Idaho certainly had a different dynamic than my job in the high tech field. Don’t misunderstand me, I am concerned about these numbers myself, but laying this all out as selfishness seems rather simplistic to what is obviously a very complex problem.

  48. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    #26: “(4) Within races and ethnic groups, in modern times the wealthy successful people who are most likely to pass human and genetic capital have the least children.” ….That is Racism.

    Racism has something to do with race. If you’re comparing whites to whites, or blacks to blacks, that’s not racism. You may not like it. It might be wrong. But its not racism.

    #24: “make some kind of pretense of explaining why concern for falling birth rates means you’re racist. Bob, you’re on notice.”
    …….Unless you bring race in, there is no ‘falling birth rate in the world

    Yes, there is.

    #18: “Bob, with all due respect, where do you see racism in this discussion?”
    ………. If “Demographic Winter” and this tread is not about saving the White Western Culture, what is it about?

    Global and national drops in births that cut across race and ethnicity.

  49. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Adam, I haven’t used the “racist” term or accused you of being racist, so I’m not sure why it showed up in your reply to my comment

    The comment you object to was an example I gave of the kind of demography argument people make that isn’t racist.

    But there is a question about why you equate wealth and success with higher IQ’s, and poverty with lower IQ’s. Lack of opportunity or personal initiative may have something to do with it.

    That almost certainly has something to do with it. But there are lots of reason to think that IQ has a large, heritable genetic component. And I think there’s at least some evidence that in modern, meritocratic societies, wealth has some meaningful correlation with IQ. There’s also decent evidence that wealth is somewhat negatively correlated with having kids. I don’t think its a slam dunk argument either individually or especially when you put it all together, but its a reasonable argument and its not racist.

  50. Bob on February 22, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    For the record, I use “racism” with no more malaise than ‘teenagers’. It is just another way of putting people in handy boxes. But to act with harm in mind, or try to ‘hold down’. or think you are better than another race….is to be “Racist” ( which I have called no one on this blog).
    Again, for the record, I believe, from my study, that the Modern World come about equally from the ‘Western’, “Eastern”, and ‘Middle Eastern” worlds, or all the “Races’..

  51. bbell on February 22, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Adam, Kevin F. I am confident that the boomers had a lower birthrate then both their parents and their own children. Look at the data below. Remember also that current TFR is propped up by immigrants.

    I am pretty sure that the cohort born between say 1975 and 1995 (the boomers kids) was below replacement. Cutrrent TFR is 2.1

    From Wiki

    [10] 2.01 children born/women (2000)

    1.91 children born/women (1990)

    1.81 children born/women (1980)

    2.48 children born/women (1970)

    3.65 children born/women (1960)

    3.01 children born/women (1950)

    The boomers essentially by not reproducing enough for whatever reason during the 70′s, 80′s, and early 90′s created the Social Security problem. Mormon families started falling off later. FWIW boomer LDS parents had a child or two more then current LDS families.

    For the nation as a whole the TFR has been increasing since the boomers stopped having kids.

  52. Kevinf on February 22, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Adam,

    Thanks for the explanation. There probably is some correlation between IQ and success, but my guess is that it’s not the highest correlation. Perhaps another correlation example would be athletic skill (steroids notwithstanding). Genetics make up part of the equation with success in sports, but it also has a lot to do with the parents involvement, availability of programs, economics (“the budget for this year’s select soccer team is $5,500″ for example), and culture. Certainly Cal Ripken’s success in sports has a component of genetics, but how much more having a father who was also a professional baseball player, and knew how to get his kids into the right paths? How much more likely is it for the kids of temple married parents to get married in the temple than the children of non-temple married kids?

    I just think it’s much more complex than we currently understand. Nonetheless, I think there is a legitimate concern about falling birth rates, but you could also make the argument that it will result in a more equitable distribution of fossil fuels. (tongue firmly in cheek).

  53. Jonovitch on February 22, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Christopher (43) and Bob (46), Adam’s comments weren’t racist, as Kevinf (47) points out. His rhetorical statement was regarding *intra-racial* demographics. He was not pitting one race against another, rather hypothetical trends within the realms of any given race. That’s not racist. Prejudicial stereotyping perhaps, but it has nothing to do with bias against a particular race. I don’t understand why people are misreading this.

    I also think some people here need to back off Ardis, too. I did not read her initial comments (20) as derogatory at all. She simply appeared to explain from her (well-trained, experienced, and keen) perspective how someone might read something into others’ comments (including hints of racism) that may or may not actually exist. How ironic.

    Slow down, people.

    Jon

  54. Kevinf on February 22, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    bbell, I did my part! :)

  55. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Kevinf,
    what I hear you saying is that parents’ genetic and human capital both contribute to the success of their kids. I agree.

    Thanks, Jonovitch. I completely agree that making the general racism charge is bizarre and that people need to back off Ardis P., who isn’t making it.

    BBell, thanks for the statistics. Looks like I was wrong. I just did a little research and it looks like the lowest US birth rate ever was in 1976, at 65 births per 1000 women. That’s the year I was born, so I guess I’m glad Mormons are a little countercultural sometimes.

  56. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Christopher,
    if “racism” can mean anything you want, then I’m defining you as racist because your name has three syllables. Gah! Filthy racist!

  57. Rosalynde on February 22, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Adam, you’re right that Marc Steyn and Philip Longman and fellows are not quiverfolk, even if they have joined forces with them for this documentary. But they’re not my flight, either.

    “subsidizing childrearing, which would lower rather than increase the “enormous cost” of having children”

    Assuming a natural two-parent family, financially subsidizing childrearing would ease the burden of provisioning, which traditionally and currently (again, in two-parent families) tends to fall to fathers. There’s no real way to subsidize the physical costs of sex, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and childcare for women—and except in the case of the last, there are no economies of scale.

  58. Ivan Wolfe on February 22, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    #46 – Moderator’s comment:

    Message received (though I dispute it was “sniping”, I’ll abide by the direction given).

    [Thank you, sir. "Sniping" was probably too strong a word.]

  59. Jack on February 22, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    “There’s no real way to subsidize the physical costs of sex, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and childcare for women…”

    Perhaps not, but we can cut costs in other areas–like (say) by letting go of a second job. Mothering among the more “well to do” is being marginalized by the maintenance of lifestyle more than anything else.

  60. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    But they’re not my flight, either.

    All right, but that’s not the kind of criticism that leads to useful dialogue. So we’re “not your flight.” What does that mean?

    Assuming a natural two-parent family, financially subsidizing childrearing would ease the burden of provisioning, which traditionally and currently (again, in two-parent families) tends to fall to fathers. There’s no real way to subsidize the physical costs of sex, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and childcare for women—and except in the case of the last, there are no economies of scale.

    Who is forcing mothers to bear these costs? We’re not talking about attempts to force people to have children, or even a ‘strength through joy’ type program where young women who may not know better are put in situations where they will be vulnerable to getting pregnant. The kind of women who are devastated by pregnancy and childrearing are unlikely to have another child just because there’s a subsidy attached.

    I really dispute your idea that finances and subsidies aren’t a concern for mothers. Your one-income family is not as prevalent as you think, and in one income families mothers care about the family’s financial situation.

  61. Rosalynde Welch on February 22, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    I worry about demographics, too, and am largely sympathetic to the movement; I just wish I could find a voice in the debate I could support fully, to gratify my inner groupie, I guess. I looked a bit for the line in one Steyn piece on birthrates where he ridicules “chicken-necked forty-year-old women” desperate to conceive, but I couldn’t track it down. But his insensitivity to the interests of women is why I can’t totally get behind him, despite the fact that he persuades me on a number of other issues. (Again, this is not to say that the interests of women ought to trump every other consideration, nor that this is the primary lens through which the problem ought to be viewed.)

    On the other matter, yes of course women care deeply, even overwhelmingly about provisioning their children; this indeed is one half of the bargain at the heart of traditional marriage. I’m just saying that—even in two-income, two-parent families—the burden of provisioning falls disproportionately on the father, whereas the burden of nurturing falls disproportionately on the mother (this is not a complaint or accusation; in my view, girls will be girls in this way.) The marginal benefit of financially subsidizing the raising of children thus is greater for fathers. If we’re talking about single mothers, then of course everything is entirely different, and financial subsidies are huge for her.

  62. Mark IV on February 22, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Rosalynde,

    Here you go:
    “But this is a bit like arguing over which came first, the chicken or the egg – or, in this case, which came first, the lack of eggs or the scraggy old chicken necked women desperate for one designer baby at the age of 48.”

    Mark Steyn, America Alone, p.189

  63. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    I worry about demographics, too, and am largely sympathetic to the movement; I just wish I could find a voice in the debate I could support fully, to gratify my inner groupie, I guess.

    Gotcha. Yeah, demographics is wonkish and takes people in aggregate. You probably would fit in better with neo-conservative women scholars who reach some of the same conclusions as demography people but who get there by a different route, because they’re concerned about the plight of women or children or whatever.

    I’m just saying that—even in two-income, two-parent families—the burden of provisioning falls disproportionately on the father, whereas the burden of nurturing falls disproportionately on the mother

    But do we have any reason to believe that the *benefit* of the provisioning is principally the father’s? In other words, you seem to be working off a model where if the family has a child and gets some kind of subsidy for it, the primary effect is to allow the father to work less, and the father doesn’t principally use this extra leisure time to do things that benefit the family. I have no reason to think that’s so. Take your own case, for instance. Would you really be indifferent to you or your husband getting a $10,000 check (or whatever)? I assure you that my wife would be ecstatic, because we’d spend the money on our mortgage and some much needed clothes for all of us and maybe a little vacation.

    Anyway, if there is a subsidy, there’s two possibilities: the first is that no one has more children than they would otherwise. In that case, even in the extreme case where the father “spent” all the net subsidy on himself, the mother is no worse off. In anything less than the extreme case, the mother is better off. The second case is that the subsidy really does make a difference in the number of children the family has. That being so, the extra money would seem to go towards the expense of having the extra child. Since the choice to have the extra child is voluntary, and since women tend to want more children more than men, I would imagine that in this scenario on average mothers would be better off than they would otherwise be.

  64. Jonovitch on February 22, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    I play “Dad” in our one-income, two-child, stay-at-home-mom family, and I would certainly welcome more financial incentives to have more children, and I think governments have a national interest in incentivizing stable families (i.e., Mom, Dad, and 2.1 kids). I can’t seem to save enough or pay off our credit cards fast enough, and, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I still don’t have my iPod. Life would certainly be different without the two sea urchins sucking away at my paycheck (diapers alone — oh, the humanity!), and spawning a couple more would only add to that expense.

    But as Rosalynde (61) correctly notes, that’s all about me.

    Mom does the puking, hormoning, expanding, waddling, aching, contracting, pushing, waking, nursing, waking, diapering, waking, weeping, holding, rocking, etc., and so forth. She certainly wouldn’t refuse a little extra something from Uncle Sam (maybe then she could get an iPod, too!), but it’s her mental, physical, and social welfare that she considers first when thinking about a third and fourth Thing crawling around on the kitchen floor.

    So I’m probably more ready to have more kids than my wife is. And while financially incentivizing such might be in the best interest of society (and ought to be done anyway!), I don’t think it’s going to change a woman’s mind who, for a whole host of other reasons, has decided not to.

    Jon

  65. Jonovitch on February 22, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Adam (63), now you’re talking! We’ll line up for $10,000 any time. (I was thinking more along the lines of perhaps one-fifth of that, maybe.) You can send those five-figure checks to… :)

    Jon

  66. Bob on February 22, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    #61:”I worry about demographics…”. Why? The Greeks did fine, on what 100th of US population. (?) Rome had a little population, but brought in a lot of outsiders (Greeks for teachers, etc.). Early Mormons were very small, almost everyone came from the outside! China and India did much better with smaller populations.

    I live in LA, maybe the most open city in the world. The only thing we lack in culture..is a pro football team.
    My son married a girl born in Vietnam, and they both teach in a local college…did they break the rules..will this be the end of Western Culture?

  67. Ivan Wolfe on February 22, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Isn’t that bribe tax refund from Congress that supposed to come this summer somewhat keyed to the number of kids you have?

    Personally, I find the additional child tax credit very nice. However, the benefits drop off after two kids. The way the tax code is set up, it somewhat discourages additional children, as far as I can tell. But perhaps a tax attorney would know more than I do. I just fill out the forms (well, my wife does that, actually. I just double check them and sign them).

  68. Ivan Wolfe on February 22, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Huh. The html didn’t work. I meant to have a strikethrough on the word “bribe.”

    [Fixed]

  69. Rosalynde Welch on February 22, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    “since women tend to want more children more than men”

    Adam, do you have numbers on this? I’m not denying it, just genuinely curious.

  70. Bob on February 22, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    #65: If you get that check, hope that it is about $200,000…because that’s what it will cost you.
    Again folks, stop the worry…the world is not running out of babies!

  71. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    I’ve seen various studies, RW. The effect isn’t huge but its non-negligible. Just googled a little bit and I found this

    While in 1969, there were no significant gender differences in the preferred number of children (p<0.10), data from 1996 indicate that substantially more men than women preferred two children (71 % vs. 41 %, p<0.001) and substantially fewer men than women preferred three or more children (19% vs. 51 %, p<0.001)

    http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-108836907.html

    Dunno how credible this is. What’s probably more useful for the discussion we’re having is whether women on average tend to have more or fewer children then they want. The assumption among most population research I’ve met is that on average in the developed world women are more likely to have less children than they want. See here, e.g.,
    http://iussp2005.princeton.edu/download.aspx?submissionId=50830

  72. John Mansfield on February 22, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    That Demographic Winter website asserts that subsidies do not increasing fertility. If more affluent families are currently choosing to have fewer children than their less affluent fellow citizens, then a cash prize is the wrong carrot.

  73. Adam Greenwood on February 22, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    The website might be right, John M. Its a hotly contested point. My feeling is that it depends a lot on what kind of subsidies you offer and to whom.

  74. Bob on February 22, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    In my final post on this, let me say I understand the fears of a Demographic Winter. I only caution about racism, and wish to have you recall the Germans 1920s and 1930s efforts to fight against this Winter. Their hospital wards were over flowing with babies being born for the “Fatherland”. Only to have those babies killed by the millions defending what they believed.

  75. Jonovitch on February 23, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Bob, I’m kind of glad that was your last post. Crying “Nazi!” is like “jumping the shark” in a discussion/debate. It looks desperate, and is often ineffective and inaccurate.

    The Nazis were indeed promoting one nationality or race above all others, especially above certain “inferior” races. That much you have correct.

    What you don’t seem to grasp is that the producers of the film, as well as most everybody here, are concerned about the fertility rate among ALL nations, across the world, in every society, regardless of race, on each continent. It baffles me that you can’t see that.

    As with most “Nazi!” parallels, yours, too, is inaccurate and sounds like the type of polemic that serves only to distract from the issue rather than discuss or solve it. (Again, in case you missed it in the previous paragraph, the real issue is that birth rates are falling drastically across the globe, in lots and lots and lots of countries.)

    I don’t know that I’d call it a “crisis” (another hyperbolic, overused word) but one thing this issue is not is racist or fascist or any other -ist, despite your (and others’) attempts to frame it as such.

    Jon

  76. Bob on February 23, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    #75: Just for you, I will post again. I did not say everyone who fears a “Demographic Winter” is a Nazi. I said the Nazis feared a ” Demographic Winter”.
    “What you don’t seem to grasp is that the producers of the film, as well as most everybody here, are concerned about the fertility rate among ALL nations”. Try Google on ” “Demographic Winter”, see who the producers are, and what are their goals. And the population of the world is not dropping.

  77. Ray on February 23, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    #76 – Re-read #11 and #14. The overall global population issue has been addressed by you and Adam already in this post. It doesn’t need to be revisited.

  78. Bob on February 24, 2008 at 2:17 am

    #77: You are right Ray, this tread has nothing to do with the population of the world dropping. I agree with you and Adam in #14: “The world as a whole isn’t…”.
    It never has in it’s history… even when Europe lost maybe half it’s population in the Black Plague.

  79. Jonovitch on February 24, 2008 at 3:40 am

    Bob, I knew that would get you back one more time. :)

    Nobody is suggesting the *population* of the world is dropping (although some estimates do show a couple drops due to plague outbreaks in the Middle Ages), but it should be noted that the total world *fertility* rate is around 2.6 and falling. And while it might still be (barely) above the global replacement level of 2.33, I can’t help wonder how long that will hold true.

    Once population does start declining in certain regions, it will have real and serious economic and social effects on all regions. And we have seen throughout the world’s history that real and serious economic and social issues lead to real and serious conflict and upheaval. That is a concern for everyone, in every region, not just the rich, white, middle-aged males in Western developed countries. Sheesh.

    I watched the film’s preview, listened to the various academics, and read every word I could find on the Web site. Regardless of what a few individuals involved with the project might think personally, the overwhelming message throughout was that this is an issue that will affect every corner of the world. I really prefer to avoid attempts at mind-reading and rather go with the filmed, documented, heavily researched, diversely backed study of the declining global fertility rate and the problems it will bring to everyone, in every part of the world.

    That’s what this film is about (it’s all over the Web site — check it out!). Not overpopulation. Not racism. Not Nazis. And not hidden agendas or conspiracies. Double sheesh.

    Jon

  80. Bob on February 24, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    #79: ” it will have real and serious economic and social effects on all regions”: On this we agree: drops or raises in Population matter. Drops in China, India, Egypt, will help theses counties. Drops in Mexico will help the US immigration situation as there will be less unemployment of the youth in Mexico.
    I read about 10 pages of Google on the pros and cons on this. Most “…real and serious conflict and upheaval.” in world history has come over population, not under population.
    ” ……not hidden agendas ….” Al Gore’s film came from the “Left”, Fine, let’s say it. “Demographic Winter”, comes from the “Christian Right”. Fine, let’s say it. To say there is no link between Nazi Germany and the population fears, is not to have read history.

  81. aloysiusmiller on February 24, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    So Bob if you walk into a cornfield you’ll always find some rotten ears. But it is still corn. Are you saying that Hitler is the rotten ear or the corn? I say he is the rotten ear. He played with a certain truth in an evil way and it rotted him and his cause — his ear so to speak. But it didn’t rot the corn.

  82. Ardis Parshall on February 24, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    I think what Bob is saying, aloysius, is that this particular strain of corn, or this particular cornfield, is susceptible to rot. Doesn’t matter how perfect most of the ears are, or how essential they are to the farmer’s welfare, if you aren’t careful to recognize and pull out the rotten stalks, the rot that is there can spread.

  83. Bob on February 24, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    #81: I could really carry on all day on this…but it’s not my blog..I am guest and don’t wish to over stay my welcome. So last post for me really!
    But you might want to ask Ray on the cornfield 1) He is from Ohio. 2) He does believe a cornfield will do only what it REALLY wants to do.

  84. Ray on February 24, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    #82 – Wow, I missed that, Ardis. I thought Bob was saying that the population of the world has never and will never decline, that we shouldn’t care about it, and that caring about it is a sign of racism – even if our concern is not about any particular race. I thought he was saying that the field is rotten, and if you step into it it will contaminate you.

    I really like the point of #82, however.

    Bob, if that is not an accurate summary of what you meant, I apologize. That’s what I took from your comments.

  85. Ray on February 24, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Looks like Bob and I were typing at the same time. Although I have no idea what a cornfield really wants to do, I am fairly certain it will do only what it wants to do. That was good, Bob. *grin*

  86. Jack on February 24, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    “To say there is no link between Nazi Germany and the population fears, is not to have read history.”

    Let’s not forget, though, that the post-WWI Germans were literally paying a wheel barrel full of money for a loaf of bread at their economic low point. So, while (yes) their is no question that the Nazis were fanatical racists, they also were spurred on by a sense of survival–however horribly misdirected–that was born of an intense fear of social annihilation.

  87. Adam Greenwood on February 24, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    To say there is no link between Nazi Germany and the population fears, is not to have read history.

    There is no link between Nazi Germany and current population fears. Criminy. Demography does not make you particularly susceptible to Nazism. I am appalled at the accusations and innuendoes of racism and Nazism and who knows all what else I’ve seen in this thread. I see it as unchristian, unfounded, and unwelcome. Cease.

    I will delete anything further along those line and any further discussion pro or con of the comments of that kind that have already been made (they don’t need rebutting).

  88. Jonovitch on February 25, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Adam, earlier this weekend I was going to thank you for letting this thread twist and turn in so many interesting directions for so long [we both know you occasionally have an itchy trigger finger. :) ]

    But now I have to say I think we’ve officially jumped the shark.

    Jon

  89. Adam Greenwood on February 25, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Comments will close this morning. At that time please email additional comments to adam [] times and seasons [] org for posting. Thank you.

    Update:
    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/?p=993

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