Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The overpopulation myth

Arthur Brooks has a new article about the fertility gap. Here's an excerpt:

"Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%--explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today."

The whole article is worth a read.

One of the reasons I think liberals have fewer children is the overpopulation myth. The idea that our world is overpopulated and dying because of too many people has been pounded into our brains for so many years that many people take it as an undisputed fact.

Overpopulation is a myth. No one debunks this better than P.J. O'Rourke in his book:
All the Trouble in the World: The Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Ecological Disaster, Ethnic Hatred, Plague, and Poverty

Although P.J. doesn't go quite so far with his analysis, I will:

The overpopulation myth is a beautifully designed intelligence test. If you buy into overpopulation without checking the facts, you are stupid. If you are stupid, you shouldn't have babies.

Instead of forced eugenics and sterilization, stupid people sterilize themselves! Isn't it beautiful?

Well, actually, I think it's horrible. I'm Catholic. I don't believe that only smart people should have kids. The whole concept of eugenics is repulsive. One of the most radiant girls I know is in my son's class. She has a deformed hand and is missing a leg. The prosthetic is uncomfortable so she leaves her leg in the class, where I always fall over it.

This girl is lovely. Her face could launch a thousand ships, and she is smart, quarrelsome, funny, and eager. Deny her life? The world would be a poorer place without her in it. That goes for Down's Syndrome children, the elderly, the handicapped, and Alzheimer's victims. All are God's Children and all are precious.

And believe me, if you've ever driven across this great nation, you know how very empty our world is. Empty, gorgeous, vast stretches of fertile lands are everywhere you look. There's lots of room. Have another baby.