Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lyin' in a Demographic Winter

Chuck Colson, that epitome of virtue in retrospect, is decrying the so-called 'birth dearth' here...

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ChuckColson/2008/06/10/demographic_winter_and_the_economy?page=full&comments=true

It's your basic 'non-breeders are selfish' rhetorical bullshit, filled with alarmist concerns about the non-sustainability of growth economies vs. dwindling populations. Or, in this case, numbers that aren't growing fast enough to keep up with the equations, since the world's population has more than doubled since Mr. Colson has been onboard. Here's the telling paragraph...

"...the “birth dearth” is largely the product of our values. Clearly, our society believes that individual self-satisfaction—measured in terms of material prosperity—is more important than the creation and welfare of future generations. The irony here is that our material prosperity depends on those future generations."

So, which generation finally gets to settle into its 'material prosperity', instead of settling for the proxy-satisfaction of passing on the baton? Is life just a relay race with no finish line? What is this obligation to create future generations that he's talking about? If we ended it all right here, right now, how and why would we be worse off than if we keep filling up all the empty spaces on the planet until we're standing on top of each other? Add to this Mr. Colson's obvious belief, rooted in his fundamentalist Christian worldview no doubt, that we're all headed down the chute towards hellfire, and you wind up with the remarkably paradoxical argument for conscripting more and more sailors onto a sinking ship, in order to have more hands to man the buckets. As somebody once said in a Monty Python movie, "It's a simple question of weight ratios!"

One more thing: why this concern about bringing more people into the world from right-wing Christians, who believe that Jesus is gonna show up any day to scoop up the chosen, and damn the rest? For Christ sake! How much kindling does Jehovah require to keep those hellfires stoked, anyhow? Get it over with, already!

Of course, the real answer to my question is just another twist on the 'children as cannon fodder' argument/justification. Chuck and his ilk want new generations of taxpayers to support them in their old age, and heaven can wait. Ultimately, it all comes down to utilization of the young by the old, rationalized by an appeal to vicarious immortality of the multi-generational sort. 'Feed us! Clothe us! Stand in front of the guns aimed at us! And your reward will be that, someday, you'll be in our postion, and your children will be coerced into doing the same for you.'

Ah, that sweet, sweet circle of life!

3 comments:

TGGP said...

There's been a big discussion recently about Kerry Howley's article on Mark Steyn type natalism cultural pessimists. I only feel like linking to one post about it, and I choose Steve Sailer.

your host said...

Thanks for the link, tggp. Certainly there's some culturally induced rhetoric propelling this birth dearth fearfest (racial and religious concerns as well, as your link points out). Lot of 'brown baby' concerns out there, I suppose. I'd just like to stress that I'm concerned about the more basic motivations here, no matter what subset of humanity we choose to identify ourselves with. From my POV, it's more about vicarious immortality than anything else, dovetailing with the utilitarian schemes of the older towards the younger. This core selfishness is the engine that drives this ship, though its existence goes virtually unacknowledged, to the point that pronatalists can unflinchingly point the finger at those who would even dare question the plan, while at the same time holding their own pronatalist views as altruistic, and sacrosanct. It's the lack of honest conversation that bothers me; much like the universal 'hands off' approach to asking hard questions about religious faith bothers the so-called New Atheists. For it is my firm belief that, when people sincerely delve into the motives behind, and consequences of, having children, most of them will experience at least some degree of conflict with their own, humanitarian sensibilities. At least, that's my hope.

TGGP said...

Will Wilkinson and Tyler Cowen have a diavlog discussing whether it is good to bring new people into existence here:
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/12109