Is Demographic Winter the right wing version of Global Warming?
Phillip Longman in his book The Empty Cradle discusses the possible social impact of declining birth rates. Longman is a progressive. His most recent book is one that praises the politics of the Progressive Era. The politics of the Progressive Era gives right wingers like me nausea. I’m not sure why noted super-brainiac Dante Atkins thinks that the upcoming demographic winter is some outlandish right wing conspiracy theory. Or why he thinks only right wingers should be worried.
In The Empty Cradle there is, for example, plenty of suggestions for government intervention for maintaining a healthy population to palliate the effects of low birth rates. It is no right wing screed. Longman even takes no position on gay marriage in the book, though he does mention the issue.
What happens to women’s rights, gay rights, etc. when populations decline? Nothing good. Those that favor women’s rights and gay rights should become members of the Ruth Institute. Healthy population growth and prosperity may be he only thing standing between them and the handmaiden’s tale future that Dante claims to fear.
Don’t believe me? Witness the Victorian Era. There is a common misconception that the Victorians were so uptight about sexuality as a direct result of religious attitudes inherited from the middle ages or something. It wasn’t. People were concerned about declining birth rates in that era (birth rates had been declining ever since the industrial age). As a result, motherhood and family became lionized in Victorian culture, as the means to solve the population problems they saw on the horizon. If the women in the future will be relegated to being baby factories, it will be because of declining population.
So, if the predictions are correct, it’s not just the right wing that has to worry about it. Demographic Winter concerns certainly should not be confined to the right wing.
In fact, if Leftists blindly call demographics the province of the right wing they are missing some arguments for their side that they can make.
For instance, only an idiot would deny that the period from the early eighties until 2008 was one of unprecedented prosperity and wealth. What caused it? Well, a right winger would argue (mostly correctly) that Reagan had a lot to do with the good times.
But the demographic argument could undercut the right wing position. After all, in 1983, those born in the peak year of the baby boom (1961) were graduating college and producing wealth. And they continued to do so for twenty five or so years. Of course the country was prosperous given its young and dynamic demographics. And that’s why there is less prosperity now– demographic aging. So, the Leftist could argue, it’s not that Obama’s policies are wreaking havoc. It’s the demographics, stupid.
Needless to add, this argument fits perfectly in with the Marxist “historical forces” (in contradistiction to the right-wing “great man”) theory of historical change.
Come on, lefties, do I have to make your arguments for you?