The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity
The Ignorance of Anti-human David Attenborough
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Liberal icon Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “You’re entitled to your own opinions, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.” But that was decades ago, and today more leftists than ever have graduated from confusion to delusion and believe they’re entitled to their own fiction.
A good example is naturalist David Attenborough, who recently complained that man is a plague upon our planet. He warns that our burgeoning population will ensure that we consume the world’s resources like a sun-occluding swarm of high-tech locusts. Writes The Telegraph:
“We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now,” he [Attenborough] told the Radio Times.
If brevity is the soul of not just wit but also delusion, we have a winner here. Four sentences, four falsehoods/fallacies—a couple of which are getting a bit stale. There is that old leftist Malthusian starvation saw that seems to have more lives than a cat; there is the man-made idea of man-made climate change; and there is what logically follows from these two assumptions, that humans are a “plague” (well, some humans are, anyway). But then there’s what is simply a falsehood: the notion that the world’s population is exploding.
The truth is just the opposite: on the horizon is a population implosion, a long understood phenomenon explored superbly in the documentary “Demographic Winter.” This may seem counter-intuitive, raised as we were on Soylent Green nightmares, but “population bomb” scenarios are your silver pony-tailed grandfather’s alarmism. And here are the facts:
- Fertility rates are below replacement level (2.1 children per couple) in more than 70 nations worldwide.
- Europe’s population is shrinking rapidly, with an overall fertility rate of 1.38; in northern Italy and certain regions of Spain, the figure is less than 1.
- Sixty-five-year-olds now outnumber fourteen-year-olds in Europe, and while eighty percent of US homes included children one-hundred years ago, the figure has dropped to thirty-two percent today.
- Russia’s population is declining by the better part of 1,000,000 people per year, despite government efforts to encourage fecundity—such as paying citizens $9000 per child. “In 40 years, the world’s largest country by area will have only 100 million citizens instead of the 142 million it has today,” writes Der Spiegel.
- Fertility rates are below replacement level even in countries one wouldn’t expect, such as Muslim nations Tunisia, Qatar, Iran, Uzbekistan, Algeria, and Lebanon, just to name a handful. Mexico’s rate (2.27) is still above replacement level but has been declining precipitously during recent times and will continue to fall. And My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a big fat Greek myth; Greece is managing only 1.39 children per woman. The lowest fertility rate in the world belongs to Singapore (.78).
Of course, the world’s population will continue to increase for a time at a steadily decelerating rate, but this trend will reverse around the middle of this century. Moreover, this is something professional demographers have long known.
So why do mainstream media, academics, politicians, and various luminaries not know it? Some do, of course, and simply lie. Like the activists who understand that popular will to outlaw the AR-15 will evaporate if people learn it’s not actually a machine gun, some population-control zealots realize that their misanthropic agenda’s ranks will depopulate if people discover demographic reality. Others, however, are like the feminists who still complained in the 1990s that society’s alleged destruction of teen girls’ self-esteem was causing poor high-school performance, even though by that point girls’ grades were higher than boys’. A day late and a few brain cells short, theirs is an ignorance bred by an indifference to truth that robs one of all impetus to search for it.
Nonetheless, it is striking that mainstream publications such as The Telegraph can print such rubbish and maintain even a shred of credibility. The only good news is that liberal journalist types often have the lowest fertility rates of all.
For those who will be around in the future, however, demographic decline will pose challenges. Demographer Phillip Longman—a liberal, mind you—wrote about this in his book, The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It; and famed economist Adam Smith once reminded us, “Depressions are associated with decreasing population.” Japan, the poster old boy for graying civilizations, is learning this firsthand.
Then there are the cultural implications. The people who birthed Western civilization (those of European heritage) are struggling to birth the next generation. So it’s hey, hey, ho, ho, the Westerners are gonna’ go—and take their culture to the grave with them.
All the while, our media are whistling past the empty maternity ward, seemingly oblivious to the impending population implosion. And your opinion may be that this demographic decline is a good thing; your opinion may be that it is a bad thing. But there is something that is not opinion but fact: it is a real thing. And facts don’t bend to fashions.