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RichM

It's The Demography, Stupid

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It's the Demography, Stupid: The real reason the West is in danger of extinction

What do you lot think of this guy?

I have been reading a lot of Mark Steyn's stuff lately (see steynonline.com if you want to see more). He is very right wing, not in a rabid BNP way, but certainly in pro-Iraq war, anti-socialist way.

What do you make of his argument? Any good? I find his writing quite witty and striking, but it has so little in common with most UK comment as to be difficult to take in. Interestingly has just been dropped from the Telegraph as a columnist.

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It's the Demography, Stupid: The real reason the West is in danger of extinction

What do you lot think of this guy?

I have been reading a lot of Mark Steyn's stuff lately (see steynonline.com if you want to see more). He is very right wing, not in a rabid BNP way, but certainly in pro-Iraq war, anti-socialist way.

What do you make of his argument? Any good? I find his writing quite witty and striking, but it has so little in common with most UK comment as to be difficult to take in. Interestingly has just been dropped from the Telegraph as a columnist.

First of all if you agree with this guy you are arguing directly against what Crazy88s has been arguing in his thread - population too high.

My main problem with this article, apart from the obvious anti-secularism, islamophobia kind of stuff, is that he never actually gets round to saying why the birth rate is declining, precisely what happens in countries with declining birth rates and why the decline in the birth rate is likely to continue.

All he offers are opinions and very little substance to argue with. He seems to believe that the decline in christianity has led to a reduced birth rate and yet I am certain that christianity is incredibly important to most americans though their birth rate is still low.

Most importantly of all he misses the very important case of Italy. Italy has confounded statisticians by delivering an extremely low birth rate in a country where most citizens are Catholic and most citizens (publicly at least) do not believe in contraception.

He also ignores the fact that all the countries he mentions with high birth rates are poorer with far fewer educational opportunities for women. If you look at British women living in poor families who have had little education (which is a better comparison) you will find that the birth rate is far higher than for the population as a whole. It is amongst the poor and ill-educated that you find the teenage mothers and the astonishingly large families. I would argue that it is also often amongst the most desperately poor communities that are found the strongest converts to religion especially evangelical religion, be it of the Islamic or Christian variety.

In ignoring the link between poverty - lack of educational opportunity and high birth rates he misses another important point, if the Islamic countries become the superpowers of the future they will be wealthier countries and unless the government keeps the population deliberately and artificially poor then the increase in wealth and educational opportunity will inevitably see a decline in the birth rate regardless of the availability of contraception. That last point is important, having studied Britain between WW1 and WW2 one of the notable population movements is the dramatic reduction in family size even though contraception was very rarely available, never spoken of and highly unreliable. Nevertheless the twenties and thirties in this country, particularly amongst the middle classes, saw the beginning of the end for families of nine to fifteen children which had been common in the preceding Edwardian era but came to a sudden stop in the twenties and thirties. This in spite of the fact that health advances meant that more children than ever were surviving infancy (although some commentators have argued that birth rates decline because of higher infant survival rates, but this in itself is too simplistic and does not entirely fit the reported statistics).

I don't agree with his arguments at all, since they largely revolve around setting the West up as a group of Christian nations against Islam, fighting a war by trying to produce as many children as possible. This is ludicrous and would see at least two generations in this country struggling to look after the large elderly baby boomer generation and a large number of children as well. Besides its not going to happen. He said it himself more people attend Muslim services regularly than attend Christian services. He talks about this as if it were a blip, something that has happened in the last couple of years but in reality the decline has occurred over a much longer period of time. So too has the decline in the birth rate been going on since the end of the Edwardian era, the baby boomer generation was a blip in a long term trend which is part of the reason it has caused so many problems. Blaming these long term trends on multi-culturalism, a word I don't even remember hearing before 1997, is to ignore the more important underlying factors. Indeed one of the reason his article may be seen as entertaining is because his answers to fairly fundamental long term problems are fairly simple ones, because he sees the problems as a simple case of, in my opinion, turning back the clock. The reasons you can't do that is because things never actually happened for the reasons you thought they did and because history never repeats itself.

I do think that the West has undermined not only the value of having children but also children themselves and the whole concept of parenthood. Many people say that this is the result of feminism but much of early feminism was an attempt to get recognition for the valuable role that the mother undertook within society in having and caring for the children. Instead of recognition, I believe parenthood has been devalued still further in society. But these attitudes didn't start the decline in the birth rate. However, becoming more respectful of the role of the parent and more supportive of those who become parents might help a little to stop the birth rate declining still further.

Crazy88s' thread made me far more angry than this guy with his strong opinions because I already read that 28% of women end their reproductive years childless and an even larger proportion are now in their late thirties and childless. If Crazy88s wants to stop the UK population expanding any further well I think the current trends combined with maybe a pandemic will reduce the population significantly in the future and this will not be a good thing. Many people will look at the low birth rates and blame it on women wanting careers. The only tiny element of truth in that is that someone who wants to go to university is perhaps less likely to be a teenage mother, but I don't believe we would be better off with a nation full of teenage mothers either, children raising children leads only to desperate attention seeking anti-social behaviour, mental health problems and crime in my opinion unless said teenage mother is extremely mature and/or extremely well supported.

Bizarrely where this chap may have a point is that the decline in church going may related to the decline of birth rate in the sense that when everyone went to church, went to the church fetes etc. people were more likely to meet someone like themselves, someone they could get on with and so find it perhaps easier to find a partner and consequently avoid the whole internet dating and speed dating that replaced it. But these days its not just religious beliefs that may have reduced church attendance and community involvement. People move far more than they used to, people are engaged in more activities more of the time as we move towards a 24 hour society and with it anti-social and anti-parenting jobs.

You see I really blame capitalism, or perhaps modern capitalism, for the drive in capitalism is to make money but this is a short term aim, one that drives booms and busts, one that drives men and women to work rather than socialise and meet each other, to work rather than have children and stay at home looking after them, to work all hours, all the time, for nothing. I'm not advocating any other economic system but pointing out the flaws in this one. Perhaps if capitalism is ever to work properly it needs to place a positive economic value on parents staying home to look after the children and on the growth and development of communities with community events that everyone attends. Until that happens I fear the decline in the birth rate will decline further and further.

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It's the Demography, Stupid: The real reason the West is in danger of extinction

What do you lot think of this guy?

I have been reading a lot of Mark Steyn's stuff lately (see steynonline.com if you want to see more). He is very right wing, not in a rabid BNP way, but certainly in pro-Iraq war, anti-socialist way.

What do you make of his argument? Any good? I find his writing quite witty and striking, but it has so little in common with most UK comment as to be difficult to take in. Interestingly has just been dropped from the Telegraph as a columnist.

I've only really read him in the Spectator. I don't buy it before anyone asks, my mum has never got round to cancelling my Dad's subscription and I nick her old ones to read the Low Life column and Dear Mary- then when I'm bored I read the rest of it. Good to know what your enemy is thinking- and occasionally something genuinely interesting makes it in, like the bloke pointing out that we have the highest proportion of our land under agricultural cultivation of any country in Europe- 82%- and that our average new build house is 40% smaller than the average in Holland. Until that point I never knew that while we pay Brussels to pay our farmers to do sod all with their fields and turn them into meadows under 'set-aside', we're all being crammed into smaller and smaller rabbit hutches because apparently there's a shortage of development land :angry:.

Anyway, I digress. Steyn- I read him in the spectator. And although I thought he was a fairly nutty right winger, I at least used to think he had a point sometimes. Then I read the article you linked.

One obstacle to doing that is that, in the typical election campaign in your advanced industrial democracy, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much all parties in the rest of the West are largely about what one would call the secondary impulses of society--government health care, government day care (which Canada's thinking of introducing), government paternity leave (which Britain's just introduced). We've prioritized the secondary impulse over the primary ones: national defense, family, faith and, most basic of all, reproductive activity--"Go forth and multiply," because if you don't you won't be able to afford all those secondary-impulse issues, like cradle-to-grave welfare.

Well, this is a bit of an all encompasing rant, but if he's saying that it's the welfare state system that will bring down European civilisation, then I think he's wrong. At least our massive budget deficit has been spent on a welfare infrastructure (albeit very badly, via PFI), America's as far as I can see has essentially been p1ssed up the wall on (for example) a fairly pointless war in Iraq. It's my firm belief that the USA's own massive underclass of poor and disenfranchised people will rise up and cause havoc long before any Muslims get even close to undermining them. Hell, had I been one of the thousands of black voters illegally struck off the ballot list in Florida in 2000 I would have firebombed the state legislature the very next week. If America goes into recession/hyperinflation etc.- I think they are going to be truly knackered.

Edit: This also ties into his argument about the falling birthrate. As Harry S. Truman so rightly (IMO) said:

"You know that being an American is more than a matter of where your parents came from. It is a belief that all men are created free and equal and that everyone deserves an even break. "

History has shown that IMO America has one of the most successful 'multicultural' societies- and that's because everyone who arrives there, no matter what their nationailty or ethnicity, is there because they want to be free and have an even break. America is the world's most successful nation IMO because of this principle. If you break it on whatever spurious grounds- nationalism, racism, national security etc.- you imperil the survival of the nation. The complete failure to succesfully drag the majority of black Americans up to a rough level of wealth parity with other races has already imperriled it to a great degree.

However, this is what really makes me want to punch the tw*t if I ever meet him:

In other words, just as the AIDS pandemic greatly facilitated societal surrender to the gay agenda,

Gay agenda? GAY AGENDA? Just WTF exactly is the "gay agenda" then? Making sure that all newbuild toilets have full cottaging facilities? Designated cruising areas to be implemented in all public open spaces? Or maybe just campaigning for equal rights in the eyes of the law?

Gay agenda indeed. ****.

Edit: Bloomin 'eck underpressuretobuy. It took me ages in my drunken state to construct what is essentially a fairly poor counter rant and in that time you come up with a long, beautifully written and entirely non-abusive counterpoint. I need to up my game. Anyway:

Perhaps if capitalism is ever to work properly it needs to place a positive economic value on parents staying home to look after the children and on the growth and development of communities with community events that everyone attends. Until that happens I fear the decline in the birth rate will decline further and further.

Maybe we could look to Scandinavia for ideas on how to encourage parenthood, if that's even desirable. As long as we don't also look to them for advice on alcohol duties :D.

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What do you lot think of this guy?

He can be witty and I agree with some of the things he says but...he's still a tw@t. Always takes a militaristic line with regard to Iraq. Pretty easy to do when you're safely tucked away in the wilds of Canada or wherever it is he lives. Fecking armchair soldier.

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Low Birth rates in the west aren't a problem as long as...

1) We keep our living space free of non-westerners (we are failing to do this in a spectacular way).

2) We keep our military supremacy over non western nations to compensate for our lack of numbers (again non western peoples namely the chinese are catching up fairly rapidly)

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Crazy88s' thread made me far more angry than this guy with his strong opinions because I already read that 28% of women end their reproductive years childless and an even larger proportion are now in their late thirties and childless.

Out of those women, what proportion do you believe made a conscious decision to remain childless? I wonder for how many people children no longer seem to be a requirement of life, and how many others postpone the decision and regret it later?

Bizarrely where this chap may have a point is that the decline in church going may related to the decline of birth rate in the sense that when everyone went to church, went to the church fetes etc. people were more likely to meet someone like themselves, someone they could get on with and so find it perhaps easier to find a partner and consequently avoid the whole internet dating and speed dating that replaced it.

Although not religious I believe that society has suffered greatly from the decline in church activity. On top of the argument you make about meeting people at church fetes I wonder how significant the fact that many of us know few people in our localities is? Do we feel a need to work harder and maximise incomes in order to meet friends in restaurants and for reunion weekends away due to a lack of a social life nearer to home?

My parents were heavily involved in the church - it gave them a base for a strong social life in an area both of them had moved to for work. The social life was, inevitably, locally based and generally low cost. An evening do at the church hall doesn't cost much. How many people fear social dislocation if they don't keep up their current level of disposable income and delay children as a result?

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Out of those women, what proportion do you believe made a conscious decision to remain childless? I wonder for how many people children no longer seem to be a requirement of life, and how many others postpone the decision and regret it later?

I accept that more women these days choose to remain childless than used to be the case. I am not sure that people ever do postpone the decision to have children (occasionally someone who thought they didn't want children changes their mind) I think it is more a case that people are meeting partners later in life hence the point you refer to below. I also think that tragically some of these cases will be due to infertility (which is rising for a number of reasons seperate from the issue of lower fertility in later years). I know that some women who are not able to have children will publicly say that they didn't want children for their own reasons - although it doesn't follow that all women who say they don't want children are infertile.

Although not religious I believe that society has suffered greatly from the decline in church activity. On top of the argument you make about meeting people at church fetes I wonder how significant the fact that many of us know few people in our localities is? Do we feel a need to work harder and maximise incomes in order to meet friends in restaurants and for reunion weekends away due to a lack of a social life nearer to home?

My parents were heavily involved in the church - it gave them a base for a strong social life in an area both of them had moved to for work. The social life was, inevitably, locally based and generally low cost. An evening do at the church hall doesn't cost much. How many people fear social dislocation if they don't keep up their current level of disposable income and delay children as a result?

I think you make an excellent point and one that I had not thought of before. I think the fact that people generally are less likely to stay living in the same area all their lives means money spent travelling to see people and because you've travelled you make it more of a special occasion especially because you don't see each other so often as if you lived next door to one another. Yes, now that I think about it there are so many ways that our modern life makes us spend more than is necessary. When I was involved in politics the party owned a hall and events in there were cheap as chips, there is simply no event that you can attend that can deliver the same value for money.

I do fear that communities may have gone forever now, I really hope I'm wrong.

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It's the Demography, Stupid: The real reason the West is in danger of extinction

What do you lot think of this guy?

I have been reading a lot of Mark Steyn's stuff lately (see steynonline.com if you want to see more). He is very right wing, not in a rabid BNP way, but certainly in pro-Iraq war, anti-socialist way.

What do you make of his argument? Any good? I find his writing quite witty and striking, but it has so little in common with most UK comment as to be difficult to take in. Interestingly has just been dropped from the Telegraph as a columnist.

I only read the first few paragraphs. I think he's a bigot. :o

Did I say that out loud?

:blink::blink::blink:

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My main problem with this article, apart from the obvious anti-secularism, islamophobia kind of stuff, is that he never actually gets round to saying why the birth rate is declining, precisely what happens in countries with declining birth rates and why the decline in the birth rate is likely to continue.

Depends how you define anti-secularism - I don't think he'd be too keen on a national church idea (i.e. the CoE), mainly because he thinks the state would screw the church up! (i.e. the CoE!). He is certainly scared of Islam, or parts of Islam...

All he offers are opinions and very little substance to argue with. He seems to believe that the decline in christianity has led to a reduced birth rate and yet I am certain that christianity is incredibly important to most americans though their birth rate is still low.

He would argue that it depends which state in the US you consider. See his response here. Interestingly he makes the point there that it is easier to have a family in the US than in the UK/Europe.

Most importantly of all he misses the very important case of Italy. Italy has confounded statisticians by delivering an extremely low birth rate in a country where most citizens are Catholic and most citizens (publicly at least) do not believe in contraception.

There are "exceptions" as he discussed it. Italy is Catholic in the same way that "we" are all Anglicans (about 60-70% are baptised CoE in the UK!)

He also ignores the fact that all the countries he mentions with high birth rates are poorer with far fewer educational opportunities for women.

Good point, and the main flaw. But is there much point in being well educated if you've no one to pass all that learnin' on to?

I don't agree with his arguments at all, since they largely revolve around setting the West up as a group of Christian nations against Islam, fighting a war by trying to produce as many children as possible.

I think he is suggesting that we are already losing the war badly

Besides its not going to happen. He said it himself more people attend Muslim services regularly than attend Christian services.

I don't think that is quite true - he means Coe. Add in the RCC, Baptists, Methodists, and the Pentacostals, there's still a few million. And the point kind of remains - Islam on the rise in W.Europe, what are we going to do about it? Is it something we just ignore?

Indeed one of the reason his article may be seen as entertaining is because his answers to fairly fundamental long term problems are fairly simple ones, because he sees the problems as a simple case of, in my opinion, turning back the clock. The reasons you can't do that is because things never actually happened for the reasons you thought they did and because history never repeats itself.

Why can't turn back the clock? The Victorians did. They brought down teenage pregnancy a huge amount. I don't think Steyn is advocating turning Europe into something out of "A handmaid's tale", just making the argument that the West needs to defend and assert itself more vigorously.

I do think that the West has undermined not only the value of having children but also children themselves and the whole concept of parenthood. Many people say that this is the result of feminism but much of early feminism was an attempt to get recognition for the valuable role that the mother undertook within society in having and caring for the children. Instead of recognition, I believe parenthood has been devalued still further in society. But these attitudes didn't start the decline in the birth rate.

I agree, it's shocking. But some extreme forms of feminism have unwittingly colluded with the consumer culture to create a "career and consumerism" lifestyle the norm for millions of young people. Very sad.

However, becoming more respectful of the role of the parent and more supportive of those who become parents might help a little to stop the birth rate declining still further.

Absolutely.

Bizarrely where this chap may have a point is that the decline in church going may related to the decline of birth rate in the sense that when everyone went to church, went to the church fetes etc. people were more likely to meet someone like themselves, someone they could get on with and so find it perhaps easier to find a partner and consequently avoid the whole internet dating and speed dating that replaced it. But these days its not just religious beliefs that may have reduced church attendance and community involvement. People move far more than they used to, people are engaged in more activities more of the time as we move towards a 24 hour society and with it anti-social and anti-parenting jobs.

Agreed. Plus church gave couples shared values.

Perhaps if capitalism is ever to work properly it needs to place a positive economic value on parents staying home to look after the children and on the growth and development of communities with community events that everyone attends. Until that happens I fear the decline in the birth rate will decline further and further.

Yup. Capitalism as a religion or overarching worldview does indeed suck. Even this Tory-boy would agree with that ;)

Dammit, can't get the quotes to work properly, anyone know why?

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It's my firm belief that the USA's own massive underclass of poor and disenfranchised people will rise up and cause havoc long before any Muslims get even close to undermining them. Hell, had I been one of the thousands of black voters illegally struck off the ballot list in Florida in 2000 I would have firebombed the state legislature the very next week. If America goes into recession/hyperinflation etc.- I think they are going to be truly knackered.

They actually make up a big chunk of the US armed forces. The uS does have problems, but we haven't yet seen US-born ethnic minorities blowing up their own country, unlike the UK...
History has shown that IMO America has one of the most successful 'multicultural' societies- and that's because everyone who arrives there, no matter what their nationailty or ethnicity, is there because they want to be free and have an even break.
Definitely.
The complete failure to succesfully drag the majority of black Americans up to a rough level of wealth parity with other races has already imperriled it to a great degree.

Don't think you can "drag" anyone up to a level of wealth parity

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Why can't turn back the clock? The Victorians did. They brought down teenage pregnancy a huge amount.

What is your justification for this statement?

Remember, what the Victorians laid claim to publicly was often untrue and often hid some very very unpleasant truths, not to mention appalling abuses of women and children. Turning back the clock to Victorian 'values' really would not mean what many people think it does.

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They actually make up a big chunk of the US armed forces. The uS does have problems, but we haven't yet seen US-born ethnic minorities blowing up their own country, unlike the UK...

He wasn't an ethnic minority, but we did get a federal building blown up.

:o

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Remember, what the Victorians laid claim to publicly was often untrue and often hid some very very unpleasant truths, not to mention appalling abuses of women and children. Turning back the clock to Victorian 'values' really would not mean what many people think it does.

Yeah, fair enough. But they also stood up for what I would call "solid" values. The values we apparently uphold today are transient and often shallow, and no one would actually stand up for them in any firm way. The lack of any coherent set of values (say, concerning the family and state) results ultimately in the fragmentation of society, which affects the poor disproportionately.

He wasn't an ethnic minority, but we did get a federal building blown up.
Yeah, but he's just like the Palestinian suicide bombers, the 9/11 bombers and the Iraqi suicide bombers - we need to understand his grievances

;)

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My main problem with this article, apart from the obvious anti-secularism, islamophobia kind of stuff../snipped/

What is 'Islamophobia'?

It sounds like you're trying to insinuate the person thus 'afflicted' is in need of medical treatment, not a good term to use if you're sensibly trying to discuss the issues at hand without insulting the people you're speaking to (and about).

Sure, the guy you're referring to is right-wing and rabid in your eyes, but, he also has quite a few points to make that would behoove you (as a left-wing person with a conscience) to consider.

Islam is a religion that has the oppression of women[1] and slavery[2] written immutably[3] into it's rulebook, and also the concept of 'if you're not with us, you're against us' features strongly throughout it's rantings and ravings.

It is definitly not inclusive, nor compatible with human rights, and neither is it permissive of other people's religious believes either[4].

So, before you try and defend Islam again, please read the Koran and the Hadeeth for yourself, do not just rely on what people tell you.

Cinnamon

[1] http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/women/long.html

[2] It's okay for believers to own slaves. 24:58

[3] A disciple of Pope Benedict does explain this concept and the Pope's analysis here in an interview:

http://hughhewitt.com/archives/2006/01/benedict_xvi_on.php

[4] Kill disbelievers wherever you find them. If they attack you, then kill them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (But if they desist in their unbelief, then don't kill them.) 2:191-2

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What is 'Islamophobia'?

It sounds like you're trying to insinuate the person thus 'afflicted' is in need of medical treatment, not a good term to use if you're sensibly trying to discuss the issues at hand without insulting the people you're speaking to (and about).

Sure, the guy you're referring to is right-wing and rabid in your eyes, but, he also has quite a few points to make that would behoove you (as a left-wing person with a conscience) to consider.

Islam is a religion that has the oppression of women[1] and slavery[2] written immutably[3] into it's rulebook, and also the concept of 'if you're not with us, you're against us' features strongly throughout it's rantings and ravings.

It is definitly not inclusive, nor compatible with human rights, and neither is it permissive of other people's religious believes either[4].

So, before you try and defend Islam again, please read the Koran and the Hadeeth for yourself, do not just rely on what people tell you.

Cinnamon

[1] http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/women/long.html

[2] It's okay for believers to own slaves. 24:58

[3] A disciple of Pope Benedict does explain this concept and the Pope's analysis here in an interview:

http://hughhewitt.com/archives/2006/01/benedict_xvi_on.php

[4] Kill disbelievers wherever you find them. If they attack you, then kill them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (But if they desist in their unbelief, then don't kill them.) 2:191-2

I think there's more bloodshed in the Bible in the first few books than has been in the 20th century. There's the story about Job (I think) screwing with a prostitute. I'm sure there's incest in there somewhere as well.

My point being - if I want to distort a religion, its easy to do. Are you sure you're not a card carrying member of the BNP?

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  • 338 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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