My favorite argument against feminism
Roxanne sent this to me, somehow knowing that my heart goes all aflutter when I read articles attempting to bring back the "race suicide" argument against feminism. The "race suicide" argument was a popular one to fling at feminists at the turn of the century; the idea was that liberated women will have less children (true) and that white women should not be liberated. This argument cannot be baldly stated anymore, so it has to buried in the argument that we are not growing the population at a good enough rate to sustain our economy. The nugget of truth that aging populations have certain social policy issues, like keeping Social Security benefits high, becomes an excuse to flaunt all sorts of anti-woman and anti-immigrant attitudes. Stanley Kurtz takes advantage of this.
Here's the first part of the argument I don't understand:
In short, the West is beginning to experience significant demographic changes, with substantial cultural consequences. Historically, the aged have made up only a small portion of society, and the rearing of children has been the chief concern. Now children will become a small minority, and society’s central problem will be caring for the elderly. Yet even this assumes that societies consisting of elderly citizens at levels of 20, 30, even 40 or more percent can sustain themselves at all. That is not obvious.
Let me get this straight. By reducing one dependent population (children), we run the grave danger of increasing the size of another dependent population (elderly)? We can't do this--the eldery are too expensive, what with their need for 20 years of expensive schooling. Whatever will we do? I guess I have no choice but to become pregnant.
Anyway, I do see the point of his argument. It is a little alarming that the number of retirees is getting so high compared to the number of workers. Kurtz's solution? Well, we need to reduce the present workforce by half and send them home to make babies.
Along with urbanization, the other important factor depressing world fertility is the movement of women into the workforce — and the technological changes that have made that movement possible. By the time many professional women have completed their educations, their prime childbearing years have passed. Thus, a woman’s educational level is the best predictor of how many children she will have.
My god! I did not know a woman's prime child-bearing years ended at 25. I guess we better return to marrying women off at 13 years old again.
As Wattenberg shows, worldwide, the correlation between falling female illiteracy and falling female fertility is nearly exact.
Holy shit, I guess it is true that reading shrivels your ovaries. And here I was taking the pill all that time.
Before fertility could be reliably controlled through medical technology, marriage and accompanying strictures against out-of-wedlock births were the key check on a society’s birth rate. Economic decline meant delayed marriage, and thus lower fertility. But contraceptive technology now makes it possible to efficiently control fertility within marriage. This turns motherhood into a choice.
Is it me or is he holding the word "choice" out between his forefingers as if it were a turd? Clearly when women are given a choice, they will never make the correct one of wearing out their bodies through child-bearing, so Kurtz will just have to make it for us.
Okay, so we need more workers to sustain our economy. And despite Kurtz's brillant hopes that educated women will quit their jobs to have children, since that will help fill Social Security's coffers of course as housewives get paid enormous salaries, what are we to do? Yes, I know. I thought of immigration, too. But see, that doesn't help guilt-trip white women about race suicide and so must be dismissed out-of-hand.
Even in the short or medium term, the aging imbalance cannot be rectified except through a level of immigration far above what Western countries would find politically acceptable. Alarmed by the problems of immigration and assimilation, even famously tolerant Holland has begun to turn away immigrants en masse — and this before the recent murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, which has subsequently forced the questions of immigration and demography to the center of the Dutch political stage.
Okay then, it's settled. Make more babies, ladies, or the Muslims will murder you. There's "choice" for you.
Longman argues that economic growth itself depends upon ever-increasing numbers of consumers and workers.
Population growth, he argues, drove the Industrial Revolution, and there has never been economic growth under conditions of population decline. Thus, for example, he ascribes Japan’s current economic troubles to its declining fertility. And though Longman doesn’t point to Germany, it us interesting to note that this particular low-fertility country is also struggling economically to the point of revisiting the famously shorter European work week — a phenomenon obviously related to the struggle to reduce the pensions promised to an aging population and premissed on more younger workers than actually came to exist.
Huh. Neither of them mentions China, which has had negative population growth for awhile now, but has an economy that's expanding so quickly that it's making most economists' head spin. But of course, that sort of thinking on my part is just rotting my ovaries, so I better just quietly accept that China doesn't have an economy and that's why we don't mention them.
Anyway, the main thing we need to remember is that a huge dependent population of children makes the economy tick (especially if we could roll back child labor laws, I'm sure), and a huge dependent population of retirees destroys the economy. Why? Well, it turns out that those elderly people living on pensions have this sense of entitlement, that they deserve a standard of living they've worked hard for all their lives.
Already, senior citizens vote at very high rates — reacting sharply to any potential cuts in benefits. As the baby boomers retire, the political weight of senior citizens will be vastly greater than it already is. Proposed pension reforms brought down French and Italian governments in the 1990s. Even China has been forced by large-scale protests and riots to back off from attempts to reduce retirement benefits.
The nice thing about children is you can maintain them at starvation levels with nary a peep, since children don't vote. Much, much cheaper. Don't forget, the model we're admiring is the Industrial Revolution. I do agree that high fertility could return us to that wonderful time, when the poor were pumping out babies and having to farm them out to work at younger and younger ages while the rich had more money than god. The best part is that if we can get back to that place and time, we won't have to worry about retirement for working people at all anymore, because that just wasn't done then.