December 24, 2006


Biggest story of our time: our self-extinction (MARK STEYN, 12/24/06, Chicago Sun-Times)

You might have a hard time finding ''Children Of Men'' at your local multiplex. It's a more pertinent Christmas movie this holiday season than ''Bad Santa 3'' or ''The Santa Clause 8,'' but Universal seems to have got cold feet and all but killed the picture. In an enthusiastic review in Seattle Weekly, J. Hoberman observed: "Universal may have deemed 'Children' too grim for Christmas, but it is premised on a reverence for life that some might term religious." Granted, he's in the godless precincts of Seattle, that last bit of the sentence -- "some might" -- seems a tad qualified. Obviously, Christianity has a "reverence for life." So too does Judaism: all that begetting the eyes glaze over at in the Old Testament, going right back to God's injunction to be fruitful and multiply.

Christmas is a good time not just for Christians to ponder the central proposition of their faith -- the baby in the manger -- but for post-Christian secularists to ponder the central proposition of theirs: that religion is a lot of goofy voodoo nonsense and that any truly rational person will give it the bum's rush. The problem with this view is that "rationalism" is looking less and less rational with each passing year. Here are three headlines from the last couple of weeks:

• • "Mohammed Overtakes George In List Of Most Popular Names" (Daily Telegraph, London)

• • "Japan's Population 'Set To Plummet' " (BBC News)

• • "Islam Thrives As Russia's Population Falls" (Toronto Star)

By comparison with America, those three societies are very secular. Indeed, Russia spent three-quarters of a century under the most militantly secularist regime of all: Under Communism, the state was itself a religion, but, alas, only an ersatz one, a present-tense chimera. As a result, Russians more or less gave up begetting: Slavs are in steep population decline, and, on present trends, Russia will be majority Muslim by 2050. And the Russian army will be majority Muslim by 2015. In western Europe, societal suicide isn't quite so advanced, but the symbolism is still poignant: "George" isn't just the name of America's reviled cowboy president, but of England's patron saint; the national flag is the Cross of St. George, under which Englishmen sallied forth to smite the Mohammedans in those long-ago Crusades. Now the Mohammedans have managed to smite the Georgians big time, not by conquest but simply by outbreeding. Mohammed is also the most popular boy's name in Brussels, Amsterdam and other Continental cities.

But forget Islam: In Europe, they're inheriting by default. There are no Muslims or any other significant group of immigrants in Japan and yet the Japanese are engaging in a remorseless auto-genocide. Already in net population decline and the most geriatric society on earth, their descent down the death spiral is only going to accelerate. As the BBC reported, "The imbalance is threatening future economic growth and raising fears over whether the government will be able to fund pensions. But Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said: 'It's impossible for the pension system to collapse due to the declining birth rate because we will adjust the amount of money put into it.' "

Oh, OK then. But, just as a matter of interest, when you "adjust" the amount of money you put into the pension system, whose pockets are you going to "adjust" it out of? Japanese and European societies are trying to secure the future on upside-down family trees in which four grandparents have one grandchild. No matter how frantically you "adjust," that's unsustainable.

The Laffer Curve applies to welfare state funding too. If you confiscate 100% of peoples' paychecks to fund it they won't stay in your nation and work, while if you have no young workers you'll collect nothing whith which to fund the system.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 24, 2006 9:35 AM
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