January 1, 2008


Over 350 cars burned down on New Year night in France (RIA Novosti, 1/01/08)

Vandals burned down 372 cars in France, or about the same number as last year, French news radio France Info said on Tuesday citing police sources.

Vandalism ahead of and during big holidays has become a bad tradition in France in the past few years.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 1, 2008 5:44 PM

This is one of those great urban myths of the right, peddled by scare-mongers like Mark Steyn. The truth is a lot more complex. In the words of Jean-Michel Charpin, Director of the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) "the fertility rate among France's immigrant population was slightly higher than among the population at large, but said the difference was minimal".
The logic of Steyn goes like this:
"Which country has the healthiest fertility rate? France. Which country has the most Muslims? France. Which country has the second healthiest fertility rate on the western end of the Continent? Denmark. Which country has the second largest proportion of Muslims? Denmark. Get the picture?"
Actually, Steyn does not "get the picture" at all. Reviewing Steyn's book predicting the demographic inevitability of an Islamic takeover of Europe, Johann Hari notes that "he offers no statistics on the European Muslim birthrate". Hmm, no statistics to back up the central contention of his book?
Let's appeal to OECD statistics (the most recent statistics in OECD's Society at a Glance: OECD Social Indicators - 2006 Edition). Here are some fertility statistics:

United States 2.01
Ireland 1.97
Iceland 1.93
New Zealand 1.90
France 1.89
Australia 1.75
Norway 1.75
Netherlands 1.73
Denmark 1.72
Finland 1.72
Sweden 1.65
United Kingdom 1.64
Luxembourg 1.63
Belgium 1.62
Canada 1.52
Portugal 1.47
Austria 1.40
Switzerland 1.40
Japan 1.32
Germany 1.31
Italy 1.26
Greece 1.25
Spain 1.25

Now, wedged in between the United States and France lie Ireland, Iceland, and New Zealand. I don't see Muslim immigration as driving fertility in these countries! Look at the next best countries on the list-- the Nordics like Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Why is fertility so high in this part of the world? Well, it actually has a lot to do with the much-maligned welfare state, at least in its Nordic incarnation. A few years back, Joëlle Sleebos, at the OECD looked into the statistical determinants of fertility. The first thing she noticed was that there was a gap between actual and desired fertility, as families wanted the "two child norm". This divergence, despite the mocking tones of Steyn and others, reflects economic considerations. Accordingly, policies that make childrearing less costly tend to raise fertility. Such policies include subsidized childcare, generous maternity and paternity leave, and family-friendly finetuning of the tax-benefit system. Not surprisingly, the Nordics have come the furthest on these grounds, while the Mediterranean countries lag.
Note that Steyn looks at his non-facts and concludes the opposite:
"The state has gradually annexed all the responsibilities of adulthood - healthcare, childcare, care of the elderly - the point that it's effectively severed its citizens from humanity's primal instincts, not least the survival instinct."
This is totally backwards, and a good example of ideology trumping fact.

Posted by: Watomi at January 1, 2008 7:56 PM

Close. Countries that score high in religiosity rankings -- the Anglosphere and the Lutheran North -- do not face as serious a demographic crisis as secular ones.

Where a secular one has comparable rates, as in France, they are being driven by Muslim immigrants, which is why the authorities do not separate them out by ethnicity.

Posted by: oj at January 1, 2008 8:43 PM

Those fertility rates are quite a bit below replacement levels and they are admittedly inflated since they don't include immigrants. Your point seems to be it's not happening as fast as Stein says, not that it's not happening at all.

Posted by: Patrick H at January 1, 2008 10:10 PM

Sorry, I meant that the rate was flawed since the more rapidly breeding immigrants ARE included in the data.

Posted by: Patrick H at January 1, 2008 10:17 PM

"Watomi" is pretty clearly daniel duffy, isn't he?

I'm a bit perplexed why we should believe the unsubstantiated assertions of a French bureaucrat over the unsubstantiated assertions of Mark Steyn. If there's no difference between fertility rates between native French and immigrants, why don't they publish the numbers?

Posted by: b at January 1, 2008 10:45 PM

Still, all of this has no bearing on arguments that France is "dying".
Most of the population from immigrant stock is of European descent (mainly from Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal as well as Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and the former Yugoslavia) although France has a sizeable population of Arabs and Africans from its former colonies, the proportion of immigrants in France (10%) is on par with other European nations such as the United Kingdom (8%), Germany (9%), the Netherlands (18%), Sweden (13%) and Switzerland (19%).
So, why some folks are so bent on joyfully proclaiming France's death. Maybe they are just exaggerating, to put it politely.
Or maybe it just burns to see the "socialist" (for lack of a better term) countries of the EU as actually being swell places to live.
And in the midst of all this self-righteous slander, the US is facing problems much more serious and threatening than those of France.

Posted by: Watomi at January 1, 2008 11:03 PM

They do publish the numbers. Check it out on wikipedia.
The Turkish immigrants have the highest fertility rates. That sorta blows the whole "religiousity" (whatever the hell that means) argument out of the water, as could probably thousands of other examples from around the world.

Posted by: pete at January 1, 2008 11:12 PM

France is a nation. Only the ethnically French are French. That's why they're incapable of the sort of assimilation we excel at. The state that succeeds France will be an improvement.

Posted by: oj at January 1, 2008 11:19 PM

To the contrary, pete, you prove the argument.

Posted by: oj at January 1, 2008 11:24 PM

In 2006, a small self-published study was undertaken to investigate, on a country-by-country level, the possibility of a link between the importance of religion to citizens and their average IQ. The study found that the strength of religious belief in countries was inversely related to their average IQ. The countries with higher IQs on average had significantly lower levels of religious belief than those with lower average IQs.
In a 2007 study conducted by intelligence researcher Helmuth Nyborg, it was estimated from a sample of 7,000 subjects that atheists' IQs were on average nearly 6 points higher than religious people.

Posted by: pete at January 1, 2008 11:29 PM

Watomi, have you ever been to the United States? Socialist utopias swell places to live? I haven't heard the word "swell" used in a non-sarcastic manner in many moons.

Posted by: erp at January 1, 2008 11:34 PM

Howabout average IQ's by state in the 2004 election?

1 Connecticut 113 Kerry
2 Massachusetts 111 Kerry
3 New Jersey 111 Kerry
4 New York 109 Kerry
5 Rhode Island 107 Kerry
6 Hawaii 106 Kerry
7 Maryland 105 Kerry
8 New Hampshire 105 Kerry
9 Illinois 104 Kerry
10 Delaware 103 Kerry
11 Minnesota 102 Kerry
12 Vermont 102 Kerry
13 Washington 102 Kerry
14 California 101 Kerry
15 Pennsylvania 101 Kerry
16 Maine 100 Kerry
17 Virginia 100 Bush
18 Wisconsin 100 Kerry
19 Colorado 99 Bush
20 Iowa 99 Bush
21 Michigan 99 Kerry
22 Nevada 99 Bush
23 Ohio 99 Bush
24 Oregon 99 Kerry
25 Alaska 98 Bush
26 Florida 98 Bush
27 Missouri 98 Bush
28 Kansas 96 Bush
29 Nebraska 95 Bush
30 Arizona 94 Bush
31 Indiana 94 Bush
32 Tennessee 94 Bush
33 North Carolina 93 Bush
34 West Virginia 93 Bush
35 Arkansas 92 Bush
36 Georgia 92 Bush
37 Kentucky 92 Bush
38 New Mexico 92 Bush
39 North Dakota 92 Bush
40 Texas 92 Bush
41 Alabama 90 Bush
42 Louisiana 90 Bush
43 Montana 90 Bush
44 Oklahoma 90 Bush
45 South Dakota 90 Bush
46 South Carolina 89 Bush
47 Wyoming 89 Bush
48 Idaho 87 Bush
49 Utah 87 Bush
50 Mississippi 85 Bush

Posted by: pete at January 1, 2008 11:48 PM

Have you ever been to Scandinavia? If you have, and you don't think it would nice to live there, you are lying to yourself. I really shouldn't even have to resort to statistics to prove this point, but I could.

Posted by: Watomi at January 1, 2008 11:56 PM

Use IQ to say something about differences between ethnicities, and you are automatically a racist. Use it to say something about your political opponents, and you are supposed to be devastatingly profound. Just another Leftist hypocrite in action.

(And I must say, it's nice to see some trolls again. Let's try not use up this year's allocation so fast this time, okay?)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 2, 2008 12:20 AM

Examples of "religious" countries with relatively low fertility rates, and "irreligious" countries with high fertility rates can be found all over.

Yes, I've lived in both Europe and the US. For the most part, Europe is much nicer. I see the best asset of the US being all the land Christians stole from the natives.

Posted by: Watomi at January 2, 2008 12:21 AM

Actually, they can't. The correlation is notorious.

Posted by: oj at January 2, 2008 9:06 AM

The revealing thing is the similarity of America to the Scandanavian countries despite their being entirely homogenous and us diverse.

Posted by: oj at January 2, 2008 9:09 AM

who writes IQ tests?

Posted by: oj at January 2, 2008 9:09 AM

Raoul, I'll try not to use up the new troll too fast, but it won't be easy. Scandinavia a better place to live than here? Oy vey.

Posted by: erp at January 2, 2008 9:13 AM

Is there a link to that IQ list that watomi posted? It's just about the most beautiful set of ordered data that I've seen in years.

Proud to be a stupid Bush supporter!

+ + +

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at January 2, 2008 11:43 AM

Found this one:


+ + +

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at January 2, 2008 11:58 AM

Is the state IQ argument used to stress the plain political fact that the smartest state is the first loser?

Posted by: VANDERLEUN at January 2, 2008 3:54 PM

It's no coincidence that every successful president of the 20th Century was stupid. "Intelligence" is a cancer.

Posted by: oj at January 2, 2008 5:42 PM

+++ Proud Bush Supporter, probable Thompson supporter and eschewer of media "information." This chart of alleged IQ's reminds me of the data showing that more people with advanced degrees vote democratic. What they don't say is those advanced degrees are mostly in non-serious “studies” and show an inverse correlation to any kind of intelligence or even common sense.

Posted by: erp at January 2, 2008 6:33 PM

Not a whole lot different from all the houses that got burned in Detroit on Devil's Night.

France is a nation. Only the ethnically French are French.

The US is a nation. Too bad about African Americans. Or indigenous Americans, for that matter.

Best to clean your finger before pointing out someone else's spots.

Posted by: lurker at January 3, 2008 5:38 AM

America is a country, not a nation, which is why we've integrated blacks, Hispanics, etc. so well. Heck, even Indians are protestant democratic capitalists now.

Posted by: oj at January 3, 2008 8:59 AM