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Tilting at Windmills

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March 15, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

LIBERALS AND KIDS....Phil Longman says that conservatives have more children than liberals and that this spells big trouble for liberals:

This dynamic helps explain the gradual drift of American culture toward religious fundamentalism and social conservatism. Among states that voted for President Bush in 2004, the average fertility rate is more than 11% higher than the rate of states for Sen. John Kerry.

....Tomorrow's children, therefore, unlike members of the postwar baby boom generation, will be for the most part descendants of a comparatively narrow and culturally conservative segment of society. To be sure, some members of the rising generation may reject their parents' values, as often happens. But when they look for fellow secularists with whom to make common cause, they will find that most of their would-be fellow travelers were quite literally never born.

Maybe. But you want to know something that seems impervious to population shifts? Articles predicting demographic Armageddon for some group or another. A hundred years ago we were supposed to worry about Catholics overwhelming us or low-IQ immigrants breeding us into extinction. Then it was Jews. Then blacks. Now it's conservatives.

And I suppose it could happen if demographic trends lasted forever and children reliably inherited their parents' political beliefs. But where's the evidence? Ideological self-identification has been steady for decades. Churchgoing has declined, not grown. Social norms have grown steadily more liberal. And while it's true that conservative evangelical denominations have become politically potent in the past couple of decades, they've been growing steadily for over a century a trend that's almost certainly due primarily to vigorous proselytizing, not vigorous childbearing.

Liberals have a lot to worry about these days. Being bred into extinction probably isn't one of them. This particular boy has cried wolf too many times.

Kevin Drum 11:28 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (219)

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Comments

but if conservatives succeed in banning abortion, contraception and rational sex education, all those sex-crazed perverted liberals will have legions of children.

Posted by: cleek on March 15, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Taranto at OpinionJournal.com has been having some fun with this, calling it "The Roe Effect."

Posted by: tbrosz on March 15, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

This is exactly right,Kevin. Good post.

Posted by: dan on March 15, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

I don't buy any of this look at the 50's then the 60's notice any change. The reppressive 50's led to the permissive 60's. The cycle will swing back again.

Posted by: Neo on March 15, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

...Tomorrow's children, therefore, unlike members of the postwar baby boom generation, will be for the most part descendants of a comparatively narrow and culturally conservative segment of society.

Sometimes global warming doesn't seem like such a bad thing...

Posted by: koreyel on March 15, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Liberals have a lot to worry about these days. Being bred into extinction probably isn't one of them.

wrong Kevin. Liberals are being bred into extinction right now. This is a law of evolution that the superior species (conservatives) will survive while inferior species (liberals) will die out as explained by Phil Longman.

Link

"This correlation between secularism, individualism and low fertility portends a vast change in modern societies. In the USA, for example, nearly 20% of women born in the late 1950s are reaching the end of their reproductive lives without having children. The greatly expanded childless segment of contemporary society, whose members are drawn disproportionately from the feminist and countercultural movements of the 1960s and '70s, will leave no genetic legacy. Nor will their emotional or psychological influence on the next generation compare with that of people who did raise children."

Posted by: al on March 15, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Blah. It's not like they're rooted to the ground in their state, and kids tend to rebel against their parents (with unpredictable results).

Competitive people wind up leaving the red states for the productive coastal regions or for the urban centers of their red states, which are the purplest parts of their states.

Once we dismantle Bush's agricultural subsidies (again), this will start happening faster. The real story is that the GOP has hardwired themselves into a declining demographic (compared, for instance, to non-white birthrates; they don't vote Republican) in the least productive parts of the country. It's a third world model that can only continue if there's an economic catastrophe in this country. They can only thrive if America continues to struggle, which explains some of their otherwise weird policy decisions ....
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on March 15, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

And the number of childless couples is also increasing. How did THAT happen? Is there a gene for not wanting to have kids???

Posted by: Dan F. on March 15, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Recommended reading: 'The God Gene' or a digest of same.

Since roughly 75% of the population is carrying this bit of genetic instructions I think this particular breeding pattern has been going on for a long time... and is the cause of most of the problems (with humanity) on this planet.

Programmed for self destruction, we are.
(in Yoda speak)

Posted by: Buford on March 15, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

If American Liberals really wanted to make a Liberal American legacy, they should worry about voters, not alleged conservative proclivity to produce children. Give me a break.

Posted by: Jon Karak on March 15, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

"This particular boy has cried wolf too many times."

Yup. I got a few sentences in, groaned, muttered 'Oh, stop,' and rolled my eyes so hard they got stuck in the up-position.

Posted by: cmac on March 15, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Throughout history, cities have never grown by natural reproduction, and have gained population by in-migration from more rural areas. The corn-fed rubes come to crane their necks at the tall buildings and their children stay and become cosmopolitan. That's what this is.

A broader statistical point- it is impossible to predict trends from a snapshot of data. Static information is useless for the determination of dynamic change. This is one of the most common types of statistical illiteracy among pundits. But as Richard Cohen tells us, math doesn't matter.

Posted by: JR on March 15, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

"A hundred years ago we were supposed to worry about Catholics overwhelming us or low-IQ immigrants breeding us into extinction. Then it was Jews. Then blacks. Now it's conservatives."

The issue isn't conservatives are breeding like rabbits (they aren't), but rather liberals aren't breeding. I bet if you look at blue vs red counties instead of states, you'd see a gap much larger than only 11%. Since low fertility by choice is a relatively new phenomenon, all the historical parallels are invalid.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

These people ever hear of immigration?

Posted by: bling on March 15, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Taranto at OpinionJournal.com has been having some fun with this, calling it "The Roe Effect."

tbrosz apparently has been having fun in citing someone else's conservative intellectual dishonesty (but I repeat myself), since apparently he's used up his own defending Bush's disaster of a war in the other threads.

Posted by: Gregory on March 15, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

I generally like what you write, Kevin, but I object to your casually trashing of Phil Longman. I like and respect him a lot.

Posted by: Cassandro on March 15, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

there are between 1.2B and 1.5B Chinese. the uncertainty is large enough to contain the entire population of the US. the slight difference between US liberal v conservative birth rates isn't going to matter much in the long term.

Posted by: cleek on March 15, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Since many children grow up with the opposite view of thier parents, this may actually be a GOOD thing!

Posted by: Rick on March 15, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

In some states, they have more "special spirits".

Posted by: thethirdPaul on March 15, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

.Phil Longman says that conservatives have more children than liberals and that this spells big trouble for liberals:

Actually, I believe it is primarily the "economically challenged" and Bible-thumping conservatives that are having more than two children. Middle- and upper-middle income American families, regardless of political leanings, are predominately single and two children families.

Population growth in the U.S. for the last fifty years has been overwhelmingly the result of increased immigration, and first and second generation immigrant families having three or more children. This is a disparate group of "Americans" with no established political leanings.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

The issue isn't conservatives are breeding like rabbits (they aren't), but rather liberals aren't breeding.

That certainly comes as a surprise to myself, my wife, and my two daughters.

Posted by: Gregory on March 15, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

' hundred years ago we were supposed to worry about Catholics overwhelming us or low-IQ immigrants breeding us into extinction. Then it was Jews. Then blacks. Now it's conservatives.
'

So Kevin admits he used to be afraid of lesser races breeding....

Nice to know his love of abortion is based on eugenics.

Posted by: McA@y.com on March 15, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Politcal correctness alert: That should be our two daughters, of course. :P

Posted by: Gregory on March 15, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

I'm glad that the Fundies are having lots of kids, we're going to need a new group of uneducated workers to do the menial jobs after Conservatives succeed in running off the undocumented. With the trend toward rejecting the teaching of science and critical thinking in the red states, their children's skill sets should be perfect for doing janitorial, kitchen and agricultural work.

Posted by: Doug-E-Fresh on March 15, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

That certainly comes as a surprise to myself, my wife, and my two daughters.

Hey, us too.

Though I fear my 5-year-old has GOP written all over her. She does whatever you tell her, and she gets irate if other people aren't doing it too. She lives for rules to follow.

Posted by: craigie on March 15, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Not that it matters, but this is completely unprovable. If the balance shifts far enough right, today's center will be considered 2026's left. It's happened before and it'll happen again.

Posted by: Old Kevvy on March 15, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

This is actually not an unusual storyline/phenomena. For years Israel has preferred orthodox immigrants because they reproduce more. The numbers of Israelis to Palestinians make reproduction a strategic necessity.
You also see this discussed quite frequently vies-a-vie European birth rates and Muslim immigration. Most European rates are below replacement level.
Demographics is destiny!

Posted by: Fitz on March 15, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Since many children grow up with the opposite view of thier parents, this may actually be a GOOD thing!"

I think you are confusing the fact that boomers grew up in drastically different times than their parents and thus were making some different decisions as saying that children by default take the opposite views. My view, the apple doesn't fall from the tree.

"I don't buy any of this look at the 50's then the 60's notice any change. The reppressive 50's led to the permissive 60's. The cycle will swing back again."

Right. And as Kevin noted we are "steadily more liberal" and "religious belief has declined." When does the pendelum swing back on that? Sometimes things aren't cycles as you suggest.

This does seem to be way out on the horizon. Heck, there weren't a whole lot of liberals to begin with.

Posted by: Chad on March 15, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

cleek -- in your book, is "Chinese" also a political category?

Posted by: MarkC on March 15, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

It's hard to take anything like this seriously without a discussion of immigration. The US would actually have minimal (or negative) population growth without immigrants. Immigrant populations have a higher birthrate than native-born folks.
Guess what? The states with the highest population growth rates are in the Sunbelt, where the immigration rate is also high. Catholic Mexican-Americans do not have the same political views as Utah Mormons...

Posted by: Marc on March 15, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Well this liberal has managed to pop out 4 sprog, so there are at least some exceptions to the rule.

But, really, mouth-breathing sister-marrying red staters are a GOOD thing. It means a steady supply of new material for the 'Girls Gone Wild' videos.

They gotta rebel against Daddy in some way.

Posted by: Tripp on March 15, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

hold on -- Al is citing evolution -- isn't that a sign of the apocalypse?

Posted by: danw on March 15, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

cleek -- in your book, is "Chinese" also a political category?

i didn't write what i did with that intention. but in a different situation, i might.

Posted by: cleek on March 15, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Fitz- not the same thing at all. A Palestinian Arab can't give birth to an Israeli Jew, but a liberal's children can be conservative and vice versa.

Posted by: JR on March 15, 2006 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Catholic Mexican-Americans do not have the same political views as Utah Mormons...

Posted by: Marc on March 15, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, they are way tougher on abortion

Posted by: Mca on March 15, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Liberals are being bred into extinction right now. This is a law of evolution that the superior species (conservatives) will survive while inferior species (liberals) will die out"

There are so many ways liberals can die out, and most of which are self induced. The reason they still haven't is due to the fact that conservatives carry all the weight of protecting them (since libs aren't capable of defending themselves). Now they face extinction through infertility. LOL.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Guess what? The states with the highest population growth rates are in the Sunbelt, where the immigration rate is also high. Posted by: Marc

That has nothing to do with increased reproduction. You are seeing a massive population shift from, primarily, cities in the northern lattitudes of the U.S. and California. These aren't new Americans just sprouting out of the desert in Las Vegas or Phoenix.

Legal immigration for the U.S. has averaged about 1.2 million a year for the last five years. That, along with all the illegal immigration, means that there are about 3-4 million people moving to the U.S. a year. That's at least 10 times too many, as fully half of them bring no appreciable skills and have little education.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

hold on -- Al is citing evolution -- isn't that a sign of the apocalypse?

Well, the very existence of Al is a sign of the apocalypse, so yes.

Posted by: craigie on March 15, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

"This is a law of evolution that the superior species (conservatives) will survive while inferior species (liberals) will die out as explained by Phil Longman."

Phew, it's so lucky we're taking evolution out of the schools, then! Woo hoo intelligent design!

Posted by: theorajones on March 15, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

"But, really, mouth-breathing sister-marrying red staters are a GOOD thing. It means a steady supply of new material for the 'Girls Gone Wild' videos."

But they are mostly college coeds. Aren't they most likely to be liberals?

Although you may have a point. I hardly ever see any minorities in those videos, except for Snoop Dogg of course.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Absolute idiocy. Where do they think liberals COME FROM?

Case in point is the Democratic kid with the republican father who won't help pay for the kid's collge education:

http://edwardcopeland.blogspot.com/2006/03/political-blackmail.html

Posted by: cdj on March 15, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Liberalism is finished in the US. Liberals are outnumbered by conservatives almost 2 to 1 as is. Appealing to immigration won't help either. Latino immigrants trend naturally to the conservative (Catholic, strong patriarchal culture). Bush has proven a Republican can do very well in that demographics.

But it's not like liberals need to worry too much, as things really won't change. They'll continue lose elections just like they have most of the history of the Republic.

Posted by: Tom on March 15, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin writes:

"Religious belief has declined, not grown."

Is this true in the US? I'm honestly not sure, but I could've sworn I've heard evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: keptsimple on March 15, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

You know how everyone has one thing they are irrationally concerned about? This is mine. Rationally, I realize that Kevin's take is probably correct. But deep within the recesses of my reptillian brain, I habor an irrepressible fear that America in 2050 will be a Mormon-majority country.

Posted by: bob on March 15, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Did you know that chronic fart-sniffing causes infertility?

I'm gonna need the conservative retreads to pick up the slack for me.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

But they are mostly college coeds. Aren't they most likely to be liberals?

Not if they were home-schooled, and not from some red state 'college.' Ignorant, naive, culturally afraid of 'feminists' and angry at Daddy makes for a very interesting spring break.

Posted by: Tripp on March 15, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals are doomed in the future to be mostly the children of conservative parents! No, wait, that's true already.

Posted by: derek on March 15, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

"That certainly comes as a surprise to myself, my wife, and my two daughters.

Hey, us too.

Though I fear my 5-year-old has GOP written all over her. She does whatever you tell her, and she gets irate if other people aren't doing it too. She lives for rules to follow."

no surprise to me. my husband and i aren't having kids for quite a few reasons which i'd be happy to go over with you but which i doubt any of you want to actually hear.

Posted by: EM on March 15, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

They'll continue lose elections just like they have most of the history of the Republic.

Like when they controlled the House for about 50 years, and the White House for most of the previous decade?
Honestly, I hope the wingnuts keep breeding and producing idiots like you--easier to control.

Posted by: LOL on March 15, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

bob,

America in 2050 will be a Mormon-majority country.

Could be, but a right-handed guy's chance of being a homo increases greatly for each older brother he has.

So I sorta wonder about little Nathanial, Jebediah, Ezekiel and Leviticus.

Posted by: Tripp on March 15, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Liberalism is finished in the US. Liberals are outnumbered by conservatives almost 2 to 1 as is.
Posted by: Tom

People keep making this nonsense statement. If this is the case, then Gore and Kerry would have lost by margins of roughly 2 to 1, when in fact, Gore got more votes than did Bush in 2000 (not even counting the ones stolen), and Kerry lost by some 500,000 out of 10 million votes cast (with probably 750,000 or so being stolen).

A simple analysis of presidential elections alone since WWII shows that only a certain percentage of Americans are steadfastly conservative or liberal. The other 50% or so who bother to vote spin in the wind every four years.

What Americans have shown to be primarily, like people everywhere, is clueless and unconcerned about politics at all levels. Most votes are knee-jerk and based on one or, at best, two issues. Otherwise, it's just too complicated to be bothered with.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Not if they were home-schooled, and not from some red state 'college.' Ignorant, naive, culturally afraid of 'feminists' and angry at Daddy makes for a very interesting spring break."

Red state colleges like UT Austin?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I for one don't intend to have children because I don't want them to grow up in an America dominated by backwards fundamentalists.*

Besides, it's only fair that the children of rabid right wingers will get stuck cleaning up the mess their parents are currently making of the country (and the world).


*I'm being semi-facetious

Posted by: kc on March 15, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

The implicit assumption in the theory of liberal extinction is that fundies are so adept at brainwashing their children that they are incapable of learning after they escape their parents' clutches.

Fundies brainwash their children.

Fucking sickos.

Posted by: George Duke on March 15, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory:

Politcal correctness alert: That should be our two daughters, of course. :P

Around my house, that terminology depends on how the kids are behaving. For example, when table manners are discussed, usually they're considered Dad's kids.

***

bob:

You know how everyone has one thing they are irrationally concerned about? This is mine. Rationally, I realize that Kevin's take is probably correct. But deep within the recesses of my reptillian brain, I habor an irrepressible fear that America in 2050 will be a Mormon-majority country.

Look around the world. Of all the religions that might take over, I don't think the Mormons are the ones you need to worry about.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 15, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

That's dumb. It's a classic case of ecological inference. States that went Bush having higher fertility rates is not proof that people that went Bush have higher fertility rates. For instance, I would bet that a large part of the fertility in the Southwest and Texas is coming from Mexican immigrants, and they lean Democratic. So, unless there is some better evidence about who has higher fertility rates, this proves exactly nothing.

Looking at the article more closely, you can see that an additional claim is that churchgoers have higher ideal famly sizes. Again, there is a serious problem with inference here. Who are those churchgoers? Are they left leaning immigrants in Texas, or are they conservative white Pentecostals? Who knows?

I assume there must be better statistics correlating child-bearing and political preference, which could then be compared with what we know about passing on political preference. But in this article there is no valid evidence for his point.

By the way, I know Ron Lesthaeghe, and he is a premier and widely respected social demographer, so his conclusions are probably trustworthy, although I haven't seen the paper.

For this article, though, once again, our punditry fails basic mathematical literacy.

Posted by: Pete on March 15, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Like when they controlled the House for about 50 years, and the White House for most of the previous decade?"

As far as presidential elections go, liberals have FDR and Clinton (talk about a drop off in quality). One elected because of the depression, the other because Ross Perot siphoned off votes from Bush.

Controlling the House for 50 years? Well I doubt we can accurately call all those Southern Democrats liberal now can we?

For recent history, it's 6 to 3 against in presidential elections.

I'm not trashing liberalism, but it's just not a widely held political view in the US. Face the facts.

Posted by: Tom on March 15, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter, please note that in order to breed, you must first get laid.

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on March 15, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

There's also the issue that "liberal" and "conservative" aren't mutually exclusive categories. One can be fiscally conservative and social liberal, for instance.

Added to the fact that people's beliefs are gradiant in terms conviction and exactitude who otherwise agree on basic principles.

For instance, "small government" conservatives all agree on the principle of "small government". However, they disagree about how small is "small".

So essentially Kevin's right. This is an imaginary problem.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on March 15, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Does this mean that Jenna and not-Jenna are really conservative? If so, it's a good disguise...

Posted by: craigie on March 15, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently we need to worry that dissident Mormons who practice polygamy are going to take over the country; the reason is that they have more children than any other group.

Posted by: Joe Buck on March 15, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

You know how everyone has one thing they are irrationally concerned about? This is mine. Rationally, I realize that Kevin's take is probably correct. But deep within the recesses of my reptillian brain, I habor an irrepressible fear that America in 2050 will be a Mormon-majority country.

Mormons are on a glide path of not even being the majority in Utah in a couple decades.

It's not a religion expanding through prosteylization or fertilization.

http://www.lds4u.com/growth2/Index.htm

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Look around the world. Of all the religions that might take over, I don't think the Mormons are the ones you need to worry about."

i don't know. saw some talking head last night on tv interviewing some escaped kids from a polygamist cult in colorado city, az. women apparently have an average of 17 kids there. ouch.

Posted by: EM on March 15, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

"I assume there must be better statistics correlating child-bearing and political preference, which could then be compared with what we know about passing on political preference."

How about using abortion as an indicator?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

How about using abortion as an indicator?
Posted by: Freedom Fighter

Perhaps, though abortion rates are about the same across the country (Utah being the exception), and "out of wedlock" births are higher in red states.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

I sort of doubt that many of the children being raised in those polygamous cults are going to be devout believers when they get older.

Posted by: Peter on March 15, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

"I sort of doubt that many of the children being raised in those polygamous cults are going to be devout believers when they get older."

So how do they survive? The same way gays survive by recruiting newcomers?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom Fighter, please note that in order to breed, you must first get laid. Posted by: n.o.t.l.f.

Thanks for clearing that up. I guess the children our lesbian friends have were miracle births. See! We lefties are a lot closer to the essence of Christianity than all those cash-strapped fundies humping all the time because they ain't got the scratch to afford "proper" entertainment.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Growth in these polygamous cults is self-limiting because they cannot accommodate all the males being born. As a result, it's standard practice to expel most boys upon reaching age 18 or so.

Posted by: Peter on March 15, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

I don't care how conservative a kid is, if I can get him high I can turn him into a full-fledged Bush-hating liberal in under an hour.

Posted by: scarshapedstar on March 15, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, gays "recruit" new members, just like religions do.

Yes, I really am that fucking stupid. I'm the poster child for inbreeding.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Not to worry.

All of the inbreeding will result in a net loss of conservatives.

Posted by: Roger Ailes on March 15, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

My favorite permutation of this is James Taranto's crackpot "Roe Effect" theory. Basically, Taranto claimed the Roe decision had led to millions of liberals (defined as people who live in states that voted for Gore) aborting their babies. One of his key pieces of evidence was the fact that the "blue" northeast and rust belt had lost electoral votes while the "red" southwest/east had gained them. Yeah, I thought that was all about people deciding Phoenix would be a nicer place to live than Buffalo, too. Apparently it was actually because liberals were being aborted.

Posted by: DaveW on March 15, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think they are implying an inherited trait, but one that is learned; like adults who still maintain their parents religious beliefs. Afterall, 17-18 years is a long time to be blasted by the same rants from Ma and Pa about the end times and those damn liberals.

Posted by: LEWIS_STOOLE on March 15, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

"I think you are confusing the fact that boomers grew up in drastically different times than their parents and thus were making some different decisions as saying that children by default take the opposite views. My view, the apple doesn't fall from the tree."

it seems that every generation says the same thing - "things are drastically different"

No, kids have rebelled since the beginning of time and in these "drastically" different times, nothing has changed

Posted by: Rick on March 15, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

"No, kids have rebelled since the beginning of time and in these "drastically" different times, nothing has changed"

Yeah, look at Cindy Sheehan's son, he actually loved America.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 15, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Red state colleges like UT Austin?

You mean the ones who keep taking themselves out of the gene-pool with 6-story bonfires?

Posted by: xyz on March 15, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, look at Cindy Sheehan's son, he actually loved America

Yeah, we have long suspected you're an idiot, FF. Did you really have to charge full-speed ahead and remove all doubt?

Posted by: SED on March 15, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Neither political divide is having enough children, and it is an inevitable result of the demographic present. One's output must support one's dependents. The total number of such dependents is being steadily skewed towards retirees, but has been fairly constant over the the last 5 decades. The bottom line is that children as dependents are being replaced by adults as dependents. I suspect that the urban/rural distribution of liberals and conservatives is responsible for Republicans having slightly more children, for the simple reason that living in rural areas with families is less expensive.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on March 15, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Red state colleges like UT Austin?

You mean the ones who keep taking themselves out of the gene-pool with 6-story bonfires?
Posted by: xyz

Both of you seem rather confused. Austin is the bluest city in Texas, and the bonfires are a Texas A&M tradition.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Like when they controlled the House for about 50 years, and the White House for most of the previous decade?"

Huh? Those weren't liberals in control. Those were Democrats who ignored their Southern base. Now, they don't have a Southern base.

Posted by: Chad on March 15, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Hey retards, here's a newsflash:

cities have been hotbeds of social change for 5,000 years, mainly because biological reproduction isn't what city life revolves around

cities have traditionally consistently lower fecundity, and rely on the countryside for population migration

the effect of urban culture has, thanks to improved medical care and mass media, only increased in strength in the course of civilization's history

translation: "liberalism" as a phenomenon is never going away. It RELIES on low birth rates and high diffusion rates, and has ALWAYS done so.


Posted by: Duh on March 15, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Yancey Ward: Neither political divide is having enough children

Our reproductive rate is 2.05 children per woman - almost exactly replacement rate. Plus we have lots of immigration. The baby boom was a one time thing, and will pass.

If you think that ever growing populations are a blessing, the please explain China and India's population problems. Ponzi schemes are unsustainable.

Posted by: alex on March 15, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Yeah, look at Cindy Sheehan's son, he actually loved America."

FF - you seem to be confusing "loving america", with "loving American policies"

Posted by: Rick on March 15, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Neither political divide is having enough children, and it is an inevitable result of the demographic present. One's output must support one's dependents. The total number of such dependents is being steadily skewed towards retirees, but has been fairly constant over the the last 5 decades.

This will be about a 15-20 year bulge, and then current demographics show an evening.

I suspect that the urban/rural distribution of liberals and conservatives is responsible for Republicans having slightly more children, for the simple reason that living in rural areas with families is less expensive.Posted by: Yancey Ward

Most American live in cities or suburbs and have so for at least 30 years.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II,

I should have been clearer. I think of the suburbs as having characteristics of both rural and urban. In any case, it is usually cheaper to have families in the suburbs than in central cities, which should still favor conservatives over liberals, especially in red states.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on March 15, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Hey! Fully 50% of those liberals would never even CONSIDER having an abortion!


(being male, y'understand...)

Posted by: pbg on March 15, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Al writes: Liberals are being bred into extinction right now. This is a law of evolution that the superior species (conservatives) will survive while inferior species (liberals) will die out

Evolution favors those who don't believe in evolution? How ironic.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 15, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

In a related development, it turns out that heterosexuals have more children than homosexuals. Homosexuality will probably be utterly eradicated within decades!


Posted by: RickD on March 15, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

A nice web site that speaks to the raw numbers of U.S. population.

http://www.npg.org/popfacts.htm

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

alex,

Keeping replacement levels may not be tenable given the accelerating increase in the numbers of retirees. On birthrates alone, I think the US is about 20 years behind many of the European countries, whose cultures face extinction in the next two centuries due to declining populations. The problem is that once started in one direction, such trends will be difficult to reverse. As Jeff II mentioned, there is a prediction that the numbers of elderly dependents will level off, but I am somewhat unconvinced. The present childbearers, while not a demographic bulge like the boomers, will likely have relatively fewer children than the boomers themselves. In other words, these things feedback- because they have relatively fewer children due to their obligations to older generations, their children will have even relatively fewer children due to their increased obligations to the elderly.

The United States does have one advantage over the Europeans- we generally have higher in-migration, something I don't expect to change over the next 30 years. This helps mitigate the demographic problems.

Overall, I agree with you that higher populations may not be something to wish for, but declining populations are not to be wished for either.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on March 15, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

If there are more poor rural conservatives in the future that eventually extinguish most liberals, isn't this some kind of sex fantasy? I mean, aren't peasant farm girls the stuff of male fantasies? Or was that very last century?

Posted by: MNPundit on March 15, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Yancey,

Your comment about cultures facing extinction due to declining population seems to assume that cultures are based on genetics.

Isn't it possible that immigrants become assimilated into a culture which allows the culture to continue?

Posted by: Tripp on March 15, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

MNPundit,

Like I said - more conservatives means more "Girls Gone Wild" videos. I notice that the topic of polygamy is entering the public sphere as well.

In a conservative era harems will be in style.

Posted by: Tripp on March 15, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I'm a non-secular, non-individualist practicing Catholic, as is my family, and we couldn't be more Democratic. Because Christ said turn the other cheek and feed the poor. All this about faith predicting the extinction of liberals is just plain silly.

Define 'culturally conservative'. Pro-business?

The Republican party is the party of individualism, because it's the "you're on your own, bucko" party.

Posted by: CarolynS on March 15, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

"But it's not like liberals need to worry too much, as things really won't change. They'll continue lose elections just like they have most of the history of the Republic."

Wow, throughout the history of the Republic!

You mean like when the more liberal Democratic-Republicans essentially erradicated the Federalist party?

Or when the Republican party, which was the more liberal one back then, held power for most of the 50 years after the Civil war?

Or when Wilson took the Democratic party to the left of the Republicans, resulting in about 60 years of Democratic dominance?

This country spent about 200 years charging leftward, and a fine 200 years it was. It is liberalization that made this country great. The brief fits of conservatism we go through are self-indulgent tantrums that thankfully don't last long.

Every wealthy and free country in the world is more liberal than the US was 100 years ago. Liberalism is essential for progress, and in the harsh, competitive world in which we live, progress is essential for survival.

Posted by: Njorl on March 15, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

"And I suppose it could happen if demographic trends lasted forever and children reliably inherited their parents' political beliefs. But where's the evidence? "

Back a few posts earlier, where you posited that very notion as it pertains to southerners who live in surburbia and vote Republican?

Did today's round of duplicity even make it 24 hours?

Posted by: RW on March 15, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Aha, another New Malthusian! Wonder if Longman moonlights as "Spengler" at Asia Times?

But, seriously . . . I'm as much of a demographics junkie as anyone you can name, and in the near term their predictive value is often formidable. In the long term, however . . . well, things change.

E.G., the best demographers of fifty years ago would surely have predicted a very different country than we have today; specifically, one with many more blacks and far fewer hispanics. No one would have predicted that in the 1960s the gap between black and white birth rates would narrow -- inexplicably, sharply, and apparently permanently -- and no one would have predicted the increase in immigration from central America that we've seen in the past few decades.

Things change. Well, some things. There's always a market for Chicken Little.

Posted by: penalcolony on March 15, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Yancey Ward wrote: Overall, I agree with you that higher populations may not be something to wish for, but declining populations are not to be wished for either.

The sustainable human population of the Earth is probably about two billion humans.

We need to find ways to humanely reduce the human population of the Earth from its current 6.5 billion to 2 billion or less. If we don't do that, then Mother Nature will do it for us, and not very humanely (e.g. through mass starvation, disease, etc).

It's our choice. For now.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 15, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it possible that immigrants become assimilated into a culture which allows the culture to continue? Posted by: Tripp

Yes. Only if they numbers are right, and if the society is open enough. The recent rioting by N. African immigrants (2nd generation at that) in France shows the perils of not being an open enough society. And the violence in the Netherlands vis-a-vis the "inflammatory" cartoons, and other issues related to Islamic immigrants show that the proverbial street runs both ways.

I think it can be argued, unlike a century ago, that immigrants can live, at a minimum, bifurcated lives between the adopted home and the culture they brought with them, chosing to adopt the new culture in perhaps only superficial ways.

However, I also believe that, at best, only a generation of immigrants to the U.S. can maintain much separation, cultural "integrity" before the horrid weight of American low culture just overwhelms their efforts to remain separate.

A certain degree of assimilation is necessary for all immigrants if they just don't want to be miserable. I think any of the posters here that have lived abroad for any length of time can attest to this.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

How funny.
Political persuasion is not something that is simply inherited (in any event all behavioral traits are quantitative traits and not simply Mendelian). Wealth is the best predictor of how liberal a society will be. At an individual level, the richer and better educated someone is the less likely they are to pray, attend church and accept institutions of traditional authority. If you really want to make a country (socially) conservative stop educating the population and make them poor and insecure.

Conservatives are perennially fantasizing about eliminating liberalism and every other kind of adversary. Not just winning, but exterminating the enemy. Related to this is the ultimate weapon of Nature, the power of breeding and the threat of being outbred (the Stalinists, fascists, and European imperialists were all interested in demographics, race and breeding a better man). What all these diverse groups share is the fear of their own extermination. This is why they must make total war with the enemy and can never ever accept any kind of peace because what is at stake is survival-the political struggle for a threatened identity. The condition of endless war and survival is why liberals are mistaken when they think that at some point they will find common ground with authentic conservatives.

Posted by: bellumregio on March 15, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II -
The French rioters were more sub-Saharan African than North African, at least after the first couple of nights. Toward the end there were even some native French youths joining in the fun.

Posted by: Peter on March 15, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Fertility, not theology, cause of decline
CHICAGO (ABP)--The decline in membership of mainline churches over the last century had more to do with sex than theology, research by a trio of sociologists suggests.

The popular notion that conservative churches are growing because mainline churches are too liberal is being challenged by new research that offers a simpler cause for much of the mainline decline--the use of birth control. Differences in fertility rates account for 70 percent of the decline of mainline Protestant church membership from 1900 to 1975 and the simultaneous rise in conservative church membership, the sociologists said. ...

..."Higher fertility and better retention thus account for the conservatives' rising share of the Protestant population," they concluded.

However, the authors suggested, the trends underlying the mainline's decline "may be nearing their end."

Fertility rates now are virtually the same between the two groups and will produce only a 1 percent decline in mainline membership over the next decade, they noted.

"Unless conservative Protestants increase their family size or mainline Protestants further reduce theirs, this factor in mainline decline will not be present in the future." ...

Posted by: Scott on March 15, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

The real question is: If I, a progressive liberal, end up marrying my girlfriend, a staunch libertarian conservative, should we or should we not procreate?

Posted by: George on March 15, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

We need to find ways to humanely reduce the human population of the Earth from its current 6.5 billion to 2 billion or less. If we don't do that, then Mother Nature will do it for us, and not very humanely (e.g. through mass starvation, disease, etc).

This is just stupid. Most of the world is still using badly outdated farming techniques and yet there are still 6.5B of us. Every year the USA uses less and less farmland while producing more food. As these techologies are tranferred to the 3rd world the need for farmland will diminish greatly and with the increased wealth created so will birthrates.

Most of the rest of the world is going to follow the EU, Japan and China which are at or soon to be at declining population trends. This is going to be quite severe in the EU.

Posted by: rdw on March 15, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

CHICAGO (ABP)--The decline in membership of mainline churches over the last century had more to do with sex than theology, research by a trio of sociologists suggests.

The popular notion that conservative churches are growing because mainline churches are too liberal is being challenged by new research that offers a simpler cause for much of the mainline decline--the use of birth control. Differences in fertility rates account for 70 percent of the decline of mainline Protestant church membership from 1900 to 1975 and the simultaneous rise in conservative church membership, the sociologists said. ...

..."Higher fertility and better retention thus account for the conservatives' rising share of the Protestant population," they concluded.

Duh! No kidding. That's the entire point you twit!

Secularists are far more likely to have an abortion and not have kids at all. The practice of birth control has become common among the religious and secularist but the methods are often vastly different. The more religious the more likely to refuse abortion. Secularists don't hesitate. Secularists are far more often liberal.

From 1977 thru 1997 the number of abortions averaged about 1.1M per year. In the 70's there were over 7M abortions. These 'kids' are now not having kids. It's impossible to know how many of these parents went on to have the number of kids they always planned but there's no doubt this is a factor and it's about to compound.

The secularist couple who terminated their 3rd pregnancy in 1970 because two was enough can be compared to someone like me who had 4 kids. They might have 4 grandkids but more likely 2 or 3. I'll probably have at least 8 and could easily have 12. That compounding is going to be nasty.

In the example of the child born/not born in 1970 they would be 36. They might have a 13-yr old and a 10-yr old. The secularist who aborted didn't add to voter registrations. The conservative has added one and within the decade will account for 3. It's going to matter.

Posted by: rdw on March 15, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

The real question is: If I, a progressive liberal, end up marrying my girlfriend, a staunch libertarian conservative, should we or should we not procreate?

Well, since "staunch libertarian conservative" is about as likely as "unicorn", you need to ask yourself what you have gotten yourself into...

Posted by: craigie on March 15, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: Most of the world is still using badly outdated farming techniques and yet there are still 6.5B of us. Every year the USA uses less and less farmland while producing more food. As these techologies are tranferred to the 3rd world the need for farmland will diminish greatly and with the increased wealth created so will birthrates.

As usual, you don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about. You just invent made-up facts to support your paranoid psychotic delusional hero worship of Reagan and Bush.

What you ignorantly call "badly outdated" farming techniques have been used for over ten thousand years in China, for example, while preserving and enhancing the productivity of the soil. In contrast, "modern" farming techniques used only since WWII in the USA (and which you apparently don't know were "transferred to the 3rd world" decades ago, in the so-called "green revolution") are rapidly degrading the productivity of the soil everywhere they are used. Moreover they are absolutely dependent on massive inputs of petrochemicals and fossil fuels. In the USA, it takes more energy from fossil fuels to produce a given amount of food than the food itself contains. We are literally eating oil, and stip-mining our topsoil, and exhausting our supplies of groundwater (e.g the Ogalala aquifer) used for irrigation, on which much US agriculture depends.

US agriculture is simply not sustainable, and in the not too distant future it is going to fail. Other countries which have wisely protected their indigenous agriculture from being destroyed by imports of cheap, government subsidized, unsustainably "factory farmed" US foods will be very glad that they did so, since they will be able to feed themselves when US agriculture collapses.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 15, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

rdw> Every year the USA uses less and less farmland while producing more food.

This is based on abundant oil and natural gas, more than improved agricultural technology. It'd be much harder going with a nuclear/renewable economy. Biotech might compensate somewhat eventually, but not wholly.

In any event, I agree with you that putting a fixed number on the earth's carrying capacity is stupid, but for different reasons. First, it's pop x consumption rate per capita, not population alone. Second, you can exceed long term carrying capacity temporarily, by drawing down natural capital. We can probably get away with this for another couple of generations, by which time populations globally will be going the way of europe - China is already right behind them.

Exceptions will be the effectively failed areas like sub-saharan africa, and the middle east aftr the oil runs down.


>The conservative has added one and within the decade will account for 3. It's going to matter.

I'm with the regional specialization theory. Cultural-content producers and innovators tend to be liberal, and focus on that rather than biological production (as someone above noted). Cities are the place for that lifestyle / economic-cultural role.

Also, the classic cycle I see around me with educated young adults (this is Canada, but still...) is that they migrate to an urban area from a rural one for university, become very liberal, live the urban lifestyle till around 30. Then the baby mind-bomb happens, their values shift back as part of nesting mindsets, and they move outward from the urban core. There are two important elements here: life stages of the educated class, and *delayed* fertility. It's like salmon partying it up in the ocean, and then heading back upstream to breed and die. Breeders are naturally more conservative. The cultural producers left behind are naturally more liberal.

Delayed fertility also matters because it means the children of the baby-boomers both here and in the EU are just now hitting their (delayed) child bearing years. It's a mistake to confuse *current* fertility for the average woman with *lifetime average* fertility for that reason.

Another element is that much increased regional fertility is due to the presence of immigrant groups, who still carry conservative values from their place of origin. Typically part of assimilation into western culture is a shift to both liberal values and smaller family sizes in the next generation. Can't speak for the american midwest, but this is the pattern in Canada.

It'd be nice if liberals and conservatives could, putting aside policy issues, respect their long term roles in the broader culture to some degree.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 15, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

The conservative has added one and within the decade will account for 3

Wow. I wasn't aware being born to a Conservative automatically got a person registered to vote Republican. Is there a voter registrar in the L&D suite at every hospital now? That is freakin' amazing!

Posted by: SED on March 15, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Delayed fertility also matters because it means the children of the baby-boomers both here and in the EU are just now hitting their (delayed) child bearing years. It's a mistake to confuse *current* fertility for the average woman with *lifetime average* fertility for that reason.

No. Birthrates have been dropping consistently since the 60's. They are still falling in Europe. Those females who turned 20 in 1965 are now 65. If they turned 20 in 1975 they are beyond 'normal' child-bearing age. The shift to having kids later in life is now well documented, studied and understood. It hasn't shifted in 20 years yet birthrates continue to fall. This is not a factor.

Posted by: rdw on March 15, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Let's keep in mind that -- more children from religiously conservative families or not -- every poll shows a downright phenomenal increase in tolerance of homosexuality among younger Americans as opposed to older ones. In all my decades of reading polls, I have never seen any political issue with so dramatic an age-related split.

As I recall, the generational split on the subject of abortion isn't nearly so extreme, and indeed doesn't seem to change much either way with age -- but then, the immorality of opposing abortion (at least in some cases) isn't nearly so common-sensically obvious as the immorality of opposing gay rights. And a recent poll showed that 72% of evangelical Christians readily agreed that non-Christians can get into Heaven if they're good. The one thing to be said about bigotry as an evil is that, since it's irrational -- unlike coldly logical self-interest -- it crumbles a lot easier. I agree with Drum: this particular bogeyman doesn't have legs -- at least in this country. (Given that the most backward sectors of the Islamic world are breeding like crazy compared to the rest of humanity, it may end up making more trouble on the planet as a whole.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 15, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

rdw

You know your stuff!!
Demographics is destiny!

Posted by: Fitz on March 15, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce the Canuck wrote: In any event, I agree with you that putting a fixed number on the earth's carrying capacity is stupid, but for different reasons. First, it's pop x consumption rate per capita, not population alone.

That's a good point. And there are actually three factors for the "environmental footprint" of a population: the population, the per capita consumption of goods and services, and the ennvironmental impact of the methods of "production" of those goods and services. For example, a given population of humans using a given amount of electricity per capita will have different environmental impacts depending on whether that electricity is generated by coal, natural gas, nuclear power, wind or photovoltaics.

The figure that I gave of about 2 billion as the sustainable human population of the Earth comes from David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agricultural science at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University:

How Many Americans can the Earth Support?
Dr. David Pimentel, Cornell University

Excerpt:

Some people are starting to ask just how many people the Earth can support if we want to cease degrading the environment and move to a sustainable solar energy system? There is no solid answer yet, but the best estimate is that Earth can support about 1 to 2 billion people with an American Standard of living, good health, nutrition, prosperity, personal dignity and freedom [...] To achieve this goal, humans must first stabilize their population and then gradually reduce their numbers to achieve a sustainable society in terms of both economics and environmental resources. With fair policies and realistic incentives, such a reduction in the human population can be achieved over the next century.

The Earth could probably support a higher number of humans with, say, an Ethiopian Standard of living, good health, nutrition, prosperity, personal dignity and freedom.

Bruce again: Second, you can exceed long term carrying capacity temporarily, by drawing down natural capital.

That's what we have been doing for decades, and the result is that we are rapidly degrading and destroying the capacity of the Earth to support life. I refer you to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment produced under the auspices of the United Nations for a detailed look at how far gone this process already is.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 15, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. I wasn't aware being born to a Conservative automatically got a person registered to vote Republican.

Of course it doesn't but it is a good indicator. Being born into a liberal family doesn't ensure that person is a democrat either. What is true today is the media environment is dramatically different. We have kids exposed to Talk Radio, Fox, Blogs, etc. I had three leftist networks. My kids know see Brit Hume regularly. They know Dan Rather but not for the reasons Dan would prefer.

One of my favorite sayings had fortunately been rendered null and void by the alternative media.

I am para-phrasing: Someone who is 20 and not a socialist was born without a heart. Someone who is 30 and still a socialist was born without a brain.

These kids at age 20 know socialism is garbage. Actually it's about age 13. Tell someone under the age of 35 that Federal Tax rates before Reagan reached 70% and they won't believe you. They'll say, "No one is that stupid".

The environment today is dramatically different. You can tell lefties on campus today. They're the ones with the gray hair.

Posted by: rdw on March 15, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

rdw>The shift to having kids later in life is now well documented, studied and understood. It hasn't shifted in 20 years yet birthrates continue to fall. This is not a factor.

You're still missing my point. Yes, birthrates have fallen steadily. And yes, average childbearing age has increased steadily (though it's up against a wall now). My point is about the baby boom. The children of the boomer's fertility is delayed by a greater amount than their parents. This will cause a slight rebound over the long term, when you look back at lifetime fertility say 20 years from now. The rebound doesn't need to be that much to get close to replacement.

In any event, the main point is that people's politics is as much determined by region and whether or not they have children, as vice-versa. When they move, their political outlook adapts to suite the new environment. When they change life-roles, it also adapts.

Of course, people rarely let themselves become conscious of this. Everybody wants to believe their views were arrived at by reason and good judgment, not peer influence and economic/cultural self-interest.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 15, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce Moomaw

every poll shows a downright phenomenal increase in tolerance of homosexuality among younger Americans as opposed to older ones. In all my decades of reading polls, I have never seen any political issue with so dramatic an age-related split.

Read More.

http://www.marriagedebate.com/pdf/iMAPP.2005opinionupdate.pdf

(warning pdf)

Posted by: Fitz on March 15, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: I had three leftist networks.

Those "leftist networks" are just more figments of your paranoid schizophrenic imagination.

There is only one "leftist" network, namely Pacifica, which has five radio stations, plus about 75 affiliate stations that carry some Pacifica programming.

This compares with the more than 1,200 radio stations owned by the right-wing ClearChannel network.

rdw: What is true today is the media environment is dramatically different. We have kids exposed to Talk Radio, Fox, Blogs, etc.

Yes, it's true that today we have a lot of bought-and-paid for media shills of right-wing neo-fascist billionaires like Rupert Murdoch (noted kisser of Red China Communist ass) and Richard Scaife and America-hating freakazoids like Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who hammer the public with hate speech and lies every day, and it is making a difference. It is producing a lot more ignorant idiots, like you.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 15, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

>These kids at age 20 know socialism is garbage...Tell someone under the age of 35 that Federal Tax rates...

You're confusing values and policy methods. The shift is clearest among the environmental campaigners I've known. In the 70's they tried to protect areas by creating parks. In the 90's they were promoting fairly sophisticated regulatory regimes and auction systems.

The values are the same, but there is an almost libertarian flavour to some of the solutions. Your typical young radical on campus now is some variant of post-modernist or anarchist, even if they don't call it that. Later they become utilitarian-liberals. The values differences matter, as is the more open and rational mindset. There's a reason some 80% of academic scientists are liberals.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 15, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, it's true that today we have a lot of bought-and-paid for media shills of right-wing neo-fascist billionaires like Rupert Murdoch (noted kisser of Red China Communist ass) and Richard Scaife and America-hating freakazoids like Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who hammer the public with hate speech and lies every day, and it is making a difference. It is producing a lot more ignorant idiots, like you.


Ive never heard someone sweat over the internet before.

Posted by: Fitz on March 15, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

There's a reason some 80% of academic scientists are liberals.

They can't function anywhere else.

Consider the recent 8 - 0 supreme court setback on the solomon amendment. This was a group of Ivy leqgue law schools versus the Supreme Court. How could they lose so decisively? This was an embarrasment. It's because they're so out of touch.

Posted by: rdw on March 15, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

>Ive never heard someone sweat over the internet before.

You haven't been listening to your fellow trolls, or even yourself when the Iraqi clusterfuck, the budget debacle, or Bush's job ratings have come out.

We're not afraid of you, kiddie. The more you post the more you reveal of your stupidity.

Posted by: doesn't matter on March 15, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Socialism is indeed garbage. The world has been moving away from socialism for decades. The clear lesson of the 20th century is that economic policies that emphasize central planning and state ownership fail, and that economic policies that emphasize markets, private ownership and individual choice work. This has been a hard lesson for some paleoliberals to learn. Many of them still haven't learned it.

Posted by: e12 on March 15, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

This will cause a slight rebound over the long term, when you look back at lifetime fertility say 20 years from now. The rebound doesn't need to be that much to get close to replacement.

I don't think I missed your point. Why I said, or what I meant and did not explain well, was that all of this is known to demographers. They know today how many kids were born in 2005 and will turn 20 in 2025. They know what at ages we're having kids and how that's changed over the years. They can predict with a high degree of accruacy what we'll look like in 2025.

Things like immigration are less predictable but generally play at the margins.


As far as replacement the US is there. replacement is 2.1 and we're something like 2.057. In Italy, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Japan, China they are far from replacement level and are still trending DOWN. I believe those 1st 5 are already seeing population decreases or will within the decade and it will continue for generations unless there is a dramatic increase in immigration which none want at this time. In fact most are increasing barriers to immigration.

Actually I think the Netherlands belongs with those 1st 5 and they've actually seen net emigration for the 1st time in over 50 years.

Posted by: rdw on March 15, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

This argument has always been pretty dumb, because while there is a correlation between parents ideas and those of their children, its strength isn't all that consistence, so that one idea-group is having more children doesn't mean that that idea-group is going to gain strength; this is particularly evident in the case of religious identity, where the religious are having more children and have been for quite some time -- but still are representing a shrinking proportion of the population.

Conservatism didn't gain strength for the period it clearly did because of a baby boom specific to conservative families, and the fact that conservatives have more children isn't a key indicator in the relative future prospects of liberalism and conservatism.

Its just an convenient set of numbers that conservative triumphalists have grabbed on to, but there is no justification for the meaning they try to ascribe to those numbers.

Spreading your genes isn't the same thing as spreading your memes.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 15, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

What is true today is the media environment is dramatically different. We have kids exposed to Talk Radio, Fox, Blogs, etc. I had three leftist networks. My kids know see Brit Hume regularly. They know Dan Rather but not for the reasons Dan would prefer.

As a matter of fact, most kids don't watch television news of any kind, listen to news radio or read even the local paper regularly. The O'Reilly Factor, Fox's hightest rated program, gets something like 2 million viewers. The CBS Evening News gets nearly 4 million. My bet is that neither broadcast can count all that many viewers between junior high and college age. For what it's worth, Sponge Bob Square Pants draws about 6 million.

These kids at age 20 know socialism is garbage. Actually it's about age 13. Tell someone under the age of 35 that Federal Tax rates before Reagan reached 70% and they won't believe you. They'll say, "No one is that stupid".

Actually, having recent experience teaching poli-sci at a private university, I can say that most college kids don't even know what socialism is. The also don't know what classic liberalism is, and couldn't care less what the tax rate was under a president from 20 years ago, nor would understand the implication of a higher or lower tax rate.

The environment today is dramatically different. You can tell lefties on campus today. They're the ones with the gray hair. Posted by: rdw

On the contrary, most of my students were institutionalists without even understanding the concept. Ask them about the best way to solve problems facing the world and overwhelmingly they propose working through the U.N. or U.N. like institutions.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

You're confusing values and policy methods

I am not confusing a thing. A kid born in 1975 or later has a dramatically different life experience than those born before. The Iranian hostage crises, oil shortages, watergate, Vietnam and MLK are poorly covered history they might not even be aware.

But they know Reagan as morning in America and defeater of socialism without firing a shot and they know about the liberation of Kuwait as well as our ending of the genocide in Kosovo and our attempt to help out in Somalia. Theyhave no idea what point the UN serves other than to stop the USA from helping more people and protecting Saddam.

This generation understood immediately Dan got caught with his panties around his ankles in an cartoonish forgery they could knew was pitiful and they are not quick to think their peers serving in the military are War Criminals. They most definitely don't get their news from CBS and are more likely to trust bloggers than network pretty boys.

This generation also knows 70% tax rates are beyond absurd but the stuff of liberal dreams. They are almost certainly more libertarian but also more conservative. They are clearly less liberal and as different from the 68 campus crowd as it gets. None are draft dodgers. All are looking to become more productive either in terms of a good paying job or more enjoyable job most likely both.

There are no anarchist among the student body. There may be a few on the faculty. The only anarhcists are the twits following the various WTO events and in most cases are professionals of one kind or another. Either Mommy and daddy are supporting them or some whacko groups. They are the least influencial people on the planet.

Posted by: rdw on March 15, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

rdw>As far as replacement the US is there. replacement is 2.1 and we're something like 2.057

More like 1.9 n/c pre-assimilation immigrant families. This effect is stronger in the US because more immigrants are from latin america, rather than asia. Canada, the netherlands, etc are generally around 1.6 in fertility. The difference often isn't that extreme. And judging by the 20-something urban dutch I know, there's going to be a bit of a rebound.

Europe's real problem is that they had a choice between accepting immigration, and a moderate decline in standard of living or expected retirement timing/conditions. They tried option #1, which could be viable supposing the immigration came from a culturally compatible area. Hyper-conservative muslim regions - not so much. Latin america or asia would have been better choices. Still, a better set of choices than Japan, with its androids-over-philippinos sctick.

My own opinion is anything above 1.5 is probably an economically viable decline for a couple of generations. Most places will probably approach the same trends by mid-century. This is perfectly ok for a couple of centuries, as a more-or-less orderly transition to a pop level the planet can support at a decent standard of living, long-term.

The middle east is completely screwed though, taking that same long term view. Extreme, ideologically driven population growth rates supported by finite, non-renewable natural resources, with a closed society that doesn't really encourage learning.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 15, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

David Pimental's estimate of a sustainable global population of 2 billion at current U.S. living standards is based on the assumptions that the only source of energy will be solar power, and that the productivity of natural resources will remain frozen at current levels. Neither assumption is remotely plausible. Energy sources obviously include fossil, nuclear and geothermal fuels as well as solar, and there isn't the slightest indication that technological advances that allow us to produce greater wealth from a given quantity of a natural resource are going to stop.

Posted by: phlox on March 15, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

At worst the parenting of children by Christian Right conservatives will produce libertarians, who resent having had to grow up wearing the hand-me-downs of 10 siblings and eat beans and rice.

I'm not crazy about capitalistas, but they are at least capable of rational thought.

Posted by: sara on March 15, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

None are draft dodgers

You're giving me a headache. That quote of yours is so easy to shoot down, I'm not even going to say it.

Oh please, rdw. Maybe the kids at National Review's Corner believe your Dan-Rather-is-Satan malarkey, but most of the intelligent, aware young people I've met in the last few years would call you on your b.s. You're just worshipping at the Reagan altar.

Posted by: SED on March 15, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

As a matter of fact, most kids don't watch television news of any kind, listen to news radio or read even the local paper regularly. The O'Reilly Factor, Fox's hightest rated program, gets something like 2 million viewers. The CBS Evening News gets nearly 4 million. My bet is that neither broadcast can count all that many viewers between junior high and college age. For what it's worth, Sponge Bob Square Pants draws about 6 million.

Few kids watch the networks or focus on a specific newscast but they will tune into cable periodically and watch the bigger events. Many will hit a few blogs. Very few are aware Russ Feingold is trying to censure Bush, or even care, but they are aware of Iraq and generally aware of what we're trying to do.

The key data that's important about O'reilly and CBS news is the change over time. If CBS is getting 4M now they probably got 8M in 1985 and as many as 25M in 1968 when Chronkite wrote off Vietnam. Fox didn't exist in 1995. Assuming most of those 2M now watching OReilly were watching TV in 1995 or 1985 they got dramatically different coverage.

If Dan Rather pulled his crap in 1990 we would NEVER have found out. In 2004 we found out in 15 minutes. Not only do Fox and talk radio reach a huge audience but they've changed the way MSM covers the news. The NYT's has fired two editors, a series of reporters and lost a major lawsuit against the govt exposing the entire press to liability for printing classified data. Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd are most often quoted when they print inaccurate data or doctor a quote than for their intended points. The NYT's and Washington Post have had to name ombudsman in an attempt to regain credibility.

My point is Dowd and Krugman come with the baggage of those who experienced the 60's. They've gone past jaded to miserable. They don't have a connection with the under 30 crowd and never will.

Posted by: rdw on March 15, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II wrote: For what it's worth, Sponge Bob Square Pants draws about 6 million.

Oddly enough, that gives me hope.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 15, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

rdw>There are no anarchist among the student body...They are the least influencial people on the planet.

I have no idea what campus you're talking about. For the pacific northwest, above or below the border, they exist. I know because as someone who's worked on various leftist campaigns, I find them extremely annoying. I would love to agree with the 2nd statement, except that post-modernist/ancharhist ideas taken from campuses do have one influence. Time has to be wasted deprogramming new recruits. The best thing that could happen for the left is to purge the post-modernists from the campuses. It would allow a revival of traditional, enlightment and utilitarian driven leftists thinking. There was a left before marx.


Your characterization in general of the political life experiences of "today's youth" is more wish list than fact. Perhaps you're speaking of the youth you know through your own kids, I don't know. But it doesn't reflect at all the people I've met, and I just finished going back to complete an applied sciences degree.

My experience of Reagan was that he was the guy that committed serious fraud re Iran-Contra, lied about the effect of his tax cuts, and threatened to kill us all. And once the soviet curtain fell, it became obvious that what defeated communism was communism, not western conservatives.

That societies should be >=50% private markets is an idea that won out, I grant you. But liberal ideas about personal freedoms, authority, and openness also won, equally decisively.

I met a number of students who would confuse the heck out of me, by voting conservative federally, and leftist provincially and civically. They're friendly to gays, culturally open, support foreign aid, against urban sprawl and like anti-suburbs, pro-transit regional planning, and are nominally enviros. At the same time, they're anti-taxes, anti-deficits, spit on the ground at the mention of unions, and anti-welfare. They supported the afghanistan invasion but not iraq.

The reality may be that the next political generation could confound both side's models. The hardcore posters here are people who are trying to enforce a greater degree of correlation between issues than may naturally exist.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 15, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

The U.S. fertility rate is almost exactly at the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. In contrast, fertility in Europe is collapsing. In 2000, only six major western European nations had total fertility rates as high as 1.7 (France, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands); four nations had on average at least 1.5 but less than 1.7 children per woman (Belgium, United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden); four more have slipped into the crisis level demographers define as "very low fertility" of less than 1.5 -- Austria (1.3), the former West Germany (1.4), Italy (1.2) and Spain (1.2).

A total fertility rate of 1.5 (slightly more than the European average) cuts the population in half every 65 years. At 1.3 children per woman, the population gets cut in half every 32 years.

To avoid dramatic declines in population over the next couple of generations, and virtual extinction beyond that, Europeans are either going to have to start having a lot more babies, or taking in a lot, a lot, more immigrants. Neither possibility seems very likely at the moment.

Posted by: e12 on March 15, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

My own opinion is anything above 1.5 is probably an economically viable decline for a couple of generations. Most places will probably approach the same trends by mid-century. This is perfectly ok for a couple of centuries, as a more-or-less orderly transition to a pop level the planet can support at a decent standard of living, long-term.

I agree if the 1.5 is static across ethnic groups. Europe's huge problem is that it isn't close. ALL of the birth rates by country are distorted by islamic populations which have birth rates 3 to 4x's higher than 'native' populations. We now have an islamic minority approaching 10% of the population with a 2nd generation more radical than the 1st. They haven't been assimilated and don't wish to become asimilated. Europe's native populations are also almost radically secularist. The contrast could not be starker. We have a group aspiring to be the least judgemental sharing the road with the most judgemental. Moreover, and this is anecdotal, Islamics seem to have more contempt for secularists than Christians.

How anyone can predict stability for Western Europe is a mystery to me.

The middle east is completely screwed though, taking that same long term view. Extreme, ideologically driven population growth rates supported by finite, non-renewable natural resources, with a closed society that doesn't really encourage learning.

I actually think they're less screwed than Western Europe. For the most part their oil will last another 100 years and they're doing a better job investing it this boom versus the last. They also seem to have recognized radical islam is as dangerous to them as to anyone. They have a long ways to go but they have the resources. If in fact Afghanistan and Iraq can become successful democracies they'll lead the way for the region out of the 13th century.

Posted by: rdw on March 15, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

phlox wrote: David Pimental's estimate of a sustainable global population of 2 billion at current U.S. living standards is based on the assumptions that the only source of energy will be solar power, and that the productivity of natural resources will remain frozen at current levels. Neither assumption is remotely plausible. Energy sources obviously include fossil, nuclear and geothermal fuels as well as solar, and there isn't the slightest indication that technological advances that allow us to produce greater wealth from a given quantity of a natural resource are going to stop.

On the contrary, the "productivity" of natural resources is rapidly diminishing as the major "ecosystem services" of the Earth that support life are being rapidly destroyed and degraded. This includes arable cropland, fresh water, forests and fisheries, all of which are already under severe stress from overuse and misuse. We have spent decades using "technological advances" to strip-mine the Earth of its natural resources beyond its ability to recover and we are now seeing the consequences: the beginning of widespread collapse of entire ecosystems, with global ecological meltdown on the horizon.

Neither fossil fuels nor nuclear power is sustainable. We will exhaust fossil fuels -- including coal -- as a viable energy source within decades (destroying the Earth's biosphere through global warming in the process). And a large scale expansion of nuclear power would likewise exhaust the world's uranium supplies in a similar time scale (while greatly facilitating the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology, not only to "rogue states" and terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, but to individual crackpot terrorists like the Unabomber).

Pimentel speaks of a "sustainable solar energy system" -- that includes not only solar photovoltaics, but agriculturally produced liquid fuels (which are solar energy captured through photosynthesis) and wind power. Geothermal energy (either subterranean heat sources or simply using the differential between atmospheric temperatures and subterranean temperatures for heating and cooling buildings) are not "solar energy" but would be part of such a system.

In the long run, a sustainable planetary human society will be one that "lives within its means", which means living on our solar energy income, and within the ability of the Earth's biosphere to thrive and regenerate. And that sustainable human society will have a much smaller population that the current 6.5 billion.

Otherwise we are acting like a cancer or a parasite that destroys its host organism and inevitably itself as well.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 15, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce the Canuck wrote: Your characterization in general of the political life experiences of "today's youth" is more wish list than fact.

Just about nothing that rdw has to say is "fact". Virtually all of it is hallucination.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 15, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce, the students you met may say they're "anti-suburbs" and against sprawl, but I bet when they graduate and get married and start having kids, most of them will be looking for a nice McMansion out in the suburbs to raise their family, just as their parents did before them.

Posted by: Jason on March 15, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

A total fertility rate of 1.5 (slightly more than the European average) cuts the population in half every 65 years. At 1.3 children per woman, the population gets cut in half every 32 years.

Great post. I've been trying to find data by ethnicity for Europe and the USA. Do you know if it exists?


To avoid dramatic declines in population over the next couple of generations, and virtual extinction beyond that, Europeans are either going to have to start having a lot more babies, or taking in a lot, a lot, more immigrants. Neither possibility seems very likely at the moment.

Agree completely.

Europeans have become almost excessively secularist and very depressed. In terms of happiness/optimism they are the lowest ranked continent. Neither points to increasing birth rates.

They have also started to enact far more restrictive immigration laws. They have grown very wary of islamic immigration for obvious reasons and have no good way of attracting others. The USA can absorb large numbers of mexican and hispanic immigrants because we create jobs. Europe has 20% jobless rates among young adults. The USA has help wanted ads up all over.

Posted by: rdw on March 15, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

The productivity of natural resources is not "rapidly diminishing," it is increasing. To pick just one example, the "green revolution" has allowed us to massively increase the agricultural productivity of arable land, and even just applying existing agricultural technology more broadly, let alone applying future advancements, would produce more food from less land than we get today.

We aren't remotely close to running out of the vast majority of natural resources, and the real cost of most raw materials is in fact declining, as technology advances allow us to extract them more cheaply.

There are sufficient proven reserves of fossil fuel and nuclear fuel to sustain our current energy use for centuries, even without the increases in efficiency that will doubtless continue to occur. When nuclear fusion becomes commercially feasible, our fuel supply will become, for all practical purposes, inexhaustible.

That's not to say there aren't some environmental issues that deserve immediate and serious attention -- greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, for example.

Posted by: phlox on March 15, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Jason> the students you met may say they're "anti-suburbs" and against sprawl, but... most of them will be looking for a nice McMansion out in the suburbs to raise their family...

Mostly because they don't really have a choice. The financing system for new developments and transportation planning locks in sprawl-style development. Ditto transit use.

Development trends have a sort of bimodal stability. If the trunk transportation is right and streets are in a grid-like layout, you can get healthy, traditional medium-density urban areas. Small lots, detached housing with inlaw streets, etc. It works, but developers hardly even know how to do it.

Housing has been commodified, like PCs have. Trying to plan a region around a different form of housing than condos vs suburb-sprawl is like trying to plug Mac parts into a microsoft machine. It no longer matters what people actually want, much less what might make them happier or makes sense. We're in a deep rut now.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 15, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Not only do Fox and talk radio reach a huge audience but they've changed the way MSM covers the news

No. They don't reach huge audiences. 1.9 million viewers for the O'Reilly Factor out of a nation of nearly 300 million is not a "huge audience." In fact, for the evening news hour, cable broadcasts still do not pull as much audience share as the supposedly dead Big Three. And NPR has had the greatest increase in listeners over the last three years, while the screamers and liars like O'Reilly and Limbaugh have seen their ratings fall.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Why do I have images of rdw goose-stepping and ranting? Wow, what a hate on for europe.

Hey, guess what, I chose europe over the united states as my major-power employment option. Got EU citizenship through family background, as have several others I know. Did you notice their space-science program is healthy, while everything progress-minded and open in the states science-wise is depressed and winding down? Might just have something to do with that attitude to "foreigners" rdw reveals here. And numeric trends tend to reflect the recent past, not the future.

The EU has its issues, though overstated here. But they'll adapt. But I've lost faith the US is adapting rationally, as have many others. Closed thinking will be quickly followed by decline in influence, and because attitudes like rdw's dissuade intellectually valuable immigrants, it may be quickly followed by a loss of strategic and economic influence. This is a turning-point decade, and which way things are going isn't obvious yet.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 15, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

We aren't remotely close to running out of the vast majority of natural resources, and the real cost of most raw materials is in fact declining, as technology advances allow us to extract them more cheaply. Posted by: phlox

Oil
natural gas
lumber
steel
copper
aluminum
glass

These products and raw materials have gone up anywhere from 10-35% in the last 18-months.

Any time current price increases exceed the rate of inflation, "real" costs have gone up.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 15, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Mostly because they don't really have a choice."

Of course they have a choice. But they tend to want a modern, decent-sized house with a yard for an affordable price, which is really only available in the suburbs. There simply isn't the room to build those houses in high-density population centers.


Posted by: Jason on March 15, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

phlox wrote: The productivity of natural resources is not "rapidly diminishing," it is increasing. To pick just one example, the "green revolution" has allowed us to massively increase the agricultural productivity of arable land

You are incorrect. The productivity of arable land is dropping all over the world, and indeed "arable land" itself is being rapidly lost to salinization (from irrigation) and desertification, as well as conversion to non-agricultural use. The so-called "green revolution" has contributed to this, by ignoring the health of living soils in favor of unsustainable and soil-degrading massive inputs of artificial petrochemical fertilizers. Ocean fisheries, a major source of protein for much of the Earth's human population, are crashing and many of the important major food fish species will be extinct in our lifetimes.

There are sufficient proven reserves of fossil fuel and nuclear fuel to sustain our current energy use for centuries

It is simply not true that there are "proven reserves" of either fossil fuels or uranium that will "sustain our current energy use" for centuries. At current rates of use they will be exhausted as energy sources within decades -- note that fossil fuels and radioactive fuels that require more energy to extract and convert into usable form than they provide when burned are not energy sources, but energy sinks, and we will be getting into that territory soon. Of course, if we drastically reduce the amount of fossil fuels we burn then they will last longer.

That's not to say there aren't some environmental issues that deserve immediate and serious attention -- greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, for example.

I'm glad you at least recognize that those issues deserve attention.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 15, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Jason>There simply isn't the room to build those houses in high-density population centers.

So you densify new *medium* density population centres in old, tired inner suburbs. Or build *new* medium-density areas, right where you were going to put the low density suburbs and strip malls.

The system has a high degree of lock-in, because transportation planners, developers and banks build what they understand. The result is that in consumers don't actually have a choice. At least where I live, the real estate values in denser areas are sky high. People want to live there. They're limited by what councils and developers deign to build for them, and old transportation planning choices, not by what they want.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 15, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II wrote: These products and raw materials have gone up anywhere from 10-35% in the last 18-months.

The price of uranium has also gone up dramatically. This price increase is driving plans to mine uranium on native American lands in the USA, which are running into opposition from the populace there who have decades of prior experience of their people being poisoned to death by uranium mining. Meanwhile the Bush administration is pushing an expanded worldwide market for reprocessed reactor fuel, which will be the greatest gift imaginable to rogue states and terrorists who want to get their hands on material for making nuclear weapons or radioactive "dirty bombs".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 15, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce the Canuck wrote: At least where I live, the real estate values in denser areas are sky high. People want to live there. They're limited by what councils and developers deign to build for them, and old transportation planning choices, not by what they want.

This is also true in the Washington DC area where I live. According to real estate people I've talked to, ten years ago everyone wanted newly built McMansions or condos out in the outer suburbs -- i.e. cow pastures and cornfields recently converted to residential use. Now that has changed and the hot real estate is in the "old, tired inner suburbs", fify to sixty year old houses in what are now essentially urban areas. That's where people want to live -- it's close to where they work (short commutes), close to schools, shopping, public transportation, and all these sorts of amenities. Property values in the outer suburbs have leveled off, although they are not dropping yet. However, as the cost of gasoline for transport and natural gas for heating those preposterously huge fake McMansions skyrockets as it inevitably will, I expect that property values "out there" will drop. Hopefully some of that land can be converted back to growing food. We'll need it. The days of shipping lettuce grown in irrigated deserts in California 3000 miles by refrigerated deisel truck to DC are numbered.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 15, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

"These products and raw materials have gone up anywhere from 10-35% in the last 18-months."

Short-term fluctuations in commodity prices aren't terribly meaningful.

The U.S. Geological Survey document Historical Statistics for Mineral and Material Commodities in the United States tracks the price of 90 mineral commodities going back to the year 1900. As you will see if you examine the tables, the real (inflation-adjusted) price of most of these raw materials has been declining for a century. There is no indication that this trend will stop. We aren't remotely close to exhausting the supply of most raw materials.

Posted by: phlox on March 15, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

"So you densify new *medium* density population centres in old, tired inner suburbs. Or build *new* medium-density areas, right where you were going to put the low density suburbs and strip malls."

Families don't want "medium-density areas." They want big houses with yards. In the city where I live, which I think is pretty typical, you can buy a high-rise loft or condo downtown, or a small, older house a bit further out in a historic neighborhood, or for about the same price you can buy a big, new McMansion further out in one of the rapidly-expanding suburbs. Guess who lives in the condos and older homes? Yuppies, single people, gay couples, childless young straight couples, and some retirees. There are very few families with children. The vast majority of those families choose to live in the suburbs instead, where they get much more house, much more space, for the same amount of money or less.


Posted by: Jason on March 15, 2006 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

US agriculture is simply not sustainable, and in the not too distant future it is going to fail.

Utter poppycock. The productivity of US farmers, like those in much of the world, continues to increase. There is not a shred of evidence that US agriculture is "going to fail". A half century ago the average American farmer was feeding perhaps 10 or 12 persons. He is now feeding (at least) 75.

Posted by: Old McDonald on March 15, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

My solution: though childless myself, I married a fairly conservative woman whose Republican husband had abandoned her and their three children (that never happens, right?).

Now she's a radical leftist like me and the kids, now grown, are at least solid liberals.

Posted by: Shady Grove on March 15, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist wrote, "You are incorrect. The productivity of arable land is dropping all over the world,"

No, you are incorrect. The productivity of arable land has increased dramatically and continues to increase. In the United States, for example, the yield of 17 essential food and fibre products (wheat, corn, cotton, etc.) tripled between the 1930s and 1980s, while the amount of land needed to produce them declined from 77 million acres to 72 million acres.

"It is simply not true that there are "proven reserves" of either fossil fuels or uranium that will "sustain our current energy use" for centuries. "

It is most definitely true. With respect to coal reserves, for example, the U.S. government's Energy Information Adminitration reports that:

"Estimates of the world's total recoverable reserves of coal in 2002 were about 1,081 billion sort tons. The resulting ratio of coal reserves to production exceeds 200 years, meaning that at current rates of production (and no change in reserves), coal reserves could in theory last for another two centuries."

Posted by: phlox on March 15, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

There are very few families with children. The vast majority of those families choose to live in the suburbs instead, where they get much more house, much more space, for the same amount of money or less.

Jason: while you're quite correct, of course, a prime driver of this phenomenon is education. I suspect plenty of families would opt for the central city lifestyle because (perhaps couterintuitively), depending on how one organizes one's life, it can be a simpler, more convenient, less materialistic and less costly lifestyle, especially if one is willing to make do with less living space. Think of the dramatically lower cost of transportation, for instance, and the significantly lower quantities of energy and water used.

But the poor quality of many US inner city school sytems forces a family to shell out an additional $10k (at a minimum in most cases) per child on private tuition, thereby obviating any cost advantage the inner city may enjoy.

I'm not claiming, mind you, that a majority of households with children would opt for central cities were it feasible, but I think many more would do so than the current numbers suggest were the education problem repaired.

Posted by: anon on March 15, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

"The EU has its issues, though overstated here. But they'll adapt. But I've lost faith the US is adapting rationally, as have many others. Closed thinking will be quickly followed by decline in influence, and because attitudes like rdw's dissuade intellectually valuable immigrants, it may be quickly followed by a loss of strategic and economic influence. This is a turning-point decade, and which way things are going isn't obvious yet."

The economic, military and cultural power and influence of the United States has probably never been greater than it is now. With the spread of international trade and globalization, the growth of the American population, and the shrinking of Europe and the former Soviet-bloc nations, this trend doesn't seem likely to stop.

Posted by: e12 on March 15, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

No, you are incorrect. The productivity of arable land has increased dramatically and continues to increase. In the United States, for example, the yield of 17 essential food and fibre products (wheat, corn, cotton, etc.) tripled between the 1930s and 1980s...

You'll have to forgive our Secular Animist. When it comes to apocalyptic visions of the future, the fundies have nothing on him.

Posted by: Commoner on March 15, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

What you ignorantly call "badly outdated" farming techniques have been used for over ten thousand years in China

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 15, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Do you know anything about China?
Famines throughout history and now huge 'dust bowl' type enviromental damage (of the people die of pollution kind not the obscure tree frog dies kind).

Posted by: McA on March 15, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Estimates of the world's total recoverable reserves of coal...resulting ratio of coal reserves to production exceeds 200 years, meaning that at current rates of production..."

Emphasis on *at current rates of production*. Ditto for uranium.

>The productivity of arable land has increased dramatically and continues to increase.

That's intensity of production, not total. And if production is mostly dependent on petrolium and capital intensive inputs, rather than land health, that's to be expected.

Global agricultural yields per-capita peaked some years ago. Globally there is less healthy arable land; the gap is made up for through the conversion of oil and natural gas into food, with land as the factory floor.

Not to say I'm as pessimistic as SA. But tehno-cornucopia is as suicidal an attitude in the long term as expected god to look out for us.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 15, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

>The economic, military and cultural power and influence of the United States has probably never been greater than it is now.

No, I think it peaked right about at the moon landings, and has been in slow and bumpy decline since. Remember that prior to around 1971, the US was not only in technical and military leadership, it was also the swing oil producer, and clearly the place to go for leading edge science.

Competition is sharper now, and the disappearance of the soviet bloc was a gain relative to the nearest competitor, not rel to the globe as a whole. Influence and power are products of underlying cultural and intellectual strengths and competencies. There's a time lag involved before losses in one area show up in another.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 15, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Holy crap do I need a browser with a spellchecker.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 15, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Emphasis on *at current rates of production*. Ditto for uranium."

Right. That's why I said "to sustain our current energy use" for centuries. And unless gains in the efficiency of energy extraction and use stop, which seems highly unlikely, existing recoverable reserves will last even longer, or be able to support more people for the same amount of time.

"That's intensity of production, not total."

I don't know what "intensity of production, not total" is supposed to mean. By productivity of arable land, I mean the amount of food a given amount of land can yield in a given amount of time. That figure has increased dramatically, and is likely to continue to increase. Even if we just applied existing advanced agricultural technology more broadly, we could dramatically improve yields without any technological advance. The world is not in danger of not being able to produce enough food. Malnutrition and hunger are caused by social and political problems, not a lack of resources.

"Global agricultural yields per-capita peaked some years ago."

I seriously doubt that.

Posted by: phlox on March 15, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

The U.S. still is the world's technical and military leader. In fact, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the military and scientific pre-eminence of America is greater than ever. No other country, or bloc of countries, comes remotely close.

Ditto for America's economic and cultural dominance. Its former closest economic competitor, Japan, has basically been in a recession for 15 years. I'll grant that China and India have grown in relative global economic importance, but their per capita wealth is still so far behind that of the U.S., and they are so dependent on trade with the U.S. to sustain their economies, that they aren't even as important as Japan was at its peak.

Posted by: anon on March 15, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

>>"Emphasis on *at current rates of production*. Ditto for uranium."
>Right. That's why I said "to sustain our current energy use" for centuries.

"Current energy use" is in large part oil and natural gas, two very portable energy sources, not easily substituted for without efficiency losses. If we fall to largely replacing those with tar and/or coal, the tar+coal won't be lasting 200 years as the much higher rate of depletion.

>By productivity of arable land, I mean the amount of food a given amount of land can yield in a given amount of time. That figure has increased dramatically, and is likely to continue to increase.

Because the primary input is no longer quality soil, it's petroleum products and capital investment. Therefore it's dependent on those resources staying abundant and cheap. Notice that much of north america's fertilizer production has moved offshore as natural gas prices spike.

Source for global per-capita yield:
http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/319/7215/988/Fu4

(debate between two experts at that site)

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 15, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

This strikes a chord with me. I worked with a big bush supporter in 2004, during the election, who was one of 11 kids. I think they do breed more and tend to have more kids....

"Been around the world and all the stupid people are breeding...They're cloning and feeding....and I don't even have a TV..."
Harvey Danger, "FencePole Sitta"

Posted by: control13 on March 15, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

Share of scientific papers published, by country

And the trends in graduation rates for engineering and science degrees are not in favour of the USA to say the least. The EU is clearly taking a lead in physics, civilian aerospace, and now even in space science - although that mostly due to the drastic science cuts at NASA.

Plus, the chilling effect of current xenophobia, such as rdw here has displayed, and its resulting hostile atmosphere for scientists and engineers hasn't yet had time to show up clearly. But it will.

Something's going wrong down there, a rot that hasn't yet shown its effect on economic/strategic positions, but will. The republican party's activists are as a good place as any to look for the cause.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 15, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Share of scientific papers published by country" isn't a terribly meaningful indicator of "scientific and military leadership." Physics and engineering tend to be rather more important than, say, "rheumatology" (the field for which the EU has the highest share of papers, according to your source). Papers published in Nature and Physical Review Letters tend to be rather more important than papers published in obscure journals.

I'd like to see the evidence for your astonishing claim that "The EU is clearly taking a lead in physics, civilian aerospace, and now even in space science." Although perhaps by "a" lead you mean only that the EU leads all countries in those fields that are not the United States.

Posted by: anon on March 15, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Current energy use" is in large part oil and natural gas, two very portable energy sources, not easily substituted for without efficiency losses. If we fall to largely replacing those with tar and/or coal, the tar+coal won't be lasting 200 years as the much higher rate of depletion.

We don't have to largely replace oil and gas with coal, because we have very large reserves of those fuels also. But if we need to in the future, we can substitute coal for other fossil fuels even with today's technology, and are likely to have vastly superior extraction, conversion and combustion technologies decades or centuries from now.

"Because the primary input is no longer quality soil, it's petroleum products and capital investment. Therefore it's dependent on those resources staying abundant and cheap. Notice that much of north america's fertilizer production has moved offshore as natural gas prices spike."

This claim is irrelevant to my point, which is that the productivity of arable land has increased dramatically and will likely continue to increase. We can produce more food with less land than ever before. There is no indication that a lack of petroleum products or capital investment will prevent further productivity gains.


Posted by: phlox on March 16, 2006 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

phlox>We don't have to largely replace oil and gas with coal, because we have very large reserves of those fuels also.

Totally false, even the USGS puts the peak of oil production at 2037. Most sources put it closer. Natural gas is already in steep depletion in north america. The tar sands are not easy to ramp up to a meaningful scale as a substitute, and currently depend on below-market rate natural gas. "Reserves" do not necc follow the non-physical economic model you want to believe.

anon>I'd like to see the evidence for your astonishing claim that "The EU is clearly taking a lead in physics, civilian aerospace, and now even in space science."

By "taking a lead" I don't mean that they are in the lead. I mean that their trend is up, and that for the united states is down. CERN, ITER, the ESA, etc have all had funding and activity that trends up. Equivelents in the USA are now less well funded. NASA's space sciences and basic research just took a huge hit, for example. Such efforts are multi-decade, and cancellations now will have their true effects in the 2010's.

Also, the US government has put a chill on scientific exchange, visas, etc. The effects of that will take a while to show up, but are likely to be real. Much of the historic strength of the US has been from imported intellectual and craeative talent. The GOP's attitudes and response to current threats have created a poor atmosphere. They're badly mismanaging the seeds of the US's success and vibrancy.

The point of all this, getting waaaaay back to the thread topic, is that it's stupid to confuse regional fertility rates, or even GDP, with the long term health of a society. It's like claiming your body weight and calorie intake are linear indicators of health.

Otherwise Saudi Arabia would be set up to be an incredible long term success. Not so much. They have a saying,
"my father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet. His son will ride a camel."

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 16, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, except that illegals HAVE won by overbreeding. They had the land... we took the land... they overpopulated and took it back!

Posted by: Clem on March 16, 2006 at 5:38 AM | PERMALINK

No. They don't reach huge audiences. 1.9 million viewers for the O'Reilly Factor out of a nation of nearly 300 million is not a "huge audience." In fact, for the evening news hour, cable broadcasts still do not pull as much audience share as the supposedly dead Big Three. And NPR has had the greatest increase in listeners over the last three years, while the screamers and liars like O'Reilly and Limbaugh have seen their ratings fall.


O'rielly is 1.9M up from ZERO 6 years ago. LiBBUAGH himself gets nearly 25M listeners durng the course of a week but far more impressive is the fact he spawned 3 talk radio networks with air 24/7.

Add in the bloggers doing an incredibly job on research and analysis and you've got 3 powerful mediums that did not exist 15 years ago. The bloggers provide Fox and Talk Radio with a far better research staff than the MSM has.

Just consider book sales the last decade. conservative writers are becoming multi-millionaires. It was once a requirment for success to get a review by the NY Times. Many don't bother. They merely do the talk radio circuit, a few appearance on Fox and the bloggers and they're top 10.

What Fox was able to do during the campaign for example was to use facts collected by bloggers to absolutely torch Dan Rather over a two week period. The literally mocked him, CBS and the rest of the MSM. If I remember correctly it took the NYTs 5 days before they decided to cover the story. Everyone in the country was covering a story the MSM tried not to cover.

The better example is of course John Kerry. The MSM told Kerry not to react to the SBVs because they wouldn't cover the story. Both got the shock of their lives. Fox covered it. Every Day. They cost Kerry the election.

NPR is a joke. Their entire audience is urban tree-huggers. Gee, think they'll vote democrat? If allyou do is sing to the choir by definition you have no influence.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 6:50 AM | PERMALINK

No, I think it peaked right about at the moon landings, and has been in slow and bumpy decline since. Remember that prior to around 1971, the US was not only in technical and military leadership, it was also the swing oil producer, and clearly the place to go for leading edge science.

Total nonsense. We are by far the most dominant country and far moreso than in 1971 when we were facing an Oil embargo, slow economic growth, high inflation and high unemployment and trying to get out of Vietnam.

American per capita GDP is now about 40% higher than Franc and Germany on much higher economic growth and lower unemployment and our military has a wider technologly and training gap versus
the rest of the world than at anytime in history.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 6:57 AM | PERMALINK

But the poor quality of many US inner city school sytems forces a family to shell out an additional $10k (at a minimum in most cases) per child on private tuition, thereby obviating any cost advantage the inner city may enjoy.

I'm not claiming, mind you, that a majority of households with children would opt for central cities were it feasible, but I think many more would do so than the current numbers suggest were the education problem repaired.

urban catholic schools cost about 2,500 - 3,000 for elementary school an 4,000 - 4,500 for high school. Catholic prep schools are > $10K. These are excellent systems. The prep schools are in fabulous shape with many rivaling some colleges with their alumni fund raising. They are all but guarranteed to last forever with large and growing endowments.

Education is only one issue. Crime is just as important and then there's services. The cities just don't deliver. If you want a 2 car grage you can forget the city and in many places one car is impossible. Want trees and a garden? How about a pool?

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK

Influence and power are products of underlying cultural and intellectual strengths and competencies.

Influence and power are the products of military and economic strength. We can see this in the EU and US. The Europeans are the most elegent and cultually sophisticated people the world has ever seen.

They have no military power and despite a large economy they have little economic power. They have little growth and even less innovation. American and other global corporations are expanding all over the world except in Western Europe.

Intel now has research staffs on several continents. They do research in Japan, China and India but none in Western Europe. This pattern is consistent.

As far as the next breakthrough all of this is excellent news. We now have many, many more people looking for the cure for cancer and how to make solar energy more practical. I don't much care if the person who finds the cure for anything is Japanese, Chinese, Indian or American. It's all to the good.

There's one other critical benefit. Countries that are inter-connected economically do not got to war with each other. This all makes the world a much safer place.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 7:19 AM | PERMALINK

Plus, the chilling effect of current xenophobia, such as rdw here has displayed, and its resulting hostile atmosphere for scientists and engineers hasn't yet had time to show up clearly.

What are you babbling about? I don't have a shred of xenophobia. I am a hard core believer in free trade and globilization and I support immigration into the USA.

I trash the UN and the EU because they are massively corrupt. It's the Europeans putting up immigration barriers BTW.

What hostile environment are you talking about? R&D in the USA is exploding and is far beyond what the EU could ever afford. Moreover, R&D spending had been increasing at more than 2x's the rate of the EU countries along with our economy.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

Also, the US government has put a chill on scientific exchange, visas, etc. The effects of that will take a while to show up, but are likely to be real. Much of the historic strength of the US has been from imported intellectual and creative talent. The GOP's attitudes and response to current threats have created a poor atmosphere. They're badly mismanaging the seeds of the US's success and vibrancy.

Utter garbage, The USA is still be the best place to do R&D but has so much in the way of profits to invest the USA has to invest R&D dollars in markets like India, China, Japan, etc.
How else can Intel, IBM, GE, Dow Chemical, Microsoft, etc., all of these and 1,000 others are growing profits at 15% and increasing R&D by similar amounts. The USA simply cannot absorb this level of investment.

ON top of that it's obvious business sense to grow and invest your future markets. India has a huge and rapdly growing middle class and it's English speaking. What a terrific opportunity to build alliances in an exploding market.

BTW: The fact we import so much talent isn't a good thing. It's a great thing!!! These good people are all future ambassadors.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

Going back to the article, I was thinking that people without families are more likely to be liberals. I mean the whole idea is to replace the family support system with a government support system. Obviously, people without families are going to be all over that. And there will always be people without families for whatever reason. But people with good family support structures are always not going to want to pay for complete redundancy.

"I'm not claiming, mind you, that a majority of households with children would opt for central cities were it feasible, but I think many more would do so than the current numbers suggest were the education problem repaired. "

So we just have to wait for blacks to move out to the suburbs. I agree with you.

Posted by: Chad on March 16, 2006 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

Something's going wrong down there, a rot that hasn't yet shown its effect on economic/strategic positions, but will.

Here we go Bruce, From CIA Factbook:

GDP - real growth rate:
2.8% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $32,800 (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
3.5% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $41,800 (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
2.7% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $32,000 (2005 est.)


41,800/32,800 = 1.274. The USA is only 27% higher per person. Want the really bad news? We've been growing much faster for a decade and will continue to grow much faster. That 27% is rapidly moving to 50%.

Want even better news? You are digging up your tar sands to provide the USA with Oil and trashing KYOTO. We'll come much, much closer to our Kyoto targets than Canada. Isn't that cool?

I added Australia, our closest ally for a reason. This is the 1st year in 10 Canada has grown as fast as Australia and will probably be the last in another decade. In that period Australia has closed the per capita GDP gap dramatically and will within a few years pass Canada. In the last decade they moved soldily past France and Germany.

BTW: They also told the Kyoto folk to shove it up their asses and will STILL outperform Canada. That's not saying much. Canada is certain to get the dunce cap. Of ALL nations Canada will be the worst polluter as measured by Kyoto in the world.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

So we just have to wait for blacks to move out to the suburbs. I agree with you.

Blacks have been moving out to the suburbs for 30 years.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

is that it's stupid to confuse regional fertility rates, or even GDP, with the long term health of a society. It's like claiming your body weight and calorie intake are linear indicators of health.

Wrong!

Regional fertility rates are an excellent indicator of the realtive health of a society. Extremely high fertility rates are a clear indicator of depravation and destitution. All societies with very high birth rates are either very poorly educated or very poor or more likely both.

Regions with very low birth rates are generally very slow growing, very static and generally emotionally depressed. The Zero Growth liberals define emotionally depressed. They are so sad and miserable they don't want to being a child into the world. You can't get more pathetic than that.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Ditto for America's economic and cultural dominance. Its former closest economic competitor, Japan, has basically been in a recession for 15 years. I'll grant that China and India have grown in relative global economic importance, but their per capita wealth is still so far behind that of the U.S., and they are so dependent on trade with the U.S. to sustain their economies, that they aren't even as important as Japan was at its peak

Japan is in fact coming out of it's long hibernation with a much different economic model than the 1990 version. Like the USA Japan has a global outlook. They are also a much closer ally. In a globalized economy is a great benefit for the USA to have help being the global economic locomotive from Japan and India and China. More wealth means less risk of confrontation. Aside from a few relatively minor territorial issues Asia should be a terrific place for historically powerful economic growth and wealth creation as well as innovation. I doubt many will complain if the cure for cancer comes out of a lab in India.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

Regional fertility rates are an excellent indicator of the realtive health of a society. rdw

Well by rdw's definition that makes Nigeria and Sub-Saharan African in general our new model...

Idiot.

Look, ya'll, all this (comparative birth rates predicting political affliation and so forth) presupposes a social and economic 'steady state' which is in point of fact highly unlikely in terms of the extraordinarily parlous state of our economy. There's nothing like an good economic/resources/financial collapse to radicalize populations one way or the other.

rdw so perfectly illustrates: "Americans will vote for cornpone Nazis before they will give up their entitlements to a McHouse and a McCar." James Howard Kunstler

Posted by: CFShep on March 16, 2006 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

>The economic, military and cultural power and influence of the United States has probably never been greater than it is now.

http://www.salon.com/books/review/2006/03/16/phillips/ - Michelle Goldberg - Decline and fall

(taken from above cited review of Kevin Phillip's new book)

"Conservative true believers will scoff: the United States is sue generis, they say, a unique and chosen nation," writes Phillips. "What did or did not happen to Rome, imperial Spain, the Dutch Republic, and Britain is irrelevant. The catch here, alas, is that these nations also thought they were unique and that God was on their side. The revelation that He was apparently not added a further debilitating note to the later stages of each national decline."

"[T]he precedents of past leading world economic powers show that blind faith and religious excesses -- the rapture seems to be both -- have often contributed to national decline, sometimes even being in its forefront." - Kevin Phillips

Posted by: CFShep on March 16, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

The major problem for the Earth psychologically is no longer having any apparent frontiers. Outer space is a wonderful research frontier, but it is hard to see where any appreciable numbers of humans could set up viable long term habitation. All colonies throughout history have been high-risk, big outlay ventures.

We should probably start with ocean-bottom and Antarctic colonies. Either of these would provide a measure of protection against some types of extinction events. Also modern seed and reproductive cell preservation techniques would make it possible to maintain a large "ark" of diverse biota as an insurance policy against that killer solar flare, dark asteroid, killer epidemic, super volcano, or whatever.

Expansion into outer space will come, but humans will probably have to live in huge centrifuge type stations to provide earthlike gravity. Our moon is a likely place to try building such things, especially since it has titanium.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 16, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Tripp: not from some red state 'college.'

What's with the condescending 'college' bit. You think there are no excellent state schools outside of CA or MA? That all our schools are, what, imaginary?

WTF?

Can't even begin to tell you how offensive this attitude is. That's the purest snobbery and nothin' but snobbery.

Then protest when ya'll get tagged as 'elitists'?

Believe it or not, honey, people without the resources to attend exclusive Ivy League schools do manage, somehow, to get educations.

Even in 'red states'. And just writing off everyone who lives in 'red states' is stupidly, blindly, self-defeating. It's the political equivilent of 'racism' - regionalism.

There's no such thing and 'pure red' or 'pure blue' states. Every damned state is a blend - some shade of purple.

Gonna tell me NOBODY in MA or CA voted for the current idiots in power? I surely didn't despite living in a 'red' state.

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.
Kurt Vonnegut

Posted by: CFShep on March 16, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

I came of age not in the nonconformist 1960s or 1970s but in the Reagan era. Both my parents were staunch Republicans; my mother was a Republican elected official. My husband's parents were both Republicans too. We are both devout Democrats, as are most of my husband's siblings. I was a Democratic delegate at two national conventions.

Never underestimate the power of grown children (or even less-than-grown ones) to think for themselves.

And don't forget that the conservative doctrine is unraveling before our eyes.

Posted by: sullijan on March 16, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Never underestimate the power of grown children (or even less-than-grown ones) to think for the mselves. And don't forget that the conservative doctrine is unraveling before our eyes. Posted by: sullijan

My circumstances were much the same. My parents have been lifelong Rethugs, though they have no use for Bush or the Iraq war. Unfortunately, if McCain gets the Rethug nod in 2008, they will vote for him.

I was in college during the Carter and Reagan years. I thought Reagan was the worst thing to happen to America, worse than Nixon. Boy was I wrong. Bush has proven to be the worst president in modern times. A complete disaster domestically and in foreign policy.

At the rate his administration is going, trying to find someone (except the 34% hardcore wingnuts) that will admit to having voted for Bush both times will be like trying to find someone admitting that they voted for Nixon in 1972. Nixon was a monster in some ways, but he never did the kind of things that Bush has done that will be so hard to undo once he's gone.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 16, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Never underestimate the power of grown children (or even less-than-grown ones) to think for themselves.

I never under-estimate the power of grown children to think for themselves. There are absolutely children who follow a different path. It works the same for both parties. There is still a strong correlation however and it is especially strong in religious families and secular families.

And don't forget that the conservative doctrine is unraveling before our eyes.

You've got to read more princess. The conservative doctrine is doing just fine. Did you see John Roberts 8 - 0 trashing of Ivy League Law school academia over the Solomon amendment? And that was without Sam Alito. Did you read about his Nuclear deal with India? How about Condi's Georgetown speech just before that deal announcing the State Dept was going to realign according to population, noting India has 20x's as many people as France. You are of course aware Rumsfeld has reduced our NATO troop counts by 90% leaving only medical and support staff?

You are aware Kyoto is trash and GWB has already created the Asian-Pacific Partnership to replace it. You are aware the ABM treaty no longer exists and we're building a missle defense site in Alaska?

You are aware GWB has signed free trade deals with 6 groups including Australia and Singapore and is actively negotiating the same with South Korea, Malasia, Pamana, Columbia, Peru and Ecuador. You are also aware he's been negotiating improved trade and defense deals with Japan, Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Vietnam. Forget Europe. Asia rules.

You are of course aware the tax cuts were just extended as well as the Patriot Act.

Are you upset the US doesn't seem to be paying much attention to the UN or the EU? I'm not. Are you upset that Schroeder in Germany and Martin in Canada are out? As bad as GWBs polls are they're much better than Chirac's. Are you upset the USA created 243,000 jobs last month while Western Europe hasn't created that many jobs in the last two decades?

Are you upset that Dupont yesterday announced record profits and that it's closing 4 plants and laying off 1,500 in Europe? Are you upset Intel announced it's next plant will be in Vietnam? Are you upset the UAW is losing about 100,000 jobs in Blue states while other manufacturers are hiring 100,000 non-union workers in Red States?

Are you aware Israel will complete the wall by 2010? That's without or without Palestinian agreement. Are you aware Israel is now safe and booming economically and they're not negotiating with Palestine? Are you aware now that Hamas has elected a slate of leaders Israel has a slate of targets should they decide terror is an option? Are you aware the UN and the EU have no influence here or anywhere else?

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Way the fuck back in 1969 my highschool had a by invitation of the instructor only (we didn't have AP courses) split semester course - half college level PoliSci and half college Intro to Economics.

I vividly recall his prediction that we'd end up as the most conservative generation the US had ever seen.

He said that due to the ruthless competition caused by our sheer numbers, we'd elbow each other out in the rush to claim a slice of a pie which never grew proportionately.

That fever of competition and resulting insecurity it produced would inevitably produce, he said, intensely held conservative values in an constantly under-performing economy.

aka "I got mine, Jack. Screw you."

Also, that the pressure of competition for jobs, housing, education and other scarce resources would tend to disproportionately favor the children of the affluent leading to a further concentration of wealth.

Oh, and he predicted massive inflation...remember those pathetic Ford 'Whip Inflation Now' buttons?

So Mr. Brocato, although you were wrong about the war in SEAsia, I gotta hand it to you, sir, on political and economic grounds. You nailed it.

Posted by: CFShep on March 16, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

I was in college during the Carter and Reagan years. I thought Reagan was the worst thing to happen to America, worse than Nixon. Boy was I wrong. Bush has proven to be the worst president in modern times. A complete disaster domestically and in foreign policy.

jeff II,

It must have sucked being a liberal during your period. You missed the real glory days and got to enjoy the slide. What was it like to acknowledge John Kerry did not want to be called a liberal. He didn't want people to know he was like you. What's it like to see so many people using the term progressive knowing they're embarrsed by the term liberal?

Either you watched Reagans week long funeral in agony OR you kept the TV and radio off all week. Even Peter Jennings was praising Reagan and you just know he'd rather puke.

You're nuts but I respet you for hanging around for the liberal collapse.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

As far as I know, conservatism isn't an inherited trait. Perhaps if it was, we could find a cure.

Posted by: catherineD on March 16, 2006 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

rdw is becoming completely unhinged. There is no real content to his posts any more except paranoid schizophrenic delusions and endless chanting of "Liberals bad! Conservaties good! Ronald Reagan is the greatest hero in all of human history! Red Team wins! Red Team wins!! Red Team wins!!!"

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 16, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

>Are you upset the US doesn't seem to be paying much attention to the UN or the EU?

Methinks you doth protest too much. It seems from here that you guys just foam at the mouth at the mention of the EU.

I can hardly wait to see how this lot handles oil being traded in euros. Seems to be a lack of awareness of exactly what game the EU is playing - or they just can't handle it.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on March 16, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

As far as I know, conservatism isn't an inherited trait. Perhaps if it was, we could find a cure.
Posted by: catherineD

Excellent!

Posted by: CFShep on March 16, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

rdw is becoming completely unhinged. There is no real content to his posts any more except paranoid schizophrenic delusions and endless chanting of "Liberals bad! Conservaties good! Ronald Reagan is the greatest hero in all of human history! Red Team wins! Red Team wins!! Red Team wins!!!"
Posted by: SecularAnimist

Oh, for sure. Don't tell me you just noticed how delusional he is.

Although my diagnosis was 'bat shit nuts' for which I prescribed being hit upside the head, repeatedly, with a rubber chicken.

Tell me that visual holds no appeal...

Re Phlox (aka Pollyana) - I award you both ears and the tail. There's another delusional. Space colonization? Yow!

Posted by: CFShep on March 16, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Are you aware Israel is now safe and booming economically and they're not negotiating with Palestine? Posted by: rdw

You have no grasp of politics or economics, do you? Israel would be completely broke without the massive amounts of foreign aid it receives from the U.S.

This year, the U.S. Congress approved $2.76 billion in its annual aid package for Israel. The total amount of direct U.S. aid to Israel has been constant, at around $3 billion (usually 60% military and 40% economic) per year for the last quarter century. A new plan was recently implemented to phase out all economic aid and provide corresponding increases in military aid by 2008. This year Israel is receiving $2.04 billion in military aid and $720 million in economic aid there is only military aid.

In addition to nearly $3 billion in direct aid, Israel usually gets another $3 billion or so in indirect aid: military support from the defense budget, forgiven loans, and special grants. While some of the indirect aid is difficult to measure precisely, it is safe to say that Israel's total aid (direct and indirect) amounts to at least five billion dollars annually.

http://www.wrmea.com/html/usaidtoisrael0001.htm
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/U.S._Assistance_to_Israel1.html
http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1209/p16s01-wmgn.html

Posted by: Jeff II on March 16, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

You have no grasp of politics or economics, do you? Israel would be completely broke without the massive amounts of foreign aid it receives from the U.S.

Nonsense. This might have been true 30 years ago. But Israel today creates EU-levels of wealth. Its GDP is approaching $200 billion. US aid is equal in size to only 1 or 2 points of GDP. Would this loss put a crimp in Israel's government spending? Sure. But the claim that Israel would go "completely broke" is ridiculous.

Posted by: Bountiful on March 16, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Education is only one issue. Crime is just as important and then there's services. The cities just don't deliver. If you want a 2 car grage you can forget the city and in many places one car is impossible. Want trees and a garden? How about a pool?

Bu that's just the point. Not everybody wants those things. Some people would gladly trade the "privilege" of a $300 a month gasoline bill for proximity to museums, theaters, cultural amenities, and, yes, work. Cutting one's roundtrip commute from, say, two hours to, say, 40 minutes likewise holds appeal. The point is, the poor quality of urban education prevents those families who would opt for such tradeoffs from being able to do so -- even more than fear of crime (which, in many cities, has declined precipitously). Again, most families with children would undoubtedly choose the suburbs even if inner city schools were improved, or education dollars were made fully portable. But not all would make this choice -- surely some parents prefer the amenities of city living, and the advantages it can afford their kids.

Posted by: anon on March 16, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Nonsense. This might have been true 30 years ago. But Israel today creates EU-levels of wealth. Its GDP is approaching $200 billion. US aid is equal in size to only 1 or 2 points of GDP. Would this loss put a crimp in Israel's government spending? Sure. But the claim that Israel would go "completely broke" is ridiculous.

Perhaps it wouldn't be the inconvenience I see. But after some thirty years of propping Zionism, I'm tired of it. Israel does the U.S. nor the rest of the world any favors, beyond the fact that it shouldn't even exist.

Below are the 2005 estimated for GDP from the CIA web page I Googled. Ireland, with by far the EU's smallest economy, is the only country Israel bests.

Morocco $ 139,500,000,000 2005 est. 54
Israel $ 139,200,000,000 2005 est. 55
Ireland $ 136,900,000,000 2005 est. 56

Posted by: Jeff II on March 16, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

rdw -
The Daily Show.

(and have you been on a campus lately?)

Posted by: Dan S. on March 16, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Below are the 2005 estimated for GDP from the CIA web page I Googled. Ireland, with by far the EU's smallest economy, is the only country Israel bests.

Care to put those figures into per capita numbers, idiot? Israel, like I said, creates EU-levels of wealth. It's rich country, in other words, by world standards, as is Ireland (and as Morocco decidedly is NOT). Forcing the Israeli government to undergo a three or four point reduction in its budget (or a tax increase) would be an inconvenience, nothing more. The reality is Israel doesn't need American money. This situation may well reinforce your desire to cut aid to the Zionist Satan, but it entirely destroys your absurd claim about the probability of Israel's going broke should such an event come to pass.

Posted by: anon on March 16, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

beyond the fact that it shouldn't even exist.

Blame France and England for that but it doesn't matter. They do exist. They are there and will remain there. Egypt is far more dependent on US Aid if you want to make comparisons.

The more interesting thing about Israel are the changes under Sharon who will truly be remembered as a giant. With Netyanhu as his finance minister they engineered rtax cuts and other supply-side initiatives and the Israeli economy is growing at it's fastest rates in over a decade Moreover they've completed a series of trade deals suggesting this growth is very sustainable.

The more relevent comparion for Israel is not the EU but the Arab world where the live. per capital GDP in Israel trails most of the EU at $22K but that's not at all bad considering their defense requirements. Israel must spend about 9% of GDP on defense while Germany spends about 1.5%. Germany has lost it's US defesne umbrella so we'll see how that works out.

Israel's per capita GDP is more than 5x's Egypts, Jordans and Lebanons GDP and they are growing faster. The West Bank and Gaza are Ghetto's even by middle eastern standards. The real problem is they've been defeated. By pulling back to defensible bordersa and erecting the fence Israel can remain safe and allow Palestine the homeland they've been demanding. It's extremely doubtful they'll be able to govern themselves and likely will be absorbed by another middle Eastern nations.

What we do know is that with constantly improving drone technology the Israeli war agasint terrorism has become a video game. It have become a game to search and locate the Hamas leadership and then to push a button and blow them to smitherines. The leaders of Hamas and of all of Palestinian society are more than willing to sacrifice younger, poorer lives in their cause but as Sharon has proven they are far, far, far less anxious to sacrifice their own.

Israel has both the will and the means to destroy Hamas. Hamas can try to fire a few mortor rounds over the walll here and there but even that is a losers game. History has proven those rounds often miss completely. History has also proven Israeli return fire is quite accurate. If they try to start another war of attrition they'll lose and they'll lose quickly.

As a global political issue Palestine has been solved. They have some residual issues as to where the wall goes. That's it. The wall will be built. Israel will continue to improve their military technology and they will continue to prosper. Palestine can remain a ghetto forever or try peace.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Care to put those figures into per capita numbers, idiot? Israel, like I said, creates EU-levels of wealth. It's rich country, in other words, by world standards, as is Ireland (and as Morocco decidedly is NOT).

Not a problem, anonymous Zionist pig.

13 Ireland $ 34,100 2005 est.
31 European Union $ 28,100 2005 est.
39 Falkland Islands) $ 25,000 2002 est.
40 Liechtenstein $ 25,000 1999 est.
41 New Zealand $ 24,100 2005 est.
42 Brunei $ 23,600 2003 est.
43 Greece $ 22,800 2005 est.
44 Israel $ 22,200 2005 est.
45 Kuwait $ 22,100 2005 est.
46 Faroe Islands $ 22,000 2001 est.
47 Cyprus $ 21,600 NA
48 Guam $ 21,000 2000 est.

I love the fact that borderline 3rd World Guam, which, much like Israel, enjoys massive amounts of "free money" from the U.S., is just below Israel.

Israel's per capita GDP is almost $6,000/year lower than the EU average, which is drug down by all the new members from the old Warsaw Pact and other former communist states.

Israel is not a poor country. But it certainly isn't a rich country. And if the figures included, as they should, the Occupied Territories, since Israel is in de facto control of their economies as well, the numbers would be even less impressive. Then take away the $6-7 billion a year in free money from the U.S. . . .

Posted by: Jeff II on March 16, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

But that's just the point. Not everybody wants those things. Some people would gladly trade the "privilege" of a $300 a month gasoline bill for proximity to museums, theaters, cultural amenities, and, yes, work.

Agreed. Not everyone wants a yard or a tree. But there's nothing new here. This is all old news. This was as true in 1970 and 1980 as it is in 2006. IN that period of time many cities have lost population while the burbs have exploded. ALL of the 100 fastest growing regions are suburban and $3.00 a gal gasoline won't begin to change that.

I am 40 minutes from Center city Philly and can get to any shows I want while enjoying my 2 acres of green senenity. We had 17 deer on my lawn last week. I grew up in West philly and loved it. I'll never move back. To each his own.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

And if the figures included, as they should, the Occupied Territories, since Israel is in de facto control of their economies as well, the numbers would be even less impressive. Then take away the $6-7 billion a year in free money from the U.S. . . .

Israel's GDP does not count foreign aid. It's level of GDP considering it's large defense bill and the various embargos is quite impressive.

More impressive is the supply-side changes made the last several years to triple economic growth as well as the surge of trade deals with regional powers such as Russia and India.

Don't be surprised if France and Germany continue at 1.5% GDP growth while Israel averages 5% for the next decade. The wall will allow for significant reductions in defense spending as a percent of GDP.

Israel's future has never been brighter. At the same time is hard to predict how Palestine can hope to evolve into a civilized society. They've been rising their kids to be terrorists for two generations now. They know little else. They'll be a much bigger menace to the rest of the Arab world and Europe.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

The Daily Show.

(and have you been on a campus lately?)


Yes,

what's your point?

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

jeff II - heres why liberals hate GWb and why Israel is flourishing.


Cigars for Assassins
London's Times reports on how the Palestinian Arabs flouted the agreement under which the alleged assassins of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi were being held in a Palestinian prison under U.S. and British monitoring:

Palestinian guards confirmed yesterday that Ahmed Saadat, a leading militant captured by Israeli troops in the raid, kept birds and flowers in his quarters. Western officials said that Saadat in effect used other prisoners as "domestic staff."

An official told The Times that Fuad Shobaki, the alleged moneyman behind a 2002 weapons shipment intercepted by Israel, smoked up to five Cuban cigars a day and was known as "The Brigadier" to inmates and staff. He was also seized.

"Saadat and Shobaki were very much in charge," one prison source said. "These guys were running the prison. They did what they wanted, when they wanted."

Israel raided the prison and seized the terrorists Tuesday after Palestinian chairman Mahomoud Abbas, under pressure from the Hamas government, said he'd release Saadat, and the U.S. and British monitors left. The New York Times weighs in with an editorial bemoaning the outcome. Although the paper faults Abbas for not having "thought hard" before supporting Saadat's release, it mostly faults Israel:

The acting Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, should not have allowed the desire to do some election-season muscle-flexing to push him into storming the prison in Jericho with tanks, bulldozers and helicopters. Israeli Army officials ordered inmates to strip to their underwear, which many did, marching out with clothing on their heads, an embarrassing and completely unnecessary provocation that trampled the dignity of any Palestinian watching that spectacle.

So Israel should have sat still for the release of a man who allegedly murdered a top Israeli official? Are there any limits to the barbarity the Times is willing to accept in the name of indulging the Palestinians?

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

If anyone cares, I wrote an in-depth critique of Longman's article here:

http://stevereuland.blogspot.com/2006/03/one-baby-two-baby-red-baby-blue-baby.html

Posted by: Steve Reuland on March 16, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

So Israel should have sat still for the release of a man who allegedly murdered a top Israeli official? Are there any limits to the barbarity the Times is willing to accept in the name of indulging the Palestinians? Posted by: rdw

Tit-for-tat, and a pox on both their houses. The Israelis have had an official policy of political assisination for a couple of decades now, and have whacked a lot more Palestinians (and about five times as many innocent bystanders) as Israelis the Palestinians have successfully whacked.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 16, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

and have whacked a lot more Palestinians (and about five times as many innocent bystanders) as Israelis the Palestinians have successfully whacked.

I don't know about that but I do know the Israeli's don't have their kids strap on bombs and go looking for little girls on school buses.

What's clear is under Bush the Palestinian leadership can encourage this behavior all they wish. They will die if their mules carry it out. My sense is they'll give up on it fairy quickly.

They will negotiate the placement of the wall or not. But there will be a wall. One suicide bomber and it's sealed for a decade. Two suicide bombers and it's sealed forever. Israel doesn't need Palestine. Palestine needs Israel.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: I don't know about that but I do know the Israeli's don't have their kids strap on bombs and go looking for little girls on school buses.

No, the Israelis kill little Palestinian girls with missiles, tanks, helicopters and armored bulldozers supplied by the US taxpayers.

The only reason that any of the "great powers" of the world, including the USA, have the slightest interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is because the Middle East is where 60% of the world's oil is located. If there were no oil in the region, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would just be one more of the many ethnic-religious tribal conflicts going on all over the world, which while horrible for the people directly affected, don't draw the interest of the world's most powerful nations.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 16, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

is because the Middle East is where 60% of the world's oil is located.

No argument from me.

it's also the only reason while Israel hasn't already anihialated them.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: it's also the only reason while Israel hasn't already anihialated them.

It's also the reason why the state of Israel and all of the Arab "nations" as currently constituted exist in the first place. All of them were created by Europe and later the USA as mechanisms to ensure foreign domination of the region and its oil supplies.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 16, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

All of them were created by Europe and later the USA


So the USA recreated them?

I don't think so. The USA had nothing to do with it.

The Europeans took what was a mess and made it worse.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Metro area fringes are booming

* * *

Maricopa County, Ariz., which includes Phoenix, gained 563,000 [people] from 2000 to 2005 more than any other county [in the nation].

Here are some political stats about Maricopa County, Arizona:

Bush in 2000 - 53%.
Bush in 2004 - 57%.

Go figure.

Bush in AZ in 2000 - 51%.
Bush in AZ in 2004 - 55%.

* * *

Here are the top-10 fastest-growing counties *percentage-wise* from 2004 to 2005:

Flagler, Florida.
Lyon, Nevada.
Kendall, Illinois.
Rockwall, Texas.
Washington, Utah.
Nye, Nevada.
Pinal, Arizona.
Loudoun, Virginia.
King George, Virginia.
Caroline, Virginia.

Bush increased his percentage share of the vote in 2004 compared to year 2000 in . . . drum roll . . . all 10 of those counties.

Go figure.

In some cases by drastic margins too.

In Pinal County, Arizona, for example, Bush went from 49% in 2000 to 57% in 2004.

In Caroline County, Virginia, Bush went from 39% to 51%.

In the nations fastest-growing county Flagler, Fla. Bush went from 46% to 51%.

* * *

Im sure everyones also noticed that six of the seven *states* in which the fastest-growing counties are located were carried not once but twice by George Bush in each instance by a higher percentage of the vote the second time around!

Here are some other political stats regarding those states:

State Senates: 6-1, GOP.
State Assemblies: 5-2, GOP.
U.S. House delegations: 6-1, GOP.
U.S. Senate seats: 10-4, GOP.
State Govs.: 4-3, GOP.

{gulp}

* * *

For those who are curious:

Immigration . . . contributed little to the boom in many remote counties. Much of the growth came from births and people moving from elsewhere in the USA.

Posted by: rdw on March 16, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

statement
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
"Wartime Executive Power and the NSA's Surveillance Authority II"
February 28, 2006
http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2006_hr/022806koh.html
Harold Hongju Koh
Dean
Yale Law School

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee.

In my career I've had the privilege of serving our government in both republican and democratic administrations, and I've also sued both republican and democratic administrations when I thought their conduct was unlawful. In my professional opinion, the NSA domestic surveillance program is as blatantly illegal a program as I've seen, and my reasons are given not just in my written testimony but also in two letters that were sent to you by myself and a number of constitutional law scholars and former government officials, as well as in the ABA taskforce report, for which I served as an adviser.

Now, I say this fully aware of the ongoing threat from al Qaeda and the need for law enforcement officials to gather vital information. And, of course, in time of war our constitution recognizes the president as commander-in-chief. But the same constitution requires that the commander-in-chief obey the fourth amendment, which requires that any government surveillance be reasonable, statutorily authorized, supported except in emergencies by court ordered warrants, and based on probable cause.

The current NSA program is blatantly illegal because it lacks all of these standards, and the Supreme Court has never upheld such a sweeping, unchecked power of government to invade the privacy of Americans without individualized suspicion, congressional authorization or judicial oversight.

For nearly 30 years the FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, has provided a comprehensive, constitutional, and using its words, exclusive framework for electronic surveillance. Under FISA executive officials can conduct electronic surveillance of Americans, but they can do so without a warrant for only three days, or in case of wartime, for 15 days, after a declaration of war.

After that they must either go to the special court for an order, or come to Congress for an amendment, or stand in violation of the criminal law. This was based on a simple logic. Before the president launches an extended domestic spying program his lawyers must get approval from someone who does not work for him, yet that's precisely what has happened here, what has not happened here.

Now, of course, I agree with Director Woolsey that we can and should aggressively fight terrorism, but fighting terrorism outside the law is deeply counter-productive. Under the ongoing program NSA analysts are increasingly caught between following orders and carrying out electronic surveillance that's facially illegal, and moreover evidence collected under the program will almost surely be challenged and it may prove inadmissible, making it far more difficult to prosecute terrorists.

With respect, none of the program's defenders has identified any convincing defense for conducting such a sweeping program without congressional authorization and oversight and judicial review.

And in my testimony I review and reject those defenses, including the extraordinary claim that you here in Congress enacted the use of force resolution to repeal the FISA which had in fact criminalized unauthorized, indefinite, warrantless, domestic wire tapping 23 years earlier.

Most fundamentally, my testimony rejects the radical view of unchecked executive authority that's offered by some of my fellow witnesses. That unilateral vision offends the vision of shared national security power that's central to what Justice Jackson called the equilibrium established by our constitutional system. Read literally, the president's reading of the constitution would turn this body into a pointless rubber stamp whose limited role in the war on terror would be enacting laws that the president could ignore at will and issuing blank checks that the president can redefine at will.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I've had a chance to look at the proposed bill to refine and amend the FISA. I don't think it will improve the situation. First, as you say, it is radically premature. Congress simply does not have enough information to conduct such a broad revision at this time. Second, remember that the president has refused for four years to operate within the FISA framework. Unless the president acknowledges that he must obey the FISA amendments, and agrees to operate within it, any new congressional action will be equally meaningless.

And, third, the proposal pre-authorizes programs, not particular searches, and a result it gives a general warrant to a significant number of unreasonable searches and seizures. This resembles the statutory version of the British general warrant that was used in the 1700s by the King. But it's precisely because English law did not protect our privacy that our colonial ancestor said that even when the president in wartime is our commander-in-chief, we have a right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and no warrant shall issue except on probable cause, and that persons are things to be seen being stated with particularity.

In summary, Mr. Chairman, for four years our government has been conducting an illegal program and now wants to rewrite the constitution to say that that program is lawful. This committee should reject those claims.
Thank you.

Posted by: heads up on March 17, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2006_hr/022806levy.html
Statement
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
"Wartime Executive Power and the NSA's Surveillance Authority II"
February 28, 2006

Robert Levy, Esq.
Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies
CATO Institute

Mr. Chairman and members, thank you very much for inviting me to testify.

I'd like to discuss four legal questions related to the surveillance program, and first, do NSA warrantless domestic wire taps necessarily violate fourth amendment protections against unreasonable searches? My answer to that is, no, they do not, not necessarily. There are numerous exceptions to the warrant requirement, including high pursuit, search incident to arrest, stop and frisk and others. And as for national security, that's an open issue as to whether there's an exception.

Under the Keith case in 1972 the court indicated that it was plausible that the administration could conduct some types of warrantless wire taps without violating the fourth amendment if a foreign power were involved.

The second question though, what about the FISA statute? Doesn't the NSA program violate its express terms? My answer to that question is, yes, the text is unambiguous, a person is guilty of an offence, if he intentionally engages in electronic surveillance except as authorized by statute.

Now, to be sure, FISA was drafted to deal with peace time intelligence, but that does not mean that it's inapplicable in the post-9/11 war on terror. In fact, Congress expressly contemplated warrantless wire taps during wartime and limited them to the first 15 days after war declared. And, furthermore, FISA was amended by the Patriot Act, passing in response to 9/11, and signed by President Bush. So, if 9/11 triggered wartime, as the administration has repeatedly argued, then the amended FISA statute is clearly a wartime statute.

The third question. Does the authorization for use of military force provide the statutory approval that FISA requires? Answer, no, it does not. A settled canon of statutory interpretation is that specific provisions supersede general provisions. When FISA forbids electronic surveillance without a court order, except for 15 days, while the AUMF permits necessary and appropriate force, it seems to me quite simply bizarre to argue that electronic surveillance is thereby authorized without a warrant.

Now, Congress in passing the AUMF did not intend to make compliance with FISA optional. In fact, Congress was simultaneously relaxing selected surveillance provisions via the Patriot Act. To my knowledge, not a single member of Congress among the 518 members who supported, who voted for the AUMF, now claims that his vote changed domestic wire tapping rules.

Fourth question, and most difficult. Do the president's inherent wartime powers allow him to ignore FISA? My answer is, no. Now, that's not to say that the president is powerless to order warrantless wartime surveillance. For example, intercepting enemy communications on the battlefield is clearly an incident of his war power, but warrantless wire tapping of Americans inside the United States who may have nothing to do with al Qaeda does not qualify as incidental wartime authority.

The president's war powers are broad, but they are not boundless, and indeed, they are not exclusive. The power to grant pardons, for example, is exclusive. Congress could not make an exception for persons convicted of, let us say, child abuse. But war powers are not exclusive, they are shared between the president and Congress. It is Congress, not the president, that's constitutionally authorized to declare war, suspend habeas, to find and punish offences against the law of nations, make rules concerning captures on land and water.

The real question is not whether the president has some inherent authority to conduct warrantless surveillance. He does. The tougher question is to determine the scope of his authority in the face of Congress's concurrent powers. In the key Supreme Court case, as you know, is Justice Jackson's concurrence in Youngstown Sheet and Tube v Sawyer. Clearly, the NSA surveillance program belongs in Youngstown's third category in which the president has acted in the face of an express statutory prohibition.

In my view, he has over-reached. The executive branch may be justified in taking measures that in pre-9/11 times could be seen as infringements of civil liberties, but the president cannot in the face of an express prohibition by Congress unilaterally set the rules, execute the rules and eliminate oversight by the other branches. In short, the NSA surveillance program under current law is illegal.

Now, in the 20 seconds remaining I'd like to comment on Director Woolsey's statement that the battlefield is here at home. Calls from the actual battlefield, Afghanistan, or anywhere else outside the United States, can be monitored under current rules under FISA as long as the target is not a U.S. person in the U.S. So, to suggest that calls can't be monitored is a mistake. A call from France or the U.K. cannot be construed as battlefield related unless the term "battlefield" has no geographic limits. And, indeed, if France is part of the battlefield, why not Nebraska? The same logic that argues for warrantless surveillance of foreign communications would permit warrantless surveillance of domestic communications as well.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Posted by: heads up on March 17, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

A stupid article.
People have Kids.
People are People before Ideologies.

Secondly the
Conservatives are Democrats.
Third WAKE THE FECK UP!

First, I will start with the notorious White House National Security Council policy paper "NSC-68" of April 1950 and then consider the Korean War.

Second, I will turn to the Gaither Committee Report of 1957, the so-called "Missile Gap" of 1960, and the "Team B" Report of 1976. In all of these, we will trace the hand of Paul Nitze (1907-2004) as one of the primary instruments of the imperial faction in the United States who made a career of falsifying the so-called "Soviet Threat."

Third, I will turn to a consideration of U.S. imperialism and the Vietnam War.

Fourth, I will consider Paul Nitze as a mentor of neo-conservatives such as Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle.

Fifth, I will conclude with a consideration of the parallel between the imperial Presidency of Richard M. Nixon and that of George W. Bush.
Rise of the National Security State:
Paul Nitze's NSC-68 and the Korean War

President Franklin Roosevelt hoped that after World War II the major powersthe United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and Chinawould cooperate in concert, on a realistic basis, to promote international stability and peace. At the same time, President Roosevelt hoped that the United Nations organization would operate at the world diplomatic level toward the same end. The Cold War, and the bi-polar world the Cold War created, however, placed severe constraints on this vision, a vision that was shared on a nonpartisan basis by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Although the United States in good faith demobilized rapidly after World War II, unlike Stalin's Soviet Union, certain circles in the United States planned to reverse this and remilitarize U.S. foreign policy with a view towards a global imperial policy from which they could personally profit.[1] These "Establishment" circles, still with us today, contain representatives of finance, business, politics, academia, press, and the military.
````````````````````````````
The 50 year Old Media Propaganda 'program'
can you say Duopoly?

Morons their is no 'Conservative' nor 'Democrat' that Controls Congress.
Do you not see that today they do as they wish?
Say Hello to the 'Garrison State'

Posted by: Duhbya Doolittle on March 17, 2006 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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