Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Less Secular, Not More

Yesterday I suggested that to win the Long War, America and India will have to become less secular and more religious. Just now, Phillip Longman has an essay published on Foreign Policy that says this is exactly what is going to happen since "englightened" populations tend not to reproduce:

In the United States, . . . the percentage of women born in the late 1930s who remained childless was near 10 percent. By comparison, nearly 20 percent of women born in the late 1950s are reaching the end of their reproductive lives without having had 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 their parents.

Meanwhile, single-child families are prone to extinction. A single child replaces one of his or her parents, but not both. Nor do single-child families contribute much to future population. The 17.4 percent of baby boomer women who had only one child account for a mere 7.8 percent of children born in the next generation. By contrast, nearly a quarter of the children of baby boomers descend from the mere 11 percent of baby boomer women who had four or more children. These circumstances are leading to the emergence of a new society whose members will disproportionately be descended from parents who rejected the social tendencies that once made childlessness and small families the norm. These values include an adherence to traditional, patriarchal religion, and a strong identification with one's own folk or nation.

This dynamic helps explain, for example, the gradual drift of American culture away from secular individualism and toward religious fundamentalism. Among states that voted for President George W. Bush in 2004, fertility rates are 12 percent higher than in states that voted for Sen. John Kerry.

Phillip Longman. "The Return of Patriarchy." March/April 2006. Foreign Policy. 1 Mar 2006 <>

A similar thing is happening in India, too. Indian elites are also failing to reproduce themselves. However, since India's population is still 71% rural and therefore, despite its burgeoning high-tech industry, still qualifies as an agrarian nation, and agrarian societies tend to put a high value on bearning children, India is not poised to slow down so quickly on its birth rate. It boggles the mind to think that India's middle class of around 300 million people, which is almost the population of America, is less than a third of its entire population. So India is not going to run low on people for quite sometime--either of workers or of elites. However, for some time to come, we will see that a large number of its elites will be "first generation" from their own paddy fields. For the time being, that's a good thing.