In other words forget the concern some of us have had that too many Malthusians could ruin the planet. They're ruining themselves.
We have commented upon this Great Secular Death Wish here before. But the secular Cassandras are now themselves starting to pick up on it. In an article called "The Battle of the Babies" over at the New Humanist (we are assuming this means there is some improvement on the old model of humanist) they are taking note of the curious fact that when a certain part of the population decides not to have babies, its size diminishes over time in relation to the part of the population that has lots of babies:
... something about our current form of liberal secularism that contains (here’s another headline) the seeds of its own destruction. Since the birth rate of individualistic secular people the world over is way below replacement level (2.1 in the West), and the birth rate of religious fundamentalists is way above (between 5 and 7.5 depending on sect), then through the sheer force of demography religious fundamentalism is going to become a much bigger force in the world and gain considerable political muscle. Literalist religious conservatism is being reborn and we secular liberals are the midwives.Secular liberals, it appears, are headed for the fate of the Shakers, a 19th century religious sect headed by a woman who believed in complete abstinence for everyone all the time. It was not a great growth strategy, and so the Shakers today are no more. There is a Shaker village down the road from my house. It is quite impressive, with its buildings and other fine accommodations. The only trouble is, although their doctrine gave them lots of extra energy to do fine things, someone else is now running the place.
The moral of the Shaker story is this: don't let some crazy woman head up your religious cult. That, and just remember: if you're not going to have babies, you'd better have a pretty good recruitment strategy.
In the book, Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth, by Eric Kaufmann, points out that the Western liberal policy of only two children per couple (and liberal abortion laws, I might add) is doing to do them in through sheer demographics. The believers in population control (my words, not his), despite their preachy condom lectures to undesirable third-worlders abroad, are controlling only themselves.
They have one child, maybe two. Their religious neighbors have five. Give it a few generations, and the competition is over.
That the part of the population that is in favor of reproduction would out-reproduce the part of the population that is against it should perhaps have been obvious to Western liberals, but for some reason it didn't occur to them until now.
Every generation has its Malthusians--people who, like the 19th century scaremonger Thomas Malthus, believe that the End is Near for some modern scientific reason. They are the secular apocalypticists. For Malthus it was a statistical truth that within several generations, the English population would outstrip the nation's resources. It was a spectacularly mistaken thesis--not to mention being just boneheaded, and food and other production outstripped population growth in spades.
We have our Malthusians today, of course. The Global Cooling alarmists of the 70s; the Nuclear Winter alarmists of the 80s; and the Global Warming alarmists of today. Paul Ehrlich and Al Gore are just two the many Jeremiah's who derive their inspiration from him. Now we have the Alarmist Alarmists: people who are warning that the alarmist strategy is eliminating so many alarmists that they are alarmed about a prospective lack of alarmists.
It is a strange irony that the strategy of the population control advocates would eliminate everyone except the ones who don't believe in population control.