Don’t Spare the Rod

Don’t Spare the Rod

What happens when liberals lose their sex drive? American culture moves further away from secular individualism and closer to religious fundamentalism.


Liberals! Progressives! Lefties by whatever name! Your end is nigh! You are a vanishing breed on your way to extinction because you do not reproduce.

No more blue states. The future is red, which used to be a Chinese Communist slogan but which to Phillip Longman means that the left-leaners are dying out. You can read your coming vanishment in the current issue of the authoritative Foreign Policy magazine.

Longman says that “the gradual drift of American culture away from secular individualism and toward religious fundamentalism” is owing to the failure of lefties to reproduce, regardless of the pornographic movies liberals are famous for defending. Here are the hard facts. Read ’em and weep: “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.” It’s only a matter of time, folks.

Red staters, fundamentalists and neocons are holding up their end, banging away in bed every night. It’s the lib-labs who are extinguishing themselves, and Foreign Policy has the facts to prove it: “According to polling data assembled by demographers Ronny Lesthaeghe and Johan Surkyn, you are less likely to be married and have kids–or ever to get married and have kids–than those who say they have no objection to the military. Or again, do you find soft drugs, homosexuality, and euthanasia acceptable? Do you seldom, if ever, attend church?… People answering affirmatively to such questions are far more likely to live alone, or in childless, cohabitating unions, than those who answer negatively.”

Nor is the declining number of liberal babies merely an American phenomenon: “It may also help to explain the increasing popular resistance among rank-and-file Europeans to such crown jewels of secular liberalism as the European Union. It turns out that Europeans who are most likely to identify themselves as ‘world citizens’ are also those least likely to have children.”

It appears the liberals, or like-minded people often thought of as intent on saving the world by sharing other people’s property with third parties, are incorrigibly infertile. They are, we are to infer, the otiose portion of the population with little interest in their posterity. Our author tells us that “as governments going as far back as imperial Rome have discovered, when cultural and economic conditions discourage parenthood, not even a dictator can force people to go forth and multiply.”

Nothing works once people have full wallets and emancipated social ideas. The good Mr. Longman informs us that “Singapore has sponsored ‘speed dating’ events, in hopes of bringing busy professionals together to marry and procreate.” All to no avail. Social scientists have discovered that people who drink cafe latte average .07 babies per lifetime.

Smashing Starbucks windows will not help. Liberals have, if you will overlook a metaphor of dubious taste, hoisted themselves on their own contraceptive devices. Pat Robertson does not require the services of his god nor the homosexuals to be rid of the lefties. They are throwing themselves into the dustbin of history.

This being the case, righties, who condemn sex but evidently practice it as liberals do not, are in the process of taking over. Longman writes, and devilishly clever he be, “Does this mean that today’s enlightened but slow-breeding societies face extinction? Probably not…. As has happened many times before in history, it is a transformation that occurs as secular and libertarian elements in society fail to reproduce, and as people adhering to more traditional, patriarchal values inherit society by default.”

His studies have led Longman to believe that papa-centric societies produce an abundance of bambini. Thus he has determined that what “patriarchal societies…have in common are customs and attitudes that collectively serve to maximize fertility and parental investment in the next generation. Of these, among the most important is the stigmatization of ‘illegitimate’ children…. Under patriarchy, ‘bastards’ and single mothers cannot be tolerated because they undermine male investment in the next generation. Illegitimate children do not take their fathers’ name, and so their fathers, even if known, tend not to take any responsibility for them. By contrast, ‘legitimate’ children become a source of either honor or shame to their fathers and the family line.”

I cannot tell if Longman is saying that liberals are bastards, but he has found an agreeing economist to quote, who writes that “patriarchal control over women tends to increase their specialization in reproductive labor, with important consequences for both the quantity and the quality of their investments in the next generation.” To which he adds, “One must observe that a society that presents women with essentially three options–be a nun, be a prostitute, or marry a man and bear children–has stumbled upon a highly effective way to reduce the risk of demographic decline.”

So pucker up, ladies. As for you childless cohabitators, remember the Bible verse about sparing the rod and spoiling the child.

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Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

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