If it seems like I spend a lot more time on this blog bashing liberals and progressives than I do reactionaries and conservatives, it's because I do. The latter I consider to be a lost cause, while liberals and progressives are supposedly open minded enough to "know better." Sadly, they rarely do, even if most of them have convinced themselves that they do.
This hit home for me again as I was reading a recent news story from USA Today entitled, "Americans put off having babies amid poor economy." Here's an excerpt:
Twenty-somethings who postponed having babies because of the poor economy are still hesitant to jump in to parenthood — an unexpected consequence that has dropped the USA's birthrate to its lowest point in 25 years.I know that I have put my history as a former progressive well behind me because my immediate reaction was that this was the first good news I've heard in quite some time. Overpopulation is one of those issues that every thinking person realizes is a major crisis facing humanity, yet few ever want to discuss in polite company. More to the point, however, is that the raw number of human beings on the planet is only part of the problem. Author Mark Herstgaard, in his book, Earth Odyssey, observed that from a resource consumption standpoint, a child born into an American family will on average during the course of its lifetime consume approximately ten times as many resources and cause about ten times as much environmental destruction as a child born into a third world, subsistence level existence. Ergo, the effect of any decline in population in the U.S. is multiplied by ten times as far as a beneficial effect on the environment compared to the same reduction in poor third world countries.
The fertility rate is not expected to rebound for at least two years and could affect birthrates for years to come, according to Demographic Intelligence, a Charlottesville, Va., company that produces quarterly birth forecasts for consumer products and pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer and Procter & Gamble.
Marketers track fertility trends closely because they affect sales of thousands of products from diapers, cribs and minivans to baby bottles, toys and children's pain relievers.
As the economy tanked, the average number of births per woman fell 12% from a peak of 2.12 in 2007. Demographic Intelligence projects the rate to hit 1.87 this year and 1.86 next year — the lowest since 1987.
The less-educated and Hispanics have experienced the biggest birthrate decline while the share of U.S. births to college-educated, non-Hispanic whites and Asian Americans has grown.
"What that tells you is that births have clearly been affected by the economy," says Sam Sturgeon, president of Demographic Intelligence. "And like any recession, it doesn't hit all people equally, and it hit some people much harder than others."
The effect of this economic slump on birthrates has been more rapid and long-lasting than any downturn since the Great Depression.
"Usually consumer sentiment bounces back a little quicker," Sturgeon says. "People are a bit in a wait-and-see pattern. … There's a sense of hesitancy, of 'What does better look like? How will we know?' — especially for those of prime child-bearing age. … The key word would be uncertainty, a lot of uncertainty. "
Many young adults are unemployed, carrying big student loan debt and often forced to move back in with their parents — factors that may make them think twice about starting a family.
"The more you delay it, the more you delay the possibility of a second or third child," says Stephanie Coontz, director of research and public education at the Council on Contemporary Families. "This is probably a long-term trend that is exacerbated by the recession but also by the general hollowing out of middle-class jobs. There's a growing sense that college is prohibitively expensive, and yet your kids can't make it without a college degree," so many women may decide to have just one child.
Therefore, if you are a liberal or progressive who is supposedly concerned about environmental destruction, climate change and resource depletion, you should welcome this news. But no, instead what we get from many of those from my former political tribe, especially those who call themselves economists such as Paul Krugman, is a lot of Keynesian-on-steroids nonsense about how the U.S. should double down on its insane levels of deficit spending in order to jump start our economy.
Assuming for a moment that we are not approaching the natural limits to economic growth, what would a return to a robust economy really look like? That's easy: more mindless consumption, more idiots trampling themselves at Walmart on Thanksgiving evening to save 20% on a loss-leader toaster oven, more SUVs on the road burning precious fossil fuels and expelling carbon into the atmosphere, more exurban McMansions and strip malls blighting the landscape, more garbage, more pollution, more poisons in the water and in the air, more species driven into extinction, and faster consumption of our remaining nonrenewable resources. In short, supporting a return to economic growth while claiming to be concerned about the environment is an insane position. Yet, I'll bet if you were to poll liberals and progressives as to whether they agree with the public policy positions of Bill McKibben and Paul Krugman an overwhelming majority would say yes to both.
My position, which I've stated here many times before, is that our society needs to start powering down voluntarily based upon the idea of shared sacrifice. That means giving up cars in favor of public transportation, giving up the American Dream of a single family home with a white picket fence in the yard, giving up on countless trips to the mall to buy more shit you don't need and giving up on taking a fancy vacations every year while still having money to save for retirement and also send the kids to college. In short, it means lowering the expectations of ever greater material comfort in exchange for a slower, simpler more personally enriching life based upon family, friends and community instead of continually buying the latest electronic gadget or running out like a lemming to the Multipleplex at midnight to see the latest stupid Batman movie.
But feel free to ignore my opinion on this subject because the sad fact is IT AIN'T EVER GONNA HAPPEN. As proof, I offer up the very next sentence from the USA Today article:
"We have to think through our policies," she says. "We've got to provide better support systems for working mothers as well as fathers."Because we CAN'T POSSIBLY give up on the idea of growing our population, growing our economy and the growing destruction wrought upon the planet's environment. Perish the thought.
Bonus: From my You Tube channel: Sorry, liberals and progressives, but you can't always get what you want, and you probably won't get what you need, either