I just got done reading a long piece at National Review by Lyman Stone, a Hong Kong resident, called Our Global Birth Dearth. It’s behind a pay wall, unfortunately, but they do allow three free articles.
I first subscribed to NR when I was perhaps 21 years old, and carried the subscription for a couple of decades. I ventured off into liberalism, and dropped it. I recently re-upped, not imagining that I would find much of interest, and generally that is true. I don’t care about party politics or Trump or the Democrats or the elections. NR cannot go near the notion that any major public event might be a hoax. In fact, such ideas would be quickly subject to derision.
So why am I paging through each issue, reading this and that, quickly discarding the rest? Why do I have a stack of the magazines off to my left here? Generally speaking, it is crisp and humorous. The writing is good. That is how I remember the magazine during the Bill Buckley era – smarter than anything else in the genre. Remove the humor and insight, add gloom, and it becomes The Nation.
Articles are geared to people with attention spans longer than a Tweet. The Birth Dearth piece is six double-column pages, 5,700 words. It is aimed at a select readership, those who can process a large volume of information. Damn few left.
The article itself is loaded with insight, and I will offer just one gleaned therefrom and offer one criticism: In the United States, fertility rates have dropped from 2.12 children per woman to 1.72 today, and this has happened in the last 13 years. Such a rapid decline is dangerous and unprecedented. Most of the 5,700 words are centered around economics, but the United States is not alone – Hispanics are right there with us, Mexico experiencing a similar decline. The situation in South Korea is critical. Immigration is not a solution.
Let’s drive this thing home: My wife and I are invested in a long-term plan that is centered around someday selling our home and undergoing a major lifestyle change, either renting as we travel the world, or buying a condo where someone else shovels the walk (better yet, in a place that doesn’t require shoveling). What if there are none who want to buy this big house with room for a family of six? Now we are talking serious economic repercussions – now it is personal. Now it is about us, dammit.
My criticism: In the next-to-last paragraph, Stone, who is 28 and has a wife and one child, offers a few remedies for the situation, among them making Social Security more generous for people with children; adjusting the college subsidy programs to encourage having kids; and adjusting tax policy to help people offset the enormous burden of child bearing. All well and good. But he lets the front wheels veer towards a ditch when he calls for a carbon tax “…to address a major form of long-run uncertainty as people think about whether to have children …”.
I don’t know from that whether Stone thinks climate change is a real thing, only that he thinks it ought to be treated as a real thing to be remedied by an onerous tax to get people to be a little more optimistic about the future. In general, NR is pretty good on climate change, the magazine suffering under a long and expensive SLAP lawsuit instigated by Michael Mann and the forces behind him, his “closeted friends.”
But Stone needs to be more frank, or to alter his own perceptions: Climate Change is a hoax. There is a lot of speculation as to why it is being perpetrated on us, among them money-making schemes like carbon trading and taxes. But without regard to intent, the effect of the hoax has been pessimism about the future among our youth. This alone could explain the drop in the fertility rate over the last thirteen years. Climate change is essentially anti-human, wanting fewer people on the planet, especially those whose skin happens to be varying shades of brown. It is, and I don’t often use this word, evil. Lyman Stone and his generation need to lighten up, enjoy life and have positive thoughts about our future. The planet is fine, the last ten years have been among the most prosperous and healthy for humankind.
Stop moping! Start having more kids. They are such a delight, especially when grown.