The Long View 2004-12-08: The Breeder Advantage

The Breeder Advantage

The Breeder Advantage

The Breeder Advantage is related to what Steve Sailer calls Affordable Family Formation. He started talking about this in 2004, at about the same time John posted this. It would be easy to just chalk this up to biology, but I think John Reilly's point is well taken: 

Still, there is something to the Red State Breeder argument, if we keep in mind that it is really about culture, not fertility per se.

But don't forget gene-culture co-evolution.


The Breeder Advantage

 

First we had Angry White Men, as the explanation for the congressional election results of 1994. Then we had Soccer Moms, as the explanation for reelection of Bill Clinton in 1996. Now we have Breeders as the explanation for the election of 2004. The demographic indictment of modernity, or at least of cultural libertarianism, began to be revived a few years ago, notably by Patrick Buchanan . The notion is now all over the media, as we see from David Brooks's column in yesterday's New York TimesThe New Red-Diaper Babies :

In The New Republic Online, Joel Kotkin and William Frey observe, "Democrats swept the largely childless cities - true blue locales like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Boston and Manhattan have the lowest percentages of children in the nation - but generally had poor showings in those places where families are settling down, notably the Sun Belt cities, exurbs and outer suburbs of older metropolitan areas."

As I have repeatedly noted, one should take demographic projections with a grain of salt. If you base electoral forecasts on those projections, then you should swallow all the salt in the salt shaker. Still, there is something to the Red State Breeder argument, if we keep in mind that it is really about culture, not fertility per se.

The term "progressive" has always been used by people who wanted to suggest that their views were on the trajectory to the future, which was presumed to be bohemian, secular, and socialist. What will it do to the Left, then, if they absorb the idea, whether rightly or wrongly, that their current views have morbid effects, and are therefore futureless? They will not take it lying down, not if they want to win elections. They will change in significant ways on reproductive issues, and on the closely related questions about homosexuality. Watch.

* * *

Another persistent advocate of the Breeder Advantage thesis is the Other Spengler at Asia Times . He does it again in a recent column . What I quote here, however, are some further remarks about the prospect that Red State culture could be the future:

Western civilization - the heritage of St Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Goethe - may be harder to preserve than America's pension system. Except for Western classical music, which Asians have embraced as their own, the cultural heritage of the West has no natural constituency... American evangelicals have deep roots in the Bible - which is Western only at the margin - and only passing interest in subsequent doings of the West. They are more likely to listen to Christian variants of country and heavy metal than J S Bach. A story (on www.ekklesia.co.uk) from US marines outside Fallujah sums it up:
"You are the sovereign. You're name is holy. You are the pure spotless lamb," a female voice cried out on the loudspeakers as the marines clapped their hands and closed their eyes, reflecting on what lay ahead for them..."Thus David prevailed over the Philistines," the marine said, reading from scripture, and the marines shouted back "Hoorah, King David," using their signature grunt of approval.
Clearly the marines grunted "Hooah!", not "Hoorah." Among its meanings in soldiers' patois is "Amen." For an explanation, see The Urban Dictionary. "Hooah, King David!" Not what I anticipated when first I studied the Psalter, but in lean times one has to take what one can get.

The Actual Spengler, the one who wrote The Decline of the West, coined the term, "The Second Religiousness," to describe the final spiritual condition of a civilization-producing culture. Writing over 80 years ago, he said there would still be several generations before this phenomenon appeared in the West, so there was no way to say just what form it would take. He did offer this speculation:

It is perhaps possible for us to make some guess already as to these forms, which (it is self-evident) must led back to certain elements of Gothic Christianity. But be this as it may, what is quite certain is that will not be the product of any literary taste for Late-Indian of Late-Chinese speculation, but something of the type, for example, of Adventism and suchlike sects.
The Decline of the West, Volume II, page 311n

Hermann Hesse's novel, The Glass Bead Game, presents a very positive Spenglerian future. Hesse was more concerned to describe a renaissance of cultural piety than of the spiritual variety, so we hear more about the refined, post-skeptical intellectual life of the 23rd century than of the condition of popular religion. Still, given Hesse's hints about the revival of monasticism and the renewed prestige of the Vatican, it is a good bet he did not imagine that liturgies of the future would feature people going "Hooah!"

I find this troubling, since I just finished a poster to advertise a local Tridentine Mass for this Christmas Eve. Am I barking up the wrong tree?

* * *

Another of my enthusiasms does seem to be materializing: a new spelling-bee television show in England seems to have injected the question of spelling reform into public consciousness, at least if you believe The London Times:

Tonight they compete in the final of Hard Spell, a programme that has struck a remarkable chord among schools and youngsters. Suddenly spelling is hot: so hot that it’s cool to know your coccyx from your humerus....

"A contest comparable to Hard Spell in Italian would be ridiculous," says John Wells, a professor of phonetics at London University. In Italian, words tend to be spelt as they are pronounced. "Hard Spell reflects the fact that our spelling is hard. It's a pity that we have to have this type of contest."

... Does proper, accurate spelling matter in the age of computers? And could English, a language that millions of foreigners have to acquire, be made easier to spell and therefore easier to learn?

The major British authorities on orthographic reform are quoted in that piece, not unsympathetically. Spelling reform will be important to the Second Religiousness: the pious must be able to read "Hooah!" without ambiguity.

Copyright © 2004 by John J. Reilly

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