Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Baby Gap

OK, I've known this was coming for a few years. I've seen a lot of it myself, and when you're constantly percieving and observing the world around you, things like this you tend to notice.

I've spoken with some friends of mine about this, under the heading "If 'W' stickers and Grateful Dead Bears are starting to adorn the same bumper stickers, we [liberals] might be in trouble." SAWB should be able to vouch for me on this one.

I was hoping that if I didn't say anything, it would just go away. It is a complex (and probably controversial) issue about which so many jokes can rightfully be made we may never actually be able to talk about seriously due to the tongue in cheek nature of the beast.

But last week I read about it on the Misguided Blonde. Again, I didn't want to say anything.

This week, DADvocate announces: "Liberals Destined to Die Off!"

SOOOO, now that my fertility has been questioned by more than one blogger I read daily, I feel the need to bring this up on the HR. What is the story, folks? Are these cats right, and liberals are going the way of the dinosaur - or are conservatives working hard to breed themselves out of the majority? Or, are we witnessing the birth of an incredibly socially liberal, fiscally conservative, libertarian generation who, once they come into their own, will reshape American politics forever? Or, is this just an overblown observation that doesn't mean anything?


liberalandproud said...

Here's the problem with that reasoning: Children of Conservatives don't always end up as conservatives themselves. My dad was a Reagan republican (a Goldwater republican before that). Sure, my mom has since seen the light, but I was raised in a pretty conservative household. Obviously, I am not a conservative.
I say let the conservatives reproduce, and let the pendulum swing!

dadvocate said...

Just relax, we're not questioning your fertility. Mostly having a little fun. But I do wonder what it means (difference in number of children/birthrate), if anything. I know I've become somewhat more conservative due to having children although much of my "conservatism" is 50's and 60's liberalism. Mostly liberals moved farther left and I didn't.

liberalandproud - the WSJ article says about 80% of people keep that same political party/views as their parents. It all evens out in that respect. The pendulum won't swing, at least, not for that reason.

An observation I've made of many liberals I know (this is strictly anecdotal and not necessarily a reflection of all liberals, so don't take offense), is that some don't want kids because who wants to bring a child into this terrible world. The others are more career/wealth building oriented.

Dante said...

I'll vote that it doesn't mean anything. Liberals have fewer kids but more immigrants tend to be liberals. There are enough new immigrants (even only counting the legal ones) that vote for the big D to keep the party and liberalism in general around for a long time.

"If 'W' stickers and Grateful Dead Bears are starting to adorn the same bumper stickers, we [liberals] might be in trouble."

The stereotypical Grateful Dead fan may be a grass munching, tree hugging hippie but there are many conservative Grateful Dead fans out there.

petallic said...

Um, modern deadheads are fratboys. Fratboys are generally conservative. This shouldn't come as a shock.

Patrick Armstrong said...

I am my own biggest fertility critic anyway, so question away.

I absolutely beleive that folks are 80% more likely to vote like their parents. It took Republicans, what, two generations to get a majority in the House of Representatives? That wasn't an ideological stranglehold, is what I'm sayin'.

What I find is that the folks who aren't having babies are generally more focused on financial stability and education than starting families right now. I know a lot of folks, conservative and liberal, who tell me they don't have kids because they "can't afford kids." I just find that a reasonable response, and responsible parenting and citizenship.

Also, raising kids is a lot of work. If someone has questions about how good of a parent they're going to be, or wonders if they really want kids at all, I'm glad they aren't having kids. Again, responsible parenting and citizenship.

Thirdly (here comes the tongue in cheek part) there's just not as much to do in 'Red America' as there is in 'Blue America.' I mean, I live on Island City and frequent Waycross. Every time I go to Waycross, someone else I know there is pregnant. I administered a test out there one time and there were four expectant mothers in the room, two which could go into labor at any time.

I asked one of my friends who lives there "why are so many folks having babies?" To which she answered: "Its Waycross, after football and church, what else are we gonna do?"

dadvocate said...

"If someone has questions about how good of a parent they're going to be, or wonders if they really want kids at all, I'm glad they aren't having kids. "

I agree with that completely. As we all know, there are lots of people who have kids that shouldn't.

I always tell people if you wait till you can afford a kid to have one, you'll never have one.

And, I'm a Dead Head from way back, just don't have a Cadillac to put my sticker on.

russelllindsey said...

I have to say, I have to agree with DADvocate on this one.

I think of being a "conservative" today as the equivalent of liberalism in the 50s/early 60s.

Also - RELAX! I just did a post on it simply due to the fact that I thought it was interesting. Also, I'd be the last to question your fertility. I've known from age 9 that I'm unable to have children naturally - due to Turners Syndrome. However, I'm a big advocate of adoption and hopefully my fiance will adopt kids someday. Actually, we still plan on trying too :D - Doctors are but human, of course!


I hope what DADvocate says regarding the next generation is true. Maybe then our country would be able to come together again.

Also, to liberalandproud, I hate to say it, but I believe that DADvocate has his facts straight regarding the political influence of parents on their children.

Just an observation on this topic: my Mom was actually more "liberal" than my Dad while I was growing up, but incidentally, my Mom, a teacher, indentified with the Republican party than my Dad did at the time (both my parents are very much Republicans, but I certainly don't consider them to be on the extreme right).

Anyway, it seems to me that most women are more liberal than men - no matter what party they are affiliated with at the time.

Am I off base?

More later.


RightOnPeachtree said...

I wonder what impact abortion has on this. Not that liberals love abortion, but I wouldn't be surprised if they had more, on average, than conservatives (stereotyping a little, I suppose, but I don't think I'm reaching). If that's the case, the fertility of liberals is not in question -- it's just that they may be aborting a higher percentage of their pregnancies.

Similarly, abortion has an impact on immigration. 45 million abortions since Roe v. Wade results in a lost segment of society and something of a need for more workers.

And I'm not trying to go off on an abortion tangent -- I'm just wondering if it has an impact in this case and, if so, what that impact is.

Patrick Armstrong said...

whisper> the questioning fertility thing was joke, y'all. Guess it wasn't a good one / whisper

Patrick Armstrong said...

RL: "Anyway, it seems to me that most women are more liberal than men - no matter what party they are affiliated with at the time."

From my experience in the South, so this is in no way universal:

Down here we have a small demographic of women who just don't care. They see politics with the same discerning eye with which they see football and fishing - something they need to know exists because men find it interesting for some reason.

Then we have a slightly larger number of activists, but this is more the church and social group activist crowd. They speak about their opinions openly, they are involved with organziations like church groups, citizens groups and political campaigns. They tend to be the most pragmatic because their circle of friends includes a large number of good people who politely disagree, and poke good natured fun at one another because of their respective beliefs.

Then we have the majority of Southern Women, who have political opinions that tend to be more partisan than men on both sides of the spectrum.

Most of these women I know are sweet as sugar, God love 'em, and usually avoid political conversation in favor of more day to day matters. But if the conversation ventures to politics, watch out! (This same rule can also be applied to Southern women who are also football fans...)

Suddenly, the sweet lady you were speaking to has been replaced by a biting, spitting, kicking, knife- throwing seperatist for either side. The male brain realizes the danger immediately, much like the feeling you get when you first light a large firework in your hand, and quickly attempts to move the conversation to some other, less controversial place (like taking her to dinner, buying her something nice, complementing her shoes or getting married).

patsbrother said...

rightonpeachtree: Abortion, like it or hate it, likely does not have the effect on immigration you think it has. If you want it, I have Supreme Court cases from the 1800s that discuss immigration and the need for cheap labor as if it came out of paper this morning.

During depressions, immigration is low. People come when there are jobs. The key in immigration is that as Americans, whether fifth generation or first, we want our kids, if they can, to get better jobs and jobs that are better for them. When there are growth and better jobs, established Americans move up and immigrants move in to fill the vacancy. When there is a depression, no one moves up and immigrants do not come in, because who wants to go through all that for naught, anyway. As this cycle is unlikely to abate, we look to immigration to fill that employment that is vacated when established Americans move up.

Unless you're arguing abortion causes economic depressions (which might be a bad argument to make, considering that first wave of post-Roe babies that never were would have come to age in the early 1990s, just as America began its longest period of sustained growth in history*), then I do not understand your assertion that a lower birth rate led to higher immigration. Yes, modern growth does resemble a ponzi scheme, but with fewer demanders (or, at least, fewer new demanders), why would we need more suppliers to take their place?

*Read Freakonomics, which is a quite interesting book, by the way. However, do not interpret what I posted above to mean the opposite is true of what I hypothetically ascribed to rightonpeachtree's argument: I do not maintain that abortion is good for the economy. I simply maintain that that confluence of events would detract from someone's position, were they to argue abortion encourages economic depressions.

patsbrother said...

Among the more educated, there is a higher probability of liberalism.

Those that are more educated are more likely to have more books in the home, and prize reading higher than in other households.

Children who grow up in homes where there are lots of books or where reading is prized more tend to do better in school and become more educated than those children who do not.

Among the more educated, there is a lower incidence of childbirth.

Ergo, nature will eventually breed liberalism out of existence, because it is tied to a higher incidence of education, which is self-disperpetuatingly tied to a lower incidence of childbirth.

Ah, logic in blogland!

Dante said...

"Among the more educated, there is a higher probability of liberalism."

True, assuming the "more" you're talking about is a college degree or better. Even then, the gap isn't that wide. Graduate degree or better would be a slam dunk for your case but then you'd be talking about an absolutely miniscule portion of the population. Going by the previous undergraduate or better definition, you're still talking about a minority of the country.

"Among the more educated, there is a lower incidence of childbirth."

Also among the wealthy there is also a lower incidence of childbirth. And by wealthy we're only talking $50k a year or more per breadwinner. Those wealthy tend to be conservatives by about the same margin as those with a college degree tend to be liberal.

I would argue that these two groups would cancel each other out but making such an argument is utterly pointless considering we're still only dealing with a minority of the country in either case.

I think you're spot on about the abortions though.

Patrick Armstrong said...

"Among the more educated, there is a higher probability of liberalism."

And snobbery, apparently. No wonder we can't win elections: if we aren't in school and we aren't having babies, we're reading about how smart we are and bragging about it to the 'stupid masses.'

We're not going to breed ourselves out of the public discourse, we're going to rise above it!

If anything my degree proved to me, its that any idiot can get an education in this country. :D

russelllindsey said...

Mr. Armstrong (or may I call you Pat?)...

I think you are exactly dead-on with your assessment in your last comment.

Quite honestly, while there are social issues on which I'd like to align myself more closely with the left, this snobbery has prevented me doing so.

I happen to hold two separate bachelors degrees (not sure if they qualifies me for the "above undergrad" category or not), but I grew up in a social network of people that included people who posess a lot of inherant wisdom. Unfortunately, a lot of people on the left who like to label them as "stupid" simply due to the fact that they never had an opportunity to go to college.

I was a rare child where I grew up as both of my parents' hold college degrees. Heck, my fiance is a first generation college grad in his family, but his parents are much more down to earth (i.e. practical) than most people I've met.

When will the left realize that they are being supported by such people? It never ceases to amaze me that people who would be considered to be "stupid" or "uneducated" by the left are the very people who support Democrats. For example, my Grandma, who is a high school graduate, always supports the Democratic party. However, when you discuss her actual VIEWS, she is more aligned with the Democratic party of FDR or JFK - rather than the Democratic party of today.

If you dissected her social views, she would be overwhelmingly be labeled as Conservative.

Also, I think it is a willing ignorance of what is going on in the Democratic party that allows such a demographic to continue to support a party that does not have their interests at heart (despite what the Democratic party says, their actions speak louder than words). Our current governor is a perfect example of this.

Knowing a lot of people who fit into this category as a result of living in Michigan for most of my life (a big Union state), it saddens me that they are not seen as valuable by certain aspects of the left. It also saddens me to know how truly helpless they feel with regards to politics.

More later.


patsbrother said...

Do, a deer, a female deer...

Ray, a drop of golden sun...

Me, a name I call myself...

Lame, a word to describe the act of taking an inane joke as both serious and indemic of a group of people...

So, a needle pulling thread...

patsbrother said...

Perhaps I should stop trying to be funny.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Mr. Semantic, when joking while sounding serious, it is often 'text courtesy' to place a " :) " or " :D " after your 'joke.'

(Just so us dummies don't get confyoosed no mo' :)

Dante said...

"Perhaps I should stop trying to be funny."

If this is your A material, it might be a good idea.

Patrick Armstrong said...

If that's your 'A' material... LOL

RL: You can call me Pat or any variation thereof. I'm sure SAWB has some suggestions as well...

Regarding snobbery, the 'liberal snobs' I know talk about their education, their moral superiority and their hatred for all things Southern. The 'conservative snobs' I know talk about their money, their moral superiority and their hatred for all things liberal. This can get really obnoxious, especially if you get more than one of these individuals in a room.

The most pervasive form of snobbery tends to be the 'moral superiority' thing: you're either politically correct or culturally correct.

The most obnoxious form of snobbery (to me) is the hatred of all things Southern and the hatred of all things liberal. But maybe that's just me, being that I'm a Southern Liberal. :D

"I'll have some universal health care with my sweet tea and bourbon, please"

(now that's some "A" material....)

RightOnPeachtree said...

Pat's Bro, you said:

"People come when there are jobs."

That's my point. Or more precisely, I would say that people come when there are more jobs than people available to take them. It's about supply and demand. And this ties into your point about depression/recession. That also works according to the principle of supply and demand. If companies aren't hiring due to the economic environment, their demand for work drops and immigration would drop (theoretically).

With rampant abortion, there is dearth of available workers. This is what creates the draw for labor in general -- and greed is what draws in that labor from cheap, illegal, exploitable labor pools. (I feel like I'm back in my Macroeconomics classes)

As they stated in "Say Anything", one of my favorite movies:

"It's about economics, man"


And while I agree that folks want their kids to have better lives than they had and to be at a higher station in life, it doesn't always work out according to their plans. There is a natural sorting of the labor force according to the jobs available. Not everyone will be equipped for or able to get management jobs, no matter how much they or their parents want it for them. And as much as they would like to do better than menial jobs, many just won't be able to get those better jobs.

And you mentioned Freakonomics -- those authors argue that crime dropped about 18 years after Roe v. Wade was passed due to poorer, lower-station babies being aborted. Along the same lines, these are the lower-station children who, if not aborted, would likely want to or have to take menial jobs that are currently being filled by illegals.

Of course, 45 million abortions doesn't translate into 45 million missing workers. Some women may have had multiple abortions within different nine-month periods, so not every one of those pregnancies could have been held to full-term. And some of the kids would've died or been killed, but it still means that a significant chunk of our potential labor pool never had the post-womb opportunities available to those of us who were allowed to finish the race and cross the 9-month finish line.

Here is the info on the number of abortions -- in case anyone thinks I'm making it up. And yes, it's from a conservative site, but it refers to the original nonpartisan sources. And it says "more than 43 million" (abortions), but it also says that the number is about a million a year and the article itself is nearly a year old.