Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Cart, Meet Horse

In the New York Times (registration required) David Brooks looks at the Red State/Blue State divide in light of fertility rates. His opinion is that the decision to have a large family is a rejection of materialistic and individualistic values. This was reflected in a very strong correlation in the presidential vote:

You can see surprising political correlations. As Steve Sailer pointed out in The American Conservative, George Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility rates, and 25 of the top 26. John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest rates.

The cost/benefit ratio is calculated very differently when one's offspring are involved. The costs that can be handled by adults would be overwhelming for children. Kids are the driving force in the growth of suburbs.

What I am not so certain about is the implication in this line:

Natalists resist the declining fertility trends not because of income, education or other socioeconomic characteristics. It's attitudes. People with larger families tend to attend religious services more often, and tend to have more traditional gender roles.

This construction, decision for a large family then religious affiliation, only works if the individual was the first generation of believer, the one who was not religious prior to the decision for family. Since families are in the business of generations, this falls flat. How then could it characterise those whose parents had made the decision to family, then religion, and raisbed their children to be religious, who then went on to have large families? By nature of the issue, the number of those raised religious will rapidly come to outnumber those of the first generation.

I may be misreading his demographic terminology, but it does read so that it undercuts his final point that the Red States are not wanting to wage cultural "jihad" on the Blue States. Even the final point can be brought into question:

What they cherish, like most Americans, is the self-sacrificial love shown by parents. People who have enough kids for a basketball team are too busy to fight a culture war.

I would think that with that many kids, who has time to monitor their TV, music, and video games as well? Wouldn't it be so much easier if their weren't those things to worry about? If they had moved out to the suburbs so that their kids wouldn't be exposed to that type of thing, then what would be the reaction to discover that those things had followed them?

via Instapundit

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