Tuesday, October 17, 2006

To provoke a little thought

The United States today officially passed the 300 million persons mark according to the US Census Bureau. That's not counting illegal aliens in the US, of course, who pushed us past that number quite some time ago, by most estimates (given there are at least 12 million undocumented aliens here, you can extrapolate back a ways to figure out just how long ago if you feel so inclined). It seems like a lot of people... but as noted by the folks over at The Boundless Line, it really isn't, and in fact, our population, like that of Europe and Japan, is actually on its way to declining.

In the short term, our population will continue to rise, particularly as it is bolstered by the more traditionally family-oriented immigrants coming here from largely Asian and Latino backgrounds. Longterm, however, we're headed for the same situation as Japan and Europe, whose birth rates have fallen significantly in recent years, and now sit well below the replacement rate (which sits somewhere around 2.3 children per home). This is, of course, part of the ongoing reason for the Social Security "crisis" (there are many opinions as to the magnitude of that particular issue, and this post, at least, is not the place to go into them), and it will almost certainly cause other significant issues to arise in our future that we have not faced yet.

More importantly, though, as Candice Watters and Ted Slater variously hinted at and more directly pointed out in their blog entries today, they reflect a shift in our cultural mentality - far more visibly pronounced in Europe and Japan - that ought to capture our attention. In short, we are on the fast track to becoming a culture of death (some, like Ramesh Ponuru, would argue not only that we are headed that way but that in many parts of the country we are already there). This is disturbing on all number of levels. The Netherlands, for example, already have many cases of forced "assisted suicide" - that is, murder - by the very doctors once sworn by Hippocratic Oath to protect life. People supporting euthanasia nearly always conveniently overlook this fact, either from willful disregard or from forced ignorance. Abortion, too, is a significant issue in this culture of death, and will remain so. When we nihilistically value ourselves to the exclusion of anyone around us, it is all but inevitable that we will find ourselves (as we have) in a culture dedicated to "therapeutic" death. The Romans found themselves at the bottom of the slope we now tread in the days before their ultimate end. How much farther have we to fall?

- Chris

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