Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A barren, sterile existence that ends when you die

Jerry: "You just met the guy yesterday."
Elaine: "Yeah, but we share a common goal."
Jerry: A barren, sterile existence that ends when you die?"
Elaine: (sheepishly) "Yeah."

- Seinfeld
What's the difference between Seattle and Salt Lake City? There are many differences, of course, but here's one you might not know. In Seattle, there are nearly 45% more dogs than children. In Salt Lake City, there are nearly 19% more kids than dogs.
So reports Phillip Longman in an op-ed piece that appeared in USA Today on March 14.

Longman continues:

This curious fact might at first seem trivial, but it reflects a much broader and little-noticed demographic trend that has deep implications for the future of global culture and politics. It's not that people in a progressive city such as Seattle are so much fonder of dogs than are people in a conservative city such as Salt Lake City. It's that progressives are so much less likely to have children.

It's a pattern found throughout the world, and it augers a far more conservative future - one in which patriarchy and other traditional values make a comeback, if only by default. Childlessness and small families are increasingly the norm today among progressive secularists. As a consequence, an increasing share of all children born into the world are descended from a share of the population whose conservative values have led them to raise large families.


This correlation between secularism, individualism and low fertility portends a vast change in modern societies. In the USA, for example, nearly 20% of women born in the late 1950s are reaching the end of their reproductive lives without having children. The greatly expanded childless segment of contemporary society, whose members are drawn disproportionately from the feminist and countercultural movements of the 1960s and '70s, will leave no genetic legacy. Nor will their emotional or psychological influence on the next generation compare with that of people who did raise children.


This dynamic helps explain the gradual drift of American culture toward religious fundamentalism and social conservatism. Among states that voted for President Bush in 2004, the average fertility rate is more than 11% higher than the rate of states for Sen. John Kerry.
As delightful as it may be to contemplate a Moonbat-Free Seattle and a Red Washington in another 25 to 50 years, I found this column enlightening in another aspect.

I would submit that the childless/small family norm among “progressives” explains their obsession with the principles of “smart growth”, including:

  • Mixed-use development

  • Dense urban infill

  • Disdain for suburbia (e.g. cookie cutter houses, strip malls, big box stores with large parking lots, etc.)

  • Replacement of automobiles with walking, biking, and public transportation

  • In other words, all the lifestyle elements that appeal to DINKs (Double Income, No Kids), DINKWADs (Double Income, No Kids with a Dog) and WOOFs (Well Off Older Folks).

    Take it from a father of three and stepfather of two: If you have more than one kid, “smart growth” doesn’t make much sense. You appreciate affordable housing, detached homes on single lots, fenced-in backyards, SUVs and mini-vans, quiet neighborhoods away from the crime, pollution, and noise of downtown areas, low grocery prices, retail selection, and the convenience of one-stop shopping box stores.

    Let me put it another way. How many of you with children under the age of 12 were able to do ALL of your Christmas shopping at “Main Street” type stores in Pullman and Moscow last year?

    “Smart growth” is yet another front in the Culture War; a prime example of how the left is trying to force their vision of "Utopia" upon the rest of us. That’s okay. As Longman points out, the immutable law of Darwin cannot be contravened.

    “Sprawl”, as liberals disdainfully describe it, has happened because that’s what people have voted for with their wallets. One Moscow realtor was quoted as saying after the last NewCities meeting that he never gets any requests for high-rise condos. It is single-family homes that people want.

    For a great article on how “smart growth” has ruined Portland, click here.*LINK FIXED*

    1 comment:

    Ray Lindquist said...

    That is one VERY encouraging post Tom, THX.
    I have wondered what the DemocRATS will do when they get old and they don't have children to care for them before they go into some sort of elder care. I guess they can go into it a lot earlier than they would have otherwise. The one draw back to all that; as a compassionate Christian I would find it very hard to allow them to have their death with dignity 'hogwash'. They should have to live out their lives until the Good LORD takes away their heart beat. Then we have all the High Taxes, Growth Management act, and on and on with all the rights that will need to be restores to us citizens. I just hope that the children & grand children we raise will be able to do deal with all of the "BIG" Government until they can dismantle some of the 'over' regulation that has been foisted upon small businesses and the citizens.