Western civilization on suicide watch

In large part for demographic reasons, I am pessimistic about the future for America and the West. 

My mother died recently, just shy of 94 years old.  She left seven grandchildren: two medical doctors, one doctor of physical therapy; and biomedical engineer; one specialist in digital photography; one management trainee and one student.  I am older (70) than her husband, my father, was when he passed.  I have one grandchild and am unlikely to have more.  The night my eldest (now a cardiologist) was married, he called me aside at the reception say his wife did not want to have children.  Maybe one, maybe someday.

 As years went by, I continued to raise the subject, not always with tact and finesse.  His father in law called me one night to remind me of his significantly greater net worth.  “I have more money than you do, so you have no say in the matter,” his f-i-l said.

My response (to my son) wasn’t very repeatable, and what had been a rocky relationship has since become nonexistent.  In time they did have a child, the only one on either side.  The other in-laws shower her with stuff.

This conflict led me to Ben Wattenberg’s excellent 1987 book, The Birth Dearth.  It also brought to my attention the insufficient rates of fertility in much of Western society.

Only one democracy is producing enough children to avoid demographic disappearance.  That country is Israel.

The investment analyst and writer, David P. Goldman, who writes under the pseudonym Spengler, connects the implosion of national populations to the abandonment of belief.  Belief in the nation, belief in God.  

As it happens. I belong to a synagogue where the senior rabbi was raised in a Reform household, trained in a Reform seminary, and converted mid-life to the Conservative denomination.  He describes us non-Orthodox Jews as Progressive Jews.

 I’ve written to him laying out the mathematical consequences of women having fewer than two children.  His response is to de-friend and block me from social media.

This rabbi is a featured blogger in a major publication, and acknowledges that while his maternal grandparents (who were Holocaust survivors) had three children, the second generation had 1.3 children per couple, and the third generation (which includes him) has on average one child per couple. I know how politically incorrect it is, but I’ve said that if he encourages one of the latest generation to have a same sex partner, it won’t help the continuity of our people.  He hasn’t answered.

It doesn't take a graduate degree in economic statistics (which I have) to see that families with only single children lead to falling numbers.  My maternal grandfather was one of eight, and his wife, my grandmother, was one of 13.  Anecdotally, people say this was common a century ago. 

 Conversely, the modern couple with more than two children is a rarity. Perhaps people of my age and older have more to believe in.

 An article in The Forward which this week, describes the future of American Jewry as “Not Orthodox, Not Reform, Just Jewish.”  Also known as Jews of No Religion.  Perhaps no one told them that absent something to believe in, Civilizations Die. 

 Harvard scientist Steven Pinker in his book, Enlightenment Now, notes in graphic form the inverse relationship between a respondent’s age and his/her likelihood of casting votes for Donald Trump (in America) or Brexit (in Europe.)  The lesson seems to be: those longer in the tooth are more apt to believe in national borders, that they are a part of one distinct nation, one people.

This is a critically important week for all segments of the Judeo-Christian culture:  Jews, such as myself, are called upon to retell the history of our people.  Christians bear witness to the holiness of their history. I am firmly convinced that it makes us, and the societies in which we live, far better for it.  I wish you all a joyous and meaningful holiday.

Graphic credit: Pixabay

In large part for demographic reasons, I am pessimistic about the future for America and the West. 

My mother died recently, just shy of 94 years old.  She left seven grandchildren: two medical doctors, one doctor of physical therapy; and biomedical engineer; one specialist in digital photography; one management trainee and one student.  I am older (70) than her husband, my father, was when he passed.  I have one grandchild and am unlikely to have more.  The night my eldest (now a cardiologist) was married, he called me aside at the reception say his wife did not want to have children.  Maybe one, maybe someday.

 As years went by, I continued to raise the subject, not always with tact and finesse.  His father in law called me one night to remind me of his significantly greater net worth.  “I have more money than you do, so you have no say in the matter,” his f-i-l said.

My response (to my son) wasn’t very repeatable, and what had been a rocky relationship has since become nonexistent.  In time they did have a child, the only one on either side.  The other in-laws shower her with stuff.

This conflict led me to Ben Wattenberg’s excellent 1987 book, The Birth Dearth.  It also brought to my attention the insufficient rates of fertility in much of Western society.

Only one democracy is producing enough children to avoid demographic disappearance.  That country is Israel.

The investment analyst and writer, David P. Goldman, who writes under the pseudonym Spengler, connects the implosion of national populations to the abandonment of belief.  Belief in the nation, belief in God.  

As it happens. I belong to a synagogue where the senior rabbi was raised in a Reform household, trained in a Reform seminary, and converted mid-life to the Conservative denomination.  He describes us non-Orthodox Jews as Progressive Jews.

 I’ve written to him laying out the mathematical consequences of women having fewer than two children.  His response is to de-friend and block me from social media.

This rabbi is a featured blogger in a major publication, and acknowledges that while his maternal grandparents (who were Holocaust survivors) had three children, the second generation had 1.3 children per couple, and the third generation (which includes him) has on average one child per couple. I know how politically incorrect it is, but I’ve said that if he encourages one of the latest generation to have a same sex partner, it won’t help the continuity of our people.  He hasn’t answered.

It doesn't take a graduate degree in economic statistics (which I have) to see that families with only single children lead to falling numbers.  My maternal grandfather was one of eight, and his wife, my grandmother, was one of 13.  Anecdotally, people say this was common a century ago. 

 Conversely, the modern couple with more than two children is a rarity. Perhaps people of my age and older have more to believe in.

 An article in The Forward which this week, describes the future of American Jewry as “Not Orthodox, Not Reform, Just Jewish.”  Also known as Jews of No Religion.  Perhaps no one told them that absent something to believe in, Civilizations Die. 

 Harvard scientist Steven Pinker in his book, Enlightenment Now, notes in graphic form the inverse relationship between a respondent’s age and his/her likelihood of casting votes for Donald Trump (in America) or Brexit (in Europe.)  The lesson seems to be: those longer in the tooth are more apt to believe in national borders, that they are a part of one distinct nation, one people.

This is a critically important week for all segments of the Judeo-Christian culture:  Jews, such as myself, are called upon to retell the history of our people.  Christians bear witness to the holiness of their history. I am firmly convinced that it makes us, and the societies in which we live, far better for it.  I wish you all a joyous and meaningful holiday.

Graphic credit: Pixabay