2:34 PM, Oct 16, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert writes about Jonathan V. Last's book What to Expect When No One's Expecting and gets it completely wrong.
Here's what Kolbert says:
In the United States, the fertility rate is currently estimated at 2.06. This figure puts the U.S. ahead of all European nations except France, and right about at replacement level. Nevertheless, according to Jonathan Last, a senior writer at The Weekly Standard, the country is facing doom by depopulation. At the start of “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster” (Encounter), he breaks the number down by race, income, and education. Black women have what Last terms a “healthy” fertility rate of 1.96. Hispanic women are “doing most of the heavy lifting,” with a rate of 2.35. White women, by contrast, are slackers. Their rate is 1.79, which makes them about as productive or, if you prefer, unproductive as the Dutch and the Norwegians. Poor women generally have more kids than middle-class women, while women who drop out of high school have more than those who graduate, and way more than those who earn advanced degrees. All this adds up, Last writes, to a “kind of reverse Darwinism where the traditional markers of success make one less likely to reproduce.”
Last has aimed his book at the same sort of readers who subscribe to The Weekly Standard. He describes himself as an “anti-abortion nut job,” lampoons the “feminist-industrial complex,” and laments a decline in marriage rates among the “lower classes.” Those who find Last’s politics less than congenial are likely to be less than convinced by his arguments. Among the problems he attributes to low fertility rates is that they tend to make countries reluctant to fight wars. Among the solutions he advocates is cutting back on higher education, thereby reducing its depressing influence on American fertility.
And here's Last, correcting the record:
This is like one of those moments in the movies when the masked slasher taunts his victim: “Go ahead and pray to the New Yorker! Where is your godnow?”
It’s hard to know quite where to start because in the space of 281 words, Kolbert moves briskly from being confused, to uncharitable, to dishonest. For example, I wrote an entire book about the challenges low fertility rates pose for societies and what does Kolbert take away? That I think one of the “problems” with low fertility rates are that they makes countries “reluctant to fight wars.”
How could Kolbert possibly come away with that interpretation?
Read the rest of Last's terrific response here.
Jul 8, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 41 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Last month The Scrapbook reported on a slightly arcane, but important, change being proposed for the American Community Survey. The ACS is an annual survey conducted by the Census Bureau; it goes out to 3 million households and is one of the most robust tools we have for gathering demographic data about our country. For unknown reasons, the statisticians running the ACS proposed deleting a question about “number of times married.”
The secret to the Republicans' House majority.Apr 22, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 30 • By JAY COST
The 2012 national election continues to be a puzzle. Barack Obama won reelection with a solid 51 percent of the vote, and Democrats picked up 2 Senate seats, expanding their majority to 55-45. Yet the House of Representatives remained in Republican control, 234-201, yielding the divided government we have today.
And before you know it, you'll be voting for the GOP.Apr 22, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 30 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
In 2005, Steve Sailer wrote a cover story for the American Conservative theorizing that the divide between red and blue states was driven in large part by the cost of family formation. Sailer dubbed this the “Dirt Gap” (referring to the price of homes with yards), and his general thesis was that affordable family formation—and the attendant bourgeois life which it enabled—was the source of our political divisions.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:10 PM, Feb 14, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Jonathan V. Last, hosted by Michael Graham:
10:43 AM, Feb 8, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
This week Russian president Vladimir Putin brought Boyz II Men to Moscow to "hopefully [give] Russian men some inspiration ahead of St. Valentine's Day," according to the Moscow Times. That is, Putin brought the music group to town to encourage love-making, and, he hopes, baby-making to offset Russia's demographic disaster.
Feb 11, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 21 • By
The Scrapbook is delighted to announce that our colleague Jonathan V. Last’s brilliant essay, “America’s One-Child Policy,” which appeared in these pages two-and-a-half years ago, has grown into an even more brilliant new book, What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster.
Americans spend over $4.8 billion annually on their pets.1:00 PM, Feb 1, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a new book on demographics set to be published next week, Jonathan V. Last writes that pets now outnumber children 4 to 1 in America.
7:15 AM, Dec 6, 2012 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
Ross Douthat has gotten himself in trouble for writing about demographics and the latest Pew report on the decline of America’s birth rate. Douthat has the temerity to suggest that having babies is important for public welfare, that Americans aren’t having enough of them, and that the root cause of our birth dearth is a deep cultural transformation:
The most politically potent demographic trend is not the one everyone talked about after the election Dec 10, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 13 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
9:41 AM, Nov 28, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
As hard as it is to believe, it’s been only a little over three weeks since Election Day. But there are already plenty of signs that Republicans are learning many of the wrong lessons from that debacle.