Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Western Baby Dearth Will Lead To A Conservative Patriarchy, Says Conservative Patriarch

Phillip Longman argues that the failure of western societies to reproduce at replacement levels means that they will soon be run by the kids of people who are reproducing at relatively higher rates.

These people tend to be patriarchal conservatives, traditional Europeans who love their country, have nothing against armies, and take a dim view of bastardy. Hence, Longman concludes, Europe is set for a return to conservative patriarchy.

Longman's thesis is seductive. It disregards, however, another fertile source of patriarchal revival in Europe: Islam. The effect of large immigrant families on Longman's rosy patriarchy-building scenario is difficult to determine.

It could as easily nurture a revolt against patriarchy as an entrenchment of it. Large numbers of children brought up under the thumb of "repressed" Muslim patriarchs might well stage a backlash in favour of liberal, "progressive" values.

As with Mark Steyn, who ploughs the same demographic furrow from the other side of the field (ie: western baby dearth will lead to Islamic Europe), the argument is built up on the assumption that the childrens of patriarchs, both western and Muslim, will perpetuate precisely the kind of society their parents advocate. This outcome is possible, of course, but hardly inevitable. The Muslim immigrant, for one, is unlikely to believe that everything back home is fine and dandy, or he'd have stayed at home in the first place. And children of western patriarchs are notorious for turning against the values that shaped them - wasn't this one of the wellsprings of the whole countercultural lefty 1960s scene anyway?

Foreign Policy: The Return of Patriarchy

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