The Corner

Death is Death — Except When There is No Death

From a reader:

Jonah,

Surely Buchy is a blowhard in comparing falling birthrates to mass murder, but if the outcome is still the end of a people, the end of a gens, then there is some validity to his statement.

After all, the crime of the Holocaust isn’t merely thought of as mass murder, all of WWII involved that. It was the attempted murder of something else, a people. Well, ok, this isn’t murder, its suicide, but death is still death. Think of it this way, if Hitler had merely sterilized the Jews, he would have been guilty of a mass crime of violence to rights and persons but not murder, but he would have still been attempting genocide just the same. The attempted murder of a race, even without the murder of a single solitary person. Those missing babies would have come thru abuse of the parents rather than wealth and alternate choices, but ultimately a people, a race, a volk, a gens only dies thru missing babies either way.

Now, one can respectably say it doesn’t matter, that murdering 6 million randomly chosen people is just as bad doing so to those chosen because of their shared ethnicity, genome or culture, and sterilizing or otherwise missing babies the same. The death of a race is not a real death like that of an individual. Fine. But then we really need to stop talking about genocide ever as a different and greater crime, and stick with the term mass murder. The word genocide was coined to get at this supposedly different moral coin.

If the murder of a people is a great crime, then the suicide/ dissolution of a people is certainly something to worry about. We may not get as upset when our buddy dies from living a life of excess and indulgence as when he is murdered, but we still do get upset.

Me: Oh, I don’t know. Look, cultural dissolution is disastrous, particularly when its a great culture that’s being dissolved (I shed fewer tears for barbaric, stagnant or evil cultures). I am with Mark Steyn entirely on that. But this idea that the demographic data supports the “death” thesis is wildly overblown. If the share of Caucasians relative to Asians shrinks, that hardly means Caucasians are “dying” particularly if the Caucasians in question are richer and healthier than the Asians. Here’s how I put it in that old G-File I linked to: If your poor grandfather had ten kids and your middle-class father had five kids and now that you are rich you decide to just have three, would you say that the “Smith family is dying”?

Besides we know from the incredible analytical cock-up that was overpopulation hysteria that demographic trends can change and are hard to predict. Western fertility rates have dropped first and fastest because we got rich first and fastest. As capitalism spreads, fertility drops. I don’t know that these poor nations will keep expanding as they get richer, and neither does Pat Buchanan or anybody else. But the data generally suggest that prosperity (along with female literacy and all sorts of other things) leads to declining or stabilizing populations. If Turkmenistan becomes peaceful and prosperous, my guess is that its population will decline. Moreover, if it becomes peaceful and prosperous, why on earth should we care what its population is?

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