The Corner

Underpopulation

As Rod has noted there are lots of conservatives who have liberal environmental views (I honestly don’t know if that was a cheap shot to the Crunchy Cons). But I’ve found that the most enduring misperception on the Right is a tendency among many conservatives to buy into Malthusian scare scenarios about over-population. I say this mostly from my experience of arguing, via email, with some readers over population trends. So I’d be interested in what Jon Adler’s experience has been in this regard on the Right. Maybe there’s another doom-and-gloom scenario he finds right-wingers particularly suseptible to. My suspicion is that conservatives, generally being more skeptical about immigration issues, tend to lump the two issues together.

Anyway, the simple fact is that birth rates are declining everywhere, not just in the Western industrialized nations, but in the so-called Third World too.Yes some nations are still growing in absolute terms because their total fertility rates are above 2.1 children per woman. But the rate of growth is shrinking across the board. And this means that the most likely scenario is that global population will max-out by mid-century and then begin declining. I bring all of this up because today’s Wall Street Jourrnal has an excellent primer on the whole story on page B1. It’s not web-able, but if you’re interested in this stuff you should definitely check it out.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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