Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Conservatives shall inherit the earth

An interesting article appeared in the latest issue of Foreign Policy(subscription required.)

The article is written by Phillip Longman, a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, and he argues that the global future is conservative. This is so, he says, not because of conservatism's philosophical, economic or moral superiority (he may not even recognize any of these), but because of it's evolutionary advantages!

The key for Longman is patriarchy which he defines, not as male domination (although it may, to a greater or lesser extent, include that), but as a system in which the approved social roles are for a man to marry and provide for a family that will carry on his lineage. In return for a woman's agreement to bear and raise his children, he is to remain faithful and provide support. Women are to accept this support and, in return, are to specialize in the raising of children. Alternative roles, for both men and women, are disapproved.

Note that he distinguishes this from the type of mysogyny that characterizes certain middle eastern societies. Patriarchy confers rights and responsibilities on both men and women, but they are complementary not identical.

Patriarchy produces lots of children. One problem with it, though, is that people can get tired of it. Men grow weary of its burdens. Women tire of its limitations.

Patriarchy, according to Longman, has been largely rejected in much of western Europe and parts of the US. But the rise of non-patriarchal systems carry the genesis of their own decline. They don't produce lots of children. Much of the western world is now below the replacement rate. Birth rates in red states are higher than birth rates in blue states. There is a strong correlation between conservative social views and the number of children one has. Over time, these families and societies will come to outnumber the more liberal ones.

I'm a conservative who had one kid, so I'm not sure how much I buy this, but it is an interesting spin on political demography. Usually we hear that the higher birth rates among minorites will doom the GOP in the United States, but maybe our future is actually full of home schoolers.


Anonymous said...

What about the impact of artificial insemination?
Men may become irrelevant.

Rick Esenberg said...

So says Maureen Dowd.