Friday, February 24, 2012

The End of Western Civilization

Rodger Jones, editorial writer for The Dallas Morning News, takes time out from his primary cause, whining about the sidewalks to Richardson DART stations, in order to warn us of another apocalyptic problem on his mind, the end of Western civilization.

After the jump, the source of the danger.

Jones's warning about the ultimate fate of Western civilization is prompted by critics of GOP president candidate Rick Santorum for his stand against birth control.

Jones says Santorum is right, if you just take a long-term view. According to Jones, not enough women are having babies. Or, at least, not enough women with whom Jones shares a common ancestry. Specifically, Lithuanian women, but, in general, Central and Eastern European women, too. Jones warns us that "so many modern countries are pitifully below the 'replacement level' of fertility and would shrink toward nothingness without huge immigration." Did you see what he slipped in there? Without huge immigration. Like immigration is an unthinkable horror. Instead, Jones encourages Lithuanian women to get busy in bed if they care about the "ultimate fate of Western civilization."

What's wrong with Jones's argument?

Western civilization needs two things to survive -- people and culture. To ensure the former, Jones wants Lithuanian women to get pregnant. But Western civilization is not a genetic trait. It's not something transferred from one generation to the next through DNA. Western civilization is a cultural trait -- shared traditions, morality and religion, legal systems, art, music and literature, entertainment and food. It can be transferred to immigrants. America is proof of that. America has welcomed millions of immigrants over the years without losing the essence of American culture or, heaven forbid, "Western civilization."

There is irony in Jones's blind eye towards the benefits of immigration. Jones himself is the descendant of Catholic immigrants to the United States. In 1850, Catholics made up only about 5% of the US population. After the immigration boom of the late nineteenth century, Catholics made up 17 percent of the population. Yes, those Catholic immigrants had lots of babies, but those babies would have been born in Ireland, Italy, Poland, and, yes, Lithuania if the US hadn't opened its arms to immigrants. Thanks to immigration and the "melting pot" that is America, Western civilization is richer today than it was two centuries ago.

Jones's own family contributed to the shrinking population in Lithuania by emigrating from there to the United States. Now, he wants the women who stayed behind to make more babies to make up for the departure of his family and people like them. And he's going to withhold making a donation at Sunday's special collection for "The Church in Central and Eastern Europe" until their women get busy getting pregnant. Maybe he should just consider returning "home" and getting busy himself.

Jones's insistence on higher birth rates, not immigration, as a way to avoid population decline, could be considered unintentionally racist. The guilt trip he puts on women who use birth control, blaming them for threatening the end of Western civilization, could be considered unintentionally sexist. Dismissing people who call Rick Santorum "extreme" or "out of the mainstream" for his views on birth control, saying, "Those types of statements get Santorum-haters worked to a froth, but I suppose they derive some therapy from a communal venting" is not even deserving of a response.

1 comment:

Nathan Morgan said...

Eh, that's the sentiment many old folk have..."why worry?"...I won't be around to see it. I'm planning to die poor and spend the next generation's future on top of my own fortune. I deserve it. Let the kids figure it out. They should have been paying attention, anyway.

Isn't that a fine cup of tea.