Friday, April 16, 2010

Not Just French Culture is in Trouble, Western Civilization is Failing



Update:  The Globe has a neat article on this very subject (coincidence?).   The author claims the above scenario is a fairy tail but he doesn't provide any reasoning or proof to back that up.  He does however question the assumptions and then claim that religious fundamentalists of all stripes will  not dominate the future.  The fact remains that we just don't know one way or another.  Here is a little rhyme I remind myself of when dealing with statistics.

A trend is a trend is a trend.But the question is: will it bend? Will it alter its course through some unforeseen force, and come to a premature end?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

So how do we stop it?

Spin Assassin said...

I don't know really, but I think part of the problem is our culture itself.

Why aren't people having a lot of kids? Everybody wants to be something more than just a father or a mother. They want more both for them and their kids. The cost of living keeps going up and the cost of raising children just keeps going hirer.

Part of the problem is socialism (taxes), abortion, debt, and the idea that personal happiness no longer comes from progeny.

The social scientists are the best equipped to deal with all this but I get the feeling most of them are just tickled about it. They hate our culture as they hate themselves. They are convinced that there are too many people so they are happy to let us decline.

Spin Assassin said...

How effective is assimilation? That is another question. Their religion doesn't make them evil by default. If they buy in to our culture they too will decline. So it remains that we need to adjust our culture to be friendlier to children and families. Perhaps per child tax breaks are in order. I mean big tax breaks too.
The family should be the pinnacle of society. Being a mom or dad should be the ultimate career and highest status symbol.

Spin Assassin said...

Of course as an atheist I'm not crazy about the last part. I'll take my chances with Christians though, because muslims put us below Hindus as the people they hate the most.

The_Iceman said...

Isn't this the whole thesis behind America Alone by Mark Steyn?

dollops said...

Compare today's western democracies with what they were post WW2 and you will have your answer. Everyone then was striving to gain education, financial security and social peace and justice. We were far too successful, resulting in too much of a good thing in many different ways. The solution? Tough times or tough love - take your pick. By the way, SA, one day you will be embarrassed by the "of course as an atheist, I ..." I speak from experience.

Spin Assassin said...

I hope so dollops. I hope to be wrong about all sorts of things. I have standards for truth though. So if I change my mind someday it will be more than because somebody said so or it was in a old book, or because I just really want it to be so.

If there is a God, I'm sure He will understand since He made me thus and put me in this world full of tricks.

Spin Assassin said...

For any of you following this thread, I've updated my post with a link to an article about this over at G&M.

Anon1152 said...

Thanks for posting the video. I found it fascinating. I have a few poorly organized points to make:

1.
"He does however [...] claim that religious fundamentalists of all stripes will dominate the future. "

The book he is referring to (Shall the religious inherit the earth? argues this. The Globe and Mail article argues disagrees, or at doubts that conclusion.


2.
Thank you for posting this video. I loved it. And have watched it more than once. And have tried looking into various claims that it makes. (I do this all the time. It's my nature. Or a bad habit). Just found a snopes.com thing about it... Though I don't know if they can be trusted. http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/demographics.asp

But I digress.

You sat: "The author claims the above scenario is a fairy tail but he doesn't provide any reasoning or proof to back that up. "

What exactly counts as reasoning and proof for you? Why does the Globe article have none of it, or less of it than the video?

i will agree that it is hardly dispositive. But he is talking about a book which presumably does have reasoning and evidence.

And I find the reasoning and evidence behind the video questionable. There are people online who question the evidence. For example, the claim that "In only 15 years, half of the population of the Netherlands will be muslim". I find that... implausible.

I started looking into the figures, but the task is time consuming (especially since sources are not specifically identified). Though the BBC did their own investigation: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8189231.stm

3.
Take this statement:
"In just 39 years France will be an Islamic Republic". Said with such certainty. But that seems to assume.... that religion is sexually transmitted. The term "Islamic Republic" isn't clear even within the Islamic world. Various countries with extremely different governments call themselves "Islamic republics". But I think that the narrator has something else in mind. The france we know today calls itself the "fifth republic". In 39 years, we may have a 6th, but the 5 previous changes had happened without a shift away from or to christianity.

I think he means "a country that's mostly Muslim".

But again, even today, by that definition, there are very different countries that are "islamic". The largest islamic country in the world is Indonesia. Pakistan calls itself an Islamic republic. Both have elected female rulers. Unlike Canadian and American voters. But compare that to Saudi Arabia where women aren't even allowed to drive... (Maybe that's changed, but if it has, it was a recent change).

So when the video says "Islamic Republic" does it mean a country like Saudi Arabia? Iran? Indonesia? Malaysia? Algeria? Mauritania? Qatar? the UAE? Iraq? These countries are all very different.

4.
My biggest problem with the video is that the argument is predicated on the assumption that "culture" is... er... "sexually transmitted." It's not. Especially when it comes to "universalist" religions like Islam, Buddhism, or Christianity.(And even if it was a genealogical thing, it's hard to say anything about "Muslims" as a group, or "Islam" in general).

The video identifies anyone with Muslim parents or grandparents as Muslim themselves, and works with an idea about what Islam is that at best applies only to a small fraction of Muslims world-wide.

If the video were about Christians, for example, it would count you as a crazy fundamentalist Christian, because your last name is "Fernandes"

Spin Assassin said...

OK first I re-read the article and yeah a second scan tells me I got it wrong. He disputes the idea that Europe need not be Islamified if its newest generation is descended from Muslims.

I agree with this, however some cultures prove more resilient than others. Take me for example. I am first generation Canadian and a typical Canadian too. All my friends growing up in Ontario were also first generation. All of them proud Canadians, and also proud of their roots. So assimilation works pretty good in the Catholic School system.

Muslims especially try hard not to integrate and it will get easier for them as the demographics change. Even the moderate ones are participating in the grand project for Islam to conquer the world. You might dispute this but I've known many Muslims, all of them very friendly, and all them on a low priority mission for Allah.

As for the movie. It makes sense. The magic number of 2.11 fertility rate. 2 to replace the father and mother, 0.11 to replace the attrition. Makes perfect sense. You can extrapolate that newcomers who don't behave this way will outproduce the originals. If this is false I'd like to know why.

As for the Islamic republic bit: anything can happen. Our culture seem to bow to anyone who wants something vehemently enough. I could see some western democracy saying "ok ok have your sharia law just calm down already." Will they all become hippies or Islmaofascists? Who can say, but the Islamists have the advantage. What more can we do but speak up when we see a potential problem.

Spin Assassin said...

Anon1152 that's a good link on the BBC. Who do we believe eh? I have to side with the BBC on this one. This video could very well be a large work of propaganda. The best propaganda has kernel of truth and its something that has bothered me for a long time.

Why does a successful culture slowly decline? Even China has bought in. Forget the stupid laws, just adopt a free market with a large middle class and boom. Population starts to drop after the initial explosion.

I always get the feeling that there is something the social scientists aren't telling us. Why go through all the trouble of making up Global Warming to hasten our decline? its always we need more taxes, we need more artificial recessions (reducing GHGs), there are too many people etc... People have actually argued that our species needs to go extinct for one reason or another. The common thread of liberal thought seems to always lead in that direction so that one day we can actually volunteer for euthanasia en mass.

Anon1152 said...

I'm convinced the video is a work of propaganda. At the end, it asks you to "spread the gospel message" to counter the threat. Like you I am inclined to side with the BBC.

Though I do try to think through things on my own. [This is probably just procrastination. I'm going to get back to work any second now...]

Take the specific statistical claims the video makes (which I questioned).

You said:

"As for the movie. It makes sense. The magic number of 2.11 fertility rate. 2 to replace the father and mother, 0.11 to replace the attrition. Makes perfect sense. You can extrapolate that newcomers who don't behave this way will outproduce the originals. If this is false I'd like to know why."

I don't dispute the general trend that immigrant Muslims have a higher birthrate. But the actual numbers the video gives seem, as I said, implausible.

The BBC article I linked to does a good job of explaining some of the problems. e.g.:

In the Netherlands, according to the video, half of all newborns are Muslim, and in 15 years half the population will be Muslim.
But the Dutch office of statistics estimates that Muslims make up only 5% of the population. For Dutch Muslim women to produce half the nation's babies, they would have to be giving birth at at least 14 times the rate of their non-Muslim neighbours.


I tried to confirm this through other sources. My numbers below come from the CIA world factbook: CIA World Factbook

There are about 16.7 Million people in The Netherlands.

The CIA world factbook says that 5.8% of the population is Muslim: about a million people. Lets use that figure instead of the BBC's slightly lower figure of 5%.

The population growth rate, including immigration, is 0.412%. So in 15 years, the total population will increase by about 1 million people.

If half of the Netherland's population will be Muslim in 15 years, that means that about 8 million currently living non-muslim Dutch people will have to die, and that 1 million Muslims will multiply and become about 8 million.

Keep in mind too that people are usually at least 15 years old before they start becoming parents. Often they are older. So 15 years from now, only 1/15 of the new muslims will actually be 15 years old. That's 0.067 percent of the total number of new Muslims born in the 15 year period.

For the claim to work, they would have to actually multiply "like rabbits"...

Anyway. My head hurts. Math isn't exactly my forte.


You write:
"Our culture seem to bow to anyone who wants something vehemently enough."
I'm not sure it looks that way from the point of view of other cultures. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, probably do not look like that to the non-western world. And there are other less dramatic examples... (International trading regimes, for example).



"People have actually argued that our species needs to go extinct for one reason or another. The common thread of liberal thought seems to always lead in that direction so that one day we can actually volunteer for euthanasia en mass."
There are people who have said that the human species should go extinct. But... who are they? They are not a large group. I disagree with your characterization of liberal thought. People who believe in and want to stop global warming tend to be, as far as I can see, sincere people who believe that global warming will make the quality of life on earth worse; the want to make it better. If they did believe global warming was bad, but wanted to hasten our decline, they wouldn't try to stop it.

Spin Assassin said...

Well I disagree with the Global Warming position but that is a whole other story. Yes I think those people are sincerely duped into thinking its a good thing to join the green religion and save the earth etc...
They suffer from a serious lack of perspective in believing that nonsense. I consider myself a practical environmentalist. That means no polar bear is equal to a human life. It also doesn't mean polar bears are to be hunted to extinction. Common sense environmentalism. Most of these greens describe themselves as liberals, or socialists, and they are the same ones to propose things like a ban on chlorine and still talk about social justice. This is incompatible. How can you be for the people when you intend to reduce their numbers and expose them to poor living conditions. Most of these people inherently don't understand the world. I think or they couldn't possibly be for what they are told to be for, because they identify with a certain group.

On the video though. Its totally discredited in my eyes except for the issues about replacing our population. That is the sort of thing everyone has heard in school and if you are like me it has bothered you ever since.

So the core issue is the decline of our populations and is this a problem?

Anon1152 said...

"Well I disagree with the Global Warming position but that is a whole other story"
- I can't say I want to get into that either. Just wanted to say something about the sincerity of most people who believe in it. The "blogging tories" don't seem to be insincere or disingenuous either. But I digress.

*

"Most of these greens describe themselves as liberals, or socialists, "
- I don't think this is really a left/right issue per se. Though it has been "coded" as such in North America. In other places, for various political reasons, it has been the opposite. I heard once that Thatcher was in an "environmentalist" mood when fighting the British coal miners' unions...

And before the Kyoto Protocol, there was the Montreal Protocol of the 1980s. Note the place and date. (Think: Mulroney). Some of the most radical environmental laws in the USA were passed under Nixon. The US Environmental Protection Agency was Nixon's creation.

*

You write: "How can you be for the people when you intend to reduce their numbers and expose them to poor living conditions"...
- I'm not particularly passionate about population growth either way. But I can't say that I worry about a reduced population. It's not because I don't care humanity, or any particular culture. It's probably because I don't like sharing. I think that we do have environmental problems that need to be dealt with, but I see it not so much as a population problem as a consumption problem.

But I digress.

You wrote:
"So the core issue is the decline of our populations and is this a problem?"
- The earth's population has expanded dramatically over the last hundred years or so. I don't think it's sustainable. And I don't think we "need" all of these people. We were fine with far smaller numbers for thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of years. It stands to reason that we need to readjust our birthrate to deal with the dramatically lower death rate.

Of course that doesn't deal with the culture issue, and the proportions of "us" versus "them". But I don't think Muslims qua Muslims are the problem. People used to think the same thing about Catholics, and certain European groups (e.g., the Irish).

Spin Assassin said...

If you want to more info about AGW and Thatcher seek out "The Great Global Warming Swindle" Its a couple of years old (I think thats what its called). That movie says Thatcher first promoted AGW as a Union busting tactic against the coal miners. The UK switched to gas afterwords because they happened to have a lot of it.

I don't consider Mulroney be a real conservative. He is a progressive, they exist on both sides though its looks as though the republicans are doing a bit of a purge. Bush and McCain: progressives. This isn't to say they are bad people. Too much politics is about painting the other guy as the devil. They aren't, they are just wrong. Anyway also another story.


you wrote:
The earth's population has expanded dramatically over the last hundred years or so. I don't think it's sustainable. And I don't think we "need" all of these people. We were fine with far smaller numbers for thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of years. It stands to reason that we need to readjust our birthrate to deal with the dramatically lower death rate.

Actually I've read that Human population has risen at more or less 2% compounded annually since the dawn of civilization. That is through wars and famine, through it all. Its only when you segregate groups out by county and culture that you see a pattern of decline in the richest parts of the world.

What concerns me is when you talk about "needing" people. As if the value of a person is weather they are needed. This is part of the progressive/socialist way of thinking. See the writings of George Bernard Shaw. While you might argue that a person is draw on the collective by using up precious health care resources or releasing CO2 for "no good reason,"
it is typically socialists who take it upon themselves to decide what is good and what isn't. Your useless person may do nothing at all in this life except be the father of the next Einstein.

Now being a libertarian primarily I don't like saying if people should have kids or not. Its their choice, and if its a natural decision to decline then so be it. Its not that simple though because its not a fair fight. The other side the socialist believe in active social engineering. They believe that there are indeed too many people. They control the schools in higher and lower education and they control the social services too. They teach the new generation to think the way they do and live only for themselves. This is what makes me a reactionary. I see what is going on and have to push back. Ask yourself why you think the way you do? Where did it come from? Is it true or is it just comfortable? Is it good? Is this society the social engineers are building better than the one we had? The dumbest laziest person is rewarded while the best are punished. I think socialists prefer dummies. Its 1984.

Anon1152 said...

"Actually I've read that Human population has risen at more or less 2% compounded annually since the dawn of civilization. That is through wars and famine, through it all. Its only when you segregate groups out by county and culture that you see a pattern of decline in the richest parts of the world."

Do you have a source for this? I know that a 2% growth rate means a surprisingly short "doubling time"... but I'm not sure this statistic is true.

There have certainly been periods of slow or negative growth. World Wars. Plagues. There is a theory (and apparently evidence, though I'm not a geneticist) that the human population shrunk dramatically approx 70000 years ago: to 1000-10000 "breeding pairs"

Even if the 2% figure is correct (and it may well be), I don't think it is sustainable over the long term. Especially given our consumption.

"What concerns me is when you talk about "needing" people. As if the value of a person is weather they are needed. This is part of the progressive/socialist way of thinking. See the writings of George Bernard Shaw. "

I didn't mean to suggest that people are valued only insofar as they are "needed". The video itself seemed to think that people were needed in that way. Or at least, that Christian people are needed to counter the rising numbers of Muslim people.

Are you calling Shaw a socialist? I love the Play Pygmalion, but other than that (oh, and that he broke a bone or two when he was in his 90s after falling out of a tree) is really all I know. I do have an "expert" I could consult...

"it is typically socialists who take it upon themselves to decide what is good and what isn't."

This partially true. Socialists do "take it upon themselves to decide what is good and what isn't" But how is any other group, or indeed any human being, different?

I think the difference between you and "socialists" on this point isn't that you don't decide what is or is not good; it's that you don't like what they consider good/bad.

The video certainly has an idea of what's good and what isn't. Christian good/Muslim bad.

Or take your comment, for example: liberty good/social engineering bad.

As for being the father of the next Einstein... sure. But one could also be the father of the next Hitler. (I suppose I'm a glass-half-empty-kinda-guy).

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