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The tyranny of numbers

By Alan Caruba
web posted November 20, 2006

When America hit the 300 million mark in October the U.S. Census Bureau held a press conference and their electronic display was on the evening news shows ticking off the numbers of new citizens until it showed…what?

It showed there are just way too many people in America if you worry about things like the provision of sufficient energy, dependency on unfriendly nations for our oil imports, overcrowding of cities, uncontrolled immigration, unfunded entitlements, and a whole list of other problems.

Hard core ecologists—environmentalists is another name for them—if you get a few drinks in them will tell you we will just have to get rid of a couple of million people every month or so if the Earth is to sustain the six billion taking up space, expecting to be fed every day, driving around in cars or on motorcycles, and making more people.

Mark Steyn has written one of the most important books published this year. It's America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It (27.95, Regnery Publishing). Steyn deals with demographics, a topic most people in that particular field of scholarly endeavor manage to make so dull you just want to run screaming from the room. It is the study of human population trends. Steyn, however, is a talented writer and therefore knows how to turn statistics into a lively discourse.

Demographics have a way of sneaking up on you unnoticed. It's all those cars and trucks on the road, seemingly driven by maniacs who have no regard for their own lives or yours. I'll bet you didn't know that in 2005, traffic deaths reached an all-time high. While the headlines scream about each new U.S. casualty in Iraq, 43,443 people were killed last year, up 1.4 percent from the 42,836 the year before. It was the highest number in any single year since 1990.

The ecologists have a virtually unbroken record of getting demographics wrong. As Steyn notes, in 1968 Paul Ehrlich declared in his bestselling book, The Population Bomb, that "In the 1970s the world will undergo famines—hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." Wrong. In 1973, a landmark study by the Club of Rome, The Limits to Growth, announced that the world would run out of gold by 1981, of mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, and petroleum by 1992. Wrong.

The dumbest man Americans ever elected President, Jimmy Carter, predicted in 1977 that, "we could use up all of the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of next decade." It is a tribute to the Constitutional system that America actually is able to survive the occasionally stupid or venial man we put in the Oval Office. Former President Clinton is showing up everywhere these days telling anyone who will listen that global warming is going to end life as we know it if we don't give the United Nations the opportunity to run everything everywhere. Wrong.

Meanwhile, most of us toiling away at our daily lives need to focus in on "what really did happen between 1970 and 2000", says Steyn. "In that period, the developed world declined from just under 30 percent of the global population to just over 20 percent, and the Muslim nations increased from about 15 percent to 20 percent."

Ask the French what that means. They are now into their second year of an all-out Intifada being fought by young Muslims (the press always calls them "youths") who are burning cars and now buses with people still in them. There are areas in cities throughout Europe where no non-Muslim dares to go these days. 

"The salient feature of Europe, Canada, Japan, and Russia," says Steyn, "is that they are running out of babies." It's all about fertility rates and, in one developed nation after another the native-born population is not replacing itself as they continue to age and retire, living off the largess of the few young people left to do the work. This is what happens when you create a socialist system that pays for just about everything and promises to take care of you in your old age in case your kids will not.

When a nation loses its survival instinct, releasing its native population from the responsibilities of adulthood, someone is going to have to pick up the tab and do the work. Europe imported Muslims. America is ignoring a wholesale invasion of Mexicans. It's all about the tyranny of numbers.

America, we're told, is the lone superpower in the world. Lord knows we have a mighty military machine. We need it because our major export to the rest of the world is defense or, to put it another way, protection.

We're protecting the Saudi oil fields. We're protecting the Japanese and South Koreans against a crazy man with nukes. We protect the world's sea lanes to keep oil and products of every description moving around. We have been protecting Europe since the end of World War II against the Red Menace despite the fact that they have embraced socialism.

And do we get any thanks for this? Hell no! That's because we have lost our talent for waging a really nasty war to reduce our enemy's cities to rubble and destroy their armies in the field. That's how wars have always been won in the past.

But World War II was a different kind of war you say. You're right. However, the stakes of the war in which we now find ourselves are no less critical. Thousands of young Muslims led by a fanatical core and funded by those afloat in oil money and religious passion have decided that America does not have the stomach for war.

"Our enemies," Steyn says, "have made a bet—that the West in general and the United States in particular are soft and decadent, and have no attention span."

If your attention span to this brief polemic on demographics and the guts to defend America has begun to wander, Steyn is right. ESR

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. His new book is "Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy", from Merril Press. © Alan Caruba, 2006

 

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