Liberals and Kids

LIBERALS AND KIDS….Phil Longman says that conservatives have more children than liberals and that this spells big trouble for liberals:

This dynamic helps explain the gradual drift of American culture toward religious fundamentalism and social conservatism. Among states that voted for President Bush in 2004, the average fertility rate is more than 11% higher than the rate of states for Sen. John Kerry.

….Tomorrow’s children, therefore, unlike members of the postwar baby boom generation, will be for the most part descendants of a comparatively narrow and culturally conservative segment of society. To be sure, some members of the rising generation may reject their parents’ values, as often happens. But when they look for fellow secularists with whom to make common cause, they will find that most of their would-be fellow travelers were quite literally never born.

Maybe. But you want to know something that seems impervious to population shifts? Articles predicting demographic Armageddon for some group or another. A hundred years ago we were supposed to worry about Catholics overwhelming us or low-IQ immigrants breeding us into extinction. Then it was Jews. Then blacks. Now it’s conservatives.

And I suppose it could happen if demographic trends lasted forever and children reliably inherited their parents’ political beliefs. But where’s the evidence? Ideological self-identification has been steady for decades. Churchgoing has declined, not grown. Social norms have grown steadily more liberal. And while it’s true that conservative evangelical denominations have become politically potent in the past couple of decades, they’ve been growing steadily for over a century ? a trend that’s almost certainly due primarily to vigorous proselytizing, not vigorous childbearing.

Liberals have a lot to worry about these days. Being bred into extinction probably isn’t one of them. This particular boy has cried wolf too many times.