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Thread: Natalism: the new population explosion

  1. #26

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    Having spent some of my life around very functional large Mormon families, I have no objection to people who can afford it having all the kids they want. But affording it needs to be clearly defined by universally shared social mores/norms as being able to send one of the kids to Harvard at your expense, if that's what they need to be the person they can be. Otherwise, it needs to be clearly defined as abusive to have a kid you can't provide for.

    And, in severe disagreement with MZ, having sex without being fully aware of and responsible for the consequences is behavior that simply cannot be condoned in any way, at any level in a world of visibly limited resources. There are no records of "primitive" peoples who did not actively seek to control their reproduction - that is what is natural for humans. Promoting unlimited fertility is a bluntly political choice designed to keep the poor in their place while providing a pool of cheap labor.

    As for choosing the exurbs if you have a lot of kids. Of course. Kids needs space, they need frequent unsupervised contact with the natural world. And as Cardinal says, although it isn't said very often in these fora, suburbs can be wonderful places, where that can happen.

  2. #27
    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Is Brooks really a "Democrate" or really a "Liberal"
    I guess I got that impression because he was ranting about how horrible "natalists" are and equated them with being red-staters... so I made the assumption.

    Is that an incorrect assumption? I have zero knowledge of Brooks' other stuff.

  3. #28
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    Breed, I don't think he was ranting against so called natalists at all.

    I just read the column again. It is really no rant at all.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    And, in severe disagreement with MZ, having sex without being fully aware of and responsible for the consequences is behavior that simply cannot be condoned in any way, at any level in a world of visibly limited resources. There are no records of "primitive" peoples who did not actively seek to control their reproduction - that is what is natural for humans. Promoting unlimited fertility is a bluntly political choice designed to keep the poor in their place while providing a pool of cheap labor.
    That isn't my position. I just woke up and I don't feel clear-headed enough to try to clarify. But it isn't remotely my position.

  5. #30
    I think Cardinal has it right on the mark! I could not have said it better!

  6. #31

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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    This may be an overly broad generalization. You will find many places in the suburban wasteland that are truly wonderful. I wouldn't doubt that there are as many of these as there are great neighborhoods in the urban wasteland. You would also find that the exurbs in the rural wasteland tend to be the places with the greatest sense of community.
    I think the difficulty is that these suburbs are often only wonderful for a short while-until the next round of development removes any contact with the natural environment. By the very logic of unregulated suburbanization, the adjoining farmland or open woodlots is only temporary until a higher and better use (more cul-de-sacs or strip malls) comes along. There are exceptions, but many of these exceptions are places where land use regulation, the same force that preserves the natural setting, has resulted in outrageously expensive housing that many or most young families cannot afford anyway. So, the American Dream expressed in suburbia is either temporary and contains the seeds of its own demise, or is too expensive for most people anyway.

    As for contact with nature: Sure, this contact is valuable and necessary. But, there is another aspect to youthful independence. A walkable city offers, potentially, far more chances for independence than a suburb in the middle of urban sprawl that requires a (parents') car to cart the kid around from one organized activity to another. (Not to deny the opportun ities for trouble in cities for unsupervised youth)

  7. #32
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    Cardinal, I think your comments are wishful thinking.

    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    But, there is another aspect to youthful independence. A walkable city offers, potentially, far more chances for independence than a suburb in the middle of urban sprawl that requires a (parents') car to cart the kid around from one organized activity to another. (Not to deny the opportun ities for trouble in cities for unsupervised youth)
    Shortly after my tenth birthday--after growing up in the remotest reaches of Arcadian countryside--my folks took me to Paris for a month to visit relatives. They wanted to spend time with them, so they bought me a carnet of Metro tickets and told me to get lost. That's exactly what I did; for one delirious month I got to fall hopelessly in love with the city. I have never been the same again.

    Today I live in a municipality that has no urban parts, and from the number of children I have you might call me a natalist. Yesterday my wife drove our eleven-year-old daughter six blocks to visit a friend; it was unsafe, she felt, for a child to walk that distance in our leafy, wooden-nickel paradise.

    A four-lane residential feeder road feels unsafe to cross and the area might suffer from marauding teenagers and homeless child molesters, due perhaps to a nearby high school for droputs and a church with a soup kitchen.

    The real problem is that after the morning joggers have passed through, there is no-one respectable left on the street to deter malfeasance; it's hard not to feel vulnerable and abandoned.

    Suburbia sucks.

  8. #33
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Ablarc: So why do you live in Charlotte? I know it's probably too late to move now that you have a family, but if you've been into urbanity for so long, why didn't you start your career someplace else?

  9. #34
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    confusion

    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    NY Times
    OP-ED COLUMN

    The New Red-Diaper Babies

    By DAVID BROOKS

    All across the industrialized world, birthrates are falling - in Western Europe, in Canada and in many regions of the United States. People are marrying later and having fewer kids. But spread around this country, and concentrated in certain areas, the natalists defy these trends.

    They are having three, four or more kids. Their personal identity is defined by parenthood. They are more spiritually, emotionally and physically invested in their homes than in any other sphere of life, having concluded that parenthood is the most enriching and elevating thing they can do. Very often they have sacrificed pleasures like sophisticated movies, restaurant dining and foreign travel, let alone competitive careers and disposable income, for the sake of their parental calling.

    Some people see these exurbs as sprawling, materialistic wastelands, but many natalists see them as clean, orderly and affordable places where they can nurture children.
    .

    i'm new here, i'm not american, and although i've lived up there and have studied enough to know at least a fraction of what i'm talking about, i think the author in this article has switched his feet for his hands, as we say down here in brazil. his confusion of concepts, ideas and contexts is clear, and makes the reader yet more confused than he was in the beginning.

    briefly: this beginning quoted here seems to indicate that he's talking about downshifters, in the post-modern sociological sense - cultural phenomena related to putting breaks on short-sighted capitalist modernizations seeking pre-modern (communitarian) values to get a grip on. wouldn't these people be agnostic, liberal urbanites instead of bush voters and such??? demographic theory tells us that high rates of fertility means less economic and social development, so, if he's not trying to portray the po-mo downshifting group (who could possibly have more children as a way of living, trying to deny urban modern values w/o really disconnecting from them culturally), why label heartland conservatives (which is nothing new) as something of a new sociological/demographic trend in that country???

  10. #35
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    .
    Cardinal, I think your comments are wishful thinking... Suburbia sucks.
    I think this once again gets back to a question I posed in another thread. What is suburbia? If you can conceive of it as nothing more than tract homes on wide streets far from nature and far from urbanity, then maybe it is a depressing place. In reality, though, that description applies only to a set of places in a much broader suburban landscape. There are suburbs with pleasant downtowns. There are older (and new urban) neighborhoods with wonderful character. There are very urban places served by transit. There are rural environments where nature and city are almost indistinguishable.

    Would anyone think it credible to say that all places in all cities are healthy, walkable, mixed-use utopias? The answer, of course, is no. Why, then, would the same people assume that all suburban places are lifeless and depressing?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Ablarc: So why do you live in Charlotte? I know it's probably too late to move now that you have a family, but if you've been into urbanity for so long, why didn't you start your career someplace else?
    Money. I was offered a job I couldn't refuse; by the time I discovered I was shipwrecked I was in too deep to pull up stakes.

    You can make a good living here without being too competitive. It's easy to stand out in a place where people aren't very sharp; if I moved to a place like New York I would have to compete with people who were smarter.

    Don't let it happen to you.

  12. #37

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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Is Brooks really a "Democrate" or really a "Liberal"

    Or is he really part of another great trend: Conservatives or semi-conservatives trying to tell us commies how to get back in touch with the heartland?
    Brooks is an unusual creature -- a conservative acceptable enough to upscale liberals that he can appear on PBS and write for the New York Times. In fact, Michael Kinsley has, tongue in cheek, argued that Brooks is a liberal! Brooks has made a career of pointed alleged instances of liberal moral superiority. He could have written his recent book on suburbanization by traveling no more than 20 miles from his home in Bethesda, Md. In fact, at times I am convinced that he didn't. (I sometimes feel that I know him -- though we have never met -- since I sometimes see him in my Arlington neighborhood cofffee shop preparing for his appearance on PBS's Newshour.) Anyway, unlike the liberal intelligentsia, he has taken an interest in the suburbs -- he understands better than anyone who writes for the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, or Vanity Fair why Bush won the election. He has emerged as one of the biggest proponents of suburbia. He is, consequently, dangerous.

  13. #38
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Phillymag tears into Brooks in this article:

    http://www.phillymag.com/ArticleDisplay.php?id=350

    Brooks could be dismissed as little more than a snarky punch-line artist, except that he postures as a public intellectual -- and has been received as one.

    It's hard, in fact, to think of many American thinkers more influential at this moment than Brooks. His 2000 book Bobos in Paradise heralded the rise of a new upper class that mixed '60s-style liberalism with '80s-style conspicuous consumption; celebrated by reviewers, it quickly became a best-seller. Brooks wrote that his hometown, Wayne, was emblematic of the "Upscale Suburban Hippiedom" that was the natural habitat of these "bourgeois bohemians." Like "yuppie" and "metrosexual," Brooks's "bobo" entered the language as a successful coinage of pop sociology. It shows up in magazine articles and casual conversations, and the book itself is footnoted in dozens of books on American society and consumer culture, and cited in a college history textbook.

  14. #39
    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by gkmo62u
    Breed, I don't think he was ranting against so called natalists at all.

    I just read the column again. It is really no rant at all.

    You're right... I re-read it. I missed the boat.

    Still doesn't explain the justification for this being "new" when this has been going on for quite sometime.

    But anyways...

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Phillymag tears into Brooks in this article:

    http://www.phillymag.com/ArticleDisplay.php?id=350

    i'm starting to really like it here!!!
    : )
    i wonder wether something like pop sociology is good or bad... it is really hard to tell. i'd heard of pop economics (whose most active representative is mr. paul krugman), but pop sociology is just great! LOL
    but anyway, maybe it's good because it turns social theory more accessible - mainly to journalists, who don't do enough of their social sciences credits... or maybe it's bad, because it's vulgar and POP! hence it'd kill the critical aspect essential to social theory, and its real use. otherwise it becomes columnist desposable chat... (as the article above)

  16. #41

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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    I think this once again gets back to a question I posed in another thread. What is suburbia? If you can conceive of it as nothing more than tract homes on wide streets far from nature and far from urbanity, then maybe it is a depressing place. In reality, though, that description applies only to a set of places in a much broader suburban landscape. There are suburbs with pleasant downtowns. There are older (and new urban) neighborhoods with wonderful character. There are very urban places served by transit. There are rural environments where nature and city are almost indistinguishable.

    Would anyone think it credible to say that all places in all cities are healthy, walkable, mixed-use utopias? The answer, of course, is no. Why, then, would the same people assume that all suburban places are lifeless and depressing?
    I'll grant you (some) of these points. Heck, even Paris has bleak, lifeless hellholes (read the right wing City Journal for an interesting view of Les Grandes Ensembles)

    The majority of post 1970 suburbia does fall into ablarc's definition (suburbia sucks).

    And, as Ablarc notes, Charlotte's leafy streets do appear "lovely," and I'm sure most residents feel they are the epitome of life.

    But they are absolutely lifeless as far as seeing people outside of the private automobile or inside in front of the television(No, I'm not claiming suburbs are "lonely" per se, its just there is not as much room for casual encountes-just like today's super parents allow little room for unstructured play). As far as getting around without a car-forget it. They are too low density, too chopped up with big roads, too dependent on big chain stores a long way away. Most suburbs built since 1970 fall into this class, I would GUESS.

  17. #42

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    Quote Originally posted by Kovanovich
    Brooks is an unusual creature -- a conservative acceptable enough to upscale liberals that he can appear on PBS and write for the New York Times. In fact, Michael Kinsley has, tongue in cheek, argued that Brooks is a liberal! Brooks has made a career of pointed alleged instances of liberal moral superiority. He could have written his recent book on suburbanization by traveling no more than 20 miles from his home in Bethesda, Md. In fact, at times I am convinced that he didn't. (I sometimes feel that I know him -- though we have never met -- since I sometimes see him in my Arlington neighborhood cofffee shop preparing for his appearance on PBS's Newshour.) Anyway, unlike the liberal intelligentsia, he has taken an interest in the suburbs -- he understands better than anyone who writes for the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, or Vanity Fair why Bush won the election. He has emerged as one of the biggest proponents of suburbia. He is, consequently, dangerous.
    Dangerous?
    Wow!

    (More dangerous to me is the idea that the "liberal" New York Times has to hire a conservative columnist. And, by dangerous, I mean the meme that to win, the democrats have to be "Republican Lite and mimic Republican talking points.

  18. #43
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    And, in severe disagreement with MZ, having sex without being fully aware of and responsible for the consequences is behavior that simply cannot be condoned in any way, at any level in a world of visibly limited resources. There are no records of "primitive" peoples who did not actively seek to control their reproduction - that is what is natural for humans. Promoting unlimited fertility is a bluntly political choice designed to keep the poor in their place while providing a pool of cheap labor.
    At the risk of merely mudding the waters even more and/or digging my grave deeper :

    I really don't understand where you get this conclusion that I want to promote unlimited fertility. I have gone back and re-read my posts and I am genuinely puzzled. Arguing against draconian measures which limit the rights of individuals and which create a lot of unintended negative consequences is hardly saying "let's all have a dozen kids". I think it is just as wrong to deny poor people the control over their reproduction in the other direction, by denying them the choice to get sterilized young. Last time I checked, a woman has to get a doctor's recommendation on medical grounds to get a tubal ligation before the age of 25. This is a case where the realities for poor people are very different than for middle class folks, generally, yet we try to apply both middle class values AND the essential idea that we know better than they do what is good for them. Sigh. Whereas it is pretty common to delay pregnancy for the middle class, having kids young is one of the things can make you a welfare case. Denying a woman who has already had a kid or two the right to permanent and failproof birth control can simply condemn her to a life of poverty and make it that much harder to escape it. And it isn't as simple as she should just say "no". I have read too many times of old boyfriends or ex-husbands tracking a woman down and raping her, thereby resulting in yet another unwanted child (unwanted in so many ways). If these young women could get a tubal ligation on demand, it would surely help them escape poverty more easily.

    Also, statistics show that when women are more educated and have more genuine rights and control over their own reproduction, birth rates drop. Women choose to have fewer kids. That was certainly true for me: I really wanted 3 kids but with health problems and special needs children and a husband in the military, etc. I cried and mourned that child I did not expect to ever have. Nor do I have "plans" to have another. I just know that the reality is that babies happen and my next lover may not have a blank adaptor. My first child was a case of "I'M WHAT???!!!" and with my second child, we skipped birth control a mere two or three times. I really did not intend to start my family so very young, even though I did get married at age 19. But when I found out I was pregnant, no, I was not going to abort a baby concieved in marriage with a man I loved and wanted to have children by, nevermind how damnably inconvenient the timing of it might be. In practice, some of the extremely controlling and condemning attitudes expressed in this thread do amount to saying something like "Well, MZ should have aborted that first child and finished college and had kids later, like she planned to originally -- that would have been the Responsible thing to do." No, for all that I don't attend church, I have a very hard time with the idea that, for financial reasons, I should have killed my unborn baby, concieved in love. And my circumstances are hardly some bizarre statistical outlier.

    To me, the underlying issue in this thread is a humane approach to the inconvenient fact of human sexuality and individual rights. When you are talking reproductive choices, you cannot realistically separate it from sexual morality and sexual practices. America as a whole tends to be rather Victorian. Statistically, European teens and American teens are about equally sexually active, yet the birth rate for American teens is substantially higher (at least this was true the last time I read up on such statistics). My understanding is that this is rooted in the fact that Europeans are more accepting of the fact that teens often are sexually active and they provide easier access to birth control and the culture also does not generally encourage young women to feel they must choose between being "a good girl" or "a wh0re". One thing that leads to pregnancy in teenage girls in the U.S. is this feeling that if they are on birth control, they are planning it and that makes them Bad Girls. But if they are swept away in a moment of passion, it must be True Love and they are still Okay. More recently, statistics show that areas that teach "abstinence only" sex education to teens have higher teen birth rates than areas that also teach "if you Do, then use a condom".

    Yes, primitive cultures used birth control. A common method was to let the infant bleed out through the umbilical cord. I believe this was done as late as the middle ages in parts of Europe. Alternately, they would "expose" the infant, a la Greek tragedies. So, some of what you are calling "birth control" would now be classified as murder. Attempts to prevent pregnancy in stone age tribes were cruder and some abortion methods had a good chance at killing the mother, such as putting a plank across her abdomen and jumping up and down on it. Athough I really do not hold the "one child" policy against China (because I think it was a case of "desperate circumstances call for desperate measures"), I have noted in this forum that the very controlling approach that China took to its problem had serious unintended negative consequences. And I do not think the U.S. is in such desperate circumstances that we should be compelling individuals to have no more than X number of children, even if it means using the draconian methods used in China to enforce its policy (such as forced abortion as late as 8 months along) and the other unintended, gruesome consequences (babies being thrown in the trash, etc).

    My suggestion that
    Quote Originally posted by MZ
    I am thinking: cheaper post-secondary education would be a step in the right direction.
    grows out of my understanding that women who are more educated generally have fewer kids and, also, folks with more education are typically better able to provide for their family. If families found it easier to have kids and ALSO continue their college educations, having kids young wouldn't have to be such a huge class divide. If you want low birth rates, give women the chance to have fulfilling careers and lives so they do not dread The Empty Nest and, instead, look forward to having more time for a social life, art, travel, etc. Countries where the education levels of women are low and where her reproductive capacity is legally the possession of her husband have the highest birth rates in the world. Empowered women with full lives usually still want kids but they do not want their entire lives consumed by them.

    Last, it simply irks me when anyone implies that the rich can have all the kids they want but poor people have no such right. For one thing, it presumes that The Rich and The Poor are distinct social groups and there is not movement between them. I have met people who had, say, 7 kids when they had the money to afford it and later fell on hard times. If we had to be absolutely, positively sure that we could Afford It to have a baby, no one would ever reproduce because the future is just not that certain. Second, the fundamental definition of "rape" hinges upon consent. I think that is a good rubric to apply to ALL instances of sexual morality: women who are denied a tubal ligation simply because they aren't yet 25 and end up pregnant yet again are violated just as surely as women who are raped and end up pregnant. If you want someone to Control their reproduction, you have to give them the means to adequately do so and this country does not, as yet, really meet that standard. Nor do I believe it is really possible to meet that standard 100% without using the draconian measures that enforced China's "One Child" policy. There still needs to be room in society for the inconvenient fact that babies happen.
    Last edited by Michele Zone; 30 Dec 2004 at 7:33 AM.

  19. #44
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mr. Brooks
    Natalists are associated with red America, but they're not launching a jihad.
    Dearborn, Michigan, is a city that borders the City of Detroit. In 1990, the average household size for Dearborn was 2.51. In 2000, it was 2.65. This is an increase of 6%.

    Michigan is a blue state.

    What the heck is Mr. Brooks talking about? Jordanb is right - this guy doesn't know a thing about data.

  20. #45

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    Oy.

    MZ, the statement that reproduction is beyond the participants' control inspired me to disagree. It isn't. You have confirmed this fact by pointing out the difference in success between preaching abstinence to teenagers and passing out condoms. Behaving as if it were (babies happen) is irresponsible, as is implying that I might think exposing infants on a hillside is a reasonable thing to do. I don't have time to go prove the point, but suspect you will find that systematic infanticide (which as you know was predominantly practiced on females) started after the Agricultural Revolution, after the priests (of various persuasions until the Christians took over, but all patriarchal) were telling people that birth control was wrong. Hunting and gathering peoples may have done it in desperation, but the anthropology I studied made it clear that those people valued children for reasons other than their use as field hands, and consequently practiced birth control via abstinence, and in a fair number of cases, effective botanicals. I suspect that, if you think about, it is also obvious that I am not coming from a "Victorian" point-of-view, although your point that the U.S. is still a repressive (I would actually say Puritan) society in many ways is true.

    Your points about giving women control are also all well taken. Women do have a right to control their own bodies.

    As for being irked by the implication that the rich can have all the kids they want and others can't, I guess you're just going to have to be irked. It is abusive, and I will put that in all caps if you want, abusive to have a child you can't provide for. I take you point about the future being uncertain. We can only expect people to act based on what they know at a given time. But that is a minor exception to the point. And having grown up just barely on the right side of the poverty line, I am aware that people do not have to have a lot of money to be good parents. But my parents stopped with the two they could afford. So should everybody else.

  21. #46
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    This might be getting a little off topic but I am a little surprised by the reaction to Brook's column and his use of notions, senses in lieu of facts.

    He is what he is, a pop pundit. He is generally conservative but no different than other empy pundits, pop commentators like Maureen Down, Krugman, etc...

    They are not paid by the Times on scholarship but by how provacative they can be.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally posted by gkmo62u
    They are not paid by the Times on scholarship but by how provocative they can be.
    Judging from the reactions on this forum, the Times is getting its money's worth.

    But really, I don't understand why anyone thinks his thesis is controversial. The evidence may just now appear a little anecdotal-- lacking an in-depth demographic study (which is not what journalists are paid to do)-- but I personally took note of this phenomenon a year or two ago, and am personally acquainted with numerous families that fit his stereotype to a T. Furthermore they all live in the same (exurban) area of subdivisions.

    I could do a thread on them, but I am sure you would find them boring.

  23. #48
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    <snip>Behaving as if it were (babies happen) is irresponsible, as is implying that I might think exposing infants on a hillside is a reasonable thing to do.
    <snip> I suspect that, if you think about, it is also obvious that I am not coming from a "Victorian" point-of-view, although your point that the U.S. is still a repressive (I would actually say Puritan) society in many ways is true.

    <snip> But my parents stopped with the two they could afford. So should everybody else.
    No, I wasn't trying to imply that you think exposing infants on a hillside is a reasonable thing to do. In fact, I assume you do not. Nor do I think you are "Victorian". The climate in America today is one where a woman cannot get a tubal ligation before the age of 25 without medical grounds, where it is increasingly difficult to get an abortion, where insurance companies will pay for Viagra but often will not pay for birth control pills, etc. And then upper middle class people who have a reasonable degree of control over their lives villify folks who often had little real say in the matter. I have a sister-in-law who wanted a tubal ligation after the second child and couldn't get it and had a third child. This contributed to her great difficulty in getting off welfare. And, yes, people called her "an irresponsible wh0re", which a good mom cannot publically refute by stating that "no, I did not want this baby and it was forced upon me" because it is better for her to put up with such accusations then to cause the child that kind of psychological damage.

    So when folks talk about how people having lots of kids are irresponsible, etc, the accusation assumes they could choose and you are doing much the same thing. This isn't meant as a slap at you but if you cannot afford birth control pills out of pocket and you cannot get insurance to pay for it and you cannot get a tubal ligation and you end up pregnant and then cannot get an abortion, what happens to the baby? Under such circumstances, infanticide is about the only "control" left, isn't it? Of course I do not think you would want that nor would you want women being forced to have abortions against their will at 8 months along. But that is exactly the result under China's "One Child" policy -- babies have been essentially "exposed" (abandoned, thrown in trash cans, etc) and women have had forcible abortions. A humane solution has to allow for the fact that concieving a child is not something people have absolute control over. We can make choices. We can influence the odds. But absolute control is not possible without draconian, inhumane methods to ensure it yet upper class Americans sometimes fail to understand that fact because they have had a higher degree of control over their own lives than is the norm -- and then they set idealistic policies with the best intentions which go awry. I am sure the prohibition against tubal ligations before age 25 is intended to preserve options for young women and prevent them from doing something irreversible that they will regret. But it often has the exact opposite effect -- causing them to have another child, which is also "irreversible" and which they regret. And then they are blamed for thier "irresponsible behavior".

  24. #49

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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Dangerous?
    Wow!

    (More dangerous to me is the idea that the "liberal" New York Times has to hire a conservative columnist. And, by dangerous, I mean the meme that to win, the democrats have to be "Republican Lite and mimic Republican talking points.
    Yeah, well, maybe the word wasn't well-chosen Insidious, maybe?

    Anyway, even though he tends to pontificate, he seems so reasonable, so rational. He always wins the debate on PBS with his liberal counterpart Mark Shields. He does not rant, which separates him from the majority of conservative commentators. He'll even say complimentary things about liberals. But in the end, the conservatives, or those who vote conservative, turn out to be the people of virtue, and they most typically live in the exurbs. If you read him closely, you'll find that, not only do his data often not bear out his conclusions, but he also ends up contradicting himself. And he is not as original as he seems to think that he is.

  25. #50
    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    Nov 2004
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    Not Cliff Island, Maine :(
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    589
    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    Judging from the reactions on this forum, the Times is getting its money's worth.

    But really, I don't understand why anyone thinks his thesis is controversial. The evidence may just now appear a little anecdotal-- lacking an in-depth demographic study (which is not what journalists are paid to do)-- but I personally took note of this phenomenon a year or two ago, and am personally acquainted with numerous families that fit his stereotype to a T. Furthermore they all live in the same (exurban) area of subdivisions.

    I could do a thread on them, but I am sure you would find them boring.
    The controversy isn't with what he said... but the whole premise of the article is that this series of nuances is a new phenomenon, when it isn't. If the contrast between rural and urban environments is something that he just realized, then he really needs to get out more... and The Times really needs to look at upgrading their Op-Ed pieces.

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