G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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Jonathan V. Last has a piece at the Weekly Standard on the demographics of the election. He focuses on the two biggies: the Hispanic vote and the singles vote. The last page of the three page piece is the best.
Last lays out the numbers for Hispanic immigration and their share of the vote. Immigration has not followed the projections made by outfits like the Census Bureau which assumed one million net immigrants each year. That number has fallen for various reasons. Last writes:
None of this is meant to predict that by such and such year there will be exactly so many Hispanic Americans. Social science has limits, and they are even nearer than you think. But when you look at the assumptions underlying the predictions for America’s Hispanic future, they’re even more uncertain than usual—and in fact are already a decade or so out of step with reality. America’s Great Hispanic Future is probably being oversold. And possibly by quite a bit.
Yes, the actual demographics will probably not reach the 30% projected by 2050. But they will capsize a couple of Red States along the way. So these are two distinct issues. As far as being a majority minority country, that may take a little longer to come about than previously believed. But since we rely on the electoral college system to elect our Presidents, the huge number of Hispanics already in the pipeline means that America’s Great Liberal Future is moving ahead as planned. Having more Hispanics as neighbors is a local issue, but living in a nation that elects only liberal Presidents who then choose only liberal Supreme Court justices seems much more important for those hoping to maintain the integrity of this nation’s founding.
Last shifts to the singles vote:
You don’t hear nearly as much about the rise of single voters, despite the fact that they represent a much more significant trend. Only a few analysts, such as Ruy Teixera, James Carville, and Stanley Greenberg, have emphasized how important singletons were to President Obama’s reelection. Properly understood, there is far less of a “gender” gap in American politics than people think.
Steve Sailer is the Rodney Dangerfield of political demographic commentary.
Last’s takeaway is on point though:
How did we get to an America where half of the adult population isn’t married and somewhere between 10 percent and 15 percent of the population don’t get married for the first time until they’re approaching retirement? It’s a complicated story involving, among other factors, the rise of almost-universal higher education, the delay of marriage, urbanization, the invention of no-fault divorce, the legitimization of cohabitation, the increasing cost of raising children, and the creation of a government entitlement system to do for the elderly childless what grown children did for their parents through the millennia.
But all of these causes are particular. Looming beneath them are two deep shifts. The first is the waning of religion in American life. As Joel Kotkin notes in a recent report titled “The Rise of Post-Familialism,” one of the commonalities between all of the major world religions is that they elevate family and kinship to a central place in human existence. Secularism tends toward agnosticism about the family. This distinction has real-world consequences. Take any cohort of Americans—by race, income, education—and then sort them by religious belief. The more devout they are, the higher their rates of marriage and the more children they have.
And he introduces me to a term which I’d never heard:
The second shift is the dismantling of the iron triangle of sex, marriage, and childbearing. Beginning in roughly 1970, the mastery of contraception decoupled sex from babymaking. And with that link broken, the connections between sex and marriage—and finally between marriage and childrearing—were severed, too.
We’re in the midst of a cultural death spiral. I do look forward to the day when a social scientist pens a huge tome calling out the death celebrators i.e. feminists for their actions in this current age:
The question, then, is whether America will continue following its glidepath to the destination the rest of the First World is already nearing. Most experts believe that it will. As the Austrian demographer Wolfgang Lutz puts it, once a society begins veering away from marriage and childbearing, it becomes a “self-reinforcing mechanism” in which the cult of the individual holds greater and greater allure.
What then? Culturally speaking, it’s anybody’s guess. The more singletons we have, the more densely urban our living patterns are likely to be. Sociologist Eric Klinenberg believes that the masses of city-dwelling singles will sort themselves into “urban tribes,” based not on kinship, but rather on shared interests. The hipsters, the foodies, the dog people, and so on. Klinenberg teaches at NYU, so he would know. As a result, cities will gradually transform from centers of economic and cultural foment into what urban theorist Terry Nichols Clark calls “the city as entertainment machine.”
Take the article for whatever it’s worth, but the piece I fisked from The Atlantic the other day written by the woman complaining that single people don’t get wedding celebrations: expect to see more of that.
And Last’s suggestions for the Republican Party:
Rather than entering a bidding war with the Democratic party for the votes of Julias, perhaps the GOP should try to convince them to get married, instead. At the individual level, there’s nothing wrong with forgoing marriage. But at scale, it is a dangerous proposition for a society. That’s because marriage, as an institution, is helpful to all involved. Survey after survey has shown that married people are happier, wealthier, and healthier than their single counterparts. All of the research suggests that having married parents dramatically improves the well-being of children, both in their youth and later as adults.
As Robert George put it after the election, limited government “cannot be maintained where the marriage culture collapses and families fail to form or easily dissolve. Where these things happen, the health, education, and welfare functions of the family will have to be undertaken by someone, or some institution, and that will sooner or later be the government.” Marriage is what makes the entire Western project—liberalism, the dignity of the human person, the free market, and the limited, democratic state—possible. George continues, “The two greatest institutions ever devised for lifting people out of poverty and enabling them to live in dignity are the market economy and the institution of marriage. These institutions will, in the end, stand or fall together.”
I always like the metaphor for the federal government: they chop off your leg then give you a cane and then say, “Look what I did for you.” They’ve pushed policies developed by social activists and Marxists to dismantle the family unit. Singles rise and do their thing and then they get old and decrepit and then the federal government says “Look at all these old people who aren’t being taken care of.” And so they spend gobs of money on health care measures and retirement packages and all sorts of things to do what families used to do for their elders.