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Monday, March 13, 2006

Do Conservatives Have More Kids?

Question of the week.

An article in this month's Foreign Policy magazine says that societies go through stages of liberalism and conservatism. The theory goes that emancipated women and elite city-dwellers (who are more typically liberal) don't have kids. Or if they have kids, they don't have as many as more religious, conservative, patriarchal families. So these people effectively "self-select" themselves out of the gene pool, guaranteeing that the next generation is filled with children of more traditional, patriarchal family units. As this generation becomes more and more successful, they gravitate more towards the city and away from their roots, and the cycle repeats.

The author cites example from as far back as Rome, when better educated city dwellers didn't want to marry or have kids, seeing both as an encumbrance on their good time.

So is it true? Do conservative, religious, patriarchal families have a lot more kids than well-educated urban families? Does this mean that religious fundamentalist muslims (who outnumber fundamentalist christians) will rule the world one day? Could we be pampering ourselves out of existence?


At 7:56 PM, Blogger C.T. said...

I'm not sure what conservative means anymore, but yes, there is a portion of society, still in the minority, having more children than the more liberal minded portion. Those having more children are patriachal christians and muslims. The feminists, both men and women, and the liberals, are a dying breed because they are killing themselvs off, either by abortions or birth prevention. Yes, I agree that if things continue this way that in only one or two generations, christians and muslims will be the dominant religious and political forces on earth and those two religions will come to a head. And the feminist and the elitist will be a things of the past because they will have been too short sighted to care about their posterity.

At 7:58 PM, Blogger C.T. said...

actually, on second thought, I'm not sure I would put muslims in that camp because they are growing mainly through conversions where christianty grows both through conversions and posterity.

At 8:17 PM, Blogger DAN said...

Interesting comments, CT.

I believe that fundamentalist muslims are a demographic force to be reckoned with. You figure multiple wives, dozens of kids per family unit. Plus muslims in general outnumber christians, I believe (not sure about that)

I too feel that the word "conservative" and the word "liberal" are so overused to be almost meaningless anymore. The article specifically refers to these people as being patriarchal, or family units in which the father is the head. This also applies to having an oldest son to take the family name and all of the other traditional male-special prviledges we have in our western tradition.

There's probably another spin-off of this quesiton that involves non-standard family units, such as "susie has two dads", but the point remains the same no matter how you phrase it, and I didn't want to start any kind of flame war. Might as well talk about it in terms of the GWOT.

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

I don't agree with this at all. I think there are a lot more variables such as rural versus urban or suburban. Education level does come into play. Religious beliefs. You can have well to do, well-educated conservative and liberal people living in cities who chose to focus on raising one child. You can also have single moms, poorly educated, low income having multiple children because of lack of knowledge or the fact that each extra child means a little more money from the government.

I think to try to equate it with something as cut and dried as political preferences or religious preferences is leaving way too much out of the equation.

At 7:49 AM, Anonymous ElizabethP said...

I think this is accurate." Conservatives" are generally religious and they understand that we have a purpose on earth and it's not to make life one big party. In most cases, it's selfishness that causes couples to not produce children. Those who make parenting and raising upright citizens a priority are often sacrificing a more comfortable lifestyle and always much time. I read somewhere that something like 80% of US Presidents came from a family of 6 or more children.

At 8:33 PM, Anonymous K.G. said...

Why is the question being asked in this way? It seems to me that the question, "Do Conservatives have more kids?" amounts to, "Are Conservatives acting in a heterosexual, pro-life manner?"

Note: To understand my reasoning, it may be necessary for one to understand that contraception and birth control are cultural prerequisites to the acceptance of abortion.

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous k.g. said...

In my analysis of the question at hand, I failed to help define exactly what it meant for one to be considered a Conservative. Here is my correction:

"Do self-identified Conservatives act in a heterosexual, pro-life manner?"

I haven't a clue, but if anybody has any statistics available, I would be interested in seeing them.


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