The Birthrate Wars

A couple years ago, I received an Email containing a video. It opens with a sepulchral voice, intoning a dire warning: Muslims are engaged in a worldwide conspiracy to conquer the world for Islam by outbreeding the western Judeo-Christian democracies, driving us to extinction. They plan to conquer the world…with their birth rate!

I immediately suffered a severe attack of déjà vu. Where have I heard that before? Ah yes! The Great Mexican Belly Conspiracy! A few years ago, right wingers in Texas and Arizona were insisting that Mexicans intend to reclaim the southwestern United States, which they supposedly claim was stolen from them in the Spanish-American War. How will they do this? Not by invasion or conquest, but instead, “on the bellies of their women.” Hispanics, who are predominantly Catholic, tend to have large families. This, the rednecks claim, is a sinister conspiracy to recapture for Mexico the lands that they lost more than a hundred years ago.

Well, better a birthrate war than nuclear terrorism, I thought. But, assuming for a moment that this preposterous claim is true, how should patriotic Americans respond?

The video gives the answer. We must increase our birthrate! It doesn’t take much thought to realize that a “breeding war” is probably not going to be a good solution for mankind. We already have over 7 billion people on the planet, and most scientists who have studied this believe that we are in “overshoot,” far above a sustainable population level.

I grew up on a fruit farm in Michigan, and I can assure you that, despite the biblical admonition to “be fruitful and multiply,” an apple tree that has too many apples will break…and sometimes die. That’s why I spent long tedious hours “thinning” the crop. (It also contributed to my decision to become an engineer instead of a farmer.).

But the creators of this piece insist that we must get cracking (If you’ll pardon the expression) and begetting a higher birth rate.

Now if I were fifty years younger, I would welcome such a message! In my young and single days, when I prowled the bars looking for crumpets* I would have used it to come up with a new line…maybe something like this:

“You must do your patriotic duty and come back to my place so that we can begetting in bed.”

It could not have been any less successful than the ones I used at the time.

* Crumpet originally referred to a small English pastry but it has taken on another meaning in British slang.  The late Henry N. Manney III, longtime contributor to Road & Track magazine was one of the first to give it the meaning that I am using here. He famously referred to the Jaguar XK-E (Brits call it the E Type) as “the greatest crumpet collector known to man.”

 

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