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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

We need more liberal babies!
If only we could isolate the liberal gene we could test for it and create liberal babies using Gattaca-like technology! Or that's what we would do if we smoked the same crack that Arthur C. Brooks does writing for the WSJ editorial page.

Now, I know, I shouldn't be reading that damn page, it just makes me angry, but get a load of this shit.

Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated, politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given the fact that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20% -- explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.

Alarmingly for the Democrats, the gap is widening at a bit more than half a percentage point per year, meaning that today's problem is nothing compared to what the future will most likely hold. Consider future presidential elections in a swing state (like Ohio), and assume that the current patterns in fertility continue. A state that was split 50-50 between left and right in 2004 will tilt right by 2012, 54% to 46%. By 2020, it will be certifiably right-wing, 59% to 41%. A state that is currently 55-45 in favor of liberals (like California) will be 54-46 in favor of conservatives by 2020 -- and all for no other reason than babies.

The fertility gap doesn't budge when we correct for factors like age, income, education, gender, race -- or even religion. Indeed, if a conservative and a liberal are identical in all these ways, the liberal will still be 19 percentage points more likely to be childless than the conservative.
Democratic politicians may have no more babies left to kiss.

Umm, can anyone point out the glaring flaw here? Liberalism isn't born of indoctrination from birth like some religion. It comes from higher education, compassion (the real kind - not that conservative crap), and as we note here at Give Up, empirical observation of the kind of government that works and elevates people to their potential. This is a clear case of conservatives looking at how people become conservative (isolation, ignorance, religion, traditionalism) and applying the same principles to liberalism when they're fundamentally different world views. Liberals, as a general rule, aren't indoctrinated into some church of liberalism from youth. We don't go to liberal camp. We don't get sent to vacation liberal school. Conservatives are the ones that require indoctrination and the preservation of overvalued ideas from generation to generation. Most the liberals I've met have become liberal in spite of all the Sunday school, vacation bible camp, racist preachers and family members that seek to turn one into sexists, racists, nationalists, or what have you.

And where did all those dirty hippies come from in the 60s? Did someone institute a liberal breeding program in the 40s and 50s and fail to tell me about it? Did someone put liberal juice in the water? Umm no, the kids raised in that time simply looked around and saw the stupidity of racism, sexism and war and said to themselves this is just totally stupid, enough!

It reminds me of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, "When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets." He was talking about the indoctrination that conservatives use to propagate their ideas and how he would use his mind and his will to reject the stupidity of a bigoted mindset. Also, don't forget, "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."

Sorry to burst the WSJs bubble, but liberalism is fundamentally unlike conservatism. Conservatism is the preservation of old, and over-valued ideas, it requires indoctrination, you don't come by it naturally (unless you're just an asshole). This is why they fear higher education so much. They have this insane conceit that college is like a church where professors repeat some litany designed to make the kids dirty liberals, but that's just not it. That's how they got their ideas, not how we get ours.

Liberalism is a constantly renewing phenomenon, because all it requires is the observation in the young and self-aware of the failure and misery of things like bigotry, sexism, and unenlightened self-interest. We don't need to breed liberals. We just need libraries, books, the internet and the occasional Give Up Blog maps. We just need to see the failures of these conservative assholes, as they mismanage our country into the ground to see that conservatism will never truly dominate for the simple reason that it doesn't work. So, don't worry about our reproduction Mr Brooks, George Bush will create more liberals in 8 years than the baby boomers could breed in a 100.

**Update** I just took another look at the picture directly beneath this post, and what could possibly have made my point better? And does anyone want to share their stories of how they became liberal? Or stories of how they avoided becoming like their racist parents like this guy? I remember how I became liberal (it wasn't indoctrination from my parents because I was more conservative than they were as part of my teen-rebellion phase), I read two books. One was Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities which taught me exactly how lucky I was, and Stephen Jay Gould's Mismeasure of Man which taught me how you must constantly look past your built-in biases to see the truth.


Mary, West Chester, PA said...

My parents are liberals and I was also. I grew up in a low income, non-college educated family. Everyone I knew was liberal and didn't have much money. I was determined to get a degree and "better myself". Ok, I earned an accounting degree, an MBA, and a computer science degree. I still continuously try to learn and read philosophy, science, economic theory, political, computers, nature, etc. I chose not to have children in order to concentrate on my career. The more I learned about people and nature and economics, the more I saw that the liberals of today are more closely tied to socialism and do not understand the true nature of man nor do they understand economics. Socialism has never worked, and it will never work , it cannot become a sustainable economic way of life. Socialism, today's liberalism, assumes falsely that people care more about other people than themselves, are not selfish nor greedy, and that there is no evil in the world except conservatives and of course Bush. Big contradiction for socialism/liberalism. Capitalism captures the true spirit of the human animal, the concern of self, or selfishness. Liberals manifest this selfishness in that they feel good about their holier than thou attitudes,i.e., we will take care of the poor and the needy and save the world from the nasty mean capitalist pig conservative. And you poor lowly needy person will be ever so grateful for my help because I, the lofty elitist liberal knows what is best. But if the liberal/socialist philosophy were correct, then the capitalist conservative pig should not in theory exist. Anyway, this is one liberal baby that saw the contradictions and has become a conservative, but NOT a Republican. So bottom line, there are no guarantees that liberals will have liberal babies, true for conservatives also. Also, having an education can make you a conservative just as easy as a liberal. I think it is more that a liberal lacks the ability to analyze intelligently gene.

8:56 AM, August 22, 2006

Reen said...

Brooks has some rhetorical sleight-of-hand going on, when he describes phenomena among people classified as either "liberal" or "conservative," and then equates the two to Democrats and Republicans. This doesn't take into account the fact that both parties have elements of "liberalism" and "conservatism" in them. Particularly at this point in time, the Republicans have abandoned a lot of the "fiscal responsibility" ethos that was supposed to be the hallmark of conservative politics. They spend like it's nobody's business.

Additionally, the parties have this way of totally switching positions every so often. The party of Lincoln picked up the Dixiecrats' southern strategy, and under Clinton, old school liberal pro-union protectionism gave way to a rash of free-trade agreements.

As for Mary, I think it's kind of funny to have the econ, but not the history. It's a gentle irony that Lenin's favorite book wasn't Marx -- it was "What is To Be Done?" -- an advocacy of "rational egoism" that is very close in some ways to today's Objectivist philosophy, which of course, was founded by a staunch anticommunist. The idea was that the rational eogist would turn to communism naturally because it would create the greatest opportunity for each individual to excel by taking pressure to perform menial daily taks off of talented people, or at least share them around, so that everyone got a chance to do stuff that they liked better.

I guess pure capitalism is irrational egoism, then! Not that we've had "pure" capitalism in a while -- things like the SEC and the FTC and the FDA and child labor laws make sure our market doesn't suffer from any of the more obnoxious setbacks that rapacious greed and selfishness breed. So, are we socialists? Color me red, then, honey, I can do with some non-poisonous medicines and Federal Deposit Insurance.

10:00 AM, August 22, 2006

Anonymous said...

(Ah, Reen's last paragraph beat me to the punch, but here's mine anyway.)

Equating liberalism to socialism may be a deft move in debate club, but it’s pretty far from serious argument. Most liberals in the US are for a regulated capitalism.


10:31 AM, August 22, 2006

minimalist said...


Sounds like the closest you ever got to "liberal philosophy" was reading the strawman caricatures of it in FreeRepublic threads. Citations for any of your claims about what liberals believe, please.

Blah blah blah, standard right-wing talking points that evince no knowledge of the left-wing viewpoint nor any genuine desire to know what we really think:

Equating liberalism to socialism, check.

"Socialism has never worked", check, and tell that to Europe.

"Socialism, today's liberalism, assumes falsely that people care more about other people than themselves, are not selfish nor greedy..." Uhhh, isn't it the laissez-faire capitalists who pretty much have that viewpoint? That we don't need government programs when surely private charities and private donations will pick up the slack? Seems to me that the "liberal" position is that we need those government programs in place because people are too selfish to pony up the dough on their own.

10:54 AM, August 22, 2006

Rev. Dr. said...

Yep, gotta say, that's a very bizarre interpretation of liberalism for someone who was ostensibly raised liberal, but give her credit, in the end Mary rejected Brooks' argument for the same reasons as we did. People aren't born with a liberal or conservative gene that will lead to liberals being bred out of existence, there is flow back and forth across the ideological boundary with each generation.

That being said, the whole point of Give Up Blog and all of our maps seems to point to a system of intelligent regulation and investment in research and infrastructure (while balancing budgets) as the current standard of liberal wonkitude. The whole, liberals are socialists (and socialism has never worked BS) thing is really a pretty antiquated view of liberals as welfare-loving elite who drive around in limos through poor areas of town throwing cash out the window. That doesn't explain, for instance, Bill Clin-ton's op-ed in the NYT today.

This word liberalism you keep using, I do not think it means what you think it means.

11:07 AM, August 22, 2006

Rsmith said...

Seems to me that the "liberal" position is that we need those government programs in place because people are too selfish to pony up the dough on their own.

By what right to you intend to rob me of my hard earned money to give to someone who chooses not earn their own?

4:38 PM, December 16, 2006

Rev. Dr. said...

Do I detect a creepy libertarian troll?

Hey, love it or leave it baby. If you don't want to pay taxes cor anything but what you approve of, you're living in the wrong country.

Either vote out the people that enact these policies or just accept that funds from taxation aren't just for the military and police anymore. It's not longer the 1920s, and hasn't been for about 80 years, get over it.

4:45 PM, December 16, 2006


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