The Return Of Patriarchy?

Philip Longman, a

nice liberal
affiliated with the nice liberal

New America Foundation
, has written a politically
incorrect article that`s getting a lot of deserved

The Return of Patriarchy
in the March-April
edition of Foreign Policy magazine. It endorses,
without mentioning it by name, much of Pat Buchanan`s

2001 book
on falling birthrates, The Death of the West.

Longman`s thesis is:

“Across the globe,
people are choosing to have fewer children or none at
all. Governments are desperate to halt the trend, but
their influence seems to stop at the bedroom door. Are
some societies destined to become extinct? Hardly. It`s
more likely that conservatives will inherit the Earth.
Like it or not, a growing proportion of the next
generation will be born into families who believe that
father knows best.”

wrote something very similar four years ago in my review
of Buchanan`s book. I said that low
birthrates don`t

“mean the human race
will go extinct. As

Jim Chapin

has pointed out, post-modern cultures might well
be eventually pushed aside by whichever groups of
religious fundamentalists—Mormons,

Orthodox Jews

Wahhabi Islamists
—best succeed in motivating their
followers to have lots of children. This suggests an
especially amusing irony. In this fundamentalist future,
Buchanan would be looked back upon not as a reactionary,
but as a liberal relic who offered some suggestions for
raising the birthrate in an attempt to defend the old
non-fundamentalist world.”

Personally, I`m a big fan of conservatives, but I want
to see my kind of conservatives, not the

, inherit the Earth.

Longman`s article is perhaps longer on bravery than
sophistication of analysis. But that`s hardly surprising
considering how frequently public discussion of these
incredibly important issues is

. The forthrightness of his endorsement of
patriarchy deserves approbation:

competes with many other male visions of the good life,
and for that reason alone is prone to come in cycles.
Yet before it degenerates, it is a cultural regime that
serves to keep birthrates high among the affluent, while
also maximizing parents` investments in their children.
No advanced civilization has yet learned how to endure
without it.”

The key that Longman doesn`t quite make clear: a
well-functioning patriarchal system, where the
husband-father dutifully brings home the bacon in return

certainty of the paternity
of his wife`s children,
can provide the best combination of quantity of children
and quality of their upbringing.

Other family structures can provide higher fertility,
but Longman`s perspective is too naively Eurocentric to
notice this. For example, in America`s black ghettos,
patriarchy collapsed during the 1960s when the

newly generous welfare system
came to replace
husbands as the prime provider for

poor black mothers
. Illegitimacy rates

. Until recently, African-American
fertility rates remained much higher than among the more
patriarchal white Americans.

Similarly, fertility rates have stayed quite high in
black Africa, even though African patriarchalism
generally lacks the features Longman identifies as
crucial: stigmatization of illegitimacy and high
paternal investment in children. Women do most of the
work in Africa (80
by one estimate) and thus tend have less
reason to be faithful to their husbands (as evidenced by

AIDS epidemic there

While the stereotype of African societies as
is highly misleading—men possess
almost all the political power—women often engage in the
covert rebellion of saddling their nominal husbands with

cuckoo`s egg children
. But, since the baby`s mother
will do most of the work to provide for the child, the
cuckolded husband tends to be more complacent than in
more patriarchal parts of the world.


Sarah Blaffer Hrdy
of UC Davis wrote of African
family structures in Mother Nature,

“Many fathers are only
sporadically in residence with the mothers of their
children; and fathers, when they are on the
scene, may be unpredictable regarding which children
they invest in, and how much. A substantial number of
women conceive at a young age, often prior to marriage
or formation of any stable relationship… relatively few
fathers provide a great deal of care.”

The increase in

welfare payments
during the 1960s allowed poor
African-Americans, after a century of progress toward
white patriarchal norms, to rapidly revert back to

African family structures
, with a consequent
reversion toward

African levels
of social malaise.

In both the American inner city and in Africa, the
quantity of children has been abundant, but the quality
of upbringing has been low. Men, lacking assurance that
they are the fathers, have less incentive to invest in
educating and disciplining children. So young males are
more likely to grow up to be


. And the weary cycle spins on.

While Latinos in America enjoy better paternal
investment than African-Americans, their illegitimacy
rate is still double that of non-Hispanic whites. Some
are assimilating toward white norms, but

seem to be assimilating toward

African-American family structures
, creating a new
Latino underclass.

Latinos, especially immigrants (and in particular,
illegal ones) have by far the highest fertility in
America, at 2.82 babies per woman, compared to 1.85
babies for non-Hispanic white women. A new report by the
National Research Council pointed out some of the
problems with Hispanics rapidly increasing their share
of the population, as reported by

Michelle Mittelstadt
of The Dallas Morning News:

“The destiny of the
country`s 40 million Latinos remains `highly uncertain,`
complicated by language barriers and low participation
in high-skilled jobs, education and health care
coverage, according to a new study… “What is certain is
that the current educational profile of Hispanics will
undermine their long-term economic, social and physical
well-being and diminish their prospects for social
integration and civic engagement,” the report
Study details challenges for Hispanics, implications for
labor force
, Mar. 01, 2006]

Science fiction novelist Jerry Pournelle

on Longman`s article:

“When the people who
produce the goods that make civilization possible stop
having kids, then we will all depend on the children of
those who don`t produce much. How long a

First World
civilization can be sustained under
these circumstances is worth discussion.”

In contrast, in crowded Europe, Northeastern Asia, and
Blue State (Democratic-voting) America, the quality of
upbringing per child has been high, but the quantity of
children has fallen well below the replacement level of
about 2.05 babies per woman. At 1.5 babies per woman
(the current white birth rate in very liberal Rhode
Island), the population falls by 50% every 65 years. At
1.3 babies, it halves in just 32 years.

As far back as my 2000 article “Will
Liberals Become Extinct?
” I noted the

baby gap between conservative and liberal states
. I
wrote that our most liberal state,

(which is represented in Congress by

Bernie Sanders
), had the lowest birthrate at only
1.57 babies per woman. In contrast, our most socially
conservative state,

Mormon-dominated Utah
, had the highest fertility at

Now, Longman is getting a lot of publicity for writing:

“Among states that
voted for President George W. Bush in 2004, fertility
rates are 12 percent higher than in states that voted
for Sen. John Kerry.”

In fact, the actual fertility gap between Red and Blue
states is even bigger if you have the courage to look at
just non-Hispanic whites. As I

noted immediately
after the 2004 election:

“Bush carried 25 of
the top 26 states in white total fertility (number of
babies per white woman), while Kerry was victorious in
the bottom 16.”

(Mark Steyn recently

cited my numbers

The New Criterion
, but misleadingly and cravenly

dropped the qualifier “white.”

also noted:

Bush carried the top
25 states ranked on “years married” [among white
women age 18-44].”

Pleasingly, in a brand new paper entitled “The `Second Demographic
Transition` in the US
, [MS

]” demographers Ron J. Lesthaeghe and Lisa
Neidert of the U. of Michigan have confirmed the
findings that I published in late 2004 and early 2005:
measures of

non-Hispanic white total fertility

correlate extraordinarily well with whether
a state voted for Bush or Kerry. They note that these
provide “to our knowledge one of the highest spatial
correlations between demographic and voting behavior on

I was

intensely denounced
for pointing out the stunning
correlation between the number of babies per
non-Hispanic white woman and Bush`s share of the vote by
state. But these demographic experts have now noticed
the same relationship. The graph with a gray background
is their “Figure 10: Relationship between the
non-Hispanic white Total Fertility Rate, 2002 [vertical
axis], and the Percentage Vote for Bush, 2004.

It looks almost identical to

my scatter plot
(except that the axes are swapped
and I included the outlier of Washington D. C.).

Longman rightly points out that religious and
ideological differences affect fertility.

But the arrow of causality also runs in the opposite
direction—people who get married and have several
children tend to become more socially and politically
conservative for the sake of their children.

For example, consider how differently one well-known
issue can seem depending on your family structure:
Should the government let the Boy Scouts ban gay men
from becoming scoutmasters?

To voters who are single, or married but childless, or
have only daughters, this often appears as a purely
abstract question of non-discrimination: of course,
everybody should be guaranteed equal opportunity to be a
scoutmaster. Yet, to citizens with sons, a ban may seem
like a

commonsense precaution
: of course, homosexuals
shouldn`t be allowed to lead their boys into the woods

So Longman shouldn`t ignore the impact of economics on
marriage and fertility—what I call Affordable
Family Formation.”
There`s more the government
can (and should) do about the cost of housing and the
cost of

good schools
than about religious beliefs.

My theory that affordable family formation drives
marriage and fertility was anticipated in 1751 by
Benjamin Franklin
in his
landmark Observations
concerning The Increase of Mankind

People increase in Proportion to the Number of
Marriages, and that is greater in Proportion to the Ease
and Convenience of supporting a Family. When Families
can be easily supported, more Persons marry, and earlier
in Life.”

quarter of a millennium ago, Franklin explained the
virtuous cycle connecting

low land prices

high wages

, and children:

“Europe is generally
full settled with Husbandmen, Manufacturers, &c. and
therefore cannot now much increase in People… Land being
thus plenty in America, and so cheap as that a labouring
Man, that understands Husbandry, can in a short Time
save Money enough to purchase a Piece of new Land
sufficient for a Plantation, whereon he may subsist a
Family; such are not afraid to marry;… Hence Marriages
in America are more general, and more generally early,
than in Europe.”

As old Ben might have expected, I found that:

“Bush carried the 20
states with the cheapest housing costs, while Kerry won
the 9 states with the most expensive… The Mortgage Gap
has been growing. Bush was victorious in the 26 states
with the least home price inflation since 1980. Kerry
triumphed in the 14 states with the most (according to
the invaluable

Laboratory of the States

So, what can Republican government do to help preserve
the traditional American patrimony of high wages and
affordable land prices (and, in turn, help itself by
creating new family values voters?) Franklin offered a
sensible answer, which is even more logical now.
Restrict immigration. As old Ben asked:

should the Palatine Boors
[Germans] be suffered
to swarm into our Settlements, and by

herding together
establish their

Language and Manners
to the Exclusion of ours?”

Good question.

[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic

The American Conservative
His website
features his daily