When the Children Aren’t the Future
Mark Steyn looks to Vermont for the creeping of Europe’s demographic trends into the United States:
… in a very basic sense there is no “state”: Graying ponytailed hippies and chichi gay couples aren’t enough of a population base to run a functioning jurisdiction. To modify Howard Dean, Vermont is the way liberals think America ought to be, and you can’t make a living in it. So if you’re a cash-poor but land-rich native Vermonter taxed and regulated and hedged in on every front, you face a choice: In the new North Country folk wisdom, they won’t let you fish, so you might as well cut bait. Your outhouse is in breach of zoning regulations, so you might as well get off the pot. Etc. When he ran for president, Howard Dean was said to have inspired America’s youth. In Vermont, he mainly inspired them to move somewhere else. The number of young adults fell by 20 percent during the Dean years. And what’s left is a demographic disaster: The state’s women have the second lowest birthrate in the nation, and the state’s workforce is already America’s oldest. Last year, Chris Lafakis of Moody’s predicted Vermont would have “a really stagnant economy” not this year or this half-decade but for the next 30 years.
Government policies throughout the states and nation are decreasingly oriented toward providing incentive for personal responsibility and responsible behavior, and the up-and-coming generations are dutifully deciding that they’d rather focus on modern society’s banquet of material pleasures than deal with the difficulties that we in the West used to consider fulfilling… however antiquated that concept may now seem.
Steyn quips that Western elites have no problem behaving as if “we can transform the very heavens” when it comes to climate change, but “the demographic death spiral” is “just a fact of life.” Two things: Western elites ultimately prefer nature to humanity, and nature is ambivalent about its state, whereas humanity is content to choose demise.