An Inferior People
Jeb Bush tells us where we stand.
Jeb Bush (JB) said Americans aren’t sufficiently fertile and family-oriented for the country’s good. He wants to import a new population of people who make more babies and form the kinds of families the country needs so it won’t go into decline.
I disagree with JB, and not only because many of my friends and relatives and I are childless and don’t have traditional American families, or whatever kinds of families JB prescribes.
He didn’t say what he wants for the infertile people and our substandard families, but I suppose the patriotic thing for us to do is die or repatriate.
Maybe the IRS and NSA will play a role.
JB has some cast-iron stones (however bequeathed); I’ll grant him that. He comes right out with it. We need more fertile Americans, and we’re importing them. Move over, infertile people. The fertile people are coming, and we won’t secure our borders, and we’ll grant amnesty to unnaturalized illegals. They’re good for business.
JB doesn’t care how that sounds or who knows he feels that way. He will keep and/or discard human beings, and his criteria will be the number of babies they make, and the nature of their families, and how hard they work: whether they first earn and then correctly embrace America’s rewards, slices of which some people seem to copiously cut off for themselves without breaking a genuine sweat.
Meanwhile, others apparently can’t even recognize the “it” they cannot “cut,” and these people are the problem Marco Rubio’s aide—unlike JB—says we cannot discuss in public.
I’m a conservative, philosophically anyway. Maybe, in the interests of loyalty, I shouldn’t point out, let alone take issue, when a powerful republican cast as a presidential contender regards human beings the same way farmers regard barnyard animals.
Nor should I dare point out that JB’s thinking, and his thereby implied beliefs and values, are outdated. Big families and huge populations of cheap labor and fodder for wars are the stuff of developing nations, and the United States isn’t a developing nation. It was, but it’s not anymore. The United States is one of the most industrially and technologically advanced nations in the world. We’ve moved beyond labor intensiveness. We can hardly employ the population we have now. Factories that once employed thousands of people are now run by a handful of techs. Some farms and other businesses are still highly labor intensive, but many concerns that once required armies of workers now require relatively few. In other words, industry and technology have dramatically altered the employment landscape, and the alteration isn’t over. We’ll soon see many more labor-eliminating developments.
War has changed, too. We don’t have to send hoards into battle anymore (as fun as that was 70 years ago). Open warfare will always require troops and claim lives. But as recent conflicts have demonstrated, we can effectively wage war with a far-reduced loss of American lives. We don’t need a huge population of people from the lower economic class willing to die for their country: not on battlefields, anyway.
This is likely a product of education, too. Flawed though our education system might be, it’s still at least partly done its job. America is vastly more educated than it was just 50 years ago. We still seem gloriously ignorant, but we’re neither as ignorant nor easily steered as we were in the good old days. We have access to a lot more information. As learning often begets more learning, this trend, rather than dropping off, will likely quantitatively and qualitatively grow, and knowledge is still power.
This isn’t quantum physics or even a well-kept secret. It’s simple and well-known. In his book The End of Poverty, economist Jeffrey Sachs repeats over and over again that one of the keys for both individual and national economic advancement is smaller families: women having fewer children. Larger families burden the families themselves and, subsequently, whole nations, and Sachs points this out in economists’—i.e. mathematical, and thus quite inarguable—terms.
Sachs also says that smaller families embody the idea that women aren’t population breeders: sources of cheap labor. That’s neither their primary nor their only purpose, and acknowledging that idea is crucial to a nation’s moving past the “developing” stage and on to what comes next.
Sachs convincingly and rationally asserts that, whether via abstinence or birth control, smaller families are necessary for a nation to both avoid and drag itself out of poverty.
For what it’s worth, Sachs also says that unsecured borders are a serious problem for any country, which is why most countries don’t squabble for years over whether they should leave their borders open. Secured borders are politics 101.
As well, while I’m no “tree hugger,” it’s hard to ignore humanity’s environmental impact. In his book The World Without Us, Alan Weisman says that, like it or not, humanity burdens the earth. Part of the reason is massive population growth, sprung from industrial and technological advance, sprung from—get this—stable global climate. The earth’s climate used to change dramatically quite often, but we haven’t had a good, old-fashioned ice age in over 15,000 years. The relatively unusual climate stability has allowed humanity to flourish: grow more food, eliminate disease, reduce infant mortality, improve overall living conditions and extend human life in general. Compared to just 100 years ago, we have a lot more people making a lot more babies, and everybody is living much longer. We cannot sustain ourselves without altering nature.
If we simply ignore this, we do so at our peril. The point is that, like Sachs, Weisman convincingly and rationally makes the case for reduced, or at least controlled, population growth.
I take issue with JB’s call for bigger families and larger populations of cheap labor. Enviously eying Malaysia’s, India’s, Brazil’s, China’s and perhaps Mexico’s burgeoning, cheap labor-intensive industrialization and economic growth—common to developmental economies—our political and business leaders are apparently trying to throw America a century backwards to its pre-WWI developmental stage.
But Sachs points out that at least in India and China, smaller families are either becoming more preferable or are actually required by law.
Just to be clear: I’ve singled out JB here because he openly said he wants a new US population. But I don’t think he’s alone. Other political and business leaders, such as the illustrious “gang of eight,” with its outdated immigration reform bill, agree with him. Old-guard republicans and democrats, including Obama and Rubio (not all of the “old guard” are old), embrace and aggressively reinforce what I call outdated social and economic paradigms. Lip-service to “progress” and “change” notwithstanding, they don’t want the United States to move toward the more widely beneficial destiny we’ve all earned. They’ve profited, and would like to profit some more, by dragging the United States backwards, toward its developmental past.
Maybe the outdated paradigms are all they know. Maybe they can’t conceive of anything else. Regardless: they’ve no use for the current population of Americans because we don’t fit into their central planning.
Oddly enough, we the people have no use for them, but that’s not our fault. It’s because they don’t fit into reality, and we didn’t plan that.
Obviously, we the people don’t want to be coldly replaced by a huge population of poor people earning lower wages and controlled by a small minority of immensely wealthy and powerful governmental/corporate elitists. But the aforementioned elitist minority is tired of trying to drag us back in time and apparently fears a future that includes a wisely reduced population, smaller government, higher wages and a more empowered population.
Our government—democrat and republican alike, supported by various industries that are themselves governmental in size, power and behavior—is simply replacing us with a more manageable population that more neatly suits its desires. Apparently—given the length of time our borders have been unsecured and our government’s reluctance to close them—this has been the plan all along.
Private training institutions are popping up by the dozens and churning out business “graduates” by the thousands. Some say America is all about business: as business goes, America goes. Our country isn’t a place to live. It’s a place to work. So, call the population replacement a sound, perfectly sensible business decision. Abandon the logically-shrinking, more-educated population that requires better working conditions, higher wages, more evenly-distributed wealth, and a voice in governing itself. With a hoary old population of delightfully fertile and thus-far ignorant people who’ll gladly work for less, and who seem more docile and obedient, we can build another transcontinental railroad, dust off a few plantations, and maybe even invade another beach. Pass the cigars.
We’re aghast to learn this, of course. But more poignantly, it’s a bad business decision conceived by unimaginative business and political leaders who can’t see beyond their own well-being. Reinforcing outdated, developmental social and economic paradigms in the faces of both national maturation and wildly advancing industry and technology is a mistake so huge that it’s impossible to understate.
Furthermore, I think it’s likely that the problems political and business leaders have with we the people are the predictable results of the old paradigms that, because they worked, are now outdated. That is to say, true visionaries would’ve seen this coming. They’d have known that progress doesn’t stop, and once the nation got to where it is, it’d be ready to metamorphose into something entirely new.
But alas: our political and business leaders aren’t true visionaries. They might have the brass ones necessary to move nations. But brass ones (read: “audacity”) don’t necessarily indicate higher intellect, and our leadership’s self-serving changes, while bold, do not comprehend reality.
In conclusion (he wrote, for he had been to communication school) . . ..
Bob Dylan wrote (and tried to sing), “the times, they are a-changing,” and he was right, of course: no big deal. But the times didn’t stop a-changing. The changes kept coming. They’re still coming, more rapidly and complex, before we’re even aware of them, though they happen before our very eyes. Suddenly—bingo!—we’re an educated, industrially and technologically advanced nation that’s outpaced its leadership. We neither want nor need conflicts with other nations or between ourselves. Ayn Rand’s broad-shouldered Atlas is meaningless, and that’s good, not bad. He served his purpose, but now we can shoulder the world ourselves, if only our outdated political and business leaders would let us. We don’t need them, or a vast, government-run health insurance company, or a tax code rendered stupid by its sheer size, or a crudely omniscient NSA, or a plethora of other over-powered, cumbersome, intrusive, parasitic, centralized bureaucracies, both political and corporate.
The universe is expanding: decentralizing: That’s the program.
Our political and business leaders understandably want to preserve the outdated social and economic paradigms that gave them their immense wealth and power. But if they do, this nation will fail. I believe successful future leaders will be those who’ve abandoned, or at least fundamentally rethought, most of what we’ve come to believe about leadership, and social and economic structure.
Immense, centralized wealth and power for the few is likely a thing of the past, giving way to mere substantial wealth and power for the many. The more we fight this inevitability—the more our powers that be try to quash individual growth and stymy progress—the worse off we’ll be.
I’m not an idealist: not for this missive’s purposes, anyway.
But I am a pragmatist, and I strongly suspect that our political and business leaders are in the midst of a stunningly impractical and cold-hearted plan, sprung from icy, old-fashioned business minds, and it will shortly reveal itself as a huge mistake.
While we all must work, life is not merely for working. Live is for living. Gross domestic/national output and a strong economy aren’t to incur some victory. They’re not to enrich and empower a few bold, terminally short-sighted over-reachers. They’re so we can all lead better lives.
Moreover, political and business leaders don’t own us. They need to work for us—truly lead us—rather than fight against us for their own, tired, worn-out, counter-productive self-interests.