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    Birth Control as an Idea {Part III}

    February 3, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    Pharaoh did not begin to fear the Israelites because of their culture, their politicians, their non-profit institutions, or even their religious leaders. No, it was the fact that God was blessing them and making them fruitful that caused Pharaoh to fear. The powerful nation of Egypt was brought low by Israel, not because they took over Egypt’s godless institutions, or worked incrementally for political power, but because God made them fruitful and preserved their children. God blessed them through the love of Moses’ mother for her son, and he blessed them through the faithful Hebrew midwives, who chose life rather than to obey a tyrant.

    A people that refuse to reproduce themselves, on the other hand, are not a threat, regardless of their religion. {Chad Degenhart}

    Up until today, I have focused primarily on the history of our own country’s acceptance of contraception. I’ve hinted at some of the consequences, but I haven’t really covered the biggest Consequence of all, what some would call the End of Western Culture, or rather the Triumph of Islam.

    Okay, so I phrased it like that for shock value. I admit it. At the same time, this is a true threat looming over society whether we acknowledge it or not. I’ll explain it in detail below. But first, I want to note that this is why I wanted to discuss birth control as an idea, and not a personal issue.

    Sometimes, one can let certain issues get so personal, that one forgets that almost everyone else in the entire society is making the exact same personal decision. And now there exists a predicament in which all the personal decisions made by one’s grandparents and parents have added up to something that can only rightly be called a trend.

    When it comes to forecasting the future, the birthrate is the nearest thing to hard numbers. If only a million babies are born in 2006, it’s hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2026… And the hard data on babies around the Western world is that they’re running out a lot faster than the oil is. “Replacement” fertility rate–i.e., the number you need for merely a stable population, not getting any bigger, not getting any smaller–is 2.1 babies per woman. Some countries are well above that: the global fertility leader, Somalia, is 6.91, Niger 6.83, Afghanistan 6.78, Yemen 6.75. Notice what those nations have in common?

    Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and you’ll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canada’s fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That’s to say, Spain’s population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy’s population will have fallen by 22%, Bulgaria’s by 36%, Estonia’s by 52%. {Mark Steyn, Opinion Journal, emphasis mine}

    Margaret Sanger well understood the true meaning of population control. Something one won’t see on Wikipedia is her disdain for the religious, the minorities, and the mentally and financially inferior. She once wrote, “It is a vicious cycle; ignorance breeds poverty and poverty breeds ignorance. There is only one cure for both, and that is to stop breeding these things. Stop bringing to birth children whose inheritance cannot be one of health or intelligence. Stop bringing into the world children whose parents cannot provide for them.” She knew that the embrace of birth control could eventually bring about a race’s suicide.

    And her vision has, to some extent, come true. In order to pursue personal peace and affluence, many in this society wait a number of years after marriage to bear children {this was my plan!}, and limit the number of children they have {this was my plan, too!}. Birth control allows more of one’s childbearing years to be devoted to the acquisition of greater wealth, intellectual pursuits, and simple indulgences such as travel.

    What Sanger failed to realize was that, a world away, there was a Muslim culture with a very different set of priorities. And now, as the Western world’s population is shrinking, year after year, our culture has Muslim enemies heading the list of top reproducers of the world.

    In fact, “to keep the present level of pensions and health benefits the EU will need to import so many workers from North Africa and the Middle East that it will be well on its way to majority Muslim by 2035” {Mark Steyn, Opinion Journal}. This is already happening, and it’s taken its toll on the culture, as evidenced by the Muslim riots in Paris last year. I know when I have dreamed of visiting London or France, the people spoke English or French and the women weren’t dressed in burkas.

    Like Pharaoh in ancient times, there is cause to shudder with fear at the “fruitfulness” of one’s enemies.

    Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. {Psalms 127:3-5 KJV}

    That image of a man’s children being used as weapons makes a lot more sense when one thinks of demography being a primary means of fighting the culture wars.

    For a more concrete example, imagine two men, Mark and Scott, and compare their influence on a small town over a couple generations. Mark and Scott both find a girl and get married around the same age, about 22.

    Mark and his wife both work and acquire the house and the cars, spend some time traveling, and then decide to put down some roots at the ripe old age of 28. First they buy a dog. A year later, they have the first of two kids. Mark gets a vasectomy at 32, and spends the remainder of his 30s saving for college for the kids. He loves his kids, and spends a lot of time instilling his values in them. They’re good kids, and college will get them great jobs.

    Scott, on the other hand, has some religious convictions about birth control, so he and his wife have baby number one about 11 months into their marriage. Baby follows baby in their 20s, and by the time Mark has his first child, Scott already has four. Things slow down in their 30s, and at the age of 38, Scott’s final child {his seventh} is born.

    Mark and Scott, remember, live in the same small town, and it is not long before the next generation is born. Mark’s kids follow in Mark’s footsteps and both get the dog and have the two kids. So, on that second tier of the family tree are Mark’s 4 grandkids.

    Scott’s kids follow in Scott’s footsteps and have an average of 6 kids apiece. On Scott’s second tier there are 42 grandkids.

    While Mark’s and Scott’s grandkids are interacting, Mark’s progeny find themselves surrounded by the influence of Scott’s family’s lifestyle, customs, and religion. Soon, Mark’s grandkids are intermarrying with Scott’s grandkids, and many of them convert to Scott’s religion around the time of the wedding. In fact, because only one of Mark’s grandkids is male, it turns out that most of Mark’s great-grandkids have not only Scott’s religion, but Scott’s last name.

    By the fourth generation, Scott’s family is going strong, and no one remembers much about who Mark was or what he stood for. Remember the quote at the top? “A people that refuse to reproduce themselves, on the other hand, are not a threat, regardless of their religion.” Islam may not be winning the demography war by virtue of being the religion that it is, but rather by being the religion reproducing at the fastest rate.

    Many speak of the “lost generations” due to the Roe v. Wade decision. But how many children have never been because of the Griswold decision?

    We hear a lot about the babies that have been murdered, how they could have been the next great composer or scientist. But there are gaps where children might have been due to contraception as well. How many families have 1, but might have had 3 or 4? How many have 2 and might have had 10?

    Ideas have consequences. The proliferation of birth control, where one not only delays reproduction, but stops it before its natural end, has, only two generations later, contributed to the low birthrate not only in our country but throughout the Western world. Birth control appeals to a secularized, industrialized culture. Such a culture values technology and control in many areas, including reproduction. Our culture is filled with the Marks of this world. Unfortunately, Scott wins that war in less than 100 years, and he doesn’t need a single gun to do it.

    Ideas have consequences. I do not pretend that having numerous children is alone a solution to the Western crisis. It is much more helpful for Christians to decide to be fruitful and raise up godly offspring, than for the average secular parent to have 6 unruly children rather than 2. The idea of using less birth control, and not placing an artificial cap on the number of children we have, is better off being expressed within Christianity than the culture at large.

    Ideas have consequences. Personal decisions are often based upon larger cultural values and norms {which is quite contrary to Romans 12:2, but that’s another posting altogether}. The culture’s accepted practices and ideas surround one in one’s youth, and follow one into one’s marriage and family. I firmly believe that now is the time to question the contraception idea, and the long-term survival of the Western world may rest upon how this culture answers the question.

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    6 Comments

  • Reply Brandy February 4, 2006 at 3:43 am

    Rahime, I cannot thank you enough for that link. Si and I read the entire essary this evening. There’s nothing like reading Chesterton to remind a person they haven’t come close to wrapping their mind around the subject!

    I’ve been thinking all day about my final analysis, and I think I will be using that essay. It definitely fills in some of the gaps…

    All that to say thank you!

  • Reply Rahime February 3, 2006 at 11:04 pm

    Hi Brandy, I’ve been reading a couple of GK Chesterton’s books including one collection of essays called “Brave New Family”. He takes on the Birth Control issue in one essay: http://www.dur.ac.uk/martin.ward/gkc/books/Social_Reform_B.C.html

    I particulary liked when he said: “…This sort of movement is the true contrary of Birth Control and both will probably grow until they come into some tremendous controversial collision. It amuses me to reflect on that big coming battle, and to remember that the more my opponents practise Birth Control, the fewer there will be of them to fight us on that day.”

  • Reply Brandy February 3, 2006 at 8:53 pm

    Si–That’s something I didn’t really get into (the nature of a voting bloc). But it is interesting.

    If anyone gets a chance to, that Opinion Journal article by Mark Steyn really is worth the time spent reading it. He explains that red states are reproducing at faster rates than blue states. Though the natural result of an extreme liberal philosophy is fewer offspring, an extreme conservative/religious rate of reproduction is required to keep their voting bloc strong.

  • Reply Josiah February 3, 2006 at 7:02 pm

    Piggybacking on Brandy’s last comment: As Muslim populations increase in secular Western countries, their influence on politics and national policies increase.

    Case in point: the Ontario province of Canada has, under the banner of multiculturalism, authorized local Muslim to practice sharia law to settle civil matters among consenting Muslims. But Muslims were not even a majority in the province. Can you imagine their political demands if they have a 51% voting bloc?

    Canada and France had better monitor their population growth very carefully — and start fulfilling God’s mandate to “be fruitful and multiply.”

  • Reply Brandy February 3, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    I wish I had kept more of the links while doing research. However, I learned that birth rates seem to coincide with how “modernized” a culture is. So, it might be illegal in Afghanistan, but then in Iraq or Saudi Arabia they will teach methods even to the unmarried. So it varies.

    Japan worries about its birth rate

    Israel’s birth rate is 1.2%

    Here is the CIA’s estimates of 2005 birthrates worldwide Keep in mind that anything under 21 can be considered a “dying” country

    Something I think I didn’t emphasize enough is that this becomes a larger and larger issue the bigger a country’s social programs become. You have to have a growing population in order to maintain those services, and if you aren’t growing it from within, you have to import people from without. This is why we are now seeing huge Middle Eastern Muslim and African Muslim populations in European cities like London and Paris.

  • Reply rebecca February 3, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    Very interesting argument. I wonder (and you may already know) what Islam’s take on birth control is. Is it not practiced due to religious reasons or because middle eastern countries have not yet “westernized” in that regard? And what is Israel’s replacement rate?

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