New York’s celebrity Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently told her 2.7 million followers on Instagram that it was a “legitimate question” to ask whether they should have children in an age of looming climate disasters.
“Our planet is going to face disaster if we don’t turn this ship around,” she said in a live video feed as she prepared dinner. “And so it’s basically like, there is a scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult and it does lead, I think young people, to have a legitimate question. Ya know, should—is it okay to still have children?”
She continued: “Not just financially because people are graduating with $20, 30, 100,000 of student loan debt so they can’t even afford to have kids in the house, but there’s also just this basic moral question, like, what do we do?”
“The whole premise of the Green New Deal,” she continued, “is that we’re screwed on climate. I’m sorry to break it to you,” she said. “When it comes to climate in particular, we’re actually screwed. There is a global threat to the planet.”
I’m sorry to break it to you, AOC, but my back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that there are 75,528 reasons why you’re wrong. This is the probable decline in the number of babies born in the United States between 2018 and 2019.
Here are the first seven.
1. Do you realise that the United States is getting older every day? Its total fertility rate has been below replacement level since 1971. The total population is still growing because baby boomers are living longer. But when they start to turn up their toes, the population will decline. In fact the latest official statistics show that the number of births hit a 30-year low in 2017, falling 2 percent from the previous year. To reinvigorate the economy, more babies are need,
2. How can I say this politely? If your Instagram followers take your advice, politically you will be well and truly screwed. According to an analysis of the 2004 General Social Survey liberals were projected to have 147 children and conservatives 208. The fertility gap is huge.
3. Not just liberals, actually, but your entire generation. Who is going to pay for your retirement? Your children? But if there are fewer of them, they will have to work harder to pay for your false teeth and hip replacements. Rather than do that, they will probably cut your benefits to the bone. “The long-term impact of a declining and aging population is to make old-age-related social programs all the more expensive,” says Forbes. Yes, well and truly screwed.
4. The fall in fertility is hitting minority women, too. The Hispanic fertility rate declined more than 27 percent between 2007 and 2016. The rate for white women dropped about 4 percent, for blacks about 11 percent and for Asians about 5 percent. “The decline in fertility has been far greater among minorities than among non-Hispanic whites,” says one expert. Aren’t you concerned about how your words might affect the fertility choices of other women of colour?
5. OK, climate change is real. There is a global threat to the planet. But the answer is more smart, can-do, creative people. As the visionary economist Julian Simon used to say, “The ultimate resource is people — especially skilled, spirited, and hopeful young people endowed with liberty — who will exert their wills and imaginations for their own benefit and inevitably benefit the rest of us as well.”
6. Your fears about the future are bordering on insane. You are stuck back in the 1970s and the theories of Paul Ehrlich. His book, The Population Bomb, was a bomb; nearly all of its predictions have been proved wrong. The world is having no trouble feeding itself. Since 1990 world hunger has declined by 40 percent, child mortality has halved, and extreme poverty has fallen by three quarters.
7. This might be too long ago for you to remember, but in 2008 Barack Obama was elected on a slogan of “Hope”. Not only are children parents’ greatest joy, they give them hope for the future. If you want to see hope in action, don’t go to a retirement village, go to a playground. What’s going to be your slogan for the 2020 election? “Abandon Hope”? “Despair”? “Give up while the going’s good”? You’re turning the Democrats into a party of fear.
There are 75,521 more reasons, but the picture is clear enough. AOC’s politics may seem radical, but her economics and sociology are defeatist. Are young American voters outside of New York City going to resonate with a politician whose message is: don’t rock the boat, don’t take chances, don’t invest in the future?
Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.