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The Toronto Star

'Demographic Winter' Is Just Overheated Rhetoric

Global warming means nothing to those who are concerned about "demographic winter."

To them, the apocalypse will be the result of the dropping birth rate, especially that in the, ahem, "civilized" world.

Among those leading the pro-natalist charge is pundit Mark Steyn, whose America Alone: the End of the World as We Know It was excerpted in Maclean's and met with charges of hate speech. It concerns itself with how we white women aren't popping out babies fast enough to keep up with the brown women.

"Islam has youth and will, Europe has age and welfare," he notes. "Pre-modern Islam beats postmodern Christianity. It's the end of the world as we know it."

Know it? Or as Steyn and his ultra-con buddies would prefer it?

Even Pope Benedict XVI recently got into the act, saying that the birth rates in Europe, where every single EU member is below the 2.1 children per woman "stability" rate, reflects our uncertainty of the future.

And with good reason.

Still: "If we do not relearn the basic foundation of faith ... it will be ever more difficult for us to give others the gift of life and the challenges of an unknown future."

Never mind that the human population expands by 78 million a year, with one in three doomed to live in slums without clean water, plumbing or electricity.

Forget that wars are being tripped by land shortage. Don't think about people in Haiti literally eating mud pies. As for people abandoning their children to the street or selling them into slavery because they can't afford to keep them, well, that's not our problem, is it?

People are rioting for bread and rice. Prices are skyrocketing. Meat production is hitting record levels, and soybean crops, which should be feeding people, are instead going to livestock. The fish are disappearing and forests are being laid waste.

And, of course, carbon is spewing into the atmosphere, turning up the temperature, raising the sea levels and causing natural disasters on a terrifying scale.

But these problems are nothing in comparison with the coming decline in babies which will mean there will be nobody to "man the factories" -- as if all the factories haven't moved to China, the oil to run them isn't running out and the dwindling population will be around to buy the manufactured goods.

According to Steyn: "The environmentalists may claim to think globally but act locally, but these guys (Muslims) live it. They open up a new front somewhere on the planet with nary a thought.

Why? Because they've got the manpower. Because in the 1970s and '80s Muslims had children (those self-detonating Islamists in London and Gaza are a literal baby boom)."

Doing the rounds right now in conservative circles is the documentary Demographic Winter: Decline of the Human Family, an alarmist documentary that makes last year's dark Children of Men look like a comedy.

Screened by right-wing think tanks and pro-life organizations, it argues that the only way to combat the disappearance of homo sapiens -- as if we aren't already killing ourselves by fouling our nest -- is by bringing back "the intact married family," eliminating extramarital sex and banning contraception.

It always comes down to confining women, doesn't it?

The not-so-funny thing is, these people are constantly railing about how girls in less developed countries breed at a young age -- which is, sadly, true -- but complain about how women here wait too long, inviting fertility problems.

And so, the very thing they despise in other cultures is the exact same thing they would like to bring to ours -- and then they have the nerve to accuse feminists of not standing up for women in Muslim countries.

This isn't demographic winter. It's brain freeze.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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Antonia Zerbisias

Antonia Zerbisias is a former columnist for the Toronto Star and is the co-creator of #BeenRapedNeverReported.


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