Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Preserving Our "Extinct" Society

The National Post just finished an excellent and provocative series "Canada's Baby Gap", examining the dwindling size of Canadian families. Notable exceptions are the visible minority and native populations, which are still reproducing much higher than their replacement rates. The rest of Canadians seem reluctant to have more than one child, or even opt for no kids at all.

The Post reports that "By the time Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2017, one out of every five people will be a visible minority, the highest proportion since records have bee kept. ...the country's visible minority population is projected to increase by between 56% and 111% between 2001 and 2017, while the rest of the population is only expected to increase by between 1% and 7% in the same period."

This is all going to have a dramatic effect on our culture and the face of Canadian society in the future; not to mention the disparity between the number of aging boomers compared to the lack of youth poised to enter the workforce and support the social safety net, to which we have all grown accustomed.

What the Post didn't say is that the prevalent liberal attitude of self-indulgence and self-centeredness has been so entrenched in our collective psyche that we see children as either a financial drain or just another "thing" to collect along with the electronic toys. One child to decorate that huge house in the suburbs, and then tick that one off the list of achievements. Certainly it is economically oppressive to have very many children, although the current government's plan to give child care assistance directly to parents is a good step in the right direction. And to be fair, some couples do desperately want children and are unable to have them.

It shouldn't be surprising though, that children are so devalued. The family unit itself is fragmented and so loosely defined as to be meaningless. A Canadian "family" today can be comprised of any two or even more persons living together and having some degree of sexual contact with one another, with or without the presence of children in the home. If everything is family, then nothing is family, and that is where we are today. Gay marriage and abortion rights have further trounced the importance of children and the family unit as the vital and cohesive foundation of society.

Furthermore, those that are still procreating at higher rates are going to expect and demand that their values and cultures be strongly represented in our political system, which will ensure more power to change the Christian values which were instrumental in founding this country. Words like "Christmas" will be a distant memory.

I realize I am treading on risky ground here, and can only ask that you think about the implications of this. A multicultural society is enriching, but are we ready to go the route of France and Spain? As Mark Steyn said in his essay, "It's the Demography, Stupid", the very policies that caused a drop in birth rates may ironically come back to bite the liberal zealots when certain ethnic groups achieve such power by sheer numbers, that it becomes an unpopular ethos to condone homosexuality and abortion.

I welcome your views, but ask that you exercise restraint because contrary to what you may read in our Charter of Rights, we definitely do not have Freedom of Speech in Canada.


Joe said...

Bravo Joanne! This is arguably the most important issue facing this (and subsequent) generations. Radically individualistic and materialistic nihilism has come home to roost and Westerners are going extinct. Most Western European states are much further along the demographic decline than Canada. Only the US has a break-even birth rate. Western countries need to intentionally grapple with this issue in all its facets and complexities. The bottom line is simple - whoever has the most babies will populate the future.

I think there are at least three aspects to the required public discourse:
1. Defining Western Values
2. Preserving Western values
3. Correcting Western Values

1. Defining Western Values
We Canadians (along with other Westerners) take our freedom and prosperity for granted. We invest almost no thought whatsoever to understanding the historic values upon which our freedom and prosperity were founded and are currently sustained. As a result, we are blind-sided by the social ills that attend the unnoticed decline of these common values. We Canadians need to actually think about, understand, promote and preserve the common values that make our society work.

2. Preserving Western values
Once we've correctly defined our essential values, we need to promote and preserve these values that make our society work. We need to ensure that immigrants (whoever they are) adopt these values and that they are thoroughly integrated with (not segregated from) mainstream Canadian society.

3. Correcting Western Values
You rightly point the discussion towards changing values, philosophy and world-view. The decline of traditional values is the root cause of the "baby bust" and many other social ills. Materialism, individualism and nihilism are deeply entrenched in our culture and collective psyche and it will take some kind of spiritual revolution to restore them. We need to critically examine the fragmentation and decline of our values and work hard to restore them.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Very good points, Joe. Integration and assimilation of Western values by immigrants would be an excellent goal, but as long as the "cultural mosaic" model is enforced, this will be difficult. Large cities in particular seem vulnerable to the clustering of various ethnic groups with the result that segregation is firmly entrenched. This can sometimes be harmless, and even useful to enrich the community, but when the prevailing attitudes are in direct opposition to Western laws and standards, we then have a problem. Crime and violence can ensue.

I also wanted to make the point that I don't believe that every couple in Canada should decide to have babies for the sake of the country. It is a highly personal and irrevokable responsibility. We do need, however, to stress the importance of children in society and the value of human life.

Steph said...

Well, that is a very challenging topic for consideration. This post makes me feel kind of guilty -- particularly things like "..prevalent liberal attitude of self-indulgence and self-centeredness has been so entrenched in our collective psyche that we see children as either a financial drain.." because that hits home, perhaps more than I would like to admit.

I appreciate the addition of, "I also wanted to make the point that I don't believe that every couple in Canada should decide to have babies for the sake of the country" because I was getting the impression that was included in what you were implying. I appreciate the challenging message of this post and I will take its points into consideration and give it further thought.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yikes! I certainly didn't intend for that to be taken personally! But thnaks for raising that point. I was blaming the current culture that seems to push values of materialism and individual rights more than concern for the greater good. Up until now, the Canadian government has not made much of an effort to encourage people to have children. All the Liberals had to offer was institutionalized daycare, and very little in terms of tax benefits. What is the point of having kids if you're shipping them off to be brainwashed in government day camps all the time? I'm not a big fan of handouts, but how else are we going to encourage people to have children and give them a good start? What if we took all the money spent to fund abortions and handed that over to parents? Make women pay for their own abortions! Why are we enabling the destruction of our own society?

Making a decision to have a child is a huge step, and shouldn't be taken out of feelings of guilt or duty. However, society should be helping those who feel drawn to assume this important responsibility. Otherwise, we can say goodbye to the Canada we now know and love.

Mary said...

Just want to say Joe, that your post was so well thought out and excellent. A joy to read! Keep on posting joe, as we all need this kind of exposure.