Friday, June 06, 2008

NO GUARDRAILS EDITORS. The Wall Street Journal has engaged an Australian to do a demography-is-destiny essay from a Downunder perspective. Australia is lacking males, he says, citing a 98/100 m-to-f ratio versus China's manly 107/100. (Oddly, he neither cites nor proposes the Chinese solution of gender-specific abortions.)

In case readers are wondering why this small shortfall in boomerang-toting, Fosters-swilling Aussie blokes should be of concern to them, the author quotes "one of Australia's leading demographers," who says the "man drought" will have "serious repercussions." Later he bestirs himself to explain further:
Note that the man shortage becomes more pronounced just at the age when people tend to start thinking seriously about marriage and childrearing. But if you are a woman looking for a husband in this age group, chances are the only thing you are being squeezed by are the numbers. The shortage of men in this critical age group is thought to be contributing to Australia's low fertility rates.
So that's how he sold this! Marriage is a big deal for Journal scolds, usually as something to be defended against homosexuals, and sometimes as something to be enforced among black people. But here the issue seems to be a paucity of babies -- and Aussie babies at that, which are expected to be whiter than the kind Journal writers do not endorse.

But even here the author fails. As we have previously pointed out, Australian fertility has been accelerating and is now at a ten-year high. This is widely attributed to the "baby bonus" offered by the Australian Government. If the numbers are not quite what the author and the Journal would like, the solution is obvious: more breeder welfare!

I know these are hard times for conservatives, but you'd think the Journal could have at least queried this one a little more thoroughly. Of course the temptation to let it ride must have been great, especially with such surefire material as this:
Yes, we are the country that produced the likes of Hugh Jackman and Errol Flynn, but male migrants who might once have been intimidated by our raw masculinity can take comfort in our budding new-age sensitivities. In a survey released last month it was found that only 5% of Australian men regularly play a game of football, 50% do not lift the bonnet of their car and shed ownership has dropped by a staggering 27%. Moisturizer sales have gone through the roof.

The high-jump bar is high, but to the men of Japan, China, India, Korea, Thailand and beyond, the land of opportunity (and females) is here. Come for the beaches, but stay for the women.
Numbers may not favor the fertility angle, but the suggestion that Australian men are so emasculated -- especially under a Labor Administration -- that studs must be flown in from Thailand must have been too exciting for the Journal to pass up.

I am seriously thinking of employing a pseudonym and selling the Journal a piece about the low replacement rate among Williamsburg hipsters, inviting bow-legged farmboys from the hinterlands to have at the womenfolk. I could use the money, and if it catches on, real estate values in that neighborhood may be so drastically affected that I will be able to move back into my old apartment.

UPDATE. Fixed spelling error. Thanks to all my correctors.

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