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I swear, this is my final installment in this series!

I wanted to do a last post on Demographic Winter about the online coverage of the documentary. While mainstream media largely ignored DW, smaller media sources with partisan bents did pick up on this film.

A noticeable gap in coverage is that the International Movie Database, the most comprehensive online film database available, contains no entry for Demographic Winter.

Here are some snippets from sites online that wrote about DW:

The Nation: Missing: The ‘Right’ Babies

The real root of racial tensions in the Netherlands and France, America’s culture warriors tell anxious Europeans, isn’t ineffective methods of assimilating new citizens but, rather, decades of “antifamily” permissiveness–contraception, abortion, divorce, population control, women’s liberation and careers, “selfish” secularism and gay rights–enabling “decadent” white couples to neglect their reproductive duties. Defying the biblical command to “be fruitful and multiply,” Europeans have failed to produce the magic number of 2.1 children per couple, the estimated “replacement-level fertility” for developed nations (and a figure repeated so frequently it becomes a near incantation). The white Christian West, in this telling, is in danger of forfeiting itself through sheer lack of numbers to an onslaught of Muslim immigrants and their purportedly numerous offspring.

…the (largely unacknowledged) rub with the profamily movement’s focus on procreation: it requires a world of women to dedicate their lives and wombs to demographic battle.

The Free Republic: “The Nation” Thinks Demographic Winter is a Pro-Natalist Conspiracy

Posted on Mon Feb 25 21:59:43 2008 by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

According to the author, under the leadership of the “extremist Kaczynski brothers,” Poland has “shifted to the far right, embracing a social conservatism that aggressively targets gays, Jews, women’s rights and foreigners.”

On my two visits to Poland, I saw no signs of anti-Semitism. For a feminist like Joyce, a nation that does not encourage partial-birth abortions in the ninth month and celebrate transgenderism in the public schools is a bulwark of bigotry.

We’re the racists, but they’re the ones flooding the Third World with contraceptives and pushing abortion, which, alas, do not depress the white birthrate.

Speaking of Nazis, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, their prophetess, considered non-Aryans “a great biological menace to the future of civilization.”

Ever wonder why blacks, who comprise 12% of the population, account for 32% of all abortions? (For Hispanics, the figures are 13% and 20%.) Might it have something to do with all of the abortion clinics conveniently located in inner-city neighborhoods?

In the face of this looming catastrophe, EU bureaucrats are engaged in a relentless campaign of promoting same-sex marriage. Ah that “gay friendly EU.” What is the fertility rate of homosexual couples, anyway?

Lifesite News: New Documentary Explores Global Demographic Crisis

“The years have not been kind to this most important institution…particularly the last four decades. Worldwide, families have broken down at a historically unprecedented pace. There are certainly records of how now extinct societies have experienced similar declines before their demise, for what we now face is unique in that it has a global spread. This has ominous portent.”

Real Clear Religion: LIBERALS CRY RACISM TO SILENCE DEMOGRAPHIC WINTER DOCUMENTARY

An article entitled The ‘Right’ Babies’ by Kathryn Joyce condemns the documentary Demographic Winter and attempts to silence all demographic truth tellers by labeling them racists and invoking the need for ever-more multiculturalism.

…Liberals seem to have no problem however engaging in scare-mongering with respect to the psuedo-science of global warming. They care more for the planet and the availability of their favorite contraception and means of abortion than they do for the survival of mankind.

Further, the liberal pursuit of utopian multi-cultural harmony only works in textbooks and in their own minds–and ironically would never occur between liberals and Islam. A culture that embraces sexual license, homosexuality, feminism and hedonism cannot co-exist with those who would violently suppress the same. Ms Joyce and those who share her relativistic views can pretend that that no culture or religion is any better than another, and that demographic shifts are irrelevant–but when an entirely new and very hostile culture emerges she and her failed utopian concepts will be silenced by the threat of the Islamic sword.

The secular left and Islam may share the same motivations–the demise of Western Civilization–but what they would each replace it with is where they depart company.

World Net Daily: The demographic cause of economic meltdown

“Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family” is a well-produced, powerful warning about the dying population groups throughout much of the world and the dire consequences of that terrible trend.

In the movie, scientists and social scientists from Harvard, the University of Chicago, the New American Foundation and countries around the world discuss how and why populations are decreasing at an alarming rate. The reason why is a condemnation of today’s politically correct culture that replaces traditional Christian culture, including the Bible, with a left-wing, atheist ideology of social engineering, narcissistic hedonism, class warfare and racial politics that is itself racist and demeaning.

The scientists in this documentary are not people of faith. In fact, one scientist makes perfectly clear that he is single with an adopted child. But, their research shows that the sexual revolution, the advance of immorality, the socialist welfare systems and other factors associated with contemporary society are destroying the future of mankind.

Common Dreams: ‘Demographic Winter’ Is Just Overheated Rhetoric

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.

So what we see here is this: conservative and hard-right Christian reviews emphasizing the academic and scientific credentials of the experts and ignoring the funders, and liberal reviews digging into the funders and makers of the film and being alarmed at what they find. No one says that fertility decline is not happening. But some people are using it as a chance to push an agenda promising very real benefits to white men, and very real negative effects for just about everyone else.

In this series:
Part 1 on my initial reactions to the documentary Demographic Winter
Part 2 digs deeper into the meaning of the film
Part 3 looks at who is in and behind the film
Part 4 examines partisan media coverage of DW

This post has been updated since originally published

So I’m finally going to make good on my brash statement in Parts 1 & 2 that I would research every Expert and Funder of Demographic Winter.

It took a really long time! With really intriguing results. I will do a Part 4 on online media coverage of the documentary. I wish I had looked at more online reviews before I watched… much of my response to DW was presaged by others. I guess that makes me feel that my conclusions aren’t too far off base. Though I haven’t seen a single person anywhere doubt the fact of white fertility decline, many people online also recoiled at the solutions offered by the film, and detected the hidden racism that I sensed. So, more on that in the future.

The trends I noticed while researching those behind the film are as follows: though a good chunk of the academics, writers, sociologists and economists interviewed in Demographic Winter are indeed conservative, but not all of them as rabidly as I expected. A few could be described as Christian fundies. In the information below, I tried to include facts that were relevant to the claims I’m making, whether supporting my claims or contradicting them.

A few experts in the film, and all of the funders, can be traced to hard-right Christian organizations, and unexpectedly, the funding seems to be coming from Mormon-run organizations. Who woulda thunk it? The fact that this was not disclosed during the film, and that instead the makers allowed the mostly non-hard-right-Christian academics to be the “face” of the film, is deeply dishonest. The makers of the film in fact had a social-religious agenda and used a real social issue and honest academics to push it on unsuspecting viewers. Icky.

So here’s what I found by canvassing the interwebs:

THE EXPERTS

Harry S. Dent, Harvard MBA

Mr. Dent is an American writer and economist. He is known for his ideas about changing individual spending patterns across a lifetime, and using these ideas to forecast economic growth and slowdowns.

Norval Glenn PhD, Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin

Mr. Glenn is an American sociologist who focuses his research on marriage and family. His research has shown that children whose parents had amicable divorces have less successful marriages later in life than children whose parents had bad divorces. He has published prolifically, including such articles as “The Utility of Education and Attractiveness for Females’ Status Attainment through Marriage” and “Spiritual but Not Religious: The Impact of Parental Divorce on the Religious and Spiritual Identities of Young Adults in the United States.”

Nicholas Eberstadt PhD Harvard, American Enterprise Institute

From the AEI: “Eberstadt researches demographics, foreign aid, poverty, infant mortality, health disparities, and economic development. He has written extensively on Korea, East Asia, and countries of the former Soviet Union.”

From RightWeb: “Eberstadt spoke at an October 2006 AEI event on “Religion and the American Future.” The event’s description stated, “The meek, it has been said, shall inherit the earth—but increasingly it appears that the future belongs not so much to the meek as to the devout. As fertility rates plummet across the globe, religious believers seem to be uniquely protected against the 21st century’s looming demographic implosion”.”

Alan Viard PhD Harvard Economics, American Enterprise Institute

Mr. Viard is an American economist at the AEI, a non-partisan institute that exists to “defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism.” He has written articles about taxes and entitlement programs.

From Right Web: “The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI), based in Washington D.C., has been a leading member of the neoconservative advocacy community for nearly three decades and is one of the more prominent U.S. policy institutions.”

Lola Velarde PhD, President of the European Network Institute for Family Policies

Ms. Velarde is the coordinator of the World Congress on Families, a “a global gathering of social conservatives … and European Christians,” which is attended my many of the experts and funders in the film and is supported by the Family First Foundation, which employs the funders and some of the experts, and itself was a major funder of DW.

She supports “prenatal rights” for fetuses. There is no information available in English on the internet for the “European Network Institute for Family Policies.”

Viktor Medkov PhD, Professor of Sociology, Lomonossov Moscow State University, Russia

Mr. Medkov has researched Russia’s declining fertility rates. He has participated in events sponsored by the World Family Policy Center, a project of Brigham Young University, which “seeks to provide balanced, solidly researched, pro-family education to … the United Nations System, … in order to protect and preserve the place of the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

In the film, it is Medkov who says, “Economic solutions won’t fix these problems.”

David Popenoe PhD, Professor of Sociology Rutgers University

Mr. Popenoe is an urban planner turned sociologist of marriage. He has been a vocal proponent of “traditional” marriage, and his ideas are admired by the religious right, though he himself is a Democrat. His “Top 10 Myths of Marriage” is often reproduced.

Steve Nock PhD, Professor of Sociology & Director of Marriage Matters Project, University of Virginia

American author and sociologist Steve Nock recently passed away. He wrote about changes in the American family and researched covenant marriage. The Marriage Matters Project: “Over the course of the last half-century, three social revolutions–the family revolution, the gender revolution, and the secular revolution–have profoundly reshaped the character, quality, and stability of marriage in the West….the Marriage Matters (MM) Project aims to assess the enduring consequences of these revolutions for the institution of marriage by considering the role that four values-unconditional love, generativity, gender complementarity, and spirituality-now play in shaping the quality and stability of contemporary marriage in the West.”

Bradford Wilcox PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Virginia

Mr. Wilcox worked with Mr. Nock on the Marriage Matters Project. He is an American writer and sociologist who studies family, marriage and religion. He authored the book Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands. According to his article “The Ring Thing,” he believes the media glorifies single-parenting and sperm donation to the detriment of children. Along with Mr. Nock, he wrote about how egalitarianism in marriage is not beneficial.

Kay Hymowitz, Manhattan Institute fellow

Ms. Hymowitz is an American conservative pundit and former teach of English at the college level. She has written in a variety of newspapers about her anti-feminism, the immaturity of men, and how single parents raise their children poorly, as well as other related topics. She is a proponent of traditional marriage.

Linda Waite PhD, Professor of Urban Sociology, University of Chicago

Ms. Waite is an American sociologist who studies aging, family, religion and marriage. She is a proponent of traditional marriage and has written about the negative effects of cohabitation. She co-authored a book with Maggie Gallagher called “The Case for Marriage,” where she explains that married sex is superior to non-married sex. She describes herself as liberal and pro-gay marriage.

Gary Becker PhD, Nobel Prize in Economics 1992, University of Chicago

The conservative American economist Gary Becker has accomplishments in four areas of economics: human capital, household behavior and work distribution, crime and punishment, and discrimination in the market. His achievements include a long list of awards, honorary degrees, and appointments.

Maria Sophia Aguirre PhD, Associate Professor of Business, Catholic University of America

Ms. Aguirre is an Argentine-American economist with a PhD from Notre Dame. She has written about family, women and economics. She served on the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.

Alban d’Entremont PhD, Professor of Economics, University of Navarra, Spain

Mr. d’Entremont is a Canadian geographer, economist and professor living in Spain. He has written three books on population, economic geography and demographics, as well as many articles on these and related topics.

Mark Regnerus PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin

Mr. Regnerus is an American professor of Sociology and Religious Studies. He has written books and articles about religion and sex, including the book Forbidden Fruit, Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers and the article, “How Corrosive is College to Religious Faith and Practice?”

Robert Michael PhD, Professor of Public Policy, University of Chicago

Mr. Michael’s expertise lies in child and family social policy, familial economics, and the study of sexual practices, among other subjects. He assisted in America’s first scientific study of sexual practices in 1994. He has also done research on poverty.

Dr. Jianguo Liu, Director of Sustainability, Michigan State University

From the Population Studies Center at MSU: “Dr. Liu’s research interests include conservation ecology, human-environment interactions, systems modeling and simulation, and impacts of human population and activity on spatio-temporal dynamics of endangered species. He is keenly interested in integrating ecology with socioeconomics as well as human demography and behavior.”

Patrick Fagan, Psychologist, Family Research Council

The Irish-American Mr. Fagan is a former employee of the Heritage Foundation, a deeply conservative think tank. He was also formerly a Deputy Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary. He has written some articles, including “Virgins Make the Best Valentines.” From the Family Research Council: “Patrick F. Fagan is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Family and Religion, where he examines the relationships among family, marriage, religion, community, and America’s social problems as illustrated in the social sciences research data.” The Family Research Council “champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society. FRC shapes public debate and formulates public policy that values human life and upholds the institutions of marriage and the family. Believing that God is the author of life, liberty, and the family, FRC promotes the Judeo-Christian worldview as the basis for a just, free, and stable society.” Mr. Fagan is also on the Board of the Family First Foundation.

Phil Longman, New America Foundation Fellow

From the New American review of DW: “Phillip Longman, a man self-described as “not churched” and part of a “progressive, secular think tank,” prescribes a rather “unprogressive” cure. The facts demand, he suggests, a return to tradition, to a system that persuaded both men and women to have children and take care of them. He calls it “patriarchy, properly understood.”

From the New America Foundation: “Phillip Longman is a Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, and Research Director of the Next Social Contract Initiative. He is the author of numerous articles and books on demographics, economics, and social change”

About the NAF: “The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States. New America emphasizes work that is responsive to the changing conditions and problems of our 21st Century information-age economy — an era shaped by transforming innovation and wealth creation, but also by shortened job tenures, longer life spans, mobile capital, financial imbalances and rising inequality.”

Alan Tapper PhD, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Edith Cowan University, Australia

Mr. Tapper wrote the book The Family in the Welfare State, a study on Australia’s family policy and has written articles about demographic decline. He does not believe that women bear the majority of the blame for fertility decline. His research includes eighteenth-century intellectual history and contemporary social issues.

Inese Slesere, Latvia Member of Parliament

Ms. Slesere has been a member of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy in the European Parliament. She is also a member of Latvian Parliament from Latvia’s First Party. She has advocated for child-care leave. She has attended the World Congress on Families, a “a global gathering of social conservatives … and European Christians.” She has been quoted as saying “As Christian values are promoted, our economic stability will be advanced.”

THE FUNDERS

Barry McLerran

Mr. McLerran is the producer of DW through a company, SRB Documentary, for which there is no information listed online. He has been quoted as saying, “Far from dooming the planet, by encouraging people to have children, traditional religion is helping to save humanity.” He has participated in the World Congress for Families and is Executive Director of the Family First Foundation (more on FFF below).

Rick Stout

Mr. Stout directed DW. He has said, “Besides a smattering of pro-family activists, interviewees addressed the crisis of falling birthrates from an academic perspective.” Besides being described as an “award-winning” director on Lifesite News, I cannot locate further information about his directorial accomplishments.

Steven Smoot

Mr. Smoot is the Executive Producer of DW. He is also President and Founder of the Family First Foundation.

Family First Foundation

FFF is located in Bountiful, UT. From the FFF website: “The natural family – founded upon an enduring marriage between a man and a woman which blossoms throughout the generations with children, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins – is the cornerstone of any successful civilization. Never before has more legal, historical and scientific evidence demonstrated the crucial importance of reinforcing, supporting and stabilizing the natural family. At the same time, never before has the natural family, as well as public opinion regarding its meaning and importance, been more fragile. This fragility is dangerous. Without concerted and effective action, the world’s most essential social structures – including marriage, parental responsibility, childhood innocence, respect for life and religious liberty – may erode beyond repair.”

and

“Almost every social ill can be directly traced to the disintegration of the natural family.”

FFF lists the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society, World Congress of Families, the Heritage Foundation, the World Family Policy Center, and United Families International as organizations it supports. FFF and some of these organizations explicitly state that they want to limit marriage to heterosexuals.

GFC Foundation

The GFC Foundation, located in Orem, Utah, is led by Rachel Swim, a recent Brigham Young University graduate. It has no website. “[T]he foundation supports the American Heritage School, a 35-year-old K-8 school in American Fork, Utah, that integrates historical American moral values with a rigorous education.”

Audience Alliance Motion Picture Foundation

The AAMPF describes themselves as “We’re filmmakers and movie lovers with a passion for uplifting stories. The majority of movies being made these days have shown a significant decline in inspiring values.” They also say “Complaining, boycotting, lamenting and ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’ by assailing Hollywood is NOT the way to win the battle in the war on culture and values.” And “Audience Alliance has no affiliation with or commitment to any political, religious, geographic or cultural bias other than the values described in our Virtues and Values Matrix™.” This matrix lists the values that the AAMPF applies to films. Included is “Breaking the laws of the land or the laws of God will never be rewarded and the consequences of bad choices will always be associated with failure, disappointment and unhappiness. Stories will resolve in a way that demonstrates that good choices are rewarded and bad choices ultimately bring sorrow, heartache and disappointment.”

As you can see, while the film chose some centrist and some conservative academics (and one liberal) as experts, certain religious and socially conservative organizations are what funded and nurtured this film. Particularly prominent is the Family First Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the World Congress for Families.

What are your impressions of this disjunct between the funders and the faces?

In this series:
Part 1 on my initial reactions to the documentary Demographic Winter
Part 2 digs deeper into the meaning of the film
Part 3 looks at who is in and behind the film
Part 4 examines partisan media coverage of DW

This is my second post dealing with the documentary “Demographic Winter,” about Western fertility decline. In this post, I want to explore a little deeper into the film’s implications.

First, I’d like to mention that I do not doubt one of the basic facts mentioned in the film: that many Western and industrialized countries are experiencing birth rates below the “replacement level” of 2.1 births per woman. Aside from this basic agreement, the makers of the film and I disagree on just about everything else contained therein.

The film employs an ingenuous arsenal of arguments that just happen to point the viewer to the conclusion that the only way to save the (white) human race is through a massive suppression of women’s rights and a return to an idealized version of 1950s American society. Incidentally, gay rights and immigration must also be suppressed. The narrator and many experts in the film say the conclusions to be drawn from the “science” are not PC (their use of the term, not mine), and that is why these shocking facts about demographic disaster have not gotten more mainstream play. This supposition, of course, depends on your belief that the media is always carefully, perhaps even fascistically, PC. But, to play the devil’s advocate, if the media isn’t unwarrantedly PC, could there be other, more obvious reasons why this film hasn’t seen wide viewership?

Now, what political and social groups present us with similar arguments to justify their goals? Hmmm… social conservatives, Christian fundamentalists, racists, homophobes and male chauvinists. I’m going to hypothesize RIGHT NOW that when I research the Experts and the Funders of this film in my next post in this series, I will find that many are allied with these very groups. Anyone wanna bet me?

Currently, the world fertility rate is 2.61, above replacement rate. That means that while certain countries are below replacement rate, there must be even more above it. About 124 of the 221 countries listed in the CIA World Fact Book are at or above replacement rate, including the US (the chart has 223 entries, but this includes their entries for “world” and “E.U.”). The E.U. fertility rate is at 1.50, but countries such as Japan, Thailand,Turkey and Lebanon are also below replacement.

“DEMOGRAPHIC WINTER” & RACE

Since below-replacement-level fertility (brlf) has been recorded in several areas of the world, why does the film focus on majority-white countries to the almost complete exclusion (with the exception of Japan) of non-white countries? Why does the film include the US in its list of brlf countries, when we are currently at replacement rate? And why are 81% of the experts in the film white, if this is a trend affecting East and West Asia almost as much as Europe?

Race is the elephant in the room throughout this entire film. The US is included as “endangered” for two reasons: 1) historically, our fertility rates are trending downwards, and may dip brlf in the near future; and 2) the main reason our fertility rate is at replacement level is because of recent (Latino) immigrants and their descendants, most of whom are not white, and many of whom have well above replacement level fertility. However, we are told that it is in their best interests that this be considered bad for the US. Why? Because immigrants who come to the US are mostly young males (says the film). This leads to gender imbalance, separated families and brain-drain in their home countries, which is bad.

The Department of Homeland Security publishes an annual Yearbook of Immigration. The 2007 Yearbook, the most recent one available, lists legal immigrants to America as being mostly female, mostly above the age of 30, and mostly married. Huh. While not stating it out loud, the film must have been referring to undocumented immigrants, who are 60-70% male and often young. Some of the “youthfulness” of undocumented immigrants may be attributed to the fact that 1 in 6 is a child.

So when the film is talking about humans going extinct, what they really mean is whites. It just doesn’t say that. There’s a lot of things the film doesn’t say, and what goes unsaid is often more interesting than what is said.

THE “NATURAL FAMILY”

If you aren’t familiar with this political meme, here is a definition from The Howard Center:

The natural family is a man and woman bound in a lifelong covenant of marriage for the purposes of:
*the continuation of the human species,
*the rearing of children,
*the regulation of sexuality,
*the provision of mutual support and protection,
*the creation of an altruistic domestic economy, and
*the maintenance of bonds between the generations.

You can see the relevance to “Demographic Winter.” The combo-deal of continuation of the species, children, sexuality control and economics would be enough, but the fact that the film specifically mentions the decline of the “natural family” as a cause of concern let’s you know what we’re dealing with. This is a phrase used by certain social conservatives of a fundie-Christian bent when they are attacking working women, non-procreative sex, gays, no-fault divorce and birth control. “Demographic Winter” more or less equates the “natural family” with “Patriarchy,” which I find rather accurate, and lists this as the one solution to demographic disaster.

Of course, this meme ignores some small matters, like human history and reality. Historically, family has taken many different forms: tribes and clans based on kinship, extended family groups who live in a single dwelling, polygyny, and the occasional matriarchal society. Wikipedia: “The popularity of the nuclear family in the West came about in the early 20th century, prompted in part by business practices of Henry Ford, such as the “8 hour day, $5 week”, and later the New Deal policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt. This enabled more and more families to be economically independent, and thus to own their own home.”

Huh, but if the nuclear family (similar to “natural family”, but with a slightly wider definition that could include same-sex partners, or unmarried parents) is a family structure of recent popularity, and demographic decline is a recent phenomena, how can certain experts in the film claim that it is the weakening of this sort of family that is causing the decline? This question is not answered because believers in the “natural family” meme claim without thorough research that their family model is the only successful one that has existed throughout history. The most cursory glance into the history of family structure proves otherwise.

“DEMOGRAPHIC WINTER” & WOMEN

The insistence on the primacy and necessity of this very specific family structure nicely supports an important part of the demographic disaster argument: that women bear an enormous part of the burden for the recent listing of humans as an endangered species. Treating women as equal and as human beings is one of the direct causes of brlf, as listed in Part 1. Allowing (white) women birth control, abortion, control of their own sexuality, equality in marriage and careers is causing them to have fewer children. These are not parts of the “natural family” of Patriarchy and idealized 1950s America, because in that model women are carefully controlled by the men in their lives. Their life choices are restricted to the private sphere of marriage, house-keeping and child-rearing while dependent on a man, who is the dominant head of the family. Interestingly, 3/4 of the experts in the film were male. Coincidence?

Of course, the film doesn’t come out and say that men need to roll back women’s rights. Instead, they give you all the supporting arguments and leave the conclusion to you, the viewer. Do you want whites to become extinct, or don’t you? If you don’t, you know what to do. *wink*

“DEMOGRAPHIC WINTER” & GAYS

Strangely, a few experts in the film mention gay rights, but without further explanation. They are just grouped in with things that are “progressive,” things that weaken the family, things that were all the rage in the 70s.

What are gays doing in a discussion of white fertility rates? We can only guess. Are we to assume that by allowing gays some civil rights, we are glorifying a non-reproductive lifestyle that many impressionable young people will want to join, thereby taking even more people out of the breeding pool? Or that by entertaining the thought of allowing gays to marry, we are weakening the “natural family” and contributing to the extinction of whites? The unexplained inclusion of gays in this conversation seems to unintentionally flag the politics of this allegedly apolitical film. Who else bands the “threat” of women’s rights, secularism and equality for POC together with gay rights quite so frequently as social conservatives and fundie Christians?

“DEMOGRAPHIC WINTER” & RELIGION

Yet another thing left unsaid in this film is the religious beliefs that quite clearly form the bedrock of much of the argument. Though they are ever-present, they are not explicitly stated. Instead, the film plays at being objectively non-religious. An expert just happens, in his objective scientific pursuit of facts, to notice that religious people (in the US) have more children. Based on this fact, he can, without being accused of bias towards a certain set of beliefs, state that non-religious people will go extinct first. It just so happens that 84% of Americans are Christian. So completely coincidentally, objective scientific inquiry has shown us that Christians may yet save whites by going forth and multiplying (in America), while non-religious people can be blamed for declining white fertility.

The obvious duplicity of not mentioning the Christian foundations of much of their argument cripples their pretenses at objectivity. The inclusion of memes like the “natural family” which is often supported by biblical arguments, the tirades against women’s unrestrained sexuality but not men’s, the essentialist gender behavior statements, and the random inclusion of gay rights as bad are some of the bread crumbs that lead to the fundie Christian beliefs hiding behind the “science.”

So there you have it, some of my deeper analysis of what lies behind the science of “Demographic Winter.” My final installment looking at the experts and funders behind this film will appear in the next day or two or three.

In this series:
Part 1 on my initial reactions to the documentary Demographic Winter
Part 2 digs deeper into the meaning of the film
Part 3 looks at who is in and behind the film
Part 4 examines partisan media coverage of DW

This post has been updated since originally published

“In our rush to modernize, did we throw the baby out with the bathwater?” asks the little-seen 2007 documentary Demographic Winter: the Decline of the Human Family.

The documentary theorizes that declining fertility (among whites) in the West will lead the entire world into a spiral of economic, social and moral collapse. It deploys science to ensure the viewer that its dire warning is not to be dismissed: pie charts, graphs, statistics, professors. There are 21 experts interviewed in the film, all of whom have impressive résumés, and some of whom seem so disturbed by the message they are forced to impart that they can barely look directly at the camera. Interestingly, 76% of the experts were male, and 81% (or more, I erred on the side of caution when I wasn’t sure) were white.

I just watched the documentary today, after long anticipation, and I want to break down what I saw, as the thinking behind this film is strongly influencing a certain strain of political and social thought these days. Even someone as prominent as Mitt Romney, in his concession speech, discussed the Demographic Disaster. It’s popping up on right-leaning media sources and blogs. It’s used to justify a whole slew of discriminatory practices and laws. And it’s dressed in the clothing of SCIENCE.

The basic argument sketched by the experts and the narrator is as follows:

If we experience a population decline, then progressive causes rooted in the 70s belief of an impending “population bomb” are invalid, possibly harmful, and need to be reversed. We are experiencing a population decline. Therefore, progressive causes must be reversed.

The harmful “progressive causes” implicated are listed only as women’s rights, gay rights, and environmentalism. Of course, we can spot a case of false premise in these neat argument… are these three causes really invalid in the event of a population decline? Of course not. Are these three causes the sole result of concerns of over-population? No. Are these three causes homogeneous enough with each other and internally within themselves to be dismissed with a single simple argument? Nope.

Here are five causes of fertility decline, according to the film:
1. Women Working
2. Prosperity
3. Sexual Revolution
4. Divorce Revolution (their term)
5. Inaccurate Assumptions about the “population bomb”

And here are the three possible solutions they suggest:
1. Providing economic incentives to have more children
2. The “Swedish Model”: a strong welfare state
3. Patriarchy (their word, not mine)

Their analysis of these:
1. Tried in Russia and failed.
2. Tried in Sweden and failed.
3. THE ONLY SOLUTION THAT WORKS. Evidence and examples of countries succeeding under Patriarchy are not provided, probably because the obvious correctness of this solution precludes the usual formality of scientific inquiry. Comparative studies of societies outside of the West with patriarchal and non-patriarchal structures are not mentioned once.

We are taught that children grow up stupid and criminal unless raised by both biological parents who cannot divorce, who married young, who are heterosexual, who are white (this is not stated explicitly, but is implied), who were abstinent until marriage, who do not use birth control, who are strongly religious, and preferably with a stay-at-home wife. “Married biological parents is the Gold Standard,” says one expert.

On the flip side, sex before marriage, having children out of wedlock, gays having rights, women in careers, divorce, non-religiousness, birth control, single-parent households, belief in Darwin’s theories, and late marriage are all listed as indicators of an unhealthy society where families are weakening and which may soon become extinct. One expert even suggests that non-religious people will go extinct first, as religious families have disproportionately more children.

This is of course all said very carefully. Nothing directly anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-freedom of religion, or anti-POC is stated out loud. But I am interested in looking further into the backgrounds of the experts and funders in order to figure out who is behind this theory.

Below is a list of the experts and the funders. If readers here want look up their credentials and affiliations and post information in the comments, please do! In a later post I want to write more about who was chosen to appear in this documentary. They are not listed here for purposes of harassment, however. No hate mail!

THE EXPERTS

Harry S. Dent, Harvard MBA
Norval Glenn PhD, Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin
Nicholas Eberstadt PhD Harvard, American Enterprise Institute
Alan Viard PhD Harvard Economics, American Enterprise Institute
Lola Velarde PhD, President of European Network Institute for Family Policies
Viktor Medkov PhD, Professor of Sociology, Lomonossov Moscow State University, Russia
David Popenoe PhD, Professor of Sociology Rutgers University
Steve Nock PhD, Professor of Sociology & Director of Marriage Matters Project, University of Virginia
Bradford Wilcox PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Virginia
Kay Hymowitz, Manhattan Institute fellow
Linda Waite PhD, Professor of Urban Sociology, University of Chicago
Gary Becker PhD, Nobel Prize in Economics 1992, University of Chicago
Maria Sophia Aguirre PhD, Associate Professor of Business, Catholic University of America
Alban d’Entremont PhD, Professor of Economics, University of Navarra, Spain
Mark Regnerus PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin
Robert Michael PhD, Professor of Public Policy, University of Chicago
Dr. Jianguo Liu, Director of Sustainability, Michigan State University
Patrick Fagan, Psychologist, Family Research Council
Phil Longman, New America Foundation Fellow
Alan Tapper PhD, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Edith Cowan University, Australia
Inese Slesere, Latvia Member of Parliament

THE FUNDERS

Barry McLerran
Rick Stout
Steven Smoot
Family First Foundation
GFC Foundation
Audience Alliance Motion Picture Foundation

More on this topic in the future! Discuss! Respect the human dignity of everyone when doing so!

In this series:
Part 1 on my initial reactions to the documentary Demographic Winter
Part 2 digs deeper into the meaning of the film
Part 3 looks at who is in and behind the film
Part 4 examines partisan media coverage of DW

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