Friday, January 15, 2010

Facts and figures: How long till we are a nation of bastards?

Mrs. Angela Shanahan quoted an interesting figure in last Saturday’s edition of The Weekend Australian:

The anti-populationists' ideological armour of righteous environmentalism leaves them blind to the fact that we need a sustainable rate of growth because without at least stasis in natural increase, we will have an unnaturally ageing population, like Japan's. Without a natural increase of at least 2.1 children per woman -- ours is only 1.9 -- we cannot achieve the age balance that will give us enough children to fuel the future economy and care for the aged. If we can't get sustainable natural growth, we must have immigration.
[my emphasis,]

Mrs. Shanahan raised another interesting point in her article:

Lately there has been a slight rise in the Australian birth rate, and a stabilising of the divorce rate. It could be that more people are having the children they want, although the rise in the ex-nuptial birth rate is a genuine cause for alarm. But the anti-natalists don't care about the causes and social consequences of children born out of wedlock; they are more worried about the bird life.
[my emphasis]

And what is the ex-nuptial birth rate, you ask? In The Sydney Morning Herald's edition on the same day as Mrs. Shanahan's column was published we found the answer:

Percentage of babies born to unmarried parents.
Ms Irvine gives her sources as ",,,,,, RP Data". I could not find any mention of this figure in the archives for the two most recent months—January and December—of A.B.S. media releases, however. I'd appreciate it if any readers could supply a web reference for Ms Irvine's citation about illegitimacy.]

(Mrs. Shanahan’s article was the subject for a number of letters to The Australian this week:

One of the letters spoke of Mrs. Shanahan’s “irresponsibly large family” (of nine children). But I would have thought that the irresponsible families were those who choose not to have at least two children; families like Mrs. Shanahan's should be commended for doing their bit to make up for the short-fall between overall population increase and population increase by natural increase. That same letter contained an unfortunate arithmetical error (unfortunate, since its author said, insultingly, “[t]ime, Ms Shanahan, for some basic mathematics”):

If each of her nine children also has nine children, then she will have 89 grandchildren

One Kevin Lathbury had the following letter published afterwards:

JENNY Goldie ("Time for some maths”, Letters, 12/1) suggests that if Angela Shanahan’s nine kids each have nine kids, she’ll have 89 grandkids. When I went to school, nine times nine made 81. Time indeed for some maths!

How embarrassing. Never forget the rules of the newspaper letters page branch of Murphy’s Law: Letters which criticise mathematical errors will contain at least one mathematical error, letters which criticise grammatical/spelling errors will contain at least one grammatical/spelling error, and, as I’ve learnt, letters which criticise Bible-related errors will contain at least one Bible-related error!)

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Paul the first Hermit, Confessor, A.D. 2009


Kiran said...

That is hilarious! Serves him right. Some good letters though, including some very Swiftian ones.

Reminds me of the time I was complaining about people's inability to do simple mathematics without calculator and proved my point unintentionally, by saying "People can't tell without using a calculator that 2+2=7"

Matthias said...

Cardinal yes Murphy's law but is there not O Reilly's law who believed that Murphy was an optimist?
I believe that the Cooees cited the Potts point birth rate as being 12 last year.
In my church this morning i sat near 3 pregnant women and their beaming husbands ,at least 7 infants,and about 12 teenagers ,and Sunday school is still on holidays.
The antihumans-population controllers-will be livid.

A. Reeves said...

I suppose it's too much to hope that any Western government, Australian or otherwise, would do what nearly all Western governments did before the 1960s: either ban contraceptives outright, or hedge their sale about with such stringent conditions that only married couples could buy them without a police case being made of the purchase.

Any example of Mark-Steyn-type hand wringing about "population implosion" which does not include a specific demand for making contraceptives either illegal or only barely legal, is, quite frankly, a sick joke. But it's no use expecting the Novus Ordo Catholic episcopate to admit this.

Matthias said...

Ban contraception ?How dare you say such a thing! Removes all the fun and the concept of responsibility and fidelity.
i recall as a student midwife-30 years ago-being in a lecture with a gynaecological cancer specialist-not a Catholic nor a Christian- who made the comment that he believed that the use of the Pill would cause an increase in ectopic pregnancies .

Cardinal Pole said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.


I was sad to see that you've decided to stop blogging. I've been meaning to get around to commenting at your last post, but I'll say it here instead: Thanks for some good and thought-provoking posts, and best wishes in your studies and everything. I have prayed for you and will say some quick prayers for you from time to time. And you're always welcome to comment here, of course.

Mr. Reeves,

You said that

"Any example of Mark-Steyn-type hand wringing about "population implosion" which does not include a specific demand for making contraceptives either illegal or only barely legal, is, quite frankly, a sick joke."

Good point.

"But it's no use expecting the Novus Ordo Catholic episcopate to admit this."

Sad but true; I read the recently-re-issued Australian Bishops' Pastoral Letter on contraception/N.F.P. and was not impressed with its tone and the perspective from which it was written, and nor with its failure to stress the risk of N.F.P. facilitating a contraceptive mentality.


When you wrote

"Removes all the fun and the concept of responsibility and fidelity."

Did you mean something like

"Removes all the fun and adds/imposes/involves the concept of responsibility and fidelity."

I wasn't quite sure what you were getting at there.