The Communist Party of China finally came out in favor of brotherhood on Thursday.
Indeed, according to the official announcement, siblinghood generally can now bloom in the Middle Kingdom.
You don’t have to stand on the far right in the abortion debate to find the implementaton of the one-child policy horrific. Forced sterilization and worse have oppressed Chinese women for 35 years, according to reliable reports.
But now China has a growing middle class, and the worker’s paradise finds itself subject to the same phenomenon as the developed, decadent West, where rising affluence correlates with declining family sizes.
This principle of demographics is as fundamental as — and not unrelated to — the economic principle of supply and demand.
Thus the irony: Just as modern, affluent, educated Chinese couples decide they might prefer to have only one child, the government wants them to have more.
And even as economics gets called the “dismal science,” demographics could be the “mind-numbigly boring science.”
But demographic trends predict the world’s future better than any other manageable body of data. We might call a debate among presidential candidates “historic,” but on the grand scale it means nothing compared to the mass migrations that populated the Americas, brought down the Roman Empire, and threaten to overburden the entire planet.
That fundamental principle of less developed nations growing faster than industrial countries has implications for every aspect of civilization. No one can build a wall long enough or high enough — whether in Hungary, China or Arizona — to keep out history.
Meanwhile countries with low growth still find reasons to spin the human drive for reproduction into policy. It has an intuitive place in the list of ingedients for increasing national power, alongside land area, natural resources and military might.
In China, the ills of overpopulation must now seem less dangerous than the perceived economic and power problems of underpopulation.
So we now live in the Looking Glass world where a country with a population of nearly 1.4 billion fears it is dying out. Or at least a near future with unmanageable disproportions of young men and retirees.
And if you find Looking Glass worlds interesting, try the Russian media’s version of daily “news.” It conists entirely of footage of President Vladimir Putin (mostly sitting silently) and “analysis” proving that every problem — from all wars ever to the poor condition of roads in Vladivostok — is America’s fault.
Let’s remember Czar Putin came up as communist and clearly would have called himself a democrat or republican or fascist or Easter Bunny if it provided him a path to power.
Faced with drastic population decline brought about by the end of the Soviet Union, a high rate of abortion and other factors, in 2008 Putin revived a page from Josef Stalin’s book. The Hero Mother of the Soviet Union medal went to women who bore and raised 10 or more children. Putin has renamed it the Order of Parental Glory.
Even in our own country, the equating of population with power lurked on the fringes of recent debate. While state and federal courts wrangled with gay mariage, some people asked why the civil government should have any authority whatever regarding anybody’s domestic arrangements.
If we have a truly secular government, definitions of morality and sin are moot, and the only vested interest of the state in family life would lie in maximizing the production of babies to serve in the army and operate factories.
Yes, the Lord commanded, “Be fruitful and multiply.” But the commandment continues “… and fill the Earth.”
Well, mission accomplished.