Jonathan Last’s book What to Expect When No One is Expecting is the subject of the next Liberty Law Talk. Last, a senior writer for the Weekly Standard, points our attention to below replacement level birth rates evident in countries throughout the world (including America since 2008) and the dismal future it promises if things don’t change. In short, Last compels us to wonder who, exactly, will bring the future? However, Last does not come to cast blame on anyone or a particular philosophy, although he notes that our individualism must think more deeply about the requirements of human flourishing. Moreover, the demographic downturn he documents is obviously not just an American or European problem. Just ask the Singapore government, which has been trying to entice, with little success, greater fertility amongst its citizens using all manner of incentives. Last’s purpose is to get us thinking about what it means when a prosperous society of free persons hesitates to fulfill its crucial role in giving birth to and forming the next generation in sufficient numbers. Last’s fact-laden book is challenging, controversial, and also necessary for us to reflect on as we consider the foundations of a liberal society.
Anne Case and Angus Deaton have published important studies on increasing mortality in white men, but caution is in order when linking deaths to despair.
Demography is only destiny if we allow it to be, by accepting the left’s transformation of culture.