While I have been closely following the effects of secular ideology on the Western society, nothing prepared me for the academic documentary titled ‘Demographic Winter’ that projected the declining population and attendant effect on the economies of these countries.
The main argument of the documentary is that although there is overwhelming proof of steady breakup of family, preference of a life without children and resultant low birth rate; social scientists and economists have avoided discussing the subject because it is not politically correct and raises moral and ethical questions.
The academicians argue that there is a kind of conspiracy to overemphasise the debate on the negative effects of climate change and population explosion instead of the projected decline in population, especially in Western civilisation.
According to population experts, the declining fertility rates that are leading to a drastic reduction in population is occasioned by industrial revolution, the sexual revolution, the women revolution, the individualistic revolution and the divorce revolution. The population explosion phase often referred to as the baby boom of the 1960s was subsequently followed by a period of growth in industry and prosperity.
The prosperity era according to Dr Gary Becker, originated an emphasis on work ethic and urbanisation and these did not favour growth of traditional family. The more wealthy people became, the more they prided in material possessions and the less in procreation and nurture of children.
The women revolution, according to Dr Janice Crouse, saw the emergence of feminism and the rise in opportunities of women to study and getting same employment opportunities as men. The sexual revolution, according to Dr Linda Waite, which redefined gender identity, is responsible for the decline in fertility since it resulted in reduced significance of traditional family.
The effect of the sexual revolution on demographics has been a declining fertility rate and thereby fewer children, which has negative effect on economic development. Unfortunately, population decline is not discussed in the media, lecture rooms and political platforms because it is not a politically correct subject in a post-modern or a post–Christian era as some opine.
Instead, there is overemphasis on women’s rights, gay rights, environmental issues, which Dr Phil Longman argues, are mainly informed by the 1970s obsession with the population explosion theory, which is now a largely contested subject by demographers.
The dilemma with top scientists is that there are more questions than answers to the inevitable extinction of the human race since fewer children are being born yet their strongly held view is that we have a problem with increased population.
Relatedly, Dr Longman and Dr Mark Regnerus, question the pontifical scientific argument of Charles Darwin that the evolutionary biology of sex is all about reproduction. Dr Regnerus asks, “How can this be when the most intelligent aren’t interested in reproducing themselves?
Is this true among all species except humans? The irony, according to Dr Longman, is that the only section of humans that are interested in reproducing themselves, are people of faith, including Jews, Muslims, Christians and not the secularists, who are interested in promoting individualistic lifestyles that are anachronistic to sexual reproduction.
The only escape route out of the impending decline in fertility, thereby decline in family and subsequently economic decline is going to be a return to supporting traditional family as reflected by people of ‘the book,’ best summed up by Dr Longman, “I am not a church person, I work for a progressive secular think tank not faith based organisation but this research, perhaps may bring me to faith!”
As the world is on tenterhooks over the deadly coronavirus that could wipe out the human race, it is most likely a vaccine will soon be discovered.
Rt Rev Dr Mwesigwa is the Bishop of Ankole Diocese and Chancellor Bishop Stuart University.