The Demographic Canard

A canard, so a Google search informs me, is “an unfounded rumor or story.” Today, I’d like to address an old canard that says, “Conservatives/traditional Catholics will outbreed liberals, so liberalism will go extinct and conservatism/traditional Catholicism will triumph.” The idea is that the allegedly higher birth rates among cultural conservatives will lead to eventual demographic victory.

This reminds me of the 2007 French presidential election. The Socialist candidate was a woman named Ségolène Royal. I remember reading that she was one of eight children of a very staunch Catholic military officer . . . who raised a future Socialist presidential candidate.

My point: the demographic canard ignores how many liberals come from conservative families. How many families have a very stalwart patriarch and matriarch, but by the time you reach the third generation, they are just as worldly as any other family? Or the children mostly still go to Mass, but one or two kids are actually liberals? It happens all the time. If anything, it is the fecundity of conservatives that will keep liberalism alive by breeding the children who will turn into liberals. Conservatism is the cradle of liberalism.

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