Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Roots Of "race suicide"

Amanda at Pandagon speculates that concerns over race suicide can be traced to the decline of agrarianism. I think its a lot older than that... it probably belongs on the short list of humanity's perpetual complaints, right next to "kids these days" and "things are getting worse". A quick Google search on the subject turns up items like:
44. The Desirability of Children in Athens.--Besides the oversight of the slaves the Athenian matron has naturally the care of the children. A childless home is one of the greatest of calamities. It means a solitary old age, and still worse, the dying out of the family and the worship of the family gods. There is just enough of the old superstitious "ancestor worship" left in Athens to make one shudder at the idea of leaving the "deified ancestor" without any descendants to keep up the simple sacrifices to their memory. Besides, public opinion condemns the childless home as not contributing to the perpetuation of the city. How Corinth, Thebes, or Sparta will rejoice, if it is plain that Athens is destroying herself by race suicide! So at least ONE son will be very welcome. His advent is a day of happiness for the father, of still greater satisfaction for the young mother.1
The source quoted is from 1910, so even if you assume the author is projecting then the concerns about race suicide predate the decline of agrarianism. When you think about it, concerns about race suicide ultimately reflect the fear that "us" is going to be overwhelmed by "them" through sheer force of numbers; such a fear is not specific to an agrarian way of life, but rather is probably present whenever two factions find themselves in conflict.
1 http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_wsd_sec44.htm

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