The Washington Post

Stork market

I’m not going to discuss today some numbers I read about Alabama and Mississippi that said about half of the people there think Obama is a Muslim and close to two-thirds think evolution of species is made up. What is there to say about that? Nothing that leads to anything but despair. Calling the education reformers!

No, I’m going to talk a bit about David Brooks, a lower-grade version of despair. He writes about interesting things in interesting ways (you go find the link if you want to), but I can’t for the life of me understand the coherence of his worldview. Yesterday he wrote about the problem of falling birthrates around the world. I have to say, on first blush, falling birthrates around the world sounds to me like a solution. The spiking population numbers used to be considered something along the lines of the ultimate bubble in a bubble-prone world, the ponzi scheme to end all ponzi schemes, and the ecology of the planet into the bargain.

But now the cognoscenti are planting yellow warning flags on falling birthrates. Fine, so go ahead and make your case. It seems to consist of two parts. One: where will we find workers? Answer: robots. But the main line of argument seems to be: who will care for the oldsters? (Ponzi scheme alert!) It’s an interesting question, but the implied answer is inescapably: Hey, you there! You have children that you don’t want so they can take care of me when I’m old! Is that really an argument you want to say out loud? Sounds like the way peasants used to talk. Smart, sophisticated people like David Brooks usually talk about how technical advances and markets can solve problems, except in this, apparently.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog. See all of his cartoons here.


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