As one who loves America — not only because I am American, but even more so because I know (not believe, know) that the American experiment in forming a decent society has been the most successful in history — I write the following words in sadness: With few exceptions, every aspect of American life is in decline.
“Decay” is the word.
The Decline of the Family: Nearly half (48 percent) of American children are born to a mother who is not married. Forty-three percent of American children live without a father in the home. About 50 percent of Americans over 18 are married, compared to 72 percent in 1960. Americans are having so few children that the fertility rate fell to a record low 62.9 births per 1,000 women in 2013. And in an increasing number of states, there are now more deaths than births.
The Decline of Education: Compared to nearly all of American history, the average American school teaches much less about important subjects such as American history, English grammar, literature, music and art. Instead, schools are teaching much more about “social justice,” environmentalism and sex.
Any of us who receive emails from large numbers of Americans can attest to the deteriorating education — including among those who attended college — in written English. In sophisticated commentary on websites as well as in email, one encounters the most basic errors: “it’s” instead of “its;” “their” instead of “there;” “then” instead of “than,” etc.
Most universities have become secular seminaries for the dissemination of Leftism. Moreover, aside from indoctrination, students usually learn little. One can earn a BA in English at UCLA, for example, without having read a single Shakespeare play.
To the extent that American history is taught, beginning in high school and often earlier, American history is presented as the history of an immoral nation characterized by slavery, racism, colonialism, imperialism, economic exploitation, and militarism — not of a country that, more than any other, has been the beacon of freedom to mankind, and the country that has spent more treasure and spilled more blood to liberate other peoples than any other nation.
The End of Male and Female: Whatever one’s position on same-sex marriage, one must acknowledge that at the core of the argument for this redefinition of marriage is that gender doesn’t matter. Marriage is marriage, and gender means nothing, the argument goes. So, too, whether children are raised by mother and father or two mothers or two fathers doesn’t matter. A father has nothing unique to offer a child that a mother can’t provide and vice versa.
Dennis Prager does not use this column to explain what is causing America’s decay, but judging by his body of work, he holds that America is declining because it has lost its unique Judeo-Christian heritage. I would ask, why is America losing its Judeo-Christian heritage? I would attribute that primarily to the loss of its European dominance.
When America was 90% white, it did not have these problems. Since America started importing large numbers of non-whites beginning with the 1965 Immigration Act, America has changed (in some ways for the good, in other ways for the bad).
Every major Jewish organization, includes the Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel, supports immigration amnesty, thus hastening America’s decay (making legal residents of about 20 million people who came here illegally).
In which parts of America is family solidarity the weakest? In black and latino life. So why would America want more of this? East Asians, incidentally, have greater familiar solidarity than whites. From National Review, Oct. 11, 2013:
With little fanfare, the federal government has posted its annual compilation of birth data, including out-of-wedlock births. Here’s the bad news (essentially unchanged from last year): Preliminary data indicate that 40.7 percent of all 2012 births were out-of-wedlock, which is appalling, and there are vast differences among racial and ethnic groups. Among non-Hispanic blacks, the figure is highest, at 72.2 percent; for American Indians/Alaska Natives, it’s 66.9 percent; 53.5 percent for Hispanics; 29.4 percent for non-Hispanic whites; and a mere 17.1 percent for Asians/Pacific Islanders.
As I noted last year, it is, of course, no surprise that the groups with the highest illegitimacy rates are the groups that are struggling economically, educationally, with crime, and so forth. Here’s a modest proposal: Why don’t the NAACP and similar organizations take all the money they use to challenge and complain about the standards that their groups (in the aggregate) don’t meet when it comes to university admissions, selective high-school admissions, school discipline, mortgage loans, police and firefighter tests, felon-disenfranchisement laws, employment policies that look at criminal records, etc., etc., and use that money to figure out ways to bring down the illegitimacy rates that drive all these other disparities?
Unless the life chances of children raised by single mothers suddenly improve, the explosive growth of the U.S. Hispanic population over the next couple of decades does not bode well for American social stability. Hispanic immigrants bring near–Third World levels of fertility to America, coupled with what were once thought to be First World levels of illegitimacy. (In fact, family breakdown is higher in many Hispanic countries than here.) Nearly half of the children born to Hispanic mothers in the U.S. are born out of wedlock, a proportion that has been increasing rapidly with no signs of slowing down. Given what psychologists and sociologists now know about the much higher likelihood of social pathology among those who grow up in single-mother households, the Hispanic baby boom is certain to produce more juvenile delinquents, more school failure, more welfare use, and more teen pregnancy in the future.
The government social-services sector has already latched onto this new client base; as the Hispanic population expands, so will the demands for a larger welfare state. Since conservative open-borders advocates have yet to acknowledge the facts of Hispanic family breakdown, there is no way to know what their solution to it is. But they had better come up with one quickly, because the problem is here—and growing.
The dimensions of the Hispanic baby boom are startling. The Hispanic birthrate is twice as high as that of the rest of the American population. That high fertility rate—even more than unbounded levels of immigration—will fuel the rapid Hispanic population boom in the coming decades. By 2050, the Latino population will have tripled, the Census Bureau projects. One in four Americans will be Hispanic by mid-century, twice the current ratio. In states such as California and Texas, Hispanics will be in the clear majority. Nationally, whites will drop from near 70 percent of the total population in 2000 to just half by 2050. Hispanics will account for 46 percent of the nation’s added population over the next two decades, the Pew Hispanic Center reports.
But it’s the fertility surge among unwed Hispanics that should worry policymakers. Hispanic women have the highest unmarried birthrate in the country—over three times that of whites and Asians, and nearly one and a half times that of black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Every 1,000 unmarried Hispanic women bore 92 children in 2003 (the latest year for which data exist), compared with 28 children for every 1,000 unmarried white women, 22 for every 1,000 unmarried Asian women, and 66 for every 1,000 unmarried black women. Forty-five percent of all Hispanic births occur outside of marriage, compared with 24 percent of white births and 15 percent of Asian births. Only the percentage of black out-of-wedlock births—68 percent—exceeds the Hispanic rate. But the black population is not going to triple over the next few decades.
As if the unmarried Hispanic birthrate weren’t worrisome enough, it is increasing faster than among other groups. It jumped 5 percent from 2002 to 2003, whereas the rate for other unmarried women remained flat. Couple the high and increasing illegitimacy rate of Hispanics with their higher overall fertility rate, and you have a recipe for unstoppable family breakdown.
The only bright news in this demographic disaster story concerns teen births. Overall teen childbearing in the U.S. declined for the 12th year in a row in 2003, having dropped by more than a third since 1991. Yet even here, Hispanics remain a cause for concern. The rate of childbirth for Mexican teenagers, who come from by far the largest and fastest-growing immigrant population, greatly outstrips every other group. The Mexican teen birthrate is 93 births per every 1,000 girls, compared with 27 births for every 1,000 white girls, 17 births for every 1,000 Asian girls, and 65 births for every 1,000 black girls. To put these numbers into international perspective, Japan’s teen birthrate is 3.9, Italy’s is 6.9, and France’s is 10. Even though the outsize U.S. teen birthrate is dropping, it continues to inflict unnecessary costs on the country, to which Hispanics contribute disproportionately.