March 2, 2023

The opportunity of a century lies before you!

Jack Chapple has an interesting take on demographics in the 21st century, arguing that only one country will be able to emerge from a global downturn in population [SPOILER ALERT: If you want to skip over the details behind his predicted winner, it's Egypt].  Here's his argument, before I move on the my own premise which is markedly different.

A lot of what he points out is simply factual.Developed countries have a serious demographic challenge that no one has really every overcome to this point.  Global population is expected to start to decline at some point in this century (or perhaps the next).  As Chapple points out, this creates economic challenges on a global scale.  Not to mention, it may create demographic challenges that are even more catastrophic than economic ones.  

Peter Zeihan sees the same demographic trends, which seems undeniable.  He sees different winners emerging than does Chapple:

Regardless of who might win globally, and I do think that the United States will be fine, there is the opportunity of a century for conservatives in the United States, and really the entirety of Western civilization that may pass us by if we do not seize it right now and begin building ahead for it.

I'm speaking of what I have argued in favor of doing before, what Jeff Deist has also argued before.  De-urbanization. I'll argue for it again now with an additional flavor added because it serves two purposes with one effort. 

Technology has finally enabled de-urbanization.  You do not need to live close to a major city to be able to commute to your job (in large part, manufacturing and some other industries remain aside).  That means you can live in a small town, or some other remote rural location and work from home. This obviates the need for office space, for commuter trains, for massively expanded super highways in urbanized locations, for subways, for as many bank machines, and coffee shops etc.  Most of those things do not go away, they morph and disperse into a more diffused set of locations.   Small towns grow, big megalopolis sized cities shrink.  Why?  Housing costs, crime stats, quality of life differences, among other reasons.

This requires a lot of transition.  Much as the United States and much of the Western world are transitioning production away from China (finally), with the adjunct pains of transition, transition to a more rural or at least less urban nation will be painful in the short term.  New fiber optic cabling spanning tens of thousands of miles must be laid. That's a primary requirement.  But so too will be water, sewage handling, fuel pipelines, medical facilities, police services, and everything necessary to support smaller local communities that are spread further apart.  These things do not happen overnight and they certainly do not happen without a concerted political effort to make the option to de-urbanize possible.  That's what needs to be happening right now.

There are certainly benefits for conservatives if this geographic shift occurs.  Urban centers tend to be far more liberal and rural areas and smaller towns tend to be far more conservative.  This is an environment that offers home field advantage as it were, in terms of political momentum.  Smaller communities tend to be more religious, more friendly, and cleaner.  They also may help level the playing field between mega-corporations and mom and pop shops. It could help regrow the entrepreneurial spirit that made America a great economic power . 

Here's the added benefit that not only benefits conservative demographics, it argues against the inevitability of population decline and global economic stagnation: rural populations have higher birth rates than urban populations.  It's easier to raise children in an environment that is safer, that has more room for them to play, that does not require tens of thousands of extra dollars spent on car payments and mortgages and commutes and enhanced security etc. With less distraction there's more opportunity to procreate. There's more time to spend with family.  That benefits conservatives.  It benefits America, and it benefits America's contribution to global population.  It's a win win win.

Lastly, here's a bonus thought on this; it would be easier to co-opt the environmental movement to get the political effort started because you can argue it will result in a significantly lower carbon footprint without the need for such a massive volume of commuters. As conservatives, we just need to get out in front of this because this opportunity of a century will not remain available forever.  States should probably start this effort on a localized basis.  If you live in Kansas for example, this is something that can be started in a more localized effort, which makes it easier and the chances that you can succeed that much higher.

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