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Love Like (Demographic) Winter

The ConWeb raises the alarm about declining birth rates and embraces the idea (if not the fervent hope) that only white Christians will, and must, continue to breed.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/18/2008

Over the past few months, the ConWeb has taken notice of a film called "Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family." It examines declining birth rates worldwide, but particularly in Europe, Russia and the U.S. A Feb. 15 article by Kevin Mooney reported on a screening of the film and subsequent panel discussion at the conservative Heritage Foundation, and Accuracy in Media president Don Irvine devoted a May 1 podcast to interviewing the film's director/producer, Barry McLerran.

Note all those conservative connections (Irvine notes that there will be "a showing [of the film] at the Family Research Council coming up here in the next couple of weeks or so"). Why?

The DVD cover of the film "Demographic Winter."

One key reason is unspoken: The film's focus, or at least that of the film's promotion, involves white-dominated countries. This racial aspect is generally not overtly addressed in ConWeb coverage. But it does come up in something of a back-door way; one point typically made is that America's birth rate is propped up by immigration -- a big bogeyman for conservatives. AIM's Irvine nodded to it by noting that "it looks like in some perverse way or strange way that having these people come in is somewhat of a positive, at least on the birth rate side," and McLerran concurred, saying that "If it weren't for them, we'd be in the same situation" as Europe and Russia with their lower birth rates.

The film website's Q&A section, meanwhile, calls a reliance on immigration to increase birth rates "robbing Peter to pay Paul" and subtly plays scare tactics by repeating anti-immigrant arguments:

Mass immigration changes the national character of the host country. Immigrants tend to have a lower education level than natives. many never learn the language of their new home or identify with its history and heritage. This changes the social and political makeup of the host countries, in some cases so dramatically that it is causing social and political unrest.

Another key reason is more explicit: The film is framed as a promotion of the so-called "traditional family." From the mission statement on the film website's "About Us" section:

When the great social experiments of the 1960's were launched, and when concerned over a "population bomb" loomed large, we did not have the social science and economic studies we have available to us today. So the world embarked unknowingly on a self-destructive course.

Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family seeks to reawaken society to the importance of the stable, intact family, and engender a discussion and greater focus in the media, in academia, in the halls of policy makers, in religious circles, in the committees of civil society and in households around the world.

Indeed, some on the right do see the film as ammunition. From the CNS article:

To reverse this trend, Phillip Longman, a senior fellow with the New America Foundation, called for a return to traditional, patriarchal family structures during Tuesday's panel discussion.

Longman, who is in the film, is the author of several books on demographics and economics. While it may not be politically correct to speak in terms of patriarchal family models, he said, these structures impose responsibilities on men that they would just as soon avoid.

Longman sees hope for the future among those who hold religious worldviews and among young people especially.

"There is a self-correction side to this," Longman said. "Secularism correlates so strongly with childlessness that there is almost by default a shoring-up of the family with traditional values.

"I think we can see that today. There is evidence of rising aspiration among younger folks today for marriage. I'm talking about people in their 20s. This new millennial generation is so different in so many ways from Generation X," Longman added.

Don Feder, communications director for "Demographic Winter," expressed similar views.

"People who have faith in the future have children," he told Cybercast News Service.

Over time, traditional Catholics, evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews, and other religious groups will find they must confront the "anti-child, anti-procreation" that views large families as an oddity, he said.


"Our great hope here is to reframe the debate," McLerran said. "Right now it's not politically correct to talk ab out faith or the natural family. The challenge now is to change hearts and minds back in favor of families without forcing anything on people and to ask how this can be done without becoming a theocracy."

The involvement of Feder is a red flag -- he has a record of making dishonest and hypocritical claims.

In a Dec. 3, 2007, FrontPageMag article, Feder attacked the Southern Poverty Law Center over a item noting Feder's appearance at a conference in Latvia run by a group called Watchmen on the Walls, which the SPLC calls "anti-gay." Feder never contradicts this assertion about Watchmen on the Walls -- which there is ample evidence to support -- instead claiming that "Most of the 2-day conference ('The War on Christians And The Values Voter in 2006') had nothing to do with homosexuality, but focused on attacks on Christians from the courts, Hollywood, the news media, etc." One of the speeches Feder gave at the Latvian conference was essentially a "we need more white babies" speech; another Feder speech attacked Hollywood for issuing "toxins far more lethal" than "chemical waste or nuclear waste," one of them being "[t]he normalization of homosexuality." Feder then dishonestly attacked the SPLC's depiction of him:

As for my dangerous liaisons ("Feder is involved with several extremist groups"), SPLC noted that I'm a member of the advisory board of the Federation for American Immigration Reform "an anti-immigrant group whose leader has compared immigrants to bacteria."


The "bacteria" stuff refers to a 1997 Knight-Ridder article on FAIR founder John Tanton. "Bacteria" was the way the author of the article characterized Tanton's views on immigration. Tanton himself never used the word.

In fact, here's what the March 17, 1997, Knight Ridder article in question said about Tanton:

He [Tanton] founded FAIR in 1979 after others in the zero-population movement declined to take on the hot topic. In his characteristically blunt manner, Tanton explained his obsession with immigration, likening the flood of humanity to America's shores over the past 400 years to a plate of bacteria in a medical lab.

"You put a bug in there and it starts growing and gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And it grows until it finally fills the whole plate," Tanton said. "It uses up the medium. And then maybe it crashes and dies."

Tanton clearly "compared immigrants to bacteria," but Feder wants you to think that because Tanton didn't actually use the word "bacteria," the claim is somehow false.

In a Feb. 27 FrontPageMag column, Feder claimed that "Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, their prophetess, considered non-Aryans 'a great biological menace to the future of civilization.' " In fact, as blogger Richard Bartholomew pointed out, the terms "Aryan" and "non-Aryan" do not appear in the Sanger book from which Feder plucked this quote; further, Sanger was describing "the hordes of irresponsibility and imbecility" as the "great biological menace."

That column, by the way, was largely a defense of the "Demographic Winter" film from an article in The Nation pointing out the film's focus on the need for more European (read: white) babies, in which Feder ironically accused the article's author of being a "sneer-and-smear artist."

The idea that a "demographic winter" is something to be alarmed about -- with the parallel, unspoken hope that only white Christians will continue to breed -- has been embraced by WorldNetDaily as well.

WorldNetDaily's Art Moore went to Warsaw, Poland, in May 2007 to cover the fourth World Congress of Families, which the Nation article identified as having "provided much of the commentary for the Demographic Winter film" (and for which Feder serves as director of communications). Moore touted legislation in Poland aimed at limiting "homosexual propaganda" in schools, quoting WCF founder and general secretariat Allan C. Carlson attacking the "Euro-elite" and baselessly asserting that "normalization of homosexuality is a value of Europe's elite." Moore also quoted Robert Knight, head of the Media Research Center's Culture and Media Institute, also baselessly asserting that "the European Union promotes abortion, homosexuality and pornography "as hard as it can as part of an overall deconstruction of the family" and praising the Poles as "a tough bunch of people who appear to have the strength to resist especially the homosexual agenda."

If the "Demographic Winter" film soft-pedals the pro-white, pro-Christian aspect, Moore more explicitly acknowledges that core issue by quoting conservative Mark Steyn that the "vacuum" of fewer births in Europe is filled with "a flood of Muslim immigrants led by many on a mission to spread the rule of Islam over the planet." Moore further quoted Steyn: "The big Italian family, with papa pouring vino and mama spooning out the pasta down an endless table of grandparents and nieces and nephews, will be gone, no more, dead as the dinosaurs."

WND columnist Rebecca Hagelin also latched into the meme in a March 2007 column promoting the WCF, expressing alarm that a third of the births in France "are not of the French, but of the new Muslim community that has moved into the country. Plainly put, France will very soon become a country that is not French at all."

And, of course, WND's online store sells the "Demographic Winter" film.

What's missing from all this coded, dog-whistle concern about the "natural family" and "European civilization" is a refusal to unambiguously state its true agenda: They want more white Christian babies. Only when the ConWeb and the WCF can stand and clearly admit their real plans will they move toward being considered to have any sort of honesty.

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