Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Anybody considered this?

Everyone who writes, or aspires to write, has had the experience of having a really great, really original idea - and then open a newspaper, magazine, website etc to find his/her great idea worked out in print under someone else's name.

This has happened to me more times than I can count. Most recently I found this article by Jonah Goldberg http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZTVjNGRmZmM0M2FmODgwZmFlYTEyODBlODcxMzAyNTY=

which expresses something I thought I was ahead of the curve on. Well, evidently not.

What Goldberg says is that he's the first to voice (though not to endorse - yet) what a lot of people who are more-or-less on the Right are thinking; the threat of jihadism makes differences between Republicans and Democrats seem so trivial, and since the Democrats show no signs of putting the welfare of the country ahead of making political points against the Republicans, maybe we should just elect them. "It's your problem now, what are you going to do about it?"

When an idea is in the air, points go to the first writer to pluck it out and put it down.

That's OK though, I've still got some ideas I can claim to be ahead of the curve on. One question I've been asking about for the past several years is finally being taken seriously. How many surplus Chinese men are there?

A perennial problem in Chinese history is that in famine times in China, families killed girl babies when they couldn't feed them. Boy babies were preserved because sons support their parents in their old age, while girls are married out and separated from their families and obligations thereto, forever. (Even widows' remarriage rights were controlled by their in-laws.)

What this means, is that a generation after a really widespread famine, there was a surplus of young men who couldn't get married because there weren't enough women. This to say the least, makes for social instablility. The last time this happened on a really massive scale, was before the T'ai Ping Rebellion, which set records for casualties that lasted well into the 20th century.

So... some years back when reading about the "one-child policy" of the Chinese regime, and how it had led to sex-selection of boy children through abortion, it occurred to me that this was having the same effect on Chinese demographics that famines used to. (Not to mention that they've had widespread famines under the communists as well.) That generation of boys should be coming to maturity in large numbers right about now.

So how many extra boys are there? For years I couldn't find a durn thing about it, until recently when I've begun to find some estimates in articles about China. I have no idea how accurate they are, but they run at around 20 million (!!!). That's 20 million frustrated, horney young men who have to turn gay, patronize whorehouses or sublimate their sex drives in ways young men usually do - in stupid risk-taking behaviour and violence, i.e. they kill each other off until the sex ratio is more even. They are also fertile breeding ground for any Cause that offers a chance for rapine and pillage.

Furthermore, I've read of a similar phenomenon in rural India; families selecting boys by abortion of female fetuses. What kind of sexual imbalance are they working on?

In other words, the most populated area of the Earth is going to be hideously unstable for at least another generation.

There is another idea I've never been able to get anyone to take a look at, and now it seems the question is moot anyway.

I think they found an important part of Saddam Hussein's WMD program the first week of the war - and looked right past it.

Within days of the coalition entry into Iraq, CNN showed an underground bunker with an entrance that looked like an Old West mine, full of 55 gallon oil drums. There was a brief stir of excitement, then jubilation in the Middle Eastern press when it turned out they were full of - insecticides.

What occurred to me was that insecticides are a handy chemical precursor to a servicable nerve gas. Commercial insecticides are what the Aum Shin Rikyo cult in Japan used to brew their home-made gas. Of course, they could have been meant for agricultural use - but then why store them in a bunker quite obviously meant to be concealed from aerial observation?

(For the record, I thought "Weasons of Mass Distruction" was a stupid term. Artillery and aerial bombardment are "weapons of mass destruction". War gases have been effective in only a very limited set of circumstances, usually when used against helpless civilians.)

I nosed this idea around and generated zero interest in any quarter, pro- or anti- Iraq war.

Ah-well, sic transit gloria blogger.


  • At 7:06 PM, Blogger Robert Gray said…

    Mr. Browne,

    In considering China's demographics I think you would find this article by Herb Meyer of interest.


  • At 10:16 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Fantastic article! Depressing though. I highly recommend it. Thanks.


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