67 Responses to Is Tea Party Idealism Social Darwinism?

  1. restrainedradical says:

    Links not working.

    There’s no conflict between rejecting sola scriptura and accepting originalism when it comes to constitutional interpretation.

    If you want to take extreme measures to reduce government intervention then you should advocate bartering too. You should support Sue Lowden’s plan to pay for health care with chickens.

    Having said that, I agree that the Tea Party is too xenophobic, engages in too much Constitution-worship, and is heavy on criticism but short on solutions.

  2. Tito Edwards says:


    How about a gravatar pic for your pen name?

  3. Tito Edwards says:


    Thanks for the heads up on the links.

    I’ve updated them as per Justin.


  4. Joe Hargrave says:

    I’m with Krauthammer on this:


    I’ve never cared for Gerson’s thinly-veiled elitist contempt for the electorate.

  5. Joe Hargrave says:

    “The Democrats are going to get beaten badly in November. Not just because the economy is ailing. And not just because Obama over-read his mandate in governing too far left. But because a comeuppance is due the arrogant elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose them.”

    Here here.

  6. Justin Aquila says:

    First, I am not claiming to support the President, nor do I think the Dems should or can win this election. My point is that the Tea Party is a problematic movement. They may carry the GOP to victory in November, and in that case they may serve a utilitarian purpose, but lets not overlook the problems inherent to the Tea Party.

    Secondly, I did not claim any similarities between originalism and sola scriptura. Originalism is not sola scriptura, at least not according to Antonin Scalia. My critique is of a literalist interpretation of the Constitution.
    Furthurmore, what encompasse federal authority under the Constitution is going to to look different in different eras. Take the Commerce Clause, this authority is going to be very limited prior to the invention of transportation technology that would make interstate commerce easier. In other words, there is going to be more to regulate simply because there is more interstate commerce. Now do I think that everything that is justified under the commerce clause is constitutional? No. See Wickard v. Filiburn in the 1930’s or U.S. v Lopez in the 90’s, both are cases where Congress overstepped its boundaries.

  7. Joe Hargrave says:

    “what encompasse federal authority under the Constitution is going to to look different in different eras.”

    Which is why we need some principles and sound analysis to point us to the right balance. I think the purpose of the commerce clause was to break down trade barriers between the states – not to “regulate”, in the modern sense of the word, every conceivable commercial activity. Wickard v. Filburn basically established a precedent for a command economy in the United States. Obamacare was justified by the commerce clause.

    I wish there were some easily “literalist” interpretation to settle all debate. Unfortunately we can only discern the intent of the founders through extra-constitutional writings, and even then, they disagreed. So this is a war of values in which the Constitution can only provide a very rough guide. I think the Tea Party’s positions are much closer to the vision of the founders than those of Obama and his czars, in any event, and that those views in turn are far more hospitable for Christians and conducive to the flourishing of a Christian culture. So I’ll take my stand with original intent, limited government, and cultural “warfare.”

  8. steve dalton says:

    I’m appaled by your statement that you think it is bigoted to believe that a Muslim can’t be a good American. The Spanish people who suffered under seven centuries of Islamic oppression would laugh scornfully at you for your moronic statement. The Muslim is a slave to sharia law. The law states only sharia is true law. This makes any Muslim a possible subversive in any society that is not based on sharia. That’s why the Spanish, under PhillipII had to finally kick them ot of Spain in the late 16th century. They were more loyal to their fellow Mslims than they were to Spain. As far as I’m concerned, deport every last one of them, and tear down all the mosques they have defiled the American landscape with.

  9. Gail F says:

    The Tea Party movement is a grassroots movement run by and made up of volunteers. What one group believes is not necessarily what the next one believes. They are starting to codify themselves into, possibly, a political party but more likely a cohesive movement — but a lot still hasn’t “jelled”. In the meantime they range from conventional conservatives to libertarians. The main thing they seem to have in common is frustration with government. There is no evidence at all that they tend to be racists (although I’m sure there are some individual racists among them, as there are among any group).

    The concerted effort to disparage and discredit anything being said by hundreds of thousands of Americans disturbs me. Not that numbers necessarily means that anyone is right. But it is an insult to assume that they are wrong without listening to what they have to say. I know Tea Party folks and they are neither racists nor filled with hate. They want smaller government and lower taxes, and they want the government to get an immigration policy that works. I haven’t seen anything to indicate that other Tea Partiers are any different. I’m leery of the Tea Party because I am leery of all groups, especially new ones. But I don’t see anything dangerous about them and in fact, I think that politicians should start paying attention to them. The best way to make people turn radical is to make them really mad by ignoring them.

  10. Tito Edwards says:

    Gail F. spoke very well and I agree with her assessment.


    To accuse the Tea Party of veiled bigotry is wrong.

    I know many, many latinos and blacks in the Tea Party movement.

    I completely disagree with the use of that term.

  11. Justin Aquila says:

    @Steve Dalton. I don’t think Sharia law is compatible with American law, but then again all Muslims don’t abide by Sharia law. To begin with their are Kurdish Muslims and Sunni Muslims. Most Muslim-Americans I know are very good citizens who should have the freedom to worship.
    Regarding the Vatican’s position on mosques they support the right for Muslims right to build mosques in the West. This approach is called “Reciprocity” you can research it if you want.

    @Gail F. Perhaps I should clarify my critique. I am targeting the positions held by friends of mine who identify with the Tea Party and the positions espoused by the leaders of the Tea Party, such as Glen Beck.

    I think their is a difference between racism and ethnocentrism. I don’t think everyone in the Tea Party is a racist. I do think the immigration beliefs of many are somewhat bigoted. Then again I live in Texas where “Tea Party” Catholics in parishes won’t associate with Hispanic parishioners, etc. How would you describe this behavior?

    You speak from your experience, I speak from mine. But we should speak out against injustice and racism wherever we see it, especially when it is within our own political or religious groups.

  12. Justin Aquila says:

    Btw, I should add, a big part of the reason I wanted to highlight the Gerson piece is to show that one can still be conservative and not be part of the Tea Party movement. Also, I wanted to show the problems inherent when prudence (the political virtue par excellance, as taught by Aristotle and Aquinas) should triumph over idealism and ideology.

  13. Anthony says:

    I’m not much interested in the Beck-Palin brand of the Tea Party. They believe in the kind of militarism that made the last 10 years of American history crappy and helped put us in the mess we currently are in. Besides, they’re just step-by-step becoming pawns of the GOP. They’ll be ditched after the election.

    No thanks.

  14. Justin Aquila says:

    For some background on my thinking, you can see this piece I wrote for Catholic Vote Action: http://www.catholicvoteaction.org/blog/cva/index.php?p=1233

  15. Tito Edwards says:

    So you think because congressman Lewis lied about being spat upon and also lied about being yelled at with epithets that post was necessary for the conservative side?

    And you haven’t explained why you think the Tea Party movement is “ethnocentric”.

  16. Donald R. McClarey says:

    “In practice, Social Security abolition would push perhaps 13 million elderly Americans into destitution, blurring the line between conservative idealism and Social Darwinism.”

    Unless we find a solution and very soon to our fiscal meltdown there won’t be any Social Security or Medicare. The Obama fiasco demonstrates that Leftists are much better at spending money than creating conditions in which wealth can be created in the private sector. One of a growing list of reasons that the Democrats are going to have their clocks cleaned at the polls in November.

  17. Justin Aquila says:

    I am not sure I understand the point of the Congressman Lewis question?

    I think the ethnocentrism stems from the position regarding immigration. Before I get jumped on, here is my position on immigration: I support the right of this country to secure it’s borders. However, we have not secured our borders of late and as a result 12 million immigrants have entered this country. I believe it is irresponsible to engage in a deportation program of 12 million people, which would require separating families (something the Catholic Church opposes).

    I think many who are anti-immigration are not so much anti-Hispanic (racism) as anti-Hispanic culture (ethnocentrism). In other words, most Americans don’t have a problem with Hispanics as long as they are Americanized. There are accusations of people stealing jobs, not speaking English, not paying taxes, and my personal favorite “anchor babies”. This country has, sadly, discriminated against every ethnic group to come into this country. We have obliterated cultures and religions. My own family members (from Italy) were discriminated against because of their culture, language and religion. Remember it was not long ago that the populist movement in the United States (led by Democratic Presidential nominee, William Jennings Bryan) targeted Catholics and other ethnic groups as un-American (incidentally they thought the folks on the East Coast were elitists). I see these attitudes in many of the Tea Party people I know. Again, maybe I am just hanging out with slimy-underbelly of the Tea Party movement, happy to hear this isn’t universal to the Tea Party.

  18. Teresa says:

    Here is my explanation on the Tea Party movement. It was in response to a New York Times article on the Tea Party.


  19. Tito Edwards says:


    Congressman Lewis was the one that made the calumnious claim that people spat and denigrated him with epithets.

    As far as the rhetoric, Sister Walsh is partially responsible because of her association with the USCCB. The USCCB pushed hard for ObamaCare and tried to justify it through erroneous use of Catholic Social Teaching.

    I’ve never seen the same passion and aggressiveness used in pro-life legislation at any level.

    The USCCB is a pointless organization and they marginalized themselves even more after the Health Care debacle.

  20. Art Deco says:

    Mr. Aquila, neither column merits the time necessary to critique it line-by-line.

    Some points:

    –Article I offers specific delegations of the legislative powers of the states to the central government: to coin money, grant letters of marque and reprisal, construct post roads, &c.. Pace Michael Gerson and yourself, it makes no sense to do so unless the assumption is that powers not mentioned are powers not delegated. The same goes for interpreting the implied powers clause or the commerce clause as carte blanche to legislate on any subject.

    –You are correct that the horse has left the barn, or, as Robert Bork put it, a judge who attempted to enjoin the printing of paper money would not be a meticulous interpreter of the Constitution, but a madman.

    –It is, however, time for a public discussion on the proper extent of the central government’s authority. ‘Tis not done because the courts are animated by the asinine fiction that everything done since 1932 was in keeping with Article I, and such fictions are in the interest of some.

    –Abrupt abolition of Social Security and Medicare would be severely disruptive. Pruning the federal criminal code would not. Neither would replacing the whole stew of categorical grants, grants-in-aid, block grants, and what not with straightforward revenue sharing. Cut the states a check and leave them alone.

    –The reality of social relations does not respect polite political fictions. Groups may simply be incompatible or compatible with heavy frictional costs. You cannot deal with that by remembering James G. Blaine.

    –You seem surprisingly gregarious. Nominal Muslims are 1% of the population and people active in politics (Tea Party or no) are generally less than 3%, but you seem to be personally acquainted with enough of both to make general characterizations of them from personal experience. Inneresting.

  21. Art Deco says:

    My own family members (from Italy) were discriminated against because of their culture, language and religion. Remember it was not long ago.

    It was a while back, but members of my family were among those who cleared the land, disarmed the aboriginal population, planted urban settlements devoted to services and industry all across the continent, and erected and maintained a set of electoral, deliberative, and adjudicatory institutions to maintain order. The net result was that your family had an established society (not a wilderness) in which to settle.

  22. Jasper says:

    “As I mentioned above, they have a nasty nativist streak when it comes to immigration.”

    what a bunch of &*%^. We have a problem with massive ILLEGAL immigration.

  23. jonathanjones02 says:

    Nativism? Too cheap and easy. These days, Cesar Chavez would be accused of nativism and racism. He was as big a restrictionist as Pat Buchanan, because cheap labor hurt his workers, just as it hurts everyone but ethnic activists and status hungry socko-political elites today. And, finally, Russell Kirk was a restrictionist by the time he lent his name to Buchanan in 1992.

  24. jonathanjones02 says:

    Now let me be fear that I dislike the right-liberalism and populism of the Tea Party. But they are right to highlight the looming fiscal disaster we are headed full steam ahead for (and yes foreign wars are a big problem on that point), but this nativism stuff really should stop. I favor a 1924 style severe immigration stop. Is that nativism, or is a concern for the folks already here? You decide, but let’s not suggest evilish inner thoughts.

  25. jonathanjones02 says:

    Typos an annoying function of the so called smart phone. Someone please edit and delete this third comment. Thanks, and good night.

  26. n4nadmin says:

    Is there someone in the TEA Party movement who is advocating an immediate abolition of Social Security? If so, I’d like to hear it.

    Methinks you’ve bought a few too many MSM-liberal talking points about the TEA Party. I’ve been to a couple TEA Party events and never noticed anyone being ethnocentric, nor exhibiting a desire to throw granny out on the street.

    As for adhering to the strict letter of the Constitution – what other way is there? This is not God’s laws entrusted to a Church guided by the Holy Spirit to prevent error. This is a human construct and thus once you allow a bit of error in there, it is just going to expand until the error takes over. The job of any American who cares for the rule of law is to figure out the most merciful and equitable way to undo the damage done by people who resolutely ignored the Constitution in favor of immediate political or personal gain. From my experience, this is the fundamental impetus behind the TEA Party movement.

    Mark Noonan

  27. Foxfier says:

    What we see reflected in the Tea Party is an ethnocentrism that chooses to selfishly horde the American dream.

    Any evidence for this claim?

    ANY evidence at ALL that ethnicity is involved?

    Not an objection to those who disregard the law of the land and demand to be treated as those who follow the law, not a caution in response to an ideology that will not abide those who disagree (let me even restrict that to “non-native ideology,” given national politics), but “ethnic”?

    The notion that the TEA parties of Seattle and the TEA parties of Spokane might be considered the same “ethnic” group would shock anyone who knows crud about either one into silence. I can not even imagine the difference that would be from coast to coast.

    BTW, nice straw man– folks pointing out that the system is collapsing are somehow related to “if we cut it off now, a lot of people will be hurt.”

  28. T. Shaw says:

    Consider the liberal/union goons that show up at tea party gatherings and try to make them look like racists. Or, try to incite violence.

    Consider the lib/union goons that call Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks offices with death threats; so much so they had to relocate to a secure office building with other conservative advocacy groups.

    Consider the Second Amendment extremist that fired into GOP offices.

    See: these two so-called conservative pontiffs are jerks.

    The goons and union thugs and abortion catholics love 12 million invaders who will solidy (vote themselves pay raises every election day) their absolute despotism over us.

    Yeah, I’m a kook.

  29. Phillip says:

    “But arguments are not won by shouting down opponents. They are won by changing opponents’ minds something that can happen only if we give opposing arguments a respectful hearing and still persuade their advocates that there is something wrong with those arguments.”

    Ethnocentrism – a term used to shout down those one does not agree with. Often serves to block respectful hearing of others and serves to keep minds closed – usually of the person using it.

  30. Phillip says:

    Also as regards Social Security (and which has already been said) there is a good likelihood that it will not exist in the near future – at least not as promised to people who have been forced to put money into it for their working lives. Benefits will likely be much less than promised and some may receive little at all.

    This is not social justice. Nor is it social justice to spend a country into ruin even if the motives are noble. Such is prudence.

  31. Art Deco says:

    If you phase out early retirement benefits and place the general retirement age on an escalator which gradually restores the ratio of retirees to the working population to what it was in 1980 (and then maintains that ratio), you will repair Social Security. Not that complicated. Given the common assumption among the young that the program will be dismantled by the time of their old age, you could likely get the bulk of the public to accept this solution. The pols just do not feel like proposing it.

  32. Phillip says:

    Though part of the deal was to be retiring at 65. Had a person in the office who claimed that their letter from Social Security said they could only receive full benefits if they retired at 72 1/2. I know mine says full benefits at 70.

    With the decreasing population can the retirement age only increase? I accept that there will be common sacrifices to get America back on its feet. This will mean working later and later for fewer benefits. But part of the problem has been the way govt. has squandered benefit money and spent and spent thus rendering previous promises false.

    Again contrary to justice I would say.

  33. Phillip says:

    To clarify, I believe SS has it that if I work later I will receive more benefits. But the talk now is that one must work later to receive the benefits promised.

  34. Art Deco says:

    It is an income transfer program, despite what they say. The only investments are in Treasury issues. You really do not have a proprietary claim to benefits as you might with a proper pension plan (and if your company goes into Bankruptcy Court, your pension benefits are what’s available or what the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation wills).

    The deal when I started working was retirement at 65. The current escalator places the standard retirement age for my cohort at 67. That is just the way it is. Provided the adjustments are telegraphed well in advance and instituted cohort-by-cohort and people have the necessary warning to amend their own retirement plans accordingly, I do not see what the objection is. Compared with our grandparents, we start work later in life, live longer, have a longer life expectancy if we make it to old age, and are healthier at any given age. We have also been, and will likely continue to be, more affluent at any given age (on average). Take the good with the bad.

  35. Phillip says:

    As noted, I accept that there will need to be sacrifice (the good with the bad.) That includes cuts in other programs.

    As also noted (and perhaps you have some evidence to the contrary) the reason for the changes in part stem from fiscal irresponsibility. Of course add to this lower birth rates and longevity issues. But fiscal irresponsibility seems to play a role. Also, people alerted in time to change their own savings only works if the govt. actually does that into the future. That is part of the current concern. Will they make radical changes that negatively impact people who have been making decisions based upon past expectations? Neither of us knows.

  36. Phillip says:

    Also as you note we are more affluent. Thus contribute more to SS. So perhaps should have more expectations for it.

  37. Art Deco says:

    More expectations of benefit levels, not of their duration. People live longer, they start work later, and the number of children they sired to replace them in the workforce declined by half between 1957 and 1978 (it has improved some since). If you are not going to have ever escalating payroll levies and efficiency losses from retiring an ever increasing proportion of your population, that age has to be on a more rapid escalator.

  38. Phillip says:

    Actually living longer is not the issue. In the 1930’s the life expectancy may have been 65, but not if you survived childhood. It was expected at the time that those who retired would receive benefits for 13 years. Roughly what it is now.


  39. Phillip says:

    Also given that social security tax was I believe 1% in the 30’s and is 6.2% (?6.8) I think we are more than making up for any longevity/procreative issues.

  40. Phillip says:

    Finally if we have a more rapid escalator on raising the retirement age then that again goes to my earlier point. People may be hit with increasing retirement age with decreasing benefits with the inability to plan for it.

  41. Art Deco says:

    I have no clue why you think people’s ability to plan for retirement will be confounded if we have escalating cohort- specific retirement ages.

    A higher proportion of the working population reach the age of 65 and the life expectancy of persons who have reach the age of 65 has increased by five since 1940, hence the continuous increase in the proportion of the population over 65 (a figure also influenced by a lower total fertility rate). If the name of the game is to keep the ratio of retirees to workers similar to what it was in 1980, the 1990 cohort will have to face a retirement age of 75, give or take a couple years.

  42. Foxfier says:

    Phillip’s link shows how long people are expected to live after age 65; the problem with life expectancy is that it tends to go from birth, so a high rate of child deaths really warps the number. (You see it in the health debates a lot, too– there is surprising disagreement on what counts as a “live birth”!)

    If someone could find the life expectancy of folks once they make it to adulthood, that might be a better measure of the demand placed on SS.

    I’m fairly sure, though, that the folks who can draw from social security is now a wider range– a woman my age was on the news the other day, talking about her social security check….

  43. Phillip says:

    Perhaps I am unclear. I think moving the goal post on retirement is a change in what people had expected though not necessarily how to plan. It will certainly confound things if one’s benefits are significantly reduced as they near retirement. As noted earlier neither you nor I know if this will or will not be the case.

    The average lifespan for male retirees is less than three years and for females not quite five years what it was in 1935. Given a six fold increase in taxes and a doubling of the maximum income that is subject to social security taxes, lifespan (as noted above) is not the cause of problems. Low birthrate is.

    Given a retirement of 75 however, and given the reasonable limit on human life, one will in the future not expect to live over a decade in retirement on social security, but only a few months past their retirement. This is a radical change in expectations.

  44. Art Deco says:

    I spelunked through the Social Security pages and other bits of demographic projection some months ago when doing research for an unhappy domestic situation and have examined the page to which he links.

    The page he linked to shows that the additional life expectancy (at 65 years of age) for a member of the 1875 cohort was 13.7 years and that for the 1925 cohort was 17.4 years. It also shows the proportion reaching age 65 of the former cohort was 56% and of the latter 77%.

    It be the 1945 cohort who have reached the standard retirement age this year. Unless we have had a Russian-style Vodka-driven public health implosion I failed to notice, the 1945 cohort will be better off than these two. (And as I recall, the data is on that site as well).

  45. Phillip says:

    The link I post notes that that was reaching the age of 21. The vast majority of people, if they met that age lived to retirement. Again, longevity improvements have only been a few years. More than offset by 600% increase in tax rates. Low birth rate is the predominant problem.

  46. Art Deco says:

    You are not reading that table correctly. Again, it refers to the specs on the 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, and 1925 cohorts, not this year’s retirees or anyone later. It shows that the probability of receiving benefits increased (between the first and the last of these cohorts) by 37% and the duration of benefits increased by 27%.

    1.27 x 1.37 = 1.75 (which factor is not taking account of the increase in the real value of the monthly benefit).

    If the escalator is cohort specific, the retirement age of any given person will be subject to only small adjustments as they reach that age (in response to unanticipated changes in demographic variables, likely to be small). That is a non-problem.

    The country has been reproducing at replacement level for a generation, so the effect of the decline in fertility registered between 1957 and 1978 will be temporary.

    I think the median life span for the 1910 cohort was about 74 years. We can look it up. I will wager that for that portion of the 1990 cohort which reaches working age will be a good deal higher as this datum has been increasing by about 3 years per generation.

  47. Phillip says:

    Yes, but it seems that a 600% increase in social security tax rates would offset a factor of 1.75. Also given the recent increase of retirement age from 65 to 67 that eliminates the duration of benefit for men mostly and for women significantly.

  48. Phillip says:

    And again, there is an upward limit to life expectancy as the human body will live only so long even with transplants, better medication etc. Thus the net increase in male lifespan of 2 years since 1935 and five years for females in the same time. If we make people retire at 75, they likely will only have a year or two left as opposed to 12 as previously expected. Not only that, but people in their 70’s are less healthy, less sharp, less able to work. Just because people live longer doesn’t make them young longer. Again a demand upon people.

  49. Art Deco says:

    This is getting tiresome. The page you linked to does not show that “vast majority” of those reaching the age of 21 in 1896 lived to age 65 (in 1940). It shows that 56% of that set of 21 years olds did. The comparable figure for those reaching that age in 1946 was 77%. The difference in odds (1.27:1 v. 3.35:1) is quite large.

    If I am not mistaken, median life spans exceeded 75 years with the 1920 cohort. We can look it up. I do not think that those of the 1990 cohort who reach working age are going to be keeling over at 75.5 years.

  50. Phillip says:

    I will concede I misread that page. You also don’t note that the same page describes that the problem with social security is in part due to extended benefits, but that it is only a small part. The larger part is from decreased population. Perhaps that is tiring for me also.

    Perhaps another tiring thing is the expectation that 74 year olds can work as well as 64 year olds and that the increase in lifespan will continue so that these 75 year old retirees can look forward to ten good years of retirement. There is a limit and people will not be as productive then. They may not keel over at 75.5 either. But they might at 79.

    Here is where you can perhaps help me. Given the increase in SS tax rates, and the increase in taxable income, and the taxation of benefits, how does that factor into increase in length of benefits?

  51. Art Deco says:

    I cannot answer your question about taxes, &c.

    I am flummoxed by the idea that ‘extended benefits’ are only a small part of the problem when that factor alone is responsible for an increase in liabilities of 27%.

    I am also perplexed when you refer to ‘decreased population’. Total fertility rates in this country are at replacement levels and have slipped below replacement levels for only a modest run of years (during the Depression and during the years running from 1974-82). You do have a run of cohorts (1958-78) smaller than the preceding run of cohorts (1946-57). You also have a run of succeeding cohorts larger than any of the cohorts born during the post-war period up to 1982.

    As for the vitality of the septuagenarian population, this life table here indicates that in 2006 (referring to the 1931 cohort), a person of 75 had a life expectancy of 11.4 years.


    Under discussion is the life expectancy of the 1990 cohort as assessed in 2065. A projection of changes in life expectancies in old age can be seen here:


    The projection expects the life expectancy at age 65 of the 1985 cohort to exceed that of the 1939 cohort by 5 years. These figures refer to life expectancy at age 65, so the projected effects will be attenuated for the septuagenarian population. However, a life expectancy of 15 years or so for the population of 75 year olds in 2065 is not at all unreasonable.

  52. Art Deco says:

    Here is the size of the birth cohorts for the population below retirement age. If you assemble them in batches of 14, you see all batches have between 51 million and 62 million members. There is flux but no downward trajectory.

    1946 3,426
    1947 3,834
    1948 3,655
    1949 3,667
    1950 3,645
    1951 3,845
    1952 3,933
    1953 3,989
    1954 4,102
    1955 4,128
    1956 4,244
    1957 4,332
    1958 4,279
    1959 4,313
    1960 4,307
    1961 4,317
    1962 4,213
    1963 4,142
    1964 4,070
    1965 3,801
    1966 3,642
    1967 3,555
    1968 3,535
    1969 3,626
    1970 3,739
    1971 3,556
    1972 3,258
    1973 3,137
    1974 3,160
    1975 3,144
    1976 3,168
    1977 3,327
    1978 3,333
    1979 3,494
    1980 3,612
    1981 3,629
    1982 3,681
    1983 3,639
    1984 3,669
    1985 3,761
    1986 3,757
    1987 3,809
    1988 3,910
    1989 4,041
    1990 4,158
    1991 4,111
    1992 4,065
    1993 4,000
    1994 3,953
    1995 3,900
    1996 3,891
    1997 3,881
    1998 3,942
    1999 3,959
    2000 4,059
    2001 4,026
    2002 4,022
    2003 4,090
    2004 4,112
    2005 4,138
    2006 4,266
    2007 4,317

  53. Phillip says:

    Does that mean that the number of live-births remains the same or the birthrate? It seems clearly that the birthrate has dropped since the 50’s. That refers to “decreased population” I referred to those this is admittedly an imprecise term. It does seem to have value for this discussion. Clearly there is a drop in birth rates from the 30’s and 40’s from 20/1000 to 13.9/1000. Average number of children per woman has also decreased. Just now it is 2.1 but was as low as 1.7 recently – below replacement numbers which would result in a decreasing population. Thus the concern for too few people to provide the tax base for retirees. Again, Social Security itself notes increased longevity is not the largest part of the problem. That is their assertion. I accept it.
    It also seems from the Social Security link you provide that they estimate that someone born today will live to be 75 if male and 80 if female. Don’t really know how to make sense of the rest of the data. Also, as I previously noted, living longer it is not a necessarily the same life style. Most 75 year olds are not as active as 65 year olds and their life is generally more infirm. This also goes for their ability to work which is diminished. One can expect the same work from a 75 year old as from a 65 year old. Thus why the field of geriatrics was invented – to deal with the increasing problems of old.

    Perhaps you have alternative data that not only shows longevity but also improved quality of life. And raising retirement age to this level will reduce the quality of retirement. Also, as fewer will live to see retirement as some will die at 72 and 74, yes you will remove retirement from some people and take their benefits away. Perhaps we will get to that 54% surviving to 75 to retire as in 1935 it was for 65 year olds. People will still be justified in arguing that benefits have been taken from them. This was the original point which still stands.

  54. Phillip says:

    The quote from Social Security:

    “Increases in life expectancy are a factor in the long-range financing of Social Security; but other factors, such as the sheer size of the “baby boom” generation, and the relative proportion of workers to beneficiaries, are larger determinants of Social Security’s future financial condition.”

  55. Art Deco says:

    Cut and paste the numbers above on a spreadsheet and add up sets of 14 or 15 or 16 or 17 cohorts yourself. The variation in the size of these blocs of birth cohorts is modest.

  56. Phillip says:

    Though again birth-rates have decreased significantly.

  57. Art Deco says:

    The salient statistic is the total fertility rate, which is the projection of the number of children a woman can be expected to produce during the course of her life. This declined from 1957 to 1978, then increased, then stabilized at replacement levels.

  58. Tito Edwards says:


    You have completely ignored/failed/refused to answer my question about where is this “ethnocentrism” coming from?

    What we see reflected in the Tea Party is an ethnocentrism that chooses to selfishly horde the American dream

    You made a false allegation on the Tea Party.

    You are purposely smearing the Tea Party with ZERO evidence.

    You can’t make stuff up; That is a typical leftist tactic when losing an argument.

  59. Justin Aquila says:

    I apologize for not responding sooner, I have had a busy week with classes, looking for employment, etc.

    First off, to clarify, I am not a “leftist”, I consider myself a realist/conservative in the tradition of Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, and Irving Babbitt. However, I do tend to reject some of the isolationist tendencies of that wing of conservative thought. However, if any of my political ideologies come in conflict with the teaching of the Catholic Church, I always submit myself for the truth. As the Church as always held, obedience is at the root of faith. I have been trying to make the case along with other conservative commentators that the Tea Party is not necessarily in line with what have been the traditional hallmarks of conservatism. Furthermore, many of its tenets are not in line with the Catholic Church.

    Secondly, as I have learned from the commentators on this blog, the Tea Party is more of a diverse movement than what I suspected. Apparently, not all Tea Party loyalist follow Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, et al. Nor are they all like my friends. (FYI, someone on here questioned how I knew so many people associated with the Tea Party. The reason is that I worked in D.C. politics for 2 years and I have many friends who are working for Tea Party groups.).

    Thirdly, in light of my concession above I will reserve my charge of ethnocentrism to those who want to round up illegal immigrants in this country, those who oppose Mosques, etc. I have noticed in many cases there is a desire for people to “americanize” when they come into this country. I reject “americanization” as ethnocentric because it places American values above all other values (historically, this has even included Catholic values). I would really encourage you to read up on the “Nativist” movements (George Marlin’s book on the Catholic Vote in the US is a great read and he is a conservative so you can’t accuse him of “leftist tactics”)in this country and then maybe you can understand my critique a bit better. When you are historically sensitive to movements like populism and nativism, you can recognize that these movements almost always turn out badly for Catholicism. Why? Because Catholicism is the institution of all institutions and it is the elite of the elites.

    Last, the Tea Party is just a political movement which will come and go. People of all political stripes will agree and disagree with it, you can’t assume that just because I disagree with the Tea Party politics that I am a “leftist”. You don’t have the right to define political ideologies.

  60. Foxfier says:

    … Well, that’s nice, but you still haven’t actually said what you’re accusing the TEA party of, Justin, just added more accusations– now accusations of being against Catholic teaching in some unspecified way. (As well as being somehow actually organized enough to HAVE loyalists, let alone loyalists to Mr. Beck and Mrs. Palin– I’m fairly sure those two folks don’t agree all the time, either….)

    You don’t have the right to define political ideologies.

    Hm, odd, since you take it on yourself to do so, in spite of now admitting that you didn’t know enough about the TEA party to realize it’s rather diverse.

  61. Tito Edwards says:


    Thanks for responding.

    What you define as using the word “ethnocentrism” sounds more like “nativism” if you are qualifying those remarks to the Mosque controversy.

    And that is where I disagree with you.

    It is called patriotism.

    But the reason why the word “ethnocentrism” rubs me the wrong way is because it is a veiled attack on the Tea Party Movement as being racist.

    And that to me is uncalled for.

    Hence why I say you’re a leftist.

    You offer no reason or substance to the term “ethnocentrism”.

    I am especially sensitive to anything even bordering “racism” and you have gone too far in that accusation.

  62. Justin Aquila says:

    Re my comment regarding loyalists: this is a turn of phrase, a literary device.

    My point is that the Tea Party movement is not in line with conservative or Catholic ideas. Lets take the Catechism of the Catholic Church or the Church Social Teaching do you think that they match up 100% with Tea Party politics? No they don’t and that should be obvious. Just take the Church’s position on immigration as one example. And please don’t give me the whole “this is a prudential question” because once you start picking away at the Church’s teaching in this regard it logically follows that all the Church teaching is prudential and that would include abortion.

    I don’t claim to define the Tea Party or any other ideology. I am just doing a compare and contrast between elements of the Tea Party thinking espoused by those I know, Mr. Beck, Mrs. Palin, and other sources. In comparing and contrasting, I am merely applying the above with other political movements I have studied while pursuing a degree in political theory. I have immersed myself in political thinking from Augustine to the Enlightenment to modern populism. I am not an expert, but its not like I am pulling this stuff out of nowhere.

  63. Tito Edwards says:


    A side note.

    I’m not arguing your Catholic credentials.

    And as far as being busy, I understand.


  64. Justin Aquila says:

    @ Tito, yes you would be right in thinking that I see ethnocentrism and nativism in the same vein. Ethnocentrism, in my understanding, has to do with culture, not race. Racial discrimination is racism, cultural discrimination is ethnocentrism. Perhaps our disagreement stems from two different understandings of this word.

    As far as issues of immigration and the Mosque go, I guess we disagree on the definition of patriotism. I love my country (I served for 4 years in the Army National Guard after 9/11), and because I love my country and the values of religious liberty I support the right to build a house of worship wherever, even if it may be imprudent. I also think that it is unfair to ask people to change their culture to adapt to this country. Historical fact: Catholics have routinely been asked to check their Catholic culture at the borders since elements of it conflict with American culture.

  65. Tito Edwards says:


    Then we both have to agree to disagree on the definition of “ethnocentrism”. Though you will continue to get flak for your veiled attack on the Tea Party Movement as ‘racist’.

    As for being Patriotic, not once have I said to check your Catholicism at the door.

    One of the main impetus’ for this website is to give confidence and strength to our identity as Catholics.

    In that way we ensure the continual values that make this country exceptional.

    Basically me (and hopefully the rest of our colleagues) are on the same boat in this respect.

    As for the mosque, I find it highly imprudent for these radical Muslims to insult Americans by building this mosque near Ground Zero.

    They have a right to, but it is highly imprudent.

  66. Foxfier says:

    …So, you’re not actually following the Church’s teachings, which includes where one must apply prudential judgement. Non-binding teachings are non binding. I suppose you consider the approved Marian apparitions binding, as well?

    You have still not stated the specific points where you claim it violates the Church’s teachings.

    I don’t claim to define the Tea Party or any other ideology.

    And yet, you did define it, and acted on your personal definition.

  67. Teresa says:


    Would you agree that every person should follow the rule of law? Even the Catechism states that immigrants must follow a sovereign’s laws. Nativism refers to being against immigration, all immigration. Nativism does not refer to people who merely want the rule of law adhered to and for people to immigrate here legally.

    Do you think that Pearl Harbor should have a tribute to Japan or the Japanese?

    Would you say that wherever planes crashed on 9/11 would be considered Ground Zero?

    If so, then the Burlington building would be considered part of Ground Zero since there were parts from a plane found there. IMO, if the NYC committee had declared that building a historical landmark then all of these rising tensions that have occurred between Muslims and non-Muslims could have been avoided.

    One must think of the senstivity of the 9/11 victims families and exactly which religious group perpetrated 9/11. The terrorists may or may not have represented the true faith of Islam. I’ve heard that the terrorists perverted Islam and on the other hand I’ve heard that peaceful Muslims aren’t really following the true Islamic faith. Whichever it is, this mosque is throwing salt on the wounds and causing more damage to our nation than ever before. This is causing major divisiveness and fueling the flames. Plus, one must remember that freedom of religion is not absolute. Prayer is not allowed in schools and there are many other restrictions on our freedom of religion.

    Personally, I think that there should be a interfaith center that would help dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims. Or, the Imam should be willing to move the mosque away from ground zero. Plus, the fact that Bloomberg and President Obama are unwilling to make sure that this mosque isn’t being funding by terrorist organizations is highly irresponsible of them. I believe if either Obama or Bloomberg looked into the funding of the mosque then that would allay many peoples’ fears, that this mosque is in fact not being supported by terrorists or terrorist organizations.

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