Sunday, September 09, 2007

New Holiday: Day of Conception

Get a free vacation day September 12 to tango with your spouse and be entered in a contest to win thousands of dollars in cash or even a car if you are successful!! When will this idea catch on in the US? I'd sign up. :-) Perhaps, it would take similar cultural circumstances being replicated in the US; circumstances like our abortion rate topping 50%, and our population being predicted to potentially decline by 25-30% over the next 50 years instead of the predicted 50%+ increase. In the US, that would be the equivalent of our population decreasing from the current 300 million to 210/225 million over the next 50 years instead of increasing to over 400 million. Talk about a social security/medicare nightmare. On the other hand, think of all the great deals on real estate that could be had in such a climate! I think I'd have more confidence in my children being able to afford a house in 20 years than I do now. The hitch is, I have this very strong suspicion that population decline of that magnitude indicates a fundamental lack of hope in society and an unchecked march toward cultural suicide.

I guess I don't need a vacation day that badly. My wife and I just might be able to pull of procreating without a government holiday complete with bribes (oops, prizes).

------------
Random thought for the day (only tangentially related). Conception Day and Russia Day are 9 months apart on the calendar. The only other holidays that I can think of that are specifically 9 months apart are Christmas and the Feast of the Annunciation. Can anybody else think of another pair of holidays/holy days with specific 9 month spacing? The valuable prize being offered for winning this contest to to lay claim to the esteemed title of "calendar wonk."

MB

5 comments:

Kevin said...

Alas, calendar wonk I am not. Wikipedia has a partial List of holidays by country. It looks like Uzbekistan's "Constitution Day" (Dec 8) is 9 months after "International Women's Day" (March 8).

I find it interesting that Russia's strategy is apparently a form of lottery rather than a broader subsidy. It's probably more cost-effective for the government, though I wonder at the motivation it fosters. I also wonder if some "contestants" induce labor to coincide with Russia Day?

I'm also curious what proportion of the US's 50% increase over the next 50 years will be due to immigration, and how its effects will differ from population growth due to procreation (e.g. culturally, economically, etc.).

You may be right about the lack of hope, and certainly about the march toward cultural suicide. It's interesting how our personal choices accumulate to affect society at large, particularly in democracies.

Kevin

MamasBoy said...

Kevin,

Great question regarding where our population growth is predicted to come from. I'm not sure, but I suspect that immigration has a significant effect, from both direct immigration and also increased fertility rates of immigrant populations. When looking up a source for that, I found an article that said the US total fertility rate is right at replacement level (~2.1) with non-hispanic whites at 1.9 and blacks at 2.0. That would make direct immigration the primary driving force behind the population growth.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12888599/site/newsweek/

The article closed with a good quote that I find applicable when considering childbearing and the community ties that it fosters on a broad scale in society.

"[The] chief part of human happiness arises from the consciousness of being beloved."
- Adam Smith

"Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty."
- Mother Teresa

MB

MamasBoy said...

Kevin,

I still dub thee calendar wonk for looking that up.

Perhaps somebody can get the title of chief calendar wonk by upping Kevin on this one? Think of the esteem this will generate as you bring up the little known calendar facts in conversation. Think of the pick-up line possibilities!

MB

Kevin said...

MB,

Good quotes. Thanks for looking that up. I like the article. I find it compelling that the correlation between advancement and fewer children bespeaks flaws in those cultures / societies, given that it results in their destruction. Flaws perhaps related to a lack of optimism, patriotism, and religious values, as the article points out.

The last paragraph wrapped it up quite well for me:
"""
No one knows. But by not having children, people are voting against the future — their countries' and, perhaps, their own. It is easy to imagine the sacrifices and disappointments of raising children. It is hard, try as people might, to imagine the intense joys and selfish pleasures. People ignore Adam Smith's keen insight: "[The] chief part of human happiness arises from the consciousness of being beloved."
"""

For some reason, the pickup line angle hadn't occurred to me. I can see it now... "You know, I was voted chief calendar wonk by MamasBoy. Where are you going? But I'm Chief Wonk!" :)

Kevin

Kevin said...

I came across another, obliquely related quote, this one attributed to Joseph Stalin:

"America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within."