In the lighter-than-air 1964 film comedy Send Me No Flowers, middle-aged hypochondriac George Kimball (Rock Hudson) mistakenly believes he has only months to live. Kimball decides to put his affairs in order and goes to a funeral home with his best friend, Arnold Nash (Tony Randall), to buy a burial plot.
Do you have a large family, Kimball is asked by Mr. Akins, manager of the funeral home (played by an exuberant Paul Lynde). “Just my wife (Doris Day) and myself,” Kimball responds. “Oh well, that’s all right,” Akins answers, briefly crestfallen. “Chance of any little additions, maybe?” he inquires, his manic energy returning.
After discussing more details, Kimball says to Akins, “You really enjoy your work, don’t you?”
“I wouldn’t want to do anything else,” Akins answers, exuding pitchman charm. “I like people.”
If Hollywood decides it’s time for an updated version of Send Me No Flowers, liberal comic Bill Maher would be perfect as Akins. He likes people too — at least until they’re born.
Maher does have his moments, as when he succinctly eviscerates a bogus analogy from the left about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election. But right after Maher shows that he’s capable of embracing reason, he quickly reverts to left-wing lunacy.
Accompanying the weekly broadcast of Maher’s show on HBO is roughly 10 more minutes from the program that is posted on YouTube, Real Time with Bill Maher: Overtime, with the same guests.
CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!
Friday night’s Overtime segment included discussion of gay Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana criticizing adoptions by same-sex couples and in-vitro fertilization as unnatural, prompting singer Elton John to organize a boycott against the designers’ label.
Their remarks, “particularly because it was about children,” were “stupid and mean and insensitive,” said Christine Quinn, former New York City councilwoman and one of Maher’s guests (herself openly gay).
Former congressman Jack Kingston agreed, pointing out that five million people have been born through in-vitro fertilization since 1978. “Babies are babies,” added GOP strategist Mercedes Schlapp, another guest. To which Maher added, “I’m always for less (sic) babies being born because we do not have the …”
Schlapp, incredulous — “That’s horrible, Bill. …. I’m the mother of five kids!” Maher — “Well, you shouldn’t be!” (huge reaction from the audience). Schlapp — “My poor children! They’re awesome!” Maher — “Well, that’s super selfish in a world …”
The exchange continued along these lines, with Schlapp positing that her kids will be “contributors to our society” and Maher dismissing children as “takers” of the world’s limited resources. But as the birth rate “continues to decrease,” Schlapp quipped, “at least the Schlapps are providing some extra kids here and there.”
Give that woman — and her husband — a medal. Bringing up five children isn’t selfish, it’s selfless, providing that the parents, preferably married, possess the wherewithal and fortitude to raise them. (In other words, assuming they aren’t Octomom).
In parroting the conventional wisdom about demographics, Maher is off the mark by a country mile. Concerns about overpopulation were widespread in the ’60s and ’70s, but reality has trumped them in the decades since.
Last year, the birth rate in the U.S. dropped to its lowest level in more than a century. It was the sixth straight year of decline and a nearly 10 percent slide since 2007. The fertility rate (average number of children for each woman) now stands at 1.86, well below the replacement rate of 2.1. If not for immigration, the nation’s population would be shrinking.
It’s a trend not limited to Americans — 97 percent of people on the planet live in countries where fertility rates are falling, according to Weekly Standard writer Jonathan V. Last in a February 2013 essay in the Wall Street Journal adapted from his book “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster.” Last also wrote that —
Low-fertility societies don’t innovate because their incentives for consumption tilt overwhelmingly toward health care. They don’t invest aggressively because, with the average age skewing higher, capital shifts to preserving and extending life and then begins drawing down. They cannot sustain social-security programs because they don’t have enough workers to pay for their retirees. They cannot project power because they lack the money to pay for defense and the military-age manpower to serve in the armed forces.
There has been a great deal of political talk in recent years about whether America, once regarded as a shining city on a hill, is in decline. But decline isn’t about whether Democrats or Republicans hold power; it isn’t about political ideology at all. At its most basic, it’s about the sustainability of human capital. Whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney took the oath of office last month, we would still be declining in the most important sense — demographically. It is what drives everything else. (emphasis added)
Maher worries about dwindling resources — yet human ingenuity, as Last points out, is “the most precious resource of all.”
In fairness to Maher, he’s not entirely wrong. We’d all be better off if liberals heed his warning and bear fewer children — and if conservatives emulate Schlapp’s example and raise more.
LifeNews Note: Jack Coleman is a recovering former liberal journalist from Massachusetts. This originally appeared at Newsbusters.