Sex-selective abortion is a fact of life in India, where the gender ratio has declined to 1,000 boys to 900 girls nationally, and as low as 1,000 boys to 300 girls in some Punjabi cities. In China, the state-enforced "one child" policy has brought about the most gender-distorted demographic cohort in global history, the so-called guang gun– "bare branches." If you can only have one kid, parents choose to abort girls and wait for a boy, to the point where in the first generation to grow to adulthood under this policy there are 119 boys for every 100 girls. In practice, a "woman's right to choose" turns out to mean the right to choose not to have any women.We're rapidly approaching the moment when these nations find themselves with millions of young men with raging testosterone and no place to go. Of course we could always import them here to our college campuses, which are now trending 60% female. Too many American boys seem to be too interested in video games, extreme sports and online porn to actually pursue adult responsibilities and relationships.
Smaller families may mean just a boy or a girl for liberal Democrats, but in other societies it means just a boy. The Indian writer Gita Aravamudan calls this the "female feticide." Colleen Carroll Campbell writes that abortion, "touted as the key to liberating future generations of women," has become instead "the preferred means of eradicating them." And, while it won't eradicate all of them, Philip Longman, a demographer of impeccably liberal credentials, put the future in a nutshell in the title of his essay: "The Return of Patriarchy."
I'm an optimist by nature so every once in awhile, just to remain grounded in reality, I need to remind myself that there's plenty of stuff not to be not optimistic about.