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Interview: Jonathan Last on America's Looming Demographic Crisis (with Transcript)

I’ve long enjoyed Jonathan Last’s articles at the Weekly Standard, whether it’s an iconoclastic look at who the real good guys were Star Wars, or a prophetic look at the similarities between England’s anti-war left in the 1930s, and America’s own self-described intellectuals today. For What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster, his first book, he decided to take on the topic of America’s coming demographic collapse, which could see the US facing the same birth-dearth that is crippling Japan and magnify our hemorrhaging entitlement problems until we’re the super-sized equivalent of Greece.

But in era in which the San Francisco Chronicle can quote the "founder of Washington state’s Progressive Kid, which has a Web site with suggestions on how to raise kids with good values,” when she says with a straight face that “There is nothing more bacchanalian than a kid’s birthday party,” (Really? Nothing more bacchanalian…in San Francisco…?), as Jonathan acknowledges in our interview, “I think that's just sort of important to acknowledge, that people aren't crazy.  They're not entirely irrational if they, you know, back away from having kids.” Along with a fair amount of tough love from Jonathan towards those who choose to become parents.

During our interview, we’ll explore:

● How Jonathan initially became interested in demographics.

● What he thinks about Mark Steyn’s America Alone, which famously argued, “It’s the demography, stupid!”

● What are the demographics of the Muslim world?

● What do professional demographers think about Paul Ehrlich, the author of the infamous 1968 book, The Population Bomb, which causes so many on the left to be terrified of overpopulation to this day?

● What caused previous American demographic slumps?

● How will America’s demographic decline exacerbate its ongoing fiscal hemorrhaging and education bubbles?

And much more. Click here to listen:

(17:30 long; 16MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this segment to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 3MB lo-fi edition. And for our earlier podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.)

If the above Flash audio player is not be compatible with your browser, click below on the YouTube player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.

[embed width="300"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mXfB97mcgE[/embed]

Transcript of our interview begins on the following page.