Politics, et Cetera
A publication from The Political Forum, LLC
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
They Said It:
The history of our century would not be one mainly of personalities (though, alas, they are there as ever). What we should see would be big, ideologic currents, gaudily coloured, converging, dissolving, combining or contending. It would look like a chart of the ocean rather than a Madame Tussaud’s Waxworks; though there would be faces (one with a tooth-brush moustache), like labels of one or other of the big currents of ideas. Then there would be the mountainous blocks of all kinds, as though raised up by an earthquake: there would be the piling up of tremendous inventions, their instant conversion to highly unsuitable uses: the criminality of man rioting in the midst of these unnumbered gadgets. Then there would be the growth, in every society, of the huge canker of Debt. In more and more insane proportions, the Credit System would be apparent, developing its destructive bulk. One would sense nebulous spiders, at the heart of wider and wider webs of abstract simulacras of wealth, suspended over everything: hordes of men engaged for years in meaningless homicide: and vast social revolutions as the culmination of a century of plots, and propaganda of brotherly love at the point of a pistol, and la haine creatrice [created hatred]. So there would be arabesques of creation and of destruction, the personal factor unimportant, the incarnations of ideas, the gigantic coloured effigies of a Hitler or a Stalin, no more than the remains of monster advertisement. Wyndham Lewis, Self-Condemned, 1953.
THE “BUBBLE MONTHS” AND THE GREAT UNRAVELING.
Late last week, one of our favorite bloggers, the pseudonymously named Tyler Durden, who posts at both Zerohedge.com and thecomingdepressionblog.com, wrote a post that was considered so insightful and pertinent that the folks at RealClearPolitics.com, the internet’s premier news and polling aggregator site, saw fit to link to it in its daily round up. We agree with RCP. The post – titled “Twenty Facts About the Collapse of Europe That Everyone Should Know” – was a doozy. Here’s just a sample:
The economic implosion of Europe is accelerating. Even while the mainstream media continues to proclaim that the financial crisis in Europe has been “averted”, the economic statistics that are coming out of Europe just continue to get worse. Manufacturing activity in Europe has been contracting month after month, the unemployment rate in the eurozone has hit yet another brand new record high, and the official unemployment rates in both Greece and Spain are now much higher than the peak unemployment rate in the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The economic situation in Europe is far worse than it was a year ago, and it is going to continue to get worse as austerity continues to take a huge toll on the economies of the eurozone.
It would be hard to understate how bad things have gotten – particularly in southern Europe. The truth is that most of southern Europe is experiencing a full-blown economic depression right now. Sadly, most Americans are paying very little attention to what is going on across the Atlantic. But they should be watching, because this is what happens when nations accumulate too much debt. The United States has the biggest debt burden of all, and eventually what is happening over in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Greece is going to happen over here as well . . .
All over Europe, people that have lost all hope are actually setting themselves on fire in a desperate attempt to draw attention. Millions of formerly middle class Europeans have lost everything and are becoming increasingly desperate. Suicide and crime are skyrocketing all over southern Europe and massive street riots are erupting on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. Things are going to get even worse for Europe. Meanwhile, those of us living in the United States smugly look down our noses at Europe because we are still living in a false bubble of debt-fueled prosperity.
But eventually we will feel the sting of austerity as well. “Tyler” ends his post with an admonition to Americans – and American investors in particular – to use these “last few bubble months” to prepare for our own ugly, painful, and depressing near-future. And indeed, this admonition was deemed so critical by the folks at RealClearPolitics that that’s what they titled their link to Zerohedge, “Use These Last Few ‘Bubble Months’ Wisely.” This is interesting, we think. And it may well be a worthwhile effort to undertake, i.e. preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. At the same time, it is worth remembering that the problems here are not the same as the problems there. That is, that while things may get ugly here, that ugliness doesn’t carry quiet the same dangers that ugliness carries in Europe. Or, to put this another way, our first thought when reading the post was not that we need to get our own house in order before it collapses. Rather, we were reminded of the famous line from the equally famous French conservative author and noted admirer of the United States, Jean Francois Revel: “The dark night of fascism is forever descending upon the United States, yet somehow it always lands in Europe.” We are concerned about the economic future here at home. But we are perhaps more concerned about the political future across the pond. As you may well know, our expectations for the Euro have always been depressingly low, or worse. And, we apologize in advance, but we are going to quote a line from a piece we wrote on this subject in 1998 one more time. (We know we have about worn it out, but we need it for a transition.)
The Euro, and the mess it represents, is going to be a social, economic and political catastrophe. Indeed, we think it is probable that the adoption of the Euro will be to 21st century Europe, what the killing of the Archduke Ferdinand was to 20th century Europe; i.e., that point in time when history will record that the unraveling began in earnest.
Obviously, we think this is a cute line. Why else would we keep dragging it out? But it’s not just a cute line. It’s not a throw-away, comic-relief line. We meant it. And we meant it quite literally. The very possibility that we might be right – that Europe might, in fact, “unravel” in earnest again – should scare every one of us to death. Think, just for a minute, about what that last great unraveling entailed. First, it brought “the war to end all wars,” the Great War, World War I – a war so brutal and so bloody that it prompted men to cling, evermore, to the fanciful notion that war itself could be eliminated. More than eight million soldiers died during the conflict, and three empires fell – the Austro-Hungarian, the Ottoman, and the Russian. The last of these three, of course, fell to internal revolutionaries who would, eventually, establish the Soviet Union, the greatest killing machine the world has ever known. World War I, naturally, was followed by Versailles, by the reparations, by the rise of Fascism, by Weimar, by the Third Reich, and, in turn, by World War II. Obviously, the Nazis were extraordinary murderers, slaughtering some 12 million innocents, including some six million Jews. More than 21 million Russians died in the war, which had upwards of 75 million total deaths. World War II saw mass slaughters of civilians throughout the globe in Nazi-controlled territory and Russia in particular. It also saw the first and heretofore only wartime use of nuclear weapons. The war’s end and the destruction of the Axis powers gave rise, in turn, to Communist regimes throughout Eastern Europe and Asia, China in particular. The rise of the Communists gave birth to the Cold War, to Korea, to Cuba, to Vietnam, and so on. The “unraveled” 20th century ended with American forces returning to Europe, once again to stop genocide, and remaining there indefinitely. This is, obviously, a very, very cursory rundown of the great unraveling. We left out a bunch, shortchanged others, and probably forgot more than we included. But we think you get the point. Interestingly, we probably could have made much the same point if, instead of comparing the adoption of the Euro to the assassination of the Archduke, we had compared it to an event a century-and-a-quarter earlier. To wit:
The Euro, and the mess it represents, is going to be a social, economic and political catastrophe. Indeed, we think it is probable that the adoption of the Euro will be to 21st century Europe, what the meeting of the Estates-General in Versailles in 1789 was to 19th century Europe; i.e., that point in time when history will record that the unraveling began in earnest.
The point might not have struck home quite as quickly or as poignantly, but it would have struck nonetheless. Of course, the Estates-General led to the National Assembly, which led to the storming of the Bastille, which led to the Revolution, to the Reign of Terror, to the Thermidorian Reaction, and then, at long last, to Napoleon. Napoleon plunged the entire continent into war, shook up Czarist Russia, precipitated the rise of nationalism and the nation-state, all of which, in turn, led to the Spring of Nations, (aka, the European Revolutions of 1848), the spread of socialism, the intellectual founding of Communism, and the rise of the Kaiser’s “Second Reich.” Etc., etc., ad nauseam. The fact of the matter is that the entire history of Europe is the history of growth, expansion, progress, and then, inevitable unraveling. “Progress” is not a purely linear function in human history, and every period of progress ends eventually with expectations outstripping reality and surpassing society’s ability to meet them. This has, traditionally, led to massive social and economic dislocation, be it caused by the rise of the middle and commercial classes, industrialization and urbanization, the collapse of the agrarian economic model, or, as now, the breakdown and utter denigration of the social welfare model. In Europe, the periods of dislocation and breakdown have tended to give rise to utopianism, ethnic and national pride, and oceans of blood. For decades now, we have been told that the entire point of the EU is to break this historical pattern and to find “rational,” administrative means by which to manage the dislocation. The question today is whether the EU is capable of doing so, or, as many fear, if it will actually make the repercussions of dislocation and breakdown even worse than they might otherwise have been. The early results, unfortunately, are not promising. Over the weekend, for example, the inimitable Walter Russell Mead provided but one example of the type of reaction that economic peril and social dislocation are producing in Europe, citing the case of the Hungarian government and its fascistic friends. To wit:
Even by Hungarian standards things are getting ugly. The odious Zsolt Bayer, a prominent right-wing commentator with close ties to the ruling Fidesz government and its controversial Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, recently had this to say about the country’s Gypsy minority:
“A significant part of the Roma are unfit for coexistence. They are not fit to live among people. These Roma are animals, and they behave like animals. When they meet with resistance, they commit murder. They are incapable of human communication. Inarticulate sounds pour out of their bestial skulls. At the same time, these Gypsies understand how to exploit the ‘achievements’ of the idiotic Western world. But one must retaliate rather than tolerate. These animals shouldn’t be allowed to exist. In no way. That needs to be solved — immediately and regardless of the method.”
This chauvinist filth is an unmistakable call for ethnic cleansing, but was nevertheless published and subsequently defended by Magyar Hirlap, a newspaper with close ties to the government. As a shocked piece in Der Spiegel notes, marginal government ministers have expressed outrage, but the ruling party’s biggest players have remained silent.
Aha! the defenders of the EU cry. But that is merely Hungary, a distant and brutal land on the periphery of civilization, and NOT part of the monetary union! Well . . . Mead also noted the following:
The toxic mix of economic hardship and rising xenophobia in Greece is producing more of the same in a vicious cycle, harming the economy by driving tourists away, as Max Fisher reports for the Washington Post:
In August, Greece instituted a new law enforcement strategy, termed “Operation Xenios Zeus,” to detain and export illegal immigrants. It’s hard to qualify the program as a success. Of the 60,000 people detained, only 4,200 have ultimately been arrested. But it’s also produced shocking stories like Hyun Young Jung’s, of well-meaning tourists who come to spend money and are rewarded with detention and, sometimes, a beating.
As the Post story notes, tourism accounts for a whopping 15 percent of Greek GDP . . .
This is the ugly side of Greece on display. The U.S. State Department has posted warnings that African Americans face danger in Greece.
We have noted in these pages before the rise of the fascists in Greece. And we have argued that it is only a matter of time before such parties start exerting influence in other parts of Europe as well. It’s funny, Mead concludes his post on the threats of genocide in Hungary, stating the following: “When thinly veiled calls for mass murder are uttered by prominent political and cultural figures tied to a ruling party, and a country fails to rise up in horror and drive these wicked people to the fringes of political life, that country has gone hideously off the track.” We suppose that he is right and that this is not what the founders of the EU had envisioned. At the same time, we can’t help but wonder if all of this couldn’t have been foreseen, if one could have anticipated that this massive amalgamation of Leftist social engineering would wind up producing precisely the conditions it was ostensibly instituted to prevent. When Mead mentions “tracks,” for example, we can’t help but think of the line by Max Eastman, who said of the American counterparts to the EU-topians: “We must arm our minds now against the less obvious, the more strong and· plausible and patriotic enemies of freedom, the advocates of a state-planned economy. They are not on the train and have no thought of getting on, but they are laying the tracks along which another death train will travel.” Years ago, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we wondered if the Europeans would ever have the guts and the civilizational confidence to fight back against the Islamification of many of their erstwhile most liberal and freedom-loving polities. We doubted it, though we had friends and associates in Europe who believed otherwise and insisted that eventually the day would come when the “Europeans would take back Europe.” In retrospect, we think they were right, although under current conditions we’re not so sure that we find comfort in that. When the Europeans take back Europe, people tend to get killed. In large numbers. We and countless others – including especially the aforementioned Walter Russell Mead – have been insisting for a long time that the current economic malaise that has beset the Western world is more than a mere recession or cyclical economic readjustment. It is, rather, part and parcel of a broader civilizational realignment. The political paradigms that dominated our lexicon and, frankly, our behavior for much of the last century are collapsing, with new paradigms slowly but surely rising to take their place. In the interim, as these new paradigms develop, a great many people who relied profoundly on the graces of the old, social welfare paradigm are going to suffer great hardships. And denial of the paradigm shift will serve only to exacerbate this suffering. Whether all of this will be accompanied as well by massive violence and bloodshed, we can’t yet say. We can say, though, that if history is any guide, then we should all prepare for very hard and very ugly times. Use the intervening “bubble months” to prepare economically for the eventual outcome, but plan politically, socially, and practically as well. Historically, Europe’s problems have had a way of becoming the world’s problems. And we don’t see why this time should be any different.
THE ABORTION “OBSESSION” AND ITS PURPOSE.
We’ll let you in on a little secret about The Political Forum: about three or four years ago, we spent a very brief moment – a nano-moment, really – in negotiation with an Indian company to purchase the British and Indian distribution rights for our little newsletter. Needless to say, the negotiations fell through and, alas, we did not become the multi-thousandaires we had always dreamed of being. What was most interesting about the discussion, though, if we recall, was one of the criticisms our contact at said firm leveled against us and, by extension, against American conservatives in general. We had, it seems, just written one of our long and rambling rants on abortion and its role in American politics, which, apparently, offended our contact’s sense of propriety. Please note here that we are both paraphrasing and relying on our admittedly faulty memories, but his critique went something like this. “You Americans are always so hung up on abortion, which makes no sense. I appreciate your general conservatism, but your obsession with an irrelevance like this abortion thing is off-putting.” Fast-forward to today . . . Today, the big news out of India of late has been a spate of violent gang rapes and the repercussions that have followed. Just this weekend, the New York Daily News noted the latest episode in what is becoming an all too oft-repeated storyline:
Indian police arrested six people including a bus driver after a woman said she was gang raped in the northern state of Punjab, newspapers said on Sunday.
The reports come weeks after a student in Delhi was assaulted and beaten in a moving bus and thrown bleeding onto the street in a case that sparked outrage in the country.
In the latest assault, the woman was travelling by bus to her village on Friday night when the driver and his assistant drove her to a deserted location, the Indian Express newspaper said.
Five more people joined them later and assaulted the woman in a house, the paper quoted senior police superintendent Raj Jeet Singh as saying.
The men dropped the woman the next morning near her village. She went home before going to a police station to file a complaint. Six of the seven men accused of the crime have been arrested, the police officer told the paper.
What does this have to do with us and our dalliance with a potential suitor? Well . . . nothing. But it has a great deal to do with abortion. Let us explain. For more than twenty years, Nicholas Eberstadt, the renowned demographer who has worked for such institutions as Harvard and the American Enterprise Institute, has been warning about the unnatural skew toward male births that has been growing among some populations throughout the globe. Eberstadt’s concerns started with China, which had an exaggerated and government-induced slant toward male births, due to its infamous and brutal “One-Child Policy.” But his work has since expanded to cover many other nations and cultures, all of which have harnessed modern pre-natal technology and abortion to produce unnaturally male-heavy demographic cohorts. Now, for nearly twenty years, we have been noting that Eberstadt’s demographic calculations spell big social, economic, and cultural trouble for a part of the world that many believe will dominate the twenty-first century. Indeed, based on Eberstadt’s work, we have long been skeptics of this expectation of dominance. Almost exactly a year ago, Eberstadt published his most comprehensive study to date on the subject of sex-ratio imbalance and sex-selective abortion. His findings and assessments were sobering, to say the least. He started as follows:
Over the past three decades the world has come to witness an ominous and entirely new form of gender discrimination: sex-selective feticide, implemented through the practice of surgical abortion with the assistance of information gained through prenatal gender determination technology. All around the world, the victims of this new practice are overwhelmingly female — in fact, almost universally female. The practice has become so ruthlessly routine in many contemporary societies that it has impacted their very population structures, warping the balance between male and female births and consequently skewing the sex ratios for the rising generation toward a biologically unnatural excess of males. This still-growing international predilection for sex-selective abortion is by now evident in the demographic contours of dozens of countries around the globe — and it is sufficiently severe that it has come to alter the overall sex ratio at birth of the entire planet, resulting in millions upon millions of new “missing baby girls” each year. In terms of its sheer toll in human numbers, sex-selective abortion has assumed a scale tantamount to a global war against baby girls.
A regular and quite predictable relationship between total numbers of male and female births is a fixed biological characteristic for human populations, as it is for other species of mammals. The discovery of the consistency, across time and space, of the sex ratio at birth (SRB) for human beings was one of the very earliest findings of the modern discipline of demography. (One of the founders of the field, the German priest and statistician Johann Peter Süssmilch, posited in 1741 that “the Creator’s reasons for ensuring four to five percent more boys than girls are born lie in the fact that it compensates for the higher male losses due to the recklessness of boys, to exhaustion, to dangerous occupations, to war, to seafaring and immigration, thus maintaining the balance between the two sexes so that everyone can find a spouse at the appropriate time for marriage.”)
Medical and demographic research subsequently identified some differences in SRB that correspond with ethnicity, birth order, parental age, urbanization, environmental conditions, and other factors. But such differences were always quite small; until the 1980s, the SRB for large human populations tended to fall within a narrow range, usually around 103 to 106 newborn boys for every 100 newborn girls and typically centering no higher than 105. Until the 1980s, exceptions to this generality were mainly registered in small populations, and attributable to chance.
After a discussion of China, where the SRB trends first appeared, and Vietnam, which has much in common with China, Eberstadt turned his attention to India:
Given its history of deadly discrimination against girls and women (through its customs of female infanticide, dowry killings, and ritual satiimmolation of widows), its pronounced and continuing fertility declines, and its past two decades of very rapid economic growth attended by increasing domestic diffusion of new technologies of every sort, India would seem poised as a likely battlefield in the new global war against baby girls. Sure enough, both SRBs and child sex ratios have risen markedly since the early 1990s for the world’s second-most populous country. According to India’s National Family Health Surveys, the nationwide SRB rose from around 105 during 1979-1992 to 109 for 2000-2006; more recently, the country’s National Sample Survey placed the SRB for 2004-2006 at 112. According to India’s censuses, the nationwide sex ratio for children under 7 years of age rose from 105 in 1991 to 109 in 2011. Geographically, India’s gender imbalances are most extreme in the northwest (particularly in the states of Haryana and Punjab, where the sex ratio for ages 0-6 is now close to 120, or even above 120); in Delhi, India’s capital, the sex ratio for children under 7 is currently a reported 115 (see Figure 5). Socioeconomically, SRBs and child sex ratios in India today correlate positively — not negatively — with education, income, and urbanization. Like the aforementioned countries with unnaturally high SRBs, sex-selective abortion is illegal in India.
Ah . . . sex-selective abortion is illegal. Well, that’s a relief! Heaven only knows what would happen if it weren’t and if . . . well . . . the surplus of men, by chance, grew out of control. Whoops! Wait a minute . . . as it so happens, the “law” means nothing in these cases and, truth be told, there are actually a great many people who know what would happen – or has happened – if/since the surplus of men will/has grown out of control. Here, for example, is Eberstadt:
Sex-selective abortion is by now so widespread and so frequent that it has come to distort the population composition of the entire human species: this new and medicalized war against baby girls is indeed truly global in scale and scope. Estimates by the United Nations Population Division (UNPD) and the U.S. Census Bureau’s International Programs Center (IPC) — the two major organizations charged with tracking and projecting global population trends — make the point. According to estimates based on IPC data, a total of 21 countries or territories (including a number of European and Pacific Island areas) had SRBs of 107 or higher in the year 2010; the total population of the regions beset by unnaturally high SRBs amounted to 2.7 billion, or about 40 percent of the world’s total population. For its part, UNPD estimates that 24 countries and territories (a slightly different roster from IPC’s, including some additional European, South American, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Pacific settings) had SRBs of 107 or higher for the 2005-2010 period, for a total population similar to the IPC figure. Additionally, UNPD and IPC list several countries with child (age 0-4) sex ratios of 107 or higher; those lists partially overlap with the SRB lists. If we tally all the places that IPC and UNPD flag as having unnaturally high SRBs or child sex ratios, along with the places listed in Tables 2 and 3 whose official demographic statistics report unnaturally high SRBs or child sex ratios, we would have a total of over 50 countries and territories accounting for over 3.2 billion people, or nearly half of the world’s total population . . .
The consequences of medically abetted mass feticide are far-reaching and manifestly adverse. In populations with unnaturally skewed SRBs, the very fact that many thousands — or in some cases, millions — of prospective girls and young women have been deliberately eliminated simply because they would have been female establishes a new social reality that inescapably colors the whole realm of human relationships, redefining the role of women as the disfavored sex in nakedly utilitarian terms, and indeed signaling that their very existence is now conditional and contingent.
Moreover, enduring and extreme SRB imbalances set the demographic stage for an incipient “marriage squeeze” in affected populations, with notably reduced pools of potential future brides . . .
Finally, there is the speculative question of the social impact of a sudden addition of a large cohort of young “excess males” to populations with sustained extreme SRBs: depending on a given country’s cultural and institutional capabilities for coping with this challenge, such trends could quite conceivably lead to increased crime, violence, and social tensions — or possibly even a greater proclivity for social instability.
Fortunately for everyone – and unfortunately for those of us who might be wishing he were mistaken – we do not need simply to take Nicholas Eberstadt’s word for it. As we said above, many people know this and have known it for a while. And now that the problem is becoming so real and largely uncontainable, even the mainstream media folks are starting to wake up to the new, women-less reality. Last week, for example, Time Magazine, the mainstream-iest of the mainstreamers and the perennial purveyor of the conventional-ist wisdom on earth, ran the following:
The horrific gang rape and murder of a 23-year old medical student in New Delhi may seem unrelated to fundamental demographic forces, but it isn’t. The public outcry following the victim’s death from catastrophic internal injuries has rightly focused on calls to reform India’s criminal justice system. Yesterday, five men were formally charged and the case is being put on a fast track set up in the wake of the incident to handle crimes against women, in contrast to the years of delay rape victims often face.
But behind the angry protests is an even deeper story: the preference for male babies in India and much of the world may be at the root of this senseless violence.
Growing evidence suggests that in countries like India and China, where the ratio of men to women is unnaturally high due to the selective abortion of female fetuses and neglect of girl children, the rates of violence towards women increase. “The sex ratio imbalance directly leads to more sex trafficking and bride buying,” says Mara Hvistendahl, author of Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men. A scarce resource is generally considered precious, but the lack of women also leaves many young men without marriage partners. In 2011, the number of cases of women raped rose by 9.2 percent; kidnapping and abductions of women were up 19.4 percent. “At this point, we’re talking correlation, not causation. More studies need to be done . . . But] it is clear from historical cases and from studies looking at testosterone levels that a large proportion of unmarried men in the population is not a good thing,” says Hvistendahl . . .
India’s 2011 census showed 914 females to one thousand males, the most skewed ratio since India’s independence in 1947. In some regions, such as the Northern state of Haryana, there are only 830 females to 1000 males. More than twenty years ago, Nobel prize winner economist Amartya Sen warned of more than 100 million “missing” girls from India as a result of this preference for male children . . .
The imbalance has squeezed poor and uneducated men out of the marriage market in particular, so there is a surplus of young men who are unable to find partners and assume standard adult roles in their societies. According to the Economist, China has nearly as many unmarried young men, known as ‘bare branches,’ as the entire population of American men . . .
We’ve seen spasms of outrage before after random acts of barbarism, but violence towards women in the developing world continues unabated, and unremarked upon. India was recently rated the worst country for women among the G20 group of wealthiest nations.
Over the years, we’ve written about abortion as a moral issue. We’ve written about it as a political issue. We’ve written about it as a feminist issue, and specifically about how it exposes the sham that is contemporary feminism. Along similar lines, we’ve written about abortion as a racial issue and about the near-genocide of black Americans carried out in the name of “freedom” over the last four decades. Abortion is, of course, all of these. And none of them. It is a societal issue that transcends such pigeonholing. A society’s purpose as we understand it under the rules of the social contract is, first and foremost, to defend and protect its citizens against the intentional and arbitrary dispossession of life. Or, as Jefferson put it: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are LIFE, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. A society that cannot or will not protect the lives of its citizens – and its most helpless citizens at that – has no right to call itself a society at all. It is a Hobbesian nightmare of unchecked passions and greed. Over the weekend, the Associated Press ran a story about one of the accused assailants in the December gang rape and murder that set off protests and angry demonstrations throughout India. The goal of the protests, according to the AP, is to “debate about what India needs to do to prevent such tragedies,” including “tougher rape laws, police reforms and a transformation in the way the country treats women.” All of these sound like good ideas, we suppose. But they miss the broader point. This isn’t about women, or at least it isn’t just about women. It’s also about girls. And babies. And about life. A society that would willingly destroy millions of girls simply because they don’t fit into their parents’ plans has bigger issues than merely the leniency of rape laws. As it turns out, then, the reason that we are bearish, long term, on Asia is the exact same reason that being “obsessed” with abortion is an actual, bona fide, civilizational issue, rather than a mere “social issue” or the bauble for religious nuts that pro-abortion advocates say it is. All of these issues are interconnected. The economic is the social is the civilizational. That’s the way it works. If our Indian friend had simply trusted us on that, he might have been better prepared for the turmoil that is now roiling his country, which is to say that he might have been better prepared to protect his investments in both the short and long term.