Big Families Win Wars

Professor links countries' military strength to number of 'superfluous sons'
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2007 8:55 AM CDT
Big Families Win Wars
IRAQ-US-UNREST   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A nation’s military strength may be rooted in its average family size, says a popular German professor, putting Islamic countries in a good position, America on neutral ground, and Europe in dire straits. Bigger families mean “more superfluous sons to burn on the battlefield,” argues Gunnar Heinsohn. Shrinking Europe is in “demographic capitulation” and the US is “demographically neutral.”

Afghani and Pakistani “youth bulges” mean not only that more boys can be sent to war with limited grief, the Weekly Standard reports, but also that more are frustrated and angry—fodder for radical recruiters. And for every 1,000 Iranian men aged 15 to 24, there are 565 boys under age 10—making the US rival a “paper tiger.” (Read more Iran stories.)

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