June 28, 2015

Jack Wertheimer and Steven Cohen
editors@mosaicmagazine.com Please forward

As near as I can figure, about 200 years ago a Herbert ancestor of mine did business with a Jew in Charleston South Carolina.  When the businessman held up his end of the bargain on the death of that ancestor the heir, my next ancestor, who was a tobacco farmer, had enough money to free his slaves and become a Methodist minister while having a nest egg that has been managed with reasonable prudence ever since.  It put me through college and medical school.  I was the first in my line of descent not to be a preacher, which places a burden on me to do something good with my life.  Since the Reform denomination the honest Jew belonged to in Charleston died out it never occurred to me I could make a gesture toward repaying the debt.

Then I read your impassioned article in Mosaic http://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/2014/11/the-pew-survey-reanalyzed/, and it brought lump to my throat.  Who would have thought that I could do anything centuries later? (I remain an old man who can survive but am not significantly rich.) 

Your article points out that the American Jewish community is in dire straights demographically.  The problems are two-fold: first there are simply not enough babies, and secondly young people tend to marry outside the faith and drift away.  Just about nobody else is going to tell you this, but if there is still enough time both problems can be solved at a single (challenging) stroke.

Let me distinguish between opinion and facts and beg on the bones of my ancestors and the dim memory of your lost brethren of Charleston that you look at the facts before you judge my opinion.

To maximize the number of babies in your communities encourage the young people to marry third or fourth cousins.  If the chance has not yet passed by, this will result in a rise in fertility, and it is the only thing that can do so.  By and large this will significantly reduce the number of young people who wander off to other faiths.  When the crisis is over I imagine after a couple of generations it will seem wise to back that off to something like fifth or sixth cousins since explosive growth of a population is destabilizing in the long run. 

For the facts I refer you to the 19th chapter “Marry in or Die Out,” by Robin Fox in Handbook on Evolution and Society published this year by Paradigm Press.  It’s a textbook, which means spending some money or finding it in a library.  If you have difficulty let me know.  This is important. 

Many of the key facts are available for free on my web site: http://www.nobabies.net/A%20January%20summary%20for%202015.html My writing is not on a par with that of Professor Fox, who is utterly brilliant, but the important thing is the references.  If you have any question, by all means again get in touch with me. 

I hope you look at the facts and in the long run take such steps as will make everybody happy. 


M. Linton Herbert MD

There have been 235 visitors over the past month and the video Babies Triumph over Evil has been run 77 times. 

Home page.