1. "Fearful of a future in which the elderly outnumber the young, many governments are doing whatever they can to encourage people to have children."This is not a critique of the article so much as the governments involved. Underlying the worry of falling fertility rates is the real problem: that each generation does not fund its own retirement. So long as this is the case, there will always be imbalances. The modern population should be allowed to find its new equilibrium, especially if it is declining. On a systems level, we tax the earth enough as it is. Why should we be promoting higher fertility when we don't truly need it? Let's fix the underlying problem.
2. "Indeed, falling fertility is a recurring tendency of human civilization. Why then did humans not become extinct long ago? The short answer is patriarchy."Longman gives little evidence of recurring drops in fertility and even less evidence that patriarchy is what enabled humans to avoid extinction. I think the shortest answer here is sexual drive. Beyond that, it is likely that maternal behavior is the strongest factor in the survival of our species. This behavior is extremely potent and has genetic, neurobiological underpinnings. In other words, it is not simply learned.
3. Longman's main (if only) piece of evidence of his hypothesis is that states that voted for Bush in 2004 had a 12% higher fertility rate than Kerry states. What exactly does this mean? We don't know the belief compositions of these states, nor do we know whether liberals or conservatives (or somebody else) in these states are procreating more than others.
4. Let's assume for the moment that conservatives really are procreating more. Does this mean that an entire population will shift attitudes or beliefs? Of course not. Longman makes the assumption that the only way to spread one's beliefs is through genetic legacy (or perhaps familial legacy). His argument relies on the assumption that, by not having children, an individual's beliefs or attitudes simply die out. In contrast, I propose that those individuals who do not have children have all the more resources and time to spread their beliefs and attitudes throughout the world. My point is that his assumptions are far too simple for a system as complicated as culture.
5. "But as long as the patriarchal system avoids succumbing to these threats, it will produce a greater quantity of children, and arguably children of higher quality, than do societies organized by other principles, which is all that evolution cares about."Evolution? I think it is a stretch to say that patriarchy is still under any selective pressure of evolution, as he is suggesting here. If he is referring to a sort of social evolution, then I will give him some leeway.
6. "Advanced societies are growing more patriarchal, whether they like it or not."After reading the entire article, I have failed to see any good evidence for this. Perhaps one of you out there will see more.
Note that I have not taken any ideological position in these critiques. Rather, I think Mr. Longman has written a piece that appears to be more sensation-driven than logic- or data-driven. It is an interesting hypothesis, but with little to back it up, and with no consideration of plausible alternatives, it is just another man's opinion.