Culture War 2.0 and demographics

The Culture War has been lost. There’s no question about that. One thing however needs to be borne in mind – winning or losing a war is not always the end of the story. Quite often a war simply sets the stage for a second war. This is true of purely military or political conflicts and it may well be true of culture wars as well. Culture War 1.0 is over and perhaps Culture War 2.0 is yet to be fought.

One thing that stands out about Culture War 1.0 is how easy the victory was. Social and cultural attitudes changed dramatically in a very short space of time. In 1960 marriage was the cornerstone of western society. Most people got married and most people had children and almost everybody agreed that this was the formula for happiness. Within twenty-five years the institution of marriage had crumbled. Marriage was no longer regarded as something permanent and sacred. It was now an option, and was widely regarded as being not exactly a permanent or even a very significant arrangement. What mattered was love and everybody knew that love meant sex. The secret of happiness was lots of sex. Children were seen as an encumbrance. Fertility rates plummeted. Women who considered having children to be the most important thing in life were thought of as being a bit odd and vaguely disapproved of. To feminists women who wanted children were traitors.

Twenty years ago homosexual marriage was a bizarre and laughable fringe idea. Now it’s the very bedrock of our civilisation and anybody who disapproves of it is regarded as being  an evil nazi.

What happened? The answer is very simple. People conformed. In the West we had long since abandoned the ideas that religion mattered and that there were eternal moral values. What mattered was being popular. You didn’t need to worry if your opinions were correct, you simply made sure that your opinions conformed to what was popular. Or at least to what you were told was popular.

The key point here is that if social and cultural attitudes can be changed almost overnight in one direction then logically and obviously they can be just as easily and just as quickly changed in the opposite direction. Most people will conform to what they see as the dominant ideology. The dissenting minority is then forced to conform. If the dominant ideology changes then, like magic, social and cultural attitudes change.

The objection to this is that the dominant ideology of the present day is so dominant that it is unlikely to change. To believe that is to ignore the lessons of history. The most important lesson of history is that the future is always unpredictable. If you had a time machine and you transported someone from the year 1914 to the year 1939 they would find themselves in a world that would have been entirely unimaginable in 1914. Entire empires had vanished. Entirely new countries had appeared. Strange and incomprehensible political doctrines were now considered to be perfectly normal.

This was largely a result of the First World War but wars are not the only ways in which everything can be changed in ways that could not have been predicted. Demographic change is another. Whether demographic change is a good thing or a bad thing is not relevant here (I think it’s a bad thing) but it’s likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Thirty years from now the United States will be a different society. It will be a very hispanic society. There is no way of predicting exactly how that will play out but it will cause major political changes and could lead to significant social and cultural changes. Will the social attitudes of an hispanic United States be the same as the social attitudes of the U.S. today? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the extent to which those numbers can be turned into cultural power. It also depends on the extent to which the hispanic segment of society conforms to the ruling ideology of liberal atheism. Could hispanic immigration fuel a religious revival? Even a Catholic revival? Who knows.

Then there’s western Europe. Islam is going to be a much bigger presence thirty years from now. Again the question is the extent to which this will translate into political and cultural power. There’s also likely to be a race between, on the one hand, a growing secularisation and on the other hand the likely emergence of powerful strains of political Islamism. Will a Britain with a much larger Muslim population continue to conform to its current ideology of rainbow unicorn feelgood soft totalitarianism? Again the answer is maybe, or maybe not.

In my next post I’m intending to address the question of soft cultural power in more detail.

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the coming demographic collapse

Civilisations have died before and in many cases these deaths could be described as being at least in part suicides but what we’re seeing today is something much more frightening – our species is committing suicide. We are simply no longer reproducing. There’s a name for species that stop reproducing – we call them extinct species.

The catastrophic falls in birth rates in the West are certainly old news. Fertility in the West has been slowly declining for well over a century. But it’s not just the West now. Some of the lowest fertility rates on the planet are found in highly developed east Asian societies. South Korea and Taiwan are almost certainly past the point of no return.

Fertility rates have plummeted everywhere, except sub-Saharan Africa. Europe, Latin America, east Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Islamic world, North America – wherever you look it’s the same story. There are fewer and fewer babies.

No-one can be entirely certain why this has happened. It is possible that physiological factors may be involved, with unhealthy hormone balances being one suspect. It does seem more likely though that the disaster is mostly cultural in nature.

Undoubtedly urbanisation has played a part. The demoralising effects of capitalism and consumerism. The collapse of organised religion. Feminism, the glorification of homosexuality, the trans nonsense, the ubiquity of pornography – these are certainly factors. It has to be said that as American culture has been spread more and more aggressively across the planet it has been followed by the social hollowing-out that leads to further declines in fertility. 

Foolish western governments have allowed themselves to be persuaded that the economic consequences of population collapse can be avoided by mass immigration. That’s not going to work for various reasons, but in the long term the main reason it isn’t going to work is that all human populations are collapsing, and they’re collapsing fastest in the more “advanced” countries. The immigrants are also going to stop reproducing.

Of course it can be argued that declining populations are not necessarily a bad thing. The trouble is that we are not dealing with a slow decline in healthy populations. We’re dealing with populations that are failing to reproduce because society is diseased. We don’t know if such declines can ever be reversed. It might well be that once a certain point is reached an equilibrium will start to establish itself, or alternatively it might be that the collapse will begin to accelerate until self-extinction is achieved.

In any case while the economic problems of declining populations might be solvable we certainly are not close to finding such a solution.

And then of course there’s the added difficulty that the one place that population collapse is not happening is sub-Saharan Africa. If our leaders our determined to arrest declining population by bringing in immigrants then sub-Saharan Africa is going to be the only long-term source of unlimited numbers of immigrants. Does anyone seriously think that’s going to end well?

We also need to ask ourselves if we really want to live in a society in which people are too selfish and too stuck in permanent adolescence to want to raise families. It’s not likely to turn out to be a very healthy society.

rebuilding European demographics

Let’s assume that eventually the anti-immigration argument succeeds and the flood of immigrants into the West is stopped. OK, it seems very unlikely but let’s just assume it anyway. What is the next step?

Western countries like Britain, France, the United States and Sweden are already in a mess. Clearly it’s not going to be enough merely to stop immigration. Those countries need to be restored to functionality and even more importantly they need to be restored to the status of civilised nations. For one thing that means the apparatus of totalitarianism that has been slowly built up over the past half century needs to be dismantled. I am assuming that what we in the anti-immigration camp want is for these nations to be restored to something like the state they were in in the 1950s before the process of de-civilisation got seriously underway.

So what would need to be done? There are many who would like to see the demographic balances of the 50s restored. It’s certainly an attractive idea but could it really be done? Bismarck famously said that politics is the art of the possible, and I’m not entirely sure that  a restoration of 1950s demographics falls within the range of the possible. Existing nationalist parties have had little success even though their policies are very much more moderate than this.

It seems to me that there are four options.

1 Mass deportations to forcible restore 1950s demographics.

2 Selective deportations to achieve a more favourable demographic balance.

3 Assimilation of existing immigrants.

4 Segregation.

Option 1 is almost certainly impossible and could in any case only be carried out by a government with such sweeping powers that it would have the potential to be more totalitarian than our current system.

Option 2 appeals to a lot of people who think our problems could be solved by expelling all members of a certain religion. The Spanish did this fairly successfully after the Reconquista in the late 15th century but they needed the Inquisition to make it work. A modern attempt would need something very similar to the Inquisition.

Enforcing deportations (or immigration bans) on religious lines is not simple. How exactly do you decide if someone actually belongs to the religion in question? Do you deport everyone who was born a Muslim? Or only practising Muslims? How do you define practising? If someone claims that they have abandoned their religion or converted to a different religion can you believe them? The Spanish (no doubt wisely) were not inclined to take people’s word for it that they had sincerely converted to Catholicism. It was the Inquisition’s job to make sure.

The Spanish Inquisition in fact was not particularly brutal or even particularly oppressive. Much of its evil reputation is due to the anti-Catholicism that dominated English intellectual life for so many centuries (Henry Kamen’s excellent book on the subject which I reviewed here is worth a read). But nonetheless it was certainly intrusive and I cannot imagine that a modern version is ever likely to be politically acceptable or even desirable.

http://anotherpoliticallyincorrectblog.blogspot.com.au/2015/12/the-spanish-inquisition-historical.html

We also need to ask ourselves if deporting people for their religious beliefs is a wise precedent to establish. It could just as easily be turned against adherents of other religions, especially Christianity. It’s worth remembering that our political establishment hates Christianity a lot more than it hates Islam. They’d be overjoyed to have the opportunity to ban Christian immigrants and to deport existing Christians.

On the whole any kind of large-scale deportation, whether selective or not, seems to me to be impractical and to involve very real potential dangers.

That brings us to Option 3, assimilation. This might be an unpopular thing to say but this is actually my least favoured option. For various reasons.

Firstly, it doesn’t work particularly well and it works least well with the very people who are most likely to be a social problem.

Secondly, you have to have a viable host culture for the immigrants to assimilate to. We no longer have that. Assimilation means embracing the core values of a culture and what are the core values of our civilisation? Mindless consumerism, greed, celebrity worship,  homosexual marriage, abortion on demand, promiscuity, pornography, transgender bathroom rights and feminism. Why would anyone want to assimilate to a death cult like modern western civilisation? Why would we want to encourage anyone to do so? Do we really need more crazy blue-haired feminist harpies?

Thirdly, I just don’t like the idea of assimilation. It means cutting oneself off from one’s history and cultural traditions. It means betraying one’s loyalties. Essentially it means becoming a rootless cosmopolitan and do we really need any more rootless cosmopolitans? It means you end up with a society with no actual culture (just a veneer of trash pop culture), no shared traditions, no shared history. You end up with a society that will be more and more inclined to embrace the very forces that have led us to ruin – liberal democracy, consumerism and capitalism. You end up with a society more likely to welcome totalitarianism and more likely to worship the state since they have nothing else of substance in which to believe. The descent into degeneracy will continue unchecked.

Option 4 is the one likely to provoke howls of outrage but some kind of segregation might well be the best solution for everyone. Something like the millet system in the Ottoman Empire, whereby different faiths can essentially live under their own laws and preserve their own cultures. This might seem like a very unattractive solution but it might be the best hope for preserving at least a remnant of European civilisation.

demographic collapse and economic incentives

That the West is heading for demographic collapse is pretty much an established fact. Sub-replacement fertility is now the norm. In countries like Germany the fertility rate is disastrously low. In eastern Europe the situation is even worse, with countries like Lithuania well on the way to national extinction. And in east Asia it’s worse still. Taiwan is almost certainly beyond saving.

It’s long been accepted that economic development and prosperity almost inevitably leads to a plummeting birth rate, but while you might expect that fertility rates would eventually stabilise at a much lower level that isn’t happening. They just keep declining.

And of course we’re then told that we must accept mass immigration from the Third World or we’re economically doomed. Whether that’s really true or not can perhaps be debated, it  is possible that lower populations might be advantageous in some ways, but nonetheless it’s an argument that immigration restrictionists must find a counter for.

So can anything be done to halt the decline of fertility rates? Obviously the answer is yes but most of the solutions are at this point in time politically out of the question. It’s not very likely that any western government is going to outlaw feminism or abolish quick and easy divorce, no matter how desirable such actions might be.

Among the few politically feasible measures are economic incentives. To the extent that they’ve been tried they haven’t been notably successful but that may be because they’ve been poorly thought out. The idea that putting more money in people’s pockets will make them more willing to have children is simplistic and naïve. If people are contemplating starting a family they do not want short-term handouts. What they want is long-term security, and affordable housing.

Long-term security means job security. Job security is something we used to have in the bad old days. Of course in the bad old days we also had successful marriages and happy family life.

When it comes to having families what matters is not how much money people have, but the extent to which they can rely on having an adequate income for long enough to raise children and then be able to look forward to not living in destitution when they get old.

Equally important is affordable decent housing. That means not just a reasonably comfortable home, but a home that is not so far out in the suburbs that it requires a two-hour commute to get to work and a two-hour commute to get home again.

I’m not suggesting that job security and affordable housing would magically solve our demographic problems, but there’s little doubt that it would at least help a little. And as an added side benefit it would allow people to live lives that are somewhat more satisfying than the pursuit of mindless pleasures and an endless supply of consumer goods.

Of course I’m just day-dreaming. Can you really imagine a government wanting to put the interests of families ahead of the interests of globalists and social justice warriors, or seeing family life as more important than GDP growth?

defending Australia

Amfortas made this observation in a comment to my previous post.

“I have always held the view that we should use it before we are in imminent danger of losing it. We have far too few to even defend ourselves.”

That was in fact the logic behind Australian immigration policy for several decades after 1945. It was the major driving force behind the enormous in take of migrants in that period. The lesson of the Second World War (and of European history over the course of the centuries) seemed to be that in order to defend itself a nation needed a large population. Countries with small populations like Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark had been quickly overrun.

In 1945 it was a reasonable view.

Is it a reasonable view today? Would a population of 50 million, or even 100 million, make us more secure? The days when large numbers of men were needed as cannon fodder seem to be over. A larger population would theoretically mean a larger GDP which would of course theoretically allow us to buy more weapons, assuming that the population growth didn’t collapse our economy to Third World standards.

I’m inclined to think that we don’t need more defence spending. We need smarter defence spending. Why on earth did we buy M1A1 Abrams tanks? Are we going to refight the Western Desert campaigns of WW2? Is it really likely we’ll ever be fighting large conventional armoured battles on our own soil? If it ever got to the stage where we needed to do that we would already have lost. Our only chance of preventing an invasion by large conventional forces would be to stop them from landing. For that you need a credible navy and a credible air force. You don’t need tanks. But generals, like small boys, love the idea of playing with tanks.

We have an army that exists to fight as auxiliaries in someone else’s foreign military adventures.

We need a credible navy, and that means submarines. Nuclear submarines. As submariners like to say, there are only two kinds of ships – submarines and targets. What we have are a handful of submarines of dubious quality and lots of targets. In an actual shooting war with a real enemy how long would our frigates last? Half an hour? Of course you need frigates as escort vessels, except that we don’t have anything for them to escort.

If we scrapped the frigates and the tanks we could afford a dozen modern nuclear submarines which would be more than enough to deter any of our immediate neighbours. If you wish to deter attacks by major powers there is only one way to do that. You need a nuclear deterrent. If we spent our military budget wisely we could afford such a deterrent. Israel, with a third of Australia’s population, has a credible nuclear deterrent based to a large extent on submarine-launched cruise missiles.

We also have to consider the likely threats. Our immediate neighbours are not much danger. Indonesia’s army is intended for use against its own people, or for use against people who can’t fight back (like the West Papuans). Our only serious threat would be a major power. Russia has zero interest in our region. It’s hard to imagine India being a threat – they’re much too preoccupied with Pakistan and China. Japan is too preoccupied with China. That leaves China and the US. Only nukes would deter those powers.

We also need to consider that at the moment no-one regards us as a threat. An Australia with 100 million people would be a different proposition – we’d be a potential regional major power. If we went down the high population road we’d need a very serious military. If you’re going to put yourself forward as a major regional power you’d better be able to back up your pretensions with real military power.

how many people do we need?

If we want to oppose immigration we need to have a coherent well-articulated position on the issue. Simply saying we want immigration stopped isn’t going to work. If you do that you simply get accused of racism, and of wanting to wreck the economy. We need to put a bit more thought into our position.

There is for instance one very important question we need to consider. Exactly how many people do we want in our country?

Australia’s population is close to 25 million. That doesn’t sound much when you look at the size of the country but in fact our population is concentrated to a quite incredible degree in a handful of large cities. Well over a third of the population is concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne. Those cities are increasingly unpleasant places in which to live.

So assuming we want to stabilise our population, at what point do we want to stabilise it?

The same applies to other countries. The UK’s population is now 66.5 million, surely much too high. The US has a population of 325 million.

In all these cases the ideal figure would probably be somewhat lower than the current figure. Arguing for any serious population reduction is not within the realms of the politically possible. But we do need to have some kind of target to aim for.  Which means we need to come up with a realistic rate of immigration to achieve that target. A rate that will obviously be very much lower than the current rates.

Of course in reality we probably don’t need any immigration at all. The problem with that is that such a view will get you labelled as not merely an extremist but a hopelessly unrealistic one. I do think though that choosing some kind of target figure would be politically useful. If you’re asked how much immigration you want and you reply that you don’t know then you tend to look like someone who hasn’t thought things through.

In the year ending June 2017 Australia’s net migration intake was a staggering 245,000. The danger for anti-immigration advocates of not having a clear idea of how many immigrants we should be bringing in is that the government could announce that it was “slashing” the yearly immigration intake to 220,000 and we would be expected to hail that as a major concession. On the other hand if we say that we actually need no more than a maximum of 20,000 then it would be easier for us to point out that any minor reduction was merely a sham.

We also need to address other major issues. The demographic collapse of white European populations is real and it’s been happening for a long time. The official figures for fertility rates in western countries understate the scale of the problem because those figures are artificially inflated by the very high fertility of immigrant populations in those countries. The problem is a critical one. We need sensible ideas for addressing this problem. The big worry is that the demographic collapse may already be irreversible. We don’t know, because we’re the first society in history to try to commit suicide by failing to reproduce.

If we can’t articulate a strategy for reversing this demographic suicide then we leave ourselves open to the specious arguments of immigration boosters that western countries cannot survive without mass immigration. We also need to be able to counter the argument that an ageing population will be a disaster.

We also must find a counter to the argument that without immigration GDP would stop growing and the sky would fall.

There’s a fair amount of anti-immigration sentiment out there but it’s hopelessly disorganised and diffuse and incoherent. We need to take a position on the issue that is focused, consistent and well-reasoned.