Monday, February 19, 2018

extended families and fertility

A commenter elsewhere suggested that once the extended family disappeared fertility was doomed. The idea being that the costs of motherhood are so high that women will not accept those costs for more than one or at the most two children unless they have a strong support network.

This does sound like a plausible argument.

Perhaps humans have to have extended families in order to breed. Perhaps the nuclear family is a toxic idea.

If you want extended families there are several other things you need. Obviously you need stay-at-home mothers. You need stable decently paid employment for men, stable being the more important factor by far. And you need social stability. You need tight-knit organic communities of people who know and trust each other and those communities need to remain intact. Social mobility was one of the major factors that destroyed the extended family. People need to be able to find jobs in their own communities.

The Industrial Revolution undoubtedly played a rôle in disrupting established communities but the urban working classes managed to create new communities that were actually quite healthy. Those communities thrived until our leaders (encouraged by the corporate sector) decided to declare war on the working class.

Conservatives like to blame the welfare state for most social ills. In fact the wholesale destruction of manufacturing industry and the destruction of rural communities have been far more disastrous.

Of course the decline of religion and the growth of feminism have contributed to the demise of the extended family but the big factor is the breaking up of communities when children move to other cities to pursue their careers, or when family members are forced to leave established communities because they cannot find work.

The corporate sector loves the idea of a “flexible” workforce. In practice that means a demoralised workforce and a loss of community. These are both bonuses as far as the corporate sector is concerned. The corporate sector does not like extended families - people might start to think there was more to life than being a docile worker and a compliant consumer.

In fact if we are ever to rebuild real communities we need to realise that there really is more to life than working and consuming.

Real communities and extended families have other benefits aside from increased fertility. They provide an alternative to hedonism and degeneracy and they also provide some protection from evils such as feminism.

Of course it’s understandable that our politicians didn’t think of any of this. Who would ever have imagined that tight-knit communities might turn out to be essential for a healthy society?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

is evil a useful concept?

A recent post at A Political Refugee From the Global Village asks the question

“…is evil a word it is very useful for historians to use?”

The post is mostly concerned with political leaders to whom the word evil is routinely attached, which basically means Hitler and (much more rarely) Stalin. The point does however have a wider relevance. It has become increasingly common for people to regard those with whom they have a political disagreement as evil. Even more disturbingly perhaps it has become common to dismiss those who voted for those “evil” politicians as evil as well.

This practice is not confined to one end of the political spectrum. The most spectacular example at the moment is liberals regarding Donald Trump as some kind of comic-book super-villain. But there are plenty of conservatives who see Hillary Clinton in the same light. I’ve even encountered British conservatives who seem to think Jeremy Corbyn is some kind of Bond villain.

And of course anyone perceived as being an enemy of American foreign policy (like Vladimir Putin) is considered to be evil incarnate.

The trouble is that once you dismiss someone whose political views you dislike as evil you give up any chance of understanding what makes that person tick, of understanding why they hold those views, and you give up any realistic chance of comprehending the reasons that so many people support (or supported) that leader.

This might sound like I’m arguing for moral relativism but I don’t think I am. Some political views have produced great evil in practice and some political leaders have led their nations (and sometimes the world) down paths that have been so catastrophic that evil does seem like a reasonable way to describe the results. But the fact remains that once the evil label is applied it is no longer possible to understand the motivations.

Politicians are by nature corrupt and vicious but the frightening thing is that at the same time many really are True Believers. It is necessary to understand what it is that they believe in. It is also necessary to understand what motivates those who vote for them.

It might be comforting and emotionally satisfying to think that our enemies are simply evil but that doesn’t help us to oppose them effectively. If you can’t get inside your enemy’s head you cannot predict his actions.

It’s also somewhat dismaying to see the evil label bandied about in reference to entire groups of people, whether they be Brexit supporters or Remainers or white people or Muslims or Christians or Russians or any other group. It’s useful to understand the motivations of our friends. It’s absolutely vital to understand the motivations of our enemies, or those we see as potential threats. From our perspective it is possible that our enemies really are doing evil but they certainly don’t see it that way. Very few people wake up each morning asking themselves what evil they can do today. In a frightening number of cases they actually wake up asking themselves what virtuous things they can do today. Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people with a burning desire to do good. Liberals have all but destroyed civilisation through an excessive desire to do good.

Monday, February 12, 2018

the end of the Space Age

I’m not old enough to remember the beginning of the space race but I do have vivid memories of its later stages. It was, undeniably, exciting.

Of course looking back now I can see that the motivations of the space race were a bit questionable. It was very much a Cold War propaganda thing. But it was still kind of inspiring. It was perhaps the last pure expression of western cultural confidence. The confidence was at almost 19th century levels - the idea that science and technology were unstoppable and that there was nothing our civilisation couldn’t do.

Even at the time it was difficult to see any practical value in it. That was what made it rather magnificent. Perhaps that’s what cultural confidence is all about - doing things just to prove you can do them.

Maybe the money could have been better spent on other things, but then when you look at the way governments happily pour billions of dollars down the toilet on equally futile things it’s probable that the money never was going to be better spent anyway.

And I do feel considerable regret that it all came to such an ignominious end. I can’t honestly think of any practical reason why anyone would want to send a manned mission to Mars but I’m rather sad that we haven’t done it and possibly never will.

The end of the Space Age also appeared to coincide with the end of the great age of science and technology. There was a period in history when major scientific advances just seemed to come one after another. That era seemed to come to an end in the mid-20th century. Have there been any truly breathtaking scientific advances since Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA in 1953?

The age of stunning technological progress arguably ended about the same time. The first aircraft flew in 1903. In 1969 men walked on the Moon and Concorde made its first test flight. What have we done since them? Computers? They’re basically a 1940s concept. OK, we have the internet. And what do we use it for? Downloading porn, uploading cute kitten photos, checking up on the latest celebrity gossip.

I’m inclined to think that it’s a worrying symptom of our cultural malaise that we don’t want to do things like go to Mars any more. And we don’t want heroes like Neil Armstrong any more (just as it was probably a bad symptom for the Soviet Union when they didn’t want heroes like Yuri Gagarin any more). Our heroes today are airhead celebrities.

Civilisations need heroes and they need confidence. The Space Age was an expression of boundless confidence in the future. I miss that confidence.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

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?

Saturday, February 3, 2018

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.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

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.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

politics, culture and immigration

One thing I notice on a lot of dissident right sites is an obsession with the idea that immigration must be stopped and that every other issue needs to be either put on the back burner or even entirely abandoned in order to focus on immigration. I think this is a mistaken view. I want to emphasise that this does not mean that I don’t think the immigration issue is important. It is vitally important. I simply don’t think that fighting on that one issue is a viable strategy. I’ll try to explain why I think this way.

The most crucial thing to understand is that politics really is downstream of culture. The state of the culture determines whether a particular political fight is winnable or not, in the current circumstances. At this point in time I don’t think the political fight on immigration is winnable. It could become winnable but that will necessitate at least some degree of cultural change.

The immigration debate cannot be won right now for several reasons. These reasons apply in the US, in Britain, in Australia and in western Europe, to varying degrees.

The first reason is that many people, possibly even a majority, simply do not see immigration as a major problem. The communities devastated by diversity are mostly poorer communities. Upper class and upper middle class people have not been affected. Even lower middle class people have, to a large extent, escaped the worst effects. Since people generally have difficulty in understanding the concept of long-term consequences those who have not so far been affected still believe they never will be.

Secondly, most people are still more concerned about social conformity than immigration. The social consequences to the individual of opposing immigration (accusations of racism, possible loss of jobs, social harassment) seem to outweigh the social consequences of immigration for the nation as a whole.

Thirdly, most people still buy the economic arguments in favour of immigration - without immigration economic growth would slow down and nothing could possibly be worse than having a slight slowdown in GDP growth.

Fourthly, the elites are still absolutely united in their determination to push immigration.

So what changes need to be made to the culture? Firstly the idea that GDP is the one and only measure of national well-being needs to be attacked. People need to be persuaded that there’s more to life than having the latest smartphone. Secondly, the whole basis of liberalism has to be attacked.

The most dangerous delusion is that you can accept liberalism on social issues and still successfully oppose immigration. You can’t. If for example you accept the liberal argument on abortion then it’s impossible not to accept the liberal position on all other social issues. If individual choice (even extending as far as the choice to kill your baby) is all that matters then how exactly are you going to oppose the principle that individuals should have the choice to live wherever they want to live? Including the choice to live in your country rather than their own?

You can’t use the argument that by exercising that choice they are infringing other people’s rights. You’ve already accepted that a woman’s right to choose is sacred, even if it means killing her baby (which is about as big an infringement of someone’s else rights that can be imagined). You can’t use the argument that immigration has social consequences, since you’ve already accepted the principle that only the individual’s wishes matter. It’s the same with all other social issues. If you accept that people can choose their own gender you can’t very well argue that they can’t choose where to live.

If you accept that the individual is all that matters then society as such doesn’t exist (this was in fact the position taken by the right-wing liberal Margaret Thatcher). If we’re nothing but individuals pursuing pleasure and our own interests then borders must inevitably come to be seen as unnecessary, oppressive and harmful.

Interestingly enough you can oppose immigration from a left-wing perspective, if you drop the internationalism. In fact if you’re seriously left-wing you have to abandon internationalism anyway - it’s impossible to maintain a welfare state or anything approaching a command economy if you have open borders. So a communist can, quite logically and coherently, be opposed to immigration but a liberal cannot. This is not an argument in favour of communism, merely an observation.

The bottom line is that if you accept liberalism you will get open borders. If you oppose open borders you must oppose liberalism. And the fight against liberalism is the fight that really matters. It’s the fight that must be won.