Re: Steve Sailer's article Two Cheers for the Obama Era Fertility Crisis
From: Engineer in Alabama [Email him]
Steve Sailer is an intelligent and insightful person, but in this case he has made a serious mistake.
Modernity does not cause fertility rates to fall. Rather, low fertility rates make modernity possible, because only then can a society without an open frontier accumulate a surplus to reinvest. The low fertility rates always come first.
Consider: during the Great Depression the fertility rate of the United States fell, because Americans were worried about having children that they could not support. This did not make Americans go extinct, nor did it make the American military weak. We should trust the American people to know what they are doing.
Some pundits claim that Third-World societies threaten the West because their high fertility rates will let them breed more soldiers and conquer the less numerous Westerners. They proclaim that, to meet this alleged challenge, Westerners need to start having more children. This is the sort of utter nonsense that happens when you don’t understand demographics. With equal arms and resources per soldier, God is indeed on the side of the bigger battalions, but that’s not the case here. Consider one Western soldier versus 1000 starving peasants. The Westerner is well armed, well supplied, well trained, and can move and attack whenever and wherever he chooses.
Even more important, the Westerner has a chain of command, knows clearly where the enemy is and can fight and maneuver in a directed manner. The 1,000 starving peasants, however, are borderline malnourished. They have little if any equipment or training, and no strategic mobility. In addition, the starving peasants have no coherent unity: unless you stir them up they spend whatever strength they have fighting each other, and more likely than not they don’t even know that the Western soldier exists. It’s no contest. 1 vs. 1,000, 1 vs. 1,000,000, who cares?
Our problems with Afghanistan and Iraq are another matter entirely, caused by a failure of senior leadership. If we only wanted to defend ourselves, does anyone think that 500 million starving Third-Worlders could possibly militarily invade the United States? They can only invade us if they are invited in, and that's our decision, not theirs.
Why did a few tens of thousands of British soldiers have so little trouble conquering 100 million Indians? Why did a handful of Westerners have so little trouble subduing the hundreds of millions of people in 19th century China? The weakness of societies with large and impoverished populations relative to countries with smaller and richer populations is not an ivory tower fantasy, it is how the real world works.
As always we need to avoid the extremes. It is theoretically possible for a society to have so few people that it can’t defend itself. You need a few tens of millions to maintain the diversity of talents and economies of scale that a modern industrial state requires (although very small countries can do this via trade, or incorporation into larger unions), and you need enough “boots on the ground” to maintain your claim to the land. Hypothetically, if the population of Japan were only one million, it would be almost impossible for the Japanese to avoid being colonized by refugees from the rest of Asia. But today these issues are almost nowhere a factor, and rapid increases in the population result not in strength, but in poverty, weakness, corruption, and collapse.
The only reason for the rich to force population growth—whether through excessive rates of immigration or by propaganda campaigns aimed at increasing the birthrate—is to drive down wages for the many, thus driving up profits for the few. At this forced population increases do work, but in the long run the result is not strength, but rot and weakness.
Consider: the Mexican oligarchs ignited a population explosion by encouraging Mexicans to have enormous families. The resulting poverty created a record number of Mexican billionaires, but now Mexico is in danger of becoming a failed state. Do we really want to follow this path?
The Ivory Coast used to be one of the most prosperous and stable nations in Africa. The rich imported massive numbers of foreigners to drive down wages, and for a time they made a lot of money—and then it all collapsed.
Remember: no society in all of history has ever run out of workers. The trash is collected in Switzerland and Japan just as it is in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Sometimes societies do run out of people who have no option but working for very low wages, and this circumstance is otherwise called prosperity.
American don't need to breed more. Americans should be trusted to make their own decisions about how many children are appropriate for their current circumstances. It is offensive to think that a handful of so-called “experts” should be allowed to decide how many children Americans should have (I note that these are the same “experts” who gave us the wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, who claimed that deregulating the financial system would not cause instability, that free trade agreements would not result in factories being shipped overseas, etc. These are the people we should trust to tell us how many children we should have? Really?) What we need to do is stop the rich from canceling out the effect of the private decisions of the American people by importing foreign nationals at an excessive rate.
See the same reader’s previous letter An Alabama Reader Respectfully Disputes Pat Buchanan's Demographic Conclusions.
James Fulford writes: As long ago as 1995, in a Congressional briefing sponsored by the Population Resource Center, Peter Brimelow discussed the fact that "immigration policy is also in effect second-guessing the American people's implicit decision, evidenced by their generally smaller families, about the ideal U.S. population size overall." See the Afterword to the Harper Collins Paperback Edition of Alien Nation