This post was first published on this day in 2019.
Only a few years ago, motherhood was something seen as so self-evidently good that praising it was an unnecessary banality. Yet, like the Boy Scouts, supporting motherhood has now gone from uncontroversial to “far-right” in Western countries, akin even to Nazism. Thus Sweden’s “Social Security Minister” Annika Strandhäll blasted policies by the Hungarian government to support motherhood, calling it “alarming” and something that “reeks of the 30s” . [Intl Row as Swedish Minister Likens Hungary PM’s ‘More Kids’ Call to Nazi Policy, Sputnik, February 18, 2019] The Hungarian government formally protested the comments and Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto concisely described the difference between the two countries: “Hungary is spending money on families and Sweden is spending it on migrants”. [Hungary plan ‘reeks of 1930s’: Swedish minister, The Local, February 16, 2019] Unfortunately, the same can be said of most Western countries.
It is worth noting that Sweden, like other Western European countries, is not free. There is no free speech for patriots in Sweden. There is a de facto ban on even discussing immigration policy in Sweden that has only been challenged by the rise of the Sweden Democrats. Despite a record performance by the patriotic party in the last election, the other parties formed a coalition explicitly designed to keep them from any influence. [Sweden’s parties reach deal to keep far-Right Sweden Democrats from influence, by Richard Orange, Telegraph, January 11, 2019] In times of great crisis, different parties in parliamentary systems have joined together to form a government of “national unity.” In the face of rising restrictionist sentiment, Sweden’s government is something closer to a government of national annihilation.
Hungary has chosen a different path. In a recent speech, Hungarian president Viktor Orban announced that Hungarian women with four or more children will no longer pay any income tax. Needless to say, Western media outlets were scathing about the policy. The New York Times sneered that Orban’s was willing to do “anything to avoid immigration”. [Orban encourages mothers in Hungary to have four or more babies, by Patrick Kingsley, New York Times, February 11, 2019] It also quoted one Andrea Peto, a “gender studies professor at the Central European University,” who argued that tax breaks somehow constitute “a regulation of women’s bodies.” Unmentioned in The New York Times report: the Central European University was bankrolled by George Soros and serves as a kind of forward base for left-liberal activists in Hungary. [Why Hungary Forced George Soros-Backed Central European University To Leave The Country, by Susan Adams, Forbes, December 4, 2018] Also unmentioned: Hungary cutting funding for “gender studies” programs, which could also explain the professor’s opposition.
Still, The New York Times is hardly alone in scoffing at the policy. Now This video said “the motives behind the [pro-child] policy stem from xenophobia.” The London Daily Express quoted a random academic to denounce Orban’s policies as the equivalent of those favored by Romanian communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu—a direct insult considering Orban’s role in helping to topple the Communist puppet government in the late 1980s. [Hungary shock warning: Orban tax reform for families have Ceausescu echoes claims academic, by Ciaran McGrath, February 15, 2019] In an especially groan-inducing reference, Peter Murphy at AFP wrote, “Meme-creators on Hungarian social media have even caught a whiff of the hit TV series ‘The Handmaid's Tale’, based on Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel of an America ruled by a misogynistic theocracy” [.Hungary’s Orban bets on baby boom to boost population, Yahoo News, February 18, 2019]
One is tempted to ask why foreigners care so much. What difference does it make to them if Hungary’s government wants to promote Hungarian babies instead of importing foreigners?
Furthermore, if some Hungarian women don’t want to take advantage of the program, it is not as though they are being forced to breed, the television fueled fears/fantasies of hysterics notwithstanding.
Of course, one of the corollaries of the “diversity” creed is that no-one is allowed to escape. There must not be one Western country (or U.S. state)spared mass Third World immigration, lest that country’s survival put the entire program into question. And Hungary is particularly targeted because it has become the spearhead of a larger movement against the current leadership of the European Union, especially the pro-migration governments of France and Sweden.
Thus, Sweden’s Foreign Minister is calling for an “offensive for democracy” in Europe designed to push back against populism. By “democracy,” what is meant is not popular self-rule, but rule by the European Union. “I cannot forgive them for this,” said Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom of the decision to allow Brexit [Sweden ‘cannot forgive’ UK politicians for ‘historic mistake’ of allowing Brexit, by Chris Tomlinson, Breitbart, January 31, 2019].
Yet Hungary is also not without allies, and other countries are also trying to increase birthrates instead of importing migrants. In Poland, another enemy of the international press, the conservative government directly subsidizes families, “albeit only of the traditional heterosexual sort,” as The Economist sneers. This includes direct handouts for children, with proposed bonuses for having several children in quick succession. [Subsidizing babies has bolstered Poland’s ruling party—so far, May 10, 2018]
Estonia recently increased money provided for having families and the result has been something of a baby boom. [Rising amount of two-child Estonian families adding a third to the brood, ERR, May 31, 2018] What’s more, a recent survey showed Estonian women want to have even larger families if economic circumstances permit. [Survey: Half of Estonian women would like three or more children, ERR, October 20, 2018]
Italy is also taking steps to prevent population decline, though its policies are mixed. One town in Italy is offering huge subsides for foreigners willing to settle in the area, with the mayor hoping for “young professionals,” though American reporter suggests “one solution might be to populate the dying towns with the migrants who flock to Italy on boats across the Mediterranean, fleeing peril or hardship in Africa or the Middle East” . [Town in Italy will pay you $10,000 to move there, NBC 2, January 28, 2019] But Italy’s national government has a more productive proposal, offering unused agricultural land for free to rural families that have a third child. [Italy launches ‘land for children’ plan to fight declining birthrate, by Sabina Castelfranco, Voice of America, November 2, 2018]
Of course, once again, anything that might help actual Italians maintain families draws condemnation in the international media. Thus, Eric Lyman penned a largely negative article making comparisons to fascism and linking the policy to Benito Mussolini’s “Battle for Births” . [News Analysis: Italy recalls controversial past with policies to increase birthrate, Xinhua, November 15, 2018]
In the United States, the “neglected key” to Republican victory is what Steve Sailer has called “affordable family formation.” These European policies are a direct response to this kind of impulse. Yet there has been no discussion of such policies since President Trump took office, even though Democrats are likely to target the voters with policies designed to lift the burden of student loans and education.
Instead, President Trump is governing as a conventional Republican, a dangerous approach for 2020, especially as his combative style alienates the suburban voters normally welcoming of moderate, fiscally conservative policies. [Trump Edges Toward A Conventional Republican Approach, At Least On Policy, by Jeremy Peters, New York Times, February 19, 2019]
Ultimately, the question of migration or boosting the birthrate is the National Question in a different form. What is the purpose of the nation-state? If it is merely a geographic entity, then it makes sense to simply replace a population that isn’t reproducing to keep the economy going, though assuming Third Worlders will produce at the same levels is a dangerous gamble. However, if the nation-state is the political expression of a nation, of a particular people, then working to increase the birthrate and make it easier to create families is part of its core purpose. Even if such efforts don’t fully succeed and population declines, that is not a disaster, and is preferable to simply being replaced.
But journalists and national governments in countries like Sweden seem to believe Western nations (and only Western nations) have a moral obligation to replace themselves. Thus, the usual support for welfare programs suddenly vanishes if it might help white people have children.
Which tells us the real battle of this century isn’t about “capitalism” or “socialism”—but whether Western nations will survive or be extirpated.
James Kirkpatrick [Email him] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc.