09 December 2007

Russia (and the West) Goes Anti Natalist: Better Never to Have Been?

Anti natalism is the view that it is better not to be born. The argument is made by David Benatar in Better Never to Have Been:"The central idea of this book is that coming into existence is always a serious harm". The breeding pairs of several western countries are putting Benatar's ideas into practise.
The most recent predictions indicate a decline in the Russian population of twenty million people in the next decade due to an excessively low birthrate of 1.2 children per family (well below replacement level) and a rise in the death rate because of widespread alcoholism and the spread of disease.

According to one Professor Antonov, “Two thirds of Russian territory is settled now as sparsely as it was in the Neolithic Age: less than one person per square kilometer. In other words, east of the Urals, a demographic wasteland is superimposed on the geographic wasteland.”

What this startling point reveals is a dramatic decline in the desire for reproduction among the younger generation. The prevalence of one-child families, the decline in the number of recorded marriages, the increase in cohabitation, and the rise in divorce are all symptoms of this condition.

But not just in Russia. Imagine a world with no brothers, no sisters, no uncles, no aunts, no cousins, no nieces, no nephews . . . western societies grow progressively "anti-natalist." Birthrates decline, more women choose sterilisation before ever giving birth. This is Russia, Italy, Spain. This is the western world, the world instigating its own "die off."
As more and more people find themselves living under urban conditions in which children no longer provide economic benefit to their parents, but rather are costly impediments to material success, people who are well adapted to this new environment will tend not to reproduce themselves. And many others who are not so successful will imitate them....Japanese fertility rates have been below replacement levels since the mid-1950s, and the last time Europeans produced enough children to reproduce themselves was the mid-1970s. Yet modern institutions have yet to adapt to this new reality....Not only is the spread of urbanization and industrialization itself a major cause of falling fertility, it is also a major cause of so-called diseases of affluence, such as overeating, lack of exercise, and substance abuse, which leave a higher and higher percentage of the population stricken by chronic medical conditions. Those who reject modernity would thus seem to have an evolutionary advantage, whether they are clean-living Mormons or Muslims, or members of emerging sects and national movements that emphasize high birthrates and anti-materialism.

Anti-Natalism is particularly strong among the young--those who ordinarily would produce the next generation of scientists, engineers, builders, caretakers. University educated youngsters are the most likely to have absorbed the ubiquitous defeatist message of the anti-natalists on campus.
Some lives are so bad that it would be wrong to start them. There is an obligation not to start these lives. But no lives are so good that it right to start them. There is no obligation to start these lives....So all our lives are such that it would have been better had they never been started.

College students are listening to that message--they have no choice if they are to pass their professors' exams and achieve good grades in the professors' classes. But what is to become of the modern west--the welfare state--if students continue to put these ideas into practise?
The social institutions most likely to experience strain from the twin trends of ageing and depopulation are the pension and health systems that comprise the crown jewels of the postwar welfare state. These are by far the largest source of public expenditure in the industrial countries. And they are the programs most likely to be affected by the coming explosion in old-age dependency.

The problem will not continue indefinitely. For Russia, rich with oil and gas, the end will come from the south and east. Resource hungry but population rich China will happily take the resources of a de-populated Siberia off Russia's hands. Putin and the other post-KGB oligarchs lack the ability to prevent it.

For Europe, the end will also come from the south and east. Pro natalist muslim immigrants to Europe will gladly utilise the mechanism of democracy to overturn secular liberalism. The current multiculturalist leftism that leads Europe lacks the ability to resist the dismantling of enlightenment safeguards against the type of tyranny that the new immigrants bring with them.

Japan will find that robots cannot truly replace people. They will also find that if the Japanese people are replaced by non-Japanese, their country will no longer be Japan. Claro que, si.

The future belongs to the people of the future. If the people of the present choose to adopt an anti-natalist stance, their time is as good as gone. But they should not assume that everyone will share their enthusiasm for non-existence. A die-off in western countries simply makes room for an uptick in birthrates for those who inherit the wealth of the absentee builders.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is right on target and relevant to almost every important issue we confront today. Feminism and Socialism have succeeded emasculating the majority of the male population in the developed countries. They've also succeeded molding the female psyche into one of shallowness and depravation.

How low will the West sink before it finally wakes up? If history is any guide, it will have to get very bad.

Be prepared.

Sunday, 09 December, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

We are in a transitional time--leaving the values of one tradition without having developed new traditions or values. Most people are lost, which is no basis for starting a family or raising children.

Russia and much of Europe has a head start on North America in attempting to traverse this tradition-poor wasteland. Hence the low birthrates there.

Sub-societies that have maintained their traditions still have reasonably sustainable birthrates. There's a lot more to world birthrate demographics it than that, but it's a conceptual beginning.

Sunday, 09 December, 2007  
Blogger Audacious Epigone said...

The meek (minded) shall inherit the earth.

Hopefully the self-selected TFR differences within Western societies are selecting for the desire to be fecund. But it's not enough to rest on that hope alone.

Thursday, 13 December, 2007  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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