Click to get your own widget

Monday, January 08, 2007


An article in the FT on the relationship between population growth, particularly as it produces a large ratio of young men of traditional warrior age & the amount of war making in that society.
Between 1988 and 2002, 900m sons were born to mothers in the developing world and a careful demographer could almost predict the trouble spots. In the decade leading up to 1993, on the eve of the Taliban takeover, the population of Afghanistan grew from 14m to 22m. By the end of this generation, Afghanistan will have as many people under 20 as France and Germany combined. Iraq had 5m people in 1950 but has 25m now, in spite of a quarter-century of wars. Since 1967, the population of the West Bank and Gaza has grown from 450,000 to 3.3m, 47 per cent of which is under 15. If Mr Heinsohn is right, then Palestinian violence of recent months and years is not explained by Israeli occupation (which, after all, existed 30 years ago) or poverty (the most violent parts of the Muslim world are not the poorest) or humiliation. It is just violence.Mr Heinsohn's point is not that the West is "outnumbered". Nor is it that a Malthusian battle for scarce resources is under way. In El Salvador, for instance, the explosion of political killing in the 1970s and 1980s was preceded by a 27 per cent rise in per capita income. The problem, rather, is that in a youth-bulge society there are not enough positions to provide all these young men with prestige and standing. Envy against older, inheriting brothers is unleashed. So is ambition. Military heroism presents itself as a time-honoured way for a second or third son to wrest a position of respectability from an otherwise indifferent society. Societies with a glut of young men become temperamentally different from "singleton societies" such as Europe's, where the prospect of sending an only child to war is almost unthinkable. Europe's pacifism since 1945, in Mr Heinsohn's view, reflects an inability to wage war, not a disinclination.
In biological terms he is almost certainly right. Young men are aggressive by nature, we have all met some & many of us been young men & can confirm that they can be macho idiots. That is their evolutionary nature. Societies whose young men didn't fight aren't around any more. I would like to thing that that is no longer the case because a society's strength is in its education & technology but even so we should exercise care.

The point about Europe's pacifism & sending only children to war is clearly true. Mothers of 6 males in Gaza quite reasonably do not have the same reaction as British mothers who denounce Bliar for getting their boys killed in Iraq.

Such concern for individual human life is admirable & is in many ways what makes western civilisation admirable (though our concern for the lives of US pilots in the War in Support of Terror did not extend to children in Yugoslav maternity hospitals we were bombing) but it also makes occupation & "proportionality" in casualties a recipe for disaster. By comparison the occupations of Bosnia & kosovo have not caused military problems or terrorism by Serbs in Europe which may prove that if you are going to attack people low population growth Europeans will be the easy target.

Steve Sailer, whose highly intellectual blog I respect, has said that a further problem is that Islam accepts polygamy & thus produces a higher proportion of surplus males. I am not sure if this is significant, partly because I don't know what proportion of women in different societies enter polygamous marriages & partly because it does not seem to produce militarily undisciplined Mormons. Nonetheless it is a point.

The elephant in the room could be China which, due to its one child policy has a substantial surplus of young males. Fortunately China has never been a militarily aggressive culture & its recent behaviour compares very favourably with the various aggressions carried out by NATO countries.

In any case this makes me wish to discourage immigration here, with the possible exception of allowing largely or entirely female immigration. It also raises the question of whether we should recruit more overseas soldiers if we are going to invade other countries (but NEVER allow them to serve on British soil). Finally it suggests foreign aid should be slanted heavily to encouraging pre-conception family planning (abortion assures disproportionate boys).

Not nice but nasty facts don't disappear if you ignore them. By 2050, at present rates of population growth Yemen will have a larger population and a more aggressive population than Russia.

Thanks Pete. I seem to have forgotten about that one since I didn't go back to it. Always good to see the depth of intellect of those who think "nutter" is a form of argument.
"China has never been a militarily aggressive culture": how, then, was Imperial China created?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

British Blogs.