Unlike the vast majority of HBD’ers, I lean to the political Left on a variety of issues. The primary reason for this is that most of the stuff that comes out of mainstream conservatives in America is utter insanity. This is especially true of the “neocons”—a point where most HBD commentators would be in agreement. But there are some rather “interesting” points of view that emerge from the HBD community as well which I disagree with.
To be sure, I’m far from the typical liberal. As if this isn’t evidenced enough from the fact that I accept HBD and its implications, I also strongly advocate heavy investment in nuclear power (particularly this type of nuclear, among a few others) to meet our energy needs and to transition us away from fossil fuels—if for no other reason that those fuels are exhaustible (more on that in future post). As well, in terms of the environment, I’m more of a Theodore Roosevelt-style conservationist than anything (as in that development is important, but we don’t need to ruin everything; there’s plenty of land for every purpose).
But I do believe in looking out for the general welfare of all people, including the poor, the low-IQ, and the troublesome. There is no reason that all people, especially our own citizens, shouldn’t be able to live decent lives, to the extent that we as a society are able to do anything about it. Often what we can do isn’t much, and we have to resign ourselves to accept that truth in many situations. This is where traditional liberals have a hard time. Here—if I may borrow the Christian verse—the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer comes in handy:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.
The intentions behind the aid flowing to the Third World are an example of where hope exceeds reality. For decades, people in the developed world have poured all manner of charity into the impoverished corners of the globe. The hope has been that with some basics such as food, schools, and rudimentary infrastructure, these people would be able to one day lift themselves out of poverty. Of course, many of these areas—such as sub-Saharan Africa—have shown little improvement.
But this is an instance of the road to hell being paved with good intentions. The people of these places live in a Malthusian trap. The vast amount of aid, in the form of food and infrastructure that the First World has provided to the Third, has allowed the latter’s population to explode over the course of the 20th century. Third World peoples, unable to greatly advance economically thanks their low average IQs—and as “r-strategists,” less inclined/able to curb their fertility—have only raised more and more offspring on the increased food supply. In Africa, every additional increase in food aid/production we provide is eaten up by the population growth it spurs, leaving a continent that is perpetually hungry and in need of more aid. This is not to say we shouldn’t be giving assistance to Third World, but in addition to the food, medicine, and infrastructure, we should provide lots of reliable long-term contraception if we want to truly help them in the long run. With fewer mouths to consume the resources, those who remain will be much better off.
Here is the States, liberals and conservatives have long been waging a pitched war over social welfare policies. Liberals want to greatly expand them, and conservatives want to greatly curtail them. The racial element is a big factor in this. The differing average IQs of the various racial groups in America means that some groups are permanently putting out more than they receive, while other groups will always, on the whole, receieve more than they give. Overall, people are more inclined to contribute to social welfare if the people who are the recipients of such aid are of the same racial/ethnic group. However, even on top of that, some peoples, especially those with a recent history of inbreeding—as many American Whites have—are much more clannish and are less willing to contribute to any sort of social welfare system that benefits non-kin.
We see this conflict play out in several areas, such as with healthcare in America. I believe that all citizens—by virtue of being American—are entitled to free healthcare. Half Sigma has pointed out why conservative opposition to universal healthcare is foolish (also here). Yet the conflict remains, fueled by the attitude against redistributive social policy among American conservatives.
However, two recent events have conservatives, both mainstream and HBD-aware, up in arms. They are the release of the web animation “The Life of Julia” on President Obama’s campaign website and the Census Bureau’s calculation that, for the first time, minority births now exceed non-Hispanic White births.
“The Life of Julia” details Obama’s social welfare policies in a “cradle-to-grave” manner. Make no mistake, these policies pale in comparison to what is the norm in Europe, to which these policies often compared. Of course, some of these policies are legitimately foolish, such as Head Start (which, as even the government now finally admits, does NOT work), Race to the Top (same situation), and the Fair Pay Act (which addresses a problem that largely doesn’t exist). And then the issue of college and its funding is a whole ‘nother topic (also here).
But policies such as Social Security or healthcare—including Medicare—are important. Dealing with Medicare in particular is part of the larger issue of elder care that will, for a time, become a problem as the Baby Boomers start to retire.
However, many commentators have taken “The Life of Julia” to be an assault on marriage and the “traditional” family (that is, the nuclear family that has been traditional to the Anglo-Saxons since the Middle Ages). Steve Sailer has pointed out that it doesn’t appear that “Julia” is married at any point. Of course, many of the benefits described would be quite useful to married women as well. However, Sailer has also noted that married women tend to vote Republican. And in fact, he has discovered that in any given state, the average number of years women spend married during their childbearing years (taking into account age of first marriage and likelihood of divorce) is perhaps the single biggest predictor of which party that state is likely to vote for, with married women likely to go Republican.
Sailer has proposed that there is a causal relationship between marriage and political leaning, but I don’t think it’s that simple, as I’ll soon show. In America, the marriage gap between Democratic-leaning and Republican-leaning areas is also correlated with a baby gap between these two areas. That is, the White fertility rate is significantly higher in Red States than it is in Blue States. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that White births have now been exceeded by non-White births in America, and both of these facts go to the root of conservative angst against liberal policies. Conservatives view liberal policies—such as high taxes and generous welfare benefits—as detrimental to White fertility. This is only implicit in mainstream conservative policy, and probably not consciously articulated, since mainstream conservative are probably not aware of HBD, but it is quite explicit among many HBD’ers.
The belief is that high taxes (among other things) drive up the cost of living, which make children much less affordable. As well, generous welfare, the belief goes, discourages marriage, as having children out-of-wedlock becomes a much more viable option. Worse still, generous welfare impacts White fertility because it is disproportionally used by lower average IQ groups, such as Blacks and Latinos, and neighborhoods with large numbers of people of color are unattractive to Whites due to problems such as violence and crime, raising the cost of living for Whites by forcing Whites to move into expensive suburbs in order to flee these groups.
Indeed, low fertility is a problem throughout all of the developed world, as can be seen here (derived from the map on Wikipedia):
With very few exceptions (such as Ireland), all of the countries in the developed world have sub-replacement fertility, that is, less than an average of about 2.1 children per childbearing women per lifetime (2.1 because one child to replace each parent plus a few extra children to offset premature deaths and non-fertile individuals)—this is known as the total fertility rate, or TFR. Whenever fertility rates reach sub-replacement and remain there for a long time, population stagnates and eventually declines.
The United States is no exception. While the country’s population is growing, almost all of that growth is driven by minority fertility, and of that, mostly Hispanics (and of those, mostly Mexicans—see also here). Left unchanged, this would mean that eventually Hispanics will come to outnumber White Americans, which is already is the case in many parts of the country:
Worse still, even with Whites, there is a fear that fertility is dysgenic; that is, those in the lower classes (who presumably have lower average IQs) are reproducing more than those in the upper classes (who presumably have higher IQs). However, Ron Guhname has discovered evidence that the effect of IQ itself on fertility is in fact neutral; the reduction in fertility in the upper classes stems from the negative impact that education has on women’s fertility. Since women pursuing higher education often put off childbirth while in school (usually out of necessity), they have fewer children per lifetime than their less educated counterparts who receive less schooling (and presumably are more apt to become stay-at-home-moms). Of course, this does mean that certain traits are being lost from the gene pool, a fact that is important to the point I’ll soon make.
A similar problem is occurring in Europe, where fertility rates are much lower (especially in Southern and Eastern Europe). Further, as much lamented by HBD’ers, most of the countries of Western Europe have significant levels of Third World immigration, particularly from the Muslim world. The Muslim population has a much higher fertility rate, which means that if trends continue unchanged, they will eventually replace the native European populations (as they’ve done before, also here).
The low fertility of high average IQ populations has been a much discussed problem, particularly in the HBD world, where it is the underlying theme of almost all HBD discussion. Much discussion about the possible causes of this phenomenon has taken place, and so far the two largest culprits that seem to have emerged are:
- The breakdown of marriage/instability of modern relationships between men and women.
- The rising cost of living in the developed world.
Much of both have been blamed on “liberal” policies, and somewhat unfairly so, as I’ll argue. The former problem—the breakdown of tradition marriage—was one of the central points of Charles Murray’s recent book Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. In this book, Murray noted that the White underclass is distinctly different in its behavior the White upper class, including many important social indicators, such as marriage rates and participation in the labor force, and that distinction has grown considerably between 1960 and 2010, as seen in this chart from Whiskey’s blog.
Illegitimacy rates are also much higher among the lower classes, of all races. Many commentors, including Murray himself, have placed the blame for the problems squarely on socially permissive attitudes towards out-of-wedlock childbirth and male idleness. Murray has claimed that in order to correct some of these problems for the working class, shifts in cultural norms are necessary. For example, Murray claims that in order to solve the problem of male idleness, men who refuse to work should be shamed—and men who do work—even in the most menial jobs—should be granted respect. Others have gone so far as to advocate returning to a 1950s mindset with regards to marriage and illegitimacy, so that women who have children out of wedlock would once again will be held in low regards.
While perhaps noble, even commendable in the case of granting respect to men working in even menial tasks, all of these are highly unlikely to ever happen. The reason that the culture has changed between 1960 and the present is because permanent technological and societal changes have taken place. The two most significant are the fact that woman are in now in the labor force and the availability of birth control. Women have entered the labor force in much greater numbers since the 1950s. This was made possible in part by the availability of appliances and equipment that took a great deal of the work out of domestic life. Women being the labor force means that they are no longer obligatorily reliant on a male breadwinner to survive. As well, a man’s status is ultimately determined by his desirability to women, and because women who seek mates tend to prefer men who are in better positions than they are, the prestige of many occupations has necessarily and permanently lowered (especially with the loss of many well-paying working class jobs in favor of low-paying service jobs—jobs which were the bread and butter of those with only average IQs).
Couple this with the arrival of birth control, which made it unnecessary for marriage to be a prerequisite for sex (hence, the sexual revolution). As such, men now have access to sex without marriage, and as such, many no longer get married. Further still, considering the poorer employment prospects of lower class men, they are much less reliable providers, providing lower class women with a strong disincentive to marry the men they have available to them.
Conservative commentators have blamed the welfare state for this problem as well, as both men and women who do not participate in the labor force have another option for survival (i.e., sit at home and collect welfare). But, in reality (at least for Whites), welfare is only tangential to what is going on. The aforementioned factors—marriage not being a prerequisite for sex and women being able to support themselves—are true for upper-class Whites as well as for lower-class ones, and the upper class’s behavior hasn’t changed much between 1960 and 2010. As well, the lower class of yesteryear was much more well behaved. Another, much more important factor is at play.
That culprit is the very opportunity that made America great. In the past, many were poor not because they weren’t smart or because they weren’t the most industrious, but because they lacked opportunity to advance. As well, many were in the upper classes not so much because they were smart and studious, but because they were the beneficiaries of nepotism. But we have made great strides to give everyone an opportunity to achieve. The modernization of the rural areas, the War on Poverty, scholarships for gifted students, and the like all have allowed smart and studious individuals, wherever they may be, to achieve (Murray himself, from a poor small town in Iowa, is one of these). And when these newly accomplished individuals settled, they tended to do so in upper-class neighborhoods with other upper-class individuals from all over, with whom they now tended to marry more often (a process known as assortative mating). This more perfect meritocracy means that today’s poor are not poor because they lack opportunities to advance, as is the current mainstream narrative, but because they—by in large—lack the ability to succeed, because they are lacking in IQ, work ethic, self-discipline, or any or all of the above. Assortative mating means that individuals in either class pass on their superior or inferior genes to their children, fating them to similar paths. In short, the classes have become castes.
Today’s lower caste is comprised overwhelmingly of individuals who are of lower average IQ and lower impulse control, with much shorter time horizons (that is, consideration for the future vs immediate wants). In the past, these were individuals who pursued a comparitively “r-strategy”—more offspring with less investment in each; in essence, quantity over quality. Back then these individuals married not because of enormously better moral character, but because it was a necessity to get sex (for men), or to get support (for women). I’ve seen many commentators suggest ways to encourage those in the lower class to get married, but in this day and age there really isn’t any way of doing that. Neither birth control nor working women are going to go away—nor should they. Further, even if there was more marriage among those in the lower class, the next generation, having inherited all the same traits, would be no different. The poor outcomes of children who were raised in fatherless homes stem not from the much maligned single motherhood—in and of itself—but rather from the traits these children inherited from their parents, who were the type of individuals likely to have their children end up being raised by single mothers.
Which finally brings us back to marriage itself, and its role in politics and population. Among Whites, being unmarried is indeed associated with lower fertility.
As mentioned, some of the difference is related to location and politics; women in Blue States spend fewer of their childbearing years married than those in Red States. But why this dichotomy? And which causes which? Indeed, overall, Red States are far less crowded than Blue States, but is this the reason that people in these different areas behave differently? This is, in fact, at most only one reason among many. For one, remember that there are ethnic differences between Red and Blue States, that is, Whites in Blue States are different from the Whites in Red States. This goes back to the different parts of the British Isles from which the original settlers hail.
But there must be more going on than this. For one, the early British settlers have been augmented by other Europeans, especially Germans, Scandinavians, Catholic Irish, various Slavs, and (in the Northeast anyway) Italians. The political lean of the different parts of the country can’t easily be correlated to that region’s precise ethnic makeup. As well, as Razib Khan has found, Whites in different parts of America seem to have similar IQ profiles, despite their ancestry. Judging from the map of political divisions, it can be assumed that they have similar political orientations as well.
To disentangle some of the factors involved, I did my own inquiry into the General Social Survey (GSS) data.
First interesting discovery: in America, most of the loss of White fertility stems from liberals:
Here are the mean number of children of non-Hispanic White Americans, aged 44-55, from the 2000-2010 GSS data (N = 2,387). This is roughly the Baby Boomer generation, and this indicates that of that group, only those who were conservative to some degree bred at replacement-level or greater.
To see if this pattern also holds for the current crop, I looked at the younger cohort as well:
This is non-Hispanic White Americans, aged 30-43, from the 2000-2010 GSS data (N = 2,450). Of course, this comes with the caveat that people in this age group probably aren’t quite done having children, but the overall pattern is pretty clear and striking, especially in comparison with the earlier generation. Political attitudes (as with most everything) are highly heritable, so this means that liberals are slowly breeding themselves out of the population. (Out of this sample, those who are “moderate” to “conservative” make up 71% of the total.) I’m sure my conservative readers are rejoicing with this; the Gen-X’ers show that the America of the future belongs to conservatives.
Second interesting discovery: IQ has a negative impact on fertility for liberals and has a positive impact on fertility for conservatives.
I wanted to see how fertility is affected by IQ, so using the WORDSUM measure to gauge intelligence, this is how the last chart breaks down:
This is the previous group, non-Hispanic White Americans, age 30-43, whose mean number of offspring are broken down by WORDSUM score and political orientation (N = 883). Sample sizes get fairly small here, but an overall pattern is evident. For all groups, those with WORDSUM scores of 7-8 are the most numerous, but the ratio of 6:7-8 steadily shrinks as you go Liberal -> Conservative. As we see here, for the liberals who are reproducing, it is the dumbest ones who are breeding most. The opposite is true for conservatives. Not only will conservatives come to numerically dominate liberals in the future, conservatives will soon intellectually dominate liberals as well.
So why is this? The first obvious factor is education. People tend to delay childbirth while pursuing higher education, especially women (as recently discussed by The Audacious Epigone). Here are a few of my own charts examining this phenomenon:
These are the average number of children for Americans age 30-43, broken down by sex, political orientation, and WORDSUM score. In order to obtain adequate sample sizes, I had to use the 1990-2010 GSS data (I also excluded males with WORDSUM scores >6 with only “junior college” because of small sample sizes). The data indicates several interesting trends:
- Liberals have fewer children than conservatives and moderates at all levels of education and IQ (IQ at least as differentiated as I have here)
- Education negatively impacts women’s fertility all around
- Education has an approximately neutral effect on male fertility
The last point is probably due to the increased earnings afforded to men from obtaining higher education.
The low liberal fertility rate is still very evident (the apparently fecund unintelligent liberals make up a distinct minority of all liberals).
This is the highest degree obtained by non-Hispanic White women, ages 30-43, from 1990-2010 data, of WORDSUM score ≥ 7, by political orientation. Here we see that liberal women, even when (somewhat) controlling for IQ, are far more likely to seek higher education.
This may be related to these data:
This is the percentage of non-Hispanic White women, age 18-30, WORDSUM ≥ 7, who were married, from the 1995-2010 data. I’m limiting my inquiry here to the right half of the bell curve to control for IQ, to a degree. Liberal women are far less likely to marry before age 30. The pattern is similar for those with a WORDSUM of 6 or less. (Interestingly, if I include the 1990-1994 data, marriage rates increase by about 6 percent for each group. Young women are marrying considerably less than they once were).
So far it seems we can blame a good portion of the lower fertility of liberals on the facts their women tend to pursue more education and marry later. (They are also, by the way, less likely to remain married and more likely to have never married at all, according to what I’ve seen of the earlier generation).
But as noted, there are regional differences to these behaviors. So to examine that, I looked at these rates as broken down by region in the country. The states included in each region are the same as Razib’s, with the exception that I’ve separated the Mountain states from those of the West Coast, as there are distinct cultural differences between those two areas. Here’s what I found:
This is the previous chart, only broken down by region. As before, I’ve used those with a WORDSUM of 6-10 to equalize the IQ differences. Sample sizes get pretty small, but a pattern is quite clear. While marriage rates do differ in the different regions—being low in the Northeast and being higher in the Midwest and the South, marriage rates for liberal women age 30 or under are low across the board. Note that the pattern is similar if women of all IQs are included (which includes the high marriage rates of conservative women in the Midwest and the South; the marriage rate for liberals on the West Coast falls to levels similar for liberals in other parts of the country, indicating that the high number here is probably due to small sample size).
But one question can’t helped but be asked, and that is does marriage make a woman more conservative, as Steve Sailer indicated, or are conservative women just more likely to get married earlier? Indeed, this question prevails all throughout this analysis of the differences in behavior by political orientation. To attempt to get a hint on the answer to this chicken-and-the-egg question, I’ve looked at even younger women:
While sample sizes now get very small, it still seems that the more conservative women are more likely to be already married in this age group, particularly in the middle of the country. Once again, the pattern is similar if women of all IQs are included, except that somewhat more women in the South are already married in all the middle categories.
But what about the urban-suburban-rural divide, which is an important feature of Sailer’s “Affordable Family Formation” theory? Could it be that liberals marry later because they tend to live in expensive areas? Almost certainly that is a factor in the coastal metropolises of the Northeast and the West Coast, but I also looked into this:
This is the breakdown of the respondents, women, ages 18-30, WORDSUM 6-10, by the type of area they live in, as defined in the GSS (they are: the 12 largest statistical metropolitan areas, 13th-100th largest statistical metropolitan areas, 12 largest suburban areas, 13th-100th largest suburbs, other urban, and other rural) with the Northeast and the West Coast excluded. While the prevalence of liberals appears higher in suburban areas, they are not enourmously more numerous there as one might expect (however, if I include the Northeast and West Coast, the fraction of liberals in the largest metropolises and all urban areas soars, as to be expected). Unfortunately, this is not quite fine-grained enough to declare that liberals and conservatives are more thoroughly mixed in the middle of the country, as it could well be true that liberals are concentrated in the denser cores of these regions. Perhaps liberals do indeed prefer to live in denser regions. However, there is another, deeper reason for the urban-rural divide between liberals and conservatives. This will bring us towards why these differences exist in the first place. To see this, we turn our attention back across the Atlantic.
The Whites in the U.S. have a much higher TFR than most any European country. As well, Europeans overall are much further to the Left than Americans. I became interested in this when I noted that most of the ethnic groups of Americans—particularly the ones away from urban areas—seem far more to the Right than their brethren in the Old Countries. This is evident when one looks at these maps of the distribution of American ethnic groups and compares them with the 2008 presidential election results. Particularly interesting is the conservative nature of huge swaths of the Midwest and the Upper Plains/Mountain West. These places, while receiving some settlers ultimately originating from the Anglo-Scottish border regions and other Scotch-Irish (the same people who settled Appalachia), are also suffused with large numbers of other Europeans, such Germans and Scandinavians, people who today aren’t exactly known to be raving right-wingers.
The answer lies in a very important distinction between Europe and the U.S.: the latter was recently colonized by a population of immigrants. In Europe, you need to go back to Antiquity to get much in the way of large movements of people. European peoples, for the most part, have pretty much been exactly where they were for a very long time. Little by way of new land was opened by newcomers; the frontiers were pretty much gone from Europe. America, on the other hand, was to its early settlers a bountiful land full of possibilities. The early colonist came and spread across the land very quickly, easily displacing the earlier inhabitants. This is because the early settlers bred like rabbits. It seems this is a general rule for humans—if not all life—when expanding into new territory: amp up breeding rates—reproduce younger—push outward faster. The fact that they were displacing the Native Americans may or may not been an incentive to push this process along. The rapid increase of a population when it moves into an area that it did not previously inhabit sounds like a great opportunity for evolution by natural selection to work its magic.
When new land is abundant, and “family formation” is relatively easy, which types of individuals are selected for? Yup, those who married young and had lots of children (the fairly harsh and physically demanding nature of the American frontier ensured that paternal investment needed to remain high, such that stable marriage was important). In short, people who are “family oriented” are selected for. Evidence for this process has been found among the French Canadians. On the island of Île aux Coudres, in the 140 years from 1799 to 1940, the average age when women had their first child fell from 26 to 22 years old.
This sounds a lot like the dichotomy between liberals and conservatives in America. Liberals are concentrated in old-colonial states, in places without much space to expand into. The reddest states on the other hand are areas with wide open stretches of land. Conservatives represent the “family oriented” progeny of pioneers. It is this that is perhaps the largest contributing factor to the baby gap that Steve Sailer discovered. Not only are people living in blue states discouraged from breeding by the high cost of living, they are less inclined to do so because their ancestors lived in areas that had no room for expansion for a long time. We can see what by looking the fertility rates of liberal (and sparsely populated) northern New England. The U.S. states of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire have plenty of land and low land values, but aren’t very fecund. These places do not have much money, as this area lacks large cities. But then, this is also true of the empty Western states, such as Idaho, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The fertility in these Western states doesn’t seem to be so encumbered. The population in upper New England is largely composed of the original colonial stock; they lost their fast-breeding inklings long ago (especially when you consider that many of the fast-breeders would have Gone West—also see photo).
So where did liberals come from? Liberal-minded people (and by extension, slow-breeders in general, when Eastern Europe and East Asia are also considered) descend from people who have stayed put for generations—or at the very least, never moved into previously empty lands. Under such conditions—which, prior to industrialization was Malthusian—rapid breeders were not favored. Rather efficient competitors—those who maximize their resources before starting a family—were selected for. This is especially true of Northwestern Europeans, who married late, after amassing a reasonable amount of resources (a trade, for example—or a decent plot of land to farm). In short, they established themselves economically before starting a family. In the past, many never even married (as much as 10%). It is this reason that liberals are more apt to pursue education; they are continuing a strategy of securing economic viability before breeding.
East of the Hajnal line, while marriage tended to occur much earlier, economic viability was still important, as young adults had to await their allotted share of land before marrying and starting a family. Likely, they evolved a similar version of this need to feel economically secure before procreating.
Worse still, because for these extreme “K-strategists”, procreation was often a given consequence of marriage, all sorts of seemingly fitness-reducing behaviors were allowed to evolve—such as a conscious desire to not reproduce (an option that really wasn’t available short of remaining celibate), in some cases a reduced to eliminated sex drive (to keep the number of children manageable), even a reduced desire for traditional marriage (many of the “anti-family” attitudes of liberals that conservatives hate).
In today’s world, liberals and other slow-breeding peoples are at a distinct evolutionary disadvantage. The availability of birth control has furthered this process by making procreation a choice. And for this, liberals often prefer to wait for a time when things are “right”; for many, this time never comes.
In a population without new land being opened up, this process remains in a stable negative feedback loop: if slow-breeders dwindle in the population, population declines, fast-breeders come in and take their place, population increases and the land fills, and slow breeders once again become favored.
Of course, the last part of that cycle no longer operates in today’s world. In the past, fast-breeders were disadvantaged in crowded lands because the situation was Malthusian; food was such a scare resource that slow-breeders, who prepared for raising a family, were successful. Of course, this process, over long periods of time, gave us modern intelligent populations. It’s unclear if slow-breeders will be favored again in the foreseeable future.
But overall, this is why I’ve come to be less concerned about the problem of sub-replacement fertility—in and of itself, at least. Fertility is low among high-IQ groups because the lands that they inhabit are, in a manner of speaking, “full”—at least, at maximum to be able to support everyone at the standard of living modern people expect (with current technology levels and economic vitality). There’s no room to for everyone to be assured their own house with a white picket fence and their 2.3 kids. The “affordable family formation” theory is quite correct about this part. Without being assured the ability to achieve a reasonable slice of the American dream, many people put off marriage and children, especially those most prone to do so.
The colonial fertility boom and eventual bust cycle can even be seen in the 20th century in America:
This is a graph of the birth rate (not the TFR) in the U.S. throughout much of the 20th century, from Wikipedia. Here we see the generation trough of the Great Depression, the Baby Boom of the Post War era, and the modern crash of the birth rate. The Depression was a time when marriage was delayed due to the difficulty in achieving economic viability, leading to a drop in the numbers of births. However, many of the children who survived this period benefited greatly when the economic vitality of the WWII-era and following began. Americans once again began colonizing new lands—this time, it was the newly opened up suburbs. America’s manufacturing base (a sector it monopolized thanks to the rest of the developed world lying in ruins after the war) provided the economic fuel during this expansion period. Americans took advantage of this prosperity to breed prodigiously during this time. Indeed, it is this period that defined the “American Dream” in the modern national consciousness. And it is this time that American conservatives long for—perfectly understandably considering prosperity and massive gains in standard of living. But they long for this time without realizing it was necessarily temporary.
One of the reasons for the necessarily fleeting nature of this era was that once again, the land became fully settled. The suburbs expanded to the limit of where it was economically and logistically practical to inhabit (and they continue to push against these limits today). Again, the land filled up, and access to “affordable living” necessarily declined. This would have eventually happen even without the presence of minorities, as is occurring today in Australia.
I mentioned the expected standard of living. K-strategists consider the effort and cost required to obtain resources. They are above all competitive and want to give their children the best edge possible (so their children can have a leg up on their mission to obtain resources for their own children, continuing the cycle). In today’s world, that includes lengthy educations, cars, clothes, expensive electronics, and more. This increases the cost of raising children. This is exacerbated by the need for status (which serves as a mental cue that one has accumulated sufficient resources, as well as giving offspring a push). Economist Robert H. Frank has often discussed this problem (as Steve Sailer discusses here). Today, we are over-saturated by conspicuous consumption, and even if we try to escape it, advertisers see to it that we don’t. In the past, people were far less aware of what those above them on the totem pole had. Today we have a much better picture—which we literally get by watching TV. This factors into the expected “essentials” of life, and the rub comes in when our incomes don’t increase to pay for the goodies our modern society provides.
In this way, inequality may be a factor in driving fertility booms and busts (or at least an accidental side effect). During expansion periods, everyone tends to be on more equal footing, and reality isn’t much exceeded by expectations. During “saturation” periods—at least this one—the “expected” life seems permanently out of grasp for many, driving the fertility down turn.
As I mentioned, I wasn’t as concerned about this any more. This is because eventually, as this process runs its course, the country begins to depopulate, and with it, the cost of living decreases (as well, wages should rise as fewer workers become available to fill payrolls). This would eventually allow fertility to recover—and not lead to extinction of high-IQ groups as commonly feared in the HBD world.
This hypothesis predicts that in places that have been experiencing a population decline due to low fertility, population should start to rebound. To test this, I looked at the areas where this is likely to be occurring: Eastern Europe and (to a less extent) East Asia.
Eastern Europe suffers from abysmal fertility rates. Presumably, prospects for the average person there, even in the higher IQ countries, have been so bad that many people forgo marriage and children entirely. Russia’s population has been in decline for some time. After a while however, its fertility should rebound, as once inhabited lands sit empty and hence cost of living falls. And it appears that this may be the case:
These are graphs of the population over time in Poland and in Ukraine, as well as the TFR of Russia. In all three countries (in addition to Belarus), TFRs—after hitting a nadir in the early 2000s—have rebounded (in the case of Russia, considerably). Eastern Europe is a great place to look because it lacks large numbers of immigrants to interfere with this process or to mask the trends of the native populations (Russia, while having a large number of minorities, seems to be experiencing a fertility increase for ethnic Russians as well, as seen in the graph). This seems to support the contention that the decline of fertility in the developed world is only temporary. This process does not yet seem to be occurring in East Asia. These countries are so crowded that it may take quite awhile still for fertility to recover.
The population would be different, however, as slow-breeders would give way to fast-breeding “family oriented” individuals. The new population would be far more conservative than it once was.
The problem, of course, is that this process doesn’t work if you have high-fertility immigrants coming in during the fertility downswing. That only leads to population replacement, as Mexicans are doing in States, and as Muslims are doing in Europe. Mexican fertility in the U.S. has been very high because these Mexicans are colonists; they are opening up new territory and have been breeding greatly to fill it.
Fortunately, as Mexican are no longer net immigrating, their fertility appears to be slowing accordingly. However, it is still high enough that they will eventually displace White Americans throughout much of the West, if all holds steady.
This is the greatest bone of contention that the HBD community has against those in the mainstream. They decry liberals and their policies that accept these outsiders into our ranks, at a rate where they can actually displace White Americans.
What most HBD’ers don’t seem to realize is that their very subject matter explains why liberals are this way. NW Europeans and their descendants are, unlike most people in the world, highly outbred. Looking out for the little guy and seeing to the welfare of all is a successful strategy when the entire nation is your extended family (and are inclined to one day repay the favor). The genes for reciprocal altruism (as opposed to the kin-altruism that evolved elsewhere) that evolved in NW Europeans don’t discriminate (a word which I use ironically here) as strongly against non-kin, since in their ancestral societies, it wasn’t as necessary since everyone was essentially kin. Liberals, essentially, can’t help being liberal.
Of course, that’s not a bad thing. For one, the powers that be today are much kinder to the rest of the world than some less altruistic groups, say Eastern Europeans or East Asians, would be if had their way (but then again, the genes lost during WWII might have something to do with that). As well, within “socialist” core Western European countries, life is pretty good, immigrant problem notwithstanding. Since, among the native population, fertility likely is not dysgenic (another fear about the effect of welfare states), liberal democratic socialist systems aren’t all that bad (if you could keep troublesome outsiders out, that is).
In addition to population replacement by low-IQ groups, dysgenic fertility in the native population is the other fear about social welfare policies: they undo the process that allowed high IQ to evolve. The underclass enjoys a much higher survival and reproductive rate than it once did, thanks to comforts and provisions of modern society. Today, it doesn’t seem we are losing much by way of IQ, even though we may have lost a bit since the advent of industrialization. Conservatives, implicitly or explicitly, rail against welfare in part for this reason. Any thoughts of returning to a “welfareless” society would simply return us to the state of affairs during pre-industrial times, when the poor and the downtrodden just simply died (or of course, resorted to crime). We can’t go back to that in a civilized society.
However, any dysgenic process could easily be stopped and reversed, if need be. Here I begin my discussion of possible solutions to the problems we do face. A solution to dysgenic processes is called eugenics, of course. Unfortunately, in the modern climate of denial of the realities of race and biological heredity, anything with the name “eugenics” on it is unlikely to go very far at all. This would even be true even if it was implemented the correct way: in a voluntary, non-coercive manner, fueled by incentives.
But a much more palatable, politically do-able version already exists: it’s called Planned Parenthood. It’s a rather simple and low-cost solution, really. Planned Parenthood programs could be expanded and heavily marketed in underclass areas (both White and non-White), and could offer (and promote) plenty of free contraception, especially injectable long-term versions. In addition, an information campaign detailing the consequences of having children while broke could be run. These could be done in tandem with welfare reform, in which welfare didn’t pay for ongoing broods of children, but offered plenty of benefits to childless single recipients (to encourage them to use the contraception and stay childless). And for those worried about the creation of perverse incentives against work, I favor a negative income tax of sorts that subsidized anyone who held down even the most menial jobs, which would go the greatest lengths to raise the prestige of the working man.
I will note that it is the Republicans who are interferring with these things.
But then that leaves the issue of immigrants. Small numbers of immigrants from almost any part of the world are of little concern and could easily be accommodated, and indeed are beneficial (especially considering that legal immigrants tend to be selected for higher IQ/ability). However, when numbers get large enough to rival the existing population, problems can result. This is true—to an extent—for East and South Asians as well, who have been slowly colonizing the West Coast:
The same is true of Muslims in Western Europe. Each of these groups presents certain challenges. Mexicans and Muslims bring their low average IQ and all the problems that that brings, and all of these groups are more clannish, less altruistic, and less able to assimilate into Western society (Muslims especially so).
It would seem to be wise to limit immigration, particularly of these groups. Reducing the allotted quota from certain countries seems prudent. At the same time, welfare benefits should be limited to new immigrants (legal immigrants already here—particularly those who have been here for a long time—should be exempt from any changes). It is also important to seriously curtail the ability of immigrants from certain parts of the world to import their whole families, which is often a problem thanks to regression to mean (in terms of personality traits as well with IQ). Relatives of naturalized U.S. citizens, particularly from the aforementioned parts of the world, should have to go through a screening process similar to brand new immigrants, and should be subject to numerical limits assigned to each country.
In addition to screening for IQ/ability, immigrants should be screened for their ability to assimilate. Many immigrants from all parts of the world—including Muslim countries—blend well into American society. Many are intellectual and progressive and come here to escape the more backwards aspects of their homes countries. These immigrants are much more desirable. This can be most accomplished by applying the aforementioned screening process to the relatives of naturalized citizens trying to move to the States.
I’m generally of the mind that any immigrant to any new land should expect to assimilate to the customs of their new home. This applies to Americans going abroad as well.
These steps should reduce the impact from Asian and Muslim immigrants, as well as legal immigrants from Latin America and the rest of the Third World.
But as for illegal immigrants from Latin America, different measures are needed. First is the issue of the illegal immigrants we already have. They should be addressed in one way or another. One measure is a sorting system, such as The DREAM Act. If somewhat modified, it would be quite useful in this regard. Requiring educational accomplishment screens for IQ and work ethic, and surely anyone willing to do a tour in the military, is good. Anyone willing to take a bullet or a grenade for America has earned the right to stay. The measure should be applicable to only those illegal immigrants already here, but of course, picking out long-time illegals from newcomers isn’t easy. Hence, if illegal immigration rates begin to creep up after the act’s passage, it can and should be repealed.
Second, for the rest, more aggressive measures targeting employers of illegal immigrants are called for. Illegal Mexican laborers do perform important tasks in agriculture, but this is partly the situation because illegal Mexican laborers always been available. Making it harder to hire illegal Mexicans will eventually force farmers to adapt, even if it does temporarily drive up the price of food. In general, if being an illegal immigrant is made less appealing, even fewer will come.
As for second and third+ generation Mexicans who descend from illegal immigrants, the previously mentioned process of welfare/Planned Parenting system seems prudent. The idea is to strongly discourage high fertility among this group, so that their numbers will naturally decrease and their quality can improve.
While there are problems in the Western World, I don’t see the future as necessarily being bleak, as others do. Encouraging signs—such the aforementioned Mexican immigration/fertility trends—are taking place. Black Americans as well have limited their fertility to only replacement levels. There are steps that could plausibly come to fruition to stem the problems we do have.
Of course, one ongoing problem is the loss of White liberals from the population, particularly the intellectuals. As a liberal myself, I am dismayed about this fact. I can only hope the few liberals who are reading this blog take this as an alarm bell that they need to boost their fertility, for the sake of their own future, and the for the sake of having any hope of retaining any sort of voice in the political process. I can also only hope that these liberals accept the reality of HBD and learn to modify their policy accordingly, and perhaps have the Serenity to accept the things they cannot change, but keep courage to change the things they can.