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“Demographic Problems”?


The idea of a “deliberate attempt” [to take over European countries] is too idiotic and racist to merit comment. Reminds me of writings of progressives a century ago that the evil Chinese are secretly attempting to infiltrate into the US and take it over, so we should therefore use bacteriological warfare to exterminate the population of China. On the other hand, the demographic observations have some validity.

It’s generally true that birth rate declines as societies become more industrialized — specifically, when women are granted more educational opportunities and freedom. It’s also true that after having crushed Africa under its boot for centuries, Europeans are facing great pressures to flee to the countries that enriched themselves in this and other ways. Rather like Mexico-Central America and the US. It’s surely more than accident that in the same year when he instituted NAFTA over popular objection, Clinton also initiated the militarization of the previously porous Mexican border, presumably in anticipation of the effects of NAFTA on poor Mexicans.

For liberal and progressive individuals who are concerned about the growth of fundamentalism, there are many options. One would be to act to address the causes. There is a very good chance, for example, that offering opportunities to women (including education) will reduce the birth-rate that concerns them — and that should be done quite apart from such likely consequences. That’s within their reach, and it’s only the beginning. Another would be to do something about their own societies, which are among the most extreme fundamentalist in the world. I haven’t seen polls in Iran or Morocco, but I rather doubt that the proportion of the population that believe in anything comparable to Rapture, or miracles, or creation of the world 6000 years ago, etc., approaches that of the richest and most powerful country in the world.

…It’s much more extreme in Israel, where there has always been enormous concern for years about “the demographic problem,” as it’s called — too many non-Jews in a Jewish state. That lies behind a lot of policies from the “transfer” proposals in the pre-State period, to military actions, to state plans right to the present. The current US-Israeli programs to expand settlement in the West Bank and incorporate its valuable lands and resources in Israel, while leaving the hell-hole that Gaza has become, are based in no small part on these concerns.

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