This was in yesterday’s The Australian.
Article reprinted in entirety on page 2 with an editorial comment. WARNING: parental discretion advised.
Hat tip: Reader Mike Perry
Editorial comment: The following from Steyn’s piece was an upsetting reminder:
When the fastest-breeding demographic group on the planet is also the one most resistant to the pieties of the social-democratic state that’s a profound challenge. Yes, yes, I know Islam is very varied… and the Khartoum Feminist Publishing Collective now has so many members they’ve rented lavish new offices above the clitorectomy clinic.
I was in on the delivery of a mother who’d been butchered in this way by Islamic animals and then had her labia sewn shut. She was not a candidate for an epidural, because nurses couldn’t insert a foley catheter. The repair after delivery wasn’t pretty either.
Mark Steyn: Salute Danna Vale
MY interest in demography dates back to September 11, 2001, when a demographic group I hadn’t hitherto given much thought managed to get my attention. I don’t mean the, ah, unfortunate business with the planes and buildings and so forth, but the open cheering of the attacks by their co-religionists in Montreal, Yorkshire, Copenhagen and elsewhere. How many people knew there were fast-growing and culturally confident Muslim populations in Scandinavia?
Demography doesn’t explain everything but it accounts for a good 90 per cent. The “who” is the best indicator of the what-where-when-and-why. Go on, pick a subject. Will Japan’s economy return to the heady days of the 1980s when US businesses cowered in terror? Answer: No. Japan is exactly the same as it was in its heyday except for one fact: it stopped breeding and its population aged. Will China be the hyperpower of the 21st century? Answer: No. Its population will get old before it gets rich.
Check back with me in a century and we’ll see who’s right on that one. But here’s one we know the answer to: Why is this newspaper published in the language of a tiny island on the other side of the earth? Why does Australia have an English Queen, English common law, English institutions? Because England was the first nation to conquer infant mortality.
By 1820 medical progress had so transformed British life that half the population was under the age of 15. Britain had the manpower to take, hold, settle and administer huge chunks of real estate around the planet. Had, say, China or Russia been first to overcome childhood mortality, the modern world would be very different.
What country today has half of its population under the age of 15? Italy has 14 per cent, the UK 18 per cent, Australia 20 per cent – and Saudi Arabia has 39 per cent, Pakistan 40 per cent and Yemen 47 per cent. Little Yemen, like little Britain 200 years ago, will send its surplus youth around the world – one way or another.
So, whether or not her remarks were “outrageous” (the Democrats’ Lyn Allison), “insensitive” (the Greens’ Rachel Siewert), “offensively discriminatory” (Sydney’s Daily Telegraph) and “bigoted” (this newspaper), I salute Danna Vale. You don’t have to agree with her argument that Australia’s aborting itself out of recognition and that therefore Islam will inherit by default to think it’s worth asking a couple of questions:
* Is abortion in society’s interest?
* Can a society become more Muslim in its demographic character without also becoming more Muslim in its political and civil character?
The first one’s easy: One can understand that 17-year-old Glenys working the late shift at Burger King and knocked up by some bloke who scrammed 10 minutes after conception may believe it’s in her interest to exercise “a woman’s right to choose”, but the state has absolutely no interest in encouraging women in general to exercise that choice.
Quite the opposite: given that today’s wee bairns are tomorrow’s funders of otherwise unsustainable social programs, all responsible governments should be seriously natalist. The reason Europe, Russia and Japan are doomed boils down to a big lack of babies. Abortion isn’t solely responsible for that but it’s certainly part of the problem.
In attempting to refute Vale’s argument, this newspaper praised the nation’s maidenhood for lying back and thinking of Australia and getting the national fertility rate up from 1.73 births per woman in 2001 to 1.77, “well above rates in developed nations such as Italy, Spain, Japan, Germany and South Korea”.
Well, pop the champagne corks! That’s like saying Mark Latham’s political prospects are better than Harold Holt’s. The countries cited are going out of business. Seventeen European nations are now at what demographers call “lowest-low” fertility – 1.3 births per woman, the point at which you’re so far down the death spiral you can’t pull out.
In theory, those countries will find their population halving every 40 years or so. In practice, it will be quicker than that, as the savvier youngsters figure there’s no point sticking around a country that’s turned into one big undertaker’s waiting room: not every pimply burger flipper is going to want to work himself into the ground to pay for new shuffleboard courts at the old folks’ home.
In 2005, some 137 million babies were born around the globe. That 137 million is the maximum number of 20-year-olds who’ll be around in 2025. There are no more, no other sources; that’s it, barring the introduction of mass accelerated cloning (which is by no means an impossibility). Who that 137 million are will determine the character of our world.
The shape’s already becoming clear. Take those Danish cartoons. Every internet blogger wants to take a stand on principle alongside plucky little Denmark. But there’s only five million of them. Whereas there are 20 million Muslims in Europe – officially. That’s the equivalent of the Danes plus the Irish plus the Belgians plus the Estonians.
You do the mathematics. If you want the reality of Europe in a nutshell, walk into a supermarket belonging to the French chain Carrefour. You’ll be greeted by a notice in Arabic: “Dear Clients, We express solidarity with the Islamic and Egyptian community. Carrefour doesn’t carry Danish products.” It’s strictly business: they have three Danish customers and a gazillion Muslim ones. Retail sales-wise, they know which way their bread’s buttered and it isn’t with Lurpak.
That’s Vale’s second point. If a society chooses to outsource its breeding, who your suppliers are is not unimportant. “I’ve heard those very silly remarks made about immigrants to this country since I was a child,” says Allison.
“If it wasn’t the Greeks, it was the Italians or it was the Vietnamese.”
Those are races or nationalities. But Islam is a religion, and an explicitly political one – unlike the birthplace of your grandfather it’s not something you leave behind in the old country. Indeed, for its adherents in the West, it becomes their principal expression – a Pan-Islamic identity that transcends borders.
Instead of a melting pot, there’s conversion: A Scot can marry a Greek or a Botswanan, but when a Scot marries a Yemeni it’s because the former has become a Muslim. In defiance of normal immigration patterns, the host country winds up assimilating with Islam: French municipal swimming baths introduce non-mixed bathing sessions; a Canadian Government report recommends the legalisation of polygamy; Seville removes King Ferdinand III as patron of the annual fiesta because he played too, um, prominent a role in taking back Spain from the Moors.
When the fastest-breeding demographic group on the planet is also the one most resistant to the pieties of the social-democratic state that’s a profound challenge. Yes, yes, I know Islam is very varied, and Riyadh has a vibrant gay scene, and the Khartoum Feminist Publishing Collective now has so many members they’ve rented lavish new offices above the clitorectomy clinic. I don’t claim to have all the answers, except when I’m being interviewed live on TV. But that’s better than claiming, as most of Vale’s disparagers do, that there aren’t even any questions.
Where she goes wrong is in consigning the Lucky Country to the same trash can of history as Old Europe. For Australia, this is not hail and farewell – or, as the Romans put it, ave atque (Danna) vale. Japan is unicultural: a native population ageing and dying. Europe is bicultural: a fading elderly population yielding to a young surging Islam.
But Australia, like the US, is genuinely multicultural, at least in the sense that its immigration is not from a single overwhelming source. The remorseless transformation of Eutopia into Eurabia is already prompting the Dutch to abandon their country in record numbers, for Canada and New Zealand.
In the years ahead, North America and Australia will have the pick of European talent and a chance to learn the lessons of its self-extinction, as they apply to abortion and much else.
In the ’70s and ’80, Muslims had children – those self-detonating Islamists in London and Gaza and Bali are a literal baby boom – while westerners took all those silly books about overpopulation seriously. A people that won’t multiply can’t go forth or go anywhere. Those who do will shape the world we live in.
Mark Steyn, a columnist with the Telegraph Group, is a regular contributor to The Australian’s Opinion page.