A few years ago I was at a Rainbow Gathering in Lithuania. I met a nice Australian guy. He was very princely and Anglo-Saxon, and was very much a fan of nature, botany and ecology. I remember he had a habit of tasting every piece of vegetation he found to check if it was edible. If it wasn’t, he told me, he would notice and spit it out. He told me that his goal was to find a nice girl to shack up with and start a homestead. Great idea, I thought.
About a year ago, I randomly noticed him as a mutual friend of David Bryson, the former guy behind NJ’s neo-shamanic EVOLVEFEST turned raging Neo-Nazi and Trumpist.
I messaged the Australian to say hello. Turns out he found a Magyar wife and settled in Siberia.
Fast forward to a few days ago. He posted a seemingly well-researched position of his about a) environmental destruction and b) global overpopulation. He insinuates that the “elite” – to quote him – Australians do not deserve the barren Outback as their backyard, and that it should be made to bloom for the re-settlement of one or two hundred million people from crowded Africa or South Asia. I might be not be representing his proposal exactly, but this is a fair representation.
Making the desert bloom sounds like good, ecological fun, but doing so for the purpose of flooding native Australians, whom you pejoratively refer to as “elites”, with hundreds of millions of foreigners is a non-good, Stalinesque idea. It involves moral risk on many levels, and wouldn’t address the root of the overpopulation – fertility rates.
More, native Australians should not be expected to bear the burden of other peoples’ preferences for large families over low population densities and intact natural landscapes.
When you talk of moving people around, you need to realize that this is not the 19th century anymore, and you have no more claim over, say, Africans than you do over native Australians. They have a right to maintain the world that they know, and you have no more right to criticize them than you do to criticize Indians and Africans for having large families. In fact, you might have less right.
Realistically, the world fertility rate needs to come into lockstep at 2.0. This is the only solution to the population problem.
He responds, arguing that he by no means meant to propose an authoritarian takeover and handover of the Outback.
The UN has a rich history of under-estimating global population trends and having to revise upward. There is little reason to think that moving hundreds of millions of people from one continent to another will do anything but allow for that many additional hundreds of millions of people to fill their place. Of course, I may well be wrong. But it’s enough of a possibility to warrant proceeding with extreme caution.
Such population growth predictions, as well as your general sentiment, hinges on the dubious but attractive idea that all people and peoples are socially, culturally, and economically interchangeable and can thought of fairly as points on a graph. What is your basis for this belief? Was it some feeling you got when you gazed across the table at your non-white (but deeply exceptional and/or privileged) peers at a Columbia seminar? Did you (uncritically) assimilate Boas/Levi-Strauss, go on a romp around the world, and then decide that you understand the essential sameness of mankind?
(You’d be right about the essential sameness of mankind, but that’s not the whole picture.)
I loathe Western extravagance perhaps as much as you do*, yet you seem far too comfortable speaking with the royal “we” pronoun in ways which I do not. And it breaks my heart, because it implies a futility of human history. This mentality is the same as some 18th century Anglo aristocrat making deals with Brahmins to extract natural resources. “They don’t need those resources the way we do. We have so much in the way of moral and tech innovation to offer in exchange!”
“Look at how those Native Americans under-utilize their land while poor Londoners are packed like sardines!”
Maybe “Stalinesque” was unfair, but IMO the lines do blur. Let’s say you become a prominent statesman of the global village in 20 years, and you convince 51% or more of Australians to allow for the resettlement of 100 or 200 million Indians or Africans. That would mean that a whopping ~40% have fallen to the wayside. What’s more is that a great deal of recent literature, such as what might be found in Bartels’ “Unequal Democracy”, suggests that even democratic decisions are generally played by and into the hands of the influential, out-of-touch few.
I remember hitching in Ireland one time, and got a ride with an Anglo-Irish guy. He explained to me that the reason it took so long for the English to leave Ireland was that they could not for the life of them comprehend that Ireland was not a part of Great Britain, and that the Irish were not natural British subjects. As I understand it, in most cases of European colonialism, very large minorities were benefiting from and thus supporting colonialism, and perhaps even a full majority were quiet for decades simply because it wasn’t worth it for them to espouse nationalism.
To be totally honest, I despise white American culture. I never want to live anywhere but multicultural NYC, or else in the middle of Africa or wherever else. But at the same time, I am profoundly cognizant of the ethnic and cultural uniqueness of the white American identity and way of life. Call me a relativist, but I think that to appoint oneself judge of who is entitled to what based on your ability to skip and jump across international borders is an incredibly fraught way of thinking.
*I loathe Western extravagance in part because people are cajoled into pursuing it by an incredibly irresponsible capitalist, consumerist value system.
Also, I specifically state “white American”, or Australian for that matter, because I suspect you are inclined toward a sense of white exceptionalism when you advocate settling hundreds of millions of non-whites in Australia.
To his wife, in response to her “First Nations, not white Australians, are the real natives” quip:
Look, I care about what both of you care about. My point is that these are very hard questions we’re discussing, and it’s VERY important to not underestimate just how hard these questions are. That is where mass human strife and misery comes from.
“We were all foreign here at one point (unless of course you are First Nation).” This is false. I grew up in the US, therefore I am not foreign here. My parents did as well, therefore they are not foreign here. My buddy Omar grew up here, therefore he is not foreign here even though his parents did not grow up here and therefore ARE foreign here. To say that white Australians are “foreign” in Australia is deeply unsettling.
If we want to solve the global population problem, we need to promote a universal reproductive ethic. Fanciful notions of arcology or production efficiency or solar panels or population transfers are like bailing water out of a ship rather than fixing the hole.
How do we instill a universal reproductive ethic? Off the top of my head, I am not sure. However, I promise you that the solution to the problem lay in that direction. It is unwise to simply assume that the whole world will follow the trends observed in the West.
Indeed, it would be terrible for the rest of the world to follow in the West’s footsteps. It would be terrible because of how terrible the West’s material culture is, and because of the West’s problematically low fertility rates. Low birthrates are just as bad as high birthrates.