…in March 2013, dissident right blogger ‘Spandrell’ put up a short post on his abrasive but consistently brilliant Bloody Shovel site that messed up the narrative in a way that has yet to be persuasively addressed. Entitled ‘Et tu, Harry?,’ it placed the Singapore miracle in a disconcerting context. Rather than harmonizing with neoreactionary celebrations of the city state’s unapologetically selective immigration policy, Spandrell asks:
The accusation is acute, and can be generalized. Modernity has a fertility problem. When elevated to the zenith of savage irony, the formulation runs: At the demographic level, modernity selects systematically against modern populations. The people it prefers, it consumes. Without gross exaggeration, this endogenous tendency can be seen as an existential risk to the modern world. It threatens to bring the entire global order crashing down around it.
In order to discuss this implicit catastrophe, it’s first necessary to talk about cities, which is a conversation that has already begun. To state the problem crudely, but with confidence: Cities are population sinks. Historian William McNeil explains the basics. Urbanization, from its origins, has tended relentlessly to convert children from productive assets into objects of luxury consumption. All of the archaic economic incentives related to fertility are inverted.
“Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?” asked Eric Kaufmann in a 2010 book with that name. A peculiar twist in the Darwinian inheritance had begun to bring the heritability of religious attitudes into prominence, and linking it (positively) to the question of reproductive fitness. Those groups previously seen as having been unambiguously vanquished by a triumphant evolutionary science were now subject to an ironic – and from the progressive perspective deeply sinister – evolutionary vindication. This is a story that has still scarcely begun to unfold.
A parallel development, compounding the commitment of cultural modernity to imperative sterility, has been the efflorescence of LGBTQXYZ sexual identity politics. Following the decisive progressive victory in the cause of gay marriage, something like a Cambrian Explosion in non-traditional sexual and gender orientations has occurred, turbo-charging the pre-existing feminist critique of normative reproductive sexuality. Here, too, the affinity with profound modernistic inclinations is unmistakable, in a process of introjected brand and niche specialization. The tendency – often supported as an explicit political strategy – is to invert the terms of marginalization, by drowning the reproductive family unit within a hyper-inflated menu of socio-libidinal positions. Fertility is increasingly identified as a conservative eccentricity, legitimately targeted by partisan political warfare. Intense backlash has been among the results (providing fertile ground for the post-conciliatory ‘far right’).