Friday, September 06, 2019

Procreate or Disappear

Hungary is hosting an international summit on demography this week, attended by several regional leaders and delegations from dozens of countries. A fear of rising populations in other parts of the world was the dominant theme during the opening morning of the Budapest summit. The tone was set by an artistic performance that opened the forum, portraying hordes of people from the south and east advancing on Europe. The two-day summit was attended by Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, and Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vučić, who both said boosting birthrates was a priority for the long-term development of their countries. 

Procreate or face extinction is the message from central European leaders to their shrinking population.

Viktor Orbán, said it was conceivable that Hungary, with a population of just under 10 million that is shrinking due to low birthrates and emigration of Hungarians to EU states further west, could simply disappear.

“It’s not hard to imagine that there would be one single last man who has to turn the lights out,” he said at the conference. “If Europe is not going to be populated by Europeans in the future and we take this as given, then we are speaking about an exchange of populations, to replace the population of Europeans with others,” said Orbán. “There are political forces in Europe who want a replacement of population for ideological or other reasons.” Orbán has based his political campaigns in recent years on anti-refugee and anti-migration sentiment, said other European politicians saw immigration as the solution, but he firmly rejected this.
“Europe has become the continent of the empty crib whereas in Asia and Africa they face demographic challenges of the opposite type,” said Katalin Novák, Hungary’s minister of state for family, youth and international affairs. Novak said the Hungarian government doubled family spending between 2010 and 2019, with the goal of achieving “a lasting turn in demographic processes by 2030”. Fertility rates have gone up from 1.2 to 1.5 children per woman, according to government figures. This is still far from the 2.1 figure the UN says is the number required for a sustainable population. This year the Hungarian government introduced a 10m forint (£27,000) interest-free loan for families, which does not have to be paid back if the couple has three children.
Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott saluted the Hungarian leader for having “the political courage to defy political correctness”. Abbott said dying populations, not climate change, were the biggest threat to western civilization.

Vučić said his country was losing the equivalent of the population of a medium-sized town each year. “Serbian people have one expression for negative population growth: the white flag."

Babiš said the Czech Republic also wanted to encourage big families. “It is the third child which is of key importance … We do not wish to bribe anyone to have a third child, but we must provide support primarily to families who voluntarily undertake the third child,” he said.
The racist replacement theory is made up of two related conspiracies: “the great replacement” theory, which originated in France, and “the white genocide theory”, which comes from the US. Together,  variants of these ideas are among the most widespread ideologies on the far-right. There are two core beliefs. The first is that “western” identity is under siege by massive waves of immigration from non-European/non-white countries, resulting in a replacement of white European individuals via demographics. The second is that replacement has been orchestrated by a shadowy group as part of their grand plan to rule the world – which they will do by creating a completely racially homogenous society.  
The screed published by the Christchurch shooter, which was titled The Great Replacement which begins with: “It’s the birthrates. It’s the birthrates. It’s the birthrates.” The El Paso shooter says in his text, "This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”

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