Interview: A Continent of Losers
Maj 2007 - Lars Hedegaard - Authorised translation from the Danish by Sappho
While the European populations are shrinking and the best-qualified young people are leaving, we continue to allow mass immigration of unqualified Muslims, who will soon make our welfare states collapse. Add to this the fact that the Muslim world has built up a "youth bulge", which according to experience will lead to mass murder and whose effects cannot be offset by foreign aid. The originator of these bleak predictions is the German sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn, who believes that the game is over for Europe
BREMEN: If the leaders of the American-led "Coalition of the Willing" had known Gunnar Heinsohn's research, they would most likely never have left their troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. They would quickly give up any thought of intervention in Sudan's Darfur province. They would tell the Palestinian 10-children families that the West will no longer pay for their unrestricted childbirths. Western opinion-makers and politicians would also abandon their pet theory that virtually any act of violence in a belt from Northern Africa to the Philippines – in addition to miscellaneous acts of terror all over the world – are caused by the unsolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
And worst of all seen from the prevailing political consensus in the West: Heinsohn does not believe for a second that economic aid and hunger relief in countries with large youth populations can prevent wars, social unrest, terror or killings. On the contrary he is convinced that in some cases material aid may start the killings. This is because starving people do not fight, they just suffer. However, if you give a lot of young men enough to eat and a certain education in a society where there are too many young men so that not all can get the recognition and positions that they feel entitled to, it may lead to violence.
The 63-year-old sociology professor at the University of Bremen published his findings in his sensational and politically incorrect book Söhne und Weltmacht: Terror im Aufstieg und Fall der Nationen [Sons and World Domination: Terror in the Rise and Fall of Nations], published in 2003. The book became widely known and discussed after the prominent German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk had characterised it as being as groundbreaking as Karl Marx's Das Kapital. Sloterdijk thought that the book might pave the way for a new realism within a field that might be labelled "Demographic Materialism".
Heinsohn is not concerned with the absolute size of populations, but rather with the share of teenagers and young men. If this share becomes too big compared to the total population, we are facing a youth bulge. The problem starts when families begin to produce three, four or more sons. This will cause the sons to fight over access to the positions in society that give power and prestige. Then you will have a lot of boys and young men running around filled with aggression and uncontrollable hormones. And then we shall experience mass killings, until a sufficient number of young men have been eradicated to match society's ability to provide positions for the survivors.
According to Heinsohn, 80 per cent of world history is about young men in nations with a surplus of sons, creating trouble. This trouble may take many forms — a increase in domestic crime, attempts at coups d'état, revolutions, riots and civil wars. Occasionally, the young commit genocide to secure for themselves the positions that belonged to those they killed. Finally, there is war to conquer new territory, killing the enemy population and replacing it with one's own.
But, as Heinsohn emphasizes again and again, the unrest and the violent acts caused by youth bulges have nothing to do with famine or unemployment. In his book he describes it as follows: "The dynamic of a youth bulge — it cannot be emphasized too often — is not caused by a lack of food. A younger brother, who may be employed as a stable hand by the first-born son and who may be well fed and perhaps even fat, does not seek food but position, one that can guarantee him recognition, influence and dignity. Not the underweight but rather the potential losers or the déclassé are pushing forward" (p. 21).
In recent years the West has been facing a gigantic youth bulge in large parts of the Muslim world. This bulge is created by a Muslim population explosion. Over the course of just five generations (1900-2000) the population in the Muslim countries has grown from 150 million to 1 200 million — an increase of 800 per cent. As a comparison the population of China has grown from 400 million to 1 200 million (300 per cent). The population of India has risen from 250 million to 1000 million (400 per cent).
Sappho has visited Gunnar Heinsohn at his office at the University of Bremen, which awarded him a life-long professorship in 1884.
Youth bulges and violence
Gunnar Heinsohn – 80 per cent of world history is
about superfluous young men making trouble
–What is the definition of a youth bulge?
"There is no commonly accepted definition. The Frenchman who first used the term in 1970 said that a youth bulge existed when 30 per cent of the men in a population were between 20 to 24. I changed it to 30 per cent between 15 and 29. This means that if you take 100 males from a country, then 30 of them will be between 15 and 29."
"But remember that this 30 per cent group of young men will not pose any danger if they are hungry or lack education. To be dangerous they must be in good physical and mental shape."
Heinsohn emphasises that there are lots of wars and killings in history that do nor emanate from youth bulges. The Hitler movement and the Mussolini movement in the 1920s can be explained as youth bulge phenomena. The early Nazis and Fascists had an average age a bit below 30. The Bolshevik movement in the period around the 1917 Revolution can be described in the same way. But by the time Hitler started WWII, many German families were down to only one son. So Hitler's attack in 1939 was not a youth bulge phenomenon. Neither was the Holocaust. The killing of the Jews was not caused by young German men wanting to take their positions, even though there are theories that make this claim.
Nor do the killings organised by the later Marxist-Leninist regimes — that may have killed 100 million people — have anything to do with youth bulges. The Bolshevik revolution in 1917 was driven by millions and millions of farmers' sons without land — that was a youth bulge event. Stalin's Gulag, however, does not fall into this category.
– What about Mao's killings in China?
"Again, in the 1930s Mao's movement was carried by a youth bulge, but when he took power in 1949 and started his great purges by killing landowners, the youth bulge was already gone."
- So the predominant ideology of the West, namely that we can fight war and violence by alleviating hunger and creating jobs in the third world, is wrong?
"Every year the five German peace research institutes publish a report, and every year it has the following conclusion: If we win the struggle against hunger, we have defeated war. On the contrary —youth bulge research shows that if you are successful in eliminating immediate material poverty and hunger in a country with a youth bulge, violence starts to escalate."
"In Europe we have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Rome Treaty and in all the newspapers we could read that this treaty ended war in Europe. This is absolutely wrong. If the Germans after 1945 had reproduced as they did between 1900 and 1914, then we would have had a German nation of almost 500 million citizens, and we would have had about 80 million German men between 15 and 29. In reality we have 7 million. And we may well ask ourselves whether these 80 million would have been as peaceful as the present 7 million, or would have been detonating bombs in Breslau or Danzig." (These former German cities – now called Wroclaw and Gdansk – were ceded to Poland following Nazi Germany's defeat in 1945, ed.)
"This brings me to something that I call 'Demographic Capitulation'. It has a very simple definition: Take all the men aged 40-44 and compare them to the boys aged 0-4. Demographic capitulation is when you have 100 males aged 40-44 compared to less than 80 boys aged 0-4. In Germany the numbers are 100/50, in the Gaza Strip they are 100/464. I have compared some numbers for you, and these show that Denmark is on the verge of Demographic Capitulation. Your numbers are 100/80."
Heinsohn's statistical overview shows that if Denmark had reproduced at the same rate as the Gaza Strip (from 240 000 to 1.4 million between 1950 and 2006), then we would not have had a population of 5.5 million (compared to 4.3 million in 1950), but 25 million – more than New Zealand and Australia combined. In that case the median age of Danish males would have been 15 (in reality it is 39), and there would have been 3.6 million men of battle-ready age (15-29), whereas the real number is only 470 000. (Median age must not be confused with average age. A median age of 15 means that there are as many people below 15 as there are above 15, ed.).
Whereas such countries as Germany and Japan have capitulated demographically, other countries are characterized by "Demographic Armament". Apart from Gaza this is situation in among others the three Muslim countries Afghanistan (100/403), Iraq (100/351) and Somalia (100/364). It is no coincidence that they are marked by widespread and extreme acts of violence and will be for several more years into the future. This also holds true for Gaza and the Palestinians in general.
- So you do not believe that the so-called peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is realistic?
Demographic rearmament – tiny Gaza has a
population of 1.4 million with a male median
age of 15.7 years
"No, and the main reason is the big mistake that was made in Oslo in 1991, when the secret negotiations between Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin started. The error was that nobody took any notice of the Palestinian population explosion. The Palestinian population has multiplied almost 6 times within the last 50 years. We should have done two things: Israel should have stopped its settlements, and the world community should have said to the Palestinians: Every child in Palestine will be fed by the world community as before, because by accepting that every Palestinian child is a refugee, the world community has a responsibility for the number of children born. But from January 1st 1992 you will have to pay for your newborn children, just as a woman does in Lebanon, in Tunisia and in Algeria. That is what they should have told the Palestinians. Why am I mentioning these three countries? Because in those societies a women has fewer than two children on the average. Had we done that 15 years ago, we would have seen a generation of young Palestinian men with few reasons to commit violence against each other or against the Jews. But we did not, and therefore I do not believe in the peace process, even if Hamas should decide to sign everything. Their young men will tear such agreements to pieces."
Heinsohn points out that it is the USA and the EU, and particularly the Scandinavian countries, that pay for the enormous Palestinian child production. We must cease this support, so that the Palestinians pay for the children they bring into the world after a certain point in time.
- Why cannot the Palestinians just work like everybody else and earn their own keep?
"Palestine is a special case. They never had any chance of developing because they have always been on international support."
Poverty and religion
- From your book one gets the impression that youth bulges create poverty, whereas we in the West have regarded youth bulges as a result of poverty?
"If a youth bulge changes a state into a failed state, then one will see a breakdown of the market and of production, and this will lead to poverty. If we look at current examples of countries with increasing violence — Pakistan and Bangladesh — we can see that both have managed a steady increase in the average income per capita — and even a significant growth. Thus we have created the primary conditions for making the young men both well fed and well educated, which leads to them becoming unruly. If these young men successfully destroy the country's infrastructure, it will result in poverty. I have followed this process closely in the West African state of The Ivory Coast. Here they have had a system of seven children for every woman, at the same time as the average income has increased. When the killings started, the average income fell."
- How do you explain the fact that the Muslim Middle East was deeply underdeveloped before there was any sign of a youth bulge, even before the Europeans — who get the blame for most things — had set foot on its soil? Is it not necessary to add religion to the explanation?
"Let us look at the small countries in Europe that were capable of conquering and colonising large parts of the world from around 1500, starting with Portugal and Spain. Our explanation is usually that there was a pressure on resources because of overpopulation. The opposite was the case. When Spain started its conquests in 1493 with Columbus’ second expedition, Spain had a population of six million, but in 1350 it had had nine million inhabitants. Spain was not overpopulated. There was, however, a sudden a growth in childbirths because in 1484 Pope Innocent VIII had decreed that birth control was punishable by death, which caused an immediate explosion in births. In the middle ages the average number of children per family was 2-3; now it was suddenly 6-7. That caused the median age in the population of six million to be 15, whereas the nine-million population of 1350 had had a median age between 28 and 30. So there was no lack of land or food. However, there was a sudden scarcity of positions. Previously there had been one or two boys in the family. One could take over the farm and the other might become a tenant somewhere else. Now you had three sons who had food but no positions, and these boys started the conquests and the colonising. It was quite telling that the Spaniards called then secundones, the second sons."
The noblest of motives – from the monument to the
Portuguese conquistadors in Lisbon
"Where does religion enter the picture? These young men — 95 per cent of them — were normal, good boys and saw it as a sin to kill or mistreat the conquered populations in the colonies. They knew the difference between themselves and psychopaths or common murderers. So when they went into action, they had religion to tell them that they were not murderers, but people who would kill the infidels, the sinners and the unjust with a clean conscience. People who executed orders from a higher power as they would not want to be seen as disobedient."
"For this reason I do not call these conquerors and colonisers — Spaniards, Englishmen and Danes — Christian, but Christianists. The same distinction as with a Muslim and an Islamist. These young Spaniards were not Christian, but Christianists, who needed this ideology to justify their terrible killings."
New religions arise in no time
Heinsohn is also hesitant to ascribe to Islam a core from which one may deduce later actions or patterns of action. As an example he mentions the movement of 1968, to which he himself belonged.
"When the time is ripe, new religious pamphlets and books will be written on the spot and in no time. From your holy books — the Koran, the Bible, The Communist Manifesto etc. — you take what fits your purpose. You know that you are going to use violence but want a justification. For you are a righteous person. But when the youth bulge is spent, the books that were distributed in millions of copies cannot even be sold in second-hand bookshops. Everybody knows that they are full of rubbish. But while the movement is on, these young men are impervious to arguments. So the false ideas do not arise from holy scripture. They are generated by the young men themselves because they need wrong ideas to justify their actions. Consequently you cannot stop them by explaining that their ideas are wrong. The movement is not created by wrong ideas. On the contrary, the wrong ideas are created by the movement. Islam does not create Islamism, young Muslims do."
According to Heinsohn's calculations there will be approximately 300 million young Muslim men in 2020, but not all of them will be angry. A growing number of Muslim nations — Algeria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Iran, Turkey and the rich Emirates — have all fallen under the demographic replacement limit. Iran now has a fertility rate of 1.7. That is the same as in Denmark, but less than in France. These countries still have a youth surplus from earlier, but in a few years they will no longer have any youth bulges that make them pose any danger.
Consequently he does not believe that the Iranian masses will set the whole region alight. This scenario is a projection of the situation immediately before the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and during the war between Iran and Iraq from 1980 to 1988, when Iran could send hundreds of thousands of boys and young men out into the minefields. These teenagers are no longer there.
A class of losers
- Would it not be a solution to let the superfluous sons come to Europe?
"What happens in Europe is that all the countries — there are no exceptions — are ageing nations that do not fully reproduce themselves. Thus they have embarked on a process where they eat each other's talents. Why are they not looking for talent in Africa, where the population has grown from 100 million in 1900 to an estimated 2 billion in 2050? Why not in Islam, where we have a similar population explosion? Why is America looking for talent in Germany, why is Denmark looking for Poles? Because the third world countries do not have the educational level that is needed in the developed countries that can only maintain their position through innovation. For that purpose they need young people who have grown up in a high-tech society. It is not because Africans or Muslims are not as intelligent as others, they are just not socialised in a way that makes them useful in our societies."
- In Demark we now have a number of highly educated immigrants and their descendents from Muslim countries — doctors, lawyers etc. But many of them are as unintegrated as are many of the uneducated. They remain as extremist and as Islamicist as if they had not received a higher education?
Old poster calling for immigration to
Canada – people come here to work
"I will leave the evaluation of Danish conditions to the Danes. However, we experience the same phenomenon in England. There we have a population within the population, namely the Pakistanis, who have the highest birth rate in the country, and who are most dependent on social transfers. In the Western countries we have a social system that is hardly being used by the local population. On the other hand there is an immigrant population whose women cannot compete in the local workforce. For Danish and German women the welfare benefits are too low to be attractive. Not so for the immigrants. So what we see in England, France, Germany and the Netherlands are immigrant women who take low-paid jobs which they supplement with public benefits. It is not a fantastic income but sufficient for them. And this creates a career type for women only, which their daughters carry on."
"But the sons do not have this option. They grow up on the bottom of society without the intellectual skills needed to improve their social position. It is these boys who burn Paris, who burn parts of Bremen. Some of them make it to university and become leaders of the others — not poor, but young men with low status who believe that they are oppressed because of their Islamic faith, but in reality it is the welfare state itself that has created this class of losers."
"If, on the other hand, one goes to Canada, where I have lived part of each year for the last 20 years, they have a completely different policy. They say: Our immigration policy has a simple base. Every newborn Canadian and every new Canadian who comes from abroad has to be more intelligent than those who were here before. Because only through innovation can we keep our position in world competition. Therefore I want my son to be smarter than me. And believe it or not: Of 100 adult Canadian immigrants, 98 have better professional qualifications than the Canadian average. In Germany and France the corresponding number is 10 per cent. So we went for quantity, and they went for quality."
"And why? In Germany because people were afraid of being called racists, and it looks like all European nations suffer from the same fear of making choices."
The Fifth Village
- Might some of it also be explained by the leftist parties importing their own voters?
"In France we have seen that Africans and Algerians have voted for Ségolène Royal. Add to that another phenomenon that we can observe in Germany among other places. Here some of the 'ethno-Germans', as we are now beginning to call them, and who make up 85 per cent of the German population, are starting to emigrate. Annually about 150 000 Germans leave the country, most of them for the Anglo-Saxon world. Canada, Australia and New Zealand are ready to receive 1.5 million well-educated immigrants yearly, and they are doing everything to ease the way for them."
"It is no wonder that young, hard-working people in France and Germany choose to emigrate. It is not just that they have to support their own ageing population. If we take 100 20-year-olds, then the 70 Frenchmen and Germans also have to support 30 immigrants of their own age and their offspring. This creates dejection in the local population, particularly in France, Germany and the Netherlands. So they run away."
"Europe has just finalized its immigration principles in January 2007. And they are quite different from the Canadian ones. Our first criterion for letting people into the EU is whether they have been victims of discrimination. Next principle: If the person already has family in EU, he has privileged access. Third principle: People who are already illegally in Europe should be legalized. And finally, only in fourth place do we have the Anglo-Saxon principle that the immigrant should fit into our labour market."
"The purpose is to make Europe look stronger than the Anglo-Saxons when it comes to 'soft power'."
"I am very pessimistic about the future. Europe's situation reminds me of the principle that is called 'The Fifth Village' in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg, who have experienced population decline. So four villages are being abandoned and the remaining population is moved to the fifth village. However, that does not increase the birth rate in the fifth village. And after some time the fifth village will also be populated by old people, and there are no young people in the vicinity to work for their pensions."
"The same will happen to the approximately 40 nations between Brittany and Vladivostok. Some of them will become Fifth Villages and will have a new lease on life, others will just implode. I predict that all the Slavic nations will implode. Same thing with the three Baltic states and all of the Balkan states. The question is whether Germany and France will become Fifth Villages. I see Scandinavia as a Fifth Village. The same thing with the Iberian Peninsula and with Ireland and England. But I am not sure the rest of the continent will make it."
The young are leaving
- But will we even deal with nations in the future? If Europe gets a Muslim majority, it is not certain that Danes, Germans, Frenchmen etc. will bow to sharia law. Might the result be that the indigenous populations will withdraw to their own enclaves, from whwre they will try to defend themselves, as we have seen in Bosnia?
"That is of course a possibility, but one must ask oneself who is it that will stay and fight? I might because I am more or less forced to stay here. But if I were an 18-year-old ethnic German, done with high school, then I would do like most others are already doing. I would want to study in the Anglo-Saxon world and then I would emigrate. I would not want to stay and fight. The Anglo-Saxon world needs 50 million well-qualified immigrants within the next 30-40 years, so well-qualified young people from Western Europe will have every incentive to go there instead of staying and fighting."
"A possibility is to aim for Chinese immigration. If we in Germany had the same number of Chinese immigrants as they have in Canada, we would have 3 million. But immigration from China has not even been considered in Europe."
"China is the fastest ageing nation in the world after Germany, Japan and South Korea. We usually view China as a sleeping giant. I on the other hand see China as a source from where the Western nations will skim the best. And they will get them. Currently, rich Chinese are preoccupied with moving their riches to Switzerland because with the few children being born in China, people in their 40s have no chance of ever getting a pension. China is down to a fertility rate of 1.6 children per woman. The country is already losing 500 000 of its best every year. The young see no hope of ever being able to build a pension plan in their home country. Therefore they settle in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada etc."
"In East Germany they have just decided to demolish an additional 400 000 apartments. There are no people for them, and the empty apartments ruin the banks by depressing the rents and the prices of housing. In West Germany we are also losing population. We have to stop taking the least suitable immigrants. To attract young and competent people, we might give them a house. That was the way Brandenburg secured the French Huguenots in the 17th century. But I doubt it will work today."
- Would it be possible to imagine that Europeans might suddenly start to multiply as a moral obligation to maintain the people and the culture? It was what happened after the British had conquered French Quebec. The Catholic priests put pressure on the French families to put up to 15 children into the world, and this demographic effort was successful?
Gunnar Heinsohn does not give much of a chance to such a strategy. It would require draconian measures, which the Europeans would not accept. Promises of money will not work except for people with little education and low status — which just makes the situation worse.
Look at the Polish people," says Heinsohn — who was born in 1943 in the city now known as Gdansk, but which he still calls Danzig, the son of a German submarine captain who lost his life near Newfoundland five months before his son was born. "Here is a nation with proud traditions. Poland saved Europe from the Mongols, the Turks and the Bolsheviks and ended up bringing down Communism. And yet they have a lower birth rate than the Germans. They are down to 1.2 children per woman. In addition, over the last 15 years they have already lost 2 million of their best people. Perhaps emigrants tell their parents that they are coming back, but they won't. That is why I am saying that countries such as Poland, Latvia and Lithuania are doomed. They have no attraction for immigrants. The same thing is happening with Russia. Who wants to move to Russia? And look at the newest members of the EU, Bulgaria and Romania. Romania is the first country in the world where there are more retirees than active workers, and we let them in. The same with Bulgaria, which has the world's fastest-dwindling population. The young are moving out, and with a clean conscience, because they believe that tomorrow Brussels will pay for their parents. So the EU has accepted 27 million people who wanted to get inside to secure their pensions. And in the European centre they are still overjoyed to have attracted millions more than the USA. That will make us strong, they believe."
Soft power – the EU has been strengthened by millions
of Romanian (picture) and Bulgarian pensioners
"So I see few possibilities. However, in my book I cite the example of California, which experienced a turn-around around 1990, which meant that even the white population — excluding the Latinos, who have a much higher birth rate — went from 1.3 to 1.8 children per woman. It is not full reproduction but a significant change nonetheless. It was a huge surprise because California is the world's most advanced region. By the end of the 1980s the prognosis was that the birth rates would continue to fall, but in the beginning of the 1990s new studies found that Californian women were no longer satisfied with just working, and shortly afterwards the birth rates went up."
"In Europe it was dismissed with the explanation that Americans are so conservative, but that is not true in California, which has in many ways been the pioneer of the West. However, I cannot see a similar change in Europe. Of course France has 2 children per woman, but out of five newborns, two are already Arabic or African. In Germany 35 per cent of all newborns already have a non-German background, and non-Germans commit 90 per cent of violent crimes. As I have said — mothers are paid to put children into the world and so are their daughters, whereas the men take to crime."
"Or take the Tunisian example. A woman in Tunisia has 1.7 children. In France she may have six because the French government pays her to have them. Of course, the money was never intended to benefit Tunisian women in particular, but French women will not touch this money, whereas the Tunisian women are only too happy to."
So we need to discriminate?
"That will not work. It is too late. The moment you start discriminating, you will be dragged into each and every international court in existence. This is what the Anglo-Saxon world has escaped by discriminating at the border. Not based on race or ethnicity but based on qualifications. They are discriminating against the unqualified. Yet they reject them with a friendly piece of advice. When a person has been refused entry in Ottawa or Canberra, friendly immigration authorities will advise him to go to Germany. Because they have a different system there."
The end of the welfare state
- How do you see the political situation in Europe in twenty years? No welfare state, no democracy?
Concerning the European continent apart from Scandinavia, Ireland and England, I believe that even the pessimistic population prognoses will turn out to be too optimistic. They assume that the young people will stay in Europe and bring up their own children, but that will not happen. A study from 2005 showed that 52 per cent of the Germans between 18 and 32 wanted to leave. They might not mean it but they are entertaining the thought. The really qualified are leaving. The only truly loyal towards France and Germany are those who are living off the welfare system. Because there is no other place in the world that offers to pay for them. America, Canada and Australia count on receiving our best qualified youths, and they will get many of them. That will put an end to innovation and put a damper on economic growth in Europe. In Germany we are already forfeiting billions upon billions in revenue because we lack qualified people to take on the jobs. We have two million jobs that we cannot fill – and a welfare-dependent population of six million, and the two do not meet. The welfare group grows each year because of new babies, but the vacant job slots are not filled."
"It is a case of two nations that are closed off to each other. The welfare state cannot continue. We cannot hope to cover the demographic holes through immigration from China either, since the Chinese do not want to emigrate into a welfare system where they will have to pay for an ageing population’s pensions in addition to a welfare population of millions."
"We have to say that there is only one category of people who can count on help from the government and that is the mentally or physically handicapped. Nobody else should expect help. This sounds cold and cynical but our welfare states were founded the 19th century when families had 10 children. When their father fell to his death from a scaffold, somebody had to look after the family. This is not the situation we are facing today."
If you go to Australia, you will not be paid to have children. You may get a slight tax relief. On the other hand a citizen of Australia can keep 80 out of every 100 dollars he earns."
How could it go so wrong in Europe that had this grandiose vision of peace, cooperation and progress and unlimited trust in its own abilities?
"It started to go wrong around 1980. But the great turn in Germany came as late as 1990. That was when we opened the gates for a mass immigration of roughly speaking unqualified people. Between 1990 and 2002 Germany allowed an immigration of 13 million. At almost the same time it started to go wrong in France. We can only avert this burden on the welfare state through legislation. We have to pass a bill to the effect that new children born after a certain date will have to be paid for by their parents. It will be a revolution. But it is not even being discussed here in Europe."
Clinton's social reform
"But let me point out what happened in the USA. During the election campaign of 1992 Bill Clinton, in a famous phrase, promised to 'end welfare as we know it'. In 1935 the USA had passed the 'Aid to Dependent Children'-act (from 1960 known as 'Aid to Families with Dependent Children', ed.), which guaranteed every mother with small children help from the state. Again it was a question of the father who had fallen from the scaffold, and very few received support because of this law. However, in 1965 morals had changed. Until then it would have been unthinkable to a mother — whether she was white or black — to become pregnant, hide the identity of the father and then let the public pay for her kids. Now she did not even have to push the father out of a tall building. This caused an explosion of the number of welfare-dependent American families. From 1965 to 1995 their share rose to 10 per cent of all American families and 15 per cent of the children. That was the reality Clinton had to face."
"Most of these welfare dependents were blacks, and that made racists claim that the problem was in the black genes. But the Republicans and the Democrats worked together on a new law, 'Temporary Assistance for Needy Families', which was a smart law. It told American women: We will give you welfare up to five years. You decide whether it should be five years straight, or whether you want to divide the five years into shorter periods. The new law was passed in 1996 and took effect on January 1, 1997. It caused several top officials in the Clinton administration to walk out in protest stating the law was a racist attack on the weakest — single mothers and their children. They had predicted that by 1997-98, the number of adversely affected would have grown from 12 to 14 million. As it turned out, it was these well-meaning people who were the racists. The black girls were smart enough to go on the pill with the result that the welfare-dependent population shrank from 12 million to 4 million. It was the most successful social reform in history."
"In Europe we have not even begun to discuss such a reform."
Leave the youth bulges alone
- Lately there has been a discussion as to whether we in the West can accomplish anything in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan or with populations such as the Palestinian. Why not let them fight it out among themselves?
"Some American strategists are beginning to question whether the USA, with its one-son families, ought send out troops to fight populations with many sons. That is the mistake we have committed in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you have to go in because you have been attacked, then you must do it, but as soon as the danger has been defeated, it is necessary to withdraw. It is up to the Iraqis and the Afghans themselves to ensure that there is a balance between the size of the population and the number of positions society can offer. And as far back in history we look, we can see that this balance has been maintained by young men killing each other. We have done it in Europe, and it has happened elsewhere. We cannot allow them to send their young men over the borders to kill others."
Leave the youth bulges alone – happy holy warriors in Somalia
(male median age: 17.5 years, children per woman: 6.76)
"My personal view is that when faced with a youth bulge, we should allow it to play out with the consequences we know. We should stay away. If we interfere, we cannot avoid siding with one party and help killing that party's opponents. Then the population will se us as doing the dirty work for one side or another. Instead might arm the most sympathetic side, which was what the French did in Algeria after the Islamists started killing the secularists in 1992. France sent weapons aid to the secularists. Back then nobody said that we ought to send money and food to the families of the Islamists, as they do in Palestine."
Lars Hedegaard is a chief editor of Sappho