A Rational Apprehension

By John Tanton
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 2, Number 2 (Winter 1991-1992)
Issue theme: "Getting past the immigration taboo - an international perspective"

I read Phillip E. Johnson's The Extinction of Darwinism and Alexander Stille's Italy No Blacks Need Apply [Atlantic, April 1992] like a pair of simultaneous equations - the type we used to solve back in high school algebra. I assume that Stille didn't have a chance to read Johnson's article before writing his it would have answered some of the questions that obviously confuse him.

Conflict between locals and newcomers in places like Italy isn't about fears or phobias (like xenophobia) or isms (like racism); it's about competition for living space and resources. It's also about the reproductive success that Johnson says is at the heart of natural selection and evolution.

On the first point, Italy has a population concentration of about 500 people per square mile, considering its entire land area. We should, however, subtract from the calculation the lands not open to human habitation. These include forests, orchards, and fields needed for production; urban watersheds; waste disposal sites; roads, parking lots and public buildings; and inhospitable sites like steep mountain slopes and wetlands. With this reduction in the denominator of the people/space fraction, the concentration is substantially higher than 500 per square mile. Italy is a densely populated country.

...much of the pressure behind

international migration comes from

rapidly expanding populations

of the source countries.

It is also not overendowed with resources, and many of the resources it has have been depleted by more that 2,000 years of use. Doubtless, the average citizen already feels intraspecific competition for space and resources, and naturally, in the interests of maintaining personal standards of living, and even of survival, resists the competition for these basics which additional numbers will bring. If, in addition, the newcomers further disrupt the equilibrium by bringing in new cultures, religions, languages, races, and ethnic groups, the resistance is naturally heightened.

Concerning the second point, on reproductive success and survival much of the pressure behind international migration comes from rapidly expanding populations of the source countries. The target developed nations have low birth rates and stabilizing populations; some of these will eventually even contract back to mid-twentieth century population levels.

From an evolutionary perspective, the populations of the developed countries are not as successful in a reproductive sense as are those in the less-developed countries. That their lower fertility is a matter of choice and other factors doesn't alter the mathematics. They are being selected against in the great reproductive sweepstakes and will gradually be replaced (become extinct, in Johnson's and Darwin's term) unless they control entry into their living space. It's that simple. The alternative - that the developed countries engage in a reproductive race with the less-developed ones - is not really open, given many social, cultural, economic, and environmental factors.

The same phenomenon can be seen in California, where the majority population of the 1950s is headed for minority status and, if not extinction, marginality. This will take place in a very short time (on an evolutionary scale) - a hundred years or so. Fortuitously, Leon Bouvier's book detailing these forces and changes is advertised on page 101 of your February issue. Stille would have benefitted from reading it; some of your readers may find it of interest. They may also be interested in Negative Population Growth's ad on page 85.

Displacement - or at the extreme, extinction - is properly resisted by all organisms, mankind and its subdivisions not excepted. Extinction is the fate awaiting any low-fertility species that doesn't secure its territory from encroachment.

Where will employment for this

army of new job seekers be found?

Even if they wanted to - which they

don't - the developed countries

couldn't accept more than a tiny

fraction of the growth...

A final point severe though the current migration pressures may be, they are but a taste of what's to come. The net increase in the work force in the less-developed countries from 1990 to 2010 will be about 800 million. I state this in positive terms because it is not a guesstimate. All the people who will enter the work force at age sixteen by 2008 are already born and countable. For reference, the current combined work force for the twelve EEC countries, the United States, Canada and Japan is only about 550 million. In many of the source countries, where 90 percent of world population growth takes place, unemployment and underemployment already approach 50 percent.

Where will employment for this army of new job seekers be found? Even if they wanted to - which they don't - the developed countries couldn't accept more than a tiny fraction of the growth without being swamped, in economic, social, cultural, linguistic, ethnic, and even religious terms. Any attempt to admit people on the scale needed to make even a dent in the problem would lead to a social explosion of unprecedented proportions, as the current situation in Italy suggests. People are going to have to bloom where they are planted. If there are too many people, we'll have to find ways to reduce our numbers.

The control of international migration will soon emerge as one of the top issues around the world. Given the near impossibility of sharply reducing birth rates in the short term, the years after 2010 will be worse yet.

Copyright 2007 The Social Contract Press, 445 E Mitchell Street, Petoskey, MI 49770; ISSN 1055-145X
(Article copyrights extend to the first date the article was published in The Social Contract)