Overabundance of Rogue Males

By Don Collins
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 12, Number 1 (Fall 2001)
Issue theme: "Garrett Hardin: an introduction and appreciation"

Overabundance of rogue males is a major contributing factor in terrorism. After the terrible events of September 11, we are all pondering what would seem to be wise counter measures. Recently, a family planning colleague sent me a 1997 research paper which offers startling new research about the conditions where dangerous human rogue behavior is likely to happen. Population growth from two billion in 1930 to six billion today certainly changed not only the numbers, but also the demographic age distribution. Thus, now more than ever before, there are more young people of reproductive age in many developing countries. In these often unstable nations, where eighty percent of recent growth has occurred, half the total population is under 20 years of age - frequently more young errant males than these fragile societies can absorb. This 1997 research paper, entitled "Population Age Composition and Male Coalitional Aggression" by two research psychologists at York University in Toronto, Christian G. Mesquida and Neil I. Wiener, offers a compelling new dimension, enhancing the long-standing policy goal of stabilizing world population. In this 1997 study, when the ratio of young men ages 15 to 29 in the total population of males (not those under 15) rises to a high level, say, 70 or 80 young males for every 100 males older than 30, there are simply too many young men seeking mates, jobs, and recognition creating conditions for great unrest and instability, particularly in the often weak and corrupt governments found in so many parts of the world. The authors show how historically this has created conditions where shaky governments have great difficulty governing. Circumstances for example were such in Germany in the late 1920s which allowed manipulation of such disaffected youths for Hitler's mad purposes. Since then, the authors cite four additional, though far lesser, examples of such behavior in Paraguay, Venezuela, Southern Sudan, and Brazil. There are likely many unstudied examples elsewhere. The predictive potential of such investigations is seen from this 1997 study in which the authors note that, based on changing male age demographics, Northern Ireland would become more peaceful, a phenomenon which seems to be slowly emerging. Also that Cuba, for the same reason, would likely lose its combativeness. They noted, "Almost no attention is paid to the fact that all violent group confrontations are perpetrated almost exclusively by young males." Continuing, they summarized that "coalitional" (e.g. purposeful joining for destabilizing actions against society) aggression is likely to be partially due to the relative abundance of males aged 15 to 29, the age group most often implicated in warfare. Women, the authors observe, are seldom involved in such violent coalitions, as they are more involved in child raising and seek, as their primary criteria for choosing mates, those who can best provide for a family, something disaffected rogue males frequently have neither the education nor opportunity to achieve. Clearly, there is rogue male abundance in many developing nations. The relevance of this research today is obvious. Now, fast forward to 2001. I have contacted research psychologist, Christian G. Mesquida, the co-author of the 1997 study, who was able to update his percentages on key Middle Eastern countries as to their ratios of young males to males over 30. Here are his findings I have just calculated the male age composition of some countries in 2001; here are the results Iraq there are 110 young males for every 100 males over 30, or 55 percent of the adult male population is between 15 and 29 year of age; Syria there are 106 young males for every 100 males over 30, or 53 percent; Afghanistan there are 90 young males for every 100 males over 30, or 48 percent; Iran there are 90 young males for every 100 males over 30, or 48 percent; and the same for Algeria (48 percent). The author made clear in a 9/21/01 phone interview with me that the 50 percent figure in these volatile Middle Eastern states is strongly predictive of +the potential for rogue male aggression. Many African nations such as Nigeria are similar, but they have the AIDS crisis. Saudi Arabia, which contains 55 young males for every 100 older males (36%), is actually not far from the US, which has 40 young males for every 100 older males (32%) because, the author notes, "There has been substantial immigration into the U.S." Dr. Mesquida's research reflects a history that shows when the number of young males reaches 70 to 80 for every 100 males over 30, the aggression phenomenon becomes manifest. He compares these dangerous ratios noted above to peaceful countries Sweden (25%) and Canada (28%). The Middle Eastern nations noted above are clearly dangerous hot spots! And this of course brings us relentlessly full circle to the main point of supporting the stabilization of world population ASAP. National security experts since the 1960s have made this point, but since the early 1970s have been largely ignored. A 1974 National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200) urged that world population must be stabilized by providing family planning, along with other basic health services to needy populations. NSSM 200 predicted terrorism but was shelved. In the past it has been easier to make headlines by firing useless cruise missiles at mud huts as ordered by President Clinton in 1998 when his relationship with Monica Lewinsky was being debated. But no longer. And we urgently must ask ourselves, "Why did these young men seemingly gladly die on September 11 for a cause as abstract as hating America?" Obvious, isn't it? Barely existing in grinding poverty, lacking basic daily needs, getting a diet of propaganda for education with little hope of forming a family, these youths find most attractive the offers of comradeship and glory from manipulators who over time take on a God-like stature. Remember, there are many potential Bin Laden followers out there. Our emphasis better be placed on peaceful, long-term solutions such as health, economic development, and family planning rather than cruise missiles.

About the author

Don Collins, a board member of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), is a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, who has often written on family planning and immigration topics. The chart is from The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington, p.118, used by permission.

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)