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Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 9:38 a.m. PST

link

This begins with Chesterton's fence!

Here's the article being discussed:
link

Doc asks: if wars have historically been caused often by population pressure, does a declining birth rate mean peace? or different sorts of wars?

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 9:49 a.m. PST

That's the problem with what we all think of as progress: it swats away benevolent traditions because the usefulness of traditions can be subtle and hard to understand. Technology brings many blessings: better medical treatment, better nutrition, and better comfort for all of the world's population, even in the poorest regions. But rapid technological development liquifies well-established traditions and sometimes we don't realise what we've lost until it's too late.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 9:54 a.m. PST

The larger problem is that birth rates are not falling evenly across the whole world, nor are they falling gently. What we are seeing, instead, is precipitous falls in the rich countries that are best placed to develop the technology needed to get us out of the mess created (ironically enough) by earlier and more destructive forms of technology. Countries with shrinking populations and shrinking economies are not in a position to invest in green technology.

Nor are they in a position to resist encroachment from cultures that are better able to resist the sterility meme, likely because they don't care about environmentalism, feminism, or any other facet of progressivism. Anyone with any sympathy for even the most basic liberal ideas legal equality between the sexes, gay and lesbian rights, religious pluralism ought to be appalled by this prospect. I may have my reservations about progressivism as a quasi-religion, but that does not mean that I welcome the prospect of sliding back towards the poverty, parochialism, and authoritarianism that characterised most of our species' history which is exactly what will happen, if we cannot find some way of marrying modernity with a culture that promotes and supports parenthood.

Doc adds: it is the religious (NOT Progressives)who have babies. The future belongs to who shows up.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 9:56 a.m. PST

The OP (from the Colson center) is Christian; the article it discusses and which I posted second is by a Progressive feminist. Take your pick, but the PROBLEM is real either way.

Something Wicked23 May 2023 10:49 a.m. PST

You are aware that Louise Perry is a feminist, an outspoken writer on women's rights and sexual violence and a liberal?

Just the kind of person old conservative men* like to condemn as 'woke'. You should probably read more of her work, it might give you a fresh perspective.

*I'm an old conservative man, but I try to get my head out of the echo chamber occasionally 🙂

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 11:13 a.m. PST

Sadly, the problem is easier to grasp than the solution. I'd be very careful about replacing freedom with "care and interdependency" myself. There are still decisions to be made: who makes them?

I'd also like to point out that a shrinking population is not necessarily a shrinking economy--training and capital investment matter--and that I never believed that population pressure drives war. The prime years of the Baby Boom look pretty peaceful compared to the declining Western fertility rates of 1900-1945.

But if we have civilization, we'll have wars. If we don't have civilization, we'll have tribal feuds. You pays your money…

Mister Tibbles23 May 2023 11:18 a.m. PST

I say we invade Canada. They're not doing anything important right now anyway. Isn't that what "allies" do? Attack each other? I seem to recall that from the Napoleonic wars. Hmmm… Plus, we can draft all the feminists for the attack, give them guns, and tell them they can kill as many Canadian men as possible during the invasion and occupation. I think they would enjoy that. evil grin

Andrew LA23 May 2023 11:28 a.m. PST

Another option is just to post stuff about wargaming and not post random political stuff that has nothing to do with wargames :-)

Martin Rapier23 May 2023 11:41 a.m. PST

The wars of the last 300 years have been caused by the rivalries of various types of empires, political or commercial. The relative birth rate is irrelevant in the industrial age, although since the end of the last Ice Age, the annihilation of rival human populations was more down to birth rates and the spread of disease than anything else. This stuff verges dangerously close to The Great Replacement Theory.

Something Wicked23 May 2023 11:52 a.m. PST

"This stuff verges dangerously close to The Great Replacement Theory."

I very much doubt that agreeing with Camus' white supremacist ranting was Ms Perry's intent 😉

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian23 May 2023 12:14 p.m. PST

Some say that Putin's war is driven in part by the shrinking number of ethnic Russians he wants to add Ukrainians by declaring them ethnic Russians.

Similarly, China may attack Taiwan in the next few years because if they don't, the Chinese population will be in contraction.

Weren't some of the 19th Century wars impacted by German population growth outstripping French population growth?

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 12:42 p.m. PST

Similarly, China may attack Taiwan in the next few years because if they don't, the Chinese population will be in contraction

The Chinese population is already contracting and that will gain speed yearly. India's population has already passed them. With most households unable to afford children (definitely not more than one), and the high rate of unemployment for young university graduates, conquering Taiwan would not change anything.

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 12:44 p.m. PST

I would venture to say, most wars are caused by greed, and lust for power….

cavcrazy23 May 2023 12:44 p.m. PST

+1 to Andrew LA

dapeters23 May 2023 12:52 p.m. PST

The Colson Center founded by Charles Colson "hard man, the 'evil genius' of an evil administration." Slate and the evil administration would be Nixon's.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 1:37 p.m. PST

Of course I knew who Louise Perry is; I said the author was a Progressive feminist. I think it significant that both she and the Colson writers agree (to a large extent) on the PROBLEM. And even on its roots in modernity.

The problem will be uneven, and developing relatively rapidly. I guess we'll see the declininng pop nations relying even more on technology, even on AI, for warfare as for everything else.

Fewer people using the earth's resources, but a collapsing population will be a gigantic fiscal/economic problem. Will we see genocide against "useless mouths" of the elderly in places like Japan? Not enough young workers to support them, and less traditional reverence for the aged -- just get rid of them.

Gozerius23 May 2023 2:22 p.m. PST

We are already seeing the targeting of "useless mouths" in every place that has embraced euthenasia as "health care". First, the incurably ill, then incorporating ever-widening classes of people, often without consent.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 2:42 p.m. PST

Dragging this thread kicking and screaming back to war if not wargaming, Does anyone know who started the whole "all wars are caused by population pressure" business? Johnny Rico "knows" this in Starship Troopers (1959) so presumably Heinlein read it no later than 1958--and probably after his "Future History" timeline of the late 30's and early 40's, since wars in the Future History do not seem to be population-related.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 2:44 p.m. PST

Stosstruppen, I rate "greed and lust for power" as an explanation right up there with saying a bridge collapsed due to gravity. If your system can't cope with money- and power-hungry people, it's not fit for use among human beings.

Gozerius23 May 2023 3:06 p.m. PST

There seems to have been plenty of wars raging across Europe and Asia in the 14th Century in the midst of the depopulation caused by the Black Death. Depopulation is very destabilizing, something the Neo-Malthusians choose to ignore.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 3:18 p.m. PST

Gozerius, yes, on both counts.

I think it is easy enough to conceptualize Heinlein's blithe assumption. No doubt the hunting tribes in North America fought over the best land. And everything counts in the long run. Two identical tribes except one has domesticated small goats. Goats milk allows the tribes mothers to stop nursing and become pregnant more frequently. Come back in a few generations and the goat people have destroyed or absorbed their rivals.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 3:22 p.m. PST

Societies/cultures retaining a religious commitment will tend to have more children. Probably doesn't matter much WHICH religion, unless it is Moloch! (Plenty of that out there now, though.) Over several generations that will matter, in various ways. Although the religious can be as susceptible to the corrosive effect of modernity as anyone else.

Which is to say, we could see religious wars returning.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP23 May 2023 3:27 p.m. PST

If depopulation is destabilizing, we may look for a return to something like feudalism. Probably religiously based.

(Some will have nukes.)

When I am bored I sometimes read apocalyptic fiction, but it tends to be about firefights. I want to read some different visions of the big picture, how a nation falls apart and maybe part of it holds and pulls itself together again. (I don't think it will be the Masons, though, as in one of Heinlein's fever dreams.) Anyone done any good scenario books along those lines?

khanscom23 May 2023 7:25 p.m. PST

"Malevil" by Robert Merle, a post- apocalyptic French novel.

SBminisguy23 May 2023 8:26 p.m. PST

Another option is just to post stuff about wargaming and not post random political stuff that has nothing to do with wargames :-)

Well, if you're doing future wargaming the fact that we're rapidly depopulating our species as opposed to overpopulation could effect your game. Byw, Overpopulation has never been a thing, even when Erlich wrote the "Population Bomb" back in the 1960s global pop growth was already on the decline. And I think Salon is missing the main point – maybe "modernity" contributes, but primarily as women get social rights and can get an education and enter the workforce, population naturally declines as they have fewer kids. And as people become more affluent and urbanized they also have fewer kids.

So in a low-pop future will wars be fought with robots and drones? Will it be like a detached wargame where people watch the results in their VR pods while AI-controlled autonomous systems do the fighting? Will fighting be even easier given the disengagement of people from combat?

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian23 May 2023 10:10 p.m. PST

Does anyone know who started the whole "all wars are caused by population pressure" business? Johnny Rico "knows" this in Starship Troopers (1959) so presumably Heinlein read it no later than 1958--and probably after his "Future History" timeline of the late 30's and early 40's, since wars in the Future History do not seem to be population-related.

Probably related to Hitler's pre-WWII concern that the Germans lacked room and resources to develop their full potential as a nation (race?). The Lebensraum justification for invading the Soviet Union during WWII.

Martin Rapier23 May 2023 11:29 p.m. PST

I've waded through both "Guns, Germs and Steel" and "Sapiens" in the last 12 months, both broad brush world histories of human development sinc and he end of the last Ice Age, and in particular, studying the victory of the west.

In the vast majority of cases of conflict, relative population size and growth is the symptom of victory, not the underlying cause of warfare, but that only really applies to pre industrial societies.

Something Wicked24 May 2023 1:19 a.m. PST

"Of course I knew who Louise Perry is; I said the author was a Progressive feminist."

OK, I must have been in error thinking it was another "just asking" thread.


"Societies/cultures retaining a religious commitment will tend to have more children"

Oh dear, and we were doing so well.

As it goes, conservative Christianity is probably the religion with the most likelihood of fomenting unrest in the West.

I will leave it to others to research where that particular strand of belief is most popular.

Arjuna24 May 2023 4:32 a.m. PST

If I look at the birth rates and population development of Russia and Ukraine over the last thirty years, as an example, overpopulation does not seem to me to be a plausible reason for wiping out some of the weakest age cohorts of both countries.
And things looked even worse for Ukraine before the war than they did for Russia.
It looks more like the extended suicide of a notorious
wife beater who realizes that his threats to his terrorized relatives are no longer effective.
"Whether you like it or not, my beauty, you have to endure it"
- V.Putin -

The train of thought that war is a consequence of 'overpopulation,' especially an oversupply of young male cohorts("Youth Bulge", see Gaston Bouthoul, Gunnar Heinsohn, et al) predates Malthus.
But, if it were correct, we would have seen a massive increase in warlike conflicts in the last 50 years; after all, the world's population has roughly doubled in that time.
Kenya's population has increased roughly fivefold, but still no slaughterhouse and living hell of fine young cannibals offing each other or the surrounding countries.

It's just a rationalization.
It is still old men who send young men to their deaths for their interests.
But it looks better than saying, be fruitful, so we can send you to subdue them or die trying.

Why do you think TMP's pet Russians are so callous about their losses here?

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 5:26 a.m. PST

Stosstruppen, I rate "greed and lust for power" as an explanation right up there with saying a bridge collapsed due to gravity. If your system can't cope with money- and power-hungry people, it's not fit for use among human beings.

Robert Piepenbrink, I don't remember asking your opinion on the matter…

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 5:37 a.m. PST

I agree with Robert P. The US system is certainly built on an assumption about "greed and lust for power." "If men were angels. . ." as Madison says in Federalist 51. It IS demonstrably possible to construct systems that divide and check power and harness ambition, but these depend primarily, I think, on a stable and LARGE middle class of citizens (now very much in decline in America) and also on a transcendent religion that encourages people to, well, have babies instead of indulge themselves.

dave836524 May 2023 6:50 a.m. PST

The article is, in brief, a summary of the Christofascist claptrap involving "valuing motherhood" which has resulted in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization and the decision that such values now require that women be forcibly turned into baby-making machines – as we now see happening in "conservative" states across the US. This is further enforced by the authors' use of parentheses when referring to "gay rights".

People are free to believe what they want, but the 1st Amendment does not give anyone the right to force those beliefs onto others.

Instead of Louise Perry, people should read Margaret Atwood.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 7:15 a.m. PST

Sorry Stoss. I had no idea this was your blog. I take it comments are turned off?

Kevin C24 May 2023 8:02 a.m. PST

I for one am thankful that you posted these articles. If one wants to see how far back concerns over declining populations impact people's security when it comes to facing foreign military threats, then you should read what Plutarch says concerning how a declining population undermined the Greek world's (Macedonia and other Hellenistic states) ability to face the rising power of Rome. He addresses this in one of his asides under the heading of fate and fortune (I forget which one of his Parallel Lives this passage is in). I am late for work right now, but if I remember, I will attempt to find the passage later. That said, I hope that this brings the discussion back to its original intention (addressing how population changes impact warfare) -- which is a fair topic for this site and is not something that has to be relegated to the Blue Fez.

Kevin

SBminisguy24 May 2023 9:13 a.m. PST

@SomethingWicked

As it goes, conservative Christianity is probably the religion with the most likelihood of fomenting unrest in the West.

Because it's conservative Christians who burned the Church at Notre Dame and regularly conduct terrorist attacks in The West? Is that why we see news like this??

France asks US for extra protection from resurgent Islamist terror threat

France's interior minister has appealed to the US for increased security assistance, saying that Islamist terrorism remains the "primary threat" to Europe ahead of next year's Olympic Games in Paris.


link

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 9:34 a.m. PST

naw just matching snide remarks…

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 9:47 a.m. PST

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death.

Something Wicked24 May 2023 9:47 a.m. PST

"Because it's conservative Christians who burned the Church at Notre Dame"

Assuming you mean Cathederale Notre Dame de Paris, if you have proof that any religious group 'burned the church' I'm sure the French authorities would be fascinated to see it.

As it is the investigation by the Parquet de Paris officially concluded that the fire started in the roof during renovation work.

The French are not shy about ascribing acts of terrorism to Islamist extremists. If there had even been a hint of involvement the State would have made a hell of noise about it. They did not.

Until we can get past hare-brained conspiracy theories there's nothing to discuss. It is just another one of 'those' threads.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 9:49 a.m. PST

Not sure what a "Christofascist" is but if they outbreed you, as seems likely, they win.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 10:04 a.m. PST

link

car seats as contraception

Arjuna24 May 2023 10:50 a.m. PST

car seats as contraception

Nice find, but modern Amish cars for example aren't any better…

But the number of Amish people, not their buggies doubled every twenty years or so, from a few hundred to about 380,000 as of today.
Old Order, that is.
Though, thinking about it, the number of their buggies probably also doubled every twenty years.

Arjuna24 May 2023 11:06 a.m. PST

Interestingly, while still one, if not the fastest-growing religious group in the USA, the birth rates of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka Mormons is dwindling.
Which is a pity, as I quite like the aesthetics of their temples.
A little weakness of mine, I am rather an atheist myself and an emphatic enjoyer of Nietzsche's writings.

What this has to do with wargaming?
I don't know, probably nothing.

And that's why I come back thematically to demography and the war in a specific case:
The Demography of War: Ukraine vs. Russia – On Institute for Family Studies

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 11:49 a.m. PST

Arjuna, yes, good stuff.

Or consider Machiavelli's advice to THE PRINCE: colonists are both cheaper and more effective than garrisons: they will maintain themselves and pay YOU instead of you having to pay them; they will fight fiercely to hold what they have; and they will expand through population growth.

SBminisguy24 May 2023 11:57 a.m. PST

doc mcb+1

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 12:32 p.m. PST

Rodney Stark is the great sociologist of religious growth.
The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History Kindle Edition
by Rodney Stark (Author)

Beginning with less than 1000 people, by the year 100, Christianity had grown to perhaps one hundred small household churches consisting of an average of around seventy (12200) members each.[92] It achieved critical mass in the hundred years between 150 to 250 when it moved from fewer than 50,000 adherents to over a million.[7] This provided enough adopters for it to be self-sustaining and create further growth.[7][93]

Rodney Stark estimates that Christians made up around 1.9% of the Roman population in 250.[94] . . .Scholars generally agree there was a significant rise in the absolute number of Christians in the third century.[97] Stark, building on earlier estimates by theologian Robert M. Grant and historian Ramsay MacMullen, estimates that Christians made up around ten percent of the Roman population by 300.[94] The last and most severe official persecution, the Diocletianic Persecution, took place in 303311.[88]

By the beginning of the Nicene period, the Christian faith had spread throughout Western Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, and to North Africa and the East. A more formal Church structure grew out of the early communities, and various Christian doctrines developed.

Stark describes several factors contributing to the growth in the early centuries, including plagues (Christians had a higher survival rate due to staying to nurse the sick instead of fleeing).

If/when world disorder expands, it is most likely to be religious sects (not necessarily Christian, but certainly including them) who step in to help, and in the process grow exponentially. (A lot of churches, especially the Baptists, PRACTICE this: they have teams ready to go to, e.g., hurricane disaster areas. A religious duty, of course, and also excellent for recruiting.)

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 12:36 p.m. PST

Doc, George III and Machiavelli might have different takes on the utility of colonists.

But if we're actually considering warfare and miniatures, I'd like to bring the Merkava into the discussion. It struck me as the classic "losing the population wars" tank--the best anyone makes for ensuring the crew comes home.

Among my (many) quarrels with GW is the Eldar. If you really have a scanty population surrounded by people who breed faster, you don't do hand to hand: you build tanks like the Merkava, off-board artillery, camouflage suits and the universe's best sniper rifles--along with booby traps. The other races should never even SEE and Eldar army. Let the Orks get in close: plenty more where they came from.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 12:42 p.m. PST

Robert, yes, good point -- though I've never cared for nor played 40K. But yes, we see such considerations even in WWII, when the RAF adopted night bombing because of concern about casualties (to THEMSELVES, though of course it increased German civilian casualties). One can easily imagine a Japanese military, ten or twenty years out, with a small number of fighters using superior technology but desperate to avoid casualties.

OR, a variation on the kamikazi, if Japan has a large aging population, how better to fight than hooking up a geezer into a modern weapon promising a glorious departure! Save the young men!

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 12:49 p.m. PST

I mentioned enjoying post-apoc fiction. One series centers around the Mormons, and has their leaders discovering (during a famine) that (as human do) the LDS were mostly NOT obeying the rules on storing food; big gap between what was SUPPOSED to be the case and the reality.

Stark makes the point that the on-again/off-again nature of Roman persecution actually made the church grow, like the in-and-out of a heart beating or lungs working. Apply strict rules and prosper; prosperity brings laxity; renewed persecution forces the lax to CHOOSE; new obedience brings new growth.

I expect we shall see (if we are around) a good bit of that from various groups around the world.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2023 3:39 p.m. PST

Oh, why limit such an excellent idea to the Japanese? I regularly ask the VA for a pill which would let me go full blast for six months and then kill me, as opposed to another 5-20 years of attritional warfare. If they had such a treatment, there'd be a long line.

John Ringo did some stories in which humanity had an actual rejuvenation treatment, and needed it because casualties literally did not matter to the alien invaders. Serious tactical and equipment difference between the sides.

Joel Rosenberg--note not Joel C. Rosenberg who is different, had a book or two in which a planet used retired vets for high-risk missions. Has to be Not for Glory, Hero or both.

(Not a 40K player or fan myself, by the way. But my son wandered a long way from historical miniatures. You pick up a few things.)

Blutarski24 May 2023 5:08 p.m. PST

Joel Rosenberg had a book or two in which a planet used retired vets for high-risk missions.

Sounds rather familiar in the real here and now. Man is IMO a fundamentally warlike creature.

- -

Just an aside … Anyone recall "High Crusade" by Andre Norton Dark Age Viking warriors from Earth, recruited by aliens to help defend their planet? At least 60 years since I read it as a boy.

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