Tue, 28 Feb 2006

I just read an article (no longer available online) from the Australian press about the uncanny popularity of small-C conservative Prime Minister John Howard among that country’s young people (dubbed the “young fogies”).

I can honestly claim complete agnosticism on the subject of which political party should govern Australia, but I still found the article a little depressing. A retreat from the pieties of ’60s-era liberalism is probably a good thing, but I hope it doesn’t simply lead to an embrace of the pieties of ’50s-era conservatism. I suppose we’ll balance out somewhere in the middle. I’m just grumpy cos my particular pieties aren’t doing so well right now.

Warren and I went for soup at Calories on the weekend, and discussed the theory that high birthrates among religious believers could lead to the decline of liberalism. At one point I mused, “Maybe technology could save us.” But I didn’t really follow through on my thought. What I was getting at was that reproductive technology could take some of the pressure off western women who aren’t keen on squirting out a half-dozen children apiece just to balance out the fecundity of Yemeni mothers. Right now there seems to be a kind of prejudice against the idea of incubating babies in fluid-filled sacs, rather than in human uteruses. But there was prejudice against test-tube babies, too. I’m not saying every baby needs to be grown in a sac; only enough to bring our fertility back above replacement rates. Our current strategy of augmenting our fertility by importing all the smartest, most ambitious young people from Third World countries has the downside of leaving the Third World countries denuded of what should be their middle classes. Great for us, not necessarily so great for the Third World. Since we’re trying to devise strategies that will reduce their desire to release anthrax in our shopping malls, this is something we should think carefully about.

Somehow this line of thought leads me to this article, which says that blonde-haired people are doomed to extinction. Or rather, that the trait of blondeness will be bred out of existence by sometime in the 23rd century. (NOTE: the article has since been corrected. Apparently blondes aren’t endangered after all.)

Anybody remember the scene in Bulworth where Warren Beatty calls for the “elimination” of white people? “We need a voluntary, free-spirited, compatible, open-ended program of procreative racial deconstruction. Everybody just got to keep fucking everybody till we’re all the same colour.” Sounds great at first. Undoubtedly this would lead to greater peace and understanding. But what a boring world it will be once we all share the same light brown skin, the same almond-shaped hazel eyes, the same wavy dark hair.

But again, maybe technology could save us. Maybe people will find the lack of diversity boring and start messing around with their genes just to see what happens. Maybe racial diversity will no longer consist of Chinese and Swedes and Eskimos, but rat-tail people with rat genes, and rhino-nosed people with rhino genes, and glow-in-the-dark people with jellyfish genes. And the rat people could have babies with the jellyfish people, and their babies could breed with the monkey babies, and so on. What a mess that would be. But an interesting mess. I would sign up right now for Spock ears if I could.

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