LAST WEEK the news came from the United States that white people will be in a minority there in 2042, eight years sooner than previously predicted, according to US government projections. The reason for this is that in North America, as in Europe, the white population is not reproducing itself.
White women in western societies are producing on average fewer, sometimes much fewer, than 2.1 children per woman - the number of children required for the maintenance of a population. As things stand, therefore, the white race in the West is a dying breed.
There have been many instances of human groups not reproducing themselves, to the point of self-extinction or absorption into larger groups. The most common case has been a previously isolated tribe, when an outside agency has invaded and disrupted its way of life. The set of behavioural rules its members had worked out for themselves, and that made sense to them as a framework for life, gets disordered beyond repair.
They find themselves trying to live by a combination of rules that are partly remnants of their system, partly alien rules imposed on them. This haphazard combination does not make sense to them as a framework for life. So increasingly the will to reproduction flags, because it does not make sense to them to bear children into a senseless life.
It is likely that there is a similar reason for the flagging will of white westerners to reproduce their kind. Their historical background is in European or western civilisation which first took shape around a thousand years ago. That its core set of rules made sense is evidenced by its long endurance and by the mighty will to reproduce which it generated. Westerners overflowed from Europe to populate much of the world.
Then, beginning at the end of the second World War, white westerners, first in the United States, then in America's post-war European satellites, embarked on a great experiment. For the best of reasons - the pursuit of more justice, wealth and empowerment for all - they replaced many of the rules of European civilisation with new rules. Or rather, their democratic governments did this, employing left-liberals as their ethical guides, and enjoying enthusiastic support from the business corporations. The main rush of rule change took place in the 1960s and 1970s. Most white westerners, especially the younger generations, have made the new rules their own and have been living by them, or trying to.
The new collection of rules includes some of the old rules. It covers every sphere of behaviour: personal, interpersonal, male and female, parental and juvenile. It comprises, besides dos and don'ts, do-as-you-like rules.
People always assess for sense the collection of rules presented to them as a framework for life. They do so instinctively, drawing on generations of inherited experience. The point I am making is that this new collection of rules which white westerners have given themselves probably does not pass that litmus test. Probably it strikes growing numbers of them, deep down, as senseless, and therefore as a life framework which it does not make sense to bear children into.
That would not be surprising, given that it was thrown together in a very short time and based on idealistic theories rather than lived experience.
I have in mind an instructive parallel from the history of the Soviet Union. There, too, led by Russia, an idealistic experiment in rule-making was undertaken, with Marxist-Leninism as the ethical guide. In the latter years of that experiment, Russians noted with dismay an increasing fall in their fertility rate. The prospect appeared that they would become a minority in relation to the growing populations of the Union's Asian republics. In those populations, strong inherited cultures had rendered the impact of the Marxist-Leninist rules much lighter or next to null.
It is unlikely, even if the explanation I am offering for the flagging fertility of white westerners is accepted as valid, that any serious corrective measures will be undertaken. Our post-European collection of rules is the basis on which our successful consumerist system has been built, and everyone in power wants that to continue.
But if the reality were different, and white westerners could act in their own long-term interest, they would institute an authoritative, critical examination of their prevailing rules system. And that would begin - but only begin - by scrutinising the prevailing, "politically correct" rules that bear on women's lives, and particularly on motherhood.
• Desmond Fennell's latest book is About Being Normal in Abnormal Circumstances (Athol Books). His website is http://www.desmondfennell.com/