Monday, November 21, 2022

Back on the Ithuvania beat -- "Hipster Eugenics"



 Just to review...

Sometimes, when I come across yet another bit of jaw-dropping flakiness from some tech-bubble billionaire, my thoughts turn to Ithuvania. What if this were an experiment? What if some well-funded research organization decided to see what would happen if it randomly selected individuals of average intelligence, handed them huge checks and told them they were super-geniuses?

I'm not saying that's what happened; I'm just saying the results would have been awfully damned similar.

In his review of the remake of Death Wish, Bob Chipman was talking about the premise of the new version when he stopped and looked around the said, "Y'know, I don't hear anything, but my dog is going nuts."

 If you listen to this article by Julia Black, I'm pretty sure you'll get the same reaction. [emphasis and commentary added]

Malcolm, 36, and his wife, Simone, 35, are "pronatalists," part of a quiet but growing movement taking hold in wealthy tech and venture-capitalist circles. People like the Collinses fear that falling birth rates in certain developed countries like the United States and most of Europe will lead to the extinction of cultures, the breakdown of economies, and, ultimately, the collapse of civilization. [As has been pointed out numerous times (including this post by Joseph), these nations maintain a growing population though immigration which suggests that these particular pro-natalists have less of an issue with birth rates and more of an issue with which people are being born -- MP] It's a theory that Elon Musk has championed on his Twitter feed, that Ross Douthat has defended in The New York Times' opinion pages, and that Joe Rogan and the billionaire venture capitalist Marc Andreessen [the honorary dean of Ithuvania -- MP] bantered about on "The Joe Rogan Experience." It's also, alarmingly, been used by some to justify white supremacy around the world, from the tiki-torch-carrying marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting "You will not replace us" to the mosque shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand, who opened his 2019 manifesto: "It's the birthrates. It's the birthrates. It's the birthrates."

Google searches for "population collapse" spiked this summer, after Musk continued to raise the issue in response to Insider's report that he'd fathered twins with one of his employees. According to the United Nations, more than a quarter of the world's countries now have pronatalist policies, including infertility-treatment benefits and "baby bonus" cash incentives. Meanwhile, a spate of new assisted reproductive technology startups are attracting big-name investors such as Peter Thiel and Steve Jurvetson [Another charmer -- MP], fueling a global fertility-services market that Research and Markets projects will reach $78.2 billion by 2025.


Together [the Collinses] write books and work in the VC and private-equity worlds. Simone has previously served as managing director for Dialog, the secretive retreat cofounded by Thiel. While they relate to the anti-institutional wing of the Republican Party, they're wary of affiliating with what they called the "crazy conservatives."  Above all, they are focused on branding pronatalism as hip, socially acceptable, and welcoming [It's the 'welcoming' that makes it truly special -- MP]— especially to certain people. Last year, they cofounded the nonprofit initiative


"We're frustrated that one of the inherent points of this culture is that people are super private within it," Simone said. They not only hope that their transparency will encourage other members of the upper class to have more children; they want to build a culture and economy around the high-birth-rate lifestyle.

The payoff won't be immediate, Simone said, but she believes if that small circle puts the right plans into place, their successors will "become the new dominant leading classes in the world." [Boy, that has a familiar ring to it -- MP]


It makes sense considering that Musk, who has fathered 10 known children with three women, is the tech world's highest-profile pronatalist, albeit unofficially. He has been open about his obsession with Genghis Khan, the 13th-century Mongol ruler whose DNA can still be traced to a significant portion of the human population. One person who has worked directly with Musk and who spoke on the condition of anonymity for this article recalled Musk expressing his interest as early as 2005 in "populating the world with his offspring."


These worries tend to focus on one class of people in particular, which pronatalists use various euphemisms to express. In August, Elon's father, Errol Musk, told me that he was worried about low birth rates in what he called "productive nations." The Collinses call it "cosmopolitan society." Elon Musk himself has tweeted about the movie "Idiocracy," in which the intelligent elite stop procreating, allowing the unintelligent to populate the earth.


The Collinses themselves have been called "hipster eugenicists" online, something Simone called "amazing" when I brought it to her attention.

Malcolm's "going to want to make business cards that say 'Simone and Malcolm Collins: Hipster Eugenicists," she said with a laugh.


1 comment:

  1. Just for you: