Securing the Means of Reproduction

Since taking power in 2010, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has doubled government spending in support of families and announced a variety of pro-family measures that have made him a hero to actual conservatives and the worst kind of villain to the global liberal establishment.

Orban’s most eye-catching pro-family policies were announced in 2019. They included tax benefits and subsidies for young couples having children. Young couples are now offered interest-free loans that will be cancelled once they have three children. Women having four or more children are exempt from paying income tax for life.

By 2019, Hungary’s population was falling by 32,000 a year, and women were having fewer children than the EU average. Announcing the new pro-family measures in his annual State of the Nation address, Orban said that the answer to falling birth rates in Europe was generally considered to be immigration: “For every missing child, there should be one coming in and then the numbers will be fine.” But “Hungarian people think differently,” he added. “We do not need numbers. We need Hungarian children.”

For daring to suggest that it’s in the Hungarian national interest for native Hungarians to have children, instead of just importing a positive birth rate from abroad, Orban has been called every mean word you can think of, just as Donald Trump has been for arguing that America ought to have borders that actually work to keep non-Americans out. Liberals are terrified that Orban’s example will inspire other conservative regimes to reject the post-war consensus on immigration as not just the best, but in fact the only, means of ensuring population growth.

What Orban is doing is basic common-sense conservatism. A nation that cannot reproduce itself from within is no longer a real nation. Nations are not just “population machines” that occupy specific parcels of land. The real test of conservatism in 2023 is whether or not you reject wholesale demographic replacement. If you do, you’re actually conservative. If you don’t, you’re not—whatever you may say you are. You can call your party ‘the Conservative Party’, but if you allow annual net migration of more than half a million, you’re not conservative. It’s that simple.

The question that remains to be answered is, will Victor Orban’s measures actually work? As admirable as they may be, if they don’t work, Hungary is in trouble, and other nations are unlikely to try and emulate them.

Early evidence suggests only modest improvements to the Hungarian birth rate. This might improve in the longer term. History tells us, though, that official attempts to encourage people to marry and have children aren’t likely to succeed. The Roman emperor Augustus famously introduced a raft of legal measures to improve the morals of the Roman upper classes and encourage marriage and childbirth. The leges Juliae established serious punishments for adultery, for both parties, discriminated against celibacy, and gave special honours to mothers who had three male offspring. Despite these wide-ranging measures, 100 years later, the historian Cornelius Tacitus, in the Germania, would decry the barrenness and moral turpitude of the Roman elite by comparison with the German tribes across the Rhine.

There are probably a wide variety of social, economic, and moral factors that work against using legislation to improve falling birth rates in a society, whether it be the Roman Empire or 21st-century Hungary. But there are also frightening biological changes taking place today that mean, even if we can sort everything else out, it’s still likely pro-natal legislation will fail if those biological changes are not addressed in the most thoroughgoing manner. The fact that this is not yet happening is a very bad sign.

While we’re all used to arguments about declining fertility couched in terms of prosperity, technological advancement, increased freedom, and women’s liberation—“women have fewer babies in the West now because they’re freer, better educated, wealthier and healthier and have access to contraception and abortion”—the biological factors silently working to reduce our ability to have children are much less familiar. And least appreciated of all the biological factors, which include things like obesity and diet, is the role of endocrine—or hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Our exposure to these chemicals has grown to an unprecedented extent over the last 70 years, largely as a result of the creation of plastics, new industrial products, personal-care products, and herbicides and pesticides. Many, if not most, of these chemicals are ‘xenoestrogens’, mimicking the effects of the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen in the human body, upsetting the natural balance between testosterone and oestrogen in both men and women. Notable endocrine disruptors include phthalates, bisphenol A, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

There is a wealth of studies substantiating not only the ubiquity of endocrine disruptors today—we’re inhaling them, swallowing them, rubbing them into our skin—but also their terrible effects on more or less all living creatures.

Let’s look at their effects on male reproductive health for a moment. Exposure to endocrine disruptors is associated with genital malformation, reduced penis size, low testosterone, and gynecomastia (development of breast tissue or “moobs”) in men. Endocrine disruptors also reduce sperm quantity and quality, and it’s these changes we should be especially worried about.

Between 1973 and 2011, there was a 59 per cent decrease in the sperm counts of the average Western man. This headlong dive in quantity has also been accompanied by a no less drastic reduction in sperm quality, meaning the number of viable sperm that can actually fertilise a female egg.

According to Professor Shanna Swan, one of the world’s foremost reproductive health experts, the trends in male reproductive health suggest we are mere decades away from catastrophe. If we extrapolate current trends, by 2045, the median man will have a sperm count of zero. What this means is that one-half of all men will produce no sperm whatsoever, and the other half will produce so few, and of such poor quality, that they might as well produce none at all, because they’re not going to get a woman pregnant no matter how hard they try. This has been referred to as a “spermageddon” scenario.

Although there has been a lot of media focus on Professor Swan’s claims about the looming spermageddon, we shouldn’t forget that these chemicals also affect women just as badly, including reducing their chances of fulfilling their biological function as mothers. A new study of PFAS exposure from Singapore, for example, shows that women with higher concentrations in their bodies are up to 40 per cent less likely to conceive and bring a live baby to term.

Exposure to endocrine disruptors takes place in the womb and at every stage of sexual maturation, allowing these chemicals to interfere with physical and mental development at any time. This is why Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has quite plausibly suggested that pollution may be one of the principal causes of the explosion of gender dysphoria in the United States today. Recent research in the journal General Psychiatry has shown that the average age of individuals expressing ‘gender dysphoria’ is plummeting, at the same time as rates of the condition are reaching new heights. Between 2017 and 2022, the average age of diagnosis fell by 15 per cent, from 31 years of age to 26.

A great irony, politically at least, of the research into endocrine disruptors and fertility decline is that the reproductive health collapse we’ve seen in the West is also taking place across the rest of the world. New research has shown that men in Latin America, Africa, and Asia are all suffering declines in testosterone levels, sperm quantity, and quality that are every bit as vicious as our own. Our masters are importing people who will turn out to be just as barren as we are. But the sheer weight of numbers won’t make that a problem until it’s much too late for us.

"If the broscientists have a spiritual leader, it would be a man who calls himself RAW EGG NATIONALIST" — Tucker Carlson.

Raw Egg Nationalist is the pseudonymous star of Tucker Carlson's recent documentary 'The End of Men'. He is a prominent figure in the realms of nutrition, exercise, and masculinity, and has authored two best-selling books: 'The Eggs Benedict Option' and 'The Raw Egg Nationalism Cookbook'. He is also the editor of the magazine 'Man's World'.