Open Thread 107

This week’s open thread.

UR commenter Atavisionary says that we are now apparently “soft banned” on Reddit as well (click to see thread):

We are rapidly becoming one of the most persecuted websites in the entire world, and quite possibly in all of history.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing books, reviews, travel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. This is the current Open Thread, where anything goes – within reason.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. We are rapidly becoming one of the most persecuted websites in the entire world, and quite possibly in all of history.

    I thought that was the Daily Stormer

  3. ImmortalRationalist says

    With all the mass hysteria around racism going on, how much more likely do you think it is that the Age of Malthusian Industrialism will become a reality? A Biosingularity occurring is probably becoming less likely, since leftists will probably find some way to label genetic engineering/embryo selection as “racist” or “ableist” and try to shut it down.

  4. It will ofc have to be readjusted downwards, the main hope is on China. Perhaps even Russia.

    Yet another reason to firewall from the West.

  5. I recall a year or so back you commented that Russia will lose cultural/political influence in the ‘stans due to the enormous appeal of American culture. I didn’t agree then as I assumed America would (in 20 years) be full-on Bolshevik, but that’s come quite a bit sooner than I was assuming.

    Does the catastrophe of American culture change your estimation of Russia’s difficulty of maintaining cultural/political influence, if not dominance in that region?

  6. Max Payne says

    This is excellent news. If losing traffic from Google or Twitter is no real loss, losing traffic from Reddit is a positive gain.

    I can already feel the gay rays dissipate.

  7. Here’s a theory about fertility rates:

    When TFRs were depressed following the soviet collapse in the 90s, then presumably it’s the people with very high fertility preferences who still had children. (Assuming it’s not just the people who happen to hold onto good jobs through the crisis who keep having kids.)

    Since fertility is heritable, the post-soviet states might have a bit of a boom in fertility rates when that age cohort is in their prime child-bearing years. Of course since that cohort is smaller the actual number of births is still not going to be that impressive, but it could still have a significant effect.

    The lowest fertility seems to have been in East Germany which reached a low of 0.77 in 1994(compared to 1.6 in 2018), so that’s where the biggest effect should be. That cohort will probably be in peak-childbearing age around 2025. The rest of the post-soviet states seem to have reached their low point later, Russia at 1.16 children in 1999 for example. That generation will probably be in peak-childbearing age around 2030.

    And those generations should also be higher in traits correlated with fertility like conservatism, religiosity and low educational achievement. Too lazy to try and find statistics for such things by age group though.

  8. Thulean Friend says

    Climate change has been sort of forgotten in the recent pandemic/BLM flurry of news. Nevertheless, the artic is now breaking all records. Russia has built large parts of its fossil fuel extraction infrastructure in the Siberian hinterlands on permafrost, which could melt faster than many envisaged even a few years ago. If this happens, there would be huge losses staring Russia in the face. But we don’t even need to look into the future. Norilsk’s recent massive oil spill, which will take decades to clean up, was largely due to melting permafrost. I’ve seen optimistic reports claiming Russia would gain from climate change, but they modeled a much more gradual rise. This isn’t what is happening.

    Not only will COVID-19 be a whammy for much of the developing world, but accelerating climate change will make many parts of the world increasingly unhabitable. These people will understandably feel compelled to move to places that are less bad.

  9. TFRs were depressed following the soviet collapse in the 90s

    “Total Fertility Rate” is a prediction tool from limited information; it often doesn’t show accurately what are actual fertility rates.

    In the 1990s, there was economic crisis in Russia, and many women delayed children (especially second children) to the 2000s, after an end of an economic crisis.

    Actual fertility rates likely didn’t change and were the same 1,6 children per women across 1990s-2000s.

    Timing of births was changed by the economic crisis; women likely still had the same eventual/ number of children regardless of the economic crisis.

    In sub-replacement fertility regime, women delaying childbirth, reduces the fall in population – by increasing space between generations. So it the change in timing of births caused by the economic crisis, has counter-intuitively likely reduced the speed of fall in the population in Russia, other things equal.

  10. I understand that, but who are the ones who didn’t delay their childbirths and kept having kids even as the economy fell apart? If it’s people predisposed to high fertility then my theory should be correct.

    However, perhaps it was just well-off people who didn’t have economic worries who didn’t delay having children, or liberals who had a positive outlook on the emerging liberal democracy and who didn’t mind the upset and chaos as much as conservatively minded people who like order and stability.

  11. Kent Nationalist says

    There was a program on British TV last night called ‘The School that Tried to End Racism’. The primary school children (in a majority non-white school) were split into white/non-white groups and made to talk about race. Unsurprisingly, the non-white children were all very proud of their racial identities and the white children were ashamed to say anything at all. The academics supervising said that this was because they had had the privilege of never having to talk about race with their parents before (rather than that they were afraid of saying something wrong, like ‘White Lives Matter’ and being punished and humiliated on national television, or having the ‘anti-radicalisation’ Prevent secret police called on them).

    Every day we stray further from God and closer to anti-white Maoism.

  12. Felix Keverich says

    Coronavirus cases are exploding in the Ukraine. Apparently masks didn’t help. The regime claims a “second wave”, but in reality first wave never ended in the Ukraine.

  13. Felix Keverich says

    Norilsk’s recent massive oil spill, which will take decades to clean up, was largely due to melting permafrost.

    Don’t be silly. An oligarch, responsible for the spill, blamed “climate change” to avoid paying damages. Siberia has a continental climate, and gets quite warm during summers. As usual Western media exaggerates for political purposes, although the spill is real and deplorable.

  14. Patagonia Man says

    You always know when the Cabal is hard at work – they just lerve their symbolism!

    6 years ago, MH17 crashed on 17 July at 17:17 local time.

    Just so you know, the number ’17’ stands for oblivion.—video/

  15. Malenfant says

    “Fertility is heritable” is an extremely stupid meme.

    It’s simply not true to any meaningful extent.

    It’s not true in farm animals; high fertility in a cow doesn’t predict high fertility in her offspring. The heritability of fertility here is estimated at 0.0 – 0.1.

    It’s not true in wild animals; fertility in groups of monkeys does not seem to be heritable.

    It’s not true in humans. TFR is extremely sensitive to external factors. The overall trend, over the past 100 years, has been one of collapse.

    Modern case in point: South Korea, as recently as 1960, had a TFR of 6.0. It is now 0.9. Zero-point-nine! Where did all the breeders go?

    Antique case in point: In the UK, births per woman aged to 15-44 fell from 154 per thousand in the 1870s to 62 per thousand by the 1930s — a drop in TFR from 4.8 to 1.7. Pretty quick, eh? Pretty unprecedented, I would say. And they haven’t recovered yet. That mythical “breeder population” has not emerged.

    The only high-fertility populations in developed countries right now are religious sects. In that sense, and only that sense, fertility is heritable. Even so, the Mormons are now nearing replacement levels of fertility, and the Amish and Mennonites aren’t what they used to be!

  16. I briefly covered that a few days ago:

    Of course Russia will benefit, regardless of how fast the rise will be. The cost of the cold is far more than that of heat. The only problem will be the sharp depreciation of a lot of the existing housing stock and infrastructure as the permafrost melts, but that will be a one-time affair.

  17. From what I have read and heard popular adherence to mask wearing has collapsed, so it doesn’t prove anything about their inefficacy, sooner the opposite.

    And also that the white race are subhumans but we’ve known that for a few months now.

  18. All of these points were extensively addressed in my AoMI series, apart from the one about farm animals, which is just stupid. (Hope you can work out why).

  19. SIMP simp says

    That Unz Review has a softban from Reddit matters less than then the fact that almost all subreddits where one could link to Unz are banned. After all you could fully copy/paste an article but there is no place to post it anymore. Unlike the glory days of The_Donald in 2016 now all Reddit is pure leftist subs or the occasional heterodox meme sub barely surviving ban waves, but no big populist or alt right subs are allowed.

  20. In the first half of 1990s (which in some way were the worst years of economic crisis – although the economy is collapsing already from 1984), the mean age of first birth was continuing its trend of becoming younger.

    Teenage pregnancy increased during most of the years of economic crisis by moderate extent. So this is more unplanned pregnancies.

    There is an interesting infographic from an old article by RAND.

    “The mean age of childbearing mothers became younger and younger, falling from 28.1 in 1960 to 25.7 in 1980 (Figure 2.6). By 1991, fertility at ages 15-19 exceeded that in the 40-44, 35-39, and 30-34 age groups and approached the rate at ages 25-29 (Figure 2.7).”

    There was moderate but absolute increase in births from mothers in cohort aged 15-19 continuing into 1990s.

    However, perhaps it was just well-off people who didn’t have economic worries who didn’t delay having children, or liberals who had a positive outlook on the emerging liberal democracy and who didn’t mind the upset and chaos as much as conservatively minded people who like order and stability.

    So, births were increasing only in some kind of teenage pregnancy – more pregnancies from kind of teenage “Masha from Uralmash”, or the bad example in the film “Idiocracy” – , during economic crisis, while every other age-group is reducing pregnancies.

    This is expected, as economic crisis changes family planning, while teenage pregnancies have less impact from family planning.

    However, it’s important to remember, that actual fertility rates likely have not changed. The main cohorts who didn’t have children in the 1990s, then show increased fertility in the 2000s. In other words, economic crisis causes most women to delay, rather than reduce, number of children they eventually had.

    • Ironically, this delaying of childbirth, reduces population decline in Russia (due to the below replacement rate of fertility).

  21. Felix Keverich says

    BTW, you might want to check out latest Rosstat demographic data. It shows overall number of deaths declining in Russia in the month of April.

  22. Yes, I saw, the results are just weird at this point, which would be trivial to notice if you look at the more relevant regional tallies.

    Mortality in Dagestan fell by HALF.

    Very good to know that Corona-chan really gives you revitalizing powers! (Or, alternatively, people are not reporting in to registrars under current conditions).

  23. Another thread within UNZ that reviews the new Armed Forces Cathedral near Moscow. It’s an interesting one, because it goes into a lot more depth regarding the East/West political divide than did either Karlin’s or Sailer’s treatment of the same subject matter:

    Have you visited this new Cathedral yet Anatoly?

  24. Thulean Friend says

    What is the source of her immense power?

  25. It shows overall number of deaths declining in Russia in the month of April.

    What’s strange about that? The coronavirus epidemic in April had a statistically significant scale only in Moscow (already in St. Petersburg, the death rate was within the norm). So the decrease in mortality in April is quite an expected option (given the General trend towards a decrease in mortality)

  26. Felix Keverich says

    I agree. Decline in mortality makes perfect sense, considering that epidemic was virtually non-existent outside Moscow region in April. Most regions got no COVID-related mortality bump, but they recorded fewer deaths due to traffic accidents etc.

    Russian mortality data follows similar trends in Germany and Scandinavian countries, but Karlin is visibly disappointed.

  27. Kent Nationalist says

    A liftetime of resentment against prettier high-caste and white women

  28. By the way Anatoly have you read about the Kremlin’s strategy?

  29. Some Guy says

    Seems like fertility was declining even for 15-19 year olds in the 90s in that last graph, although proportionally their share of the births increased. People who have kids that young are probably predisposed to high fertility, so I think this supports my theory.

    People in their 30s who delay childbearing might not be able to make up for it later by the way.

  30. Some Guy says

    Ironically, this delaying of childbirth, reduces population decline in Russia (due to the below replacement rate of fertility).

    Not sure about that by the way. Yes, the generations will shrink slower, but there will be fewer generations living at the same time=lower population. It will also slow down the selection for high fertility rates.

  31. Malenfant says

    Not adequately.

    The heritability of fertility is a lot weaker than you assume. The literature on this subject is extremely poor — most of the family studies are confounded by shared environmental factors and very short (1-3 generation) observation periods. The paper you cite, from Collins and Page, is, as Collins himself readily admits, unlikely to reflect reality. The heritability of fertility in humans has been, overall, estimated at anywhere from 0.04 to 0.34 — so you can flip a coin with respect to whether or not it exists at all as a significant factor. Relying on steady and predictable heritability at .3 is foolish. It was done, I think, as a thought-experiment. You took it at face value.

    What’s more, genetic traits that are “associated with fertility” are those same traits and genes that are negatively associated with conscientiousness and, very likely, are positively associated with gambling, violence, and many other evils. (DRD1 and 2? Probably!)

    Wouldn’t it be easier to say that impulsivity, or time preference, is heritable? That, all things being equal, in a shared environment, given similar economic conditions, and given contemporary industrial society’s incentives and disincentives, impulsive people will have more children?

    Even so, from there to the true heritability of fertility at a .3 level is one hell of a stretch. You just can’t separate what the scientific literature on the subject calls the “heritability of fertility” from the very complex environment we live in, with its dozens of factors which shift over time. The factors themselves are not always obvious, and they can shift in ways that are very subtle. (Impulsive people can find new distractions, like sex-bots or immersive simulations.) Any number of things can put paid to your AoMI fever dream.

    Demographic science in general, even done in hindsight, is a mess. How the birth control pill affected TFR is still a hotly debated question — and far from settled. The most interesting question, “what’s driving the global TFR collapse?” is much more mysterious than that.

    I’d propose a wager, but it’ll probably be 50 years before things shake out and we figure out who was right.

  32. anonymous coward says

    Genetics != heritability.

    Coal mining is highly heritable. So is Islam.

    Obviously there is no ‘coal mining gene’ or ‘Islamic gene’.

  33. Malenfant says

    Sure, but this only supports my point. One’s mode of life is heritable and non-genetic — and modes of life have been subject to rapid change over the past 150 years. Many childless bugmen can trace their descent back to fecund steel-mill workers, farmers, and coal miners. There’s no reason to suppose that modes of life won’t continue to undergo changes into the next century, and that these changes will continue to negatively affect fertility… even in the most impulsive.

    The genetic contribution to fertility is not well defined, and, in itself — that is, if you’re able to decouple it from environmental and mode of life factors in a stable way — is probably substantially lower than .3. The lowest estimates, which are well under .1, intuitively seem as though they should be correct.

  34. Some Guy says

    (Impulsive people can find new distractions, like sex-bots or immersive simulations.) Any number of things can put paid to your AoMI fever dream.

    As long as there are groups of humans who don’t succumb to things like that, it will only delay AoMI. Religious conservatives or people too poor to buy those things for example.

    Also twinning rates are heritable and related to fertility in a straightforward way:
    Why do neurotic people have more children anyway?

    I wonder if once genetic modifications become possible, many people will modify their children to have high fertility rates to ensure they get grandchildren. But once we start modifying people to be super-smart, I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to avoid AoMI.

  35. Malenfant says

    Maybe. Maybe not. If there’s no real genetic component to it, at a heritability level above a certain threshold, then you’re wrong.

    As you note, our breeders are neurotic and impulsive people. More likely to smoke. More likely to start having sex at an early age. Surely also more likely to gamble. It’s plausibly a dopamine receptor thing. Why would parents modify their children for worse behavior and poorer life outcomes? (Certainly when there’s obviously no real guarantee that this will result in more grandchildren; you can’t derive individual outcomes from statistical likelihoods.)

  36. Some Guy says

    Conservatism and religiosity is pretty highly heritable and correlates with fertility IIRC, many parents won’t find those traits bad. Of course conservatives and religious people are probably more opposed to genetic modifications in general, so perhaps only some new pro-gene modification cult/sect will really utilize it?

    If there’s no real genetic component to it, at a heritability level above a certain threshold

    What do you mean by this?

  37. Malenfant says

    That unless there’s a genetic imperative — breeders must exist, and Europe’s indigenous population will soon rise again, because fecundity is heritable just as eye color is heritable (0.8, by the way), or just as IQ is heritable (similarly around 0.8) — I don’t think that AoMI is inevitable at all.

    I’m not suggesting that fertility needs to be heritable to 0.8 — which is effectively the maximum. But even 0.3 seems like one hell of a stretch, in light of very poor evidence that’s open to numerous interpretations. If it’s 0.1 or under, which is plausible, it’s fair to say that fertility is “not genetically heritable” — at least, not to any meaningful extent.

    The heritability of intelligence is governed by many genes of small effect. The genetic heritability of fertility, to whatever extent it exists at all, seems different. It could truly involve just a handful of genes, like DRD1, which influence impulsiveness and novelty-seeking. This has fair explanatory power.

    In any case, fertility in conservative and religious communities has been declining. Utah, home of the Mormons, entered sub-replacement levels of fertility in 2017, for the first time ever. The decline has continued there since then. Even the Amish have seen a decline.

    That all real “breeder” populations are Luddites — the Amish, the Mennonites, Ultra-Orthodox Jews, and, perhaps to a lesser extent, extremely devout Muslims — does seem to indicate that the modern, technological mode of life suppresses fertility to an extent that biology cannot contend with, at least on short time-scales.

    Technology is advancing. How the pill affected TFR is disputed. How about sex-bots, immersive simulations, life extension, and artificial wombs? Time will tell, I suppose. But AoMI sure doesn’t seem inevitable to me. It requires too much that cannot be taken for granted.

  38. Some Guy says

    But AoMI sure doesn’t seem inevitable to me.

    Not me to either, but not for the reasons you mention since they don’t affect religious conservatives.

    life extension, and artificial wombs

    will increase the population. The singularity or intelligence enhancement will avoid AoMI though.

    Utah, home of the Mormons, entered sub-replacement levels of fertility in 2017, for the first time ever.

    Still plenty of sub-groups with above-replacement fertility, like the uneducated and the very religious.

  39. Although it is an intuitive and obvious point, it was proven by demographers (cannot remember their name) in the early 20th century – it’s not something I invented.

    Maybe the easy or visual way to think about it: if the cycle of generations is happening faster at below replacement rate, then population will later age at a faster rate – once those born in below replacement cohorts pass median age of the population – than if those same generations were cycled more slowly.

  40. It’s possible that fertility in post-demographic transition society is hereditary – but why would the mechanism be genetic, rather than ideological? It could likely be a mixture of both, of course, but in the typical examples people talk about it seems like the ideology is the more decisive thing, and also the only one we can actually identify up to now.

    The main examples we have of the high fertility rate groups in developed countries, are ideological cults like Mormons, Amish, Haredim, or recent immigrants from high-fertility countries (e.g. Africans, Arabs). The latter usually start to become more convergent in terms of their fertility rates, after a couple generations in the low-fertility rate country.

    Conservatism and religiosity is pretty highly heritable

    The connection of religiosity or conservatism, to fertility in post-demographic transition society, depends on the content of the religion, and what the political conservative wants to conserve.

    Early Christianity was explicitly very anti-natalist, and Buddhism too. But some modern cults, like Mormonism, Amish or Hasidism, greatly boost fertility even in post-demographic transition society.

    Conservatism would not be historically invariant correlate to birth rates. Traditionally, conservatism would be ideology of the aristocracy, who wish to conserve their privileged position. In certain historical times, this would be one of the few classes who would likely afford birth control. If we were in the 19th century, then workers and peasants also had incentives to try to have more children than other classes, as they used their children as extra labour.

  41. Assuming fertility rates stay low, sure, but selection for fertility makes that unlikely, and quicker generations means quicker selection.

  42. but why would the mechanism be genetic, rather than ideological?

    Because fertility differs greatly even among people with the same ideology. Why do some normies want zero kids and some want a bunch? And people are genetically predisposed to certain ideologies in the first place, that’s why political views and religiosity is genetically heritable.

    But anyway, I’m not sure it matters how much of it is genetic vs cultural, as long as it’s passed on to children from parents.

  43. Europe Europa says

    I get the impression that the international tourism industry is dying, and was before the coronavirus. This is just the final nail in the coffin really. It was a slow decline before the pandemic, but now has accelerated rapidly.

    I think the main factor is that the internet. News and media from almost every country is now so readily available that foreign countries no longer seem as mysterious and distant to people as they once did. Many countries also have Google Street View and similar services so you can see what many cities are like in quite a lot of detail without ever going there.

    Now international travel is seen to involve a high risk of catching a deadly virus, I think large numbers of people now will decide it’s just not worth it, especially as the internet makes it easy to get a sense of what a country is like without even having to go there.

    I’m not saying it will completely die, but I think from now on most people will go on holiday domestically as much as possible, and the volumes of international tourism will be much lower and much more regional, ie short haul flights rather than long haul.

  44. Ian Smith says

    @Anatoly Karlin: I was curious to see what your take was on this story. I think that the most likely scenario is that the Deep State wants to cause problems for Trump in an election year with more muh Russia stuff. Thoughts?

  45. I thought that Westerners would embrace embryo selection & IQ enhancement due to its potential to uplift blacks and Hispanics?

  46. We are rapidly becoming one of the most persecuted websites in the entire world, and quite possibly in all of history.


  47. A site about one of the most interesting people at the juncture of the XIX and XX centuries:

  48. Some Alaskan Native Americans and the Woke White Progressive People (W2P2) of Sitka demand the removal of the statue of Alexander Baranov, the first Governor of the Russian North American colonies.

    Baranov is yet another Dead White Man (DWM) that offends idealistic inclinations of the current year…

  49. There have been rumors that a russian team of researchers have found that the Covid flu effects the sperm quality of men in a serious way. It would be interesting to hear your take on that issue.

  50. The importance of the Angiotensin converting enzyme system for fertility is well known.

    Maybe that explains the strength of the Chinese state reaction to this virus.