Everything old is new again

Something else in that fake-future-history piece from a few posts back caught my eye:

This tendency was especially pronounced in Iran, where the social conservatism of the 1979 Revolution – which had lowered the age of marriage and prohibited contraception – combined with the high mortality of the Iran-Iraq War and the subsequent baby boom to produce, by the first decade of the new century, a quite extraordinary surplus of young men. More than two fifths of the population of Iran in 1995 had been aged 14 or younger. This was the generation that was ready to fight in 2007.

This not only gave Islamic societies a youthful energy that contrasted markedly with the slothful senescence of Europe. It also signified a profound shift in the balance of world population. In 1950, there had three times as many people in Britain as in Iran. By 1995, the population of Iran had overtaken that of Britain and was forecast to be 50 per cent higher by 2050.

You see this theme popping up a lot on right these days — the fear of an exploding Muslim population outstripping a declining Western birth rate. I wonder if the writers even realize the extent to which they are echoing century-old fears that the “advanced” races would be outbred:

AT THE TURN of the 20th century, infertility became an obsession for the eugenics movement. The growing scientific field of genetics led some political leaders to embrace the notion of controlled breeding to favor “advanced” races. White Americans feared an “infertility crisis” in their neighborhoods. President Theodore Roosevelt warned in 1903 that immigrants and minorities were too fertile, and that Anglo-Saxons risked committing “race suicide” by using birth control and failing to keep up baby-for-baby.

In one speech, Roosevelt said: “The chief of blessings for any nation is that it shall leave its seed to inherit the land. The greatest of all curses is sterility, and the severest of all condemnations should be that visited upon willful sterility.”

The notion of breeding as an act of national service would reappear during World War II.