Posted on July 5, 2011

Liberty, Equality, Fecundity

John Laughland, Spectator, June 25, 2011

At a wedding in the Loire last weekend, in the grounds of the groom’s parents’ small château, an acquaintance from work unexpectedly materialised out of the crowd. In his early thirties, he introduced me to his blonde, gangling wife, maybe a year younger than he. The conversation turned to children: they have four, including a five-month-old baby–‘and a fifth is on the way’. ‘Where are they?’ I asked. They were staying with his wife’s siblings, of which there are ten.

The phenomenon of young parents and large families is widespread in France, and unique among Europe’s native populations with the exception of gypsy families in Slovakia or Albanians in Kosovo. But to quote these categories in the same breath is to underline the key difference: the French people running the demographic marathon against the Muslims are not white trash. I had dinner last year with a retired general, an ex-colonel and a corporate lawyer in his forties: these three embodiments of the establishment had 22 children between them. The breast of an elegant and striking middle class lady in her sixties whom we met in Provence last summer swelled with pride when she told us that she had 12 children. ‘And 17 grandchildren,’ she added for good measure.

Producing children is a competitive sport among the French middle and upper classes. Families with three children are considered small. You often meet people, or hear of them, who have children boxing and coxing in the sitting room or the hall as their cramped Paris flats burst at the seams. They think little of it, especially since there is nearly always a family house somewhere in the country, usually shared with cousins, to which they flee during the numerous school holidays. The difference could hardly be greater with Italy, say, which used to have a reputation for big families but whose cities now resemble Vulgaria in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so devoid are they of little ones.

What is the explanation for this astonishing fecundity? Infrastructure and finance certainly help: Paris is heaving with crèches and garderies where you can leave babies and small children for the day. Your income tax falls by about 15 per cent each time you have a child and there is child benefit for all. There are also schools everywhere, which start at the age of three: there are five schools within five minutes’ walk of our flat in Paris, and many more if you are prepared to walk for ten (including one of the best in the country). We now listen in horror and disbelief as our English friends describe the distances they travel to take their children to school in London, the hoops they have to jump through to get a place in state schools, or the cost of private education. Private schools in France are so cheap that I cannot remember how much we pay.

But the real explanation is state of mind. A majority of the people having large families are Catholics. Their determination to produce babies is testimony to a radicalism among conservatives in France which is totally absent in Britain. Whereas conservatives in England hardly ever mention social or cultural issues–birth rate, immigration, and the link between these and inner city blight and bad schooling are largely taboo–there is a whole tranche of the French bourgeoisie for whom such issues are not only obvious but also urgent. By having children, they are trying to do something about it. They are social and cultural pessimists, to be sure, convinced that their country is going (or has gone) to the dogs, but they also have cussed determination to continue the fight even when they think the war is lost.

I find I often get engaged in competitive pessimism with them as a result. I plead with them that cultural decline is worse in England and they look bemused. But their parries are so naive and, well, childlike that I know I am right. When they worry about gangs or drugs in schools, they cannot imagine that the drugs in question are anything more than the occasional spliff which frightens them enough already. That a schoolboy can be knifed to death by his schoolmates, as happened in Victoria Station last year, is completely incredible to them.

The excessively pragmatic English, indeed, manage to muddle through all crises, however terminal, shrugging them off with a bittersweet sigh or moving to Somerset where they can preserve their liberal illusions about multiculturalism. Previously members of the ‘white flight’ to the English provinces ourselves (before moving to Paris), we never met anyone who admitted that they simply did not want their children to go to a state school in London. The white middle classes prefer to give elliptical and genteel excuses for their decision to move to the country.

Radical Catholics are a minority in France, to be sure, but a big one. The annual Whitsuntide pilgrimage from Paris to Chartres has about 8,000 or 9,000 people walking for three days, and a further 7,000 or so in the rival pilgrimage in the opposite direction: two small armies. That’s 10,000 or 15,000 families for starters, and many more cannot do the pilgrimage precisely because they have to stay at home to look after their small children. Moreover, there are numerous other similar initiatives in the far more numerous mainstream parishes where the babies are also popping out like billy-o. A lady I met at the wedding had organised a pilgrimage in her village in the Poitou to pray for a sick friend and, to her own astonishment, 400 people from all walks of life turned out for a day’s march. (The friend was cured, so they did the same thing the following year in thanksgiving.)

Such events partly feed off the French penchant for group sport activities but of course the motivation is mainly religious and political in the broadest sense. It is platitudinous to say that the French are a nation of rebels, but it is a common mistake to believe that this rebelliousness is necessarily left-wing. On the contrary, there is a vigorous tradition of right-wing revolt in France which, in history, has been almost as violent. Joan of Arc remains the emblematic figure: her gloriously improbable struggle is as fresh in the memory of all French patriots today as is that of the second world war for the British. The failed putsch against De Gaulle by anti-communist generals in Algiers in 1961 was perhaps the last hurrah–and even that was an extreme-right rebellion against a right-wing former rebel–but before that the royalist riots of 6 February 1934 nearly overthrew the Republic itself. The Resistance in any case was, in its initial stages, a right-wing and even extreme right-wing movement–it was only after 1941 that the Communists joined it en bloc–while of course the Paris collaborators during the Occupation included numerous prominent extreme right-wing former dissidents such as Robert Brasillach, Charles Maurras and Céline. Part of French Catholicism today remains influenced by the inheritance of Maurras’s anti-republican movement, Action française, condemned by Pope Pius XI in 1926, which is why a number of French Catholics are happy to rebel not only against Paris but also even against Rome itself.

Of course, the great majority of French Catholics are either centrists or non-political. There is only a small overlap between religion and right-wingery and the main body of the Church regards the radical right with disdain. But even these people are having babies. When you add together the quarter or so of the French population which is likely to vote for Marine le Pen next spring, the other conservatives who share her ideas but who are too snobbish to vote for her, and the unpolitical Catholics who are voting with the pitter-patter of tiny feet, you easily tot up a third of the French population. For these people at least, politics, like charity, begins at home.

19 responses to “Liberty, Equality, Fecundity”

  1. Guilty Liberal says:

    If you’re in a stable relationship with another white person, throw away the condoms, flush the birth control down the toilet, get your tubes untied… having kids is great, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I thought the French were overwhelmingly secular with even lower church attendance than the Englsih. Maybe the high birth rate is because French is the language of amour (love), and we all know where babies come from. The joie de vivre.. intimacy, babies, families.

  3. Anonymous says:

    My father knows a man in France who married a French woman and has a sizable family there. He says traditional Catholics in the country – the type who are willing to rebel against the Vatican if they don’t get their old sacraments – number at least in the hundreds of thousands.

    In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of practicing Catholics in France (i.e., those who actually believe in a personal God) are so-called “radicals” now. One can’t go by what “mainstream” Catholics think – oftentimes, they are in fact atheists!

  4. ATBOTL says:

    I’m skeptical that the native French birthrate is really so much higher than other Europeans. France has by far the largest percentage of non-white immigrants of any European country and there are no statisics about the racial breakdown of births.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It’s not elections that determine the future of nations. It’s the way the people live their lives.

  6. Aux Armes Citoyens says:

    Formidable! Vive la France et les Francais.

    I was wondering when these people were going to awaken, I anxiously await the day when the ships and planes leave loaded with their human cargo back to the

    s—holes of the world from whence they came.

  7. Wayne Engle says:

    I’ve never been overly fond of the French — except for the Cajuns of Louisiana — but after reading this I’m ready to yell, “Vive La France!” Here are White people who are voluntarily, enthusiastically, having large families! Maybe, just maybe, there is hope for our race after all.

    As a matter of fact, birth rates started dropping in France way back as early as 1760 — many, many years before their gradual decline in the rest of Europe. So this may be the start of a gradual comeback in fertility among Europeans. I certainly hope so. If governments have to sweeten the pot for European families with subsidies to encourage more children, then so be it. It will pay off in the long run.

    Now, if we could just get American Caucasian parents to start raising bigger families! Subsidies? Any attempt to limit them to Whites would, of course, meet with screams of outrage from blacks. Maybe we could get the Mormons, Amish and Orthodox Jews, and the members of the Quiverful Movement, to teach the rest of us how they are able to raise several children per family, and not go bankrupt in the process. We need to start being fruitful and multiplying again.

  8. REGVLVS says:

    Thank you for this article Amren. In ten minutes of reading my admiration and hope for France has been revived. I and others have for some time inched towards regarding France as a non-white country, to be written off as a hopeless wreck whose land could only be salvaged by outside forces. From afar, it has looked as if France had been shaped by the hands of a French Sean Hannity; the ultimate “proposition nation”, where anyone from anywhere was propositioned to enter and “assimilate” into French culture. Never before had a country so closely matched the ideals of conservative liberalism, reflected in a vain and self-absorbed population of shameless individualists. Even the socialist policies of modern France seemed designed to feed the selfishness and hedonism of individuals.

    I have, however, failed to see beyond the notorious image of the French urban areas. A remarkable thing about France is how hostile the rural areas have consistently remained to the Left’s revolutionary ideologies, from 1789 to the present. To state the obvious, the French are a passionate people, whatever it is they fight for. The French Right (I consider de Gaulle a centrist) had been dormant for decades, but it never disappeared. Its day may finally be at hand: give us that day!

  9. fred says:

    I was anonymous #19 on this amren article from the 26th.

    I’m glad to see the French are doing exactly what I had suggested by giving tax breaks (and NOT subsidies) for each additional child. And it appears to be working splendidly.

  10. Economist says:

    I’ll take this article as an opportunity to reiterate my earlier post regarding Julius Malema and his advice to Black South Africans. Have more babies! Having White babies is a revolutionary act!

  11. Fred from France says:

    The picture of France given in the article is much too rosy. Situations of UK and France are very comparable. Non-white births are roughly at 30% now in both countries. Britons have racial statistics. French numbers can be obtained via medical reports on testing for sickle-cell anemia.

    What kills the West is welfare. It’s the grappling hook of non-White immigrants. Non-whites do not immigrate to Eastern Europe not because life would not be better than in Africa or the Middle East, but because there is not advanced welfare in those countries. Third World immigrants do not need welfare all their life, but they must have it in order to settle, particularly the women. The only way to quell immigration is to suppress welfare.

    Of course, the suppression of welfare would impact many poor Whites.

  12. IrishBloodEnglishheart says:

    Please can we take a some of these people and settle them in the UK? If we are going to be outbred by non-Brits, let it be non-Brits who have admirable culture and attitudes, not barbaric Muslim or African ones.

  13. Janine says:


    It took the Spanish centuries to clear out all of the Moors so maybe there is hope for Europe but the difference between today and the middle ages is that the Moors invaded Europe in the middle ages while today’s Moors were invited in by the treacherous European left. Maybe the morally flaccid Europeans need to look at evil in the face to realize that there really is something called right and wrong. God works in mysterious ways.

  14. Anonymoose says:

    I don’t think too many people here admire Woody Allen. I have my doubts myself, but he just directed a fine film called “Midnight in Paris”

    Within the context of a fanciful story, Allen presents an idealistic view of the City of Light. Paris is utterly the center of Western Civilization. Who knows how longer anyone will be able to walk the streets at night? If they even still can.

    Maybe Allen knows the score, or maybe he doesn’t. But he said a mouthful. It is midnight in Paris. Maybe the film was Allen’s feeble effort to breach “the taboo against knowing who you are.” If not, I hope is an adventitious ride on a new direction in the cultural surf.

    I hope “Midnight on Paris” opens up a few minds on the cultural left. Hopefully, they are beginning to see the world as it is. If they want help people outside of Western civilization, they have to help them where they stand. If they bring them here and we fall because of it, the non-Western people will be no better off. More likely, worse.

  15. SKIP says:

    “I and others have for some time inched towards regarding France as a non-white country, to be written off as a hopeless wreck”

    It’s not to late to do so!! Been through CDG airport lately?

  16. Hello all, between the news from France and the news from Texas [murderer executed by Texas despite Mexican whining] it’s been a fine Thursday.

    Few quick points:

    1] Those who chose to have large families should never isolate themselves from their countrymen that do not also participate in such movements – This will lead to charges of being a cult.

    2] Nothing makes lib heads spin like a large white family that they cannot stereotype as “backward” etc.

    3] Final and controversial point: It’s important that we self select and funnel resources – if only encouragement – towards fertility movements that understand points 1 and 2 – ie: in the immediate future only whites that can provide a middle class lifestyle and a college education to all their offspring should be encouraged to have large families. Why? Because, then they cannot try to argue some type of moral equivalency between these white families and the illegals etc. Instead, it becomes a Humanitarian argument ala Sanger and PP – “Our children will want and need for nothing, and those poor disadvantaged children would suffer so much in life….”

  17. Irish in Paris says:

    It makes a change to read an article that is optimistic. But things have gone very far in France; difficult and even grim times lie ahead.

    I myself became a father only in my forties. I have 3 beautiful children but I regret not having started earlier and having 6 or 7.

    Young white people should go for it and have big families – don’t wait, start now! The difficulties and costs are often exaggerated, sometimes wildly so. It’s only a little more onerous to cook for or clothe 5 children than it is for 2! And parents of larger families can even have more time for themselves than parents of one child, as the children keep each other occupied and look out for each other. The single child without siblings to play with makes more demands on the parents.

  18. rjf101 says:

    God bless the French! They have always been among the most patriotic and passionate people in the world. What’s interesting about French politics, is that it is made up of extremes. Neo-conservatives and moderate liberals are much smaller in number than in the United States, because so many French are either socialists or nationalists. I think our whole race could learn something from the French.

  19. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t matter much if a tiny French upper class have 5 or 6 children per family if the middle and worker classes only have 0-2 and the immigrants hordes 5-6. This will just lead to another Haiti, this time on French soil.