The Future Belongs To The Strident And Illiberal

July 1st, 2022 | JH

In 1989, the Soviet Union gave up their fight against Afghanistan. After ten years of fighting, they were driven out of the country by a bunch of stone-age yak herders with machine guns and a steely resolve. The Russians went back to Russia and two years later their entire empire collapsed in a fit of bankruptcy and exhaustion.

In 2021 the United States gave up their fight against Afghanistan. After twenty years of fighting, they were driven out of the country by a bunch of stone-age yak herders with machine guns and a steely resolve. The Americans went back to America and, well… the script is still being written, but their debt has surpassed their GDP, the economy is crashing and they seem pretty exhausted.

The Graveyard Of Empires

How did the Taliban win in Afghanistan? Well, the international community could have partnered differently with on the ground organizations to offer a more comprehensive training and expansion of the blah, blah, blah, blah…

They won because they’re hardcore.

“Hard times make hard men, hard men make good times, good times make soft men, soft men make hard times.”

There’s an interesting phenomenon happening demographically. Religious people who have been subjected to and understand liberal progressive modernism, and then explicitly reject it in favour of something more strident, illiberal, and ancient are winning. But they aren’t just winning at war, they are winning at building the future.

One of the most important statistics regarding Afghanistan is their population growth. In 2001, when the United States invaded Afghanistan, the total population was 21.61 million people. Today, twenty years later, their population is 38.93 million. In just twenty years their population has almost doubled, and it shows no signs of slowing down. By 2040, (18 years) they’ll have more people than Germany.

Numbers matter.

The reason the Western world became the Western world, was because Europe had such a surplus of people that exporting them became a necessity. Their empires were the product of not just having the technological means to conquer the world, but also the manpower.

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Fertility rates have now been falling for decades. All of Europe is now below replacement fertility. In other words,populations will begin to have an absolute decline very soon. Many other non-Western countries are following suit. The big boogey man on the world stage is China, but their one-child policy enacted in the late 70’s proved only too effective. China’s population is set to begin an absolute decline within the next ten years. Brazil and India (two of the biggest countries in the world) have a fertility rate below replacement. Japan is losing about a half of million citizens a year!

Where are fertility rates still high?

Africa is where people are still having 3 or 5 or 7 kids per couple. While this will lead to a very black planet by 2100, it won’t necessarily change much in the way of modern culture. Africa’s high level of childbearing is the product of extreme poverty and as economies improve and women get educated and conditions offer better material existences, people tend to naturally reduce their family sizes.

This is where Afghanistan differs.

Their family sizes are big, because of hardcore religion and the consequent embrace of ideologies that run counter to the culture of Western liberal democratic materialism. Afghanistan won’t reduce their population growth precisely because they haven’t been seduced by the decadence of Western materialism.

In fact, they precisely recognize the pitfalls of that culture and actively reject it in favour of their hardcore brand of Islam. So, while a country like Kenya might be susceptible to reducing their birthrate in pursuit of televisions and Big Macs; a country like Afghanistan will not be.

By the end of this century there could be a half a billion, Sharia-law dedicated, Afghanis expanding and exporting themselves and their ideology around the globe. Afghanistan could be a land empire expanding into a weak, old, and increasingly secular Iran and partnering and merging with an equally hardcore Islamic Pakistan, itself consisting of a half a billionpeople. The relatively underpopulated frontiers of the northern former Soviet republics will be ripe for the picking as this empire of Islamists invades and conquers.

Nobody can predict the future, but the saying, “Demographics are destiny”, does have a lot of truth to it.

Afghanistan won the “War on Terror” because they are young and religious and hardcore. They explicitly reject democracy and materialism and human rights and feminism and gay pride and individualism and free speech and all the other enlightenment developments that have flourished, expanded, and then poisoned the West.

Osama Bin Laden may go down in history as the man who defeated multiple empires and set the path for an Islamic future. People sometimes forget that his first victory was against the Soviet Union. Communism was viewed as the harder and stronger anti-Islamic force to overcome, and the West was considered decadent and soft by comparison. Therefore, Afghanistan has successfully resisted and then defeated both ideologies over the past fifty years and will go on to successfully propagate itself into the future.

"The relatively underpopulated frontiers of the northern former Soviet republics will be ripe for the picking as this empire of Islamists invades and conquers."

If Afghanistan and the hardcore Islamic parts of the Middle East maintain their ideologies and population growth, then within 200 years they will dominate and rule with a global empire consisting of billions upon billions of adherents while the Communists and Western Democrats will have long since faded away.

What will the United States look like in 200 years?


In 1901 there were 6,300 Amish people in the United States. Today there are about 350,000 of them. They double their size every 20 twenty years, just like the people of Afghanistan. By 2100, there will be roughly 5 million Amish in the United States. 100 years after that there will be 160 million.

200 years from now most Americans will be Amish, with a population of 320 million people.

Many people think that’s ridiculous, but the Amish, much like the people of Afghanistan, understand the pitfalls of progressive liberal democratic materialism and they’ve outright rejected that model of living in favour of something else… something strident, illiberal, and ancient. Something hardcore that demands community, sacrifice, duty, work, and religious adherence… just like Afghanistan.

As America wallows in below-replacement fertility and grows its population only through mass immigration, the country will transform from being a dynamic global empire into something more crass, fragmented, pedestrian, and insular. Decline and deterioration is the likely long-term path for the United States, not necessarily over a span of years, but most definitely over a span of decades. 100 years from now September 11th, 2001 will be seen as the downward turning point of America as globally hegemonic, in the same way that the end of World War 1 marked the downward turning point of the British Empire.

But as the United States declines, the culture will decline with it, and from the ashes will arise ideologies and ambitions that are built from a more hardcore material. The Amish are a primary, but by no means exclusive example of a better way of doing things. Mormonism is another (less successful) example of a culture that is thriving and expanding, just look at the hegemonic state of Utah today!

Nobody can predict the future, but if you look at current trends (years) and recent history (decades) there is a pattern emerging that is contrary to the progressive liberal materialist hegemony that everyone in the West takes for granted. Modernity does not appear to be sustainable,neither environmentally, fiscally, spiritually, or existentially.

What replaces it is still up for grabs, but the future will likely be determined by a hardcore people who are much more strident, illiberal, and ancient than we are today.

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