Eating the Young to Save the OldRaw Egg Nationalist

Perhaps the crowning horror of the Chinese system of filial piety, historically, was gegu, or filial cannibalism. Filial cannibalism is found in the animal kingdom, and generally involves parents eating all or part of their offspring to ensure the reproductive health of the individual or wider brood. The Chinese seem to be the only human group in history to have adopted the practice themselves, and in their hands it serves not to increase future reproductive success, but to demonstrate the submission of the young to the old. In a practice documented across many centuries, children would offer parts of their own bodies up for consumption by their elders, usually a portion of the thigh or upper arm, or fingers. The practice, which was intended to nourish the elders both physically and spiritually, might also be accompanied by coprophagia, as the young consumed the feces of their parents and grandparents.
As a societal manifestation of filial cannibalism, the pandemic response was a one-off. No other event has so spectacularly, or devastatingly, seen the young sacrificed to the old the way they were during the last three years. But it could happen again: there’s very little indication that any lessons have been learnt from the pandemic – any lessons that are worth learning, that is – and we’re being told that “Disease X” is just around the corner. Further lockdowns, on the same logic as the original ones, are entirely possible, if not inevitable.
By using the gegu analogy, I’m not trying to suggest that the West was suddenly seized by a foreign mania in March 2020—not entirely, anyway. The truth is that the ground for such an apparent deviation from “the way we do things” was well prepared, over many decades or even centuries. Anybody who really wants to understand how we got to this point needs to go and read Ivan Illich’s Medical Nemesis (also known as The Limits of Medicine), to see how and why the modern discipline of medicine, with its promise of “solving” pain through technical intervention, has made us far less free and capable to govern our own lives, and far more prey to authoritarian interventions that deprive us of our fundamental liberties in the name of “public health.” Long before 2020 came around, we were already a society prepared to sacrifice just about everything, including our own young, in the name of avoiding pain and death: we just didn’t know it yet.
The gegu analogy speaks to a more general tendency at work today in the West which is making our societies so hostile to the basic interests of younger generations, including not least of all a suppression of the desire to reproduce. I write often about the environmental and biological factors driving the unprecedented fertility crisis in the developed world, but there are social and economic forces at work in the same direction that are no less powerful. Barely any nations in the West today, with the exception of Hungary, provide incentives of any sort to young people to encourage them to start families. Instead, Western nations rely on endless mass immigration to keep the population machine churning, while our younger native generations struggle to make ends meet. We’re told the U.S. is now “barreling towards the same fertility crisis as Japan,” with one in ten men in their thirties being virgins, and a third of women being childless.

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