“We need to get our birth rates up,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) warned Monday on CNN, “or Europe will be entirely transformed within a half a century or a little more.” Rarely has the first-person plural revealed so much confusion.
At the heart of America’s new nationalist politics — of which King, an eight-term congressman and Iowa Caucus influencer, has played John the Baptist to Donald Trump’s Jesus — lies a contradiction that in less fraught times would be pretty funny: Our populist right cannot stop yammering about European immigration problems, even while advancing ideas that threaten to Europeanize our heretofore enviable assimilation machine.
King’s fecundity comments came in defense of his controversial declaration the previous day that “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” a statement that contains almost as many questions as words. (When/how did “our” civilization recede? What, precisely, is conservative about drafting babies into grand political projects?)