Is the Great Replacement a Conspiracy Theory?

By Maria

In general terms, the Great Replacement theory relies on demographics to show that native populations in Europe are being replaced by migrants and minorities. It was the focus of a recent article in Stuff which reported that the Great Replacement was supported by the Christchurch terrorist in his banned manifesto. The article raised lots of connected ideas, but I will limit myself to its description of the Great Replacement as ‘an extreme-right genocide conspiracy theory’.

I don’t know about the ‘extreme-right genocide’ part, but I would like to take a closer look at the conspiracy theory part.   

Is the Great Replacement idea a conspiracy theory? A good place to start is its disputed origins, some of which have French connections.

Firstly, around 2013, French Identitarian philosopher Renaud Camus coined the term, ‘The Great Replacement’ in his eulogy of Dominque Venner at Notre Dame Cathedral. Venner had shot himself at the Cathedral altar in rebellion against the crime of the replacement of the French people.

Secondly, promoters of the Great Replacement make a prophetic connection with Jean Raspail’s dystopian novel, The Camp of the Saints, written in 1973. It eerily recounts that Europe would be swamped by third-world migrants in the not too distant future.

So much for the French origins.

There is another view, that the idea of the Great Replacement has its origin in the United Nations and was considered by it to be a necessary reality. 

In 2018, the academic Jose Zuquete writes in The Identitarians: The Movement Against Globalism and Islam in Europe, that the Identitarians find the Great Replacement to be a reality of UN policy. He writes:

“Throughout the years the UN series of reports about the need to facilitate human mobility and enhanced international cooperation for safe, orderly, and regular migration, and even a 2000 report by the UN Population Division about ‘replacement migration’ as a possible way to offset the population decline and aging in developed countries, have been taken as proof of such a UN-driven agenda.”

A commentary on the UN Report on Replacement Migration, 2000, will have to suffice for the original is not available online.

Issued by the UN population division, the commentary opens with:

“The Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has released a new report titled Replacement Migration: Is it a Solution to Declining and Ageing Populations? Replacement migration refers to the international migration that a country would need to prevent population decline and population ageing resulting from low fertility and mortality rates.”

Further, “Relative to their population size, Italy and Germany would need the largest number of migrants to maintain the size of their working-age populations. Italy would require 6,500 migrants per million inhabitants annually and Germany, 6,000.” 

If I make a quick calculation, based on Germany’s 2000 population of 82 million people, replacement would necessitate just under 500,000 immigrants per year. That figure is unwieldy for the UN, for the commentary states:

“Maintaining potential support ratios would in all cases entail volumes of immigration entirely out of line with both past experience and reasonable expectations.”

But note that since the beginning of the migrant crisis until 2018, 1.4 million refugees have arrived in Germany, which means that replacement levels are close to being met. Regardless, the Great Replacement idea for the media is just a conspiracy theory.  

Consider further that media denial of replacement migration as a reality is challenged by Angela Merkle’s own justification for permitting the mass influx of migrants into Europe, a justification made on replacement grounds. According to Oliver Friendship, writing for the Australian Spectator in 2018:

 “Merkle’s German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, said, “We need people. We need young people. We need immigrants… All of you know that because we have too few children”. 

Others also took replacement to be the reason for such unprecedented migration. Firstly, Oliver Friendship quotes Hans Kundani, a journalist working for a German American NGO.

“You can look at this as Germany pursuing a national interest in the sense that Germany has a long-term demographic problem”. Secondly, he writes that Douglas Murray called out Merkle’s failed immigration policy which she utilised in order to solve Germany’s demographic problem. Murray thinks Merkle incompetent for believing “mass immigration to be the solution to her demographic headaches.”

Finally, it’s up to you to decide. Is the Great Replacement a conspiracy theory or an idea with at least some basis in fact? If replacement migration has a real origin in the United Nations, how reasonable is it to describe it as ‘an extreme-right genocide conspiracy theory’?