August 20, 2006

"So far down the death spiral you can’t pull out..."

This lecture by Mark Steyn is worth a read. I would desperately love to have someone give me some good reasons why he's wrong. But I've been scanning the horizon for the last few years, and I've seen nothing of the sort. The rare response from lefty Europhiles has been so pathetic and weak it makes me want to spit on them. This guy was so disgusting I want to kick him down and then spit on him. (Well, I'm exagerating; I wouldn't do such things. But my contempt for Lefty pusillanimity runs deep.)

....Much of western civilization does not have any future. That’s to say, we’re not just speaking philosophically, but literally. In a very short time, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries we regard as part of the western tradition will cease to exist in any meaningful sense. They don’t have a future because they’ve given up breeding. Spain’s population is halving with every generation: Two grown-ups have a total of one baby. So there are half as many children as parents. And a quarter as many grandchildren as grandparents. And an eighth as many great-grandchildren as great-grandparents. And, after that there’s no point extrapolating, because you’re over the falls and it’s too late to start paddling back. I received a flurry of letters from furious Spaniards when the government decided to replace the words “father” and “mother” on its birth certificates with the less orientationally offensive terms “Progenitor A” and “Progenitor B”. This was part of the bureaucratic spring-cleaning of traditional language that always accompanies the arrival in law of “gay marriage”. But, with historically low numbers of progeny, the designations of the respective progenitors seem of marginal concern. They’d be better off trying to encourage the average young Spaniard to wander into a Barcelona singles bar and see if anyone wants to come back to his pad to play Progenitor A and Progenitor B. (“Well, okay, but only if I can be Progenitor A…”)

Seventeen European nations are now at what demographers call “lowest-low” fertility – 1.3 births per woman, the point at which you’re so far down the death spiral you can’t pull out. In theory, those countries will find their population halving every 35 years or so. In practice, it will be quicker than that, as the savvier youngsters figure there’s no point sticking around a country that’s turned into an undertaker’s waiting room. So large parts of the western world are literally dying – and, in Europe, the successor population to those aging French and Dutch and Belgians is already in place....

John Paul II called it the "Culture of Death." We usually use the term to refer to abortion and euthanasia, but to me the most tragically fascinating part is the death of whole nations. And it's right there in front of us. (A technical note: Most European country's populations are not yet actually declining, because the age cohort that's dying off now, the "WWII Generation," is much smaller than the post WWII generations. But when the Euro equivalent of the "Baby Boomers" starts to die, things are going to get real ugly real fast.)

We can see the Culture of Death clearly in the reaction, or rather lack of a reaction, to these obvious facts. No European country is shifting into panic mode. None are drastically revising policies or attitudes. Nowhere do we see reformers from outside the political culture being elected with a mandate for change.

"So far down the death spiral you can’t pull out." I would agree with that estimation. For one thing, the only possible answers can come from human beings, from the human spirit. But for generations those Europeans who dream hopefully of better futures have been emigrating. Worse than a brain-drain, it is a spirit-drain.

America is in better shape, but not that much better. All the same suicidal trends are seen here, but we always have strong counter-movements. A very rough approximation is the "Red State/Blue State" divide. And, in my personal opinion, the best barometer is the health of Christianity and Judaism. I'd say they are wounded but alive here, wounded probably fatally there. (And my personal suspicion is that that's not just the barometer, it's the underlying cause. If any scientists want to put the Culture of Death under a microscope for study, just grab with yor tweezers anybody who is complaining [preposterously] that America is becoming a "theocracy.")

Posted by John Weidner at August 20, 2006 7:59 PM
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