Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Death of Europe

I have updated a previous blog entry, "Sick Man of the World, Europe" of mine since the subject of Europe in Decline has been a running theme these past few days. I found it appropriate to repost this entry for you all (with a couple of minor changes). Europeans view the United States as a regressive imperial power bent on world domination. They say we are without culture, morally bankrupt, gun-toting, free-market extremists who understand little of the machinations of current events outside our own backyards. Let us put this in perspective. Europe, the self-proclaimed great moralist and denouncers of evil has produced two World Wars, the Jewish genocide, and three totalitarian systems. The National Socialists, Nazi's, the Communists, and the Fascists. All of these systems were based on creating a government that serves the ‘greater good of man’, i.e., the greater good being the state. The state would be responsible for guaranteeing a job, social security in form of a welfare state, socialized medicine to preserve the health of man, and numerous other state funded enterprises that were "morally relative" to the betterment of mankind. These are all noble endeavors on face value. But you would think the Europeans would know better than to fall for this claptrap again (Nazism, Fascism, and Communism). With hindsight the Europeans should think twice about giving power to the state as opposed to the people. With foresight the Europeans should be able to project the ramifications of the many social programs they have in place. Neither of these options has the Europeans clearly pursued. I am no sociological expert, but I do read reports, articles, journals, i.e., almost every imaginable current events periodical available. With this said, I can clearly say that two issues have risen that are indisputable in regards to Europe. One is the drop of European birth rates and two is that if these rates continue, the depopulation of Europe is certain. I will not go into the numbers, but it is safe to say that 18 European countries are experiencing birth replacement rates that are insufficient in sustaining the same population level. Meaning that their populations will decrease within the next 20 years. Taking into consideration immigration and other social factors that could avert this crisis, there is insufficient evidence to prove otherwise that Europe is facing a demographic time bomb. There are many variables causing the decrease in population. Too many to state, but for now it is fact that many families are starting to have less and less children. Many people are putting off marriage, for whatever reasons, later in life. Sometimes to the detriment of having children because many of these women are starting late into their child bearing years which makes it dangerous to have children and limits how many children you want. Plus the costs involved in new technologies to induce pregnancies are affordable to the very few who go down this avenue. Notwithstanding that even when a couple decides to have a family early in life, they choose not to have more than one in most cases, two in very rare cases. Many couples even choose not get married in order to have children. Many couples choose not to have children, regardless if they are married or not. With increased economic affluence it is generally agreed upon that people tend to have smaller and smaller families. What are the contributing factors towards this? With so many social programs available for those having children, you would think that there would be fewer reasons to not have more children. Allow me to state the reasons why this is so. With the now famous European panache for two month vacations from work, increased benefits for work related injuries, shortened work weeks, socialized healthcare, et al. Many Europeans are becoming more and more self-absorbed in satisfying their lust for leisure. I am not against leisure, but it is true that “too much of a good thing is too much”. Many Europeans have decided that they are not beholden to anyone, hence the self-absorption. Like the state hasn’t done enough for subsidizing a lazy lifestyle already. Again, many people marvel and admire the social programs in most European countries to the point of holding it as infallible dogma that the state is the answer to all of man’s ills. Even many Americans hold to this view due to their proficient travels in Europe, studying everything and anything European to the point of self automated brainwashing that anything European is good and right and anything American that contradicts this is bad and wrong. I tend to call these people secular fundamentalists, other people call them Democrats or Liberals. To find a middle ground, let’s call them ‘secular humanists’ or ‘hedonists’ in layman’s terms. Without going into details of the European single mindedness admiration of ‘hedonism’. I would theorize that ever since European man began to question his own existence and rejected the idea of being beholden to a higher power, i.e., God. European man began to experiment with the most deviant of ideas ever manifested in the history of humankind. This in direct correlation created the not so great calamities of the 20th century. The French Revolution begot Robespierre and his ilk. "I think therefore I am". The famous quote by Descartes exemplifies this correctly. Europeans believing that they were created without the ominous direction of God, began to stray away from their Christian heritage and they began to question morality in general. All of which began to bring the idea of relativism into the hearts and minds of Europeans. This has led them down the dark path of secular humanism. Which has produced some of the most monstrous ideas and leaders in human history from Karl Marx, Maximilien Robespierre, Adolph Hitler, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Joseph Stalin to name a few. What does this have to do with depopulation? Well Europe has not experienced a depopulation of this magnitude ever. The next 20 years this depopulation will eclipse the Black Plague in scope and breadth. Because of the Europeans fascination of a welfare state in conjunction to the embracing of moral relativism, simultaneously rejecting Christian values which has been replaced by the new religion of secular humanism. Social attitudes progressing from the sanctity of marriage to the sanctity of ‘if it feels good do it’ will destabilize the welfare state as it stands today. This will occur. I repeat, this will occur because of the Europeans resistance to change, especially to their treasured social programs. As an example, everyone has witnessed French union workers protesting as recently as mid-May of 2005 the elimination of one of their 17 holidays as well as changing the work week from 35 hours back to 40 hours. Almost all economists and government policy wonks understand that all social programs from social security to national healthcare require a tax base to pay for these programs. The more tax payers the better the benefits. Well, this tax base will be decreasing within the next 20 years and the graying of the European population, especially when the demographic population bubble called baby boomers (European equivalent) reaches pension age, will strain the system. The social programs will either have to be cut back dramatically or taxes will have to be raised much higher from a smaller tax base. This is a recipe for disaster. Anyone reading this column can safely surmise that at best there will be riots on the streets of Europe if any changes do occur. At worst we will see the collapse of governments and civil war due to this demographic time bomb. For an excellent analysis of the problems of Europe by Victor Davis Hanson click here. For a great Op Ed from the USA Today click here. Much of my research on the subject is from Oriana Fallaci in "The Rage and the Pride" and George Weigel in "The Cube and the Cathedral". As early as 2000 there was a book written about the Death of Europe, click here for this link.

4 comments:

Conde, was it the Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian Empire that 100 years ago was refered to as the sick man of Europe?

If it was the Ottoman (i.e. Muslim) what a diffrence 100 years makes!

Tito said...

It was the Ottoman Empire.

I used the term to acutely emphasize the seriousness of their inability to procreate to sustain their way of life.

Joan said...

other people call them Democrats or Liberals.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Don't mix up regular old Democrats with the ultra-liberals. And politics is a whole other paradigm in Europe, as FD and I discussed a while ago.

I like the European lifestyle, but I strongly dislike the bureaucracy, incompetence at work, and other things that lifestyle and the welfare state entail. Like taxes. I'll take universal health care and chuck the rest, thank you. I know Europeans who think that it's a moral outrage to charge any college tuition at all, even a few hundred dollars. French youths protested the prospect that employers might be able to fire them if they're incompetent. Uh....

France's birthrate in the non-Muslim (though not Christian per se) population is going up. Ironically, the only way that Western Europe is going to repopulate is if the government gives women money to reproduce. People are used to not doing anything that the government doesn't give htem incentives to do.

Tito said...

Joan,

I would respectfully disagree about France's replacement rate. The numbers are skewed at best. The non-Muslim population replacement birthrate has rebounded, but not enough to reach 2.1, which is the bare minimum required replacement rate of children needed to keep the population stable. Kick in the immigrant Muslim population numbers and it varies (depends on where you look) from 1.9 to 2.1. Still the barest of margins.

All of which has been stimulated by heavy government incentives. If the state is used as the solution to cultural problems it will only strengthen the welfare state in France and not strengthen people's faith. In the end I believe the numbers will drop back down. We can wait and see what happens.

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