Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Europe As We Know It...

This article is reprinted with permission from Population Research Institute.

Europe as We Know It is Dying

What Will Follow the Winter of Western Civilization?

by Steven W. Mosher

It’s happened before.

Writing a century and a half before the birth of Christ, the Greek historian Polybius observed “nowadays all over Greece such a diminution in natality and in general manner such depopulation that the towns are deserted and the fields lie fallow. Although this country has not been ravaged by wars or epidemics, the cause of the harm is evident: by avarice or cowardice the people, if they marry, will not bring up the children they ought to have. At most they bring up one or two. It is in this way that the scourge before it is noticed is rapidly developed.”

He concluded by urging his fellow Greeks to return to their historic love of family and children. “The remedy is in ourselves,” he wrote. “We have but to change our morals.” His advice, unfortunately, went largely unheeded.

The demographic winter of the Greek city-states led to economic stagnation and military weakness, which in turn invited invasion and conquest. After a century of increasing dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean, Rome finally annexed the Greek city-states in 146 B.C.

Will a Europe in the grip of a similar demographic winter come to a similar unhappy end? Certainly Europeans of today, like the Greeks of old, are barely having children. The birthrate across the entire continent is far below the replacement level of 2.1 children per couple. Italy, Spain, Austria, and Germany have total fertility rates, or TFRs, of only 1.4 or so, while Poland and Russia languish at 1.32 and 1.2 respectively. The more or less generous child allowances these countries pay the prolific has scarcely caused these numbers to budge. The birth dearth continues to widen.

Meanwhile, adherents of pro-family sects such as Islam are moving in, having children, and repopulating historic Christendom. Is this process likely to continue? And to what end?

Most Muslim countries in North Africa and the Middle East have fertility rates two or three times as high as Europe. Afghanistan and Somalia, whose fertility rates are above 6 children (6.62 and 6.4 respectively), may be outliers. But other Middle Eastern countries with above-replacement TFRs include Iraq at 4.86, Pakistan at 3.65, and Saudi Arabia at 3.03. Even immigrants from the most Westernized Muslim countries such as Turkey and Tunisia average nearly twice as many children as the extant populations of most European countries.

While falling fertility may be humanity’s general fate, it is this differential fertility that will determine Europe’s destiny. Although the birthrates of Muslim immigrants to Europe are far lower than they were just a generation ago, they are still far more open to life than highly secularized Europeans. Moreover, these immigrants, once in place in Germany, Italy, Spain, etc., tend to maintain their relatively high fertility for a generation.

As a result of this potent mix of immigration and procreation, the number of Muslims will continue to grow. Europe as a whole, some demographers suggest, will have a majority Muslim population by 2100.

What a strange twist of history! Over the centuries, various Muslim armies have repeatedly attempted to conquer Europe. Time and time again, at Tours, Vienna, at Lepanto, at Malta, they were thrown back. Yet now what their forebears were unable to accomplish by force, their distant descendants will achieve by peacefully winning the Battle of the Cradle.

Whether they will be radicalized or secularized Muslims is the central question. If they are radicalized, then we can expect efforts to impose Sharia law in country after country, along with the growing persecution of the Christian minority. Catholics in Germany, for example, may come to be treated in largely the same way that Coptic Christians in Egypt have been for the last few centuries, that is to say, as second-class citizens, to be maligned, taxed and beaten almost at will.

If, on the other hand, the second- and third-generation Muslims are largely secularized, then the Christian minority will be, presumably, treated somewhat better, though still subject to some level of discrimination. As everyone knows by now, the Secular Left preaches a tolerance that it generally does not practice.

Either way, believers in once-Christian Europe will probably find themselves living in what might be called a pre-Constantine moment. In others words, they will be living under regimes that punish, even persecute, them for their beliefs.

At the present moment, Europeans still control their own destiny. As Polybius, were he alive today, would surely remind them: “The remedy is in yourselves. You have but to change your morals.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

There And Back Again

I'm back.

I will try to explain my absence as well as I possibly can. It could possibly be chalked up to being busy, which I have been. Life, job, other extracurricular activities that required my attention. Or it could be attributed to being sick, which I most certainly was around Christmas. Or having a new baby in the house, or any other of a thousand reasons.

But none of them would be quite completely true. Because they aren't the real, deep, underlying reason. The real reason is pretty simple. I suppose you could call it literary despair. Let me explain.

2012 had been a pretty eventful year, packed from one end to the other with intellectual, emotional, political, and religious happenings of every size and shape, from the HHS mandate to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold Obamacare. It was a year of a certain kind of hope, that maybe finally, the long four-year drudgery of Obama's presidency was finally reaching its end. That maybe the country would turn a corner, make a real change, demand a good leader. I hoped and prayed along with everyone else who hoped and prayed the same thing. I begged that God's will be done with America (a double-edged sword of a prayer, I know.)

I wrote to convince, I wrote to persuade, to possibly add a modicum of sense that had not existed in the argument before. I wrote from my heart about things I thought people should hear. I linked to other people's writings that were more eloquent than my own.

And then I allowed myself, to some degree, to get plowed under. Obama got reelected, bad policy became firmly cemented in place, the attacks on my religion and my church increased. The heavy hand of a faraway tyrant became more ever-present: on this New Year when my taxes went up, for the past couple weeks with all this asinine "discussion" concerning guns and gun control, the constant din of divisive and dangerous rhetoric from both sides of a dysfunctional government.

I honestly despaired that my writing had any effect whatsoever on the discussion, any purpose other than to occupy my time. I am a person who likes to see the results, and I was not seeing them. So I stopped.

And I realize that stopping was an enormous mistake on my part. For all honest dialogue, all honestly considered and honestly spoken thought, is worth hearing. Maybe I get things wrong, or nobody listens, or my words drown in the sea of other voices saying sort of the same thing as me. But it shouldn't matter. Because, as my wife so eloquently posted on the wall over my computer, "I am a writer, I will write." God gave me the gift of putting words together in a way that makes some amount of sense. You will be the judge of how much sense I make, I am sure. But I will be damned if I don't use that gift anyways, for my own benefit if not for yours too.

So my New Year's resolution, if I have one at all (I honestly hate New Year's resolutions) is to keep pouring out some part of my soul onto this corner of cyberspace and not worry so much about the concrete results it may or may not have. Because, if I speak truth, and I hope that I do more often than not, then it benefits somebody out there.

So as I like to say, Be Aware. And God bless. I promise to stick around. Will you?