Europe Closing Shop? The Death of a CivilizationEurope Closing Shop?
The population of Europe is set to start shrinking soon. And if recent events there are any indication, that's not a good thing. We may be watching the slow-motion death of a civilization. On Friday, it was announced in Germany's Hesse state that all schools will soon offer instruction in Islam to Muslim students. Meanwhile, the U.S.-based Weekly Standard reports that a recent confidential government study found a surprising rise in religious expression among Muslims in French public schools. We assume that the Europe we'll be dealing with tomorrow will be much the same as Europe today — one that understands and shares our cultural values. The fact is, as Europe slowly becomes more Muslim and less European, it is at risk of dying — not as a place, but as a culture. This means the U.S. will increasingly be isolated in world affairs. Europe's politics may also become more unstable. Al-Qaida cells have already been found in Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Politicians in the Netherlands have been assassinated for "insulting" Islam. Two years ago, at a much-hyped conference in Spain titled "Islam in Europe," 2,000 European Muslim leaders called on Muslims around the world to help bring about an end to the capitalist system. As the biggest player in that system, the U.S. faces a delicate task: how to keep an old but estranged friend from committing suicide.
It's too late for mere 'respect', far too late
There are no boundaries of class or party among those who sense, or know, that British society is in profound trouble. Yet the consensus that this anxiety has created remains largely unexpressed. Politicians dare not tell the whole truth about it for fear of adding to public alarm, and losing by it. Complaint over the quality of public provision, or about the education system, or about the statistics of violent crime regularly break surface, but in fragmentary fashion. The renaissance of a battered society which has had its sense of identity and direction dislocated requires a national effort equal to that which wars have in the past demanded. Without it the institutions and ethics of a truly free civil society will not be recomposed. The notion of each citizen belonging to a social and moral order worth defending has slipped through our fingers and smashed to smithereens on the ground. In such circumstances a bemused public - now little more than a random aggregation of individuals - must stare helplessly at accounts of "feral youths" stalking the streets, while with ancient ceremony empty promises of redemption, as in the Queen's Speech, are addressed to the air.
On Fertility, Abortion, and Civilization's Decline
That Europe may be entering into an Age of Decay is most strongly suggested by its emerging demographic crisis. Following the baby boom, fertility rates in every western European nation dropped below replacement level. In Spain and Italy, the total fertility rates stand at a heartbreaking (I say this a man of Italian descent) 1.1 and 1.2 children per woman respectively, only half of what is necessary to maintain the population. Despite government policies in numerous countries which essentially bribe women to reproduce by offering increasingly hefty sums for each child born after the first, there has been no sustained recovery in fertility in any major western European nation.