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Thread: Is Europe Dying?

  1. #1
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    Is Europe Dying?

    Any student of demographics knows the answer to this question. Of course it is and guess where the replacement population will come from. I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count.
    ===========================

    Is Europe Dying?
    Notes on a Crisis of Civilizational Morale
    By George Weigel
    Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2005
    EUROPEAN OUTLOOK
    AEI Online

    Europe’s anemic birthrates are the most concrete manifestation of a spiritual crisis in the homeland of Western civilization. That crisis is driven by the marginalization of Christianity in European cultural, intellectual, and public life over the last century.

    America’s “Europe problem” and Europe’s “America problem” have been staple topics of transatlantic debate for the past several years. Political leaders, media commentators, and businessmen usually discuss those problems in terms of policy differences: differences over prosecuting the war on terrorism, differences over the role of the United Nations in world affairs, differences over the Kyoto Protocol on the global environment, differences over Iraq. The policy differences are real. Attempts to understand them in political, strategic, and economic terms alone will ultimately fail, however, because such explanations do not reach deeply enough into the human texture of contemporary Europe.

    To put the matter directly: Europe, and especially western Europe, is in the midst of a crisis of civilizational morale. The most dramatic manifestation of that crisis is not to be found in Europe’s fondness for governmental bureaucracy or its devotion to fiscally shaky health care schemes and pension plans, in Europe’s lagging economic productivity or in the appeasement mentality that some European leaders display toward Islamist terrorism. No, the most dramatic manifestation of Europe’s crisis of civilizational morale is the brute fact that Europe is depopulating itself.

    Europe’s below-replacement-level birthrates have created situations that would have been unimaginable when the institutions of European integration were formed in the late 1940s and early 1950s. By the middle of this century, if present fertility patterns continue, 60 percent of the Italian people will have no personal experience of a brother, a sister, an aunt, an uncle, or a cousin;[1] Germany will lose the equivalent of the population of the former East Germany; and Spain’s population will decline by almost one-quarter. Europe is depopulating itself at a rate unseen since the Black Death of the fourteenth century.[2] And one result of that is a Europe that is increasingly “senescent” (as British historian Niall Ferguson has put it).[3]...

    (Snip)

    Boredom and Its Discontents

    The demographics are unmistakable: Europe is dying. The wasting disease that has beset this once greatest of civilizations is not physical, however. It is a disease in the realm of the human spirit. David Hart, another theological analyst of contemporary history, calls it the disease of “metaphysical boredom”--boredom with the mystery, passion, and adventure of life itself. Europe, in Hart’s image, is boring itself to death.

    And in the process, it is allowing radicalized twenty-first century Muslims--who think of their forebears’ military defeats at Poitiers in 732, Lepanto in 1571, and Vienna in 1683 (as well as their expulsion from Spain in 1492) as temporary reversals en route to Islam’s final triumph in Europe—to imagine that the day of victory is not far off. Not because Europe will be conquered by an invading army marching under the Prophet’s banners, but because Europe, having depopulated itself out of boredom and culturally disarmed itself in the process, will have handed the future over to those Islamic immigrants who will create what some scholars call “Eurabia”--the European continent as a cultural and political extension of the Arab-Islamic world. Should that happen, the irony would be unmistakable: the drama of atheistic humanism, emptying Europe of its soul, would have played itself out in the triumph of a thoroughly nonhumanistic theism. Europe’s contemporary crisis of civilizational morale would reach its bitter conclusion when Notre-Dame becomes Hagia Sophia on the Seine--another great Christian church become an Islamic museum. At which point, we may be sure, the human rights proclaimed by those narrow secularists who insist that a culture’s spiritual aspirations have nothing to do with its politics would be in the gravest danger...

    (Snip)

    http://www.aei.org/publications/filt...pub_detail.asp

  2. #2
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    If Europe is dying then Asia, specifically east Asia is already dead. Japan, Korea, and China are I believe the fastest aging populations in the world. Now for actual population decreases, I say good. In a world where robotics is going to take over much of the manual labor that people are doing now, what need is there for large surplus population. Fewer people, means fewer demands for resources, and a better environment. This could equal a better standard of living for future Europeans. Why compete with countries like India for cheap manual labor, causing many people to live in poverty when with a smaller population more people of that smaller population can lead better lives.
    Admittedly, the concept of the Straussian text is one susceptible to intellectual mischief in the form of wild claims about the esoteric meaning of texts, not to mention rather off-putting for anyone who doesn’t like know-it-all elites.
    Orthodox Judaism, not to mention other religions: there is a small number of men who know the detailed truth; the masses are told what they need to know and no more

  3. #3
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    Virtually every industralized country is "dying" in that aspect. As people live to be older, and the cost of raising children increases, the birth rate compared to the death rate will fall. The first real realization of that came in france during the early 1900 and late 1800s.

    As for the rest of the article, if that is true, then The US should be called "greater mexico."
    Some people love their country because of what it is, because of the principles it is built on, because of its prosperity and freedom. Then others love their country because it is their country, and will destroy all that is actually good about it to silence those who disagree. Which do you think you are? - Symbiote

  4. #4
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    Europe was dying, but now with all the new member states we'll just be importing all their young people, have 'em **** like rabbits and all will be well.

    And as for your second statement that Islam will conquer Europe: .
    Eh, what's this? A Republican from Texas that actually makes sense and can speak English?

    http://www.ronpaul2008.com/html/Issues_fx.html

  5. #5
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    I don`t really get it. How is depopulating itself "a crisis of civilisational morale"?

    And no, we are no "depopulating ourself at an unseen rate since the black plague". There was this little thing about colonizing america (or rather, deporting our christian fundies) in between. And that depopulatio was considered a a huge boost for european economy...

    The author is also trying to blame the declining birth rates on secularism and the decline of faith among europeans. Or as he puts it; "disease of methaphysical boredom".

    Now, sure, Europe is quite secularised and at first glance there is a paralell between a declining population in Europe and secularisation (as secualrisation as continued, birth rates have declined). Roughly as convincing as the paralell between internet access and declining populations (as internet acces has been more common, birth rates have declined). However, this does not mean that there is any causality or even correlation (as if you study the develpment in a larger time-frame, you will see no such correlation between secularisation and declining birth rates).

    But what the authors "forgets" is to look at country-specific figures. If you want to prove your pint that secularisation leads to depopulation (or at least declining birth rates) you should naturally compare individual countries (otherwise it`s mere speculation, or as in this case, simply fraudulent). If you take a look at the country specific birth-rates in europe you will discover rather interesting things. I`ll summarize them in bullet points:

    * The lowest birth rates can be found in eastern and southern europe. These countries are the most chirstian countries in Europe. Spain and Italy are catholic, while most eastern european countries are orthodox. These countries occupy the "lower half" of the chart.

    * The traditionally most secularised countries can be found in northern Europe. These countries occupy the higher half of the chart; that is, these countries have high birthrates, compared to the sample at hand.

    * This all implies that secularisation either has no effect whatsoever on brth rates OR that there is indeed a positive relation between secularisation and birth rates.

    The author is obviously talking out his arse....

    And then he starts to rant about muslims... It`s funny how he talks about immigrants and refugees while never mentioning those who later return when the situation has stabilised in their home countries. He talks about immigrants to EU from Turkey while never even touching on the subject that in a not to distant future, these immigrants will no longer be immigrants as their home country (turkey) joins EU. In fact, quite a dubstantial portion of the cited muslim immigrants have european origin to begin with (Turkey, former Jugoslavia). He also forgets that historicly the numbers of muslims in european countries are quite low. During the age of imperialism, entire muslim countries where considered to be parts of european empires. Nowhere does he provide any figures for his assertion that:

    "Europe’s current demographic trendlines, coupled with
    the radicalization of Islam that seems to be a by-product
    of some Muslims’ encounter with contemporary, secularized
    Europe, could eventually produce a twenty-second
    century, or even late twenty-first century, Europe
    increasingly influenced by, and perhaps even dominated
    by, militant Islamic populations, convinced that their
    long-delayed triumph in the European heartland is at
    hand."

    Sort of like you in another thread...

    It`s just another pointless rant. And islamo-phobic and decietful to boot.

    I also found this while browsing the subject:

    Population decline inevitable in the US?

    "America has a fertility rate around the replacement level only because Hispanic immigrants maintain a high birth rate in the first generation after arrival. But with Latin American birth rates now falling fast, America’s rate is almost certain to fall back below replacement level."

    I tried to find the facts and figures behind this, but couldn`t navigate the census beuro homepage...
    Knowledge is power. Hide it well.

  6. #6
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    A couple of flaws in your refutation.

    1. Italy and Spain used to be Catholic, but that is no longer true. From talking with people from Spain, it's pretty secular. The Catholic Church is associated with Franco and Fascism and in both countries, there has been a huge movement against the Church.

    I'm not denying that there are "rump" communities that are still quite religious, but you cannot call Italy a Catholic country when p*rn stars become national political figures.

    2. What is the ethnic breakdown of the northern European birth rates? The most popular name in the Netherlands for newborns is "Mohammed." Northern Europe embraced Islamic immigrants early on (because they're so tolerant and all that) and it is possible that most of their population growth is based on these unassimilated immigrants.

    The big problem Europe faces is how to sustain its welfare states with fewer active workers.

    If any of you can tell me how you can expect fewer children to pay the pensions of more parents, I'd like to hear it.

  7. #7
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    Raising the retirement age is something I tentatively support, if longevity keeps rising.

    As for the idea that muslims are sustaining the birth rate, I would be surprised if 2.5% of the population was keeping it growing.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CvT
    A couple of flaws in your refutation.

    1. Italy and Spain used to be Catholic, but that is no longer true. From talking with people from Spain, it's pretty secular. The Catholic Church is associated with Franco and Fascism and in both countries, there has been a huge movement against the Church.

    I'm not denying that there are "rump" communities that are still quite religious, but you cannot call Italy a Catholic country when p*rn stars become national political figures.

    2. What is the ethnic breakdown of the northern European birth rates? The most popular name in the Netherlands for newborns is "Mohammed." Northern Europe embraced Islamic immigrants early on (because they're so tolerant and all that) and it is possible that most of their population growth is based on these unassimilated immigrants.

    The big problem Europe faces is how to sustain its welfare states with fewer active workers.

    If any of you can tell me how you can expect fewer children to pay the pensions of more parents, I'd like to hear it.
    Your #1 is anecdotal: just "talking with people" isn't an adequate basis for supporting the conclusion you reach.

    The existence of "porn" stars there is not incompatible with Italy still being a catholic society: statistical data on social trends and religious affiliations would be required before we could generalise about the matter.

    Your #2 assertion about the name Mohammed might be true, but what do you wish us to infer from that fact (if it is one) ?

    There is a problem of how the needs of growing populations of old people can be met in the many places where birth rates have been falling: the brutal truth is that fewer children will have to pay higher taxes to finance the pensions of more parents.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CvT
    The most popular name in the Netherlands for newborns is "Mohammed."
    No it's not, not by a long shot, it's just another urban myth.
    Here is the data from the SVB (Dutch Social Security Administration, they amongst other things register people who are eligible for child support):

    "Jongensnamen" means boys names, "Meisjesnamen" means girls names

    http://www.svb.nl/nl/regelingen/kind...amen/index.jsp

    There's no Mohammed in the top 20.
    Eh, what's this? A Republican from Texas that actually makes sense and can speak English?

    http://www.ronpaul2008.com/html/Issues_fx.html

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamehuis

    There's no Mohammed in the top 20.
    I'm not surprised: this sort of "evidence" of the supposed Moslem "threat" is what appears in tabloid newspapers on a regular basis.

  11. #11
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    And here are the most popular names in 11 other European countries:

    http://www.answers.com/topic/most-popular-names

    No Mohammmed or Abdul or any other Muslim name to be found.
    I guess that Islamic invasion of Europe will have to wait till Turkey joins the EU.
    Eh, what's this? A Republican from Texas that actually makes sense and can speak English?

    http://www.ronpaul2008.com/html/Issues_fx.html

  12. #12
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    CvT talking out of his arse, never expected that to happen...

  13. #13
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    Sorry, my Dutch is a little rusty.

    I guess there's no problem at all.

    Your birthrates are fine, your immigrants productive and assimilated and your welfare states can be sustained indefinately.

    These pills sure are tasty!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CvT
    Sorry, my Dutch is a little rusty.

    I guess there's no problem at all.

    Your birthrates are fine, your immigrants productive and assimilated and your welfare states can be sustained indefinately.

    These pills sure are tasty!
    I never said that everything's fine. You know, there is such a thing as nuance. Stop looking at everything in black and white and accept that there's a lot of grey in the world.
    Yes we have some problems with our immigrant population, just like the US still has problems with its black population. That doesn't mean that the end of the world is upon us.
    You want instant results from us Europeans, but when it comes to Iraq you don't. A bit unfair wouldn't you say?
    Eh, what's this? A Republican from Texas that actually makes sense and can speak English?

    http://www.ronpaul2008.com/html/Issues_fx.html

  15. #15
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    Instant?

    Hardly.

    I'm curious about a couple of things, though.

    What actions are Europeans taking to deal with the declining birth rate, particularly when it comes to sustaining the welfare state?

    In the US, we're having a rather loud debate over Social Security and how it can last. Is a similar dialogue going on Over There?

    Secondly, looking at those numbers (the ones in English) I can't help but wonder if the government agencies are reporting everything.

    I'm not saying there is a conspiracy or anything, but merely that from past experience, European governments have a tendency to sweep unpleasantness under the rug.

    The Netherlands, for example, kept ignoring its own problems until they exploded across the country.

    Thus I'm curious if Muslims in Europe are being counted in these tallies or not. Do "guest workers" count as full citizens for all purposes?

    One other thing: I saw an article some time ago (and I can't seem to find it) about a rapid rise in Dutch emigration. Apparently it's gone up by a factor of four in the last few years.

    Could "white flight" do to Europe what it did to America's inner cities?

    I don't think anyone can argue with the notion that birth rates in Europe are differentiated: practicing Muslims don't use birth control and everything I've seen shows that they tend to have more children that their European hosts.

    So you've got a situation where the immigrants are having more kids, more immigrants are arriving every day, and many of the native population - which is already in decline - are leaving.

    Does this spell disaster?

    Not necessarily.

    But it is a serious problem. The US has always been a pretty violent place largely because of our diversity. All these different tribes like to fight each other. It's always been thus.

    Is Europe ready to be a truly immigrant society?

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