European demographic decline has been a topic that has been canvassed a lot on this blog. Looking at our more recent posts this year, we have written about Italy’s demographic “apocalypse”, Hungary’s fight against depopulation, Europe’s dying villages, the migrant crisis, Romania’s longterm demographic decline, and Finland’s historically low birthrates. We even saw Lord Sack’s warning that we are seeing the fall of western civilisation due in large part (or perhaps evidenced by) low birthrates.
Today I want to share a viewpoint that I’m sure many in Europe share (as I know people outside of Europe who hold it) from Italian author and journalist, Giulio Meotti. Writing for the Gatestone Institute website, Meotti describes a “population substitution” that is happening in Europe. First, Europe’s peoples are now dying at a rate greater than they are replacing themselves. Yes, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in 2015 5.2 million people died in the EU. But during that same year only 5.1 million babies were born. Obviously thismeans that there was a natural decrease in the EU population of 100,000 people. But the actual population of Europe increased in 2015 by 1.8 million people to 510.1 million. So what explains this apparent discrepancy? Immigration. Nearly two million immigrants entered Europe in 2015. According to Meotti, this situation can be described this way:
“It is the substitution of a population. Europe has lost the will to maintain or grow its population. The situation is as demographically as seismic as during the Great Plague of the 14th Century.”
At a more focussed level, we can see this collapse in Europe’s ability to replace itself. Italy had the lowest birth rate in the EU in 2015 and the smallest number of births since the birth of modern Italy in 1861. Portugal’s natural growth rate was -2.2 people per 1,000 population. Eastern Europe is experiencing the “largest population loss in modern history”, while, if you look at the last five years, Germany’s average birth rate has sunk below even Japan’s.
The decline has been rapid, in the five years 2008 to 2013 the number of babies born in the EU dropped by 7%. Instead of replacing itself, Europe is ageing and is not renenwing. By way of substitution it is welcoming (well, some European countries are more welcoming than others…) large numbers of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia. As Meotti notes, these migrants are replacing Europe’s “lost” babies and are bringing cultural values which are radically different about everything: sex, science, political power, culture, economy and metaphysics.
“In one generation from now, Europe will be unrecognizable. People in Europe now largely seem to feel that the identity of their civilization is threatened primarily by a frivolous libertarianism, an ideology under the guise of freedom, that wants to deconstruct all the ties that bind man to his family, his parentage, his work, his history, his religion, his language, his nation, his freedom. It seems to come from an inertia that does not care if Europe succeeds or succumbs, if our civilization disappears, drowned by ethnic chaos, or is overrun by a new religion from the desert.”
This is, as Meotti states, a massive change going on in the heart of Europe. And, as he notes, the hearts of Europeans seem not to be in any position to challenge or comprehend large numbers of people who take their religion seriously.
“An agnostic and sterile continent — deprived of its gods and children because it banished them — will have no strength to fight or to assimilate a civilization of the zealous and the young. The failure to counter the coming transformation seems to come down on the side of Islam. Is what we are seeing the last days of summer?”
This, I think, needs to be pondered upon. In the West we have a society that have placed comfort, consumerism and self-complacency as its core values. It is perhaps not surprising that such values do not inspire those living in Europe to defend them from external, competing values. Perhaps it is also not surprising that people seeped in such values do not bother to replace themselves. Will it be any surprise if such values die out along with the people who hold them?