Tuesday, April 01, 2003

The Changing Face Of Europe

A few bloggers have made note of this story from the Times of London, which reports that Europe's population is shrinking, and fast. If current trends continue, Europe will lose over 85 million in population in the next fifteen years!

But there's more to this story than just that. Europe has been changing already, as complex factors already are coming into play in relation to population pressures. These changes mean a lot for Europe, and will affect America as well.

Several European countries -- Scotland, Italy, and Russia if you want to be generous -- are experiencing negative population growth. That is, the death rate is exceeding the birth rate. Scotland and Italy are already beginning campaigns to bring in folks from other nations to compensate.

Other nations -- France, Germany, Sweden -- have been importing people from outside Europe for decades, to perform the low-level scut work that natives don't want to do anymore. In France, it's Algerians; in Germany, it's Turks. Britain has growing populations of Caribeans, Pakistanis and Muslims, though for different reasons.

Nations that once defined themselves pretty clearly in cultural and historic terms now find themselves in a situation analogous to America. It's one they haven't had to deal with, as opposed to America which is defined by its outside populations, and they aren't handling it at all well.

Outsider populations in Europe find themselves marginalised on the one hand, while being kid-gloved on the other with demeaning and suppressing PC treatment. It's put them into ghetto communities and isolated them, breeding anger and hostility that's now erupting all over the face of Europe.

The importation problem came about because of Europe's generous welfare states. Every nation of Europe offers benefits, from cradle to grave, that far outstrip anything offered here in America. It's expensive to do this, and European budgets are going broke even now with the strain. America has been indirectly aiding Europe by assuming the bulk of their defense budget, through NATO. Most European countries spend around 2 or 3% of their budgets on defense; America's is closer to 17%; a large part of that is NATO spending. The Europeans, for all that they look down on Americans, are quite willing to have us keep on spending for them, as assuming their own burdens would completely bankrupt them and collapse their welfare states.

As I noted earlier, populations in Europe are steady or declining; some of the Eastern European nations aren't affected yet, but as they reach Western standards of education and equal rights, they will also see declines in birth rates. It's been clearly documented that as women's education and employment opportunities rise, their birth rate declines as they have fewer children, later in life. Bringing the newly freed nations of the former Soviet bloc into the European mindset will just spread the problem.

To keep the whole Ponzi scheme afloat, to keep working bodies in the jobs that pay the benefits that support the native Eurpopeans, they've been bringing in folks from cultures completely different from their own. Cultures that still stress family bonds, traditional family roles, high birth rates, and strong religious values. So far, these cultures have strongly resisted assimilation into the European fold. Nations like Denmark, France, Britain and Italy now face the difficult prospect of maintaining their historic cultures in the face of new citizens who don't care to join in.

Europe as we have thought of it since the 1700's in slowly, but definitely, coming to an end. Either they will have to find ways to blend in their new populations, making them part of the historic culture, or they will begin to crack into Balkanised tribes within old national boundaries. The shift is underway now, and the PC Euro-treatment of the outsiders is forcing cracks.

It's the condescending treatment of Leftists and Progressives, under the PC guise of "respect for differences" that is killing them. It's the arm's-length treatment that justifies inaction through a false front of allowing "self-determination" and "respect." Rather than maintain, or even slightly modify, the old historic culture, these Leftists will allow alien cultures to grow within their own, unassimilated and uninterested. It will lead to the displacement of the historic culture.

Europe is well along on that road. Within two generations, we may not even recognise many European nations as our spiritual and cultural forebears. America is also seeing this, though on a much slower basis, and more spread out. Hispanics pose the greatest threat, if any, of cultural displacement in America.

Closing borders is the simple solution. America's have been wide open for nearly thirty years, resulting in the largest numbers of immigrants in the nation ever -- both in raw numbers and as a percent of population; even exceeding the great immigrant influx of the late 19th century! By closing, or severely throttling back, borders we have time for the dominant culture to work its assimilation. It's what happened with the last major waves of the 19th and 20th centuries. The result was intermingling and intermarriage that spread and diluted the immigrant cultures into the majority, to the benefit of both.

But that attitude is precisely the problem for the Left. They simply can't do it. Add to that the job and welfare pressures in Europe and it's flatly undoable for them. America is presented with some interesting new options in the post-Iraqi War era. With a loss of influence for Europe around the world, and especially in America, they will see themselves vaulted solidly into secondary status. European Union size and economic power simply won't matter. If President Bush is bold enough to renegotiate NATO, he can hand Europe such problems that they'll never recover from. European intellectual hegemony over certain elites in America will become quaint and meaningless, as they'll be championing a sytem and approach that the majority will see is clearly failing.

Powerful lessons for America. Historic inevitability for Europe.

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