Thursday, March 11, 2004

Post-Christian Europe: How long will it last?

Mark Steyn has a beautiful column today in The Spectator (registration required).
Maybe the collapse of the church and the looming demographic disaster facing Quebec and most of Catholic Europe is just another coincidence. But, for whatever reason, Europeans have less and less interest in God's first injunction, to "go forth and multiply". And, as a consequence, they'll enjoy their post-Christian EUtopia, but only for the two or three generations it lasts...

In his new book, Civilization and its Enemies, Lee Harris begins with the following observation: "Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe. That, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary."

Very true. But other countries at other times have been made "forgetful" by civilised order. It's the particular form of civilisation that makes this bout of forgetfulness potentially fatal. In post-Christian Europe - where fertile women who not so long ago would have had three children by the age of 24 now have one designer child at 39, where social welfare programmes depend on a growing population, where the main source of immigration is from a culture that despises secularism as weak,short-sighted narcissism - societal "forgetfulness" isn't just a passing phase you can snap out of. In this situation, the Christian fundamentalists, Holy Rollers, born-again Bible Belters and Jesus freaks of America are the rationalists. It's the hyper-rationalists of secular Europe who are living on blind faith.

As I said, it's a beautiful column, read the whole thing. It ties in quite strongly to the Roe effect (more here and here). But whereas in the US, it looks like the domestic conservative and religious populations will grow while the secularist liberal population shrinks (in relative terms, at least), in Europe it is the immigrating Islamic population which are growing. A US governed by conservative Christians will maintain essentially the same rights and freedoms (despite what the Left would have you believe). The same cannot be said if the unassimilated Islamic groups come to power in Europe.

Update: Minor editing. I clarified that I meant unassimulated Islamic groups.

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