The Death of the West: How Mass Immigration, Depopulation and a Dying Faith Are Killing Our Culture and Countryby Patrick J. Buchanan
The national bestseller that shocked the nationThe Death of the West is an unflinching look at the increasing decline in Western culture and power.
The West is dying. Collapsing birth rates in Europe and the U. S., coupled with population explosions in Africa, Asia and Latin America are set to cause cataclysmic shifts in world power, as unchecked/i>
The national bestseller that shocked the nationThe Death of the West is an unflinching look at the increasing decline in Western culture and power.
The West is dying. Collapsing birth rates in Europe and the U. S., coupled with population explosions in Africa, Asia and Latin America are set to cause cataclysmic shifts in world power, as unchecked immigration swamps and polarizes every Western society and nation.
The Death of the West details how a civilization, culture, and moral order are passing away and foresees a new world order that has terrifying implications for our freedom, our faith, and the preeminence of American democracy.
The Death of the West is a timely, provocative study that asks the question that quietly troubles millions: Is the America we grew up in gone forever?
- St. Martin's Press
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Read an Excerpt
As a growing population has long been a mark of healthy nations and rising civilizations, falling populations have been a sign of nations and civilizations in decline. If that holds true, Western civilization, power and wealth aside, is in critical condition. For, like the Cheshire Cat, the people of the West have begun to fade away.
As late as 1960, European people, including Americans, Australians, and Canadians, numbered 750 million, one-fourth of the 3 billion people alive. Western nations were in the baby boom of the century. Shorn of their empires, the wounds of war healed, they seemed alive with vitality. Indeed, neo-Malthusians were bewailing the population explosion, warning darkly that the earth's resources and land were running out. They were laughed at. By 2000, however, no one was laughing.
While world population had doubled to six billion in forty years, the Europeanpeoples had stopped reproducing. Their populations had begun to stagnate and, in many countries, had already begun to fall. Of Europe's forty-seven nations, only one, Muslim Albania, was, by 2000, maintaining a birthrate sufficient to keep it alive indefinitely. Europe had begun to die.
The prognosis is grim. Between 2000 and 2050, world population will grow by more than three billion to over nine billion people, but this 50 percent increase in global population will come entirely in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as one hundred million people of European stock vanish from the earth.
In 1960, people of European ancestry were one-fourth of the world's population; in 2000, they were one-sixth; in 2050, they will be one-tenth. These are the statistics of a vanishing race. A growing awareness of what they portend has induced a sense of foreboding, even panic, in Europe.
* * *
In 2000, the total population of Europe, from Iceland to Russia, was 728 million. At present birthrates, however, without new immigration, her population will crash to 600 million by 2050. That is the projection of World Population Prospects: The 2000 Revision Highlights released by the authoritative UN Population Division on February 28, 2001. Another study has Europe's population plummeting to 556 million by midcentury. The last time Europe's population showed a drop of this magnitude was during the Black Plague of 1347-52. Economics professor Jacqueline Kasun of Humboldt State University in California, author of War Against Population, considers today's birth dearth an even graver crisis:
With a plague like the [fourteenth-century] Black Death, maybe a third of Europe died, but it took the elderly as well as the young.... But this plunging fertility takes only the young. A couple still has parents and grandparents to support, directly or through their taxes. Since they've got fewer or no siblings to share that burden, having children seems even more unaffordable. So how do you dig your way out of a hole like a shrinking population?
Excellent question, and if Europe does not find the answer soon, Europe dies. How bleak is the situation? Of the twenty nations with the lowest birthrates in the world, eighteen are in Europe. The average fertility rate of a European woman has fallen to 1.4 children, with 2.1 needed just to replace the existing population. Says columnist Ben Wattenberg: This does not mean ZPG (Zero Population Growth), this means ZPZero Population.
Americans in NATO will soon be defending a vast Leisure World.
If the present fertility rates hold, Europe's population will decline to 207 million by the end of the twenty-first century, less than 30 percent of today's. The cradle of Western civilization will have become its grave.
Why is this happening? Socialism, the beatific vision of European intellectuals for generations, is one reason. "If everyone has the promise of a state pension, children are no longer a vital insurance policy against want in old age," argues Dr. John Wallace of Bologna's Johns Hopkins University: "If women can earn more than enough to be financially independent, a husband is no longer essential. And if you can also have sex and not babiesand this seems to be true now of Catholic Italy as it is of secular Britainwhy marry?"
By freeing husbands, wives, and children of family responsibilities, European socialists have eliminated the need for families. Consequently, families have begun to disappear. When they are gone, Europe goes with them. But as Europe is dying, the Third World adds one hundred million peopleone new Mexicoevery fifteen months. Forty new Mexicos in the Third World by 2050, while Europe will have lost the equivalent of the entire population of Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norwayand Germany! Absent divine intervention, or a sudden desire on the part of Western women to begin having the same-size families as their grandmothers, the future belongs to the Third World. As T. S. Eliot wrote in "The Hollow Men": "This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper."
* * *
"There are twenty million Germans too many!" muttered Georges Clemenceau, the "Tiger of France" and the statesman most responsible for the Versailles Treaty, which stripped Germany of her colonies, a tenth of her land, and an eighth of her people. Clemenceau's hatred is understandable. As Alistair Horne writes in his history of the fall of the Third Republic, "Clemenceau had been one of the deputies to protest against the surrender of Alsace-Lorraine in 1871, and had narrowly escaped being lynched in the civil war that followed with the Commune." He had witnessed the dethronement of his emperor and seen a German kaiser crowned at Versailles. In the Great War, he had seen his beloved France ravaged by the armies of Hindenburg and Ludendorff which had left behind the bodies of 1.5 million Frenchmen when they marched home to the Reich.
In fifty years, the Tiger will have his revenge, for German women are refusing to have children. For ten years, Germany's birthrate has stood at 1.3 children per woman, far below the 2.1 needed to replace the present population. Here is the future that is now hard upon the German nation. By 2050:
Twenty-three million Germans will have disappeared.
Germany's eighty-two million people will have fallen to fifty-nine million.
The number of German children under fifteen will have dropped to 7.3 million.
A third of Germany's population will be over sixty-five. These seniors will outnumber German children more than two to one.
Germany's total population will be two-thirds of 1 percent of the world's population, and only 1 of every 150 people on earth will be a German. And Germans will be among the oldest people on earth.
At the request of the author, Joseph Chamie, director of the UN's Population Division, projected the population of several European nations out to 2100. If the present German birthrate is sustained and immigration is zero, Germany's population will fall from 82 million to 38.5 million by century's end, a drop of 53 percent.
The Bavarian conservative and potential chancellor Edmund Stoiber considers Germany's birthrate a "ticking time bomb." He urges a tripling of the child allowance for the first three years of life. Today, Germany pays monthly subsidies of $140 a child for the first two, more for a third. Stoiber's idea is called radical today; it will not be tomorrow.
"My reason for not having kids is that I like to sleep. I read a lot, and I can sleep throughout the night," says Gabrielle Thanheiser, thirty-four, a banker in Berlin vacationing in Rome with her live-in boyfriend. "We are DINKS," confirmed Andreas Gerhmann, thirty-seven, using the acronym popular even in Germany for "double income, no kids" couples. In the long run, the self-indulgence of DINKS like Gerhmann and Thanheiser may prove more fateful for the German people than the Third Reich.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall, West German chancellor Helmut Kohl sought to reunify his country after forty-five years of Cold War division. In Britain, Russia, France, even in the United States, were heard anguished cries that the world could not trust a united Germany. Twice, Germany had tried to conquer Europe, it was protested. What guarantee have we that a united Germany will not march again on Europe?
This is one worry the West can lay to rest. With the German people aging and dying, with five million fewer German children expected in 2050 than are alive in 2000, Germany, like the old soldier of General MacArthur's ballad, is about to "just slowly fade away."
ITALY, A THEME PARK
* * *
Prospects for the Italian race, which gave us Rome and all its glory, St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel, Dante and Michelangelo, Columbus and Galileo, are even more dire. Italy's birthrate has been below replacement levels for twenty-five years and is down to 1.2 children per woman. At this rate, Italy's fifty-seven million people will fall to forty-one million by 2050. Writes population researcher Nicholas Eberstadt of American Enterprise Institute: "Barely 2 percent of the [Italian] population in 2050 would be under five years old, but more than 40 percent would be 65 or older." The birthrate in "that most Catholic and romantic of nations," adds New Republic's Greg Easterbrook, "means that Italy will be a theme park in a few generations."
A recent survey in the popular "semifeminist" magazine Noi Donne found that 52 percent of Italian women between sixteen and twenty-four planned to have no children. "Career" was their principal reason for not wanting any kids. University of Rome demographer Antonio Golini says that the nation is already dependent upon immigrants to bear the load of its deeply indebted pension system. But now Italian culture is at risk. Golini believes, "Italy will no longer be Italian.... It will be the end of society as we know it."
Golini was called a "demographic terrorist" twenty years ago, when he first warned of Italy's impending population crisis. He is called that no longer, though Dr. Golini remains deeply pessimistic about his country: "In an increasingly globalized labor market, Italy must compete with France, with the United States, with India. How can we, with such an aged society and so few young people?"
Cardinal Giacomo Biffi of Bologna has called on Rome to restrict immigration to Catholics to "save the nation's identity," raising eyebrows with his remark that Muslims have "different food, festivals, and family morals." But where does His Eminence propose to find these Catholics?
Certainly not in Spain, where in the days of the Caudillo, Gen. Francisco Franco, big families were sacred and received medals and gifts from the state. The Spanish birthrate is the lowest in all Europe, lower than that of Italy, the Czech Republic, or Romania, all of which have fallen to 1.2 children per woman. In Spain, the birthrate is down to 1.07 children per woman, and the population is projected to fall by 25 percent in fifty years as the number of Spaniards over sixty-five soars by 117 percent. "In one generation we have gone from a society in which families of eight or even 12 children were not unusual to one in which childless couples are common, or people think long and hard about having a second child," says Madrid sociologist Victor Perez Diaz. By 2050, the median age in Italy will be fifty-four and in Spain fifty-five, fourteen years above the median age of Japan, the oldest nation on earth today.
"Prosperity has strangled us," says Dr. Pierpaolo Donati, a leading Catholic intellectual and professor of sociology at the University of Bologna. "Comfort is now the only thing anybody believes in. The ethic of sacrifice for a familyone of the basic ideas of human societieshas become a historical notion. It is astonishing."
In 1950, Spain had three times as many people as Morocco across the Strait of Gibraltar. By 2050, Morocco's population will be 50 percent larger. If one hundred Spanish young people marry today, they can expect to have fifty-eight children, thirty-three grandchildren, but only nineteen great-grandchildren.
* * *
What of the late command post of a Soviet Empire that shook the world for seventy years? With a birthrate of 1.35 children per woman, Russia's 147 million people will fall to 114 million by 2050, a greater loss than the 30 million dead attributed to Stalin. The number of children in Russia under fifteen will have fallen from 26 to 16 million, while today's 18 million seniors will have grown to 28 million.
In December 2000, however, more ominous news came in. Russia's birthrate had already plummeted to 1.17 children, below Italy's. Its population had fallen to 145 million; one estimate had it headed to 123 million by 2015. "If you believe the forecasts made by serious people who have devoted their whole lives to studying this question," warns President Putin, "in 15 years' time there will be 22 million fewer Russians. Just think about that figureit's a seventh of [Russia's] population." A loss of 22 million Russians in fifteen years would be greater than all the Soviet Union's losses in the Hitler-Stalin war. Putin went on to add ominously, "If the present tendency continues, there will be a threat to the survival of the nation."
Life expectancy for Russian men is now fifty-nine, and two of every three pregnancies in Russia are terminated before birth. Russian women average 2.5 to 4 abortions each, and Russia's death rate is now 70 percent higher than the birthrate. Even the return of millions of Russians from the former Soviet republics cannot offset the dying. Most ominous for the largest nation on earth, the population of vast, vacant Siberia is in a steep decline as China's enormous population swells inexorably.
When the deputy speaker of the state duma, the rabid nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, advanced such ideas as polygamy, allowing every Russian male to have five wives, plus a ten-year ban on abortion and a prohibition on Russian women traveling abroad, his ideas were ridiculed and his population bills hooted down. But the life crisis of Russia cannot be dismissed, and the geostrategic implications for America are ominous.
Mr. Chamie projected Russia's population, at present birthrates with zero immigration, out to the century's end, and came up with fewer than eighty million Russians in 2100, roughly the population of the United States when Theodore Roosevelt left office in 1909.
* * *
What does the future hold for the cousins?
"Demographers have calculated that by the end of this century the English people will be a minority in their homeland. The English are not having enough children to reproduce themselves," writes the syndicated columnist Paul Craig Roberts. This is the first time in history, says the London Observer, "that a major indigenous population has voluntarily become a minority, rather than through war, famine or disease."
The Observer is mistaken. The honor of being the first nation to voluntarily turn its majority indigenous population into a minority will go to the United States. President Clinton predicted it would happen by 2050, half a century before Great Britain. But the British are clearly heading in the same direction. Ethnic minorities already constitute 40 percent of London's population, and, as Lee Jasper, the race relations adviser to the mayor of London, states, "The demographics show that white people in London will become a minority by 2010."
Among the reasons is the steadily falling birthrate among native-born British. In 2000, there were 17,400 fewer births in England and Wales than in 1999, a drop of almost 3 percent, and the fertility rate fell to 1.66 births per woman, the lowest since statistics began to be kept in 1924.
* * *
Of the twenty-two nations with the lowest birthrates, only two are outside EuropeArmenia and Japan, the first Asian nation to enter the modern era.
Not until 1868 did Japan break out of her isolation. But within thirty years this dynamic nation was a rival of the Western powers. Japan had defeated China, colonized Taiwan, and in 1900 sent her soldiers to march beside Europeans and Americans to relieve the diplomatic legations in Peking besieged by the Chinese rebels known as "the Boxers." The Russo-Japanese War (1904-5) was the first in which an Asian people defeated a great Western power. Begun with a surprise attack on the Russian naval squadron at Port Arthur, the war ended in one of the most decisive battles in history, the sinking of the czar's Baltic fleet in the Straits of Tsushima in thirty-six hours by Admiral Togo.
In World War I, Japan was an Allied power whose contribution to the war effort was to roll up the kaiser's colonies in China and the Pacific, defend Europe's imperial possessions in Asia, and escort the troops of Australia and New Zealand to Gallipoli. Japan also sent a naval squadron to the Mediterranean. But when President Harding and Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes pressured London to break its twenty-year alliance with Japan at the Washington Naval Conference, the Japanese felt betrayed, humiliated, isolated. The die was cast. Twenty years later came Pearl Harbor and the total destruction of Japan and an empire constructed over sixty years at an immense cost in blood and treasure.
But with American assistance and by copying American methods and ideas, postwar Japan became the most dynamic nation on earth. By 1990, her economy was the second largest, half the size of the United States economy, though Japan occupied an area smaller than Montanaan extraordinary achievement of an extraordinary people.
But something has happened to Japan. She, too, has begun to die. Japan's birthrate is half what it was in 1950. Her population is projected to crest soon at 127 million, but fall to 104 million by 2050, when there will be fewer than half as many Japanese children as there were in 1950 but eight times as many seniors as in 1950. Her dynamism will be dead, her Asian role diminished, for there will be fifteen Chinese for every single Japanese. Even the Philippines, which had only a fourth of Japan's population in 1950, will have 25 million more people by 2050.
The reason for Japan's baby bust? More than half of all Japanese women now remain single by thirty years of age. Known as "Parasite Singles," they live at home with their parents and pursue careers, and many have abandoned any idea of marrying and having children. "Live for myself and enjoy life" is their motto. With Japan's elementary schools in 2000 taking in the smallest class in recorded history, Tokyo has raised the child allowance to $2,400 a year per child for six years. Some conservatives want to multiply that tenfold.
One pioneering Japanese female journalist in her sixties, Mitsuko Shimomura, told the New York Times's Peggy Orenstein that Japan is getting what it deserves for not granting full equality to women:
I don't regret the decline in the birth rate.... I think it's a good thing. The Parasites have unintentionally created an interesting movement. Politicians now have to beg women to have babies. Unless they create a society where women feel comfortable having children and working, Japan will be destroyed in a matter of 50 or 100 years. And children's subsidies aren't going to do it. Only equality is.
These women are deciding the fate and future of the Japanese nation.
Japan's Asian Empire was smashed in 1945; but something happened more recently to sap her vitality and will to live, grow, and expand and conquer in industry, technology, trade, and finance. Observers call it a loss of what famed economist J. M. Keynes described as "animal spirits."
But perhaps there is another, simpler explanation: age. Of the 190 nations on earth, Japan is the oldest, with a median age of forty-onefor Japan was the first modern nation to legalize abortion (1948), and her baby boom ended soon afterward, long before the end of the baby booms in the West.
Is there a parallel between a dying Christianity in the West and the death of Japan's prewar and wartime faith? When nations lose their sense of mission, their mandate of heaven, the faith that brought them into this world as unique countries and cultures, is that when they die? Is that when civilizations perish? So it would seem.
LET US LOOK again at the population projections for 2050, and try to visualize what our world will look like.
In Africa, there will be 1.5 billion people. From Morocco to the Persian Gulf will be an Arab-Turkic-Islamic sea of 500 million. In South Asia will live 700 million Iranians, Afghans, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis, and 1.5 billion Indians. There will be 300 million Indonesians, and China, with 1.5 billion people, will brood over Asia.
Russia, with a shrinking population of only 114 million, will have largely disappeared from Asia. Almost all Russians will be west of the Urals, back in Europe. Western Man, who dominated Africa and Asia in the first half of the twentieth century, will have disappeared from Africa and Asia by the middle of the twenty-first except perhaps for tiny enclaves in South Africa and Israel. In Australia, a nation of only 19 million, where the white birthrate is now below replacement levels, the European population will have begun to disappear.
There is a terrible dilemma confronting the First World nations:
At present birthrates, Europe must bring in 169 million immigrants by 2050 if it wishes to keep its population aged fifteen to sixty-four at today's level. But if Europe wishes to keep its present ratio of 4.8 workers (fifteen-sixty-four) for every senior, Europe must bring in 1.4 billion emigrants from Africa and the Middle East. Put another way: Either Europe raises taxes and radically downsizes pensions and health benefits for the elderly, or Europe becomes a Third World continent. There is no third way.
If Europe's fertility rate does not rise, European children under fifteen will fall by 40 percent to 87 million by 2050, as the number of seniors rises 50 percent to 169 million. The median age of a European will be fifty, the highest in history, nine years older than the present median age in Japan. Writes French demographer Alfred Sauvy, Europe is about to become a continent of "old people in old houses with old ideas."
IS THE DEATH of the West inevitable? Or, like all previous predictions of Western decline and demise, will this cup, too, pass away and expose as fools all who said we must drink it?
After all, Malthus was wrong. Marx was wrong. Democracy did not die during the Great Depression as the Communists predicted. And Khrushchev did not "bury" us. We buried him. Neville Chute's On the Beach proved as fanciful as Dr. Strangelove and Seven Days in May. Paul Ehrlich's Population Bomb never exploded. It fizzled. The Crash of 79 produced Ronald Reagan and an era of good feelings. The Club of Rome notwithstanding, we did not run out of oil. The world did not end at the close of the second millenium, as some prophesied and others hoped. Who predicted the disappearance of the Soviet Empire or disintegration of the Soviet Union? Is it not possible that today's most populous nationsChina, India, and Indonesiacould break into pieces as well? Why do predictions of the Death of the West not belong on the same back shelf as the predictions of "nuclear winter" and "global warming"?
Excerpted from THE DEATH OF THE WEST by Patrick J. Buchanan. Copyright © 2002 by Patrick J. Buchanan. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Meet the Author
Patrick J. Buchanan, a senior advisor to three American presidents, ran twice for the Republican nomination for president in 1992 and 1996, and was the Reform Party's presidential candidate in 2000. The author of five other books, including the bestsellers, Right from the Beginning and A Republic, Not an Empire, he is a syndicated columnist and a founding member of three of America's foremost public affairs shows, NBC's The McLaughlin Group and CNN's The Capitol Gang, and Crossfire.
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