Only five years ago the idea that Europe could be a declining continent, nihilist and without wanting a future, seemed to be a provocation, but today it has almost become a cliché. The continuing drop in the birth-rate levels and the decline in religious practice have come to be more frequently considered as symptoms of a serious spiritual crisis, that will lead to an Islamic majority in Europe within a hundred years, according to some authoritative scholars (like Niall Ferguson, Bernard Lewis or George Weigel). Mathematical calculations confirm that if the present demographic trend remains constant until the end of this century, the European population (with a birth-rate of 1.4 children per woman) will be reduced from the present 700 million inhabitants to just over 200 million and the Muslims will be by far, the majority. At the same time, the population of the United States, with its present birth-rate at the fateful number of 2.1 children per woman (that marks the index of a generational replacement), will increase until it reaches 400 million inhabitants in 2050 .

Facing such a situation, the American observers ask themselves whether a future Europe with a Muslim majority would still take part of the West or whether it would transform itself into an enemy continent in opposition to the United States. Therefore, it is a question of understanding if the Europeans have definitively taken up a materialistic, relativist and post-Christian mentality and consequently condemning themselves to become a future “Eurabia”, dominated by Muslims, or if instead, they still want to transmit their own cultural inheritance to their descendents, in order to not transform themselves into being foreigners in their own land. To this question, which is crucial for our destiny, a leading writer of The Washington times, Tony Blankley, gives an answer of hope in his latest book The West’s Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilization? (Regnery, Washington 2005).

”If the present trends continue..”: inane and misused expression

There is no doubt that the population projections are alarming, but when one analyses the events that concern human actions and decisions, there is nothing more misleading than the phrase: “if the present trends continue as they do”. Men tend to believe that what has been happening for a period of time will also continue to unchangeably repeat itself, but in reality the history of mankind has always been characterized by abrupt and unexpected changes. According to Blankley, a lot of valid reasons exist in maintaining that the present European cultural, religious and demographic trends will not continue for long.

In the first place because it seems that the Europeans are changing their perception towards muslim immigration, especially after the cruel attacks that have taken place in Europe, like the killing of the Dutch film director, Theo Van Gogh. In spite of the “politically correct” propaganda diffused by the political and cultural elite, common people are beginning to realize that the great majority of the muslim people are not actually looking for integration, but following a long-termed plan of domination of Europe, using different means than that of the past.

In the second place, the contact with a completely different and hostile culture, like the Islamic one, has started to make a lot of European people revalue many positive aspects in their own Christian faith, which had been neglected for a long time. Pope Benedict XVI is pursuing, with an even greater effort, his Pontificate’s objective of re-awakening the Christian faith in Europe and such signs of this is surely occurring. In spite of everything, the Europeans who declare themselves to be atheists or agnostics in opinion surveys are only a small minority.

In the third place, the inevitable fiscal crisis of the welfare states will impose drastic social changes. In the last decades, the welfare state has strongly contributed to the fall in the birth-rate, creating the illusion to many people of being able to avoid sacrifices and costs linked to bringing up children and without undergoing any future consequences, in the belief that the state would maintain and assist them during their old age. Too many people have calculated in this way and consequently, the generations with the task of paying the bill were actually never born.

Waiting for the baby boom

Indeed, in a few years, the numerous “Baby-boomers” born in the period directly after the World War II, will begin to retire, just when the number of producers and tax-payers will be drastically reduced, caused by the fall in the population. The inevitable collapse of the social security will, however, pass over its fundamental role to the religious associations and charities, and it is most likely to spark off a birth boom, because during austere and hard times, children will once again represent an essential protection for old age. Facing the threats of an islamic aggression and of a crisis of the welfare state, the Europeans will go back to behaving in the same way as they have always done, when finding themselves in difficult circumstances, abandoning their hedonistic life-styles and returning to the Christian faith and to the family.

In fact, it is probable that in Europe, the cycle of secularization will have already reached its peak in these years, with the arrival of the protagonists of the contestation in the key positions of power. The suicidal evolution of Europe is, in fact, the result of a cultural revolution that began in the Sixties by intellectuals of the left and is associated with secular ideals (egualitarianism, moral relativism, multiculturalism, sexual liberation, materialism and hedonism), which have denied the Western people the wish to live a productive life, to increase in number and to establish and defend their own culture. According to Blankley, it would be, however, a mistake to give a final and definitive judgement on the destiny of an entire civilization, basing it only on a particularly destructive behaviour of a single generation. Little by little, the anti-birth and statist generation of 1968 will disappear from the scene and the traditional institutions like the family, the church, the community, the markets will flourish again and the Old Continent will avoid its extinction.

(Original Italian Version)

Guglielmo Piombini is a writer who lives in Bologna, Italy. His writings appeared in the italian newspapers Il FoglioLiberoIl DomenicaleFondazione Liberal 

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