by Phil Lawler
“There are signs,” observed Muammar Qaddafi in 2006, “that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe—without swords, without guns, without conquests.” Qaddafi himself is now dead, the victim of the Islamic fervor he helped to arouse. But his prophecy make be coming true before our eyes, as the European debt crisis drives an entire continent ever closer to fiscal insolvency and political collapse.
Nor is Europe alone in its peril. Our own American future is clouded by the same forces that threaten the Old World. And the same forces are aligned to gain from our collapse. “We will conquer Europe! We will conquer America!” boasts Sheikh Yusuf al Qarawadi, perhaps the world’s most prominent Muslim iman. But if Islamists are patient, they may find that Europe and America are already defeating themselves.
Europe’s crisis is the child of two parents: spiraling government spending and collapsing birth rates. Governments have consistently spent beyond their revenues, and left it to future generations to pay the resulting debts. At the same time, average families sizes have shrunk. Every major nation in Europe now has a fertility rate below the “replacement level” of 2.1 children for each adult woman. The result is a prescription for economic disaster—in fact, for continental suicide. As the current adult population reaches old age, there will be more and more demands for government spending on pensions and health care, adding to the already swollen public debt. Yet the number of wage-earners will simultaneously decline, so that a shrinking population of taxpayers must carry a steadily growing burden.
In Greece today, the government debt amounts to nearly $40,00 per citizen. The debt is growing; the population shrinking. And it is probably no coincidence that the two European countries closest to imminent economic collapse, Greece and Italy, have extraordinarily low fertility rates hovering around 1.4. The mathematical logic points inexorably toward disaster.
Demographic bankruptcy leads to financial bankruptcy, and financial bankruptcy heightens the risk of political collapse. And a bankrupt nation is at the mercy of its creditors and of opportunistic neighbors. So European society today is in grave danger.
Sad to say, the US is not too far behind on the same road toward insolvency. Our fertility rate is not as anemic as those of Europe’s troubled nations, but at 1.9 it is already below the replacement rate, and falling. Meanwhile our government debt amounts to nearly $45,000 for every man, woman, and child in the US, and it is soaring. These figures are frankly unsustainable. We cannot survive as a secure, independent nation unless we reverse the trends.
Leaders in other countries have recognized the danger of the demographic undertow, and adopted policies to fight it. Russia’s Vladimir Putin has offered substantial cash bonuses (approaching $10,000) to women who bear more than one child. In Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once proposed lowering the legal age for marriage, and exhorted young couples to dismiss the notion that “two is enough.” So America’s adversaries, old and new, are exhorting their people to reproduce.
To us Americans, such blatant government interference in family affairs is, or should be, repugnant. Speaking about just such family-planning decisions in 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said: “I cannot imagine anything more emphatically a subject that is not a proper political or government activity or function or responsibility.”
Yet today our federal government is heavily involved in precisely that activity: promoting and subsidizing the use of contraceptives, and now even requiring their inclusion in health-care policies. It is a truism in politics that when the government subsidizes a certain type of behavior, that behavior becomes more common. At a time when the fertility rate among American citizens is already well below the replacement level, and the use of contraceptives is already almost universal, the Obama administration is plowing still money and energy into a drive to encourage young couples not to have children. That policy—adding to the federal debt, while subtracting from the number of future citizens who can pay it—imperils our long-term stability as a nation. The administration’s contraceptive crusade can only encourage those who are anxiously awaiting America’s collapse.
Set aside the ethical arguments. Set aside the danger to public morality and family stability. The aggressive promotion of contraception is undermining our national security.