From Catholic Insight, February 1, 2005, Pg. 40(2) Vol. 13 No. 2 ISSN: 1192-5671
By Dooley, David
The Death of the West How Dying Populations and Immigramt Invasions Imperil Our country and Civilization BY Patrick J. Buchanan Published by St. Martin's Press, New York, 2002 ISBN: 031225485 Softcover, pp. 320, $38.95 CAN
Patrick Buchanan, a well-known figure oil the American political scene has written a very provocative book, telling how the United States and many other Western countries got to Zero Population Growth, except for immigration. The facts, as he presents them, seem clear enough, and his warnings beyond argument.
Four statements which appear on the back of the dust jacket of this book summarize its main contentions:
1. Not a single European country, save Moslem Albania, has a birthrate which will enable it to survive in its present form through this century. By 2050, only one-tenth of the world's people will be of European descent.
2. Russia is already in a population crisis and by 2050 will have been driven out of Central Asia by Islamic invaders and out of much of Siberia and the Far East by a China which is fifteen times as populous.
3. There are 30 million foreign-born people in the U.S. today and between 9 and 11 million illegal aliens.
4. The U. S. is losing the cultural war. Militant paganism is crowding out the old faiths. The melting pot has become a salad bowl.
In one of the more controversial addresses of the twentieth century, Buchanan writes, he told the 1992 Republican Convention in Houston, "There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall one day be as was the Cold War itself." Western elites seem indifferent to their fate; they do not care if the end of the West comes through depopulation, by a surrender of nationhood, or by drowning in waves of Third World immigration. In 1960 one fourth of the world's population was of European ancestry.
By 2000 the figure was one-sixth. By 2050 it will be one tenth. People of European background are an endangered species. Of the twenty nations with the lowest birth rates in the world, eighteen are in Europe. And as Europe is dying, the Third World adds a hundred million people every fifteen months. Italy gave us Rome, St. Peter's, Dante, and Michelangelo; but the birth rate in this most Catholic and romantic of nations, says New Republic's Greg Easterbrook, "means that Italywill be a theme park in a few generations."
First World nations are dying. They face a mortal crisis, not because of something happening in the Third World, but because of what is not happening at home--Western fertility rates have been falling fordecades. Contraception halted the population growth of the West, with abortion as the second line of defence against the unwanted child. Allan Carlson of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society,has written that "All the indicators of family well-being abruptly turned in these places [the Western nations] during the short 1963-1965 period. Fertility resumed its fall, tumbling well below zero growthlevels; a massive retreat from marriage commenced, and Western societies seemed to lose all sense of inherited family order." The old sanctions against promiscuity disappeared; a new moral code was crafted to justify "doing one's own thing": sex, drugs, riots, rock and roll.
The Population Bomb hysteria made babies a form of pollution. Margaret Sanger, one of the founders of Planned Parenthood, wrote "The most merciful thing a large family can do to one of its infant members is to kill it." Few feminists would have gone that far, but many wereconvinced that marriage existed for the benefit of men and that the nuclear family must be destroyed. Today, Buchanan writes, half of allmarriages end in divorce, "relationships" are what life is about, and "the love that dare not speak its name" will not shut up. The collapse of marriage and marital fertility, says Belgian demographer Ron Lesthaeghe, is due to a long-term shift in the Western educational system, away from values affirmed by Christianity, sacrifice, altruism, the sanctity of commitment and toward a militant "secular individualism" focused on the self.
The new gospel has as its governing axioms, Buchanan asserts, thatthere is no God, there are no absolute values in the universe, and the supernatural is superstition. All life begins and ends here; its object is human happiness here and now. A religion needs devils as well as angels, Buchanan writes, and to the revolution, Western history is a catalogue of crimes: slavery, genocide, colonialism, imperialism, and atrocities committed by nations which professed to be Christian. One of the birth mothers of the revolution, Susan Sontag, wrote in 1967, "The white race is the cancer of human history."
The Pontifical Council for the Family in a 1998 report tied infertility to cultural pessimism. What we are creating, said Czech President Vaclav Havel, is "the first atheistic civilization in the history of mankind," and, as T. S. Eliot said in 1939, if we have no religion, we have nothing to live for. He also wrote that if the whole of ourculture goes, we cannot put on a new one ready made. We may in fact have to pass through many centuries of barbarism.
To return to one of the other main themes of his book, Buchanan quotes Samuel P. Huntington as saying that migration is "the central issue of our time." He divides immigrants into "converts," who come to assimilate themselves to their host country, and "sojoumers," who come to work for a few years and then return home. But "Mexican immigration is a unique, disturbing and looming challenge to our cultural integrity, our national identity and potentially to our future as a country." It represents in fact a pattern of what may happen in many countries: an immigrant group becomes so large that it does not disappearinto a melting pot but claims special privileges for itself and threatens the culture of its host country. One hundred thousand Anglos leave California every year, the Asian population soared 42% in a single decade, and 43% of all Californians are Hispanics under 18. So America's largest state, Buchanan writes, has become a predominantly Third World state. As one could imagine, few Mexicans drop their native culture and learn the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address when they cross the border.
There are many other issues which might be open to discussion and argument in this provocative book, but one thing it establishes very clearly. Even if the white races of Europe suddenly increase their birth rates, they have already lost so many children that they will never be the same as they were. And with their decline, civilization will decline too.
When Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical on contraception, Humanae Vitae, in 1968, it was received with almost universal hostility. Yet the enyclical predicted a sea change in society, and this change has occurred. The late Pope was an excellent prophet.