Monday, November 13, 2006
The Hawk Interviews Mark Steyn
Great stuff here
.John Hawkins: Mark, here's the $24,000 question: can you give us a quick rundown on thereasons why Europe's birth rates have plummeted?
Mark Steyn: Well, I think it's true as countries get wealthy, birth rates decline and that's true around the world even in Muslim cultures. For example, more advanced Muslim societies such as those little wealthy Gulf Emirates, they breed less than they do, say in Somalia or in Pakistan or Yemen. So declining birth rates are merely one sign, you know, an indication of increasing prosperity; however, they have gone way below that in Europe.
In other words, they've gone past the symbol -- you know, wealthy middle class moms deciding they'd like fewer children -- to an effect of huge numbers of people in those societies deciding that they don't want any children whatsoever -- huge numbers, and they basically pass the point of no return. Essentially I think a lot of it is to do really with the kind of re-organization of society in which the state has a primacy that was once reserved for individuals of the family.
That's to say if the state basically becomes your patriarch -- if the state becomes the one who looks after your elderly parents in old age, takes them off your hands, and so frees you up not to have to look after boring old granddad once he's getting into his 90's and he's incontinent and he doesn't remember anybody's name. If they just say, " Well, we'll house him, look after him, you can get on with your life," it's not such a big step then to decide that if you do without grandparents, you can also do without grandchildren.