Jan. 3, 2020
“The Death of the West” is not a prediction of what is going to happen. It is a depiction of what is happening now. First World nations are dying.” — Buchanan
If Western elites were asked to name the greatest crisis facing mankind, climate change would win in a walk.
Thus did Time magazine pass over every world leader to name a Swedish teenage climate activist, Greta Thunberg, its person of the year.
On New Year’s Day, the headline over yet another story in The Washington Post admonished us anew: “A Lost Decade for Climate Action: We Can’t Afford A Repeat, Scientists Warn.”
“By the final year of the decade,” said the Post, “the planet had surpassed its 2010 temperature record five times.
“Hurricanes devastated New Jersey and Puerto Rico, and floods damaged the Midwest and Bangladesh. Southern Africa was gripped by a deadly drought. Australia and the Amazon are ablaze.”
On it went, echoing the endless reports on the perils of climate change to the planet we all inhabit.
Yet, from the inaction of the carbon-emitting countries like India, China, Russia and the USA, the gravity with which Western elites view the crisis is not shared by the peoples for whom they profess to speak.
For many First World countries, there are more compelling concerns. High among them is population decline, and, if birth rates do not rise, the near-extinction of many Western peoples by this century’s end.
(Michigan, if not the United States as a whole, is experiencing what is happening in some parts of the country and throughout the world.
Michigan’s birth rate hit a record low in 2018, the most recent year for which figures are available. What’s going on?
For one thing, women are postponing childbirth until much later in their young lives, according to Julie Mack, writing in MLive last Oct. 21.
That’s an increasingly common scenario among millennials, who are delaying marriage and children compared to previous generations.
It’s a trend that helps explain the falling birth rate, which in 2018 hit a record low in Michigan — and the nation.
“We’re at a fertility rate that is lower than the Great Depression, which is very significant,” says Pamela Smock, a sociologist with University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center quoted by Mack.
A big reason for that significance, Smock says: The current fertility rate of 1.7 births per woman has fallen below the replacement rate of 2.1, the number needed to maintain a stable population.
The issue of population shrinkage “is a very serious one,” says Ren Farley, a retired University of Michigan sociologist also quoted by Mack.
“Population growth stimulates economic growth,” he said. “Population decline presents a lot of challenges that people don’t think about,” such as having a sufficient workforce and enough younger people to support senior citizens.
In raw numbers, Michigan recorded 110,293 births in 2018 — the lowest number since 1941.)
But the situation in much of the rest of the world is far more dire.
For example, the number of births in Japan fell in 2019 to a level unseen since 1874, around 900,000. But there were 1.4 million deaths for a net loss of 512,000 Japanese. An even larger loss in Japan’s population is expected this year.
Japan’s population has been shrinking since 2007, when deaths first exceeded births by 18,000. And with 28% of its population over 65, and fewer births every passing year, Japan is aging, shrinking and dying — with no respite in sight.
Across Japan, writes The New York Times: “Whole villages are vanishing as young people choose not to have children or move to urban areas … The Government estimates that the population could shrink by about 16 million people — or nearly 13 percent — over the next 25 years.”
South Korea has an even lower birth rate, and its population is expected to start diminishing this year.
But it is Eastern Europe where the population crisis is most advanced.
At the end of the Cold War, Bulgaria had 9 million people. By 2017, that had fallen to 7.1 million. In 2050, Bulgaria’s population is estimated at 5.4 million — a loss of 40% to death and migration since Bulgaria won its freedom from the Soviet Empire.
By 2050, Ukraine and Poland are each projected to lose another 6 million people, and Hungary will lose 1.5 million.
Lithuania and Latvia have seen serious population losses since the end of the Cold War and are in the front rank of European nations losing people at the fastest rate.
U.N. demographers project Russia’s population may fall from 145 million today to 121 million by 2050. Such losses rival those that Russia suffered under Lenin, Stalin and World War II.
The Far East is home to some 6 million Russians who dwell on that vast tract that is so full of natural resources like timber, oil and gas.
“The population continues to decrease almost everywhere in the Far East,” lamented President Vladimir Putin at an investment conference in Vladivostok: “The inflow is increasing, but it does not cover the number of people leaving the region.”
In the Far East, Siberia and the Lake Baikal region, investors and workers from China are appearing in growing numbers.
The tribes of Europe, the peoples of almost every country of the Old Continent, are visibly aging, shrinking and dying. The population crisis of Europe is “existential,” says Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.
Since this writer published “The Death of the West,” nothing has happened to alter my conclusion as to where the West was destined:
“The Death of the West is not a prediction of what is going to happen. It is a depiction of what is happening now. 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 and in the homes of the First World. Western fertility rates have been falling for decades. Outside of Muslim Albania, no European nation is producing enough babies to replace its population. … In a score of countries the old are already dying off faster than the young are being born. … There is no sign of a turnaround. Now the absolute numbers of Europeans have begun to fall.”
We are talking here about what historians, a century hence, will call the Lost Tribes of Europe. And if a people has ceased to replace itself, and the national family is dying out, it is difficult to generate alarm over the slow sinking of the Maldives into the sea, the melting of the polar ice caps, or the fact that Greenland is getting greener every year.
John Stewart says
I am hoping that Bill Ballenger will write about other subjects in decline in our State Legislature. I have been told Gov. Whitmer invited Mike Shirkey and Lee Chatfield to negotiate the Budget in Dagwoods Bar-a street Bar in SE Lansing. I’m told they accepted.
J.Dallas Winegarden says
Baloney !Great Article
Terry Matthews says
How come Jan. 13 is not on your event calendar ???? This is a 2nd rights battle in Virginia that affects Michigan and the rest of the USA.
Again, Jan. 13 2020 will go down in history as an event that will shape the future of our country
Sovereign Mary says
Thank you, Bill Ballenger for this truly concerning issue that Patrick J. Buchanan has introduced in this article.
David Waymire says
Sort of surprised there’s no mention of the easy answer to this problem — one that states like Texas, Florida and California have used for many years. Immigration. Simply become more open and welcoming to immigrants — they are younger, tend to have higher fertility rates, and will be around to work for years if treated well, providing additional social security and tax dollars — and this problem becomes less and less of an issue. Michigan is indeed a bellweather…we’ve not attracted immigrants for many years, and under Gov. Snyder, who talked a good game, passed policies discouraging immigrants. We are told there are hundreds of thousands of jobs going begging in Michigan today. If we opened our doors to 50,000 immigrants a year, that gap could be easily filled.
Matt Crehan says
…Provided, of course, that these immigrants are from Europe, not from the Third World rat-hole countries, and arrive here LEGALLY. Oh, and not rush to sign up for all types of government benefits within 24 hours after they set foot in the USA.
Most peculiar that the scary headline is not followed by any explanation of why the projected population decline is “bad”. Remember it wasn’t so long ago that the greatest claimed threat to us all was over population. In the long run isn’t this better? It certainly helps on the climate change front Mr Buchanan appears to be so worried about!!
Scott Andrews says
Has anyone projected the population growth of the Muslim population in the United States.? I would wager their population growth is far greater than that of the rest of the country.
Jennifer Elkins says
Perhaps the connection between the environment and reproductive health should be investigated. I’m reasonably sure there’s already some research available correlating fertility issues in men & women.
Mike Westfall says
Excellent piece. Very interesting and thought provoking. Thank you!