Two stories today stand in amazing juxtaposition to one another, and reveal conflicting cultural concerns for our friends across the pond. The first story is why European birthrates are freefalling, and the second is how Russia is taking bizarre steps to actually increase its birthrates. Two questions frame the issues involved:
First, why is Russia concerned with birthrates?
Their population has been shrinking since 1990, and Russia is already one of the most sparsely settled nations on earth.
No surprise, the birthrate is on the rise. The Denver Post reports that, “In his state-of-the-nation address last year, President Vladimir Putin called the demographic crisis the most acute problem facing Russia and announced a broad effort to boost Russia’s birth rate, including cash incentives to families that have more than one child.”
Here’s the fun part: Russia has “declared Sept. 12 the Day of Conception and for the third year running is giving couples time off from work to procreate. The hope is for a brood of babies exactly nine months later on Russia’s national day. Couples who “give birth to a patriot” during the June 12 festivities win money, cars, refrigerators and other prizes.”
I’ve written more about this as it relates to various Russian youth movements and thier promotion of sex among youth. See here and here. This is about preserving a national identity that stands on the perceived achievements of Stalin, and eliminating democracy. It is frighteningly similar to the nationalism and fascism that blossomed in Germany under the Nazis as a response to the massive demoralization and economic depression that Germans faced prior to WWII.
So, why is Europe NOT concerned about birthrates?
Al Mohler address this today on his blog: “Why the Baby Bust?”
The bottom line conclusion: “children mean obligation. They are needy, expensive, and dependent. People who are committed to personal autonomy as their greatest good will see children as an imposition, not a blessing.”
Are Europeans just too self-centered to care about the future of their own civilization?
Mohler quotes Noah Pollak of Azure magazine:
“The explanation for Europe’s turn from reproducing its civilization is, in fact, as simple and self-contained as how children themselves are viewed. People avoid having children not because they are irreligious, lack financial means, fear the possibility of divorce, or carry university degrees. Rather, people do not have children because they do not want them: They find the curtailment of personal freedom and the assumption of the decades-long obligation inherent in parenthood unattractive, and they do not want to accept the basic restructuring of life that having a family requires. This is not a product of objective economic or social factors; rather, it is a subjective judgment about the meaning and purpose of one’s life and the civilization in which that life is lived. It is, ultimately, a moral answer to a moral question: The question of the value people ascribe to their own families and their own heritage, in a broader cultural context.”
The most frightening part of this story is that Europe stands to become an Islamic stronghold, purely due to Muslim birthrates and immigration rates.
We can only hope our European friends will awaken to these issues and give themselves to a cause bigger than themselves. If they don’t they stand to loose their own beloved culture and civilization.