European Demographics and Birth Control

One reader and I have been having an on-going conversation about Europe and Islam. My main point is that there is something RIGHT going on in Islamdom where people have babies, and something WRONG going on in Europe, where more people die than are being born. True: some European countries have growing populations, but that is due to immigration, much of that Islamic. The immigration is much needed though because of the welfare state system (which the US seems to be rapidly copying). That welfare system requires many young (immigrant) workers for each retired (white European) person.

It's a recipe for disaster, as the late Sam Huntington has famously pointed out in his seminal book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, which is a must-read for anyone who...well, anyone at all really.

Anyway, what brought this all to mind was this post from a favorite blog of mine, Canterbury Tales.

In it one of the inventors of birth control makes the following observation:

The Austrian chemist was one of three whose formulation of the synthetic progestogen Norethisterone marked a key step toward the earliest oral contraceptive pill.

Djerassi outlined the "horror scenario" that occurred because of the population imbalance, for which his invention was partly to blame. He said that in most of Europe there was now "no connection at all between sexuality and reproduction." He said: "This divide in Catholic Austria, a country which has on average 1.4 children per family, is now complete."

He described families who had decided against reproduction as "wanting to enjoy their schnitzels while leaving the rest of the world to get on with it."

The fall in the birth rate, he said, was an "epidemic" far worse, but given less attention, than obesity. Young Austrians, he said, were committing national suicide if they failed to procreate. And if it were not possible to reverse the population decline they would have to understand the necessity of an "intelligent immigration policy."

Ah yes, intelligent immigration policy. I liked it better when they called it Eurabia.

Read it all.


Samuel said…
True: some European countries have growing populations, but that is due to immigration, much of that Islamic.

Abu Daoud, what's wrong with that? We are largely lands of immigrants, esp. in North America, including the UK, and some European nations.

Samuel: the birth rate in the US is flat, the population grows by immigration. Same with Canada I think.

The birth rate minus death rate in the US is 14.18 - 8.27 = 5.91 per 1000 (2008 est.). This is greater than the migration rate which is 2.92/1000. As for the US birth rate, what is wrong with its being roughly flat? It is a fact that birth rates tend to be a lot higher among poorer demographic groups, not only among Muslims, but also among blacks, many Hispanic groups, and other poor populations. So I would not think that having higher birth rates is necessarily a good thing in view of this (being often associated with poverty and dire conditions).

(Source: CIA Factbook.)

What you say about Canada is correct: Canada's migration rate is 5.62/1000 which is higher than its birth 10.29/100 minus death rate 7.61/100. But, again, I don't see a problem with that (unless one believes that immigration is a bad thing).

It is hard to respect a population (Europe) that doesn't have enough children to stay in existence.

If so, then isn't it even less respectable of nations that have uncontrolled population growths that impoverish their quality of life, vastly increasing their poverty rate, and constantly degrading their standard of living? It would seem to be the case that, largely, we (North America) get immigrants from poor nations who come here to find a new and better life. In fact, that would probably be reason to show the West (as opposed to Muslim nations) some respect for taking in such people and helping them to build a better life which their countries of origin have denied them. (Let's also not forget: the Muslim world is mostly tyrannical, not something respectable in the modern world.)

As for going out of existence, let's take Italy for example. It has a current population of N = 58 million. Its birth minus death rate is 8.36 - 10.61 = -2.25 out of 1000, or -0.225%. Its population P(n) after n years will be (assuming the rate remains constant and excluding immigration)

P(n) = N(1-0.00225)^n = N(0.99775)^n.

If you solve this equation you will see that its population will become half what it is, so about 29 million, in another 307 years, and will reach 10% of its population (about 6 million) in another 1022 years. Clearly, those are very long times to rely on such projections! (And to assume that there will be no change.) ... Ok, maybe that was a bit of a joke!

Almost all the countries in Europe have a birthrate below replacement, which is about 2.1 children/woman.

True. But why do you assume that is a problem? Are you opposed to migration? North America is built on the idea of immigration and a new life in a new world, and that includes some European states like the UK and France. (Germany too has a comparable migration rate to the US and UK.) In time, those immigrants will be part of the population.

As for Samuel Huntington's book, which I read, I had problems with his logic in a number of places. What he sees as a 'clash of civilizations' can be seen as mainly civilizations coming into terms with one another, and trying to cope and understand one another, though not without difficulty. But one civilization in particular which clashes with all other civilizations is Islam's dark side (jihadist Islamists) with its wars and conflicts against other civilizations: against Russian, China, India, Europe, North America, Israel, etc. (I.e., Islam's fight against the 'infidels,' as their Quran says.) I don't know of any other civilization that is as against the rest of the world as the Islamic one---at least a significant part of it typified as by Pakistan, Iran, Wahabists, Talibans, Hizbullah, Hamas, and other Islamist groups.
Abu Daoud said…
Hi Samuel,

I don't think that immigration is in itself negative. But my point is that when we find these factors together in W. Europe, there is not question that said society will rapidly become Islamized. That I DO view as negative.

The US is in many ways fortunate to have mostly Catholic and Pentecostal immigrants, mostly from Mexico. As someone who has spent a lot of time in the South it is easy to see how Latino culture and the various white European cultures (French and German where I was) meld very easily and well.

Such is not the case with, say, British and Pakistani culture, or German and Turkish. Islam has built into it the presupposition that it is a) superior, and b) will control the world bc that is God's will.

The demographic crisis in Europe is just that, a crisis.

European states will continue to exist, no question about it. But they will become more and more Islamic. That is, they will lose the ability to be fruitful in areas like education, human rights, science, and arts.

That is what happened with great formerly-non-Muslim places: Constantinople, Carthage, Egypt, parts of Syria, etc.
Samuel said…
Hi Abu Daoud, I share your concerns too regarding Islamization of Europe. But I think that it most likely won't happen. Certainly not now when Islam has a big black eye among Europeans who are finding it a repulsive force/religion in today's world. Also, most of the Muslims in Europe will most likely just blend in and acculturate in the communities that they are in before they can change Europeans. (For example, many of the Turks in Germany are more European in their thinking than their counterparts in Turkey---many of whom are somewhat leaning to Islamism.) One thing, though, that would help Europe is to make a greater effort to make the Muslims there (mostly just normal people) feel more a part of European society---something that the US and Canada have done a good job in. By 'absorbing' them and making them feel a part of society they feel less alienated and more part of the greater American community---which seems much less so for European Muslims (as in your Brits and Pakistanis example).

The crisis that you speak of in Europe is, in my view, more of a crisis for the Muslims there. Because if Muslim terrorism in Europe continues then the Muslim communities there will suffer the backlash the most (in many forms) ... and who knows what it could lead to (perhaps expulsions of some if it goes out of hand).
Abu Daoud said…
Samuel, it doesn't mind that Islam has a black eye if they have the numbers. And they do and will have the numbers because they have the children.

Islam doesn't have a reputation problem in the mind of the Muslims there. That's what matters.
Anthony said…
In contemplating such things Abu Daoud, I am often reminded how prescient, perhaps even prophetic, the words of Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae (which is NOT all about contraception, but about God's design of human marriage):
17 "Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection."
tanya said…
I am Catholic, and let me tell you, that Papal thing is sexist BS!!! How many men ever cared about women's emotional or physical needs before the invention of birth control?!?! None! That's why women were always barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Only with birth control have we been able to achieve more equality of the sexes.

Trust me, if educated and given opportunities, the Muslim women in Europe will jump at the opportunity to use BC and stop being baby-making machines! It is poverty and lack of education that lead to massive over-reproduction, regardless of religion. Blaming birth control, which has helped families world-wide is completely wrong!
Abu Daoud said…
Hi Tanya,

I am very much interested in your impression about Christianity in France, and more specifically Catholicism. It seems like it is the most and least Catholic of nations, kind of like Saudi Arabia for Islam.

I would say that you are perhaps too jaded in your understanding of men. I think earlier when there was a real connection between sex and marriage and procreation, there was at least some balance to the equation.

Anyway, do send me an e-mail some time if you don't mind telling me about Catholicism in France: winterlightning [at] safe-mail [dot] net.

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