George Weigel reflects on the spiritual, and demographic, decline of Europe. It is a summary of his new book, The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God.
Europe, and especially Western Europe, is suffering from a crisis of civilizational morale. The most dramatic manifestations are not Europes fondness for governmental bureaucracy or its devotion to fiscally shaky healthcare schemes and pension plans, its lagging productivity or the appeasement mentality that some leaders display toward Islamist terrorism. No, the most dramatic manifestation is the brute fact that Europe is depopulating itself.
Europes below-replacement-level birthrates have created situations that would have been unimaginable when the European Common Market was being created in the 1950s. As recent demographic studies show, by the middle of the 21st century, 60% of Italians will have no personal experience of a brother, a sister, an aunt, an uncle or a cousin; Germany will lose the equivalent of the population of the former East Germany; and Spains population will decline by almost one-quarter.