No Babies? Declining Population in Europe

I agree that talk of Eurabia is highly sensationalized. It is true and alarming that sub-replacement fertility is no longer a Western phenomenon. The apostles of contraception have been far better at evangelization in the muslim and eastern world than we christians ever have, I’m afraid.

Although the article (thanks for the readable link K) does a good job of noting the downward trend in muslim fertility rates, it is still an assumption that they will eventually equalize with native europeans. Given the profound differences between Islamic culture and European culture I think that is a highly questionable assumption. While rates are clearly coming down, I would question whether they will equalize. This seems to presume that muslim immigrants will become as much cafeteria muslims as Europeans are cafeteria christians. I doubt it. When a minority in a foreign land, immigrants tend to be more religious. This was, at least the case for catholics in America in the 19th century. It wasn’t until we got above 20% of the overall population that you really started to see integration and homogenization of American culture.

The same will likely hold in Europe. Muslims won’t really be homogenized into the society until their numbers reach a critical mass. IMO, it is an open question still as to what that number is and how much conflict we could see before it is reached.

If the poster who claimed we’ve seen sub-replacement fertility rates in cultures before which then rebounded could steer me in the direction of some references, I’d appreciate it. My impression is that Western civilization has really never before seen sub-replacement birthrates before, other than during economic, natural or disease disaster periods. When else has there been a fabulously wealthy and prosperous culture that refused to reproduce?

I think projections based on what happened, historically, with Catholics in the US - or UK for that matter - are highly questionable. I’d suggest that what has happened to those Catholics in the last 50 years is much more significant.

The pressures of mass culture, the pressures of living as a socio-economic being in an advanced industrial society are quite, quite different from those appertaining before.

To take just one of many, many factors - the size of a typical, urban ‘European house’ which is not even designed for 2.4 children anymore and its cost. It’s very difficult for a young couple to afford a home without both working and that home will not house many children.

You may say “well, people used to live X to a room” and you’d be right. Straight off the plane from Pakistan (rather difficult given the immigration rules anyway), say, that might work - until people see how others live and certainly when their children see how others live. The small 19th Century house with a large number of kids in it didn’t have all the ‘stuff’ that the small 21st Century house has crammed into it before you start putting in all the people and pets. Crowded in a house with toddlers is one thing, crowded in the same house with demanding teenagers who want to go shopping for the multifarious objects of teenage desire is quite another.

The really, really, really observant will do it, of course. My guess is that they approximate to the percentage of 21st Century, urban Catholics with large families!

People need to really stop blaming anything they perceive as wrong in the world on artificial contraception. I got news for you guys, AC has been around for thousands of years in one form or another. I guess I am gonna have to add AC to my list of “stupid scapegoats these days” along with communism, Muslims, Liberals, and baby rabbits.

Ummm, this is a Catholic site…Many of us do believe contraception laid the foundation for legalized abortion & a host of other societal ills.Pope Paul had some of the same views, or paranoia depending on your point of view.
(I’ll go along with Pope Paul, myself.:slight_smile: )

I feel the exact opposite way – that most modern people could benefit from a thoughtful reexamination of the moral autonomy they grant to their sex lives. In general people tend to make fun of the Church’s teachings on contraception yet there’s a growing body of social science research that is vindicating everything Pope Paul VI wrote in Humanae Vitae.

Hey Einstein, I did not say AC was morally good choice, I said people need to stop using it as an excuse for every problem out there.

If one agrees it is a foundation for societal ills it would therefore have a linkage to many problems. Ripple effect & all.Don’t need to be Einstein to figure that out.Appreciate the compliment anyway;)
Us poor Crackers don’t receive too many.

Well, yes it has been around for thousands of years. And in 1,900 of the last 2,000 years Christendom has considered it a perversion. Only the last 100 years have ‘daring innovators’ attempted to redefine it as a moral good (see recent Congressional comments).

If you disagree that today’s attitudes about contraception are a major reason for the sub-replacement level fertility rates in countries where ABC is culturally accepted, do you have an alternate hypothesis as to the cause?

You dismiss demand for the product?

Algeria, Morocco, and Turkey barely use AC, and yet they have lower birth rates than any country in the western Hemisphere.

And did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe, lower birthrates are happening because, um let’s see…higher urbanization (leading also to smaller living spaces), higher taxes, longer lifespans and better health care, natural cycles of high and low birthrates (which have been historically documented)

And all these things I mentioned have also been discussed in the linked article which is the topic for this thread, which obviously half of you people here did not bother to even read! Seriously, don’t reply to a thread if you will not even bother to the read the main article of the thread itself!

I don’t blame all the ills of the world on contraception. I blame it on the tyrannical anarchy of liberalism of which contraception is only a part. :smiley:

So, you dismiss demand for the product as well?

Is this supposed to mean something?

I’d say rather more than “the tyrannical anarchy of liberalism”, that’s for sure.

Contraception is a ‘product’, there is a demand for it. If one wishes to address the question of why there is a demand for it, perhaps one should look at the reasons for that demand rather than just helplessly using a random slogan generator.

See what I said? It only took 2 posts for someone to use the overgeneralized scapegoating I warned about. “I blame it on the tyrannical anarchy of liberalism” is no different than “all Catholic priests are pedophiles”.

P.S. “tyrannical anarchy”?! Do you have any idea how dumb you sound? Do you even know what Tyranny means and what anarchy means?

I guess I’ll just go sit on my chair made of wooden metal and read my non-fiction fiction novel :wink:

The NYT piece is an apology for liberal modernist sexual mores. It basically says, don’t blames us - we need more liberal policies.

The reality is there for anyone to looks. The liberalization of contraception and abortion have resulted in the objectification of women and freed men to use them and cast them aside.

Re-embracing traditional Christian sexual ethics would allow Europe to rebound and again become the world leading society that it was.

The whole point is that it’s not just a European phenomenon, it’s as much a phenomenon in much of the Islamic world, for example.

Your analysis is also terribly ‘one-dimensional’, it doesn’t address the whole range of socio-economic forces at play in society, for example. People are just not going to ‘re-embrace’ traditional Christian sexual ethics where to do so would end them up in unfeasible situations nor where they just don’t want large families because they just don’t want large families.

If you want people to have larger families, telling them that they’re very, very naughty not to want larger families isn’t going to work.


Do you dismiss the possibility that ‘demand for product’ is not a static condition? Contraceptive believers typically don’t recognize that it changes desires and decisions, not just outcomes. Contraception breeds more contraception. It’s a spiraling behavior.

So basically, you’ve decided that anybody who reads the article and comes to a differenct conclusion than you hasn’t actually read it. Nice. As to your assertion about fluctuating rates, CAN you point me to a civilization that went NEGATIVE in native fertility during a time of health, wealth and peace?? You keep asserting it, but where’s the beef?

As for certain heavily Islamic nations having low fertility, I’ll agree that the entire world doesn’t revolve around contraception. Offhand, I’d say those cultures might be suffering from cultural despair related to the ideological civil war going on within Islam. But that’s another topic.

I don’t agree that the desire to limit family size can be reduced to formulas - including Catholic formulas. I think that there are a whole range of issues at play, cultural, socio-economic and environmental (here I mean immediate constraints - like Italy and water or the paving over of the whole of southern England). If you want to address those issues, going on about the supposed ‘evils’ of contraception will not achieve it - people have their own aims and objectives, their own versions of everyday pressures of jobs, homes and family relationships, etc - and those are what you’d need to address and certainly not just dismiss as ‘cultural despair’ or whatever; one of the reasons, I’d suggest why Catholic ‘morality’ seems to have been largely ignored by the Catholic laity.

Very, very clearly, most women are not going to be prepared to return to a kind of faux 1950s (a pretty faux ‘Golden Age’ to begin with).

Now we’re talking. I’m not attempting to reduce anything to a single simplistic cause either. Sure urban dwellers have nearly always had lower fertility rates than rural folks - I have no argument with that. But historically, it was a rare urban setting that saw fertility BELOW replacement rate (barring disease, war, disaster, etc). It is not simplistic nor formulaic to look for factors that constitute the DIFFERENCE. I’ve lived it in my life. I’ve no doubt that if I could have just ‘done it’ whenever I wanted I’d have quit at 2 kids (infant #2 was an exhausting experience!) I’m quite sure that having to abstain during fertile times played a big role in reminding me that there is more to sex than pleasure.

None of the other factors are convincing to me. Cultures have been through all those things before.

And let’s be clear - I’ve no idealism for the 1950’s. I was born 20 years later and I’m not terribly impressed with how an awful lot of the kids born in the 1950’s turned out!

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