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Demographics, Baby
read in Macedonian


“A leader, a party, a movement, whatever it may be, cannot seriously ignore the fact that in the 21st century traditional structures are cracking and crumbling…And a clear sign of modernisation is a low birth rate, as well as the integration of women in all levels of society….It is also a sign of the times, of rapidly progressing modernisation and of the redefinition of human relations not only among each other but with the environment, technology, etc, that traditional gender models are being questioned.”

Thus writes Harald Schenker in Balkan Insight on October 26.  He was writing in response to Prime Minister Gruevski’s plans to deal with the “demographic recession” as Social Affairs Minister Spiro Ristovski calls it.  And Gruevski is right.  Macedonia is facing a “demographic recession” and Macedonians must have more children.  Economic development is necessary and the government is pursuing that along with foreign direct investment, but all of that does not matter if there are no people to work the jobs or pay into the state coffers.  As American author Mark Steyn has famously written, “demographics is destiny.” More on that below.

What Schenker states is dangerous thinking and even more dangerous writing.  Schenker seems to believe that a low birth rate is a good thing, that traditional gender roles being questioned is a fine thing and that the redefinition of human relations is something to celebrate.  These things are not good.  They are something to mourn. 21st century traditional structures cracking and crumbling is not a good thing. Just because they are happening does not mean it is good for a society.

We see the same thing happening in the rest of Europe.  Europe is growing old and Europe is not producing enough children to pay for the generous entitlement spending the old folks are entitled to.  Because of this gross imbalance, the result is that entitlement spending is killing the states.  At the same time there aren’t enough young people to take the jobs necessary to keep the state going so the states are importing young people from other cultures – mainly Islamic societies – that have no understanding of or interest in the traditional cultures that made Europe great, once upon a time, the Europe that defeated Hitler and Mussolini. Instead, these new imports seek to impose their culture on Europe, the result being that Europe, as we know it, will soon cease to exist, in the traditional sense that Mr. Schenker seems to dislike in the first place.

In his book America Alone, Steyn writes about demographics as destiny.  A society needs a fertility rate of about 2.1 for the population to continue to at least stay even, forget about expanding.  In Steyn’s new book, After America, he writes “If the problem with socialism, as Mrs. (Margaret) Thatcher famously said, is that eventually you run out of other people’s money, the problem with Greece and much of Europe is that they’ve advanced to the next stage: they’ve run out of other people, period.” If Macedonia has a fertility rate of 1.4 children per women and you need 2.1 just to keep the population even, well, then you do the math.  Numbers do not lie and the Prime Minister is correct.

Switching subject matter slightly now –  US Congressman David Scheikert, from my state of Arizona, is an actuary by profession the definition of which is a “business professional who deals with the financial impact of risk and uncertainty.”  In other words, David is someone who knows numbers and math.  At a speech I heard him give earlier this year he said this, paraphrased: “Washington, DC is not made up of Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives, Left and Right.  Washington, DC is made up of people who understand math and people who do not understand math.”  He also said that when he says a group of young people, he just wants to hug them and say “I’m sorry.”

Here’s what all this means: David knows that the US is going bankrupt as a nation for a variety of reasons, one of which is the fact that we have an entitlement state that spends too much money.  On the demographics side the US is not as bad off as Europe, but we are moving in that direction.  He does not see a bright future for the US because of this trend and he does not see a bright future for Europe.

I do not see a bright future for Europe either, because of the entitlement spending and because of the demographics trend.  But the high priests of the left like Harald Schenker seem to have no problem with it – indeed, they seem to want to embrace it and celebrate it, not quite understanding that they are embracing and celebrating their own demise.  Look, we can debate group “rights” all day long.  But if there are no people, then there certainly will be no need for any type of rights.  Do the math.

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Jason Miko
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