Dear Duchess Kate,
Congratulations on your new baby — and our new hope!
We know you have your hands full, but at the risk of sounding anxious, please do us a favor — have another child. Quickly. And two or three more after that. Perhaps more than anyone else on the planet, you hold the key, by your position and charisma, to lead us out of our literal death spiral. The negative birthrates of Europe, Japan, and yes, America, have placed us on a collision course with the end of an empire — not colonialism, but the greatest, most benevolent civilizations the world has ever known. Not to heap any more pressure on you, but freedom, respect for the rule of law, and the spirit of nationalism hang in the balance.
Oh, in case you’re having trouble agreeing on a name, Prince Christopher has a nice ring to it.
Interestingly, the bankruptcy of Detroit and the new royal baby — assuming William and Kate are not one-and-done-ers — are interrelated. If the royal couple can inspire those in negative-birthrate countries to once again go forth and procreate, tragedies like the one in Detroit could be avoided in the future.
Detroit, like most big American cities (and many European countries), has been horrifically managed for decades. As despair increased due to lack of jobs, productive workers left for greener pastures, such as Texas and Arizona, where job growth has been explosive. Those left behind, from retirees to those unwilling to start a family (thus no future workers), could not afford the escalating pension obligations and other costs that always accompany the promise of a "guaranteed" social safety net.
The result? Collapse.
It’s no different in Western nations whose economies are hanging by a thread — tragedies of their own making because of ill-advised cultural, economic and political decisions. As a result, birthrates have been steadily plummeting, and all have fallen well below the 2.1 children per family threshold necessary just to achieve zero population growth. Continued…
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For nations in this precarious situation, there are three courses of action, but only one true solution:
1. They can import labor, typically from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This massive immigration flow, particularly in Europe, produces a destabilizing effect in those countries because most permanent foreign workers have no desire to assimilate and become "European." Instead, they often view Euro-culture with outright disdain, despite enjoying freedoms most would never even dream about in their home countries. It is similar, but not quite as pronounced — yet — in America, with millions of illegal immigrants swearing allegiance to countries other than the United States.
The underlying tensions between indigenous populations and the workers they import continue to simmer just below the surface, occasionally bursting through, but for the most part, held in check by misguided labels of xenophobia. Too often, political correctness is employed to assuage the "offended" immigrants, swinging the pendulum unfairly away from Europeans and their hallowed traditions and cultural norms. Adding fuel to this "Balkanization" powder keg is when relatively well-heeled immigrants living in Europe engage in terrorism, such as when they bomb trains in London and Madrid.
If this policy continues unabated, Europe will either fade away without so much as a whimper, becoming unrecognizable in fifty years as its indigenous population declines by several hundred million, or it will engage in an ultra-nationalistic backlash of immense proportions, with bloodshed on a grand scale. European history all but guarantees it.
2. Countries such as Japan can continue to abhor immigration while starving itself to death. Japan has the most elderly population on Earth, and the most negative birthrate, yet absolutely eschews immigration, for mostly cultural reasons.
So a country that in the mid-19th century spectacularly entered the world stage, eventually becoming the second-largest economy on Earth in 1990 (despite being smaller than California), is now a sad shadow of itself, with half as many children than in 1950, yet having eight times as many senior citizens.
Anyone care to look at how Japan is faring? While the tsunami/nuclear issues haven’t helped, Japan has been significantly diminishing for decades, a pace which is only accelerating.
3. Countries can take a hard look at their anti-family policies and correct them. And if dynamic world leaders like William and Kate choose to make family life and having children their priority issues, the situation can be reversed. But both must go hand-in-hand, as neither one by itself can be successful.
And it’s no easy task, as there are many reasons for negative birthrates.
While not apologizing for capitalism, for it is the fairest economic system on earth, it is inarguable that too many in the West have succumbed to materialistic gluttony, coupled with "it’s all about me" and "do whatever makes you feel good" attitudes. Continued…
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Such mentalities are anathema to getting married, having children, and being diligent parents, for it is much easier to go with the flow without the commitment and cost — aka "baggage" — of children.
And since many countries offer lavish, "guaranteed," government-funded retirement plans, the incentive for having children to eventually take care of the parents is washed away.
Yet, there are millions who want several children, but are forced to have none or just one because of immoral tax codes. And make no mistake; when the government takes more than half of what people and businesses earn, even from the grave via inheritance taxes, that is absolutely immoral.
If crushing taxes were reduced, placing a higher level of income back where it belongs — with the people — more families could survive on one salary, allowing them to afford their dream of a larger family and reversing the negative birth trend.
Healthy populations in Western nations will produce more than they consume, and become a rising tide that lifts all boats. But it’s not just lost productivity that is a casualty of negative birthrates, but the loss of those who will never exist: Brilliant scientists who will never find a cure for cancer or discover other planets; teachers who will never inspire their students to believe that the sky’s the limit; doctors who will never comfort and cure their patients; and artists who will never leave their audiences breathless, searching for words to describe out-of-this-world performances that bring out the humanity in all of us.
It is inevitable that nationalistic spirit dies when a nation experiences population decline. While nationalism has unfortunately become a dirty word for some, to be beaten back at every turn, it is nonetheless mandatory for the cohesiveness of a people. In the same way that the Olympics bring out the very best in folks, where love of country and pride in one’s national identity makes for peaceful rivalry, hearty camaraderie and great sportsmanship, nationalism on a political scale drives the engine of innovation, creation and competition. And that’s the way it should be.
But as the spirit of optimism disintegrates, a new threat rises in the East, as enemies sworn to oppose freedom multiply by the millions, menacing what is left of the West. One can only hope that smarter leaders will emerge, unshackling the bonds holding population growth hostage. And with that, a royal family that is royally large.
Duchess, congratulations, and please keep them coming!
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. He can be reached at [email protected]