I first read “The Death of the West” by Pat Buchanan as a senior in college back in 2003. I was immediately struck by the titanic nature of demographic transition. See, I was a social studies student whose passion was European history… but was developing a real affinity for human geography. Reading Buchanan’s book was one of my “transformational” moments when it came to realizing that I wanted to engage culture in a real way.
That moment was over a decade ago, but it still remains fresh in my mind.
I have quite a few political differences with Mr. Buchanan, and have come to believe that he may have some deplorable beliefs that are wholly at odds with my own worldview, but I do agree with much of his analysis of the changing demographics around the world.
A recent study done by the CDC showed that in 2011 the United States hit an all time low in birth and fertility rates.
According to “What to Expect when No One’s Expecting” author, Jonathan Last, “for decades the national birthrate has been generally much lower than during the Baby Boom years of the ’50s and ’60s… It’s going to be fascinating to see… Did the recession just exacerbate trends, or did it really put its thumb on the scale and move people into depressing fertility rates?”
In his book, Buchanan argued that three basic problems were leading to the fall of our civilization. First, the west was not reproducing at the same level as the rest of the world. While population growth here has slowed to negligible numbers, the populations of the Islamic world are booming. This population growth shift can only be bad for the second problem, which is that the Christian values of the West are no longer being defended. Soon it seems that the West will completely turn its back on its Christian heritage and replace Christian morality with a non-Christian worldview. The last point is that the crumbling of our population and the self-indulgence of our culture will lead to the collapse of Western civilization.
Already we see Western Europe struggling to maintain its identity against the influx of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa. Not too long ago German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that multiculturalism had “failed Germany.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron and ex-French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy (himself the son of immigrants) agreed. All three have called on their immigrant population, and future immigrants as well, to “integrate” into society and acculturate to their new nations cultures.
Perhaps it is time that we in the United States began preaching this as well. We have long been a multicultural haven, but in the past our immigrant communities took it upon themselves to integrate into the American culture at large.
In recent years, the rise of political correctness has caused us to blithely accept that because we are multicultural, we cannot have an overriding and monolithic “American” culture. I reject that conclusion. If we wish to ensure our national strength in the near and distant future, we must stop playing the politically correct games of the left and realize that having a single culture unifies our diverse people. Our diversity is beautiful, but our unity in our diversity can be even more attractive.
It’s time to accept that the changing demographics are not going to change; the only way to save our “way of life” is to ensure that our immigrant population integrates and acculturates. If not, Buchanan’s dire warnings will be for naught, and the future he envisioned will come to pass.