|Joannes Bucher (Austria), European coordinator of Human Life International, Higher Institute for Economics|
Reported at The Third Annual International Riga Family Forum “The Natural Family as a Value and State's Priority” (Latvia, May, 2011)
Europe is dying. There is no avoiding this simple fact: the entire continent is racing full speed ahead towards self-extinction. Assuming that the current statistics persists (a fertility rate of 1.3), Europe will be entirely uninhabited at some point in the next two centuries.
Fertility levels in selected world regions,
1950 and 2005
In Europe, more people are dying than are being born and not one country has a birth rate at, or higher than, the replacement rate of 2.1 children for two adults. That shows that in around 50 years it is estimated that there will be 100 million people fewer in Europe.
Projected population change by region,
The myth of an impending population explosion has led to a public attitude that says “the fewer children, the better for mankind.” In reality, however, it is now more urgent for us than ever to recognize the importance of families and to provide public support for them.
This demographic debacle can not be averted by immigration. By 2025, 150 million of immigrants will be necessary in the EU just to uphold present levels of an economically active population and all the tax revenues or social security contributions that come with it.
In 2025 one half of Europe’s population will have to work to manage to support the other half of aging citizens. To sustain the present standard of living, Germany will need an influx of half a million people per year. The graph of the so-called population pyramid shows that this pyramid has in fact been turned upside down. The increased life expectancy and the dramatic downturn in the number of births has placed our population pyramid on its head.
Population pyramids (age-sex structure diagrams)
for Ireland (TFR=2.0) and Germany (TFR=1.4)
According to a UN forecast, in 2050 the average age of the population in Austria will be 50.2 years, in Germany 50.9 years, and in Spain 54.3 years. In 1965 the fertility rate in Germany was 2.4 children per female and 10 years later it had dropped to a mere 1.4 children. It is plain to see, that this is not an overpopulation at all, but a severe lack in population numbers.
Thus it is reasonable and fair to ask this question: is it possible for human life to continue in our society?
Unless we intend to become extinct by lack of births, we have to put a premium on the invaluable contribution of families in the good job they do by bringing up children and to reward them accordingly by an equitable compensation for all mothers.
Europe needs children. The opposite, however, is being encouraged and actively promoted by governments. If traditional European values suffer a decline, the chances for our society to have a future will dwindle as well.
All public welfare measures must give “families and life” absolute priority. But our happy-go-lucky trend society only goes by luxury and fun. It is literarily “running out of children”.
How is such a society going to maintain this unwritten contract between the generations? In the years to come, therefore, there will invariably be an increased struggle over the allocation of funds between generations, between childless singles and families with a number of children, between the indigenous population and immigrants, between the fertile nations south of the Mediterranean and the childless ones north of it. It’s a simple diagnosis to identify the underlying reason for this development.
In Europe, for years the media have been drumming away about how terribly overpopulated the world is and how important birth control is. We had to learn contraceptive methods, apply and practice them. And for a child conceived under a failure of the contraceptive, we have devised an ultimate method of removal—liberal abortion laws.
Everybody tells us the same old story: politicians, school teachers, even clerics who succumbed to modernism. All children should be wanted children and only wanted children should be procreated. Basically, that only goes for children that fulfil a personal demand for a child, as allegedly, an unwanted child will invariably be mistreated.
But children must experience love, only then will they be able to transmit love and joy to others. That means above all that they must have a father and a mother. Nothing is as essential, as natural and as humane for a child as growing up with a father, a mother and other siblings.
It is sheer nonsense, therefore, to degrade marital life in favour of other “equivalent” alternatives. It’s far better for a child to grow up in a heterosexual partnership than in a homosexual one, in a stable, enduring partnership than in a short-term cursory one, or in a monogamous partnership than in a polygamous one.
The alienation of modern capitalism becomes apparent in our pluralistic culture, which makes promiscuity almost compulsory. The “gender mainstream” is a grotesque proliferation of sociological misconceptions. It promotes wayward choices of deviant sexual behaviour. Today I may be a man, tomorrow I’m a female, the day after that a transvestite.
That is the dramatic consequence of the attitude in our society that all is fair in love and war. Post-modern individualism has managed to do away with most traditional notions of decency and, among those, even with the family concept. It favours an exaggerated egotism. Children grow up without parents and become homeless. The government takes care of bringing them up.
Our national administration is eager to distribute free contraceptives to anybody and everybody all over the country. They spend taxpayers’ money to promote their use. True enough, some people cheer those politicians and vote for them. But they “do not discern this time” correctly.
Life cannot prosper unless we create a positive environment that safeguards the value of human life.
The paramount question in this respect is: how should life be conceived in the human species? And the obvious answer is: inside a family of man and wife.
That’s because every child has the right to have a father and a mother.
Next, we must ask ourselves, which environment does a child need in order to turn out sound and strong? Sure enough, new legislation is needed to guarantee the optimal development for children.
Freedom can never be absolute in a society, it is always limited by the respect for the freedom of others. Disregard the right of human beings to live and killing them by abortion invariably constitutes a horrendous evil. We must develop a positive outlook into the future opposite this “culture of death”.
In Europe, all the children are already missing who have been killed by abortion in these last 30 years. According to figures published by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, a worldwide pro-choice organisation, every year 46 million abortions are performed worldwide, 17 percent of those in Europe.
The world and abortion...
A state that gives women no better chances than authorizing them to kill their children in their own womb should not be called a welfare state. And a state that does not offer the same kind of protection to unborn children which it grants to grown-up taxpayers should not be proud of the rule of law within its borders.
Status of abortion laws in Europe
The deadly logical consequence of abortion is the introduction of euthanasia. Unless we safeguard and protect human life right from its very beginning, we must be prepared for other human life to be sacrificed, too, in cases of old-age pensioners or terminally ill citizens by the barbarous practice of euthanasia.
Thus, there is nothing more urgent for our society than a re-orientation of our awareness in the direction of a more reproductive climate and a surrounding with more offsprings, more families, more time that parents can spend with their children and for their children.
When young couples have more options available and get better public support, when young ladies are no longer forced to work outside their homes by sheer financial necessity, there will generally be an increased willingness for baby pauses among them and there will be more babies.
Recently, a new constitution passed in Hungary was a truly positive development and even caught some attention in the media. In Poland, too, abortion was made illegal and this legislation has saved about one hundred thousand children from death each year.
Every one of us has a chance to contribute to a better world and to an environment more benevolent and favourable to children just by giving a good example in his or her own life. And this is exactly what I would like to invite you to do.