The following is the text of a speech given by Don Feder at the Moscow Demographic Summit on June 29, 2011. The ravages of Communism leave Russia and the former Warsaw Pact nations facing an impending demographic destruction. The destruction of traditional Western culture means America and Western Europe are headed for the same fate, which will be less a death than a transformation through disinheritance. In this speech, Feder analyzes the source of the problem, laying it squarely at the door of the progressives and revolutionary liberals. But more importantly he shows the way forward from our hedonistic drift into extinction. We ignore his warning, and his solution, at our peril– BJ, Ed.
by Don Feder, GrassTopsUSA.com
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Imagine that you’re walking in the forest. There’s a layer of fresh snow on the ground. Suddenly you realize that you’re lost. You’re cold. You’re tired. You’re hungry. If that weren’t enough, there are wolves howling in the distance. This is beginning to sound like a Russian novel.
What do you do? The easiest course is to retrace your footsteps – to return the way you came. So it is with demographic winter. To get out of the cold, bleak, barren landscape where we find ourselves, we need to retrace our steps – in other words, to reject the ideas and reverse the trends that got us into this mess.
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Worldwide, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) – the number of children the average woman will have during her lifetime – fell from 5.0 in the mid-1960s to 2.7 today, a decline of almost 50 percent. We’re told that 59 countries, with 44 percent of the world’s population, now have below-replacement birthrates – in some cases, well-below replacement. The rest are heading in the same direction.
Such dramatic changes don’t happen in isolation but are the result of powerful forces long at work. We live in a manifestly anti-marriage, anti-child, anti-procreation culture. But these are symptoms. As any pathologist will tell you, the disease precedes the symptoms.
While abortion, contraception, divorce, unmarried couples living together, children born out-of-wedlock, the culturally instilled desire for small families, and the relentless drive to normalize homosexuality all have an impact – in some cases a pronounced impact – on declining birthrates, they are results not causes.
However, they are connected.
In the United States, the deconstruction of Judeo-Christian civilization has preceded in stages – from the introduction of oral contraceptives in 1960, to taking prayer out of our public schools in 1963, to the legalization of abortion in 1973, to no-fault divorce in the early 1970s, to the rise of cohabitation, illegitimacy, and single-parent families, to the institution of so-called same-sex marriage in the past decade. In many ways, it’s a logical progression from one devastating assault on society’s moral foundation to the next. One overthrown norm is used as a staging area to attack the next.
The Sexual Revolution of the ’60s triumphed in the decades that followed, when sex was severed from marriage and morality.
Now, for the first time in history, just under half of the world’s population uses some form of contraception. Break the word into its component parts: contraception – against conception – that which prevents life from happening. And this we are supposed to celebrate as liberating, part of the great march of human progress.
Worldwide, there are approximately 115,000 abortions a day, or 42 million a year. That’s roughly twice the number of military deaths in World War II – the bloodiest conflict in human history – except, instead of a country’s soldiers killed in battle, these are casualties a nation inflicts on itself, on its own people.
From a population perspective, we’re not just losing 42 million people annually to abortion, but also their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and distant descendants, down through the ages. The loss is incalculable. We are, quite literally, aborting our future.
Families are having fewer and fewer children. The culture presents children as inconvenient at best – an impediment to the good life (as the Italians say, “la dolce vita”). If you must have children, have one, two at the very most, society seems to say. Large families are viewed as freakish, the result of ignorance or religious fundamentalism.
All of these trends flow naturally from societal acceptance of certain fundamental or axiomatic concepts – first by elites and then by the masses – ideas relentlessly promoted by the news media, cinema, celebrities, politicians and even music.
The disease can be traced back to the French Revolution, the 18th century source of everything wretched and evil that has happened since.
The underlying causes of declining fertility are:
1. A loss of faith. This is not so much the idea that God is dead as that He is irrelevant to our lives, that He has nothing to do with our destiny, and that the Bible is a collection of stories (alternately interesting, amusing, and terrifying), rather than life’s operating manual.
2. Radical autonomy. The place of God is taken by the deification of self, the worship of an individual’s desires and appetites.
If you believe you have no higher purpose on this earth than the pursuit of pleasure (self-gratification), you are led in one direction, one that ultimately leaves you lost in the forest – tired, cold and hungry, with wolves howling in the distance. If, on the other hand, you believe that you were put here not for self but for service (to fulfill a higher purpose), you will live quite differently.
To cite a very relevant example of how this works, there is a direct correlation between birthrates and religious observance. In America, the states with the highest weekly church attendance also have the highest fertility.
Conversely, Europe is both the most secularized continent and the one with the lowest birthrates. In the United States, we’re told that 47 percent attend religious services weekly (slightly below half), and the birth rate is 2.06 – slightly below replacement.
In Western Europe, weekly church attendance is only five percent. In the European Union, the birthrate is 1.5 – well below a replacement-level birthrate of 2.1. Empty churches equal empty hearts and empty cradles.
Let’s go back to those underlying causes of demographic winter. If you believe in God (not casually, but seriously) you behave one way. If you believe in nothing higher than yourself, you behave in another.
It all follows logically. If you believe in God, then you must believe in the family, which is divinely ordained. You must believe marriage is a covenant, not merely a contract between two people. You must understand that sex has a spiritual dimension, that it’s connected to the concept of holiness. Procreation must be seen as a commandment, not a lifestyle choice.
If you believe in yourself, first and foremost, then everything becomes a matter of choice. When, where, and under what circumstances you have sexual relations is a personal decision. Whether or not you get married is a choice. Whether you keep your unborn child or kill it is a choice. Whether your life is focused on accumulating material possessions or caring for a family, which helps to assure humanity’s continuity, is a choice.
My point is not that childbearing is a grim obligation for the religious. An obligation it most certainly is. But it’s also life’s greatest joy. Going through life without children and grandchildren is like having a limb severed. Besides, your Ferrari won’t cry at your funeral. Ultimately, it’s about optimism versus pessimism.
The most depressed, not to mention depressing, people I’ve met are those who believe that existence has no higher purpose.
According to this worldview, we exist due to an accident of fate (a fluke of nature) – natural selection, the random collision of molecules. As long as we’re here, we might as well enjoy ourselves. From oblivion we came and into oblivion we will go.
On the other hand, there’s no greater comfort than the realization that our lives have meaning – no matter who we are, no matter what we accomplish in this brief span of existence. This gives us the courage to do things that count, including having and raising children.
It all comes back to faith. Those who have faith in the future have children. Those who don’t, don’t. Where does faith in the future come from? It comes from faith – from religion. The metaphorical forest in which we find ourselves is far more menacing than the real thing, however dark and gloomy.
The forest in which the snow of demographic winter falls is a lonely place. Fewer and fewer children are born. Like the elderly, society slows to a crawl.
Instead of bringing life into the world, medical science is dedicated to keeping it out – by creating sterile wombs and aborting the future.
Soon the mighty industrial engine we’ve built over the past two centuries will grind to a halt and rust. They’ll be fewer and fewer us to care for it or to give it purpose. Retracing our steps doesn’t just mean having more children – larger families – though that’s essential if civilization is to endure.
It means wanting to have more children. It means fighting the forces of societal decay that keep us from having more children. It means reconnecting to the source of life. It means discarding the shallow and the hollow. It means rediscovering the essence of joy – faith, family, and fecundity.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website, DonFeder.com.
This article originally appeared on GrassTopsUSA.com and is reprinted with permission.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.