Moral issues, practical consequences

Morality is often described as a pact between the dead and the not yet born, temporarily entrusted to the living.  When the pact is broken, even for the most rational causes, the consequences aren’t measured in bad consciences but in terrible ruptures within the community.

From the start of this blog, I have commented on the strange moral path followed by the present generation of Europeans.  Mark Steyn calls them postmodern and post-Christian.  Whatever the label, in many different ways they mark a departure from the old way of life.  For example, Europeans used to work more hours than Americans; now they work far less, and are becoming proportionately poorer than us.  Similarly, they used to breed vigorously; now they are dying off.

For Germany, according to Davids’ Medienkritik, the departure from the old ways is radical even by European standards:

  • There are more couples without children than with children.
  • Within Europe Germany is among the countries with the smallest share of households with children.
  • One third of each age group will not have children. This is a worldwide uniquely low share.
  • People’s desire to have children is ever shrinking.
  • Marriage is at a historical low in Germany. Those who are married will have an 38 % chance of separation.
  • 12 percent of newborn’s parents don’t have the German citizenship. In some larger cities, more than 40 percent of children and youths have a migration background. In 2010 migrants will present a 50 percent share of the under 40 age group in many cities.
  • Germany‘s population size shrinks and the average age rises. In 2050 every third German will be older than 65, and the share of young people (up to 20 years of age) will decline to 16 percent (now at 21 percent).

These people have broken the pact with their ancestors – no doubt, they believe, for the better.  They resemble an man who, one day, leaves his family and his job to enjoy a second youth, and imagines he has become morally superior thereby.  We used to wonder about the lemmings which jump in the ocean to drown:  let us now wonder about the Germans, about the Europeans.  Why the great rupture?  What can be the appeal of an empty cradle?  If their lives are good and meaningful, how could they not wish to share this with their progeny?


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