Grey’s elegy to the imminent conflagration of Europe prior to World War I is an invaluable illustration of the current trajectory of the European Union. The wildfire of out-of-control debt across member states, the disintegration of the cradle-to-grave social welfare programs, and loss of confidence in governments from Portugal and Ireland to Greece and Spain has led to a fundamental reassessment of the European Model – big, socialist, miniscule military force, and entirely in denial about how to address the situation in a reasonable and realistic fashion. From Greece to France and England, a generation of coddled, pampered and radicals took to the streets with Molotov cocktails and masks, protesting the mere idea of austerity, cuts in spending, an increase in the retirement age, and -gasp!- increases in tuition at universities.
The confluence of factors which created the crisis frightened investors (both private and public), who demanded higher interest rates from several governments with high debt levels and deficits. Consequently, this made it difficult for governments to finance further budget deficits and service already high debt levels. While they dithered and fought over blame, governmental officials focused on austerity measures in an attempt to plug the holes in their budgets. The pain the cuts caused contributed to social unrest (aka – protests / riots) and significant debate among economists (almost all of whom are adherents of the thoroughly discredited Keynesian school of thought), many of whom advocate greater deficits when economies are struggling. The problem was that in order to increase their own deficits, the deadbeat European governments (P.I.G.S.) needed the responsible countries (England, France, Germany) to go along with the idea, swallowing losses on behalf of the laggards. The end result has been a complete collapse of multiple economies, prospects of a devaluation of the Euro, and possible re-alignment of the European Union.
As if the economic earthquakes weren’t enough, demographic changes heralding the decline of European population include precipitous drops in birth rates among Caucasian Europeans, and huge gains in immigrant (African and Middle Eastern) populations. Europe is slowly being out bred, and will soon have more in common with Pakistan, Morocco and Lebanon than America. In England, one of the most popular names for boys has been Muhammad for the last couple of years. Culturally, traditional mores and values are in retreat. From Spain to France and England, mosques will soon outnumber churches. Facts concerning European population trends are disturbingly clear. Historically, the replacement level for a stable population is a fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman.
According to the UN in the last 5 years, the average fertility rate of European women was 1.53. The decline portends an increase in the dependency ratio, meaning that fewer and fewer active workers will work longer providing for a graying population, straining welfare programs and confiscatory tax policies across the continent. This bleak future has led thousands of young people to desert the continent for more financially promising markets abroad.
Without a traditional culture of shared values and beliefs, there has been a loss of sense of purpose and vision. Why should industrious Germans work so hard for a bunch of lazy Greeks? Why should the French bear the burdens of the Spaniards? What was originally envisioned as a united continent, freed of borders and diverse currencies, has begun fracturing in sharper and more discrete ways than previously imagined. There has been a backlash against multi-culturalism, leading to increases in calls to return to more insular and isolationist tendencies. Several countries are even urging that EU member states that fail to meet their obligations be forcibly removed.
All of these warning signs should be abundantly clear to American socialists, who have used Europe as a model for decades. In every way possible they have attempted to emulate the European experiments (financial, social, religious, military, cultural), hoping to achieve a utopian vision. They rail against military spending (imperialist), advocate socialist economic theory (haves vs. the haven’ts), denounce Christianity (so backwards and unsophisticated), urge same-sex marriage acceptance (opposition is only bigoted), and hate conservatism (because they oppose them on everything they believe). The American president, who referred to people with opposing views as “bitter clingers“, has used the European model as the basis for his every policy decision and proposal. Inevitably, they have failed to create new jobs, failed to bring the staggering debt under control, failed to “reset” relationships with foreign governments, and failed to lift the poor out of poverty.
They tried it in Portugal. They tried it in Iceland. They tried it in Greece. They tried it in Spain. Before all that, they tried it in the USSR.
We see where the road leads. It is a dead end.