"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Sunday, March 04, 2007

It's the demography, stupid

My vast readership knows that I've sounded the alarm before about the juxtaposition of below-replacement birthrates in the developed world and much higher birthrates in the Muslim world. I have pointed out what ought to be obvious: if present trends continue, Islam will accomplish by demographics that conquest of Western Europe which it was never able to accomplish militarily. The West is in fact dying; check out Mark Steyn's Wall Street Journal article, which originally appeared in the January New Criterion. My occasion for writing today is to apply the lesson to much of online "Christian" interaction.

Steyn says: "What's worrying is that we spend so much time worrying about things that aren't worth worrying about that we don't worry about the things we should be worrying about." That's what I'm worried about. Online at least, Christians of all stripes spend so much time debating theological fine points that they barely heed how Western civilization and its non-Western allies are evaporating before our (mostly blind) eyes. There might be some excuse for that if the unfolding disaster were unprecedented. But it isn't, so there isn't.

In the seventh century, as the Christian world had been fighting itself intellectually and militarily for a few centuries, Islam rose from the sands of Arabia to conquer half of it within a few generations. Spain aside, Christianity never recovered those realms. Yet today, even as we fight what is misnamed "the war on terror," the Islamization of Western Europe proceeds apace; the Russian and Japanese populations are already in absolute decline; and the family in the Anglosphere continues its astonishing collapse. But thank God for small mercies: people my age probably won't live to see the new Dark Ages now looming. That sad duty will have to be borne by the children we're too selfish to have enough of.

Still, there are enough Christians left who are loyal to the Great Tradition to make a difference. But we won't make a difference unless we focus together on what we need to be most worried about. We can do that only if, together, we articulate and defend our shared values with enough vigor to affect public attitudes. See, e.g., Robert George's remarks. And so, to orthodox Catholics, practicing Orthodox, and conservative Protestants, I say: Unite! Soon there will be nothing left to lose.
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