Ten years ago, after my meditation on Europe, The Cube and the Cathedral, had appeared in several languages, I was invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels. There, I tried to make what seemed three rather obvious points:
(1) Europe is committing demographic suicide, systematically depopulating itself in what British historian Niall Ferguson has called “the greatest sustained reduction in European population since the Black Death in the fourteenth century.”
(2) This unwillingness to create the future in the most elemental sense, by creating new generations, is at the root of many of Europe’s problems, including its difficulties assimilating immigrants and its fiscal distress.
(3) When an entire continent—healthier, wealthier, and more secure than ever before—deliberately chooses sterility, the most basic cause for that must lie in the realm of the human spirit, in a certain souring about the very mystery of being.