Last week, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks tackled the topic of birth rates in EU countries, which averaged 1.56 in 2014. This is much lower than the rate needed in order to maintain the population, a birth rate of 2.1 children per household:
“When a culture loses its memory it loses its identity and when a culture loses its identity there’s nothing left for people to integrate into,” Sacks explained.
The root of the problem, he said, is a global epidemic of diminishing attention spans in the age of social media. “People forget how Britain won its freedom—you know: Civil War; that extraordinary thinking through in the 17th century done by John Milton, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke,” he said.
He said that in the case of the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, when local populations in the Near East and the Maghreb rose up against dictators, fueled by social media, “people start Googling and using Facebook, tyrants are toppled and you think, that’s it, you press a button and Google will do the rest.”
The EU is not alone in experiencing this decline in birth rates. The Wall Street Journal has US rates at 1.86 in 2013, slightly up from 1.85 in 2007. There could be many reasons for the decline in birth rates all across the west, but it sure does make Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae seem prophetic. We want to know: