Setting Islam to one side, there is a horrible enfeebling fatalism on both sides of that demographic line. As I wrote in my “alarmist” book seven years ago, the future belongs to those who show up for it, and the nations that built the modern world — which is to say the last half-millennium of human history — have collectively checked in to one of those Swiss euthanasia clinics. In 1905, Theodore Roosevelt spoke to the National Congress of Mothers about the citizen who consciously forgoes “the blessings of children”: “Why,” he declared, “such a creature merits contempt as hearty as any visited upon the soldier who runs away in battle, or upon the man who refuses to work for the support of those dependent upon him, and who though able-bodied is yet content to eat in idleness the bread which others provide.”Today, millions of able-bodied citizens are content to eat in idleness the bread provided by others, and it is a long time since Europeans were called on to fight any battle. But a society that has nothing to die for has nothing to live for. Only the Portuguese can change the destination they’re headed to: have a kid, have two or three, and vote for the possibility of a future.

Timing is everything, even in apocalyptic doom-mongering. When my book America Alone came out in 2006, the conventional wisdom was that its argument about Europe’s demographic death spiral was “alarmist” (The Economist). Seven years on, it’s so non-alarmist that even the Washington Post is running stories about the Continent’s “plummeting” birth rates. The Post’s focus was on a small corner of the Portuguese interior, wherein their reporter met Maria Jesus Rodrigues, 87, who recently moved into the old folks’ home from her nearby village. The youngest resident is 57. Not in the old folks’ home, but in the village. That’s to say, the entire parish qualifies for membership in the AARP, which regards you as a potentially “retired person” from the age of 50.

“Retirement” is an invention of the 20th century, and will not long outlive it. When everyone’s a senior, nobody is — because, if there are no young people around to pave the roads, police the streets, weed your garden, fix your roof, give you a bed bath, and change your feeding tube, you’re going to have to do it yourself. In The Children of Men, P. D. James’s dystopian novel of a world turned mysteriously barren, the roads are potholed and broken, and the buildings crumbling, for want of a sufficiently able-bodied population to maintain them. By 2021, the year Lady James’s story is set in, much of inland Portugal will be approaching the same condition — not through biological affliction, but through a kind of silent mass consensus that this is no longer a world worth bringing children into. “A country without children is a nation without a future,” warned Aníbal Cavaco Silva, Portugal’s president, in 2007, since when the fertility rate has nosedived. Why would you have a kid in Portugal? The country’s youth-unemployment rate is over 40 percent. In Spain it’s 57 percent, and in Greece just shy of 63 percent.

I don’t know the rest of the country terribly well, but I love Lisbon, and I love returning there. There is something about the jacarandas in bloom that always reminds me of a brief youthful fling long ago. Because I was young, and she was young and lovely, I find it sad to think of Portugal as a geriatric ward with insufficient “carers” to change the bedpans. Today, Lisbon remains an architecturally splendid city — a beautiful museum, as one Commonwealth foreign minister described it to me after a flying visit. But the buildings are defaced from top to toe with graffiti, which the stylish Portuguese ladies bustling through the upmarket boutiques no longer even notice. Even as a beautiful museum, Lisbon is already decaying. “The writing on the wall” is from Belshazzar’s feast, but who knows his Bible in post-Christian Europe? So, even when the writing is all over every wall, nobody sees it.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: LIFE IN THE TWILIGHT? THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY NEWS The Good News America is in great shape energy-wise. We have more gas and oil reserves than ever before. Indeed, the United States could shortly become the world’s largest exporter of coal. Our cheaper power rates may bring energy-intensive industry back from Europe and Asia. If America’s small colleges are nearly broke and our […]

Iran Sets Its Sights on UN Disarmament Committee Posted By Claudia Rosett Disarming is not a word you’d normally associate with the government of Iran. But the context here is the United Nations, so normal is not exactly a word that applies either — especially not in the case of Iran’s affinity for UN bodies officially tasked with promoting disarmament (of which the UN has many, […]

The Age of Hyperbole: How Normal Weather Became ‘Extreme’ By Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris

“Sadly, most of the public has been taken in by mainstream media’s climate propaganda. The latest Rasmussen polls show the highest level of support for global warming alarmism since 2008. We can therefore expect Obama to take advantage of the public’s misunderstanding to bring in even more draconian controls on conventional energy sources to “stop extreme weather and climate change.”If the U.S. eventually collapses into energy poverty, broad sweeping unemployment, and bankruptcy, we will know who to blame.”

Said Thomas Jefferson: “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” Jefferson’s comment may be expanded to include most of today’s mass media; this is especially true of television. As American linguist Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa said: “In the age of television, image becomes more important than substance.” It is effectively visual lying, dictated by Marshall McLuhan’s observation: “The medium is the message.” For example, TV news programs often illustrate air pollution with a smoke stack emitting water vapor, implying it is pollution when it is anything but.

Distortion and deception are accentuated by hyperbole. Television news and documentaries frequently report normal weather as “extreme weather,” implying it is abnormal and caused by human activity. But while a hurricane, for example, may inflict serious damage to our structures and cause major loss of life, it is a normal event in hurricane-prone regions, where it is foolish to live without preparing for the weather patterns of the area.

The problem is accentuated when supposedly prestigious newspapers like the New York Times present provably false information. “Summer’s Beast is Loose [1],” published in the Times on July 16, was an obvious attempt to sensationalize warm, but normal, summer temperatures:

EILEEN TOPLANSKY: HOW ABOUT AN HONEST CONVERSATION ABOUT RACE So let’s have that honest discussion about race that people keep clamoring for.   Someone please explain the brainwashing of a 5th-grade African-American girl who, when she was introduced to  Duke Ellington’s music, said, “I don’t wanna hear no white man’s music.”  She was merely echoing the implacable hatred that she learned at home.  […]

SURPRISE! THE SEA LEVEL IS NOT RISING…S. FRED SINGER Driving the seemingly endless climate-treaty negotiations, the most widely feared consequence of Global Warming appears to be a catastrophic rise in sea level (SLR).  Environmental advocacy groups are filling the airwaves with lurid images of flooding of Bangladesh and Pacific islands, and raising the specter of hundreds of millions of environmental refugees demanding care […]

DANIEL GREENFIELD: PLAYING FOR ISLAM AGAINST OURSELVES WWI was caused less by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, and more by Germany and Austria Hungary’s eagerness in courting the Muslim Ottoman Empire. Before and during WW2, England and Germany both assiduously courted Muslim support in the Middle East. The Holocaust was one of the byproducts of this rivalry, as Germany courted Muslims […]

DANIEL GREENFIELD: BEHIND OBAMA’S DEATH AND TAXES ECONOMY It’s an iron law of nature as certain as the one about an angel getting its wings every time a bell rings or a snowstorm blanketing the area every time Al Gore comes to town to remind the carbon puffing infidels about Global Warming; every time Obama gives a speech; a thousand businesses go […]

JAMES TARANTO : HYPOCRISY AND HYPERGAMY…BEHIND THE HUMA/HILLARY DOUBLE STANDARD Who the heck does Huma think she is? That’s the question “a top [New York] state Democrat” is asking about Anthony Weiner’s wife, according to a report by Fred Dicker of the New York Post. “The Clintons are pissed off that Weiner’s campaign is saying that Huma is just like Hillary,” Dicker’s Dem declares. […]

LOVE AND TACKLES: A WONDERFUL STORY ABOUT ISRAEL’S FOOTBALL LEAGUE BY EMILY AMROUSI A tale of love and tackles:  The story of Israel’s football league More than a thousand enthusiasts play in Israel’s little known, underfunded football league • Most of the players are observant Jews, but there are also Palestinians • Love for the game is the main ingredient that keeps this league alive and flourishing. This is not a […]