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Winter 2002 cover

National Observer Home > No. 53 - Winter 2002 > Editorial Comment

Patrick Buchanan: "the Death of the West"

Patrick Buchanan's recent publication The Death of the West1 presents an unsettling view of the decline of Western civilisation. He shows that this decline is well under way.

Demographic changes are contributing largely to this process. Buchanan has said, discussing his book, 2

"According to my research, there is not a single Western nation that has a birthrate today that will enable it to stay alive in its present form after the middle of this century. Between now and 2050, Europe alone will lose about 128 million people. In 2050, the median age of Europeans will be about 50, and 60 million Europeans - a tenth of the population - will be over 80. As Europeans begin to die out - losing the equivalent of the entire populations of Norway, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Holland and Germany - the Third World will explode, increasing by three or four billion people - the equivalent of 30-40 Mexicos. Great migrations to fill the West's empty spaces have already begun. Even now the Chinese are moving into Russia, which is dying faster than almost any other country. The Islamic people of North Africa and the Middle East are moving in the hundreds of thousands into Europe every year. One-fifth of Mexico's population is now within America's borders."

There are three elements in this process.

• First, declining Western birthrates lead to declining Western populations.

• Secondly, in consequence Western populations are overbalanced by escalating Asian, Mid- and Central-American and African populations.

• Thirdly, Western countries are being targeted by immense immigration from non-Western countries.

So Buchanan points out, 3

"In 1960, for example, Western people were 25 per cent of the world's population, and in the middle of the greatest baby boom in history. They are now down to 16 per cent, and by 2050, they will be just 10 per cent. Every single Western nation is dying. The European base of the American nation, which used to be 90 per cent, is now down to 70 per cent. On present trends, European-descended peoples will be a minority in the United States by mid-century. I can't see how Western civilisation can be preserved if the people who carry it in their hearts, minds and souls are dying out."

Buchanan bemoans the present lack of civilisatory self-confidence in the West. He sees a critical failure of will amongst Western countries to defend their ethnic origins and their cultures. Due to changes in values that have been brought about by liberals, 4

"[T]he government lacks the moral authority to stop illegal immigration into this country cold - even though that is the plain desire of the American people - in order that we can get our melting pot working again, and attempt to Americanise those who have come here since 1965.

On taking office, Dwight Eisenhower found that there were one million illegal immigrants in the country. He set up what he called Operation Wetback, and ordered them out of the country - and they went. If President Bush were to get up today, and say "We’re going to conduct Operation Wetback II", and seek to expel eight to eleven million illegal aliens, the American establishment would literally go berserk. [Editor's note: the U.S. House of Congress has just voted by 245 votes to 138 to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.] I don't think he could do it; there would be a horrible reaction, even within his own party. Human Events [Editor's note: a leading conservative newspaper, based in Washington, D.C.] asked 17 U.S. Congressmen and Senators a single question that required a Yes or No answer: ‘If someone has broken into the country illegally, should they be deported and sent home?’ Only two Congressmen or Senators said Yes."

The problem of inappropriate immigration is, as Buchanan observes, worsened by a number of factors. For financial reasons, the business community favours generally large-scale immigration, which supplies both cheap labour and additional consumer demand. Conversely, many unions look forward to increases in their membership and to improved finances, especially through the immigration of unskilled workers. And the current tendency to regard even reasonable discrimination based on race as immoral "racism" renders constructive debate difficult. The demonisation of "racism", initially at the hands of liberals but now as an integral part of political correctness, has inhibited the ability of the West to preserve its culture.

In this context multiculturalism has proved a powerful agent of decomposition. It has led to the formation of geographic or cultural ghettoes, where little support, but often hostility instead, is found for the host culture.

Buchanan sees the Judeo-Christian tradition as the basic support of Western culture, and that tradition has been subject to continual erosion: 5

"Many teachers of the Sixties generation said ‘We will steal your children’, and they did. A significant part of America has converted to the ideas of the 1960s - hedonism, self-indulgence and consumerism. For half of all Americans today, the Woodstock culture of the Sixties is the culture they grew up with - their traditional culture. For them, Judeo-Christian culture is outside the mainstream now. The counter-culture has become the dominant culture, and the former culture a dissident culture - something that is far out, and ‘extreme’."

What may hence be called the adversary culture - opposed to and undermining the traditional Western culture - has been moulded by the "march through the institutions". The march through the institutions occurred in recent years as the Left (including derivative liberals) has come to occupy most of the opinion-forming high ground in the United States, Europe and Australia: 6


1. Patrick J. Buchanan, The Death of the West, 2002.

2. Right Now, April/June, pages 4-6. The exception in Europe is Moslem Albania, which has a high birthrate.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Professor Dwight D. Murphy, Right Now, April/June 2002, pages 6-7.

National Observer No. 53 - Winter 2002