Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Europe's Empty Crib

Clichés exist for a reason - there is a bit of truth to it.

One thing throughout history that is a positive force for most is trying to leave a better world to their children than the one left to them.

Having children, natural born or adopted - or even nephews and nieces - triggers an instinct to look beyond your own "now." In a very basic, lower brain stem drive to keep your DNA going, people make sacrifices. They expend efforts now that may not show positive results until after leave their mortal coil.

There are childless people who do sacrifice for the long-term good but they are part of a mix of people, and in that mix are some that do have some posterity in the game. It is a healthy mix of motivations.

Like any mix, you need to be sure that you don't have an imbalance. When you look at the leadership in Europe, there is something not quite right, and it has to do with their perspective. 

James McPherson makes a good point;
Emmanuel Macron founded a new party, and his election as France's president is said to herald the "revival of Europe." Interestingly, Macron has no children.

This is not that notable in itself. After all, George Washington had no biological children. But across the continent Macron wants to bind closer together, there's a stark pattern:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also has no children. British prime minister Theresa May has no children. Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni has no children. Holland's Mark Rutte has no children. Sweden's Stefan Loumlfven has no biological children. Luxembourg's Xavier Bettel has no children. Scotland's Nicola Sturgeon has no children. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has no children.

This is too remarkable to ignore. While Macron is young—39 years old—the rest of Europe is being governed by childless Baby Boomers.
Demographics is destiny. The future belongs to those who show up. The children are our future, etc, etc, etc.

Imagine being at a table with nine of your professional "peers" - and none of you have any children at all. Would that strike you as odd? How would that shape your decisions?

Heck, I just did a quick survey of 9 of my peers off of the top of my head and came up with 19 children. 

Mix that in with what Tom Wolfe had to say about Baby Boomers;
Most people, historically, have not lived their lives as if thinking, "I have only one life to live." Instead they have lived as if they are living their ancestors' lives and their offspring's lives and perhaps their neighbors' lives as well. They have seen themselves as inseparable from the great tide of chromosomes of which they are created and which they pass on. The mere fact that you were only going to be here a short time and would be dead soon enough did not give you the license to try to climb out of the stream and change the natural order of things.
McPherson goes in to more detail that is well worth your time.

No comments: