by Patrick J. Buchanan: The
Coming Church-State Wars
democracy bring down the New World Order?
A fair question.
For Western peoples are growing increasingly reluctant to accept
the sacrifices that the elites are imposing upon them to preserve
that New World Order.
for TARP, to rescue the financial system after the Lehman Brothers
collapse, is being held against any Republican candidate who backed
it. Germans and Northern Europeans are balking at any more bailouts
of Club Med deadbeats.
members of David Cameron's party voted against him to demand a referendum
on whether Britain should leave the European Union altogether, the
worst Tory revolt ever against the EU.
Minister George Papandreou imperiled the grand bargain to save the
eurozone by announcing a popular vote on whether to accept the austerity
imposed on Greece, or default, and let the bank dominoes begin to
fall. The threat faded only when Papandreou cancelled the referendum.
But the real
peril is Italy, No. 3 economy in the eurozone, with a national debt
at 120 percent of gross domestic product.
After the plan
to save the eurozone was announced, interest rates on new Italian
debt surged above 6 percent, with 6.5 regarded as unsustainable.
announced his referendum, the cost of Italian debt surged again.
Should buyers of Italy's debt go on strike, fearing a Rome default
or write-down, that is the end of the eurozone and potentially the
end of the EU.
But an even
larger question hangs over Rome.
survive as one nation and one people?
For the austerity
demanded of Italy to deal with its debt crisis is adding kindling
to secessionist fires in the north, where the Lega Nord of Umberto
Bossi, third largest party in Italy, seeks to lead Lombardy, Piedmont
and Veneto, with the cities of Turin, Milan and Venice, out of Italy
into a new nation – Padania.
The north has
long resented Rome, Naples and Sicily, seeing them as lazier and
less industrious. Bossi, who calls himself "Braveheart," after the
Scottish hero of the Mel Gibson movie, sees northern people as Celts
who are ethnically different and separate from the rest of Italy.
League belief that people of Southern Italy caused their debt crisis,
bringing on austerity, mirrors the belief of much of Northern Europe
that Italy and Greece do not deserve to be bailed out.
As the north
is also home to 60 percent of the immigrants who have poured into
Italy – Gypsies from Romania, Arabs from the Mahgreb and Middle
East – Bossi's party is aggressively anti-immigrant, as are the
other surging populist parties of Europe.
deplore the tough laws against illegal immigration in Arizona and
Alabama might look to Italy, where the Northern League managed to
have illegal entry into the country declared a felony.
was also behind a new law calling for sending back tens of thousands
of Arab Spring migrants who arrived on the tiny Italian island of
Lampedusa, which is closer to Africa than Italy.
But while resentment
against the south for alleged freeloading and causing the debt crisis
is bringing the secession issue to a boil, demography may be the
greater threat to the national future.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Bishops Conference,
is heading for "demographical suicide," and the reason is a low
birth rate caused by its "cultural and moral distress."
Italy's National Office of Statistics, in 2009 the fertility rate
of Italian women was 1.41 children per woman. This is only two-thirds
of what is needed simply to replace Italy's existing population.
rate has been below replacement levels for 35 years. By mid-century,
Italy will be a nation with a birth rate that will have been below,
at times far below, zero population growth for 75 years.
rate in 1950 was almost twice its death rate. But the death rate
equaled the birth rate in 1985, exceeds it today and will be approaching
twice the birth rate by 2050.
Italy is not
only aging, with the median age of its population going from 43
today to 50 at midcentury, Italy is dying. If this does not change,
what the world knows as Italy will not exist at the end of this
European nations, Italy faces an existential crisis.
national debt is twice what the EU says is tolerable. She must undergo
years of painful austerity to pay back what she has borrowed and
spent. Yet a shrinking population of working age young and an expanding
pool of seniors and aged to care for will make that increasingly
difficult, and default on her debts increasing attractive, as it
is today to the Greeks.
League, seeing the south as the source of its troubles, will grow
in appeal, as those troubles grow.
If your debts
are larger than your economy, your death rate exceeds your birth
rate and every new generation will be one-third smaller than the
previous one, what kind of future does your country have?
The kind of
future Italy faces.
J. Buchanan [send
him mail] is co-founder and editor of The
American Conservative. He is also the author of seven books,
the Right Went Wrong, and Churchill,
Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. His latest book is Suicide
of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? See his
© 2011 Creators Syndicate
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