Dancing to the end of the world.

October 29, 2007

Sometimes I feel like I’m watching people talk about the end of our civilization. They just don’t realize it yet. This video is about the fact that for the first time in Canadian history the marriage rate is below 50%. It also discusses the already well known fact that Canadians, and I might as well add most of Western civilization, is experiencing a negative birth rate.

One would need to research it much more fully to say anything with confidence. It does seem however that these discussions are all on the wrong topic. Saying something along the lines of, “women should get married and have children in their 20s because they are most fertile and it is important to our civilization” is beyond the point. The real question that needs to be asked is why are people not having babies? They hit on it a bit in the video but I don’t think they get at the substance of it.

I would agree with the one commentator who said that there is a selfishness to our civilization, but this doesn’t paint the full picture. The real issue I think is one of confidence. During the decline of the Roman Empire birth rates dropped. Some Academics say this is a factor of the decline but could this drop not also be seen as a response to the sunset of their civilization? Is it possible that in our own age we have a subconscious unease about the future? An unease that leads us to wonder about the wisdom of having children. An unease that leads to an Epicurean attitude toward life, instead of desiring committment and thinking to an increasingly uncertain future, we instead party in the present to ignore our collective unease.

I believe there is a decline in optimism. We are no longer buoyed by the nobility of the human spirit. Voter turnout decreases as people feel less and less confidence in their governments. We witness a rapidly changing environment, one likely caused by human means. We see a world where battles are no longer fought in specific places but instead wrought wherever people, military or civilian, are. All of these are reminders that there is no certain future, so why look to it?


  1. Liam, these are great thoughts…well written post. I agree with your sentiments about characteristics of the sunset of a civilization.

  2. Thanks John,
    Guess it took me a while to respond to this. I just wonder if I’m right about this. Or if it’s only me who feels this sort of unease about where our culture is going.

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