A woman came from a large family of six sisters and six brothers. One day she was looking through the family photo album when she noticed that in picture after picture, all the children were dressed in matching outfits. Later, she asked her mother why everyone – even the baby – was dressed identically. Her mother replied: “When we had just six children, I dressed you alike so that we wouldn’t lose any of you. Then when the other six came along, I started dressing you alike so that we wouldn’t pick up any that didn’t belong to us!”
Europe is facing a major population crisis. There simply aren’t enough babies being born to replace those aged who are dying. As historian Niall Fergusson writes, “Europe’s low birth rate has put it on track for the greatest sustained reduction in its population since the black death in the 14th century.” And Europe’s leaders, are desperately employing programs to try and get young couples to have children, with a special emphasis on it being their patriotic duty to do so. But now here’s the hypocrisy, the heads of Europe’s leading economies are also personally childless themselves – Germany’s Angela Merkel, Britain’s Theresa May, France’s Emmanuel Macron, and Italy’s Saolo Gentiloni. And it’s not limited to these, the same is also true of the heads of state of Holland, Sweden and Luxemburg, as well as the president of the European Union; not one of them ever having been to the maternity ward. As William Shakespeare wrote, “Oh consistency, thou art a jewel!”
PASTOR’S PAGE (Addendum)
Here’s what a few European (and Asian) countries are doing to try and get young adults to have children:
Denmark – Denmark’s birth rate is at a 27-year low, so the government has launched a nation-wide program called, “Do It For Denmark”. According to Danish officials, their research shows that couples are five times more likely to procreate while they are on vacation than when at home, so tax-funded ovulation discounts are being provided to travel agencies. And if a couple with a newborn can show, by dated resort receipt, that a child was conceived nine months previously, then they are given three years worth of free baby supplies. And even grandparents can get in on the deal, with a tax-deductible receipt issued for paying for or towards the “baby-friendly” holiday.
Russia – Vladimir Putin has described population decline as Russia’s most urgent problem. So the government has been declaring national days of conception. On these dates, couples are given a tax-funded paid day off from work for the purpose of making babies. And for each little Russian that is given birth nine months later, there is an escalating list of free prizes (appliances, cars, money, etc.) given out.
Japan – Japan is suffering from such a seriously low birth rate that one demographer claims if it continues, there won’t be any Japanese in 1, 000 years. So the government has introduced Yotaro (“let’s do it”) a robotic baby that giggles, coos and ahhs when you shake the provided rattle at it. Couples are encouraged to treat the silicone chubby-cheeked, blue-eyed robot like a real baby (dress it, buggy it, car-seat it) in hopes the paternal emotion will develop for a real child.