The End of Europe?
By Frank Furedi
Spiked, August 13, 2007
Edited by Andy Ross
"The future of the West is not a limitless tending upwards and onwards for
all time towards our presents ideals, but a single phenomenon of history,
strictly limited and defined as to form and duration, which covers a few
centuries and can be viewed and, in essentials, calculated from available
Spengler's 1926 book Decline of the West was a talking point in European
salons. Spengler attributed what he considered to be the inexorable decline
of the West to the rise of the uncultured masses. He had the most venomous
contempt for the mass of the population.
In contemporary Europe, the
pessimists tend to point the finger of blame at the mass influx of
immigrants. This immigrant-blaming has become more intense following the
events of 9/11. Today there is much public handwringing about a possible
Islamization of Europe.
The preoccupation with an immigrant invasion
of Europe shows how far Malthusianism is influencing our thinking. There has
been a shift in the cultural imagination in recent years toward a new
consciousness of natural limits. Many thinkers and commentators are
concerned about the reluctance of European natives to have large families,
or to have any children at all, and thus they would like to see a reduction
in the numbers of the "wrong kind of people" in
German sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn believes that Western aid to overseas countries encourages too many young men in the
Third World to survive, in a state of anger. Frustrated by
their low status, where they live on handouts and charity, these young men
become resentful about their place in the world and occasionally turn to
violence in order to gain power and prestige.
concerned with what he perceives to be a gigantic youth bulge in many Muslim
countries, and its potentially destructive consequences. Heinsohn associates
high fertility rates with what he refers to as a process of demographic
Today, those who express concern about the violence that
might spring from demographic rearmament are not only worried
about the future of the Mideast and other parts of the Muslim world.
Their main concern is that there will be a demographic capitulation
in Europe. The low birth rate is seen as a precursor of European decline and
Throughout history, societies have successfully absorbed
immigrants, to the benefit of all. Heinsohn thinks the young immigrants who currently inhabit the
cities of Europe are unlikely to follow this pattern: "It is not because
Africans or Muslims are not as intelligent as others, they are just not
socialized in a way that makes them useful in our societies."
Demographic patterns reflect social and cultural shifts. The
trend toward declining fertility rates in Europe is unlikely to be reversed
in the long run. Pro-natal policies have little impact on European people's
choices or behavior. Heinsohn says such policies will probably benefit
immigrant couples more.
Europe's political and cultural elites are reluctant to
engage with the problems that face society. More than any other group of
people, these elites are responsible for today's cultural pessimism. For the
first time in the modern era, the European political elites lack a clear
Today Europe appears to have very few values to share. The
reluctance of some immigrant to integrate exposes this fact. Maybe we need
more pessimists to wake us up.
J. Hist. Rev. 17(2), 1998
Edited by Andy Ross
Oswald Spengler was born in central Germany in 1880. In 1901, he entered the
University of Munich. His doctoral dissertation at Halle was on Heraclitus.
He taught in Saarbrücken, Düsseldorf, and finally Hamburg. He taught
mathematics, physical sciences, history, and German literature. In 1911 he
left the teaching profession.
He settled in Munich as an independent
scholar. He began the writing of a book on contemporary politics. However in
late 1911 he was struck by the notion that the events of the day could only
be interpreted in global terms. He saw Europe as marching off to suicide, a
first step toward the final demise of European culture in the world and in
The Great War of 1914-1918 only confirmed in his mind the
validity of a thesis already developed. His planned work kept increasing in
scope far, far beyond the original bounds. The first volume of The Decline
of the West appeared in the summer of 1918. The book was an immediate and
unprecedented success. In 1922 Spengler issued a revised edition of the
first volume, and 1923 saw the appearance of the second volume.
Spengler deciphered history with the following basic postulates:
— The linear view of history must be rejected. This scheme can be
replaced by the notion of history as moving in definite, observable, and
— The cyclical movements of history are of high cultures. Recorded history gives us eight such
high cultures: the Indian, the Babylonian, the Egyptian, the Chinese, the
Mexican, the Arabian, the Classical (Greece and Rome), and the
European-Western. Each high culture has a prime symbol. The prime symbol of
the Classical culture was the fascination with the space of immediate and
logical visibility. The prime symbol of Western culture is the Faustian
soul, symbolizing the upward reaching for the infinite.
— High cultures
are living things and must pass through the stages of
birth-development-fulfillment-decay-death. The high-water mark of a high
culture is the culture phase. The civilization phase that inevitably follows
witnesses drastic social upheavals, wars and crises. The civilization phase
concludes with the imperialistic stage. Each culture's lifespan can be seen
to last about a thousand years.
So history is the record of the rise and
fall of unrelated high cultures. These cultures are life-forms, and like all
organisms pass through the phases of birth-life-death. It is possible from
the vantage point of the twentieth century to predict the decline and fall
of the West.
After experiencing the Bavarian revolution and its
short-lived Soviet republic, Spengler wrote a slender volume entitled
Prussianism and Socialism. Its theme was that conservatives and socialists
should united under the banner of a true socialism. This was not the
Marxist-materialist abomination, he said, but a socialism of the German
community, based on its unique work ethic, discipline, and organic rank.
In 1931, Spengler published Man and Technics. The development of
advanced technology is unique to the West, and he predicted where it would
lead. The book warns the European or white races of the pressing danger from
the colored races. It predicts a time when the colored peoples of the earth
will use the technology of the West to destroy the West.
never joined the National Socialist party. His views about the National
Socialists surfaced in late 1933, in his book The Hour of Decision.
Predicting a second world war, he warned that forces outside the country
that would mobilize to destroy the National Socialists. Spengler died in
AR Spengler is an interesting
case, and his theory is interesting enough to be taken seriously, but it is
flawed, for reasons I would need to write a book to explain.
Robert W. Merry
The National Interest, January 2013
Edited by Andy Ross
Der Untergang des Abendlandes (Vol 1, 1918; Vol
2, 1922) by Oswald Spengler hit the German market like a boulder tossed upon
an anthill. It sold a hundred thousand in eight years.
Spengler works by historical analogy. He rejects the notion that the
West holds center stage in world history as the Ptolemaic system of history
and posits his own Copernican discovery in the historical sphere, with no
special position for the classical or Western civilizations relative to
He sees the great cultures as organisms whose phases of
emergence, development, and decline are similar from culture to culture.
Each civilization is born when a people develops a distinctive way of
looking at the world. The new culture runs on for a thousand years or so
unless interrupted by external forces. Then begins the civilizational phase,
characterized by the deterioration of the culture.
distinguishes between culture and civilization. The former is the phase of
creative energy. The latter is a time of materialism and imperialism. His
civilizations: Western (Faustian), Greco-Roman (Apollonian), Indian,
Babylonian, Chinese, Egyptian, Arabian (Magian), and Mexican (Aztec).
Spengler thought Germany would be the last nation of the West, spawning
the Führer who would lead the West to its final civilizational glory of
world dominance. But he rejected the Nazis.
America is the last nation of the West. America is destined to fulfill the
vision of hegemonic zeal and a push toward dictatorship. Spengler's work
stands as a great warning to Americans.
AR My book
CORAL trumps Spengler's story.