Use It - Or Lose It !!
The Death of the West - why our sun is setting
Derek Turner talks to US journalist and politician
Patrick Buchanan about his powerful new book
"Death of the West"
Derek Turner, 37 year old journalist and editor
An independent, London-based magazine of politics,
ideas and culture set up to articulate unfashionable
and politically incorrect ideas of all kinds.
Can you sum up your thesis in Death of the West?
According to my research, there is not a single Western
nation that has a birthrate today that will enable
it to stay alive in its present form after the middle
of this century. Between now and 2050, Europe alone
will lose about 128 million people. In 2050, the median
age of Europeans will be about 50, and 60 million
Europeans - a tenth of the population - will be over
80. As Europeans begin to die out - losing the equivalent
of the entire populations of Norway, Finland, Denmark,
Belgium, Holland and Germany - the Third World will
explode, increasing by three or four billion people
- the equivalent of 30-40 Mexicos. Great migrations
to fill the West's empty spaces have already begun.
Even now the Chinese are moving into Russia, which
is dying faster than almost any other country. The
Islamic peoples of North Africa and the Middle East
are moving in the hundreds of thousands into Europe
every year. One-fifth of Mexico's population is now
within America's borders.
But is it as bad as you fear? In Peter Brimelow's
Washington Times review of Death of the West, he says
that your discussion of demographics could be qualified
- that "while the West's share of the world's
population is falling, this is only after a tremendous
growth surge that dramatically expanded its share".
Isn't it possible that the present retreat is only
a retreat to more defensible cultural, ethnic and
No, I don't think so. In 1960, for example, Western
people were 25% of the world's population, and in
the middle of the greatest baby boom in history. They
are now down to 16%, and by 2050, they will be just
10%. Every single Western nation is dying. The European
base of the American nation, which used to be 90%,
is now down to 70%. On present trends, European-descended
peoples will be a minority in the United States by
mid-century. I can't see how Western civilisation
can be preserved if the people who carry it in their
hearts, minds and souls are dying out.
But in absolute terms, the West's population when
we were at our height was far smaller than it is today.
A few thousand Englishmen ran India for over 200 years.
Whites ran South Africa for more than three centuries,
and so on. Population quality is clearly more important
than quantity. You have said yourself that "the
correlation between power and population is not absolute".
Isn't this a possible source of comfort?
I quite agree that Europeans and Americans will be
well-to-do, but if you take a look at what is happening
inside these countries already, clearly European nations
are not what they used to be. For example, some European
countries used to have million-man armies when their
populations were far smaller than they are today.
Now, the European Union is having the devil's time
of it fielding a Rapid Reaction Force of 60,000 men!
The British used to be able to get that many across
the Channel in the first couple of weeks. I don't
believe that this can be turned around. I think the
West is dying. The birth-rate peaked in the 1960s,
and it has been declining ever since, right through
the state of zero population growth, and it looks
like it will continue declining to the stage of zero
An important point is that the correlation between
the death of religious faith and the death of peoples
and civilisation is absolute. I believe that the death
of Christianity in the soul of Western man, and its
replacement by a more materialistic, hedonistic, individualistic,
la dolce vita belief, and the embrace of the sexual
revolution combined, mean that Western man has consumed
a carcinogenic that is killing him. Peoples that no
longer believe in the cult out of which their culture
and civilisation came will not sustain that civilisation.
And as TS Eliot said: "If Christianity goes,
the whole of our culture goes". The Christian
faith and belief in which Western man was marinaded
for 2,000 years was fundamentally the immune system
of the West, which warded off all manner of psychic
infections. But Christianity has died, and been replaced
by a new faith of secular humanism, which is having
an effect on the West comparable to that of the HIV
virus on a person. Eventually, it will kill us.
In The Death of the West, you have bemoaned the present
lack of civilizatory self-confidence in the West.
But doesn't the decisive and ruthless American response
to the attacks on the WTC and Pentagon demonstrate
that there is still some degree of self-preservation
and even self-assertiveness within the West?
There is no doubt that the United States is still
a very tough country. Americans rallied behind the
President after September 11, and the government managed
to finish off the Taliban. But at the same time the
government lacks the moral authority to stop illegal
immigration into this country cold - even though that
is the plain desire of the American people - in order
that we can get our melting pot working again, and
attempt to Americanise those who have come here since
On taking office, Dwight Eisenhower found that there
were one million illegal immigrants in the country.
He set up what he called Operation Wetback, and ordered
them out of the country - and they went. If President
Bush were to get up today, and say "We're going
to conduct Operation Wetback II", and seek to
expel eight to 11 million illegal aliens, the American
establishment would literally go berserk. [Editor's
note: the US House of Congress has just voted by 245
votes to 138 to grant amnesty to millions of illegal
immigrants.] I don't think he could do it; there would
be a horrible reaction, even within his own party.
Human Events [Editor's note: a leading conservative
newspaper, based in Washington, DC] asked 17 US congressmen
and senators a single question that required a Yes
or No answer: "If someone has broken into the
country illegally, should they be deported and sent
home?" Only two congressmen or senators said
In the wake of September 11, have you detected a
greater willingness to talk about immigration?
There is a tremendous willingness to talk about the
issue. Led by Peter Brimelow and others (I came much
later to the issue), we have convinced the American
people, or they have persuaded them-selves, that they
want legal immigration rolled back to more reasonable
levels and illegal immigration halted cold. But we
live in a virtual democracy, where the people's will
is not translated into policy. Both party elites are
very much beholden to the corporations and the unions,
and they are politically intimidated. Both the corporations
and the unions want an endless supply of new citizens
and cheap labour. The corporations want to keep wages
down, and the unions want an amnesty, so that they
can organise all these illegals and get them paying
union dues, so that they can maintain their existing
You have said that it is "a remarkable coincidence
how global capitalism's view of women conforms so
precisely to the view of the fathers of global communism".
Can you explain what you mean by this?
Global capitalism and Marxism share a belief that it is
far better to have women in the marketplace than at home.
The old Marxists - Marx, Engels and the others - wanted
to bring down the traditional family, and move women out
of the home and into the marketplace, to make them independent
of the family. The global capitalists want the same thing.
Women who live at home are not consuming or producing enough,
they think. Global capitalism seeks to make everyone an
employee, everyone a worker. There is a tremendous premium
on bringing into the marketplace talented and capable women
workers - who are more reliable in many cases - so that
they can boost productivity and consume more goods.
In an interview with - of all publications - Pravda, you
said that Japan has lost her dynamism because of her high
median age. How do you define dynamism?
In the 1980s, Japan was considered to be a kind of model
nation. But now they are in serious trouble, with the economy
getting weaker all the time. It has been said of the Japanese
that they have "lost their animal spirits". People
are talking about various investment problems, and so forth,
but the fundamental problem that has been ignored is that
Japan is today the oldest nation on earth, with a median
age of 41. The higher the median age, the lower the dynamism.
The median age of Europe by 2050 will be 50, with Italy
and Spain even worse off at 54 and 55 respectively. People
in their 50s are far less aggressive economic animals than
when they are in their 30s.
Won't time solve the 1960s generation problem - albeit
only in piecemeal fashion?
I don't think so. Many teachers of the Sixties generation
said "We will steal your children", and they did.
A significant part of America has converted to the ideas
of the 1960s - hedonism, self-indulgence and consumerism.
For half of all Americans today, the Woodstock culture of
the Sixties is the culture they grew up with - their traditional
culture. For them, Judeo-Christian culture is outside the
mainstream now. The counter-culture has become the dominant
culture, and the former culture a dissident culture - something
that is far out, and 'extreme'.
One of the great Western virtues is freedom of enquiry
and expression. Yet this very freedom of enquiry surely
eventually calls into question religious faith. Does Western
civilisation carry within itself the seeds of its own cultural
destruction? Haven't Western scientific advances undermined
the claims of Christianity?
As a traditionalist Catholic who believes in natural law,
I find no real conflict between true science and true faith.
I still believe exactly as I have been taught, and I find
no conflict between what I was taught and what I think are
the truths of science. A lot of what we call science is
actually faith in disguise. I think some people were desperately
searching for something other than traditional Christianity,
and they have elevated to the level of hard truth some things
- notably about Darwin - that have not yet been proven beyond
dispute. To believe in the theory of evolution is to me
as much of an act of faith as to believe in Adam and Eve.
I don't think it's been proven at all. I remember Piltdown
Man, and the bones of that 'prehistoric ancestor of mankind'
in Africa that turned out to be the bones of a pig. There
is a lot of hoax and fraud in the contentions of science.
The theory of evolution contains as much hypothesis as any
Isn't there a contradiction between your general desire
for smaller government and your desire for such government
functions as censorship of obscene materials, better teaching
of history, passing pro-life laws and protectionism?
As the first three of those suggested actions should only
be done at local level, there is no contradiction. The federal
government is a monstrosity, and there should be as much
devolution of power as possible to local communities.
For instance, should children be taught that evolution is
absolutely true? The only way to decide these things satisfactorily
is to have a majority vote at the most local level possible.
Folk who disagree can then go to the school down the street,
if they feel that strongly.
On the idea of protectionism, the second bill signed into
law by Washington was the Tariff Act of 1789, and the United
States pretty much lived on tariff revenues until about
1913. During that period - except for during the civil war
- the federal government probably did not consume more than
about 3% of the gross national product. So there is no conflict
between tariffs and small government. The only alternative
to tariffs is the monstrous, intrusive, anti-conservative
income tax which requires 100,000 IRS agents to go over
every dime and dollar you earned, and where you got it.
You have said that the Democratic Party is "beholden
to feminism" and the GOP is "in thrall to libertarian
ideology and controlled by corporate interests". Are
there any particularly notable individuals within either
party who might be prepared to advance at least some parts
of your programme?
I don't see any national figures at the moment. But the
consequences of free trade are coming home to more and more
people, and a reaction is growing. I do believe that many
of my ideas are five years ahead of their time, or ten years
ahead of their time, and among these policies is that of
non-intervention in wars that are none of our business,
bringing US troops home and making American economically
self-sufficient again, by creating new manufacturing jobs.
I think we're going to win on these issues. Among the general
public, we won on the NAFTA debate; they did not want the
GATT or to join the WTO; a majority agree with me on both
legal and illegal immigration; they are not persuaded that
a global or interventionist foreign police is the way for
America to go. I'm going to be right, but I may be dead
- like Joe Chamberlain!
Your admiration for the writings of T S Eliot and James
Burnham is well known. Is there a line or short verse from
either of them that encapsulates everything you feel?
There is one that I use in my book. It comes from The Hollow
"This is the way the world ends
"This is the way the world ends
"This is the way the world ends
"Not with a bang, but a whimper."
Patrick J Buchanan
Georgetown University (Honors, English and Philosophy);
Columbia School of Journalism, Master's Degree, 1962
Employment and political career
Commenced as editorial writer, St Louis Democrat, in 1962
(he was then the youngest editorial writer in the United
States). Has contributed to many publications, including
National Review, Human Events, The Nation and Rolling Stone,
and is a syndicated newspaper columnist. He is also a television
and radio co-host (NBC's The McLaughlin Group, CNN's The
Capital Gang and Crossfire, and Mutual Radio's Buchanan
Full-time assistant and adviser to President Richard Nixon,
1966-1974. Adviser to President Gerald Ford, 1974. White
House Communications Director under President Ronald Reagan,
1985-1987. Ran for the Republican nomination for president
in 1992 and 1996, and was the Reform Party's presidential
candidate in 2000.
In 1993, founded The American Cause, an educational foundation
"dedicated to the principles of freedom, federalism,
limited government, traditional values and foreign policy
that puts America first".
For more information about The American Cause, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.theamericancause.org, write to 115 Rowell
Court, Falls Church, VA 22046, USA, or telephone +1 703
The New Majority, 1973; Conservative Votes, Liberal Victories,
1975; Right from the Beginning, 1988; The Great Betrayal,
1998; A Republic, Not an Empire, 1999; The Death of the
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Trevor Phillips, Bhikhu Parekh and the lesser known
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Like we say, Enoch was right, so was Ray.