- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Griffin; Reprint edition (1 October 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312302592
- ISBN-13: 978-0312302597
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2 x 23.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 567 g
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Death of the West Paperback – 1 Oct 2002
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About the Author
Patrick J. Buchanan, a senior advisor to three American presidents, ran twice for the Republican nomination for president in 1992 and 1996, and was the Reform Party's presidential candidate in 2000. The author of five other books, including the bestsellers Right from the Beginning and A Republic, Not an Empire, he is a syndicated columnist and a founding member of three of America's foremost public affairs shows, NBC's The McLaughlin Group, CNN's The Capitol Gang, and Crossfire.
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Top international reviews
"Feminism is a Darwinian blind alley. In biological terms, there is nothing that identifies a maladaptive pattern so quickly as a below replacement level of reprocuction; an immediate consequence of feminism is what appears to be an irreversible decline in the birthrate. Nations pursue feminist policies at their peril."
Buchanan adds: "In short, the rise of feminism spells the death of the nation and the end of the West." And a little later, he says: "...the decisions women are making today will determine if Western nations will even be around in a century, and Western women are voting no."
Gloomy thoughts indeed.
The trouble with Buchanan's view, is that it is matrilineal: "Western Society" is being identified primarily with its women. We men are not even in the picture. Is it really all the women's fault? We men need to look at ourselves, too. Things would change very quickly, I suspect, if men started looking for non-feminist women to be their life-companions, and the mothers of their children. Non-Western, perhaps? There are plenty of them out there. We men need to know what we need and what our values are.
It is common for the problem of declining birth-rates is to be approached as it is in this book: from the point of view of women avoiding motherhood. The result is a picture which is only half-complete, and so the solution is not found. Here are some examples:
Fifteen years or so ago, the declining birth-rate in Italy became too serious to ignore. Pope John Paul was moved to speak publicly about it. He urged women to "rediscover the joys of motherhood". A very noble sentiment. But he didn't mention fatherhood at all. Or if he did, the media failed to report it.
The birth-rate in Britain has dropped to a record low. In september 2004 government minister Patricia Hewitt spoke publicly about this problem. She urged women to halpsolve this problem by producing more babies. "It is your national duty", she aid, to embrace motherhood. And no, she didn't mention fatherhood either.
I remember listening to a BBC World Service program on this subject. A study had discovered that 25% of young women aged 16 to 24 had decided never to have children. And the young men? What was their attitude to fatherhood? We were not told. No-one thought to ask the question.
All too often, in Western countries, there is a huge blank space, where fatherhood should be honored. Or at least mentioned. Maybe that's the real underlying problem.
Pat Buchanan, unfortunately, in his otherwise excellent book, does not explore that aspect of things. Maybe in his next book?
The title is to be understood literally: declining birth rates and mass immigration in the US and Europe threaten to overwhelm native populations and extinguish their cultural identity. Different to earlier waves of immigration, the author argues, these people often don't share our Western values and their allegiances lie with countries we could be at war with. And as societies in Europe grow older, the European welfare-state can only be sustained through mass immigration, for many Europeans not only stopped reproducing, but revel in their demise, by celebrating being childless and having double income.
Buchanan identifies Socialism as the root cause of the Western decline. As he astutely observes how, come 1989, world-wide Communism has failed and why, he further branches out into the tenets of its successor and how it managed to prevail where the progenitor didn't ' by changing the culture from within. He goes into great detail how Globalism, Secularism, Feminism, and Gay Rights Activism often hide behind reason and just cause, but show ill-intent towards their dissenters; dehumanising them by calling them bigots, sexists, racists, or homophobes and thus avoiding the debate. What follows is a well-argued, harsh critique of the Mexican government's economic reliance on illegal immigration and a bold defence of the nation-state concept as a necessity in preserving the cultural identity of the United States. In his refusal of amnesty for illegal immigrants for example, he relentlessly makes the case for deportation, by arguing that if rule of law is ignored and pardon given, the weight of immigration laws ' however strict they may be ' is nullified.
The division and sense of separatism the author sees infecting the United States is evident throughout the political discourse. There is a deep understanding and acknowledgment in Buchanan's writing for the violent history of the West, but as he keenly retorts, this is true for all nations, revealing the gut-wrenching truth, that the West didn't start slavery, it was the West that ended it. And while he is a big proponent of the Civil Rights Act, he sees no obligation for the US to make any further payments to minority interest groups, because he sees them as the great dividers, who out of self-interest will never be satisfied with any form of reparation. And when the state keeps on giving, why should they be?
He then goes on to dismantle the cultural Marxist myth of equality, by arguing that there are no equals, only equal opportunity. But then taints the relevant Thomas Jefferson quote, which would have perfectly stood on its own, by needlessly pointing out the Founding Father's rejection of homosexuality.
With grand vigour he argues for the socially conservative case; even going so far as putting blame on conservatives who surrendered the culture war and retreated solely to economics (read: Neocons), only for the libertarian element of the right to grow stronger. Whatever you may think about the man, it takes guts to slaughter the holy cow of free market capitalism as a right-winger.
As is to be expected by Buchanan, Christianity repeatedly sneaks its way into his argumentation and it is here where the book is at its weakest. While it may be true that a traditionalist, faith-based society produces higher birth rates, a return to faith cannot be a goal unto itself, but must come from conviction. Pure pragmatism does not suffice, when it comes to people's acceptance of a divine creator. However, I also understand that it is not in the author's purview to make the case for Christ. As a stout unbeliever and Cultural Catholic, I therefore have to reject his battle-cry for a return to Christian predominance in Western society. From my European Classical Liberal perspective though, I at least have to commend the author for being open about some of his statist views, which befits someone who accepts God as an ultimate authority; something I always found to be contradictive to the libertarian-leaning wing of the right ' and a pitfall Buchanan wisely avoids.
With 'The Death of the West', Patrick J. Buchanan delivers an excellent read, that may make your blood boil, but is so well-researched and written with such finesse and historical prowess, that you will be hard-pressed not to find something to agree with. While I do disagree with many of his assertions, I also found a lot of respectable opinions, the least of which made me understand his brand of conservatism better. And lest those of us, whose parents fled communist regimes to find a better life in the West, forget, why they did so in the first place, this book makes a strong case for why we ought to preserve the West from those who seek to destroy it.