Low birth rates could see West fall like Rome: Rabbi

Western civilisation is on the brink of a collapse like ancient Rome because the will to raise children is lacking, a former UK Chief Rabbi has warned.

Lord Jonathan Sacks said European society as it currently is “will die” because of a demographic crisis.

He warned that even mass immigration is not a solution because of problems integrating new arrivals into existing society.

Lord Sacks gave an interview to the Daily Telegraph after receiving The Templeton Prize for his work promoting religious understanding.

In the interview, he said similar falling birth rates had been the hallmark of the last days of the Roman Empire.

There was, he said, “no question” that this poses a serious threat to the future of western civilisation as it has been known.

“The contemporary historian[s] of ancient Greece and ancient Rome saw their civilisations begin their decline and fall, both the Greeks and the Romans attributed it to falling birth rates because nobody wanted the responsibilities of bringing up children,” he said.

“They were too focussed on enjoying the present to make the sacrifices necessary to build the future . . .  all the historians of civilisation have told the same story.”

“Europe is going to die because of this because Europe can only maintain its population by unprecedented levels of immigration,” said the former Chief Rabbi.

“Now those could be integrated into Europe but they won’t be integrated into Europe because when a culture loses its memory it loses its identity and when a culture loses its identity there’s nothing left for people to integrate into.”

He argued that demographic change could be linked a loss of religious faith in the West, which for centuries has been associated with a high regard for the institution of the family.

“Contemporary historians . . . right now, have failed to find a single historical example of a society that became secularised and maintained its birth rate over subsequent centuries,” he argued.

He added: “That’s how great civilisations decline and fall.”


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