In Europe today, most of those who are influencing and shaping the nature of the continent have no real stake in the future, other than political legacy.
The following leaders all share one significant characteristic;
Emmanuel Macron, president of France
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor
Theresa May, British prime minister
Paolo Gentiloni, Italian prime minister
Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden
Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland
Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission
All of them have significant political influence, very little support of the voters and none of them have any children.
Not a single child, to shape a future for, among them.
An interesting article, by James McPherson of the Washington Examiner, suggests that although George Washington himself produced no loin fruit, the number of European leaders who are also barren is likely to have consequences;
One of the benefits of parenthood is the daily confrontation with free will—a human nature. Parents may have their child’s life, career, and happiness planned out, but a child has other ideas -constantly.
Love, patience, teaching, negotiating, scolding—nurture—can help direct the child, but the overwhelming otherness of the child is undeniable. They are not blank slates upon whom the parent exercises his will.
Political leaders without this experience of parenthood may be susceptible to the idea that people are blank-slates, interchangeable units of human capital. As a parent and a teacher, I have seen many brilliant and well-meaning parents and colleagues crash their will and intellect against the rock of a child’s independent nature. Now, scale such a hubristic paternalism to a nation. Or a continent.
Contemporary childless leaders, however ascendant they feel today, may be the last gasp of secularism. The future is won by those who show up, and only the religiously orthodox are having children.
Those still swimming in the ancient streams of Faith and Culture in France will have the observant offspring of two rival religions living within the borders of one nation. The second Battle of Tours, (or Vienna, or Lepanto) might be extra bloody due to the policies of today, but the authors of those policies will not be around because they will be dead, and their offspring will not be around, because they do not exist.
The Founding Fathers of the United States established the Constitution to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”, posterity being their offspring.
Looking out for one’s posterity, having a long-term vision, is necessary for the good of society, according to Harvard Political Scientist James Wilson. Do childless political leaders have skin in the game long-term?
In Europe today, those without progeny are enacting policies that impact the posterity of others.
Which seems to suggest that those who do not have children will naturally have less interest in the next generation than they do their own place in history and political legacy.
And, for most of those listed above, that will probably be something to be ashamed of.
Read – The Slow Death of Europe
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