Sometimes likened to holding back the tide with your arms, the massive shifts in demographics now occurring are, in some ways, a greater existential threat to modernity and Western civilization than any other.
These shifts take several forms, which will be examined here, but at all levels there are forces on a global scale that undermine not only the stability but the very existence of economies, cultures and entire civilizations.
In some countries, the threat comes from an aging population without sufficient numbers of children to provide support. In other areas, it is instead an unmitigated flood of foreign immigration that is pushing out the native cultures with incompatible languages, customs, beliefs and values.
World War I, World War II and the Spanish influenza of 1918 were events of unprecedented destruction, both material and human, claiming in total more than 100 million lives, not to mention the purges in the USSR and China that followed.
Yet even these massive die-offs, in which some 46% of the male German population fell in World War II for example, were able, only briefly, to slow the population growth of the past century and civilizations were left intact.
The current changes taking place represent a level of threat that goes much farther, as it could replace European civilizations with Islamic culture while sounding the death knell for others, such as Japan. It is a truly existential threat.
Japan is an insular island nation with a serious population problem: the elderly outnumber the young. Recently, and for the first time, sales of adult diapers outsold those for babies, an indicator of the unbalance in the population.
Since the 1990s the country has been slowly shrinking with a birthrate of 1.4 per woman, well below the replacement rate of 2.1 needed to maintain a stable population. Without immigration, which would dilute the purity of Japanese society, and without increased fertility, Japan faces, in the short term, an economic crisis and, in the long term, a slow decline into oblivion.
Though it may seem incredible, humanoid robots are now being seriously considered in Japan to augment the workforce and care for the elderly, though the technology is not yet developed enough to go mainstream.
In the European Union, 2014 numbers reflect a fertility rate of 1.58 children per woman. Given that the replacement rate is 2.1 children, a positive growth rate is simply not possible with native born Europeans. However, the number of immigrants arriving in Europe in 2015 alone is estimated to be just over one million.
When you take the aging, native-born European population, along with a low fertility rate, and contrast that with largely destitute, poorly educated, immigrants who bring radically different cultural norms, and who are unwilling to assimilate, the result is that of civilization replacement.
Controlled immigration can be good and, for families desperate to escape their collapsing countries and ethnic cleansing, it is certainly a blessing. When immigration is gradual, newly arrived immigrants can assimilate and slowly adopt the culture, language, religion and social norms of the host country.
A 2015 Pew Study predicted the Muslim population of Europe to reach 10% by 2050, but it is already estimated to be at that level in 8 EU countries. The Muslim population is between 5 and 10% in France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and Bulgaria. Once they have immigrated, Muslim immigrant families have more children on average and the gap only widens.
The problem is assimilation. In French, the word banlieue is the equivalent of the English suburb. In the country of France, these have become isolated and crime-filled ghettos populated by Muslims dotting the country, which are a hotbed for anti-French sentiment, crime and terrorism.
On January 1st his year, Muslims celebrated the new year in France by burning over 800 cars, in addition to the 940 they had torched during the year.
European youth are abandoning Christianity in record numbers just as new mosques are being built. Saudi Arabia maintains strict control of its immigration, but in a show of solidarity with Europe it offered to help alleviate the European Muslim immigration crisis.
And how do they define help? To fund the building of 200 new mosques across Europe to replace churches. It is the slow construction of "Eurabia", as some have coined the new nation. It is part of what is being called 'civilization jihad'.
A stunning contradiction to everything happening in Europe is found in Israel and demonstrates the power of demographics to change the political reality on the ground, dramatically, in a short period of time. For years the argument of the left has been that if Israel doesn't change its ways it would be 'bred out' of its land as Arab and Palestinian fertility rates were much higher than the Jewish population.
Over the past two decades that has changed dramatically and the Jewish fertility rate is now 3.11 children. Palestinian fertility rates have fallen to 3.7 in the West Bank from 5.6 in 1997, and to 4.5 from 6.9 children in the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian statistics bureau.
It is estimated that in the next 5-10 years it could be even, thus eliminating what has been called Israel's demographic time bomb and, in the process, one of the arguments for giving the Palestinians their own state.
"There will be no demographic time bomb," according to Israel's defense minister Avigdor Lieberman. "Birthrates in the Arab and Jewish sectors will continue converging, while we also hope that a considerable part of Jews from Western Europe, and also from North America, will come here." Jewish immigration last year, from countries such as France and Ukraine, was at the highest level since 2003.
Israel's baby boom represents a puzzling exception to the world's demographic trends. Usually, as countries become wealthier and as women become more integrated into the workforce, fertility rates plummet.
But in Israel, even as per capita income soared above the European Union's average over the past decade, families began having more children. This gave the country, by far, the highest fertility rate among the world's advanced economies. Israeli Jews nowadays have more children, on average, than Egyptians, Iranians or Lebanese.
"This is the uniqueness of Israel that you will not find in any other society in the world. It's a fact of life--we are different," said Arnon Soffer, a professor at Haifa University and one of the country's leading demographers.
In the United States, the great shift is the decline in the White Protestant demographic. Once again, the answer as to why the most powerful political and cultural group in American history is now fading is: demographics.
Immigration and a loss of religious faith are mostly to blame. Although still the largest single racial and religious group, White Christians (including all denominations) now comprise only 47% of the United States population. As in Europe, change is on the horizon.
Though the Muslim population is rising in North America, it is not yet the crisis that Europe is witnessing. Instead, it is the slow erosion of power and influence of Christianity and the values it represents, ceding to the nonreligious and dozens of other faiths in a loss of identity through demographics.
In the case of Europe, this great demographic shift is in the process of doing what two world wars, an economic collapse and a global pandemic (Spanish flu) could not: erase European culture from the map.
Like the frog tossed into a slowly boiling pot, only very recently have the alarm bells begun to sound, though immigration shows no signs of slowing nor have birthrates changed.
Ultranationalist politicians may rise up to combat what amounts to an existential threat to Western civilization. Walls will go up and xenophobia will increase. In Europe, we are certain to see continued social unrest as countries struggle with large, impoverished populations hostile to European culture.
Liberal globalists will push back with cries of racism and privilege and the clash of civilizations will tilt further towards the brink as the Islam colonizes the modern world. So what can be done?
European nations have taken many steps to encourage births and Japan is developing robots to augment its workforce. But unless Europeans, Christians and Jews stand up for their culture, stand up for their languages, stand up for God and stand up for their values, these will all fade away in an inexorable rising tide of demographic change.
The dream of a global Islamic Caliphate might just be a matter of time as Europe comes to an end--not with a bang, but a whimper.