In China, the "one-child" policy was imposed through quotas, repression and forced abortions. In Italy it is a voluntary choice. The last figures on population for 2015 are impressive and bleak. The mortality rate reached 10.7 per thousand, the highest in years. 13.4 million citizens are over sixty years old, 22 percent of the total population. The births were just 488,000, 15,000 less than in 2014, the record low since the birth of Italy in 1860. And many of these births came from immigrants.
Angelo Bagnasco, Cardinal Archbishop of Genoa and president of Italian bishops, was right when he said that "Italy is severely mutilating herself" because of its birthrate. Many laughed, pleased by the figures. We are producing more dead bodies than children. Italy is collapsing, like Japan.
Today there are already more Italian grandparents than grandchildren. We are the first country in the world to experience the so-called "point of no return," when the number of people over sixty years exceeds the number of those under twenty. We are a country hostile to life. 488,000 births against 100,000 abortions in 2015. Almost one pregnancy out of four in Italy ends with an interruption.
When did the collapse start? In the late Seventies, after the turmoil of "sexual liberation", is when our fertility literally halved. It does not depend on economic factors, welfare or employment opportunities (at the time, Italy was the cradle of welfarism from the cradle to the grave). How explain, otherwise, that the number of cars per capita, vacation trips per capita and material goods per capita are increasing and that only the number of children per capita is decreasing? We do not grow economically because in Italy the cradles are empty.
Every night we open the television on the talk shows and we see trade unionists, journalists and politicians who speak of the elderly as "our greatest resource", as an asset to protect and fulfill.
In Parliament, for a month, Italian MPs discussed the justice of gay adoptions, the most sterile subject in the world. We go into the Italian supermarkets and the childhood oriented departments are always smaller than those devoted to the care of animals. We are a country in the grip of languor and complacency.
"Can a nation die?" asked the magazine Foreign Policy. Yes, of natural causes, as certain atolls of the Maldives are submerged by the rising waters. Or of demography, as is happening to Italy.
My poor country reminds me of P. D. James' wonderful novel "The Children of Men", about a dystopian future where people have become sterile, pets are doted on as child-substitutes and churches hold christening ceremonies for cats.
But Italy is not alone in this catastrophe: Germany, Spain, Portugal and the entire Eastern Europe is collapsing under this unprecedented barrenness. The rest, like France and UK, are already replacing the empty cradles with rising Islam.