Tuesday's HOT MIC
We knew the news about European birthrates, right in the cradle of Western civilization, was bad, but this bad?
Europe's tiredness can also be seen in a generational conflict embodied in the alarming rise of public debt. In Italy, the political establishment was recently shaken up by the election of two major populist parties. It is a country with a public debt of 40,000 euros per capita, and a tax burden equal to 43.3% of GDP. The average age of the population is the third oldest in the world, together with one of the lowest birthrates on the planet, one of the lowest retirement ages in Europe and the highest social security spending-to-GDP ratio in the Western world. It is also a country where pensions account for one-third of all public spending and where the percentage of pensioners in proportion to workers will rise from 37% today to 65% in 2040 (from three workers who support one pensioner to three workers who support two pensioners).
An Islamist challenge to this tired and decaying society could be a decisive one. Only Europe's Christian population is barren and aging. The Muslim population is fertile and young. "In most European countries—including England, Germany, Italy and Russia, Christian deaths outnumbered Christian births from 2010 to 2015," writes the Wall Street Journal.
My response on Twitter:
My new book on the subject, The Fiery Angel, shown above, will be published on May 29. Just got the bound galleys, and they look great. Pre-order now, because it will sell out on Day One.
Go ahead. You know you want to:
Facebook's data privacy scandal has driven many to contemplate ditching the social network for good. WSJ's Katherine Bindley explains how, and suggests some non-permanent alternatives.
We always say we'll never forget, but the history of humanity proves we always forget:
For seven decades, “never forget” has been a rallying cry of the Holocaust remembrance movement. But a survey released Thursday, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, found that many adults lack basic knowledge of what happened — and this lack of knowledge is more pronounced among millennials, whom the survey defined as people ages 18 to 34.
Thirty-one percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust; the actual number is around six million. Forty-one percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was. Only 39 percent of Americans know that Hitler was democratically elected.
“As we get farther away from the actual events, 70-plus years now, it becomes less forefront of what people are talking about or thinking about or discussing or learning,” said Matthew Bronfman, a board member of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which commissioned the study. “If we wait another generation before you start trying to take remedial action, I think we’re really going to be behind the eight ball.”
This guy articulated perfectly what I was thinking about the whole dog and pony show in DC today:
Yup. Wake me up if anything significant comes out of this.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) grilling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a thing of beauty.
The money quote: "Your user agreement sucks... The purpose of that user agreement is to cover Facebook's rear end. It's not to inform your users about their rights. Now, you know that and I know that."
Kennedy continued: "I'm going to suggest to you that you go back home and rewrite it. And tell your $1200-an-hour lawyers—no disrespect, they're good—but tell them that you want it written in English, in non-Swahili, so the average American can understand it. That would be a start.
To be honest, Kennedy was not on my radar until he started jabbing at Mark Zuckerberg in recent days, but he's quickly becoming a must-watch senator in my book.