Is the Western world today home to a calamity of sufficient dimensions to prove Sorokin’s rule once more? Since 2008, when the global financial crisis first burst into the consciousness of the mass of Western voters, followed by riots from London to Athens, from Barcelona to Paris and back, it has grown ever clearer that the welfare states of the West are overextended and ultimately unsustainable. Nor is this just a matter of euros and cents. The eventual civilizational implosion of the welfare state, one can argue, will be a game-changer for family decline.
Easier divorce and more widespread illegitimacy, along with related developments, have been taken more or less in stride for decades now, in the belief that the state can do what was once done by competent families: care for the young, tend to the sick and old, provide for the home. Family decline has so far been premised on Western affluence.