If you don’t plan to fight, you don’t need weapons, and it is no surprise that Germany, with its budget surplus, can’t bring itself to vote for urgently-need funds for its military. Germany’s armed forces are in disrepair; a German brigade designated to lead a NATO rapid response force has only nine of the 44 tanks it requires and only four of the country’s military aircraft are combat ready.

If there’s nothing you’re willing to die for, there’s probably nothing you’re willing to live for, either, I argued in a 2014 essay on the hundredth anniversary of the First World War (see “Musil and Meta-Musil”). It should be no surprise that there is a reasonably close correspondence between the willingness of the Europeans to fight for their nations and their willingness to have children. If you care so little for your country that you will not defend it, you are likely to be too absorbed in hedonistic distraction to bother with children. Conversely, if there are to be no future generations, who will lay down his life to fight for them?