I've been doing a little reading this morning about the Greek crisis and related problems in Europe. One take, and it makes sense to me, is that many European countries have such low fertility rates that even with some degree of immigration, they simply will not have the future population levels necessary to pay for their current deficit spending without extraordinary levels of taxation. If each generation produces fewer children than it numbers, you have an inverted family tree and a crushing level of debt on future generations. This requires the sorts of austerity measures being proposed in Greece and elsewhere now, lest the whole game collapse.
Many folks have said that the US is on the same ultimately unsustainable path, just a generation or two earlier down the road. What's interesting is that both the US and Greece have seen protests growing with respect to government policy. Interestingly, though, in Greece, the protests are by current beneficiaries who do not want to see cuts, while here in the US, the protests, at least in the form of the various Tea Parties, have focused on the need to stop the spending now before the burden of the debt becomes the problem it has elsewhere.
I think this distinction is related to the question I ask in my title: why no Tea Parties in Europe?
The answer may be that with European fertility rates, there just aren't enough people who imagine they, or their descendants, will bear the burden of the debt to unite in such a way as to protest the spending orgies of the past or present. Plus, if Europe is that much farther down the road to ruin/serfdom, it's too late for the kind of arguments the Tea Partiers have made: Europe is already where they wish to prevent the US from going.
If I'm broadly correct, it suggests an interesting hypothesis about the Tea Partiers: to the degree they really are concerned about the future burden of spending and debt, their membership should strongly overlap with the demographic groups most likely to have an above average number of children and grandchildren. If the Tea Partiers are more exurban, politically conservative, religiously traditional, and likely to attend church than the average American, and it seems like they more or less are from what I've seen, then this is some evidence for the hypothesis.
There's no Tea Parties in Europe both because they are farther down the road and because they lack a significant demographic group that is committed to above replacement fertility. If what unites the Tea Partiers is a self-interested concern about their children and grandchildren's future, it explains their high degree of motivation to get involved and explains why they have not taken off in Europe.