Skip to comments.Mark Steyn: Bicultural Europe is doomed
Posted on 11/14/2005 2:13:32 PM PST by Pokey78
Three years ago -December 2002 - I was asked to take part in a symposium on Europe and began with the observation: "I find it easier to be optimistic about the futures of Iraq and Pakistan than, say, Holland or Denmark."
At the time, this was taken as confirmation of my descent into insanity. I can't see why. Compare, for example, the Iraqi and the European constitutions: which would you say reflected a shrewder grasp of the realities on the ground?
Or take last week's attacks in Jordan by a quartet of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's finest suicide bombers. The day after the carnage, Jordanians took to the streets in their thousands to shout "Death to Zarqawi!" and "Burn in hell, Zarqawi!" King Abdullah denounced terrorism as "sick" and called for a "global fight" against it. "These people are insane," he said of the husband-and-wife couple dispatched to blow up a wedding reception.
For purposes of comparison, consider the Madrid bombing from March last year. The day after that, Spaniards also took to the streets, for their feebly tasteful vigil. Instead of righteous anger, they were "united in sorrow" - i.e. enervated in passivity. Instead of wishing death on the perpetrators, the preferred slogan was "Basta!" - "Enough!" - which was directed less at the killers than at Aznar and Bush. Instead of a leader who calls for a "global fight", they elected a government pledged to withdraw from any meaningful role in the global fight.
My point in that symposium was a simple one: whatever their problems, most Islamic countries have the advantage of beginning any evolution into free states from the starting point of relative societal cohesion. By contrast, most European nations face the trickier task of trying to hold on to their freedom at a time of increasing societal incoherence.
True, America and Australia grew the institutions of their democracy with relatively homogeneous populations, and then evolved into successful "multicultural" societies. But that's not what's happening in Europe right now. If you want to know what a multicultural society looks like, read the names of America's dead on September 11: Arestegui, Bolourchi, Carstanjen, Droz, Elseth, Foti, Gronlund, Hannafin, Iskyan, Kuge, Laychak, Mojica, Nguyen, Ong, Pappalardo, Quigley, Retic, Shuyin, Tarrou, Vamsikrishna, Warchola, Yuguang, Zarba. Black, white, Hispanic, Arab, Indian, Chinese - in a word, American.
Whether or not one believes in "celebrating diversity", that's a lot of diversity to celebrate. But the Continent isn't multicultural so much as bicultural. There are ageing native populations, and young Muslim populations, and that's it: "two solitudes", as they say in my beloved Quebec. If there's three, four or more cultures, you can all hold hands and sing We are the World. But if there's just two - you and the other - that's generally more fractious. Bicultural societies are among the least stable in the world, especially once it's no longer quite clear who is the majority and who is the minority - a situation that much of Europe is fast approaching, as you can see by visiting any French, Austrian, Belgian or Dutch maternity ward.
Take Fiji - not a comparison France would be flattered by, though until 1987 the Fijians enjoyed a century of peaceful stable constitutional evolution the French were never able to muster. At any rate, Fiji comprises native Fijians and ethnic Indians brought in as indentured workers by the British. If memory serves, 46.2 per cent are Fijians and 48.6 per cent are Indo-Fijians; 50-50, give or take, with no intermarrying. In 1987, the first Indian-majority government came to power. A month later, Col Sitiveni Rabuka staged the first of his two coups, resulting in the Queen's removal as head of state and Fiji being expelled from the Commonwealth.
Is it that difficult to sketch a similar situation for France? Even in relatively peaceful bicultural societies, politics becomes tribal: loyalists vs nationalists in Northern Ireland, separatists vs federalists in Quebec. Picture a French election circa 2020, 2025: the Islamic Republican Coalition wins the most seats in the National Assembly. The Chiraquiste crowd give a fatalistic shrug and Mr de Villepin starts including crowd-pleasing suras from the Koran at his poetry recitals. But would Mr Le Pen or (by then) his daughter take it so well? Or would the temptation to be France's Col Rabuka prove too much?
And the Fijian scenario - a succession of bloodless coups - is the optimistic one. After all, the differences between Fijian natives and Indians are as nothing compared with those between the French and les beurs. I love the way those naysayers predicting doom and gloom in Baghdad scoff that Iraq's a totally artificial entity and that, without some Saddamite strongman, Kurds, Sunnis and Shias can't co-exist in the same state. Oh, really? If Iraq's an entirely artificial entity, what do you call a state split between gay drugged-up red-light whatever's-your-bag Dutchmen and anti-gay anti-whoring anti-everything-you-dig Muslims? If Kurdistan doesn't belong in Iraq, does Pornostan belong in the Islamic Republic of Holland?
In a democratic age, you can't buck demography - except through civil war. The Yugoslavs figured that out. In the 30 years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 per cent to 31 per cent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 per cent to 44 per cent.
So Europe's present biculturalism makes disaster a certainty. One way to avoid it would be to go genuinely multicultural, to broaden the Continent's sources of immigration beyond the Muslim world. But a talented ambitious Chinese or Indian or Chilean has zero reason to emigrate to France, unless he is consumed by a perverse fantasy of living in a segregated society that artificially constrains his economic opportunities yet imposes confiscatory taxation on him in order to support an ancien regime of indolent geriatrics.
France faces tough choices and, unlike Baghdad, in Paris you can't even talk about them honestly. As Jean-Claude Dassier, director-general of the French news station LCI, told a broadcasters' conference in Amsterdam, he has been playing down the riots on the following grounds: "Politics in France is heading to the Right and I don't want Right-wing politicians back in second or even first place because we showed burning cars on television."
Oh, well. You can understand why the Quai d'Orsay is relaxed about Iran becoming the second Muslim nuclear power. As things stand, France is on course to be the third. You heard it here first. You probably won't hear it on Mr Dassier's station at all.
Maybe we could get all the "Blue Staters" to actually live up to their promise and leave. Then they could have their heaven of a Socialist Paradise and leave the rest of us to keep the US viable and strong.
Of course that would only delay the problem for the Euro's for a about 20 years or so.
Count me among them. Franco was a hero of Western Civilization. Perhaps you have no problem with the commies raping nuns, killing priests, committing mass murder, establishing a presence in Western Europe, and cutting off the Mediterranean Sea,- but I do. The only way to rid Spain of the Reds was to beat them back in bloody street to street fighting. If the wolf was at your door you would beg for Franco to save you.
Wow-please see my post 102. Great minds think alike. I didn't see your post until after I posted.
Steyn is so freaking brilliant!
Thank you for your posts. Franco's mission was to keep Spain Catholic and not allow the "enlightened" liberal/socialist/communist/atheists to get ahold of his country. The Left has never forgiven him and continues to spread lies about him...
There were a lot of very entertaining, high spirited debates about Franco on a series of threads about 2 years ago. You may want to do a search for them-they left a lot of bruises.
If your favorite music includes: wine, women with large breasts, cheese, sunshine, stars, boredom, and existentialism, all in the same song, you might be a Frenchman.
They don't understand that it's a completely different ballgame. These kids don't want jobs, they don't want assimilation into the corrupt French society, they want to rape, pillage, burn, and murder, and they want to cut off French heads as trophies.
I will grant that French arrogance, snobbery, and racism created a situation in which these people were easy prey for Islamic Supremacism (which I call Islamism for short), but that's a done deal, a fait accompl/i>, if you will, and the only thing left for the French is to fight, adapt, or die.
p.s. I think I'm one of the few that uses Islamism as a short version of Islamic Supremacism, since most people prefer Islamofascism. I don't think it's so much a political movement as a racist movement and it reminds me of good old fashioned White Supremacism more than anything else.
I suspect that the longer the move is delayed, the farther to right the actual move will be.
That's very true. Of course, in 1968, it was privileged youth rioting just for the heck of it, because they wanted to smoke more dope, not go to school or not have to pay for it if they did, and not serve in their country's army. It was a sort of nihilistic but non-specific type of rioting where they wanted to raise a little hell but didn't really have a concrete objective. Of course, there were more radical leftists who did have a plan, but most of the 1968 crowd was just in it for the thrills. And it was, as you say, the high-point of their lives, and they think that the Muslim rioters are just the same, out there having some fun.
Thinking that these Islamists are don't have an objective, however, is just plain foolish. Maybe not every single rioter spends time listening to the preachings of some mad mullah, but the ravings of their "religious leaders" are in the ether, so to speak, and the rioters are being motivated by them whether they are conscious of it or not. And we all know what the objective of the mad mullahs is...
Thanks Pokey. Missed this Steyn from earlier in the week.