Skip to comments.It's the demography, stupid ..... Mark Steyn
Posted on 01/02/2006 12:04:17 PM PST by Rummyfan
Its the demography, stupid By Mark Steyn
Most people reading this have strong stomachs, so let me lay it out as baldly as I can: Much of what we loosely call the western world will survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most western European countries. Therell probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands probablyjust as in Istanbul theres still a building called St. Sophias Cathedral. But its not a cathedral; its merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. The challenge for those who reckon western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the west.
One obstacle to doing that is the fact that, in the typical election campaign in your advanced industrial democracy, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much all parties in the rest of the west are largely about what one would call the secondary impulses of societygovernment health care, government day care (which Canadas thinking of introducing), government paternity leave (which Britains just introduced). Weve prioritized the secondary impulse over the primary ones: national defense, family, faith, and, most basic of all, reproductive activityGo forth and multiply, because if you dont you wont be able to afford all those secondary-impulse issues, like cradle-to-grave welfare. Americans sometimes dont understand how far gone most of the rest of the developed world is down this path: In the Canadian and most Continental cabinets, the defense ministry is somewhere an ambitious politician passes through on his way up to important jobs like the health department. I dont think Don Rumsfeld would regard it as a promotion if he were moved to Health & Human Services.
The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birth rate to sustain it. Post-Christian hyper-rationalism is, in the objective sense, a lot less rational than Catholicism or Mormonism. Indeed, in its reliance on immigration to ensure its future, the European Union has adopted a twenty-first-century variation on the strategy of the Shakers, who were forbidden from reproducing and thus could only increase their numbers by conversion. The problem is that secondary- impulse societies mistake their weaknesses for strengthsor, at any rate, virtuesand thats why theyre proving so feeble at dealing with a primal force like Islam.
Speaking of which, if we are at warand half the American people and significantly higher percentages in Britain, Canada, and Europe dont accept that propositionthan what exactly is the war about?
We know its not really a war on terror. Nor is it, at heart, a war against Islam, or even radical Islam. The Muslim faith, whatever its merits for the believers, is a problematic business for the rest of us. There are many trouble spots around the world, but as a general rule, its easy to make an educated guess at one of the participants: Muslims vs. Jews in Palestine, Muslims vs. Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims vs. Christians in Africa, Muslims vs. Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims vs. Russians in the Caucasus, Muslims vs. backpacking tourists in Bali. Like the environmentalists, these guys think globally but act locally.
Yet while Islamism is the enemy, its not what this things about. Radical Islam is an opportunist infection, like AIDS: its not the HIV that kills you, its the pneumonia you get when your bodys too weak to fight it off. When the jihadists engage with the U.S. military, they loseas they did in Afghanistan and Iraq. If this were like World War I with those fellows in one trench and us in ours facing them over some boggy piece of terrain, it would be over very quickly. Which the smarter Islamists have figured out. They know they can never win on the battlefield, but they figure theres an excellent chance they can drag things out until western civilization collapses in on itself and Islam inherits by default.
Thats what the wars about: our lack of civilizational confidence. As a famous Arnold Toynbee quote puts it: Civilizations die from suicide, not murderas can be seen throughout much of the western world right now. The progressive agenda lavish social welfare, abortion, secularism, multiculturalismis collectively the real suicide bomb. Take multiculturalism: the great thing about multiculturalism is that it doesnt involve knowing anything about other culturesthe capital of Bhutan, the principal exports of Malawi, who cares? All it requires is feeling good about other cultures. Its fundamentally a fraud, and I would argue was subliminally accepted on that basis. Most adherents to the idea that all cultures are equal dont want to live in anything but an advanced western society: Multiculturalism means your kid has to learn some wretched native dirge for the school holiday concert instead of getting to sing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or that your holistic masseuse uses techniques developed from Native American spirituality, but not that you or anyone you care about should have to live in an African or Native-American society. Its a quintessential piece of progressive humbug.
Then September 11 happened. And bizarrely the reaction of just about every prominent western leader was to visit a mosque: President Bush did, the Prince of Wales did, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom did, the Prime Minister of Canada did . The Premier of Ontario didnt, and so twenty Muslim community leaders had a big summit to denounce him for failing to visit a mosque. I dont know why he didnt. Maybe there was a big backlog, it was mosque drivetime, prime ministers in gridlock up and down the freeway trying to get to the Sword of the Infidel-Slayer Mosque on Elm Street. But for whatever reason he couldnt fit it into his hectic schedule. Ontarios Citizenship Minister did show up at a mosque, but the imams took that as a great insult, like the Queen sending Fergie to open the Commonwealth Games. So the Premier of Ontario had to hold a big meeting with the aggrieved imams to apologize for not going to a mosque and, as The Toronto Stars reported it, to provide them with reassurance that the provincial government does not see them as the enemy.
Anyway, the get-me-to-the-mosque-on-time fever died down, but it set the tone for our general approach to these atrocities. The old definition of a nanosecond was the gap between the traffic light changing in New York and the first honk from a car behind. The new definition is the gap between a terrorist bombing and the press release from an Islamic lobby group warning of a backlash against Muslims. In most circumstances, it would be considered appallingly bad taste to deflect attention from an actual hate crime by scaremongering about a purely hypothetical one. Needless to say, there is no campaign of Islamophobic hate crimes. If anything, the west is awash in an epidemic of self-hate crimes. A commenter on Tim Blairs website in Australia summed it up in a note-perfect parody of a Guardian headline: Muslim Community Leaders Warn of Backlash from Tomorrow Mornings Terrorist Attack. Those community leaders have the measure of us.
Radical Islam is what multiculturalism has been waiting for all along. In The Survival of Culture, I quoted the eminent British barrister Helena Kennedy, QC. Shortly after September 11, Baroness Kennedy argued on a BBC show that it was too easy to disparage Islamic fundamentalists. We as western liberals too often are fundamentalist ourselves, she complained. We dont look at our own fundamentalisms.
Well, said the interviewer, what exactly would those western liberal fundamentalisms be? One of the things that we are too ready to insist upon is that we are the tolerant people and that the intolerance is something that belongs to other countries like Islam. And Im not sure thats true.
Hmm. Lady Kennedy was arguing that our tolerance of our own tolerance is making us intolerant of other peoples intolerance, which is intolerable. And, unlikely as it sounds, this has now become the highest, most rarefied form of multiculturalism. So youre nice to gays and the Inuit? Big deal. Anyone can be tolerant of fellows like that, but tolerance of intolerance gives an even more intense frisson of pleasure to the multiculti masochists. In other words, just as the AIDS pandemic greatly facilitated societal surrender to the gay agenda, so 9/11 is greatly facilitating our surrender to the most extreme aspects of the multicultural agenda.
For example, one day in 2004, a couple of Canadians returned home, to Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto. They were the son and widow of a fellow called Ahmed Said Khadr, who back on the Pakistani-Afghan frontier was known as al-Kanadi. Why? Because he was the highest-ranking Canadian in al Qaedaplenty of other Canucks in al Qaeda but he was the Numero Uno. In fact, one could argue that the Khadr family is Canadas principal contribution to the war on terror. Granted theyre on the wrong side (if youll forgive me being judgmental) but no can argue that they arent in the thick of things. One of Mr. Khadrs sons was captured in Afghanistan after killing a U.S. Special Forces medic. Another was captured and held at Guantanamo. A third blew himself up while killing a Canadian soldier in Kabul. Pa Khadr himself died in an al Qaeda shoot-out with Pakistani forces in early 2004. And they say we Canadians arent doing our bit in this war!
In the course of the fatal shoot-out of al-Kanadi, his youngest son was paralyzed. And, not unreasonably, Junior didnt fancy a prison hospital in Peshawar. So Mrs. Khadr and her boy returned to Toronto so he could enjoy the benefits of Ontario government healthcare. Im Canadian, and Im not begging for my rights, declared the widow Khadr. Im demanding my rights.
As they always say, treasons hard to prove in court, but given the circumstances of Mr. Khadrs death it seems clear that not only was he providing aid and comfort to the Queens enemies but that he was, in fact, the Queens enemy. The Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry, the Royal 22nd Regiment, and other Canucks have been participating in Afghanistan, on one side of the conflict, and the Khadr family had been over there participating on the other side. Nonetheless, the Prime Minister of Canada thought Boy Khadrs claims on the public health system was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate his own deep personal commitment to diversity. Asked about the Khadrs return to Toronto, he said, I believe that once you are a Canadian citizen, you have the right to your own views and to disagree.
Thats the wonderful thing about multiculturalism: you can choose which side of the war you want to fight on. When the draft card arrives, just tick home team or enemy, according to taste. The Canadian Prime Minister is a typical late-stage western politician: He could have said, well, these are contemptible people and I know many of us are disgusted at the idea of our tax dollars being used to provide health care for a man whose Canadian citizenship is no more than a flag of convenience, but unfortunately thats the law and, while we can try to tighten it, it looks like this lowlifes got away with it. Instead, his reflex instinct was to proclaim this as a wholehearted demonstration of the virtues of the multicultural state. Like many enlightened western leaders, the Canadian Prime Minister will be congratulating himself on his boundless tolerance even as the forces of intolerance consume him.
That, by the way, is the one point of similarity between the jihad and conventional terrorist movements like the IRA or ETA. Terror groups persist because of a lack of confidence on the part of their targets: the IRA, for example, calculated correctly that the British had the capability to smash them totally but not the will. So they knew that while they could never win militarily, they also could never be defeated. The Islamists have figured similarly. The only difference is that most terrorist wars are highly localized. We now have the first truly global terrorist insurgency because the Islamists view the whole world the way the IRA view the bogs of Fermanagh: they want it and theyve calculated that our entire civilization lacks the will to see them off.
We spend a lot of time at The New Criterion attacking the elites and were right to do so. The commanding heights of the culture have behaved disgracefully for the last several decades. But, if it were just a problem with the elites, it wouldnt be that serious: the mob could rise up and hang em from lamppostsa scenario thats not unlikely in certain Continental countries. But the problem now goes way beyond the ruling establishment. The annexation by government of most of the key responsibilities of lifechild-raising, taking care of your elderly parentshas profoundly changed the relationship between the citizen and the state. At some pointI would say socialized health care is a good markeryou cross a line, and its very hard then to persuade a citizenry enjoying that much government largesse to cross back. In National Review recently, I took issue with that line Gerald Ford always uses to ingratiate himself with conservative audiences: A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have. Actually, you run into trouble long before that point: A government big enough to give you everything you want still isnt big enough to get you to give anything back. Thats what the French and German political classes are discovering.
Go back to that list of local conflicts I mentioned. The jihad has held out a long time against very tough enemies. If youre not shy about taking on the Israelis, the Russians, the Indians, and the Nigerians, why wouldnt you fancy your chances against the Belgians and Danes and New Zealanders?
So the jihadists are for the most part doing no more than giving us a prod in the rear as we sleepwalk to the cliff. When I say sleepwalk, its not because were a blasé culture. On the contrary, one of the clearest signs of our decline is the way we expend so much energy worrying about the wrong things. If youve read Jared Diamonds bestselling book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, youll know it goes into a lot of detail about Easter Island going belly up because they chopped down all their trees. Apparently thats why theyre not a G8 member or on the UN Security Council. Same with the Greenlanders and the Mayans and Diamonds other curious choices of societies. Indeed, as the author sees it, pretty much every society collapses because it chops down its trees.
Poor old Diamond cant see the forest because of his obsession with the trees. (Russias collapsing even as its undergoing reforestation.) One way societies choose to fail or succeed is by choosing what to worry about. The western world has delivered more wealth and more comfort to more of its citizens than any other civilization in history, and in return weve developed a great cult of worrying. You know the classics of the genre: In 1968, in his bestselling book The Population Bomb, the eminent scientist Paul Ehrlich declared: In the 1970s the world will undergo famineshundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death. In 1972, in their landmark study The Limits to Growth, the Club of Rome announced that the world would run out of gold by 1981, of mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead, and gas by 1993.
None of these things happened. In fact, quite the opposite is happening. Were pretty much awash in resources, but were running out of peoplethe one truly indispensable resource, without which none of the others matter. Russias the most obvious example: its the largest country on earth, its full of natural resources, and yet its dyingits population is falling calamitously.
The default mode of our elites is that anything that happensfrom terrorism to tsunamiscan be understood only as deriving from the perniciousness of western civilization. As Jean-François Revel wrote, Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.
And even though none of the prognostications of the eco-doom blockbusters of the 1970s came to pass, all that means is that thirty years on, the end of the world has to be rescheduled. The amended estimated time of arrival is now 2032. Thats to say, in 2002, the United Nations Global Environmental Outlook predicted the destruction of 70 percent of the natural world in thirty years, mass extinction of species . More than half the world will be afflicted by water shortages, with 95 percent of people in the Middle East with severe problems 25 percent of all species of mammals and 10 percent of birds will be extinct
Etc., etc., for 450 pages. Or to cut to the chase, as The Guardian headlined it, Unless We Change Our Ways, The World Faces Disaster.
Well, heres my prediction for 2032: unless we change our ways the world faces a future where the environment will look pretty darn good. If youre a tree or a rock, youll be living in clover. Its the Italians and the Swedes wholl be facing extinction and the loss of their natural habitat.
There will be no environmental doomsday. Oil, carbon dioxide emissions, deforestation: none of these things is worth worrying about. Whats worrying is that we spend so much time worrying about things that arent worth worrying about that we dont worry about the things we should be worrying about. For thirty years, weve had endless wake-up calls for things that arent worth waking up for. But for the very real, remorseless shifts in our societythe ones truly jeopardizing our futurewere sound asleep. The world is changing dramatically right now and hysterical experts twitter about a hypothetical decrease in the Antarctic krill that might conceivably possibly happen so far down the road theres unlikely to be any Italian or Japanese enviro-worriers left alive to be devastated by it.
In a globalized economy, the environmentalists want us to worry about First World capitalism imposing its ways on bucolic, pastoral, primitive Third World backwaters. Yet, insofar as globalization is a threat, the real danger is precisely the oppositethat the peculiarities of the backwaters can leap instantly to the First World. Pigs are valued assets and sleep in the living room in rural Chinaand next thing you know an unknown respiratory disease is killing people in Toronto, just because someone got on a plane. Thats the way to look at Islamism: we fret about McDonalds and Disney, but the big globalization success story is the way the Saudis have taken what was eighty years ago a severe but obscure and unimportant strain of Islam practiced by Bedouins of no fixed abode and successfully exported it to the heart of Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Manchester, Buffalo
Whats the better bet? A globalization that exports cheeseburgers and pop songs or a globalization that exports the fiercest aspects of its culture? When it comes to forecasting the future, the birth rate is the nearest thing to hard numbers. If only a million babies are born in 2006, its hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2026 (or 2033, or 2037, or whenever they get around to finishing their Anger Management and Queer Studies degrees). And the hard data on babies around the western world is that theyre running out a lot faster than the oil is. Replacement fertility ratei.e., the number you need for merely a stable population, not getting any bigger, not getting any smalleris 2.1 babies per woman. Some countries are well above that: the global fertility leader, Somalia, is 6.91, Niger 6.83, Afghanistan 6.78, Yemen 6.75. Notice what those nations have in common?
Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and youll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canadas fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. Thats to say, Spains population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italys population will have fallen by 22 percent, Bulgarias by 36 percent, Estonias by 52 percent. In America, demographic trends suggest that the blue states ought to apply for honorary membership of the EU: in the 2004 election, John Kerry won the sixteen with the lowest birth rates; George W. Bush took twenty-five of the twenty-six states with the highest. By 2050, there will be 100 million fewer Europeans, 100 million more Americansand mostly red-state Americans.
As fertility shrivels, societies get olderand Japan and much of Europe are set to get older than any functioning societies have ever been. And we know what comes after old age. These countries are going out of businessunless they can find the will to change their ways. Is that likely? I dont think so. If you look at European election resultsmost recently in Germanyits hard not to conclude that, while voters are unhappy with their political establishments, theyre unhappy mainly because they resent being asked to reconsider their government benefits and, no matter how unaffordable they may be a generation down the road, they have no intention of seriously reconsidering them. The Scottish executive recently backed down from a proposal to raise the retirement age of Scottish public workers. Its presently sixty, which is nice but unaffordable. But the reaction of the average Scots worker is that thats somebody elses problem. The average German worker now puts in 22 percent fewer hours per year than his American counterpart, and no politician who wishes to remain electorally viable will propose closing the gap in any meaningful way.
This isnt a deep-rooted cultural difference between the Old World and the New. It dates back all the way to, oh, the 1970s. If one wanted to allocate blame, one could argue that its a product of the U.S. military presence, the American security guarantee that liberated European budgets: instead of having to spend money on guns, they could concentrate on butter, and buttering up the voters. If Washingtons problem with Europe is that these are not serious allies, well, whose fault is that? Who, in the years after the Second World War, created NATO as a post-modern military alliance? The free world, as the Americans called it, was a free ride for everyone else. And having been absolved from the primal responsibilities of nationhood, its hardly surprising that European nations have little wish to re-shoulder them. In essence, the lavish levels of public health care on the Continent are subsidized by the American taxpayer. And this long-term softening of large sections of the west makes them ill-suited to resisting a primal force like Islam.
There is no population bomb. There never was. Birth rates are declining all over the worldeventually every couple on the planet may decide to opt for the western yuppie model of one designer baby at the age of thirty-nine. But demographics is a game of last man standing. The groups that succumb to demographic apathy last will have a huge advantage. Even in 1968 Paul Ehrlich and his ilk should have understood that their so-called population explosion was really a massive population adjustment. Of the increase in global population between 1970 and 2000, the developed world accounted for under 9 percent of it, while the Muslim world accounted for 26 percent of the increase. Between 1970 and 2000, the developed world declined from just under 30 percent of the worlds population to just over 20 percent, the Muslim nations increased from about 15 percent to 20 percent.
1970 doesnt seem that long ago. If youre the age many of the chaps running the western world today are wont to be, your pants are narrower than they were back then and your hairs less groovy, but the landscape of your lifethe look of your house, the lay-out of your car, the shape of your kitchen appliances, the brand names of the stuff in the fridgeisnt significantly different. Aside from the Internet and the cellphone and the CD, everything in your world seems pretty much the same but slightly modified.
And yet the world is utterly altered. Just to recap those bald statistics: In 1970, the developed world had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30 percent to 15 percent. By 2000, they were the same: each had about 20 percent.
And by 2020?
So the worlds people are a lot more Islamic than they were back then and a lot less western. Europe is significantly more Islamic, having taken in during that period some 20 million Muslims (officially)or the equivalents of the populations of four European Union countries (Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, and Estonia). Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the west: in the UK, more Muslims than Christians attend religious services each week.
Can these trends continue for another thirty years without having consequences? Europe by the end of this century will be a continent after the neutron bomb: the grand buildings will still be standing but the people who built them will be gone. We are living through a remarkable period: the self-extinction of the races who, for good or ill, shaped the modern world.
What will Europe be like at the end of this process? Who knows? On the one hand, theres something to be said for the notion that America will find an Islamified Europe more straightforward to deal with than Monsieur Chirac, Herr Schröder, and Co. On the other hand, given Europes track record, getting there could be very bloody. But either way this is the real battlefield. The al Qaeda nutters can never find enough suicidal pilots to fly enough planes into enough skyscrapers to topple America. But, unlike us, the Islamists think long-term, and, given their demographic advantage in Europe and the tone of the emerging Muslim lobby groups there, much of what theyre flying planes into buildings for theyre likely to wind up with just by waiting a few more years. The skyscrapers will be theirs; why knock em over?
The latter half of the decline and fall of great civilizations follows a familiar pattern: affluence, softness, decadence, extinction. You dont notice yourself slipping through those stages because usually theres a seductive pol on hand to provide the age with a sly, self-deluding sloganlike Bill Clintons Its about the future of all our children. We on the right spent the 1990s gleefully mocking Clintons tedious invocation, drizzled like syrup over everything from the Kosovo war to highway appropriations. But most of the rest of the west cant even steal his lame bromides: A society that has no children has no future.
Permanence is the illusion of every age. In 1913, no one thought the Russian, Austrian, German, and Turkish empires would be gone within half a decade. Seventy years on, all those fellows who dismissed Reagan as an amiable dunce (in Clark Cliffords phrase) assured us the Soviet Union was likewise here to stay. The CIA analysts position was that East Germany was the ninth biggest economic power in the world. In 1987 there was no rash of experts predicting the imminent fall of the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Pact, and the USSR itself.
Yet, even by the minimal standards of these wretched precedents, so-called post-Christian civilizationsas a prominent EU official described his continent to meare more prone than traditional societies to mistake the present tense for a permanent feature. Religious cultures have a much greater sense of both past and future, as we did a century ago, when we spoke of death as joining the great majority in the unseen world. But if secularisms starting point is that this is all there is, its no surprise that, consciously or not, they invest the here and now with far greater powers of endurance than its ever had. The idea that progressive Euro-welfarism is the permanent resting place of human development was always foolish; we now know that its suicidally so.
To avoid collapse, European nations will need to take in immigrants at a rate no stable society has ever attempted. The CIA is predicting the EU will collapse by 2020. Given that the CIAs got pretty much everything wrong for half a century, that would suggest the EU is a shoo-in to be the colossus of the new millennium. But even a flop spook is right twice a generation. If anything, the date of EU collapse is rather a cautious estimate. It seems more likely that within the next couple of European election cycles, the internal contradictions of the EU will manifest themselves in the usual way, and that by 2010 well be watching burning buildings, street riots, and assassinations on American network news every night. Even if they avoid that, the idea of a childless Europe ever rivaling America militarily or economically is laughable. Sometime this century there will be 500 million Americans, and whats left in Europe will either be very old or very Muslim. Japan faces the same problem: its population is already in absolute decline, the first gentle slope of a death spiral it will be unlikely ever to climb out of. Will Japan be an economic powerhouse if its populated by Koreans and Filipinos? Very possibly. Will Germany if its populated by Algerians? Thats a trickier proposition.
Best-case scenario? The Continent winds up as Vienna with Swedish tax rates.
Worst-case scenario: Sharia, circa 2040; semi-Sharia, a lot soonerand were already seeing a drift in that direction.
In July 2003, speaking to the United States Congress, Tony Blair remarked: As Britain knows, all predominant power seems for a time invincible but, in fact, it is transient. The question is: What do you leave behind?
Excellent question. Britannia will never again wield the unrivalled power she enjoyed at her imperial apogee, but the Britannic inheritance endures, to one degree or another, in many of the key regional players in the world todayAustralia, India, South Africaand in dozens of island statelets from the Caribbean to the Pacific. If China ever takes its place as an advanced nation, it will be because the Peoples Republic learns more from British Hong Kong than Hong Kong learns from the Little Red Book. And of course the dominant power of our time derives its political character from eighteenth-century British subjects who took English ideas a little further than the mother country was willing to go.
A decade and a half after victory in the Cold War and end-of-history triumphalism, the what do you leave behind? question is more urgent than most of us expected. The west, as a concept, is dead, and the west, as a matter of demographic fact, is dying.
What will Londonor Paris, or Amsterdambe like in the mid-Thirties? If European politicians make no serious attempt this decade to wean the populace off their unsustainable thirty-five-hour weeks, retirement at sixty, etc., then to keep the present level of pensions and health benefits the EU will need to import so many workers from North Africa and the Middle East that it will be well on its way to majority Muslim by 2035. As things stand, Muslims are already the primary source of population growth in English cities. Can a society become increasingly Islamic in its demographic character without becoming increasingly Islamic in its political character?
This ought to be the lefts issue. Im a conservativeIm not entirely on board with the Islamist program when it comes to beheading sodomites and so on, but I agree Britney Spears dresses like a slut: Im with Mullah Omar on that one. Why then, if your big thing is feminism or abortion or gay marriage, are you so certain that the cult of tolerance will prevail once the biggest demographic in your society is cheerfully intolerant? Who, after all, are going to be the first victims of the wests collapsed birth rates? Even if one were to take the optimistic view that Europe will be able to resist the creeping imposition of Sharia currently engulfing Nigeria, it remains the case that the Muslim world is not notable for setting much store by a womans right to choose, in any sense. I watched that big abortion rally in Washington last year, where Ashley Judd and Gloria Steinem were cheered by women waving Keep your Bush off my bush placards, and I thought it was the equivalent of a White Russian tea party in 1917. By prioritizing a womans right to choose, western women are delivering their societies into the hands of fellows far more patriarchal than a 1950s sitcom dad. If any of those women marching for their reproductive rights still have babies, they might like to ponder demographic realities: A little girl born today will be unlikely, at the age of forty, to be free to prance around demonstrations in Eurabian Paris or Amsterdam chanting Hands off my bush!
Just before the 2004 election, that eminent political analyst Cameron Diaz appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to explain what was at stake:
Women have so much to lose. I mean, we could lose the right to our bodies . If you think that rape should be legal, then dont vote. But if you think that you have a right to your body, she advised Oprahs viewers, then you should vote.
Poor Cameron. A couple of weeks later, the scary people won. She lost all rights to her body. Unlike Alec Baldwin, she couldnt even move to France. Her body was grounded in Terminal D.
But, after framing the 2004 Presidential election as a referendum on the right to rape, Miss Diaz might be interested to know that men enjoy that right under many Islamic legal codes around the world. In his book The Empty Cradle, Philip Longman asks: So where will the children of the future come from? Increasingly they will come from people who are at odds with the modern world. Such a trend, if sustained, could drive human culture off its current market-driven, individualistic, modernist course, gradually creating an anti-market culture dominated by fundamentalisma new Dark Ages.
Bottom line for Cameron Diaz: There are worse things than John Ashcroft out there.
Longmans point is well taken. The refined antennae of western liberals mean that, whenever one raises the question of whether there will be any Italians living in the geographical zone marked as Italy a generation or three hence, they cry, Racism! To fret about what proportion of the population is white is grotesque and inappropriate. But its not about race, its about culture. If 100 percent of your population believes in liberal pluralist democracy, it doesnt matter whether 70 percent of them are white or only 5 percent are. But, if one part of your population believes in liberal pluralist democracy and the other doesnt, then it becomes a matter of great importance whether the part that does is 9 percent of the population or only 60, 50, 45 percent.
Since the President unveiled the so-called Bush Doctrinethe plan to promote liberty throughout the Arab worldinnumerable progressives have routinely asserted that theres no evidence Muslims want liberty and, indeed, Islam is incompatible with democracy. If thats true, its a problem not for the Middle East today but for Europe the day after tomorrow. According to a poll taken in 2004, over 60 percent of British Muslims want to live under shariain the United Kingdom. If a population at odds with the modern world is the fastest-breeding group on the planetif there are more Muslim nations, more fundamentalist Muslims within those nations, more and more Muslims within non-Muslim nations, and more and more Muslims represented in more and more transnational institutionshow safe a bet is the survival of the modern world?
What do you leave behind? asked Tony Blair. There will only be very few and very old ethnic Germans and French and Italians by the midpoint of this century. What will they leave behind? Territories that happen to bear their names and keep up some of the old buildings? Or will the dying European races understand that the only legacy that matters is whether the peoples who will live in those lands after them are reconciled to pluralist, liberal democracy? Its the demography, stupid. And, if they cant muster the will to change course, then what do you leave behind? is the only question that matters.
Long, good, and posted last night.
It has largely been quiescent since 1945, but it is still there, and will be resurgent when things really start to hurt. And when their homelands are at stake, they will win.
Oops. I suspect he is referring to the Hagia Sophia which mean "holy wisdom" not St Sophia.
If their fertility rates remain so low, then by the time they decide to fight back, it may be too late.
Busted! I haven't been getting my Steyn pings!
Ouch, that's going to leave a mark
Scary, depressing read, but hopefully one that will rally people to thought and action.
.......and that doesn't even mention the long-term effects of so-called "Progressive" education.
If there is any of that hard core left in Europe, it's only because somebody snuck in and cloned a whole bunch of folks, then stuck 'em in suspended animation.
If Steyn is wrong, IMO the error is only on the negative side of the time scale.
If he were American-born, I'd say, "Steyn for President in '08". They could at least have him speak at the Republican convention, along with Rush.
I believe that Steyn is correct in seeing that Al Queda views the liberal agenda as our weakness and wish to exploit "the enemy within".
Its our job to seed western ideals of self reliance to the east as well as the west in order to counter them
That hard core is still there. 1945 is only 60 years ago, the other examples in post #4 are more recent. Look at the neo-nazi kids, the football hooligans, and the after-pub fights in Glasgow if you don't believe it.
I often wonder whether intelligence, education, and affluence are evolutionary dead-ends.
I'm not sure those are on there own--but they are when fused with both liberalism and materialism. Materialism definitely contributes to the lack of children. People want stuff, stuff costs $$, and kids are expensive and troublesome. So if they can't afford both, what do they choose? The stuff, of course. [Not that they really need that BMW, but that's beside the point--they want it!]
Liberalism, of course, gives them the out for making that choice. Sure, don't have those kids. Your gay friends will call you a breeder and there are too many exploitive white people anyway. Besides, having kids makes it tougher for women to climb that career ladder (which is the only real path to happiness). Liberalism is also responsible for higher taxes, which also makes it seem more expensive to have kids.
I can't even begin the tell you the number of smart people I have met who don't have kids, but have the car, house, vacation home, eat out 3X per week, etc. It's definitely reverse Darwinism.
I lived in Europe for 7 years. All those you spoke of have died off and left the spoiled, welfare-raised brats behind to run the show. And they don't like to have kids.
Steyn offers truth. If Europeans don't have the will to turn off the welfare state, who will pay for it as the recipients age? They're not having kids. Keep that in mind.
Perhaps some smaller nations will survive, but the great European countries are doomed.
Ah, the old "historical inevitability" thing - one reason this is not an issue of the Left is that there are an awful lot of disappointed true believers over there who are still desperately holding out for their own form of historical inevitability, wherein capitalism founders from its own internal contradictions and a new socialist utopia eventuates. To the Islamists it's the same metaphor - only the utopia takes a different form. Both are fated to be disappointed in the end, I suspect, but that doesn't mean the road from here to there isn't going to be as bloody as the road from 1917 to 1989 turned out to be.
I am less alarmed than Steyn with respect to the ability of Western society to function on a less-populated and older-median-age model. Given a measure that doesn't figure into these calculations, i.e. the longer span of productivity of latterday humanity and the help that technology promises with respect to yet longer health, it appears to me that we might very well ride out this period of low birthrate, in the absence of demographic changes produced by migration. That's always the issue - history is, if it may be distilled to one single measure, the story of migratory peoples coming on new land, very little of which was unpopulated before they happened along. In that sense I think Steyn correct when he blows the warning horn on the influx of the unassimilatable. It is this, and not just birthrates, that is the immediate peril for Europe, IMHO.
Those people are the European equivalent of our PWTs. Or, to use Orwellian terminology, they are the proles. On their own, they are capable of little more than the white riot that occured in an Australian beach community before Christmas. For Europe to turn back from the abyss of becoming a bunch of "stans", it will take intelligent men and women who are willing to return to the traditional and Christian roots of European culture in numbers large enough to become a major force in society. When and if the welfare state collapses, such men and women would be in a position to take control of their respective nations, much as the Christian church did in the wake of the fall of the Roman Empire.
Barring such an event, the call of the muzzein will be universal from the Atlantic to the Urals and Christianity will be at best tolerated if churches refrain from evangelism.
The out, "tough" Europe you're talking about no longer exists. Those guys are all dead. The remainder are embracing dhimmitude.
"Look at the neo-nazi kids, the football hooligans, and the after-pub fights in Glasgow if you don't believe it."
The Islamists tend to ally with the neo-nazis.
As for "the football hooligans and their after-pub fights", if this is what the Euro-socialists are counting on to retain their societies, God help them.
Pokey78 must still be on holiday.
It's okay, we'll take all the Steyn we can get.
Can one view Steyn's similar speech on C-Span's website? Was it the Churchill dinner?
The abortions you really DON'T want happening are those taking place because the girl is 17 or 20 years old and doesn't have a reasonable way to think she can raise a child and manage her life at the same time. To solve that problem societies have to tackle the real problem, i.e. they need to make it possible for their own seventeen to twenty-five year olds to marry and have children at the ages when we're biologically programmed to do so (16 - 25) and not at 35 - 50 when they're "financially capable" of it.
A rational society should prefer to pay the price for that to paying the price for putting their country under sharia law which, as Steyn notes, is basically the alternative.
The maggots have no sense of humor so they probably aren't laughing. I can't help laughing and can't stop, every time these losers fire their press release salvos that 3-year-olds would have a hard time believing...
What Europe needs is a War!
I agree. Europe will either go quitly, or explode in an orgy of racial violence that will make the Holocaust look like a church social. It is impossible to say which it will be. But as of this time, I'm putting my money down on "explode".
Another interesting side effect of Muslim extremism is that it dends to de-assimilate moderate Muslims and absorb them. Moderate Muslims in Europe tend to fall under the orbit of extremists once they start gaining enough gravity. This is reflected in an increase in radicalization of second and even third generation immigrants.
Granted, European countries often exacerbate this problem by failing to thoroughly assimilate their immigrants in the first place. The isolated North African ghettos of Paris are the perfect incubators for radical Wahabbism, even if they are mostly moderate now. Muslim Europeans that are treated like strangers in their own country will be easy prey for would be Abu Musab al Zarqawis with dreams of insurgency and revolution.
Don't you believe it. There is a lot of enmity between the Anglo-Saxons and the Pakistanis.
When the time is ripe, there will be politicians who will use it as an opportunity, and help develop a consensus.
You've nailed it (with your drill?). The admission of large numbers of immigrants with a very different culture is very dangerous -- just ask the American Indian.
Primitive cultures can be analyzed only through very different rules. Large tribes without even a written language to be used for administration, can't even have a vague concept of what immigration means, let alone formalize an administrative means to control it.
Where's the beef? All I see is appeasement.
In the last French presidential election Jean-Marie Le Pen received 5,525,906 votes, the majority of them from people over 50. There are currently more than 6 million muslims (and counting), the majority of them under 30. Time is running out.
I suspect more of the younger Frogs will be voting for LePen next time, unless the other parties adopt some of his policies (e.g., watch Sarkozi (sp?)).
They are not yet angry and scared enough. There was little beef in England and the US regarding the Nazi threat until quite late in the 30's.
You are being over-literal and obtuse -- they failed to prevent widespread European immigration into N. America and paid the price; if the Europeans fail to prevent the same from the Muzzies, they risk the same.
One of Steyn's better pieces, although not too humorous.
The only serious politician in France is Alain Madelain (small government, pro-business and family, pro-American) will never (unfortunately) get more than 5% of the vote...
At Thanksgiving, my aunt remarked about how many of her kids friends had at least three kids. I think this is just one more part of the swing back to the right in our country, but it is still a largely silent group. They want a big family but they don't want to talk about it a lot.
I always remember hearing that you should have kids when you are broke so you never get used to having money.
Now, a Western scholar could say, that Christendom behaved very much like this for the last millennium with the exception of the last 40 or 50 years since the rise of Secular Humanism. Christians found nothing wrong with converting any population they came into contact with or killing them for that matter if they insisted on staying "heathens." Its hypocritical of Western Societies to look at aggressive Islamic tactics for converting populations as evil in itself. Yet, Europe had its experience with this very situation for hundreds of years starting with the occupation of Spain in 711 and lasting till nearly 1790, though the Ottomans maintained a foothold in Europe till the end of World War I. Up until the Battle of Vienna in 1683, the fate of Europe was very much in question.
So, for a few hundred years Europe has found a respite. Now the question has become one of Brand Switching where there is no return process, except the model is run perhaps over hundreds of iterations. In this case, without pushing back by other faiths, creating converts out of Muslims, then the outcome is inevitable.
Its not good enough just to cry out and sacrifice freedom of religion too, in this conflict. Instead, we are witnessing pushback in the US and perhaps this will spread back to Europe. The war on Christmas, that was noticed by many this year and the other examples of the Christian faith asking for the same rights as others, to exist, to grow and be celebrated in the Public Square is a beginning.
This does not mean that this should progress to destroying our separation of Church and State, but rather going back to the separation being maintained by the Government working to avoid establishing a preferred or State Religion. The error of the ACLU and others is to insist that the way to avoid establishing a state religion is to insist that the Government act as an Atheist organization, banning any displays of faith and religious teaching for fear of offending. Choosing to officially deny the existence of God, today's courts seem engaged in an effort that would horrify the Founding Fathers who were perfectly happy to declare God as the origin of man's rights and dignity.
Our Government needs to provide fertile ground for Religious faith to take hold and grow without picking the outcome. Social planners and folks who want to pick winners and losers will hate this, but even to choose against Islam would put our basic freedom at risk.
Still, Islam at its core has values and concepts that are antithetical to Western concepts of Equality, Fidelity, Honor, Patriotism because it insists on a dividing line between those who are and those who are not Muslim. Lies told to non-muslems are not sins, friendships are not to be formed with non-muslims, even sins committed to further the aims of the faith are not considered sins.
From a Western stance, the problem with Islam is its teachings and actions toward nonbelievers. It is not realistic to ask Islam to change to "fit in" with Western Civilization. Yet change is what we need desperately on a basic level to co-exist. Christianity and Judaism have changed on a profound level to accept the humanity and dignity of people of other faiths.
This acceptance has come at the price of seeming weak in the face of almost any group that reaches back to the teachings of self and other in the Bible as well as the Koran, fundamentalists. Perhaps, this was the goal of the plan of the elites to replace religious faith with Secular Humanism. However, Humanism has failed just as Communism and Socialism, because without God, all is lost. Love, Family, Honor, Sacrifice, Compassion lose their meaning without the immediate realization of the interconnected nature of men through God's love and creation. So, this leaves a mighty puzzle. How to deal with a faith that is forbidden to play by the rules.
I believe the answer is to still insist on the rules and to expose Islam publicly and loudly where its teachings run afoul of Western values. Past this, it is up to people and the creative minds of the West to defend and grow the institutions that form the basis of our beloved civilization. It is up to Christians and other faiths to get back into the business of evangelizing, and finding ways to welcome people back to active faith. Ultimately, this must culminate in other faiths converting and defending infidels despite the conflict that this will bring.
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