By Eugène E.
As the #MeToo campaign continues to claim the front pages of the press and command premium space on news websites, leaving the public in suspense as it attempts to guess the next big name to be hit with some sordid revelations going back to the time when mullets were all the rage, the reader may be forgiven for having missed other newsworthy items over the past several weeks. One such item was the brief spurt of football-related violence that hit Brussels in the first half of November. Another was the recent release of a report, commissioned by the American Jewish Committee, which showed rising anti-Semitic sentiment in Germany. The connection between the two might not be obvious at first blush, but a connection there assuredly is; and this connection illustrates, if only in small strokes, the ongoing civilizational war pulverizing Europe today.
The rioters who looted shops and injured over twenty police officers in the Belgian capital were not the typical domestic football hooligans so easily conjured when one thinks of football violence, but rather, men of Moroccan background celebrating the victory of Morocco’s national football team over that of Ivory Coast. As for Germany, the increasing hatred of Jews in a country where such sentiment is, for historical reasons, a rather delicate matter, is ascribed not to hoodlums with shaved craniums, but to recent arrivals from the Middle East, who supposedly fled the conflagrations in their homelands in search of peace – and who were supposed to have left the kind of religious and political baggage that made such conflagrations possible behind. The Belgian rabble-rousers are not so Belgian, then, and the German anti-Semites not so German.
Just over two decades ago, the American political scientist Samuel Huntington wrote his influential The Clash of Civilizations, a meatier spin-off of another article that he’d written for Foreign Affairs. According to the central thesis of this book, global affairs in the future will be defined not by national conflicts, as they were for much of the 20th century, but by civilizational ones. Free of the epic ideological battles that dominated politics until the end of the Cold War, the new world order will be characterized by groups of people united by civilization and not by common ethnicity or ideology as in the past; different civilizational constellations will be pitted against one another. Huntington’s thesis seems to have been largely born out by key events that have taken place in the last twenty years, and it is now more pressing than at any point in history, at least if you happen to be in Europe. For if the civilizational conflict between Western civilization and the Islamic one is to be one of the leitmotifs of the 21st century, Europe can well be the place where the conflict will play itself out – a conflict characterized by the struggle of Europe to defend itself against the onslaught of Islam. The fate of Western civilization is hanging in the balance: as Europe is the womb of Western civilization, its death will herald the end of Western civilization as such. Call me a Cassandra if you wish; but then the owl of Minerva spreads its wings at dusk – and I am not entirely sure that we’ve seen the dusk yet.
This is not the place to chart the history of Muslim migration into Europe, which is additionally hardly a new phenomenon. Much of the Iberian Peninsula was once in Muslim hands, when it was controlled by the Moors. A chunk of southeast Europe took its orders from the Sublime Porte in Constantinople for centuries; and many other European lands lived in constant danger of becoming vassals of the Ottoman Empire. By the time the Turks were definitively repelled from Christian Europe in the late 17th century, they had penetrated sufficiently far into the continent to besiege Hapsburg Vienna in the heart of European Christendom. The Ottomans were defeated in the Battle of Vienna, and Islam was gradually driven out of Europe. It wouldn’t come back until the last decades of the 20th century.
When Islam did come back again, it no longer had to gallop on horseback, brandishing scimitars. Thanks to a combination of economic, demographic, historical and political factors, millions of Muslims have arrived in (mostly western) Europe in the past decades in a less dramatic fashion – but with equally dramatic ramifications. Many have shown up uninvited, which didn’t really matter in the end, since ultraliberals maintain that even those who disembark on European shores without any legal right to do so ought to be allowed to stay. As ultraliberal thought has stifled legitimate debate about immigration generally and Muslim immigration specifically, and made its kind of thought the only acceptable one institutionally and culturally, millions of Europeans have for years been swimming in complacent waters, blind to the dangers that come with the mass influx of Muslim immigrants – and blind to a new reality that promises to consign them to minority status in their own lands.
Such was the power of the ideological straitjacket imposed by ultraliberals on society that, for years, the only people who were able to broach the topic of mass Muslim immigration were fringe demagogues with sulphurous political reputations or tainted ideological credentials. Only recently has this kind of discourse acquired a carapace of legitimacy. Yet even now, criticism of the ultraliberal approach to mass Muslim immigration – and, more broadly, criticism of “multicivilizationalism” – is disparagingly labeled as either populism or, less charitably, bigotry. Without question, extremist voices can be heard if you only listen hard enough: any socially explosive issue will attract ghouls from the margins searching for a platform that just might make their voices sound a little less extreme. But the perfectly reasonable argument that public discourse cannot be lent to extremists for any length of time, however attractive the interest rate, does not do away with the problems posed by mass Muslim immigration, nor does it make these problems any less urgent.
There are many reasons why mass Muslim immigration into Europe is a very bad idea; it will suffice to briefly outline just a few.
First, there are the numbers. People have been migrating hither and thither for centuries. There is nothing unnatural about it, particularly with modern infrastructure and communication. However, mass migration cannot occur without at least some displacement and social upheaval – certainly not when the area that is being “colonized” by the migrants has already been inhabited for centuries and, as such, is home to established cultures and traditions. Any large influx of persons is bound to be problematic; where the arriving people also come from a civilization that is intrinsically hostile to the host civilization (and only a fool would claim that modern Islam is not hostile to the West and its values), the effect can be disastrous. The current demographic situation in Europe will only exacerbate this effect: native Europeans are older and have low population growth rates, while Muslims in Europe are younger and enjoy higher fertility rates.
Muslims in France (mostly of North African origin) make up just under 9% of the total population, thus flirting with double digits. Muslims in Germany (mostly of Turkish origin) make up some 6% of the total population. These numbers are dramatic in and of themselves; more alarming still is that these numbers are heading north. According to a recent article published by Pew Research Center, from 2010 to 2016 alone, the number of Muslims in Europe, in percentage terms, increased by more than 1% (from 3.8% to 4.9%). According to Pew Research projections, by 2050 the Muslim population in Europe will be approximately 1.5 times greater than what it is right now – and that is the most conservative estimate, which is based on the assumption that all Muslim immigration is brought to a halt. The Muslim population can nearly treble if the most dramatic estimate turns out to be the correct one, reaching nearly 15% of the total population of Europe.
However, Charles Gave, a French economist and fund manager, has come out with a far bleaker prognosis. If the predictions in his report, which can be found on the website L’Institut Des Libertés (“La Peste Blanche”, September 4th, 2017), are credible, autumn has arrived for European civilization – with no prospect of spring, ever. Gave maintains that Europeans will have become a minority group in Europe fifty years from now (France will be affected earlier than other European countries); Muslims will form the majority. Anyone who doubts this will have his doubts dispelled by visiting any major capital in western Europe, where visual impairment is the only excuse for remaining oblivious to the demographic shifts that are under way. In cities such as Paris and Brussels (typically outside the historic centers), entire Muslim enclaves have appeared – effectively, states within a state, which are de jure French or Belgian, but de facto something altogether different. There are entire neighborhoods where one will be hard-pressed to find a European face. Islamic places of worship are proliferating like mushrooms in a forest after a rainy spell. “Mohammed” (or variations of that name) has become the most popular name for baby boys in a number of cities in the Netherlands.
None of this bodes very well for European peoples. Muslims, in short, no longer need to arrive in Europe armed with weapons. In a way, their weapon is demography – their strength is in their numbers.
Then there’s the political structure of Europe. Western-style democracy is a unique concept. It could only come into being as a result of a special confluence of cultural, religious and historic conditions germane to a specific part of the world (western Europe), to be later transplanted to various European outposts by European settlers. This uniqueness also implies its inherent limitations: it cannot take root within civilizations that have not had the experience needed for liberalism to blossom. This fact is entirely missed by many liberals in the West, who – either out of arrogance, ignorance, or both – believe that, with the help of Starbucks concoctions, Hollywood blockbusters, and perhaps some mild persuasion in the form of fighter jet sorties, Western-style liberalism can flourish anywhere. The examples that refute this illusion are too numerous, especially in the Middle East (Libya, Egypt, Palestine, to name but a few).
Since Western-style democracy can only thrive in a society that has had the necessary historical experience to foster this kind of political system, it follows that its continued existence is contingent on a population that is steeped in the values and traditions that went into the foundation of such a society. One needs to be part of a common project spanning generations – something that cannot be imposed on millions of people hailing from a civilization that has no familiarity with such projects (and one that typically makes a mockery of them). In other words, you cannot admit hordes of people from a different civilization and expect them to uphold a system that is unique to your own society. The uniqueness of Western-style democracy is also its fragility: democracy, as history has taught us, can be used by noble spirits and evildoers alike. As Muslims become more populous in Europe, they will use democracy – the rule of the majority – to influence legislation, something that, given the authoritarian nature of Islam, will come at the cost of democracy. Simply put, Muslims will use democracy in order to obliterate it.
Finally, there is the problem of Islam itself. To deny that there is a problem with Islam is to deny that the sun rises in the east. For all the well-meaning ultraliberal pabulum concerning the peaceful nature of Islam, recent experience has shown that Islam, at least the way it is practiced by much of the Islamic world today, is anything but peaceful. By Western standards, contemporary Islam is aggressive, intolerant, dogmatic and, when applied literally, medieval, if not downright barbaric. Female circumcision, stoning, polygamy, desecration of non-Muslim sacred sites, routine mistreatment of women, oppression of non-Muslim minorities, global terrorism – the postcards sent from many Islamic countries are not particularly lovely to a Western eye. Western civilization might be courting spiritual bankruptcy, but Islamic civilization has demonstrated it has little to offer that might be buyable. As the #MeToo campaign took off in October in the West, Saudi Arabia had just announced it would be permitting its women to drive. The chasm between the Western world and the Islamic one has never been greater. To invite millions of people from Islamic civilization to settle in the West is to invite disaster.
Ultraliberal defense of Muslim immigration is patchy and incoherent. Their arguments are as follows (the list is not meant to be exhaustive): not all Muslims are terrorists (true); Europeans have done a poor job of integrating Muslim immigrants (somewhat true); the perpetrators behind many of the terrorist attacks to have rocked Europe were not fresh Muslim arrivals, but Muslims born on European soil (true, but irrelevant); and Europe has to welcome Muslims because it’s the right thing to do (a mawkish argument divorced from both logic and common sense).
None of the arguments stand up to scrutiny. While not all Muslims are terrorist sympathizers (and perhaps most aren’t), this argument ignores the historical experience of societies with soft majorities and hard minorities. The majority of Russians in the last years of czarism were not revolutionaries, but a relatively small revolutionary conventicle was able to seize power regardless. Assuming that only 1% of the Muslim population in Europe is ready to take up arms against Europeans, this still translates into approximately 250,000 people. To put these numbers into perspective, consider the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015. The attacks resulted in more than 100 casualties, border closures, and a long-lasting state of emergency; yet there were less than a dozen terrorists directly involved in the attacks. Think of what a 250,000-strong army can do. Hard minorities do not require the rest of their polity to share their views; the masses need only be inactive. As the masses are passive or vacillating, they will merely toe the line. There’s no other way to explain the constant failures of so-called moderate Muslims to triumph in the Middle East.
It is true that discrimination against Muslims exists in Europe. Discrimination cannot be justified. However, unlike the Americas (which are composed of young nations that have been built by immigrants), Europe is a continent with an old history and established traditions, which makes it harder for Europe to absorb foreigners, particularly when there are millions of them. Additionally, unlike in the Americas, whose immigration policies have tapped into much of the planet, most of the immigrants to Europe come from the same region and practice the same religion – a religion that has proven to be highly resistant to any kind of assimilation or integration. Ultralibs enjoy talking at length about winning the hearts and minds of Muslim immigrants, which reveals their dismal failure to understand either the hearts or the minds they’re trying to win over. Many Muslims coming to Europe do not want or need European values. What they want is Europe’s affluence – the ability to enjoy the material life offered by Europe, while keeping the spiritual life that they have brought from the Middle East.
More and more mosques are being built in Europe; the traditional European landscape of church steeples is being slowly replaced by minarets and prayers in the streets. A Muslim leader in France went as far as to propose to convert unused churches into mosques – a glimpse of what the future has in store for Europe’s Christian heritage. Tellingly Islam divides the world into two parts: Dar al-Islam, which is the territory of Islam; and Dar al-Harb, which is the territory of war. The territory of war – that’s us. That’s Europe. Many Muslims have no desire to integrate; rather, their goal is to offer a civilizational alternative to Western civilization and ultimately subsume it, establishing some kind of European caliphate, which will serve as an extension of Islamic civilization.
While it’s true that many of the Muslim terrorists in Europe have been of the homebred variety, it makes for an odd justification for continued immigration from Muslim countries. The fact that Muslim terrorists in Europe happen to be European-born only underscores the failure of second-generation Muslims to integrate into European society. Whatever solutions there might be to this problem, it is hard to see how taking on a few more million Muslims from the Middle East is one of them.
The last argument – the misty appeals to some sort of misguided notions of humanitarianism that make it a moral obligation to allow Muslims to move to Europe en masse – deserves the least amount of space. How does one argue with people who denigrate the traditions of their societies and promote the replacement of their own civilization by a different one; with people who believe that a major terrorist attack every other week is a fair price to pay for the protection of our “values”; with people who think that the response to the ongoing carnage in European capitals is greater tolerance still? It is a savage irony that the biggest enthusiasts of mass Muslim immigration on the political spectrum are those who have least to gain from an enlarged Muslim presence, since these enthusiasts are also very likely to be keen advocates of the rights of gays and women, who can expect to suffer terribly under Muslim rule; but the irony seems to be lost on them. They continue to march ahead, touting the great values of multicivilizational tolerance as they understand it. Although multicivilizationalism has already revealed it is practically unfeasible and ideologically insolvent, ultraliberal propaganda continues to downplay its failures; and changing public perceptions of immigration from Muslim countries is very much an uphill battle.
Yet it’s a battle that should be fought. In Huntingtonian terms, Europe is running the risk of a fault line conflict. Huntington divided intercivilizational conflicts into two forms: core state conflicts and fault line conflicts. A core state conflict, involving the major states of different civilizations, is the more global of the two, while a fault line conflict is a micro kind of conflict, typically involving neighboring states from different civilizations or groups from different civilizations within a single state. Where a core state conflict can lead to a war between different states, a fault line conflict – where it involves a conflict between different civilizations within a single state – can lead to civil war. The risk of civil war in Europe is real, but it has not been properly assessed, not least because ultralibs have done everything in their power to prevent societies from engaging in this kind of calculus.
Our times are in great need of answers. These answers will not be easy, because the questions are exceedingly complex; but the questions, at least, should be asked. Don’t count on ultraliberals to ask them, though – they’re too busy trying to find another powerful name whose downfall they can orchestrate on account of some ill-advised sexual advance that may or not may have taken place around the time Samuel Huntington was thinking about the clash of civilizations.