I refuse to shake your hand

By Eugène E.

A few days have passed since “roaming gangs” set scores of vehicles on fire across Sweden in what is said to have been a coordinated attack, and Sweden is in the news once again, displaying the multicivilizational, ultraliberal world in all its splendour.

A labor court has ruled in the case of a young woman who complained of discrimination after her job interview for an interpreter position was cut short by the prospective employer. Why was it cut short? Well, the interviewee refused to shake hands with a male interviewer. The candidate in question, a Swedish woman by the name of Farah Alhajeh, happens to be Muslim, a fact that makes it a problem for her to engage in physical contact with a member of the opposite sex – even when such contact is limited to a simple handshake. When the company refused to accommodate her religious sensibilities and terminated the interview, her problem became the company’s problem.

And what did the Swedish legal justice system have to say about that? The labor court has ruled in favor of the woman, awarding her monetary compensation.

Now let’s step back and analyze this situation. On one side of the scales, we have Sweden, a country where it is customary for men and women to shake hands in a business setting. On the other side of the scales is an individual living in that country, whose religion is not native to Sweden, but who nevertheless believes that the host country that has welcomed her (or her family) is required to adjust its customs and mores in order to accommodate her creed. But who should accommodate whom? If a stranger comes knocking on your door and you grant him shelter, is the stranger not obligated to observe the rules of your house? The answer seems to be obvious: in keeping with common sense, it is incumbent upon the stranger to respect the conventions of the host’s home. When in Rome, do as the Romans. But ultraliberals think differently; for them, Rome is dispensable. The Swedish legal system seems to agree.

The company that lost the case was right to end the interview – and would have won the case in any society not dominated by ultraliberal ideology. It is normal and common for men and women to shake hands in the business world of Western societies. In fact, the custom extends beyond the West. The company in question is looking for an interpreter; it finds itself facing a candidate who refuses to engage in a practice that is standard for its environment. Why should it hire the individual, especially on account of religious beliefs that happen to be completely alien to the society and culture of the country in which the company is operating? If you refuse to abide by the norms of a certain environment, you should not expect to be given the opportunity to participate in that environment. Furthermore, if the individual were hired, what would happen in a situation where the Muslim woman has to interact with a client who is a member of the opposite sex? Would she refuse to shake hands with him? The terrain can get very slippery here, and no company would want to navigate it.

It is curious that people who are so strongly attached to their way of life relocate to societies that are so different in every possible way. Ms. Alhajeh says that she can practice her religion and follow Swedish rules – in other words, her religion is perfectly reconcilable with Swedish society; she can sit on two chairs at the same. Not so – and the legal action that she took against the Swedish company (and the reasons why the legal action was taken) clearly demonstrates that her religion and way of life are incompatible with Swedish society. Would it not make more sense for her to relocate to a place where Islam is an autochthonous religion and where her beliefs will be easily absorbed by local soil? Theocratically minded societies beckon – no one would object to her refusing to shake hands with men during a job interview in Saudi Arabia or Iran. But Ms. Alhajeh does not appear to be in any rush to leave the land of the infidels. She wants to live in Sweden – on her own terms, that is, without having to integrate or assimilate. And that’s a major problem.

It is inevitable for the legal system of a Western country to be taxed with such complaints – such is the prerogative of any society with a rule of law. That is understandable. Far less understandable is the fact that said legal system rules in favor of those who file these complaints. (For the record, of the five judges presiding over Ms. Alhajeh’s case, three voted in her favor and two against – there’s always that one imbecile to tip the balance.) You only get to see that in countries based on, or inspired by, the values of European civilization. Other civilizations don’t allow that sort of thing, and they’re all the stronger for it. No one asks the legal systems – or the courts of public opinion – of China, India, or Saudi Arabia to accommodate westerners who find the local mode of life too cumbersome. No, that would be seen as colonialism in the age of the iPhone. But, for some reason, European-based societies have to be different. They don’t dare to insist that people who enter their countries adapt to the local ways of life. On the contrary, not only do they actively take in migrants from other civilizations, they encourage them to assert their identities at the expense of the identity of the host population. Driven by an ultraliberal agenda, European societies continue to pursue demographically suicidal policies that are detrimental to the local population, and ruinous to European traditions and heritage.

As far as Ms. Alhajeh’s case is concerned, I have one outstanding question. What would Ms. Alhajeh have done if the interviewer had been a transgender individual – that is, a man who had a sex change and became a woman? Would Ms. Alhajeh have shaken, to borrow a term from LGBTQ argot, hir hand? Given Sweden’s ultraliberal infatuation with gender engineering, the question is an apt one.

Virtù-less

By Eugène E.

In the 25th chapter of The Prince, Machiavelli outlines his view of the way human affairs are governed. Aside from acknowledging the role of fortune (read: fate) in the lives of men, Machiavelli introduces the concept of “virtù”, which represents a certain force – a certain vitality – that rules over that half of human destiny that is beyond the purview of fortune. Fortune, which is female in Machiavelli’s conception of world order, cannot be tamed, but virtù – a term that evades a precise translation – lends itself to the human touch; to resist the caprices of fortune, it is necessary to be able to harvest and manage the power of virtù. Such was the weltanschauung of a great thinker living in medieval Florence. What would he think about the state of the world today? This kind of speculation is mischievous but, if Machiavelli were alive, he might be inclined to say that Europe lost its virtù, leaving itself entirely at the mercy of fortune; and yours truly would be inclined to agree.

After a brief hiatus, two horrific events that took place in France last month served as reminders that Islamism and its derivatives had been merely hibernating in the West – as if there had been any doubt, that is. Officially, only one of the two incidents – the supermarket attack in Trèbes, in the south of France – qualifies as a terrorist attack, but the nature of the second incident cannot be divorced from the first, since it’s one and the same disease. Both tragedies received sufficient but brief coverage before being tossed into Lethe to be sent further downstream and, eventually, empty out into the lake of oblivion.

In the first attack, a gunman acting alone highjacked a car in Carcassonne, drove to nearby Trèbes, and burst into a supermarket to take hostages. Aside from the gunman himself, the attack claimed a total of four victims, including a police officer who had voluntarily swapped places with one of the hostages in the supermarket.

The other incident involved the violent murder of an octogenarian woman who had successfully evaded a certain death at the hands of Nazi butchers decades before, only to be bludgeoned in the safety of her home in Paris in what was supposedly a burglary. On the face of it, the murder had nothing to do with the Trèbes attack. However, you know there’s more to the story than meets the eye when the authorities refuse to disclose the identities of the men charged with the crime while diffidently conceding that anti-Semitism might have been a factor. The media have been less timid; according to a number of newspapers, one of the suspects is Muslim and knew his victim since childhood. He believed that the elderly lady, by dint of being a Jew, must have been rich and was consequently an attractive target.

The ultraliberal establishment would have us believe that both cases are isolated episodes committed by fringe lunatics. At no point should society conclude that both attacks are part of the same pattern or that there is a pattern in the first place. To admit that there is would be tantamount to admitting that there is a problem in dire need of resolution, something ultraliberals are loathe to do – out of ideological fealty, political helplessness, or both. In all fairness, the scale of the problem is so daunting that any such admissions are problematic, but they are no less pressing for it.

In the case of the Trèbes attack, the terrorist has been described as having had minor brushes with the law in the past, which is somehow supposed to make the citizenry feel better. Neither Islam nor Islamist terrorism is the problem: the author of the carnage was simply a wastrel, a ne’er-do-well, a lowlife with a troubled past, who had decided to pen the last chapters of his sad biography by taking up the Islamic banner. The root of the problem, we’re made to understand, is nothing more than a troubled individual. In other words, roulez, il n’y a rien à voir, as the French expression goes.

Two things should be pointed out. One is that contemporary Islam seems to be soaking up those who want to inflict maximum damage to the lives and well-being of others; and when one dares to ask why it is Islam (and not, say, Buddhism) that, like a solitary lamp drawing moths on a sultry night, attracts the violent and the marginalized, answers are not forthcoming. The other is that, if the Carcassonne terrorist was an aberration, we still need to explain away the local youths who attacked journalists reporting on the story in the Carcassonne neighbourhood where the terrorist had lived, and who greeted the police by saluting the terrorist. Photos of the neighbourhood in the aftermath of the terrorist attack, showing heavily armed police in riot gear, suggest a city preparing for a second revolution. That is the truly frightening thing about the Trèbes attack: the Carcassonne terrorist has far more sympathizers living in France’s bosom than the media would care to admit or the French would be willing to imagine, sympathizers who demonstrate their visceral hatred of France and everything it stands for by attacking members of one of its most important institutions – the security apparatus (recall the disturbing episode on New Year’s Eve, when two police officers responding to an emergency call were savagely attacked by a crowd in a Paris suburb full of non-European immigrants). Many of these youths were born in France and are French citizens, but they do not identify with France, nor will they ever do so, which means that France’s immigration policy is nothing but a fiasco, and the “Frenchness” of some of those who are French by birth and citizenship is highly suspect, however unsanitary such a statement might be in political terms. It is no exaggeration to say that France, along with the major European countries, has a fifth column in its midst. If one were to reach for platitudes, it would be appropriate to speak of a ticking bomb – only the bombs are already going off.

In the case of the second attack, there’s more to the murder of 85-year-old Mireille Knoll than a case of a burglary gone wrong, even when the anti-Semitism said to have been a factor in the crime has been fully accounted for. Anti-Semitism has a long history in France, as it does in other European countries; and the history is a complex one. But modern French anti-Semitism is very different from its traditional variant. The traditional strain of anti-Semitism was mostly (though certainly not entirely) the preserve of the far right, inspired by ethnic, religious, and class prejudice. The contemporary strain has all of that, but it also contains a geopolitical dimension, since the growing Muslim polity in France has been issued by countries where anti-Semitic sentiment is a function of politics in the Middle East – namely, that of the existence of a Jewish state and the animosity that it inspires among its Arab-Muslim neighbours. Arguably this makes the French anti-Semitism of today far more virulent and violent than it has ever been throughout French history – when someone like Bernard-Henri Lévy claims that Jews have never felt as unsafe in France as they do now, alarm bells should go off. If Lévy’s observation is accurate, it is probably not due to the Le Pen dynasty, the National Front, Action Française, or the atavistic stirrings of the Dreyfus Affair; it is a result of France’s surging Muslim population and the politics it has brought to France. There is nothing more impervious to borders and customs than ideological baggage. The most important source of anti-Semitism today is the Muslim community – the same community whose members routinely attack French police and soldiers, drive trucks into crowds, gun down concertgoers, decapitate priests, and plant bombs. In this sense, there is a link between the Carcassonne atrocities and the killing of Mireille Knoll, however tenuous. Incidentally, the purported comment made by one of Knoll’s alleged killers, to the effect that she must have had money since she was Jewish, echoes the reasoning, if it can be called that, of those who kidnapped, tortured and murdered Ilan Halimi, another Frenchman of Jewish origin, in 2007.

There was a time, not that long ago, when Europe knew how to make use of virtù, which made it possible for European powers to dominate much of the world and project its will far beyond the European continent. As one journalist has written, when European states were the colonizers, the colonized did not blow up people in European capitals. However simplistic this might sound, the general idea behind the statement is solid. For Machiavelli, virtù is associated with impetuousness, daring, and audacity, qualities that are favoured by fortune. Europe was certainly all those things before it turned to navel-gazing, self-loathing, and auto-flagellation. It doesn’t follow that colonialism should be restored, but it does mean that, by abandoning the colonial experience and other such nastiness, Europe also relinquished its virtù, losing the vital force that underwrote its identity and Europe’s ability to assert it. The most powerful civilization on the planet proceeded to dismantle itself, gradually eradicating its very Europeanness. Ultraliberalism was adopted as the guiding dogma, spawning a remarkable asymmetry in relations between the West and “the rest”. Ultraliberals have imputed to their doctrine a kind of universalism born of arrogance and complacency. The arrogance made it a truism that ultraliberalism was the best doctrine available to humanity, while the complacency held that the adoption of the ultraliberalism of the West by “the rest” was a foregone conclusion.

As we have learned, these assumptions were misplaced. Recognizing this, however, does not make the asymmetry go away. Muslims are not just free to roam about Europe; they demand – and are accorded – the right to build mosques and bring their customs to the streets of European cities. On the other hand, foreigners cannot enter Saudi Arabia without a visa, which is not easily obtainable, and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina are strictly off-limits to non-Muslims. In Canada, Sikhs asked that they be allowed to wear turbans as part of their Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) uniform instead of the traditional flat-brimmed hat; and the request was approved. It is hard to imagine that a similar request filed by a westerner aspiring to join India’s law enforcement agencies will be looked upon with the same indulgence. Where’s the reciprocity in that? Europe (and, more generally, the West) is obligated to accommodate non-Europeans at the expense of its Europeanness, while non-European societies suffer from no such compunction.

During a television talk show a few years ago, Nadine Morano, a French politician and former cabinet minister, called France a country of “the white race” and Judeo-Christian roots, and expressed her desire that it remain so, a remark for which she was naturally taken to task. It was the reaction of her interlocutor, a French journalist, that was curious. Debating with Morano, he asserted that France could well become a Muslim country one day and that there was nothing wrong with the idea anyhow. When an individual thinks that the disappearance of his own society and its replacement by another is not a big deal, that individual cannot lay claim to having virtù; or else, it’s a very peculiar kind of virtù. While one can only guess at how many people share these feelings in Europe today, the current situation suggests that legion is their name.

When Europe had virtù, its destiny was cosseted by fortune (fortune favours the brave); when it lost its virtù, it exposed itself to the ravages of fate and chance. Fortune moved on to rain its privileges down on those who wield virtù more deftly – perhaps on those who are sufficiently impetuous to cross a sea, disembark on strange but affluent shores, and displace the host peoples. While fortune-favoured Muslim migrants pour in, virtù-less Europeans organize gay parades, make gender-neutral arrangements, and pass legislation that is inimical to family life and population growth. The contemporary West is thus short on both virtue and virtù. No doubt there will be another Trèbes that will claim more innocent lives – in France or in some other (West) European country. No doubt the French president (or his European colleague) will talk about meting out justice to those who have committed the heinous crime, and remind the world that we will not cave in and that ultraliberal values will continue to be upheld, complete with more gay parades, more gender-neutral arrangements, and more multicivilizationalism. No doubt, then, the root causes will remain unaddressed, and yet another terrorist attack will follow. Such is the price of losing virtù and leaving yourself open to the blows of fortune – the price of being virtù-less.

One might well ask whether the loss of virtù preceded the advent of ultraliberalism, or whether it was ultraliberalism that gave rise to the loss of virtù. What came first, the chicken or the egg? This question must remain unanswered. Perhaps the loss of virtù and the rise of ultraliberalism took place concurrently; there might well have been a reflexive relationship between the two. The exact answer is not that important. A more urgent question is whether Europe can recover virtù and use it to build a stronger, healthier and richer Europe, a Europe that is proud of its Europeanness and whose very existence continues to be predicated on the quality of being European. The answer to that question can’t come soon enough.

WHO ARE WE? THE CRISIS OF NATIONAL IDENTITY IN THE WEST

By Eugène E.

If you search for a book to explain the present state of affairs in the United States, Samuel Huntington’s Who Are We? will be unlikely to make it to the top of your search results. That is most unjust. An eminent political scientist in his day, Huntington is better known for The Clash of Civilizations, of course, but many consider Who Are We? to be his seminal work – and with good reason. One can hardly ask for a better study of how America got to where it is now, not least because the book came out at a time when Donald Trump was a colourful real estate mogul just getting ready to gain further notoriety for firing people on a television show, and when no one – including Trump himself – could have imagined that he would one day be the principal occupant of the White House. Anyone who has read the book will find today’s top stories, as far as US politics is concerned, perfectly comprehensible and perhaps even logical.

Who Are We? is unsettlingly prophetic. As an astute analyst, Huntington took the temperature of his times and anticipated the future. As a great mind, he diagnosed the problem when few realized that a problem existed. As a man who considered himself to be a patriot, he took the trouble to share his findings with the public. What makes this most American of books so strikingly relevant – and the reason many consider this work as Huntington’s most significant – is its applicability not just to America, but to the entire Western world. Although the problems outlined in Who Are We? are germane to the US and to its recent history, he was writing as much about the West as a whole as he was about his own country. The story line is the same; only the actors driving it are somewhat different.

The tone is gentlemanly, but the thesis is trenchantly clear: America is suffering from the erosion of its national identity, which, rooted in the Anglo-Protestant-European ethos, has been brought about by a host of forces inimical to the traditional concept of American national identity and even of national identity, insofar as America may need one, as such. With a somewhat aloof meticulousness, Huntington charts the enfeeblement of America’s “salience”, the term Huntington uses to denote the importance that an individual attaches to his sense of national identity relative to his other identities. In the process, Huntington debunks one very important myth: the notion that all Americans (with the exception of Amerindians, that is) are descendants of immigrants.

This is, Huntington, stresses, a partially valid truth. Partially valid truths are half-truths; and those are problematic. As the historian John Lukacs has written, a half-truth is worse than a lie because, rather than being something that contains a 50 percent truth, it is in fact a 100 percent truth and a 100 percent untruth; and this admixture produces something else altogether. While the US can rightly be called a country of immigrants, it was founded not by immigrants but by settlers. Immigrants are people who leave one society for another. Settlers are those who leave one society to found another. The USA was founded by settlers who mostly came from Anglo-Protestant society; the society they created enticed others to leave their societies for the society founded by the settlers. This glaring fact is often lost on those who claim that, with the exception of Amerindian tribes, everyone else in the US and Canada is an immigrant or a descendant of one.

Why did immigration work in the US, and why did it stop working at one point? Huntington elucidates the immigration process in the US that made it possible for immigrants to be assimilated into US society. This process was characterized by diversity and dispersion, discontinuity, and wars.

With diversity and dispersion, immigrants were accepted from diverse societies so that not a single group would predominate and become an “active minority”. There was also geographic dispersion at work, which means that different groups were encouraged to settle all over the place and not form ethnic enclaves.

With discontinuity, the fluctuations in America’s immigration policy allowed the country to absorb its immigrants. The country’s immigration laws were not always immigrant-friendly, and legislation such as the Immigration Act of 1924 was used to limit the number of people entering the country. This turned out to be a useful tool – even if it wasn’t consciously used as such – to allow the most recent wave of arrivals to get integrated into society; by the time the next wave hit the US shores, the previous wave had become part of US society, and so the next wave had to follow suit.

Finally, Huntington mentions the wars in which the US engaged in the 20th century (certainly in the first half of the 20th century) and which involved the participation of immigrants who now found their salience strengthened.

This traditional immigration process was interrupted with the arrival of what can be called ultraliberal thinking (Huntington does not use this term, but this does not alter the gist of things in any way). The bien-pensants hijacked the agenda, and everything changed. Huntington emphasizes the massive influx of Hispanic migrants as the primary cause of weakening national salience. Although the US continued to take in immigrants from all parts of the world, Hispanics began to constitute a growing – and vocal – minority group. An active minority group, in a word. Furthermore, due to border contiguity, dispersion patterns had changed as well, as many migrants settled in the states adjacent to the border the US shares with Mexico (and which had once belonged to Mexico before the US seized the territory in the middle of the 19th century).

The kind of discontinuity that had characterized America’s approach to immigration had also come to an end. Immigration into the US became constant; in the case of migrants from Mexico, it was further facilitated by geographic proximity and fuelled by millions of migrants crossing the border illegally. Lastly, due to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, there was no more enemy, no external “other” that, however uncomfortable this may sound, every nation needs in order to tauten its national identity. There were no major wars to spur patriotic fervour or boost the sense of belonging to a national project. America’s national identity had come to face an existential threat.

One of the problems with American national identity is that of substance, which is, in simple terms, that fluid, inexplicable notion of what makes an American an American. The diversity of the American people makes it impossible to frame American identity among ethnic or racial lines. American identity, therefore, needs to be buttressed by something else. In the America of yesteryear, national identity was built on Anglo-Protestant culture with a distinctly European orientation. Since the dawn of ultraliberal thought, this has no longer been the case. Huntington correctly identifies the culprits.

First, there’s multiculturalism. Huntington sees multiculturalism for what it is: not as some kind of all-encompassing, all-embracing tolerance of those who are different, but as an ideology that is inherently hostile towards European civilization, which in the eyes of ultraliberal proselytizers has been responsible for all sorts of oppression throughout history and has, for that reason and scores of others, outlived its right to set the national agenda. Making no bones about it, Huntington writes: “Multiculturalism is in its essence anti-European civilization . . . It is basically an anti-Western ideology.” Just so.

Then there is America Inc. Although Huntington makes no explicit mention of the incestuous relationship between movements championing ultraliberal causes and the corporate world, the responsibility of the private sector in the effacement of national identity is spelled out. In pre-multicultural America, businesses made a concerted effort to absorb and Americanize immigrants. This was not out of mere altruism or patriotic duty: Huntington explains that American companies feared that unassimilated European immigrants might start forming labor unions. The Americanization of immigrants brought that risk down. By the end of the 20th century, however, the interests of the corporate world were at odds with a strong national identity. Businesses had embraced multiculturalism. No company wants to be seen as or perceived to be hidebound when it comes to diversity, not least due to fear of boycotts. Also, there’s the compartmentalized nature of the US economy, which makes servicing different markets (including ethnic ones) more profitable than having one standardized market. National identity does not have a listing on the stock market – no ways to pad the income statement there.

Then there’s the question of the elites. The yawning gap between the worldview of the governed and those who govern gets enough press nowadays, but Huntington wrote about it more than a decade before the developed world realized that populism, as a political force, had not yet been fully spent. In Who Are We? Huntington describes the denationalization of the elites, who feel greater kinship with elites from other countries and civilizations than with their own countrymen, and the falling salience of the said elites that is fading at a time when the salience of many among the masses is blossoming. The aspirations of the public are overlooked to accommodate the private interests of the privileged few who, despite their small numbers, drive public discourse, shape legislation, and influence, to the extent that they are able to, the direction of broader society.

A serious scholar, Huntington does not talk in the language of predictions, but in one of scenarios and plausibilities. He enumerates the possible outcomes of the erosion of American national identity in a manner that is never alarmist and is at times nearly detached, yet the urgency of his arguments and conclusions is never compromised. Huntington’s discussion of “white nativism” as a possible reaction on the part of white Americans to the continuous incursions of multiculturalism is delightfully vatic, given that white nativism is considered to have been a factor in the presidential victory of Donald Trump in 2016. Viewed from that angle, Trump’s success appears nothing short of inevitable.

The key thing is that Who Are We? – despite its Americentric bent, from the US flag on the cover page of my edition to its laser focus on the US and its history – is a book for any reader who lives in the West and cares about the future of European civilization. It is as relevant to, say, France or the Netherlands as it is to the US. While America was founded by European settlers, Europe is the land whose peculiar circumstances made these very settlers – and hence, the founding of the US – possible. And, unlike the US, Europe is still largely populated by people autochthonous to the European continent. While the US is facing the rising influence of its Hispanic minority, European countries must contend with a growing Muslim polity – a most active minority. Low fertility rates are as much a problem for indigenous Europeans as they are for Americans of European ancestry. Where America has a border problem with Mexico, Europe has a border problem along its Mediterranean littoral. Huntington writes: “One index foretells the future: in 1998 José replaced Michael as the most popular name for newborn boys in both California and Texas.” Replace the name “José” with “Mohammed”, and California and Texas with European metropolises, and you might as well be reading about Europe. And it is hardly necessary to adumbrate the triumph of ultraliberalism in Europe, which has been wreaking havoc with European societies for decades (multiculturalism, the breakdown of the traditional family, the growing power of the LGBT movement, etc.).

The recrudescence of populism in response to the dissatisfaction of the European public with the elites has been a major theme in recent years and mirrors a similar trend in the US. More disquietingly still, unlike the Hispanic minority in the US, which is Catholic, Europe’s Muslims represent a religion that is at civilizational loggerheads with the West. The situation in Europe, therefore, is gloomier – the prospects of conflict are greater. Huntington discusses America’s identity crisis, which relates to the difficulty of Americans to frame their identity along national lines. While Europeans, whose native inhabitants are white and Christian, should have no problem in that respect, European identity has been besieged by multiculturalism, a falling population, decreasing political capital on the international stage, and the inability of the EU to offer a viable pan-European identity to appeal to the nations united under the aegis of a great European union.

Huntington seems to believe that the traditional form of American national identity might be preserved if only every immigrant were to be Americanized to the hilt. In other words, as long as the core Anglo-Protestant values (with a European accent) are adopted by all, traditional America will live on even if white America becomes a minority in demographic terms. The obvious question is whether an Anglo-Protestant America can exist if WASPs are a minority, and whether the Europeanness of Europe can continue to exist if native Europeans cease to be the majority in Europe. Huntington scarcely answers that question; in the entire book only one passage points to the possibility that the preservation of values might, after all, be contingent on the demographic dominance of the group that espouses the values in question. Perhaps Huntington found the answer too uncomfortable to be dwelled upon.

The spectre of war haunts the pages. Who Are We? refers to warfare as an instrument to bolster national identity. Quoting the German historian von Treitschke, Huntington reminds the reader that it is war that turns a people into a nation. As far as inconvenient truths go, this one is quite up there. “Sociological theory and historical evidence,” writes Huntington, “suggest that the absence of an external enemy or other encourages internal disunity”. My last blog post was dedicated to the present risk of a major war. It is a sobering thought that a leader somewhere might reach conclusions similar to those of Treitschke and seek to reinforce his country’s national identity by resorting to one of the oldest activities known to man.

It’s not all doomsday talk. There is room for optimism. Huntington admits that, however laudable the ideological values of American society (e.g., the Creed) may be, ideology is not a glue that can hold a nation together. This is valid. Huntington, for his part, attempts to make a bet on the surge of evangelical Christianity in the US, which can underwrite the interests of American national identity. America’s Protestants can rally around it; non-Protestants, gravitate towards it. Since the US was founded by Protestants, Protestantism might just be that adhesive agent that will keep the salience of the American people in place.

This is certainly a possibility. Rather, it is only a possibility. Things can go in any direction, a reality freely acknowledged by Huntington. And if evangelical Christianity can prop up salience in the US, what hope is there for Europe? Given the entrenched secular nature of most of the European continent, a return to Judeo-Christian values might not be in the cards. As Huntington writes, “In the long run, however, numbers are power, particularly in a multicultural society, a political democracy, and a consumer economy.” The fact that, in Europe, numbers favor Muslim immigrants more than they do the host societies, fails to inspire much confidence in a European future for Europe.

ISLAM ALSO RISES: NIGHTFALL IN EUROPE

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.

(No) Sex and the City

By Eugène E.

As high-profile males and swashbuckling power brokers all of stripes continue to be targeted by sexual harassment accusations, some of which predate the fall of the Berlin Wall, ordinary men – who may not have big reputations to lose, but who still are conscious of the temperature of the time and of the national unemployment rate – are gearing up to adjust to the new reality in the workplace. So are the companies they work for.

The feminist-led witch hunt is creating a climate of insecurity, and it will only get worse. Where will all this lead? What is the new reality going to look like? Predicting the future is a fool’s game, but if the present is at least a somewhat reliable prologue to the future, the road ahead – for men, at least – will be an angst-ridden one. Yes, the environment for women will likely be a lot safer – a noble accomplishment. But at what cost? That men will need to tread a lot more carefully than ever before is a given. Flirtatious banter and playful sallies redolent of anything sexual, however faintly, will be verboten at work. Humor will have to be necessarily sanitized. Wistful glances will need to be a bit less wistful lest they be misinterpreted as wanton leers. Men will be a lot more reluctant to engage in any work-related sessions that involve tête-à-têtes with the fairer sex. Distrust and discomfort will govern interaction between the sexes. Some men might even think twice before entering an elevator if they’re about to share the ride with a lone woman.

Conscious of the potential legal liability involved, companies will lead the charge on behalf of the oppressed women of the Western world. Workplace manuals will turn into feminist pamphlets. Failure to use gender-neutral pronouns will result in written warnings and, in case of repeat violations, terminations. The more progressive companies will encourage the use of feminine pronouns in a bid to redress centuries of male oppression and domination. Offices will create male-free space where women will be given the opportunity to relax in a setting that does not involve the anxiety fomented by the presence of men. Romantic liaisons between coworkers – at least heterosexual ones – will be banned (which will only create more difficulties for men, since an increasing number of companies are making a major effort to keep employees in the office longer than ever). Every HR department will include specialists to deal with women’s affairs. Christmas parties (if the word “Christmas” isn’t banned from usage) might be organized twice: one for all employees, and one for female employees only (again, to provide an environment in which women can feel at ease). Both men and women will require the help of psychotherapists in order to adjust to the new gender roles into which they have been thrust and ones that run counter to the laws of nature.

There will be wide ramifications for society, which will witness a gender convergence – women will become more assertive, and thus, more masculine, while men will need to be less assertive, and thus, deprived of the traditional (and, one might add, natural) concept of virility, more feminine. This will make both genders – but particularly men – more reluctant to apply to the institution of marriage and procreate, a reluctance that will only be reinforced by the greater psychological duress caused by the new gender reality.

The old relationship model will have been destroyed. Relationships will be more formalized and framed along contractual lines (the use of the word “partner” to refer to a significant other is indicative of this trend). Stripped of intimacy, romance and sentiments, affairs of the heart will no longer be such – an evolution that will be complemented by the ubiquitous use of technology spawned by the cyber age. People will, on the whole, feel a lot lonelier – both women and men. Unwilling to compromise and override their natural instincts, the more desperate ones among the latter will head to medieval towns in Eastern Europe or humid metropolises in Southeast Asia to regain some sense of their emaciated manhood.

The above are certainly not projections, but merely wild transports of the imagination – for now. But then today’s dystopia is next year’s reality. To see how far we’ve already come, consider the case of US Vice President Mike Pence, who has apparently made it a personal policy to avoid having one-on-one meals with any woman except his wife (curiously, the decision has led to his being derided by many a feminist for impeding the progress of women’s march to equality and freedom – men just can’t seem to win). Or consider the case of an investment manager at a small firm, who has confided to me that he will never interview a prospective female candidate if he’s alone in the office – from his perspective, the potential risks are simply too high.

Or consider the case of one company that I happen to be involved with. ABC Inc. – we’ll call it that – has a committee called “Women at ABC”, which is there to encourage women empowerment (which is something of a paradox – if you truly feel empowered, you won’t need to turn this into an official framework and remind everyone of how empowered you are). A women-only room exists in ABC’s internal chat system; every female staffer is in it, from the C-Suite down to the entry level. Though men are not officially banned from the room, there’s an implicit understanding that they are not to join it, either. The inclusion that feminism claims to promote is anything but inclusive; it is reverse sexism designed to exclude men, to make them redundant.

I have been made privy to some of the discussions that have taken place in that chat room by an inside source, who has helpfully provided a number of screenshots for my viewing pleasure. The screenshots show ABC female staff freely discussing such things as “bad boyfriend” experiences and lesbian sex. If the men of ABC were to do anything remotely close, there would be an outcry and denouncements of discrimination and objectivization of women; but double standards grease the wheels of contemporary feminism. While proclaiming to make things fairer for women, feminism is only making them unfair for men.

The problem is not so much that women will feel more assertive and men less so – indeed, if things were limited to that, there wouldn’t be much to discuss. The problem is that the changing dynamics of gender interaction will continue to adversely affect the demographic situation in the Western world. Feminism is not conducive to population growth; countries where feminist (and other untraditional) values have taken root typically have dismal growth rates, at least as far as the autochthonous populations are concerned. The average household in these countries can be expected to continue to have 0.7 children and 1.4 dogs, running well below the rate of replenishment required for the survival of any society, and reinforcing the depopulation already experienced by many Western societies.

Given the current civilizational interplay, the prognosis is bleak. Much of the West is assailed by a religion whose numerous adherents are claiming ever more space in the West. This religion gives short shrift to women’s rights; according to its fundamental tenets, women add up to little more than chattel. Watching developments in the Western world with an amused eye, Islam – which, unlike Western civilization, understands that power is in numbers – is biding its time. Who will protect the women of the Western world from Sharia law? The “silence breakers” just chosen by Time as persons of the year? As the Muslim faith continues to strengthen its presence in Western countries, feminists remain oblivious to the darkening horizon, oblivious to the fact that the enfeeblement of men and the promotion of rights they are seeking so enthusiastically can lead to a world in which women will, in the end, have no rights at all.