Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Not Just 'America Alone'

The Fall 2006 issue of the Claremont Review of Books had a great piece, entitled 'Suicide of the West' reviewing three other books examining the death cult of multi-cultural political correctness. Theordore Darymple reviews "While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam in Destroying the West from Within" by Bruce Bawer, "Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's Too" by Claire Berlinski, and "Londonistan" by Melanie Phillips.

Darymple makes some great points in his review of the three books:
That Western Europe suffers from a state of general paralysis is a truth too universally acknowledged to require much reiteration. Slow growth and high unemployment; an aging and shrinking population; scientific and cultural irrelevance to the rest of the world; a large, unassimilated alien population much of which is hostile to the very countries into which it has immigrated—these are just a few of the problems that Western Europe not only fails to solve, but even properly to recognize.


The publishing history of Londonistan is by itself diagnostic of the European disease. Phillips claims that the British government and intellectual elite has been complicit in allowing the dangerous ideology of Islamism—which threatens the security not only of the British state, but of Europe and North America—to take deep root in Britain. ... [A]n amalgam of cowardice, moral frivolity, lack of conviction, and political correctness (all of which are, of course, intimately interrelated) has ensured that almost every policy decision taken by the government has worsened the situation rather than ameliorated it. Phillips provides a lot of evidence for her claims, some of which (especially the words emanating from the mouths and pens of the hierarchs of the Church of England) would be funny if their pusillanimity were not so typical of the British establishment.


Berlinski ... digs deepest where the existential problems that underlie Western Europe's paralysis are concerned. There is a crisis of meaning and purpose in Western European societies that she spells out with admirable clarity. They are almost entirely post-religious, but they have found no form of transcendence to replace religion, and none is on the horizon. An awareness of belonging, or of contributing to, a collectivity or endeavor of world-importance is no longer possible for them ... . Modern Europeans believe in very little, except in as comfortable and safe a life as possible. Indeed, health and safety have altogether replaced faith, hope, and charity as the cardinal desiderata. It is scarcely any wonder that, when faced by people who, quite mistakenly and with a combination of staggering ignorance and arrogance, believe themselves to be in possession of a truth that justifies almost any atrocity committed, if not by them, exactly, then by those whom they have indoctrinated, modern Western Europeans do not know how to react. They have either forgotten what it is to believe in anything, to such an extent that they cannot really believe that anyone else believes in anything, either; or their memories of belief are of belief in something so horrible—Communism, for example, or Nazism—that they no longer believe that they have the right to pass judgment on anything. This is not a strong position from which to fight people who, by their own admission, hate you and are bent upon your destruction, brought about preferably at your own expense. First, you can't take them seriously; second, you suspect they might in any case be right. European multiculturalism is self-hatred writ large—and in the meantime is an employment opportunity for cultural bureaucrats.
All three, but especially Phillips' Londonistan look like "must read" books -- following, of course, Mark Steyn's "America Alone".

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