Western society, demographics, and the future - EXCELLENT article


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Preacherman
January 2, 2006, 01:10 PM
Mark Steyn is as incisive as always... A long article, but extremely valuable, and I think very important.

From the New Criterion, Volume 24, January 2006 (http://www.newcriterion.com/archives/24/01/its-the-demography/):

It’s 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. There’ll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands— probably—just as in Istanbul there’s still a building called St. Sophia’s Cathedral. But it’s not a cathedral; it’s 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 society—government health care, government day care (which Canada’s thinking of introducing), government paternity leave (which Britain’s just introduced). We’ve prioritized the secondary impulse over the primary ones: national defense, family, faith, and, most basic of all, reproductive activity—“Go forth and multiply,” because if you don’t you won’t be able to afford all those secondary-impulse issues, like cradle-to-grave welfare. Americans sometimes don’t 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 don’t 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 strengths—or, at any rate, virtues—and that’s why they’re proving so feeble at dealing with a primal force like Islam.

Speaking of which, if we are at war—and half the American people and significantly higher percentages in Britain, Canada, and Europe don’t accept that proposition—than what exactly is the war about?

We know it’s 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, it’s 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, it’s not what this thing’s about. Radical Islam is an opportunist infection, like AIDS: it’s not the HIV that kills you, it’s the pneumonia you get when your body’s too weak to fight it off. When the jihadists engage with the U.S. military, they lose—as 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 there’s an excellent chance they can drag things out until western civilization collapses in on itself and Islam inherits by default.

That’s what the war’s about: our lack of civilizational confidence. As a famous Arnold Toynbee quote puts it: “Civilizations die from suicide, not murder”—as can be seen throughout much of “the western world” right now. The progressive agenda —lavish social welfare, abortion, secularism, multiculturalism—is collectively the real suicide bomb. Take multiculturalism: the great thing about multiculturalism is that it doesn’t involve knowing anything about other cultures—the capital of Bhutan, the principal exports of Malawi, who cares? All it requires is feeling good about other cultures. It’s fundamentally a fraud, and I would argue was subliminally accepted on that basis. Most adherents to the idea that all cultures are equal don’t 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. It’s 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 didn’t, and so twenty Muslim community leaders had a big summit to denounce him for failing to visit a mosque. I don’t know why he didn’t. 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 couldn’t fit it into his hectic schedule. Ontario’s 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 Star’s 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 Blair’s website in Australia summed it up in a note-perfect parody of a Guardian headline: “Muslim Community Leaders Warn of Backlash from Tomorrow Morning’s 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 don’t 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 I’m not sure that’s true.”

Hmm. Lady Kennedy was arguing that our tolerance of our own tolerance is making us intolerant of other people’s intolerance, which is intolerable. And, unlikely as it sounds, this has now become the highest, most rarefied form of multiculturalism. So you’re 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 Qaeda—plenty of other Canucks in al Qaeda but he was the Numero Uno. In fact, one could argue that the Khadr family is Canada’s principal contribution to the war on terror. Granted they’re on the wrong side (if you’ll forgive me being judgmental) but no can argue that they aren’t in the thick of things. One of Mr. Khadr’s 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 aren’t 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 didn’t 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. “I’m Canadian, and I’m not begging for my rights,” declared the widow Khadr. “I’m demanding my rights.”

As they always say, treason’s hard to prove in court, but given the circumstances of Mr. Khadr’s death it seems clear that not only was he providing “aid and comfort to the Queen’s enemies” but that he was, in fact, the Queen’s enemy. The Princess Patricia’s 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 Khadr’s 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.”

That’s 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 that’s the law and, while we can try to tighten it, it looks like this lowlife’s 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 they’ve 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 we’re 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 wouldn’t be that serious: the mob could rise up and hang ’em from lampposts—a scenario that’s 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 life—child-raising, taking care of your elderly parents—has profoundly changed the relationship between the citizen and the state. At some point—I would say socialized health care is a good marker—you cross a line, and it’s 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 isn’t big enough to get you to give anything back. That’s 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 you’re not shy about taking on the Israelis, the Russians, the Indians, and the Nigerians, why wouldn’t 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,” it’s not because we’re 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 you’ve read Jared Diamond’s bestselling book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, you’ll know it goes into a lot of detail about Easter Island going belly up because they chopped down all their trees. Apparently that’s why they’re not a G8 member or on the UN Security Council. Same with the Greenlanders and the Mayans and Diamond’s 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 can’t see the forest because of his obsession with the trees. (Russia’s collapsing even as it’s 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 we’ve 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 famines—hundreds 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. We’re pretty much awash in resources, but we’re running out of people—the one truly indispensable resource, without which none of the others matter. Russia’s the most obvious example: it’s the largest country on earth, it’s full of natural resources, and yet it’s dying—its population is falling calamitously.

The default mode of our elites is that anything that happens—from terrorism to tsunamis—can 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. That’s 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, here’s my prediction for 2032: unless we change our ways the world faces a future … where the environment will look pretty darn good. If you’re a tree or a rock, you’ll be living in clover. It’s the Italians and the Swedes who’ll 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. What’s worrying is that we spend so much time worrying about things that aren’t worth worrying about that we don’t worry about the things we should be worrying about. For thirty years, we’ve had endless wake-up calls for things that aren’t worth waking up for. But for the very real, remorseless shifts in our society—the ones truly jeopardizing our future—we’re 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 there’s 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 opposite—that the peculiarities of the backwaters can leap instantly to the First World. Pigs are valued assets and sleep in the living room in rural China—and next thing you know an unknown respiratory disease is killing people in Toronto, just because someone got on a plane. That’s the way to look at Islamism: we fret about McDonald’s 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 …


(Continued in next post)

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Preacherman
January 2, 2006, 01:11 PM
(Continued from previous post)


What’s 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, it’s 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 they’re running out a lot faster than the oil is. “Replacement” fertility rate—i.e., the number you need for merely a stable population, not getting any bigger, not getting any smaller—is 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 you’ll 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 Canada’s 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. That’s to say, Spain’s population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy’s population will have fallen by 22 percent, Bulgaria’s by 36 percent, Estonia’s 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 Americans—and mostly red-state Americans.

As fertility shrivels, societies get older—and 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 business—unless they can find the will to change their ways. Is that likely? I don’t think so. If you look at European election results—most recently in Germany—it’s hard not to conclude that, while voters are unhappy with their political establishments, they’re 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. It’s presently sixty, which is nice but unaffordable. But the reaction of the average Scots worker is that that’s somebody else’s 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 isn’t 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 it’s 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 Washington’s 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, it’s 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 world—eventually 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 world’s population to just over 20 percent, the Muslim nations increased from about 15 percent to 20 percent.

1970 doesn’t seem that long ago. If you’re 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 hair’s less groovy, but the landscape of your life—the look of your house, the lay-out of your car, the shape of your kitchen appliances, the brand names of the stuff in the fridge—isn’t 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 world’s 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, there’s 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 Europe’s 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 they’re flying planes into buildings for they’re 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 don’t notice yourself slipping through those stages because usually there’s a seductive pol on hand to provide the age with a sly, self-deluding slogan—like Bill Clinton’s “It’s about the future of all our children.” We on the right spent the 1990s gleefully mocking Clinton’s tedious invocation, drizzled like syrup over everything from the Kosovo war to highway appropriations. But most of the rest of the west can’t 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 Clifford’s 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” civilizations—as a prominent EU official described his continent to me—are 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 secularism’s starting point is that this is all there is, it’s no surprise that, consciously or not, they invest the here and now with far greater powers of endurance than it’s ever had. The idea that progressive Euro-welfarism is the permanent resting place of human development was always foolish; we now know that it’s 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 CIA’s 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 we’ll 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 what’s 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 it’s populated by Koreans and Filipinos? Very possibly. Will Germany if it’s populated by Algerians? That’s 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 sooner—and we’re 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 today—Australia, India, South Africa—and 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 People’s 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 London—or Paris, or Amsterdam—be 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 left’s issue. I’m a conservative—I’m 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: I’m 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 west’s 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 woman’s 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 “woman’s 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 don’t vote. But if you think that you have a right to your body,” she advised Oprah’s 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 couldn’t 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 fundamentalism—a new Dark Ages.”

Bottom line for Cameron Diaz: There are worse things than John Ashcroft out there.

Longman’s 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 it’s not about race, it’s about culture. If 100 percent of your population believes in liberal pluralist democracy, it doesn’t 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 doesn’t, 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 Doctrine—the plan to promote liberty throughout the Arab world—innumerable “progressives” have routinely asserted that there’s no evidence Muslims want liberty and, indeed, Islam is incompatible with democracy. If that’s true, it’s 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 sharia—in the United Kingdom. If a population “at odds with the modern world” is the fastest-breeding group on the planet—if 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 institutions—how safe a bet is the survival of the “modern world”?

Not good.

“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? It’s the demography, stupid. And, if they can’t muster the will to change course, then “what do you leave behind?” is the only question that matters.

Crosshair
January 2, 2006, 01:29 PM
Very good read.

ziadel
January 2, 2006, 01:39 PM
wow...

TheArchDuke
January 2, 2006, 02:05 PM
That was perfect. I almost cried. I'm planning on sending that to a bunch of people but no one likes to read anymore. And further more, they wouldn't understand it even if they did because our schools barely teach English.

geekWithA.45
January 2, 2006, 02:09 PM
Worth Reading.

rosco_the_dog
January 2, 2006, 02:11 PM
Paragraph 2. LOL!

He comes off as quite a doom-sayer with his predictions about western society.

Pilgrim
January 2, 2006, 02:17 PM
Better link. (http://www.newcriterion.com/archives/24/01/its-the-demography/)

Preacherman
January 2, 2006, 02:20 PM
Thanks, Pilgrim. I edited the first post to fix the original link.

PershingRiflesC-7
January 2, 2006, 02:54 PM
Heavy subject tackled by one of the most competent writers of the day. Great post, Preacherman -- thanks for finding it.

As to the meat of the subject, IMO Mark Steyn may have a little bit of an optimistic view on the conclusions he draws but he definitely has brought some facts to the table.

longeyes
January 2, 2006, 03:43 PM
Steyn's dark intellectual tango with Buchanan. Typical Steyn: no quarter given. I think he lays out the case brilliantly, comprehensively. What we have to do, though, is to avoid extrapolating from current trends. We can assume, if nothing else, that Big Things will intervene to blunt and divert the scenario he's describing. More assimilation might be one: the newcomers will embrace the old, legacy values in unexpected ways, perhaps reinvigorating them. Or, alas, we might be facing the mother of all cultural conflicts.

fjolnirsson
January 2, 2006, 03:45 PM
Sobering.
Thanks for posting this, Preacherman......

Wllm. Legrand
January 2, 2006, 04:04 PM
I don't agree with Mark Steyn all the time, but he's spot-on on this one.
Thanks for the post.

ReadyontheRight
January 2, 2006, 04:24 PM
Or, alas, we might be facing the mother of all cultural conflicts.


The Middle East is growing and populated by Western-college-educated males who return to their home and find nothing to do. The only modern businesses there are either the oil business or located in Isreal. Apparently it is easier for many of them to blame the West for this imbalance than to start up a business themselves.

China has a dearth of females - prediced only to increase.

Big, aggressive, non-Democratic, totalitarian regimes that have an increasing number of males with nothing to do. While the Western world cannot even replace ourselves.

Pretty scary.

Great article. Thanks!

Baba Louie
January 2, 2006, 04:54 PM
And the solution is... what exactly?

The poor and uneducated will continue to make babies who need to be fed.
The middle income and wealthy with a modicum of intelligence will continue to have fewer children who may (or may not) continue along their parent's lines.

The world's population will continue to spiral upward, nation-states will come and go, wars will be fought, politicians will continue to say anything to get elected and then fight to hold power. Religious leaders will continue to preach their versions of the Truth, denouncing "non-believers"; the rich will (continue to) get richer and the poor, poorer.

It's a story as old as mankind, repeated over and over.

Until Mother Earth decides to flush her toilet, the strong will survive and our societies will continue to evolve. Or is that "Devolve"? Change being the only constant.

And it'll all be GWB's fault... I'm sure ;)

98% of the world's population just wants to work enough to pay their bills. Maybe.
Hopefully.
If they can't do that at home they'll move to a better locale.

1% will rule.

The other 1% will want to rule

But I'm just an old cynic. (And here I used to be a nice, innocent, starry eyed, ivory towered dreamer who wanted to change the face of tomorrow)

Excellent article tho' Preacherman. Thanks for posting it

TallPine
January 2, 2006, 05:06 PM
And the solution is... what exactly?
I dunno .... invade some more Middle Eastern countries maybe ....?

:rolleyes:

longeyes
January 2, 2006, 05:06 PM
The poor and uneducated will continue to make babies who need to be fed.
The middle income and wealthy with a modicum of intelligence will continue to have fewer children who may (or may not) continue along their parent's lines.

The world's population will continue to spiral upward, nation-states will come and go, wars will be fought, politicians will continue to say anything to get elected and then fight to hold power. Religious leaders will continue to preach their versions of the Truth, denouncing "non-believers"; the rich will (continue to) get richer and the poor, poorer.

Don't be so sure.

A lot of the elite-driven nostrums about our ever-improving future are already fraying around the edges.

ReadyontheRight
January 2, 2006, 05:38 PM
And the solution is... what exactly?


Maybe to understand what's going on and keep the US from becoming like Socialist Europe as long as we can?

longeyes
January 2, 2006, 05:43 PM
Maybe to save as many of us as we can, and preserve, as long as we can, the principles of the Founding Fathers. Whatever that takes, wherever it takes.

Understanding what's really going on is step one.

FeebMaster
January 2, 2006, 05:46 PM
Maybe to understand what's going on and keep the US from becoming like Socialist Europe as long as we can?

Too late.

ReadyontheRight
January 2, 2006, 06:08 PM
Maybe to understand what's going on and keep the US from becoming like Socialist Europe as long as we can?


Too late.

Maybe on the East Coast and in California, but even the coasts of the US are nowhere near as sad as France and Germany. IMHO, we have a whole new U.S. generation that is likely going to reject the hippy-dippy socialist ideals of the baby boomers -- although they will have to learn about it all on the Internet.:rolleyes:

At least Margaret Thatcher brought the UK back from the brink.

matis
January 2, 2006, 06:21 PM
"Yet, even by the minimal standards of these wretched precedents, so-called “post-Christian” civilizations—as a prominent EU official described his continent to me—are 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 secularism’s starting point is that this is all there is, it’s no surprise that, consciously or not, they invest the here and now with far greater powers of endurance than it’s ever had. The idea that progressive Euro-welfarism is the permanent resting place of human development was always foolish; we now know that it’s suicidally so."




For me this is one of the main causes of our impending downfall.

Islamo-fascists believe in their god while we no longer believe in Ours.


So they take the long view, while we go from battle to battle.


It's ironic that the existence of G-d isn't even the issue.


It's BELIEF that drives a civilization.

And we have lost ours.


Muslims, barbaric and backward as so many of them are, are filled with a confident, triumphalist rage to win.


We are disillusioned, dispirited and filled with self-doubt. And the values that built and sustained our civilization have washed down the sewer along with our discarded belief.


2400 dead soldiers, tragic as that may be, are enough for us to quit the fight.



They are fighting the hated infidels; we dare not even name the enemy: "war on terror", indeed!



In their schools they teach hatred of infidels, Jews, Christians and they glorify Islam.


We teach our kids how to put condoms on bananas and to genuflect to multi-culturalism.


AND they make more babies.



We'd better muster our belief in miracles because that's what it will take for us to survive.




matis

Chris Rhines
January 2, 2006, 06:35 PM
*shaking my head in amazement*

Mark Steyn is an idiot - a panicked, chicken-little doomsdayer who's made a career out of projecting his fear and bigotry onto global issues of which he has only the most tenuous understanding. It is shocking that otherwise intelligent people take his blather seriously.

- Chris

Preacherman
January 2, 2006, 07:05 PM
Chris, try traveling in French cities, in the ghettoes (and I use the word advisedly) where they dump their unwanted North African Muslim immigrants, and then tell me Steyn's wrong. I've seen at first hand the anti-cultural jihad that's being waged there. I suspect he's right on target with this article... although I wish he wasn't!

GoRon
January 2, 2006, 07:24 PM
It is shocking that otherwise intelligent people take his blather seriously.

Overstated or maybe a little over the top but....

It would be best for all if he was wrong.

What is it that you find so wrong with his thesis other than you don't like him?

longrifleman
January 2, 2006, 07:24 PM
I have some questions for our european members, or anyone who has been ther recently. Are the problems with the declining population in most countries widely known, or is this info suppressed? is the increase in Islamic population as a % of any increase known also?

Chris, the demographic numbers have been available from several sources for a long time. Are you questioning the acccuracy of that data? If so, why?

Is it his analysis of Islam being the core problem that offends you?

LawDog
January 2, 2006, 08:04 PM
The more things change, they more they stay the same.

Anyone else here ever read an opinion piece from the late 19th century/early 20th Yellow Peril days? Change a word or two here and there, and it'd fit right in.

The invasion of Irish papists following the Great Potato Famine was expounded upon with similar language and point-of-view.

*sigh*

LawDog

taliv
January 2, 2006, 08:15 PM
i don't know anything about the author's career, but i pretty much agree with chris.

the author makes several obvious mistakes for the purpose of selling his hysterical fantasy. not the least of which are

.that there are lots of troublespots around the world that don't involve islam. his list was hardly comprehensive, and it provides no support for his premise unless he's contending, for instance, that muslims vs christianity is due to out-of-control-tolerance in africa

.it IS a war on "terror"

.birth rates are NOT declining all over the world, only in some places. also, they fail to mention that while the US birth rate is at an all-time low, llife expectancy is at an all-time high.

.his argument about europe's need for immigration from africa is absurd. for us to get as hysterical as he wants, his argument requires us to accept that the crazed islamic immigrants are net consumers from the gov, not net tax payers. if they're consumers, (which they are) then importing bazillions of them isn't going to solve europe's welfare problems; it's going to crush europe. in otherwords, it's no catch-22. europe just needs to close its borders.

.hellena kennedy was correct and his interpretation of what she was saying was incomprehendable and irrelevant. PC "tolerance" is in fact intolerance, as anyone attempting to espouse conservative viewpoints on college campi will quickly find out.

.while empires may fall from "suicide" i can't think of an empire that's downfall has been multiculturalism or tolerance. corruption and good old fashioned butt-kicking are far more likely (of course, europe's ripe for both of those)


i could go on, but the most serious error is that the author assumes that people won't naturally correct these things. this is no different, fundamentally, than the economic discussions we've been having. (supply and demand will work out an equilibrium)

the fact of the matter is that people will respond to racism (as evidenced by numorous recent posts on THR). when the situation becomes more obviosly dire, folks like this author will stir up the youth, who will contest the outcome that the author apparently feels is inevitable.

there's plenty of history to support this, from the hitler youth to the recent unpleasantness in the netherlands (firebombings in relatiation to the firebombings that were in retaliation to the assassination of that filmmaker) to the surfers vs. the lebanese in australia that was recently discussed on THR.


for the record, i do think liberal policies have allowed the situation to go too far in europe and i think it's done a lot of damage. and i think it's going to get a lot worse. i do believe multiculturalism, as described by the author, is stupid and is a problem. i just think the author is out of bounds.

it might be the end of france, but then france changes governments like we change underwear. it won't be the end of germany or russia or italy.

Chris Rhines
January 2, 2006, 08:16 PM
My primary objection to Steyn's diaper-load is as follows:

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. I disagree with this premise, and I do not believe that it is factualy supportable.

Steyn's essay is mainly his tortured opinions, dressed up with a handful of disconnected statistics and quotes. For example, he spends a lot of time of the alleged problem of declining birthrates in western nations, without mentioning immigration rates (and rates and modes of acculturalation among immigrant communities,) variances in lifespan, death rates, etc. All things that would seem to be important in the discussion, but that may or may not support Steyn's contention that western civilization is doomed.

Steyn's essay also is heavy on what Harry G. Frankfurt called "humbug" - i.e. meaningless statements, designed not to inform but to obfuscate. All his ranting on multiculturalism (most of which I agree with, BTW) falls into this category - sounds great, but irrelevant to the actual discussion.

What is it that you find so wrong with his thesis other than you don't like him? It's not so much that I dislike Steyn as I dislike his philosophy - the neo-Jacobian, invade the world, export-democracy-at-bayonet-point, arrogant stupidity really toasts my bagel.

Chris, the demographic numbers have been available from several sources for a long time. Are you questioning the acccuracy of that data? If so, why? I'm questioning the relevance and the completeness of the data (hah!) that Mark Steyn presented in the article. Reasons above. I'm also challenging the conclusions that the draws regarding the fate of the western world, which strike me as no different from the Population Bomb BS that he was so critical of. Steyn gives no good reasons at all why we should reject Paul Ehrlich and accept Mark Steyn.

Is it his analysis of Islam being the core problem that offends you? No. I myself dislike Islam. However, the arrant bigotry behind his analysis of Islam is...distasteful.

- Chris

longeyes
January 2, 2006, 09:38 PM
It's BELIEF that drives a civilization.

And we have lost ours.

Hold on there, we have SHOPPING!

Standing Wolf
January 2, 2006, 09:46 PM
Demographic trends are a factor. I'm not entirely sure they're the enormous factor Steyn proposes, but they are, indeed, a factor.

I have to wonder whether western culture hasn't suffered grievous wounds from our adoption of assorted forms of socialism: communism, national socialism, and contemporary European socialism. I believe we may have poisoned ourselves.

longeyes
January 2, 2006, 09:51 PM
Looking ahead several decades is risky business, but that doesn't mean it's not worth trying. Demographic trends are vital, though not necessarily more important than technology or the competition for resources or the impact of disease. From my perspective Islam and the Euro-welfare state will probably meld well, as they are both of a collectivist stripe.

cracked butt
January 2, 2006, 10:12 PM
It's BELIEF that drives a civilization.

And we have lost ours.


Hold on there, we have SHOPPING!


LOL:D

I believe that until we elect representatives and presidents who are willing to bulldoze the UN building, we will continue to head down the same path the Europeans are.

natedog
January 2, 2006, 11:26 PM
The more things change, they more they stay the same.

Anyone else here ever read an opinion piece from the late 19th century/early 20th Yellow Peril days? Change a word or two here and there, and it'd fit right in.

The invasion of Irish papists following the Great Potato Famine was expounded upon with similar language and point-of-view.

*sigh*


I got the same impression as well.

longrifleman
January 2, 2006, 11:28 PM
It's not so much that I dislike Steyn as I dislike his philosophy - the neo-Jacobian, invade the world, export-democracy-at-bayonet-point, arrogant stupidity really toasts my bagel.

I disagree with his (see above) philosophy myself. But, the first time I read any serious presentation of this basic idea : Demographics are Destiny; was in "The Death of the West" by Pat Buchanan. I don't think he and Steyn spend a lot of time bar hoping together. You may not like Buchanan (I think his economic ideas are generally batty) any more that Steyn, but when such different folks start saying the same things, I start paying attention.

As for death rates and such, one article doesn't give much time to develop the data. It was presented in much more detail in Buchanan's book. But death rate is ultimately irrelevant if the existing population doesn't replace itself; it just postphones the inevetable. It is the immigration from Islamic countries that is at the heart of the problem. If they can turn most of Europe into part of Dar al Islam without firing a shot, probably through the ballot box, what happens to the existing culture? I haven't noticed any great upsurge in tolerance for other religions (secular humanism is a religion)anywhere Islam is in control.


Hold on there, we have SHOPPING!

And ESPN!

Wllm. Legrand
January 2, 2006, 11:48 PM
Demographic trends are a factor. I'm not entirely sure they're the enormous factor Steyn proposes, but they are, indeed, a factor.

I have to wonder whether western culture hasn't suffered grievous wounds from our adoption of assorted forms of socialism: communism, national socialism, and contemporary European socialism. I believe we may have poisoned ourselves.

The demographics are real and have been in place for some time. Surprisingly, one the nations most on the "fast track" to non-existence as a nation is Italy, an ostenstibly Roman Catholic (birth control officially frowned upon). But as much of Europe, it doesn't take its hard-core beliefs very seriously, nowadays, except multi-culturalism and socialism (more like cultural Marxism).

The secular, hedonistic, self-absorbed culture of the Cosmopolitan Left (say, as opposed to the arrogent, self-absorbed culture if the Imperialistic American Right) is simply coming to fruition.

Since Europe tries to believe in everything, it believes in nothing. Not even itself.

I'm surprised that there is even any opposition to this thesis.

P.S. And I believe that Steyn has "neo-con" thinly covered with "reasonable person" makeup. Those parts of his screed are easy to discern...that's why I wrote that I object to him regularly. He is correct on the decline, and eventual destruction of Europe. You all might want to read Pat Buchanan's "the Death of the West". I read it a year or so ago. He makes the same arguments from the same perspectives.

Oleg Volk
January 3, 2006, 03:12 AM
LawDog -- you mean predictions like this: http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/London/Writings/Revolution/yellow.html ?

Gordon Fink
January 3, 2006, 03:51 AM
What a load of xenophobic garbage! But please don’t let my humble opinion prevent you Jehovanists from killing each other over you petty disagreements on which way God’s cap is tilted. Just leave me and mine out of it.

Damned monkeys!

~G. Fink

Tokugawa
January 3, 2006, 02:11 PM
It seems like on the one hand, he is deriding the "population explosion" as a myth, and on the other hand, warning us that the Muslim hordes are going to out number us. Which is it? Or does he think the "population explosion" that we have been warned about is only relevant if it applies to Westerners?
Fact- the world population is going thru the roof.
Fact- a lot of the west is at or below the replacement rate.
Fact- the fastest growing populations in the world are in predominantly muslim countrys.
fact - this still equates to a population explosion. How does he figure it is not occuring?

Supposition- The US population is aging, the Latino immigration is burgeoning, maybe we are going to need all those Christian , spanish speaking folks to help fight the radical Islamists. Pretty soon we will have Iran juggling nukes around...

longeyes
January 3, 2006, 03:38 PM
The Death of the West that both Steyn and Buchanan are decrying is the death of Enlightenment values in the face of tribalism and collectivism. Both are aware that the threat comes not only from without but from within. Outpopulating your enemy, when you have militant intent, is most definitely a strategy of war--and an effective one if your opponent does not check it.

I suppose WW II was about "xenophobia?" The intentions of radical Islam to impose a universal Caliphate are accessible in any number of writings by their "visionaries."

GoRon
January 3, 2006, 04:35 PM
What a load of xenophobic garbage! But please don’t let my humble opinion prevent you Jehovanists from killing each other over you petty disagreements on which way God’s cap is tilted. Just leave me and mine out of it.


What a load of anti religionist garbage!
But please don't let my humble opinion prevent you godless materialists from destroying the cultural and moral foundations that made this country great, all in the name of "separation of church and state".

Just leave me and mine out of it. :neener:

Gordon Fink
January 3, 2006, 05:59 PM
GoRon, we “godless materialists”—though all the materialists I know are nominally Christian—don’t want to destroy your religion. We just want you to stop trying to shove it down our throats with a government bayonet.

And if the following isn’t xenophobic, then I don’t know what is.

Radical Islam is an opportunist infection, like AIDS.…
So Islam is a disease, but Christianity is not? I’ve certainly never had any non-Christian try to “infect” me.

~G. Fink

GoRon
January 3, 2006, 06:26 PM
My post was more about your rhetoric than content hence the :neener:

Steyns rhetoric may distract from some truth(s) the article may contain.

Your (what sounded like) anti Christian rhetoric diminishes the weight of your argument also.

taliv
January 3, 2006, 06:43 PM
thread closed in...

3..

2..

1..

GoRon
January 3, 2006, 06:59 PM
thread closed in...

3..

2..

1..

I doubt it.

The study of changing demographics is often used by racists and jingoists to "prove" their point or rally the troops.

That doesn't mean that there aren't lessons to be learned and conclusions to be drawn from the trends.

We can be tolerant, open minded and fair while still having our eyes open. To dismiss the argument out of hand because we don't want to be associated with Steyn, Buchanan whomever... is short sighted.

Do we really want a large population of any people living in the United States who refuse to assimulate AND activily oppose what our country stands for?

DRZinn
January 3, 2006, 07:11 PM
So Islam is a disease, but Christianity is not?Read a little more carefully. RADICAL Islam (i.e. the philosophy that says Muslims must kill non-Muslims) is every bit as dangerous as Steyn says it is.

Typical to (deliberately?) mis-state the argument in order to attack it on grounds of prejudice/zenophobia/racism/whatever the latest Kumbaya buzzword is. Get this through your skull: THEY LIVE TO KILL NON-MUSLIMS. Get it yet?

grampster
January 3, 2006, 07:26 PM
Go Ron,

Well said.

A lot of foolish people today remind me of the 3 monkey's. The West, particularly America, has brought much to the table in the last couple of centuries. That is pretty clear to those who have eyes. Islam may have been a great culture 400 years ago. I do not see much in the way of human progress in the countries that are ruled my Islamic Law today.

Regarding Islam: I harbor no animus in particular. But when I look, and listen, if I have to make a judgment about whether my loved ones and free brothers and sisters would rather be living by the code of sharia, I do not see much in the way of a free or civilized way of living, at least by the standards that I support. I'll pass. So far in this country we have that choice. I have yet to hear otherwise from any highly placed Islamic cleric. Many, many Muslims live in peace, prosperity and good will in America. I wish them well and embrace them as fellow Americans. We are diverse, but at the end of the day we are one, American. I need to hear that this precept is pre-eminent. I have heard and read a bit of double talk regarding this notion.
Matis on APS cites a good deal of quotes that are food for thought. True, they are random statements, not in context, but food for thought nonetheless.

Western democracy may have its warts, but I wonder if there would be any debate about separation of church and state under an Islamic Caliphate? How about gun control? What you eat? Where you work? How you worship?
How you recreate? How you dress? How you educate your children? How you are to think? Again, I can only use my powers of observation, in the present, to make a judgment about that. Again, I harbor no animus against Islam. Worship as you will, or not. But if Islam's stated purpose is to force me to recant my belief, change my culture, accept Islam or die, it will be a fight to the death. (As a sidenote: I would feel the same way if someone were trying to impose Old Testament rules and regulations upon me and mine, at the point of a sword.)

longeyes
January 3, 2006, 07:38 PM
thread closed in...

3..

2..

1..

Is that a hope or a prediction?

We ought to be fearless about what we are willing to discuss here, especially if our survival depends on it.

It is certainly possible for any matrix of beliefs to become toxic. The question to ask today is whether the cultures our leftist elites are so eager to import into America are compatible with the basic precepts of liberty. If they are not, and there is no desire to embrace our values, we are foolish to surrender our national cohesion for some naive notion of diversity for its own sake.

Gordon Fink
January 3, 2006, 08:17 PM
My post was more about your rhetoric than content hence the :neener:

And I was mostly venting. :D

I’ve given up trying to convince religionists to live and let live. Rational decision making simply isn’t part of the equation much of the time.

That said, when I’m not being poked with that bayonet, I often find religious antics to be quite charming. I’m also well aware of the good religion can do.

I was disheartened, however, to see the hysteria of Steyn’s article receive such a warm reception here.

~G. Fink

Gordon Fink
January 3, 2006, 08:23 PM
Read a little more carefully. RADICAL Islam … is every bit as dangerous as Steyn says it is.

Violent zealotry is dangerous regardless of its flavor. Radical Muslims are a tiny minority within Islam, but Steyn would have us worry about the birthrates for all Muslims.

~G. Fink

longeyes
January 3, 2006, 08:32 PM
I was disheartened, however, to see the hysteria of Steyn’s article receive such a warm reception here.

Most of us on this board are concerned about the erosion of the liberties hard-won from the Renaissance through our Constitution. Most of us have also zeroed in on the repressive collectivism of the State. Worrying about the decline of the West because it is in process of being swamped by a religious collectivist ideology isn't hysterical. Europe's welfare statism is locked in a fatal dance with its religious counterpart. Europe's weakness is inviting a Caliphate. Whether radical Islam comprises a tiny percentage of Islam isn't the ultimate question, it's whether under Islam there would be any remnant of political and social liberty as we now understand it.

Every time the finger is pointed at Islam, someone comes out of the woodwork to suggest an equivalency with "violent zealotry" in Christianity. Let's talk about the here and now: there are no organized persecutions by Christians, and there haven't been any in a good, long while (thankfully).

ken grant
January 3, 2006, 09:03 PM
What is going to happen in the USA when the Muslims,blacks and Mexicans start fighting to determine who is going to be the ruling class?

Whites will soon be the minority:cuss:

Gordon Fink
January 3, 2006, 09:06 PM
Every time the finger is pointed at Islam, someone comes out of the woodwork to suggest an equivalency with “violent zealotry” in Christianity. Let’s talk about the here and now: there are no organized persecutions by Christians, and there haven’t been any in a good, long while (thankfully).

Your memory is a little short.

~G. Fink

longeyes
January 3, 2006, 09:08 PM
Obviously, I am talking in terms of scale. Please don't mention the Crusades. Please. :)

Gordon Fink
January 3, 2006, 09:14 PM
Longeyes, how many people do so-called Christians have to kill to tip your scales?

~G. Fink

longeyes
January 3, 2006, 09:46 PM
How much mass slaughter is going on TODAY in the name of Christianity?

Christianity has certainly had its share of violent zealots, no doubt; no one argues that. Everytime we get -isms we get that propensity toward philosophical "cleansing."

Herself
January 3, 2006, 09:49 PM
...And what would you rather have these soi-disant maternity-ward conquerors of Europe meet when they come to the New World: a paranoid, totalitarian Security/Welfare State, with well-fenced borders, strict linguistic laws and a well-developed fear of even its closest cultural neighbors -- in short, their very own reflection --, or the open, well-armed, pluralistic and independant nation that the brilliant Yamamoto feared, remarking that any invader would face "a sniper hidden behind every blade of grass?"

You cannot have it both ways; the States are either a nation of subjects looking to the Great White Father in Washington to pay our pharmacy and medical bills, provide low-interest education and home-purchase loans, food stamps when we're out of work, housing assistance "for the children," and even more help still if those children happen not to have a father -- or a nation of free citizens who stand on their own two feet, pay their own bills, and help their own neighbors or not according to their own lights.

It should be obvious from their behavior in office what most members of both of the two main political parties want the U. S. to be, and it is not "free."

Of course, it's for our own good, our leaders tell us. Just for the present emergency. (Funny how there's always an emergency, isn't it?). Just to help the hapless (and there are always the hapless, aren't there?). And they're all of them philosopher-kings, wise and brave, with only our own interests at heart.

Aren't they?

You can't ever "conquer" a nation of independant, self-supporting cusses, no matter how varied their political and religious beliefs, accents and and skin colors. But a centralized state falls easily: grab the center and the rest will follow. It doesn't make any difference what banner that center flies, not a bit.

--Herself

DRZinn
January 3, 2006, 09:50 PM
Radical Muslims are a tiny minority within Islam, but Steyn would have us worry about the birthrates for all Muslims.Like any other virus, the spread of the host leads to the spread of the disease. Thus the spread of Islam aids the spread of radical Islam. So yes, vastly disproportionate birthrates are cause for concern.

Gordon Fink
January 3, 2006, 10:08 PM
Everytime we get -isms we get that propensity toward philosophical “cleansing.”

So you haven’t forgotten about the “ethnic cleansing” in the Balkans. Is that history too ancient?

~G. Fink

spartacus2002
January 3, 2006, 10:28 PM
his argument about europe's need for immigration from africa is absurd. for us to get as hysterical as he wants, his argument requires us to accept that the crazed islamic immigrants are net consumers from the gov, not net tax payers. if they're consumers, (which they are) then importing bazillions of them isn't going to solve europe's welfare problems; it's going to crush europe. in otherwords, it's no catch-22.


You assume that the Europeans and their African immigrant workers all think like economists.

As for his article, I took from it that declining European birthrates teamed with large-scale immigration of rapidly-reproducing Muslims will create a radical culture change in Europe. Is that so hard to argue with? I guess so; there are those who cry RACIST when we note how this is happening to America with Mexican immigrants.

longeyes
January 3, 2006, 10:28 PM
The Balkans situation is about more than "ethnic cleansing."

Wllm. Legrand
January 3, 2006, 10:35 PM
I doubt it.

The study of changing demographics is often used by racists and jingoists to "prove" their point or rally the troops.

That doesn't mean that there aren't lessons to be learned and conclusions to be drawn from the trends.

We can be tolerant, open minded and fair while still having our eyes open. To dismiss the argument out of hand because we don't want to be associated with Steyn, Buchanan whomever... is short sighted.

Do we really want a large population of any people living in the United States who refuse to assimulate AND activily oppose what our country stands for?


The "racist" tag..the new "scarlet letter" in the age when people are LOATHE to make distinctions, makes me vomit.

If one even raises the issue of cultural dilution, i.e., the reduction of those positive qualitites that make a people A PEOPLE, or a nation A NATION, is at best, a social faux pax, at worst, a sign of the "delusion" of the individual tomake distinctions based upon culture (CULTURE, mind you, NOT RACE).

I remember a class where I was a student and the instructor (full professor..philosophy...gag me..one of my majors) was hammering the point about the equivalence of cultures...

I asked if the assertion was being categorically presented, i.e., all cultures equivalent. Answer, yes. Then I posed the question of which culture was superior, the 19th century Indian (subcontinent) culture that embraced the practice of SATI, the practice of killing the wife and burning her on the funeral pyre of the husband, or that of the British who banned it..

Being an older (37 yrs) returning student at the time, such expositions of BULLSHIIITE were not welcome. But, as I've said before, when you encounter a contradiction, re-examine your premises.

longeyes
January 3, 2006, 10:39 PM
If one even raises the issue of cultural dilution, i.e., the reduction of those positive qualitites that make a people A PEOPLE, or a nation A NATION, is at best, a social faux pax, at worst, a sign of the "delusion" of the individual tomake distinctions based upon culture (CULTURE, mind you, NOT RACE).

Too many Americans haven't a clue what might constitute their Americanism, much less whether they really want to defend it at the cost of grave inconvenience. That we aren't clear about our basic predicates as a nation--try a man in the street survey--is an appalling indicator not only of our educational deficiencies but of the fog of leftism spread by those who prefer us confused, soft, and disorganized.

Gordon Fink
January 3, 2006, 10:40 PM
The Balkans situation is about more than “ethnic cleansing.”

And the current discussion is about more than “radical Islam.”

~G. Fink

longeyes
January 3, 2006, 11:22 PM
Yes, I've noticed that.

CAnnoneer
January 4, 2006, 12:16 AM
A population explosion in the Third World would be self-regulatory if it were not for all the dumbass bleeding hearts in the First World that believe the population excess must be saved on humanitarian grounds. If you turn Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into a walled ecosystem, then war, famine, and pestilence would naturally wittle down the unsustainable population, just as Rwandan genocide and African AIDS statistics showed. That is also why there can be no direct danger coming from population explosion there, so long as natural factors are allowed to act unfettered.

The real danger IMO lies in the internal decay of the West as engendered and fueled by local leftists, globalists, and commies. They are the killers of the pragmatic individualistic entrepreneurial spirit that built the Western world in the first place. They preach the exact opposite - idealistic collectivist overregulated subordinate statism - and that is why the true western values are so inimical and hateful to them. These crappers are traitorous hypocritical dirtbags of the highest order and would rot the structure from inside as they run unchecked and unchallenged. They are the ultimate cause of our gradual emaciation, as well as other issues such as illegal immigration, 2A infringements, excessive litigiousness, the UN, globalist foreign policy.

Ultimately, before external threats are properly faced, an internal housecleaning is in order. If the war of ideas is won at home, all other wars will soon follow suit.

grampster
January 4, 2006, 12:30 AM
Interesting comment I heard today (slight thread veer) but germain to the lunacy of PC. A small town in the Washington DC area is seeking to pass an ordinance that says that a single family dwelling may only house a single family, ie: not a multiple string of family members. (ie move in your whole tribe). The multiculturalist, PC morons are objecting to the ordinance because it discriminates against ILLEGAL aliens. :banghead:

Balog
January 4, 2006, 01:25 AM
Surprised no ones mentioned it yet.
I think the French riots were a pretty good example of what the author is warning of. Western civilization being taken over from within by alienized elements of Islam.

Oleg Volk
January 4, 2006, 01:49 AM
Muslims,blacks and Mexicans

Errr....religion, geographic origin and ethnicity all mixed together?

longeyes
January 4, 2006, 03:02 AM
Context?

roo_ster
January 4, 2006, 02:00 PM
Steyn's numbers are as good as can be had. He has not pulled them out of a handy orifice.

*shaking my head in amazement*

Mark Steyn is an idiot - a panicked, chicken-little doomsdayer who's made a career out of projecting his fear and bigotry onto global issues of which he has only the most tenuous understanding. It is shocking that otherwise intelligent people take his blather seriously.

- Chris

All you folks who decry the numbers/conclusions Steyn stated, but believe the numbers that show a coming Social Security crunch/collapse have some cognitive dissonance to hammer out of your psyche, if you are to be taken seriously in arguments that contan fact, logic, and actuarial data.

What a load of xenophobic garbage! But please don’t let my humble opinion prevent you Jehovanists from killing each other over you petty disagreements on which way God’s cap is tilted. Just leave me and mine out of it.

Damned monkeys!

~G. Fink

GF, the present conflict with militant Islam is not particularly laden with religious doctrine and dogma, from the point of view of the West. The USA/West has demonstrated that we will accept folks from all religions, if they will behave themselves in the civic arena (no honor killings, human sacrifice, killing their neighbor for disbelief, etc).

What is at stake is liberty and the Enlightenment/Western culture. Christianity, since the 14th century, has been able to reconcile itself and its doctrine with modernity. Thus we have had the First Amendment, "Edicts of Toleration," and so forth. There can be a nation that is majority Christian that still protects the liberty of all.

Islam has had no reformation/counter-reformation. It is still a 7th-century desert-nomad moon cult, societally speaking. It is absolutist and totalitarian in nature. We see examples of this in the nasty regimes in the ME which act like Nazis/Communist/totalitarian regimes, but base their authority on the Koran and its commentaries rather than Marx & theories of racial superiority.

Thus, you see muslim immigrants who assimilate to the "live and let live" point in the West, but no such equivalent in the overtly muslim countries, which can not tolerate unbelievers and "live and let live."

Making arguments of equivalence tells us less about the societies involved than it does about the one making the argument.

i don't know anything about the author's career, but i pretty much agree with chris.

the author makes several obvious mistakes for the purpose of selling his hysterical fantasy. not the least of which are

.that there are lots of troublespots around the world that don't involve islam. his list was hardly comprehensive, and it provides no support for his premise unless he's contending, for instance, that muslims vs christianity is due to out-of-control-tolerance in africa
His argument is not that muslims are the cause of every hot spot. It is that they are in bloody struggles wherever they interface with other religions. Thus you see muslim vs hindu in India, muslim vs christian in Indonesia, muslim vs atheist in the PRC, muslim vs pagan in Africa, etc.



.it IS a war on "terror"

Just how does one war an a technique?


.birth rates are NOT declining all over the world, only in some places.
You have made Steyn's point. Birth rates are falling in Western countries, but remaining high in muslim countries.


also, they fail to mention that while the US birth rate is at an all-time low, llife expectancy is at an all-time high.

So what? So we have legions of geezers who will live a couple of years longer and consume Social Security a couple of years longer? How does this help when the geezers die and no children are left?


.his argument about europe's need for immigration from africa is absurd. for us to get as hysterical as he wants, his argument requires us to accept that the crazed islamic immigrants are net consumers from the gov, not net tax payers. if they're consumers, (which they are) then importing bazillions of them isn't going to solve europe's welfare problems; it's going to crush europe. in otherwords, it's no catch-22. europe just needs to close its borders.

Europe can close its borders and go into absolute population decline, yes, indeed.

The demographic trend is such that there will be too few europeans to do the work of keeping civilisation going and the work of defending it. Tye may have better technology than their potential enemies, but even such technology as Greek fire was not enough to save Byzantium in the face of their enemies.

The bet many euro pols are making is that the newcomers will pay the pensions of the oldsters. I don't necessarily agree.


.hellena kennedy was correct and his interpretation of what she was saying was incomprehendable and irrelevant. PC "tolerance" is in fact intolerance, as anyone attempting to espouse conservative viewpoints on college campi will quickly find out.

Agreed


.while empires may fall from "suicide" i can't think of an empire that's downfall has been multiculturalism or tolerance. corruption and good old fashioned butt-kicking are far more likely (of course, europe's ripe for both of those)

Multicultural states have not ever existed in a spirit of tolerance. Take your pick: Russian Empire, USSR, Austro-Hungarian Empire, the early Caliphate, Rome, Zulu Empire, etc. They all were held together with raw power and insisted that their subject peoples make obiescence to the dominant culture.


i could go on, but the most serious error is that the author assumes that people won't naturally correct these things. this is no different, fundamentally, than the economic discussions we've been having. (supply and demand will work out an equilibrium)

"Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western civilization as it commits suicide."
----James Burnham

Internal collapse happens, especially when social palliatives are applied by the elites. Welfare, socialized medicine, etc. serve as social morphine that allow the body of society to decay while those on the opiate live in thier purple haze.


the fact of the matter is that people will respond to racism (as evidenced by numorous recent posts on THR). when the situation becomes more obviosly dire, folks like this author will stir up the youth, who will contest the outcome that the author apparently feels is inevitable.

there's plenty of history to support this, from the hitler youth to the recent unpleasantness in the netherlands (firebombings in relatiation to the firebombings that were in retaliation to the assassination of that filmmaker) to the surfers vs. the lebanese in australia that was recently discussed on THR.


for the record, i do think liberal policies have allowed the situation to go too far in europe and i think it's done a lot of damage. and i think it's going to get a lot worse. i do believe multiculturalism, as described by the author, is stupid and is a problem. i just think the author is out of bounds.

it might be the end of france, but then france changes governments like we change underwear. it won't be the end of germany or russia or italy.
Saying "It can't happen here" or "It can't happen there" is not in accord with the lessons of history. Everything eventually dies, rots, and leeches into the soil. Even cultures.

Gordon Fink
January 4, 2006, 02:16 PM
Thus, you see muslim immigrants who assimilate to the “live and let live” point in the West.…

Exactly, and yet these moderate Muslims are the ones Steyn appears to be afraid of.

~G. Fink

taliv
January 4, 2006, 03:11 PM
i'm not saying it can't or won't happen here (or in europe). i'm just saying the author didn't support his fear mongering with any evidence. he only supported it with a bunch of biggoted preconceptions.


all the population decline stuff is rubbish because he's looking at one decade out of thousands and trying to extrapolate the end of the world. offhand, i'd say it's cyclical, and that the next generation will have another baby boom before the current baby boomers die off. i don't expect to ever see an absolute reduction in population (barring wars and whatnot) until we have actually, undeniably, exhausted the resources of this planet.

that's like the Dow dropping 100 points today and me saying "OMG!!! THE DOW WILL BE AT ZERO BY JUNE!!"

The demographic trend is such that there will be too few europeans to do the work of keeping civilisation going and the work of defending it. Tye may have better technology than their potential enemies, but even such technology as Greek fire was not enough to save Byzantium in the face of their enemies.

if that's the author's point (i didn't read it that way), then it's irrelevant. we'd be better off with fewer people, not more. your contention requires a belief that our entire civilization is some sort of ponzi scheme, which i don't believe to be the case.
as far as defending it, what does it matter to france if uganda has 50 million or 500 million people? especially if they close their borders. i thought we were talking internal demographics. the real danger is that there would simply be more muslim voters. not that the euro elite would strap bombs onto their concordes

Multicultural states have not ever existed in a spirit of tolerance.
Internal collapse happens, especially when social palliatives are applied by the elites. Welfare, socialized medicine, etc. serve as social morphine that allow the body of society to decay while those on the opiate live in thier purple haze.

then how does that support the author's premise? i'm just pointing out that the author claims the empire's collapse is emminent, and offers as support that your kid is "singing native dirges isntead of rudolph the red nosed reindeer". it's just absurd.

Just how does one war an a technique?

that's a topic for another thread, but it's not all that difficult. we do it all the time. more important is the what. i believe that our gov during the clinton administrator was more concerned about the capability of your avg redneck with a gun than they were about islam, radical or otherwise. I believe our government under bush is STILL more concerned with domestics. Not a day goes by on THR where we don't see new threads about politicans claiming 50bmgs are weapons of terrorists and that we shouldn't have them, or discussions of how the patriot act limits citizens' civil liberties (are muslims really checking korans out of their local libraries?), etc.

Make no mistake. the domestic War on Terror is an attempt to prevent the exact scenario depicted in Ross' _Unintended Consequences_ which is nothing short of using the technique of "terror" to effect political change. It is not a war on radical islam as the author claims. Again "how" you do it is another topic.

but the point again, is that the author claims the war on terror is a war against islam. how exactly does that support his premise that western civ is about to become extinct? it makes no sense. again, he's just tossing out emotionally loaded terms because he knows that most of his readers think the war on terror is really jsut a PC term for the war on brown people, and they won't look at his argument critically. they'll just accept it

longeyes
January 4, 2006, 03:38 PM
The bet many euro pols are making is that the newcomers will pay the pensions of the oldsters. I don't necessarily agree.

The same belief, apparently, that motivates our own leaders in theri support of illegal immigration from South of the Border.

roo_ster
January 4, 2006, 04:01 PM
i'm not saying it can't or won't happen here (or in europe). i'm just saying the author didn't support his fear mongering with any evidence. he only supported it with a bunch of biggoted preconceptions.

all the population decline stuff is rubbish because he's looking at one decade out of thousands and trying to extrapolate the end of the world. offhand, i'd say it's cyclical, and that the next generation will have another baby boom before the current baby boomers die off. i don't expect to ever see an absolute reduction in population (barring wars and whatnot) until we have actually, undeniably, exhausted the resources of this planet.

that's like the Dow dropping 100 points today and me saying "OMG!!! THE DOW WILL BE AT ZERO BY JUNE!!"
I would say you need to take a closer look at the data (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?userid=CP6Rz8sB0T&isbn=1566636736) Steyn bases his polemic on. It is not a mere one decade's worth of data, it is a trend that is several decades long. If not arrested, it will come about as he, Ben Wattenberg, & all the demographers say. Like I said, if you believe the actuarial tables that show Social Security is heading for trouble, not believing the data Steyn founded the column on is inconsistent.

Can the trend be arested? Maybe. Significant cultural and demographic facts on the ground have been curbed in the past. The most notable is the elevation of Britain's lower classes from the vile scum of the 1700's into the much more pious, more law-abiding, and more sober folk who inhabited latter Victorian Britain. Of course, it took the concerted effort of church, society, and heavy doses of government all working toward the same end...and with the goal of bringing civilization to all the benighted peoples of the world (IOW, a mission).

Do you think the governments of the West to have the belief in themselves to push such an agenda? Do you think that enough of their populations would forego welfare statism, embrace their lost Christianity, and put their, ahh, "nose to the grindstone?" Do the mainline churches in western europe even believe in G-d anymore? All the churches I saw in my tour through Switzerland were museums, save one.

GoRon
January 4, 2006, 04:16 PM
your contention requires a belief that our entire civilization is some sort of ponzi scheme
Welfare states are a ponzi scheme. Our social security is a ponzi scheme. They are doomed to bankrupt the societies that go down that road.

It is not a war on radical islam as the author claims.
Tell that to the Taliban, Al-Qaida and the Al-Qaida in Iraq. The guys down in Gitmo may have a different opinion also. The radical Islamists blowing people up in resturaunts, buses etc.. also have a different take than you.

all the population decline stuff is rubbish because he's looking at one decade out of thousands and trying to extrapolate the end of the world. offhand, i'd say it's cyclical, and that the next generation will have another baby boom before the current baby boomers die off. i don't expect to ever see an absolute reduction in population (barring wars and whatnot) until we have actually, undeniably, exhausted the resources of this planet.

I am not saying you are wrong but you haven't provided any evidence that he is wrong. All you have done is spout off a bunch of your preconceptions.

Art Eatman
January 4, 2006, 06:04 PM
It is known fact that as societies become more economically successful, the birth rates decline. That's data from before WW II and onward, that I've read. Steyn's numbers may be from current data, but they are merely a continuance of a long-term trend.

Certain Islamics have attempted to persuade governments to allow a section of a city to impose Sharia, in those areas where Islamics are the predominant population group. This has happened in London, and in some city in Canada. Source? Mainstream media.

During the riots in France, French police were told (even by non-rioters) that they should stay out of the Algerian areas, as, "This is our area. Ours. You don't belong here." I saw one news article stating that the same attitude exists in Denmark in Islamic areas.

I conclude that one need not be a fundamentalist Christian to see that there are some serious problems from SOME Islamics.

Sure, the problem-child Islamics are a small percentage of all Islamics. I can only note that 0.1% of a billion is a million.

It's possible that Steyn's concerns are exaggerated. But just from numbers which are available on an everyday basis, it strikes me as foolish to dismiss his thesis without it giving some objective thought.

He's referring to an existing and not-short set of trends. The question is whether these trends will continue, not whether he's nutzoidal.

Art

taliv
January 4, 2006, 07:40 PM
Do you think the governments of the West to have the belief in themselves to push such an agenda? Do you think that enough of their populations would forego welfare statism, embrace their lost Christianity, and put their, ahh, "nose to the grindstone?" Do the mainline churches in western europe even believe in G-d anymore? All the churches I saw in my tour through Switzerland were museums, save one.

europe? no. American? yes
eventually, they will be forced to
doubtful

Welfare states are a ponzi scheme. Our social security is a ponzi scheme. They are doomed to bankrupt the societies that go down that road.

true, but i didn't say they weren't. i was talking about western civilization, which doesn't itself depend on increasing population to sustain itself.

but to your point, what exactly do you think will happen when the welfare system of europe collapses? when they get to the point that the EU and UN can't borrow more money to make payments? it'll probably involve a lot of starvation and quite a lot of rock throwing and car burning, but that will peter out long before western civilization disappears.

Tell that to the Taliban, Al-Qaida and the Al-Qaida in Iraq. The guys down in Gitmo may have a different opinion also. The radical Islamists blowing people up in resturaunts, buses etc.. also have a different take than you.

sure, that's PART of the war, but it's not the whole war, which makes calling it a war on islam pretty stupid.
besides , the war on terror isn't addressing ANY of the concerns the author has about the demise of western civilization.

I am not saying you are wrong but you haven't provided any evidence that he is wrong. All you have done is spout off a bunch of your preconceptions.

i haven't set about proving he's "wrong". he made a claim and offered no support of that claim.


ok, let's take a different look at this issue

assume for the sake of argument that western civilization, euro and america are run by THRers. welfare is minimal, economy is fine, every citizen has at least a dozen fully automatic EBRs, the borders are closed, and freedom of speech and religion is held in high regard...

however, birthrates among WASPs are very low, and non-violent muslim citizens are breeding like rabbits. although they're non-violent and productive members of society (they'd have to be, as there's no welfare to support them otherwise), it's no secret that once they reach 51% of the population, women will be forced to cover themselves in public, religion will be regulated and you can kiss bacon and sausage biscuits goodbye, and christmas, too.


occam's razor, anyone? you see, the "problem" is occuring without multiculturalism or "tolerance" or welfare. welfare is a different and unrelated issue. look at GM's pension issues, where islam isn't involved, as an example. sure, it's bad. but it's still unrelated. same for multiculturalism.

thus, back in the real world, if we were all to implement Mr. Steyn's thinnly veiled suggestions:

super-glue the 10 commandments to every government orafice
take all the muslims off welfare
institute the draft for christmas carollers


we would accomplish what exactly?

hey, i wouldn't mind if we did that, you know. it's just that it doesn't solve "the problem". at the VERY BEST, it briefly delays it.


so really, what exactly do you propose we do?
forbid them to reproduce?
make a law regarding their religion?
deny their right to vote?

hmm... those laws look familiar. i wonder where i've seen them before...

Gordon Fink
January 4, 2006, 07:49 PM
And y’all wonder why we “godless materialists” insist on the separation of church and state. :p

~G. Fink

Herself
January 4, 2006, 08:20 PM
all the population decline stuff is rubbish because he's looking at one decade out of thousands and trying to extrapolate the end of the world. offhand, i'd say it's cyclical, and that the next generation will have another baby boom before the current baby boomers die off. i don't expect to ever see an absolute reduction in population (barring wars and whatnot) until we have actually, undeniably, exhausted the resources of this planet.
Nope. While I believe Steyn's thesis is rubbish, the birth rate of nations declines as their wealth increases. The birth rate in the United States has been dropping since the early 19th century, and even the biggest "baby booms" are just joggling around the overall trend. The population increases as long as the birth rate is greater than the replacement rate, of course.

But here's the deal: J. Average Muslim moves in, with a what, 10% or less chance he's a wild-eyed Whabist or similar, gets a job at the Gag'n'Go, and begins to become affluent. Perhaps not on your terms, but he's got a car, and a TV and DVD player and... And, well, his contribution to the birth rate of Muslims generally declines.

It's self-limiting. Riots and disaffected youth? So what. (It's not "so what" when they're tipping your car over; but look at the wider trend). Always happens any time the "have-nots" rub up against the "haves" and get enough ahead of the rat race to see how much farther they have to go.

Whack-jobs and extremists show up in the greatest numbers as a movement or an idea is ending. That is why they are so riled: their own inescapable end is in sight.

Radical Islam is doomed, doomed in much the same way the Soviet Union was doomed: it can't deliver cultural and material goods that can compete with what the West offers. There are persistent reports that several of the 9/11 hijackers spent some of their last few hours on Earth in a strip club. There's some good, religious boys for you, immune to Western Tempations.... If hardcore radical Islam can't even convince the most determined of the glory-hound goofballhadeen to toe the mark, it's not going to have much impact on the guy who does his prayers and gets up and goes back to watching "Nip/Tuck."

[snip]
but the point again, is that the author claims the war on terror is a war against islam. how exactly does that support his premise that western civ is about to become extinct? it makes no sense. again, he's just tossing out emotionally loaded terms because he knows that most of his readers think the war on terror is really jsut a PC term for the war on brown people, and they won't look at his argument critically. they'll just accept it
He's essentially trying to play the same game as the mad mullahs: convince the convincable that This Is It, the big battle for the soul of the Earth. Then he'll sit back and chortle as the blood flows freely, as it has done so many times in human history. And there has never been a shortage of people who will do so on the handy old standby of race.

The West may well be in its final days, but what will replace it will look about as much like our present barbarians at the gates as Europe under Charlemane looked like Arminius's band of Huns: not very.

--Herself

Oleg Volk
January 4, 2006, 08:49 PM
small town in the Washington DC area is seeking to pass an ordinance that says that a single family dwelling may only house a single family, ie: not a multiple string of family members. (ie move in your whole tribe).

That violates the property rights of the home owners...should be struck down on that basis alone. If I wish to have my parents or cousins or friends move in with me, that should be my choice. People wishing to deny me the use of my own house out not be able to impose their wills on me.

taliv
January 4, 2006, 09:07 PM
herself, my statement about population was too broad. i agree with all the other stuff you said

oleg, totally agree

longeyes
January 4, 2006, 09:18 PM
But here's the deal: J. Average Muslim moves in, with a what, 10% or less chance he's a wild-eyed Whabist or similar, gets a job at the Gag'n'Go, and begins to become affluent. Perhaps not on your terms, but he's got a car, and a TV and DVD player and... And, well, his contribution to the birth rate of Muslims generally declines.

What's the educational drop-out rate for Muslims in France? J. Average Muslim isn't assimilating that well over there either, from what I read. Doesn't want to, just wants the Western toys. If he's got a car, a tv, and a dvd player, it probably came thanks to the largesse of Jacques Chirac.

The old way assumed assimilation. The new way won't. That's where the concern comes from.

I don't know where you get your 10 per cent Wahhabist figure--wishful thinking?

longeyes
January 4, 2006, 09:20 PM
That violates the property rights of the home owners...should be struck down on that basis alone. If I wish to have my parents or cousins or friends move in with me, that should be my choice. People wishing to deny me the use of my own house out not be able to impose their wills on me.

So illegal alien "safe houses" on Long Island, with 64 men living in one house, floors entirely covered by mattresses--that's okay with you? No concerns about health issues? There are nuisance laws to cover this sort of thing. Even libertarians have neighbors.

Herself
January 4, 2006, 09:26 PM
Longeyes, if he's got a car, a TV and DVD player, he's already assimilating! It's too late for him and his family; the West has already got a hold on them. We're insidious. Remember when the Reds showed up to hang us? They couldn't afford the rope!

As for the "10%" number, it is a ballpark. Reported numbers vary hugely and are clearly stroked to support various agendas. Cope.

--Herself

PS: Yes, libertarians do have neighbors. And as long as their neighbors mind their own business and are quiet about it, libertarians don't care what sort of peaceful activities the neighbors are up to: reading detective novels, sleeping 35 to a room, having group sex, worship services of any flavor or cooking cabbage. Don't care. Just keep the noise down. YMMV -- but they've got your nibby self outnumbered, hombre!

;)
--H

longeyes
January 4, 2006, 09:36 PM
Hey, I'm into property rights too. But we live in social units and some rules must prevail. Somehow 64 in a room having group sex doesn't appeal; maybe I'm getting old...:)

Herself
January 4, 2006, 09:44 PM
Hey, I'm into property rights too. But we live in social units and some rules must prevail. Somehow 64 in a room having group sex doesn't appeal; maybe I'm getting old...:)

It doesn't happen to appeal to me, either; but why would that give me any right to prevent my neighbors from doing it in the privacy of their own home if it appealed to them?

We aren't our neighbors -- and I don't know about you but that's something I thank a beneficient Providence for every day -- and they're not us. And we're not in the Army. There's no reason why they should be just like us, or us like them. Or that we should even like each other. Or run each other's lives.

To heck with them. Why make rules for the goofballs next door? We're only in a "social unit" when we are interacting with one another.

--Herself

Wllm. Legrand
January 5, 2006, 02:18 AM
Errr....religion, geographic origin and ethnicity all mixed together?

Yes..it's called "culture".

The "racism" tag is bogus horse***t. When two cultures (or more) with differing values (that's what makes them 'different') encounter each other, there is usually one that comes out on top, i.e., one is assimilated. Used to be the way here..no more.

The Moslems have a different culture; American blacks, for the most part and by their own choice, have a different culture, and the poor (mind you, the POOR, not the upper class) of Central and South America have a different culture.

That's the way it is, though you could not say such at most institutions of "higher" education..and I use the term "higher" and "education" very loosely.

Malone LaVeigh
January 5, 2006, 03:00 AM
I wonder why so many people that push a particular pesimistic future scenario feel a need to disparage others. There are several real trends that, if not changed, could spell disaster for the more liberal cultures (i.e., "the West"). I think the environmental concerns he ridicules are a lot more likely and based on solid scientific reasoning than his worries.

That is not to say that I disagree with all that he has to say. Garret Hardin actually made much the same case regarding voluntary population reduction, though he had the sense to see the overall goal of population reduction as desirable.

Art Eatman
January 5, 2006, 11:57 AM
From the FWIW department:

http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/01/05/nbirth05.xml

Looks like that makes a notable demographic shift, and it's part of a long-term trend...

Separately, in all this:

It seems to me that there are rates of immigration which are easily dealt with. The U.S. is an obvious example, insofar as past years. Whether Italian or Irish; Mexican or Chinese, the amount of elbow room in a still-expanding geography made it fairly easy for assimilation to occur. Sure, early problems, but relatively short-lived. It was fairly easy to move out of the ghettoes to work elsewhere. We had the safety valve of the midwest and the west.

Looks like that now, the influx is at a greater rate than we can handle. It's the vast numbers that are causing our problems here, not illegal immigration in and of itself. When you're already in budget trouble at the state level, and you find net losses directly attributable to illegals, the entire system becomes strained. Witness, e.g., California's loss of emergency rooms and hospitals to financial burdens which are largely due to illegals.

However, we're still different from Europe. We're built to inculcate assimilation in a generation or two. They aren't. The Algerians have been citizens but separate in France for some three generations that I personally know of. That segreation plus other social differences and problems mean trouble there for a long time to come.

Art

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