by Brad Nelson
Excluding Thomas Sowell simply clearing his throat, probably the wisest words I’ve read of late are in Mark Steyn’s “America Alone.” Although many conservative books are too intellectualoid or but a single idea padded to fill a full-length book, Steyn’s effort is clear, interesting, and downright funny throughout.
Well, where to start? I’m not kidding when I say that perhaps except for Thomas Sowell, Steyn is the best analytical mind of our age regarding political and social issues. It is no small topic that Steyn takes on. It is the topic of the survivability of Western civilization itself.
In Steyn’s sardonic, yet even-handed, way he asks the question (and I paraphrase): Can the Western democracies survive the moral, financial, and political ennui brought on by the entitlement culture of socialism?
Dennis Prager calls today’s struggle a struggle between three ethical systems: the Judeo-Christian ethic, the secular-socialist mindset, and Islam’s totalitarian system. Steyn is certainly of the same mind. Whatever the cause may be (and Steyn offers plenty of evidence for the causes), the effect of our Western entitlement culture is to produce a culture that is slowing dissolving and fading away.
The demographics — based on real numbers, not Paul Ehrlich-like fantasies — are showing that Western countries (including Japan) are shrinking while Islamic countries (and Islamic populations inside Western countries) are growing. And if you conservatively run those number out for just a few decades (and taking into account just how much of Sharia law is already being respected and kowtowed to in the West), there is good reason to believe that Europe will soon be Eurabia.
Whatever one’s politics are, socialism depends on having more people on the bottom of the pyramid in order to pay for those at the top. But a shrinking population cannot even begin to support what is already a creaky economic system. As Steyn notes, even if Islam wasn’t a factor, the secular socialism of Europe and other countries would doom them to demographic suicide. In one generation, for example, Spain’s population will drop by half. The fertility rate of simply sustaining current population levels is 2.1. (America is at 2.11.) Countries in Europe, Canada, and Russia have rates that are typically from 1.2 to 1.5.
All of these facts are known. But as Steyn notes, in a socialist state, it’s the government that takes over the adult functions that normally the individual would take care of, such as paying for college, daycare, healthcare, etc. In abandoning these core functions, we become infantile. The survival instinct itself begins to fade, not only in terms of birth rates but simply in terms of defending our social and political principles.
Under the nanny socialist system, more and more people have the mindset of surviving only for today and caring very little for the kind of world that we leave behind. As Steyn notes, if mankind walked on four legs and hung from trees, he would be a cause célèbre of the environmental movement because his numbers are reducing so quickly in many places. Contrary to the idea that the earth is running out of resources, we are instead suffering from the reduction of the greatest resource we have: people.
Steyn’s astute analysis of what is happening in Western Civilization, and why, is eye-opening. We have become a culture that no longer believes in itself. This is worse in such places as Europe and Canada, but the cancer has spread to the United States as well. In contrast to the weak multi-culti identity of secular types, Islam does believe in itself.
And as Steyn notes, it is the Saudi Arabian Wahhabist sect that is driving a pan-Islamic identification. The proverbial “moderate Muslim” is a non-factor. It’s not that they might not exist. It’s just that they matter no more than those who were “moderate Germans” in Nazi Germany. What matters is who is driving the issue, and the issue is an expansion of a militant Islamism that Western Civilization itself is facilitating via its misguided notions of “all cultures are the same” multiculturalism. As Steyn notes, if you don’t see any differences in cultures, you’ll then not probe into the actual details. We would be wise to note the difference between, say, Sufism and Wahhabism, but multiculturalists simply do not. They are blind.
Whatever you think of Islam, it’s a quite sobering thought that there are one million Muslims in London. Many cities in Holland, for instance, have populations that are up to 30 to 40% Muslim. When you crunch the numbers, it looks as if Europe is indeed dying and will become Eurabia by the end of this century, if not sooner. The flower of the Enlightenment is so addicted to socialism they cannot, and will not, lift a finger to defend their way of life, let alone simply reproduce in sufficient numbers.
If you read this book, you may be profoundly shaken. Some will no doubt (and with good reason) say we need to turn to that Good Old Time Religion. But as Steyn notes, many denominations of Christianity share the same secular-socialist non-confrontational multiculturalist ideology that is at the very heart of the problem. Our problem is that we no longer believe in anything much more than whatever comfy entitlements we think we deserve. We have rationalized away all the hard problems much like children. We sedate ourselves and save ourselves from any mental trauma by simply steeping ourselves in a warm, comforting denial. Our entitlement culture has enfeebled our minds and taken all the stiffness from our spines.
All that sounds quite gloomy, but to read Mark Steyn is to constantly laugh even while he’s telling you that our world might very well be coming to an end, although he holds out better prospects for America itself if we will but learn from European failures. Give this book a read. I think you’ll enjoy it and will come away with an even more sober and clear mind. It is one of a handful of books that I put on the “must read” list.