The Hour Is Later than We Think
The migratory invasion of Europe, uncannily but presciently foreseen in Jean Raspail’s much derided 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints, is now taking place with near-irresistible force on the shores of that beleaguered continent. As National Post columnist Matthew Fisher reports, “Europe is in a deep quandary over how to respond to a huge and growing influx of desperate migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa.” Fisher writes as a compassionate liberal whose sympathies go out to these poor wretches, victims of human traffickers, trusting their lives to rickety boats that frequently capsize. It is hard not to feel sympathy for these hapless multitudes.
At the same time, one must also remember that the overwhelming majority of asylum seekers form part of a vast transfer of Muslim populations to Europe, and that Christians in their midst have been thrown overboard. Equally distressing is the likelihood that as many as one million “would-be migrants [are] gathering on the Med’s southern shores” to make the crossing. At this rate it will not take long before Europe, already burdened by large, clamorous and disruptive Muslim enclaves, becomes the island of Lampedusa writ majuscule.
Fisher, like many of his congeners, frets over Europe’s “niggardly response” to migrants experiencing “extreme religious and ethnic persecution and the economic paralysis that are causing convulsions in Iraq, Syria, Libya, the Horn of Africa and West Africa.” Many European leaders are now contemplating military action to stem the flood, including, as Fisher notes, an armada of warships and attack helicopters “to block the migrants at source” by destroying transport vessels in their home ports. Repatriation programs are also underway. Fisher has no compunction in condemning a “previously open-minded and open-hearted Europe” for its belated accession to realpolitik.
And neither do “50 former European leaders [who] described the calamity unfolding in Italian, Maltese and Greek waters as a ‘stain on the conscience of our continent.’” Liberal ideology clearly cares little for the social and physical integrity of the very nations where it has come irresponsibly to flourish. One thinks of former Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt who, flying over a country where fully 17% (and climbing) of the population is foreign-born, asserted there was more than enough room to house untold numbers of immigrants -- chiefly Muslim immigrants, of course. The naivety of a political airhead floating serenely above the intractable economic problems and social dysfunction besetting the country is beyond risible. But such an attitude is typical of the political and intellectual classes, advocates of the unsustainable, not only in Sweden but throughout the increasingly febrile West.
Our intellectual milieu is so “progressive” that we are progressing straight toward civilizational extinction. The spectacle of a Europe undergoing its own species of social, political and economic “convulsions,” its inability to assimilate the millions of Muslims who are transforming Europe into what Oriana Fallaci in The Rage and the Pride regarded as an abattoir-in-the-making, its impotence before the spiralling Muslim crime rate and appalling rape statistics, its evident helplessness in the face of Sharia enforcement and ongoing terrorist atrocities, and its presiding over the depletion of its welfare budgets exploited by a parasitical Islamic presence -- all this counts for little to the liberal/left constituency. Europe’s moral duty, apparently, is to mutate out of all recognition, to betray the legitimate rights and normative expectations of its own native citizens, and ultimately to abolish itself.
Europe’s looming catastrophe was already foreseen by former Algerian President Houari Boumediene, who gloated in a speech at the UN in 1974, “One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.” Daniel Pipes regards as “outrageous” the claim of a Belgium-based imam to the effect that “soon we will take power in this country. Those who criticize us now, will regret it. They will have to serve us. Prepare, for the hour is near.” In light of current events, the prediction does not seem altogether farfetched.
None of this should surprise us. The courageous and prescient statesman Winston Churchill had the measure of Islam in his 1899 book The River War (“No stronger retrograde force exists in the world”). In his Reflections on History, the great historian Jacob Burckhardt alerted us to the danger of Koran-inspired jihad. Insightful novelists have read the writing on the wall, for example, G.K. Chesterton’s The Flying Inn, Jean Raspail’s aforementioned The Camp of the Saints, Michel Houellebecq’s Platform and Submission, and Christian scholar William Kilpatrick’s recent and provocative Orwellian fable Insecurity. They knew (and know) what is at stake, not for Europe alone but for Western civilization in general, soon to be inundated by an Islamic tidal wave. Our best political thinkers, like Bat Ye’or, Andrew Bostom, Robert Spencer, David Horowitz, Caroline Glick, Raymond Ibrahim, Geert Wilders, Bruce Bawer, Melanie Phillips, Mark Steyn, Douglas Murray, Mark Durie and others too numerous to mention, have warned us repeatedly that if we persist in ignoring the theo-political virus of canonical Islam, we may not recover from the affliction.
But one does not need to read the literature to stimulate awareness. Nothing prevents us from using our wits to observe and understand what is going on beneath our very noses. The savage Muslims launch terrorist attacks against Western interests and civilians while the clever Muslims insinuate themselves into the political and social infrastructures of the countries they have come to inhabit. One might assume that the latter may even object to the tactics of the former as actually impeding their subversive agenda by alienating their formerly complacent hosts. But both are equally barbarians at large, whether in ski masks and keffiyas or perfectly tailored Armani suits. In the long run the stealth jihadists are infinitely more effective. The Islamic politico-cultural incursion currently in place is working, owing not just to the wiliness and patience of the Muslim infiltrators but to the pathological extent of Western compliance.
There are no doubt many reasons for such complicity: politicians and academics have been bought off -- vendus, as the French say; far too many of us are constitutively feeble-minded or proudly ignorant; others adhere to the liberal sedative that all cultures are equally worthy (except, perhaps, for our own); still others naturally gravitate to the “strong horse”; and the intellectual “elite” is committed to the belief that we are morally compelled to expiate a colonial guilt, as if the flagrant and unremittingly vicious colonial history of Islam never existed. Moreover, the pervasive sense of spiritual emptiness which vitiates the communal life of the West demands to be filled. For a people, no less than nature, abhors a vacuum. If Freud was right in proposing that every individual seeks his own path to the grave, the same is surely true of civilizations. Every civilization seeks its own way to die, and Islam is the form in which we administer the coup de grâce to ourselves -- what James Burnham called, in his book of that title, the “suicide of the West.”
Reflecting on the Cold War engagement with Communism, Burnham believed that only a policy of anti-totalitarian pushback would lead to victory. It is no different for the conflict with Islam (not “militant” Islam, for Islam is militant by definition). A morally disarmed liberalism, Burnham concludes, is now “the typical verbal systematization of the process of Western contraction and withdrawal; that liberalism motivates and justifies that contraction, and reconciles us to it.” There are other factors at work, of course, contributing to the decline that Burnham identified and mourned: non-replacement birth rates, civil fractures involving race, the therapeutic hedonism of popular mores, the “culture wars” splitting nations into contending ideological camps and devastating a once-sound educational institution. But Islam completes the death of the Western mind, beheading intelligence from the body politic and dancing on the severed corpse.
In the transnational EU, where borders have effectively ceased to exist, the refugee invasion, aided by hassle-free internal transit, is virtually unstoppable, despite the newly stringent measures adopted by the governing apparatchiks. It looks like midnight there. Although Europe is probably a lost cause, it may still have a purpose, namely to serve as an object lesson and advance warning system from which the rest of us may yet learn and act accordingly -- however implausibly, given political, academic and media collusion with supremacist Islam. The United States is confronting a European-like dilemma as millions of illegal immigrants are pouring across an undefended southern border, among whom, as an added menace, Islamic jihadists are reportedly embedded. No less disturbing, as Judicial Watch reveals, ISIS is operating a training camp in Mexico just eight miles from the Texas border. Commonwealth nations like Canada and Australia are marginally better off, but open-door immigration policies are also beginning to wreak social and cultural havoc, abetted by a soft-minded and blinkered officialdom mired in political correctness and multiculti myopia. Here, the reckoning has just been shoved into a relentlessly foreclosing future.
A telling example of the cultural temper in my own country, Canada, is provided by our largest-circulation newspaper the Toronto Star, which has recommended that convicted terrorist and killer Omar Khadr be awarded the prestigious Order of Canada; and by Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, clearly lobbying for Muslim votes, who has dismissed former CSIS Director and National Security Adviser Richard Fadden’s warning about Muslim radicalization as “fear mongering.” The mind boggles. As Roger Kimball asks rhetorically, “Who can reliably distinguish between satire and reality these days?” The political-and-media world has become its own unintended parody. Our liberal torch-bearers have morphed into cultural flame-throwers.
Dispassionate analysis of Islam and its destructive inroads into non-Islamic countries is in no way an instance of that egregious canard “Islamophobia”; quite the contrary, it betokens what American Thinker blogger Greg Richards calls “Islamorealism,” a means of dealing with facts, not myths, with concrete details, not beguiling narratives. Those who claim otherwise, insisting that Islam is a religion of peace, have consulted neither the Koran nor the Hadiths. Nor have they familiarized themselves with the blood-drenched history of Islam from the seventh century onwards. Nor have they examined the off-the-charts terror statistics of the last decade, a sign of the sacralised depravity we shrink from bearding in its cave.
Referring to the recent attack by Muslim gunmen at the Mohammed Art Exhibit (“Draw the Prophet” contest) in Garland, Texas, Richards points out “how much security is now necessary to hold an event that would be unremarkable if it involved Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or any other organized religion.” Obviously, those who argue that Muslims offended by satiric representations -- or, for that matter, any representations -- of the Prophet, who go on murder sprees to avenge the honor of their faith, must somehow be understood and coddled are living in a state of abject cowardice and cognitive dissonance. Christians and Jews who may feel similarly offended do not routinely set off bombs and fire AK-47s. As a letter writer to the National Post reminds us, Jews who felt offended by the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri’s sponsoring of the annual Holocaust cartoon competition “did not board a plane and shoot up the offices of Hamshahri” -- or, put more reasonably, did not shoot up Iranian embassies and community organizations.
One thing is undeniable. Media outlets and establishment figures that blame the targets of Muslim violence, whether these are exercising their First Amendment rights or merely going about their daily business, are soft in the head, if they are not wholly catatonic. They pose as great a threat to our way of life, our norms and traditions, and our common domestic assumptions as do both the extremists and the furtive jihadists. These enablers refuse to see that Ishmael is now invading the tents of Abraham with a vengeance; indeed, they are welcoming the marauders not only with “open minds and open hearts,” but with open arms.
Are we then to accept that refusing to publish books or cartoons in a free society out of fear or coercion is normal, that being forced to live or travel with an entourage of bodyguards is perfectly tolerable in a liberal culture, that being threatened with violence or legal action by the communicants of a particular faith for speaking our minds is standard practice and that we should properly hold our tongues? Or should we put our enemies on notice that such a state of affairs in a free and democratic society will be resisted with every means at our disposal? That such questions even need to be posed shows how much we have already conceded, how far down the road of groveling surrender we have gone.
The psychology behind the perfidy and timorousness of our journalists, opinion makers, talking heads, political leaders and intellectual clerisy is not mysterious. Frightened people tend to cover for their failings by affecting an “enlightened” affinity with their tormenters, whether by joining them or, as in the current situation, justifying them -- the Stockholm Syndrome comes in various shades. (Aside from those, be it said, who have been lucratively suborned.) Analogously, stupid people pretend to a wisdom ineffably beyond the ordinary and an erudition beyond the informed -- like Joe Biden instructing Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the true nature of Islam.
“The world is everything that is the case,” said the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein with disarming simplicity in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. The unwillingness to recognize, let alone absorb, what is happening in the world will often lead the morally and intellectually compromised to create a parallel world which is manifestly not the case in order to spare themselves the hard necessity of admitting the inadmissible, that is, of acknowledging both an impinging reality and their quailing deficiency before it. And they will almost invariably disguise their pusillanimity as human sensitivity and ethical duty.
Mercy and commiseration for strangers, which Matthew Fisher and his counterparts feel in spades, are noble sentiments. But they should not trump the instinct for survival or the empathy one extends to one’s neighbors and fellow citizens whose lives are irremediably changed for the worse by an orgy of extraneous charity. In such cases, resolute action to avert an indigenous catastrophe is an expression of moral courage. But there is little that will curb or retard the present debacle except for a profound and long overdue re-thinking on the part of our leaders, a willingness to face up to the reality of approaching cultural destitution, the re-instatement of rigorous border protocols, and the unabashed installation of prudent immigration procedures. As we have seen, European politicians are belatedly contemplating military intervention before the entirely predictable results of their accommodationist policies alter the face of Europe forever. Although I suspect they may soon renege on their commitment. And why not? All that may be possible at this advanced stage is a botox injection.
The fact remains. It is time for the non-European West to act decisively before it arrives at so disastrous a historical juncture as have our European compatriots. The Belgian imam is right. The hour is later than we think.