November 13, 2015

MARK STEYN: The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates:

Among his other coy evasions, President Obama described tonight’s events as “an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share”.

But that’s not true, is it? He’s right that it’s an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world – an attack on one portion of “humanity” by those who claim to speak for another portion of “humanity”. And these are not “universal values” but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta “universal” when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West Frontier Province were at least obliged to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those “universal values” are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.

And then Europe decided to invite millions of Muslims to settle in their countries. Most of those people don’t want to participate actively in bringing about the death of diners and concertgoers and soccer fans, but at a certain level most of them either wish or are indifferent to the death of the societies in which they live – modern, pluralist, western societies and those “universal values” of which Barack Obama bleats. So, if you are either an active ISIS recruit or just a guy who’s been fired up by social media, you have a very large comfort zone in which to swim, and which the authorities find almost impossible to penetrate.

In his post titled “Le Kobayashi Maru,” Richard Fernandez writes that “The dream of a ‘borderless Europe’ has taken a body blow:”

The dilemma the West now faces is that it cannot survive on basis on the platform which its elites have carefully constructed since WW2. They are being beaten to death with their own lofty statements. They must either continue to uphold the vision of open borders, multiculturalism, declining birthrates, unilateral disarmament and a growing state sector at all costs — in other words continue on the road to suicide — or retreat. As recent events at American campuses have shown, when faced with the choice of saving the Left and saving the actual world the odds are that “the world” goes over the side first.

In attempting to survive on its own terms the Left will tear itself apart. In its agony it will destroy much else. It maybe that Europe will rediscover its culture; possible it will develop the will to defend itself; conceivable it will hold off extreme fascist movements; even plausibly reconstruct its demography. But it cannot do this without an upheaval that will leave nothing unscathed.

The good news is that the West must soon squarely face choices it has been avoiding until now.  The bad news is that nothing will escape unscathed.

Radical Islamism’s greatest challenge is it that ruthlessly exposes a  fatal flaw which has existed in the ideology of the West for the last 70 years. It is representative of a question that won’t go away.  Can it face the facts just as they are and think its way out of a jam? What Samantha Power called the Problem from Hell is really the Kobayashi Maru test of European civilization. Faced with a no-win situation, will the West find a path through?

Based on Europe’s current political leaders and their wannabe cousins in America, I’m not especially optimistic; tomorrow night’s Democratic presidential debate will likely resemble a round-robin reading of Jimmy Carter’s infamous “Malaise speech,” which signaled that Great Society-era liberalism had reached its intellectual cul-de-sac, in much the same way that Clinton-Obama-era “Progressive” has as well.

As Steyn asks, “What’s the happy ending here?” It won’t be coming from Europe’s leaders, and it certainly won’t be coming from America’s president, nor his designated successor.

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