Friday, February 17, 2006

Europe's non-European future

 With the demographics of ethnic Europeans apparently at the cusp of an irreversible death spiral because 17 countries of the continent have birth rates of 1.3 or lower, here's a peek inside one of Europe's chief problems by Bruce Bawer, author of the forthcoming book, While Europe Slept : How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within. Writing in the Hudson Review last fall after living in Europe for several years, Bawer observed:

Living in Europe, I gradually came to appreciate American virtues I'd always taken for granted, or even disdained - among them a lack of self-seriousness, a grasp of irony and self-deprecating humor, a friendly informality with strangers, an unashamed curiosity, an openness to new experience, an innate optimism, a willingness to think for oneself and speak one's mind and question the accepted way of doing things. (One reason why Europeans view Americans as ignorant is that when we don't know something, we are more likely to admit it freely and ask questions.) While Americans, I saw, cherished liberty, Europeans tended to take it for granted or dismiss it as a naive or cynical, and somehow vaguely embarrassing, American fiction. I found myself toting up words that begin with i: individuality, imagination, initiative, inventiveness, independence of mind. Americans, it seemed to me, were more likely to think for themselves and trust their own judgments, and less easily cowed by authorities or bossed around by "experts;" they believed in their own ability to make things better. No wonder so many smart, ambitious young Europeans look for inspiration to the United States, which has a dynamism their own countries lack, and which communicates the idea that life can be an adventure and that there's important, exciting work to be done. Reagan-style "morning in America" clich├ęs may make some of us wince, but they reflect something genuine and valuable in the American air. Europeans may or may not have more of a sense of history than Americans do (in fact, in a recent study comparing students' historical knowledge, the results were pretty much a draw), but America has something else that matters - a belief in the future.
Europe is the very front line against Islamism. Whatever one might say about Osama bin Laden, et. al., to say that they lack faith in the future isn't it. They are convinced to the marrow of their bones that Islam is mere years away from dominating not just Europe, but the entire planet. Will Europeans succumb without a fight? Well, their governments probably will, but that the people will is not at all certain. After the brutal, Islamist murder of Theo van Gogh in Holland, some ethnic Dutch torched some mosques, which was decried as a terrible thing at the time. But after Muslims across the world  went on rampage because of the Muhammed  cartoons published in a Danish newspaper, who can say that violence is actually not a valid response to being made angry?

In The West's Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations?, Tony Blankley speculates that the coming years in Europe may be bloody as ethnic Europeans (my term, not his) realize that their governments are determined to surrender to the Islamists. The masses, he says, may suddenly decide not to stand for it and the prospect of open battles in the streets of major cities may become reality. Or maybe not, Blankley says, because it's far from certain as well that the masses of Europe have that kind of energy or fight left in them. But even if they do, they will still lose. The death spiral is real, not speculative. Unless the European masses decide to accept 20 years of a dramatically lower economy so that women can leave the work force to have 2-3 babies apiece, Europe, as a European continent, is done for. What do you think the odds of the masses deciding to do that are?

Jesus is served

John 6.5-14 When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people t...