The West’s paralysis of will
The end of the world as we know it
by Mark Steyn
(Washington DC: Regnery)
Hardcover: 256 pages
Rec. price. AUD$49.95.
In this New York Times bestseller, Canadian author and controversialist Mark Steyn compares the medium and long-term population trends of Islamic societies with those of the nations we know as the Western world – Europe (including Russia), North America and Japan.
From the West’s standpoint, the prospects are gloomy.
The picture Steyn presents is identical to that first offered to English-language readers by the Egyptian-born Jewish historian, Gisèle Littman, aka Bat Ye’or, whose pathfinding 2005 work, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, warned of the inevitability of the coming Islamisation of once Christian Europe. (See Bernard Moran, “Muslim immigration and the rise of Eurabia”, News Weekly, June 24, 2006).
Ye’or has described how Islam dramatically expanded and treated non-Muslims from the 8th century onwards. From this historical precedent, she foresees the likelihood of all Europe being inexorably Islamised over coming decades because of the imbalance in Europe’s diplomatic, educational, ideological, migratory and other relationships with the Islamic nations south and east of the Mediterranean.
Steyn does something similar, except that he looks beyond the political and conquering proclivities of Islam towards the secularised and Christian West. Instead, he highlights the fact that Westerners, because of anti-child predispositions (such as runaway abortion rates, widespread contraception, and now even same-sex marriage), are thus far less fertile, so that Islamic societies will inevitably enjoy a long-term numerical advantage over the West.
Ye’or and Steyn have therefore similarly concluded that Islam is set to inherit the earth. It is only a matter of time.
The turning point for the West came in the early 1970s. Steyn writes:
“Here’s what did happen between 1970 and 2000: in that period, the developed world declined from just 30 per cent of the global population to just over 20 per cent, and the Muslim nations increased from 15 to 20 per cent.
“September 11, 2001, was not ‘the day everything changed’, but the day that revealed how much had already changed.
“The salient feature of Europe, Canada, Japan and Russia is that they’re running out of babies.”
Europe’s southern frontline nation-states – Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece – are already demographically declining and each has ever-growing Muslim communities.
It’s therefore easy to envisage, say, the Vatican being surrounded not by Catholic Italian residents but by vast Muslim inhabited quarters, in much the same way that Bethlehem now has only a handful of Christians remaining.
Russia, by 2050, will have a smaller population than Yemen. Stalin and the Romanovs, each Greater Russia advocates, would no doubt turn in their graves. But demography is quite an exact discipline if not a pure science and accurate predictions are most definitely possible.
Siberia will, if this century’s dwindling number of Russians are really lucky, be sold off to China, in the way 1.6million sq/km of terrain called Alaska was sold by Czar Alexander II to the emerging United States in 1867 for $7.2 million during one night’s negotiations. There were simply too few Russian Alaskans to make retention tenable.
More likely China, which also has a large northern Muslim minority, will steadily occupy barren and unpopulated Siberia with little fuss and bother.
However, such trends are not exclusive fates for Europe.
For instance, Thailand’s south-west is seeing its Muslims expanding rapidly, with non-Muslims steadily moving northwards to be in or closer to Bangkok.
Albanianised Kosovo, once Serbian heartland, is therefore far from a unique phenomenon, with more such non-Islamic fall-backs to come.
Minorities, we are seldom told, can relatively quickly become majorities. And when that happens, fundamental changes, that aren’t too difficult to imagine, inevitably follow.
Nor does Steyn see Europe’s other brainchild, welfarism, as an advantage.
“Demographic decline and the unsustainability of the social-democratic state are closely related,” he says.
“In America, politicians upset about the federal deficits like to complain that we’re piling up debts our children and grandchildren will have to pay off.
“But in Europe the unaffordable entitlements are in even worse shape: there are no kids or grandkids to stick it to.”
America demonstrates different characteristics with its still growing population and its military power.
However, to use the words of the late Patrick Moynihan – a former American ambassador to the United Nations and senator – it will, with the changing character of the world, be forced into lonely opposition since most inhabitants beyond its borders will no longer share its liberal and liberalising values.
Steyn sees the West as responsible for the formula of ageing populations plus growing public welfare.
Together these spell disaster, since the West is confronting youthful Islamic nations as well as youthful Islamic minorities, especially inside Europe, that possess willpower stemming from uncompromising Koranic teaching.
“Islam has youth and will; Europe has age and welfare,” says Steyn.
Disconcerting as this may be, he adds another factor – the already widespread and growing hatred, especially within the declining West, of its only capable saviour – yes – America.
“All dominant powers are hated – Britain was, and Rome – but they’re usually hated for the right reasons,” says Steyn.
“The fanatical Muslims despise America because it is all lap-dancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans despise America because it’s all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites despise America because it’s controlled by Jews.
“Too Jewish, too Christian, too godless.”
Secularists and Christians
Europe’s dwindling number of secularists and Christians are faced with growing numbers of Muslims within their societies. Already the most popular name for newborns in Holland is Muhammad, not Hans, Rolf or Dieter.
And that’s a trend that will escalate over coming years as non-Muslim numbers are increasingly made up of geriatrics and near geriatrics.
“Can the developed world get more Muslim in its demographic character without becoming more Muslim in its political character?” Steyn asks.
“And what consequences does that have for art and culture, science and medicine, innovation and energy … and basic liberties?”
Steyn’s stark strident style and warnings are not, however, a call to arms. Far from it. He says that he’s not arguing “for more war, more bombing, or more killing, but for more will”.
The Western world possesses the attributes that far exceed in splendour and admiration, not to mention individual freedom, all previous civilisations.
But it has within it the demographic seeds of its own destruction and the trend is in that declining direction, according to Steyn.
All the signs on what is just over the horizon are there for all to see by simply focusing upon some quite obvious facts and developments, with demographic factors the most ominous and most obvious.
Steyn, although focusing upon inevitabilities, nevertheless offers a ray of hope – even if only a tiny and unlikely one.
Greater will, on the part of those who live within and cherish the Western heritage, is what’s desperately required, he concludes.
“The British in India were faced with the practice of ‘suttee’ – the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands,” he writes.
“General Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural: ‘You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.’
“India today is better off without suttee. If you don’t agree with that, if you think that’s just dead-white-male Eurocentrism, fine.
“But I don’t think you really do believe that.”