America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It – and Steyn feels fine? Steyn writes well and there is enough wit and flare, so when he tackles the topic of Islamic Terrorism, one doesn’t feel hopeless. His theory is the West and America will soon be surrounded inside and out by Islam. They will use our laws and freedoms to destroy us, as we navel gaze, and ignore what is going on all around us. Europe is already lost, due to the Welfare State and low birth rates. America will be forced to defend the cause of freedom alone.
Excerpts From The Book
[I found the book to be rich with clever quotes and interesting insights: so many that I finally gave up trying to collecting them.]
Now we switch on the news every evening and, though there are many trouble spots around the world, as a general rule it’s easy to make an educated guess at one of the participants: Muslims vs. Jews in “Palestine,” Muslims vs. Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims vs. Christians in Africa, Muslims vs. Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims vs. Russians in the Caucasus, Muslims vs. backpacking tourists in Bali, Muslims vs. Danish cartoonists in Scandinavia.
Whenever I make that point, lefties always respond, “Oh, well, that’s typical right-wing racism.” In fact, it ought to be the Left’s issue. I’m a “social conservative.” When the mullahs take over, I’ll grow my beard a little fuller, get a couple extra wives, and keep my head down. It’s the feminists and gays who’ll have a tougher time. If, say, three of the five judges on the Massachusetts Supreme Court are Muslim, what are the chances of them approving “gay marriage”?
So this is a doomsday book with a twist: an apocalyptic scenario that can best be avoided not by more government but by less
The alternative is stark: Europe has all but succumbed to the dull opiate of multiculturalism.
There is no precedent in human history for economic growth on declining human capital – and that’s before anyone invented unsustainable welfare systems.
The design flaw of the radically secularist Eutopia is that it depends on a religious-society birth rate.
I don’t think Donald Rumsfeld would regard it as a promotion to be moved to Health and Human Services. Yet the secondary impulses are so advanced that most of America’s allies no longer share the same understanding of basic words like “power.”
“Social democracy” is, it turns out, explicitly anti-social. To modify Polybius, it’s “avarice” dressed up with “pretentiousness.” And it leads, in Europe and elsewhere, to societal “indolence.”
Somewhere along the way these countries redefined the relationship between government and citizen into something closer to pusher and addict. And once you’ve done that, it’s very hard to persuade the addict to cut back his habit.
A citizen of an advanced democracy expects to be able to choose from dozens of breakfast cereals at the supermarket, hundreds of movies at the video store, and millions of porno sites on the Internet, but when it comes to life-or-death decisions about his own body he’s happy to have the choice taken out of his hands and given to the government.
Modern social-democratic states are so corrosive of their citizens’ wills and so enervating in elevating secondary priorities over primary ones that most of them would not survive even without the Islamists. That’s a remarkable thought: Europe doesn’t need an enemy; it’s losing to its own torpor. A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have, starting with your sense of self-reliance.
“the European tradition is much more mindful that men and women are social animals and that individual liberty is only one of a spectrum of values that generate a good society.” Precisely. And it’s the willingness to subordinate individual liberty to what Hutton calls “the primacy of society” that’s blighted the Continent for over a century: statism–or “the primacy of society”–is what Fascism, Nazism, Communism, and the European Union all have in common. The curse of the Continent is big ideas, each wacky notion a response to the last flop: the prewar German middle classes put their hopes in Hitler as a bulwark against the Bolsheviks; likewise, the postwar German middle classes decided European integration was their bulwark against a resurgence of Nazism.
Euro-Canadian socialized health care is, in essence, subsidized by American taxpayers: since the end of World War Two, Washington has assumed the defense costs of its allies, thereby freeing up those countries to spend their tax revenues on lavish social programs.
Almost by definition, secularism cannot be a future: it’s a present-tense culture that over time disconnects a society from cross-generational purpose. Which is why there are no examples of sustained atheist civilizations. “Atheistic humanism” became inhumanism in the hands of the Fascists and Communists and, in its less malign form in today’s European Union, a kind of dehumanism in which a present-tense culture amuses itself to extinction.
As another Canadian, Kathy Shaidle, wrote in response: “It is secularism itself which is part of the problem, not the solution, since secularism is precisely what created the Euro spiritual/moral vacuum into which Islamism has rushed headlong.”
Consider this poll taken in 2002 for the first anniversary of September 11: 61 percent of Americans said they were optimistic about the future, as opposed to 43 percent of Canadians, 42 percent of Britons, 29 percent of the French, 23 percent of Russians, and 15 percent of Germans.
Continental governments pour fortunes into prestigious white elephants of Euro-identity, like the Airbus 380, the QE2 of the skies, capable of carrying five hundred, eight hundred, a thousand passengers at a time, if only somebody somewhere would order the damn thing, which they might consider doing once all the airports have built new runways to handle it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s a swell idea. It’ll come in very useful for large-scale evacuation operations circa 2015.
Hilaire Belloc, incidentally, foresaw this very clearly in his book The Servile State in 1912–before record collections, or even teenagers, had been invented. He understood that the long-term cost of welfare is the infantilization of the population.
It’s easy to be sensitive, tolerant, and multicultural–it’s the default mode of the age—yet, when you persist in being sensitive to the insensitive, tolerant of the intolerant, and impeccably multicultural about the avowedly unicultural, don’t be surprised if they take it for weakness.
Britain was never an unrivaled colossus, even at its zenith. Yet today, in language, law, politics, business, and the wider culture, there is simply nothing comparable in scale or endurance to the Britannic inheritance.
But if England is the mother of parliaments, America’s a wealthy spinster with no urge to start dating. Of all the new nations that have come to independence since 1945 not one has adopted the American system of republican decentralized federalism–even though it’s arguably the most successful ever invented.
By contrast, on March 11, 2002, six months to the day after Mohammed Atta and Marwanal-Shehhi died flying their respective planes into World Trade Center Tower One and Tower Two, their flight school in Florida received a letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service informing it that Mr. Atta and Mr. al-Shehhi’s student visas had been approved.
Given the difficulty of reforming the torpid bureaucratic culture, the best we can hope for is to constrain its size–and leave enough space so that a nimble and innovative citizenry don’t degenerate into mere subjects of an overbearing state.
Or as Simeon Howard said in a sermon preached to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in Boston in 1773: An incautious people may submit to these demands, one after another, till its liberty is irrecoverably gone, before they saw the danger. Injuries small in themselves, may in their consequences be fatal to those who submit to them; especially if they are persisted in. And, with respect to such injuries, we should ever act upon that ancient maxim of prudence; obsta principiis. The first unjust demands of an encroaching power should be firmly withstood, when there appears a disposition to repeat and encrease such demands. And oftentimes it may be both the right and duty of a people to engage in war, rather than give up to the demands of such a power, what they could, without any incoveniency, spare in the way of charity. War, though a great evil, is ever preferable to such concessions, as are likely to be fatal to public liberty.
As French philosopher Jean-Francois Revel wrote, “Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”
Multiculturalism makes a nation no more than a holding pen.
Americans and other Westerners who want their families to enjoy the blessings of life in a free society should understand that the life we’ve led since 1945 in the Western world is very rare in human history. Our children are unlikely to enjoy anything so placid, and may well spend their adult years in an ugly and savage world unless we decide that who and what we are is worth defending.