T Nation

Dangers to Western Civilization


#1

From a post from the Right Coast weblog, a blog of law professors in San Diego - I thought it would be interesting for discussion:

http://therightcoast.blogspot.com/2006/01/steyn-on-dangers-for-western.html

Quite an interesting and provacative piece by Mark Steyn: http://opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007760 I don't agree with all of it, but it is quite powerful and I may come to agree with much of it. The tone and substance are frightening but one certainly cannot dismiss it. The basic point is that the West is not reproducing itself, but Muslims, who do not share Western Values, are. God help us.

Some of the piece, though is not quite as threatening. I will quote from a couple of these parts, but do read the rest of it. Here is one quote:

[i]In a globalized economy, the environmentalists want us to worry about First World capitalism imposing its ways on bucolic, pastoral, primitive Third World backwaters. Yet, insofar as "globalization" is a threat, the real danger is precisely the opposite--that the peculiarities of the backwaters can leap instantly to the First World. Pigs are valued assets and sleep in the living room in rural China--and next thing you know an unknown respiratory disease is killing people in Toronto, just because someone got on a plane. That's the way to look at Islamism: We fret about McDonald's and Disney, but the big globalization success story is the way the Saudis have taken what was 80 years ago a severe but obscure and unimportant strain of Islam practiced by Bedouins of no fixed abode and successfully exported it to the heart of Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Manchester, Buffalo . . .[/i]

Here is another:

[i]As fertility shrivels, societies get older--and Japan and much of Europe are set to get older than any functioning societies have ever been. And we know what comes after old age. These countries are going out of business--unless they can find the will to change their ways. Is that likely? I don't think so. If you look at European election results--most recently in Germany--it's hard not to conclude that, while voters are unhappy with their political establishments, they're unhappy mainly because they resent being asked to reconsider their government benefits and, no matter how unaffordable they may be a generation down the road, they have no intention of seriously reconsidering them. The Scottish executive recently backed down from a proposal to raise the retirement age of Scottish public workers. It's presently 60, which is nice but unaffordable. But the reaction of the average Scots worker is that that's somebody else's problem. The average German worker now puts in 22% fewer hours per year than his American counterpart, and no politician who wishes to remain electorally viable will propose closing the gap in any meaningful way.[/i]

And finally this:

[i]If one wanted to allocate blame, one could argue that it's a product of the U.S. military presence, the American security guarantee that liberated European budgets: instead of having to spend money on guns, they could concentrate on butter, and buttering up the voters. If Washington's problem with Europe is that these are not serious allies, well, whose fault is that? Who, in the years after the Second World War, created NATO as a postmodern military alliance? The "free world," as the Americans called it, was a free ride for everyone else. And having been absolved from the primal responsibilities of nationhood, it's hardly surprising that European nations have little wish to reshoulder them. In essence, the lavish levels of public health care on the Continent are subsidized by the American taxpayer. And this long-term softening of large sections of the West makes them ill-suited to resisting a primal force like Islam.[/i]

#2

One more quote from the Steyn article linked above:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007760

[i]This ought to be the left's issue. I'm a conservative--I'm not entirely on board with the Islamist program when it comes to beheading sodomites and so on, but I agree Britney Spears dresses like a slut: I'm with Mullah Omar on that one. Why then, if your big thing is feminism or abortion or gay marriage, are you so certain that the cult of tolerance will prevail once the biggest demographic in your society is cheerfully intolerant? Who, after all, are going to be the first victims of the West's collapsed birthrates? Even if one were to take the optimistic view that Europe will be able to resist the creeping imposition of Sharia currently engulfing Nigeria, it remains the case that the Muslim world is not notable for setting much store by "a woman's right to choose," in any sense.

I watched that big abortion rally in Washington in 2004, where Ashley Judd and Gloria Steinem were cheered by women waving "Keep your Bush off my bush" placards, and I thought it was the equivalent of a White Russian tea party in 1917. By prioritizing a "woman's right to choose," Western women are delivering their societies into the hands of fellows far more patriarchal than a 1950s sitcom dad. If any of those women marching for their "reproductive rights" still have babies, they might like to ponder demographic realities: A little girl born today will be unlikely, at the age of 40, to be free to prance around demonstrations in Eurabian Paris or Amsterdam chanting "Hands off my bush!" [/i]

[Bolding mine]


#3

This caught my attention as well:

"Best-case scenario? The Continent winds up as Vienna with Swedish tax rates.

Worst-case scenario: Sharia, circa 2040; semi-Sharia, a lot sooner--and we're already seeing a drift in that direction. "

The Western European culture is dying via suicide as opposed to defeat.

Any thoughts on this from you folks over there?


#4

That was not a very coherent piece. I'm all for the war on terrorism so I don't have a beef with him on that. I do have a problem with his analysis of birthrate trends. With birthrate, and this may not be a PC thing to say but I don't care, it's quality over quantity. It's the ratio of smart/educated people to stupid people - how many stupid people does it take to equal one smart person? It depends. For menial tasks, they are probably equal. For complicated tasks such as brain surgery, I don't think even a million stupid people would equal one skilled surgeon. So, are the countries with the high birth rates also able to educate these kids so that they become leaders in science, business, and law, or do these societies just produce a mass of miscreants?

What the U.S. needs to do is focus on education and producing a higher quality population. Besides, how the hell would the government encourage more births, assuming you would even want the government involved in that aspect of our lives? We need to encourage people to think and learn, not mindlessly procreate. We already have a group that mindlessly procreates. Just go down to your local mobile home park and you'll find them. Single moms with 5 kids. None of them look alike. Walking around in ratty clothes. Five kids in 4th grade (because some got held back) who read at a 1st grade level. Then there are some families who have only one kid in 1st grade who reads at a 4th grade level. Do the math.


#5

It sounds like another "the sky is falling" us against them piece. Part of the reason for school systems is to indoctrinate the population into a somewhat similar world view.

Perhaps if you could finally put together a good educational system and shut down the damned inflow of illegal immigrants, so that you don't have so many non-indoctrinated people together at one point in time you would have a chance of maintaining your culture?

Heh, so, as much as you hate it, some of the solution is based on the liberal premise of making sure everyone can and does go through the system and take advantages of education and other opportunities.

Maybe at some point people will realize that neither the republicans nor the democrats are pure evil. Both sides bring important things to the table even if they are usually different things.

If there wasn't so much partisanship, we could take advantage of the best that each has to offer...

What the hell am I talking about, this is obviously way off topic. Let's talk about how we are going to be wiped out instead. I haven't engaged in any fear mongering yet today.


#6

Well as we have more immigrants from non-western sources their decendents might turn our culture into something decidedly non-western. Im not sure if it will be a good or bad thing. Yes i know that America has been a " land of immigrants " but still, with most of them being white Europeans it hasnt been much of a challenge to assimilate. Mabey it will be if we arent at least a little ehtnocentric.

Most likely, America will have the same problems that France is having, and it will have to look at itself and be more international-friendly. Overall, this is the way a lot of the world is going ( more international ) so its not such a horrible thing IMO.


#7

Might want to brush up on your Sharia law before you say that. Stoning, beheading, amputation, Not exactly PC.

What the author is saying in that many liberal Western European nations the immigration of Muslim workers is growing at such a substantial rate that they will eventually have a majority. Unlike previous waves of immigration they want to maintain their culture, not assimilate. In other words they want you to become a Muslim and live under thier laws, not the other way around. Since the Europeans have a history of appeasment this could come to pass.


#8

Next thing you know, vroom, you'll be saying that the removal of a dictator and the spread of democracy is a good thing, even if the WMDs weren't there.


#9

Hitler recognized this early on. Most of the high-testosterone individuals left, fo the USA, Australia, and Canada. He saw this decline and that's why he struck -- before those individuals could build up their respective countries. Fortunately, he was too late.

One side effect of the war was the killing off of even more high-test men. This is one reason why those European countries are stagnant and declining.


#10

BB,

I do have to agree with vroom on this a little bit though. It was very much a "doomsday" piece. He made a very good case for the rise of Islam and the decline of the West, but he (Steyn) left a lot out of the picture. Namely, the East. He only mentioned China to write them off and say that they've learned more from the Queen than Marx. It seemed very lopsided to only mention Islam and the West.

Some good points though, and maybe we are a falling/fallen culture. When Cameron Diaz is even jokingly referred to as an "eminent political analyst", their is obviously a problem.


#11

An interesting piece. It is using the typical "sky is falling" tactic so often used by liberals so that kind of annoys me.

MiketheBear makes a good point about birthrate in the west. No reason to encourage it but we must make sure that all the people that move to the west adopt the best parts of western civilization.

We must encourage the melting pot more than the the fragmented multiculturalism currently in vogue.


#12

The biggest threat to Western Civilization is stupidity.


#13

Yes, and unfortunately the people we elect to represent our interests, are in fact greedy bastards whose opinions reflect the interests of the highest bidder.

So, I'd put greed down as #2 and lack of ethics down as #3.


#14

The biggest problem is apathy, and being so peace-loving so as to allow the cancer of islamo-facsism to fester and grow. People like you and the rest of the West-haters thrive on this stupidity you speak of.


#15

Best part of the article:

If one wanted to allocate blame, one could argue that it's a product of the U.S. military presence, the American security guarantee that liberated European budgets: instead of having to spend money on guns, they could concentrate on butter, and buttering up the voters. If Washington's problem with Europe is that these are not serious allies, well, whose fault is that? Who, in the years after the Second World War, created NATO as a postmodern military alliance? The "free world," as the Americans called it, was a free ride for everyone else.


#16

I honestly think that greed and lack of ethics make a culture strong. Certainly did not hurt the Imperium Romanum.

PS: Rome, best show ever...


#17

That is stupid because it neglects opportunity costs, meaning there would also have been a prize attached to a communist Europe.

That prize could easily have been higher than US defense costs in Europe so it would have made economic sense for the US to pay that bills.

Had it been any other way, the US arms industry would not produce the most sophisticated weaponry on this planet and the jobs created by that industry would be in Europe.


#18

Interesting, but I don't think it's on point. I don't think Steyn was talking about encouraging "mindless procreation." In fact, given some of his other observations on the European welfare state, and if we're thinking "western civilization" in its classical sense, I believe he is thinking of increasing the average size of stable two-parent households by increasing the number of kids, if he's even talking about encouraging procreation.

Encouraging procreation is just one possible implication of what he's saying -- he's really discussing the root of the problem, not making an argument for increased European procreation. The problem is the combination of declining birth rates in Western Europe COMBINED with an influx of immigrants who are not being assimilated into the cultural values that represent liberal democratic society ("western civilization" for short-hand).

It's even more of a problem for Europe because their welfare state, combined with their declining birth rates, means they will necessarily need to increase their levels of immigration in order for their economies not to plunge into massive recession.

And that's the key issue -- whether western civilization, as such, can survive in a Europe that is increasing the percentage of its voting citizens that will not share the values of western civilization.

In the U.S., we don't have as much of that problem, because our largest base of immigrants has a culture more largely based in the principles of liberal democracy (not saying the home countries necessarily practice it well, but the immigrants aren't coming with a deeply held predisposition against liberal democracy either). We should do more to assimilate immigrants into U.S. culture here, but the problem is not the same as in Europe.


#19

vroom obviously only read the excerpts, so you shouldn't agree with him -- he just wanted to pontificate on something...

At any rate, I think you're right -- he did leave out the East. Mostly because the focus of the piece was the effect of Islamic immigration on Europe.

China is a different analysis -- and India is a different analysis yet again. He was kind of all over the place in his examples, but the focus of the piece was what was going to happen to "western civilization" in Europe, given the population trendlines.

I don't, however, think he was making any sort of point about the fall of the West. The U.S. doesn't face the same issues -- and Canada doesn't really either, at least not to the extent Europe does. Same with Australia and NZ. All of the "Anglo-sphere", with the exception of the original member, GB (and maybe Ireland too), looks much better off than Europe, with its tripartate issues of declining birth rate, the costs of its welfare state, and the political/religious character of its main immigration sources.


#20

And you say I want to pontificate about something?

There are some suppositions in here. Maybe if you pontificate enough you'll see what they are...