I am in the middle of reading America Alone by Mark Steyn, subtitle "The End of the World As We Know It". In one chapter, he opens by stating: look at the news headlines on any given day and chances are, there are Muslim names in every item. This morning, I turned on the old laptop that sits on the breakfast table; it opens to the BBC world news as its home page and sure enough - 6 items were listed on the right as top headlines; 4 of those involved clashes with the Islamic world.
This is a frightening book and, I fear, one that is not taken seriously by many and written off by others who think it is too far-fetched. But I have never read anyone with such keen insight, delivered with such wit and keen turn of phrase. It is sort of like reading Ann Coulter (whom I enjoy immensely) but Steyn has a much greater knowledge base.
Mark Steyn is no fool; why this book isn't mandatory reading for all political figures in the west, I don't know. Of course, reading it would completely jeopardize their careers, especially those with left leanings.
For those who aren't familiar with Mark Steyn, he is a Canadian-born journalist who was educated in England. He left school early to become a film critic for The Spectator, but in later years migrated over to conservative political commentary. He now resides in New Hampshire with his wife and three children and is a regular contributor to Macleans magazine, as well as for numerous other publications, and also has his own site - Steyn Online.
Steyn was tried by the Canadian Human Rights Commission for being Islamophobic, when a complaint was lodged against him for repeating a line actually spoken by a Muslim about "muslims breeding like mosquitoes". The charge was dropped after some investigation; however, like all Human Rights Commission trials, Steyn was left holding the bag for his legal costs.
America Alone is a riveting book; facts about the state of countries in Europe are startling; who knew that Scandinavia has become 40% Muslim in the space of one generation? Just the statistics on the birth rate in European countries is frightening; with Europeans opting not to have babies, the Muslims are migrating into those countries and replacing the indigenous population with their own offspring. And the residents don't seem to see any problem with living alongside people for whom nationality is secondary; Muslims are of Islamic faith first, their country of residence is not their primary affiliation.
Islam is now the principal supplier of new Europeans, and currently the second biggest supplier of new Canadians. So it's worth mulling over the question John Howard (Aussie prime minister) suggests: What proportion of Western Islam is hot for jihad? Five percent? Ten, 12, 20 percent? ... Instead of a melting pot, there's conversion: a Scot can marry a Greek or a Botswanan, but when a Scot marries a Yemeni it's because the former has become a Muslim. In defiance of normal immigration patterns, the host country winds up assimilating with Islam: French municipal swimming baths introduce gender-segregated bathing sessions; Australian hospitals remove pork from the cafeteria menu.
Nor are the new crop of immigrants tolerant:
In their bizarre prioritization of "a woman's right to choose," feminists have helped ensure that European women will end their days in a culture that doesn't accord women the right to choose anything. Non-Muslim females in heavily Muslim neighborhoods in France now wear headscarves while out on the streets.
A recurrent theme throughout the book is the failure of the western world to reproduce itself in sufficient numbers to maintain population; in other words, we just don't have enough babies to keep our numbers up. So we rely on immigration to keep our population level sufficiently high enough to try and maintain the social programs that rely on heavy taxation, that taxation of course relying on increasing numbers of people.
A prime example is Spain with a birth rate of 1.1 babies per woman. Yikes, a country needs a birth rate of 2.1 just to maintain the population; Spain has dropped below the critical ratio of 1.3 beyond which there is no hope of recovery. Yet, the ruling party in Spain is trying to bring in legal abortion. What can they be thinking? Eliminate the only babies you have in order to what? extinguish yourself is the result - why they can't see this is beyond me. Does no one even look at Russia and see that that country is imploding? With an average of 5 abortions per woman in Russia and a male population that drinks itself to death by the average age of 58, they have literally no future. And the other countries in Europe seem to be following in their footsteps.
The reason that the book is called America Alone is because the United States is alone in the western world with a birth rate just above 2.1 babies per woman, which means that it is maintaining its population and is actually increasing at a slight rate. And because the US (so far) has resisted the allure of the welfare state, which is bankrupting Europe. The United States alone has the power to stem the tide of extinction that is washing over Europe and Canada and to stand against the wave of Islamification that is taking place everywhere else. But, with the current President, things are not looking good, as he bows to the Muslim world and begs forgiveness for American ideology, and he is quickly trying to turn the US into a country with vast welfare schemes just like Europe.
I highly recommend this book but not for bedtime reading; you will be far too disturbed to sleep. As one reviewer says: "Steyn can make you laugh, while you are retching."
It is not just the declining birth rate that comes under Steyn's lashing; he mocks the feminization of men that has happened in the West:
In 2005, I chanced to see a selection of images from Miss Shemale World celebrations outside Toronto's City Hall. And what struck me was not that "shemales" should want to have a big ol' parade showing off their outsized implants ... what seemed more pertinent was that the local government should think Miss Shemale World is an event that requires municipal approval. Of course, if they hadn't approved, they would have been guilty of being "non-inclusive".... a once manly nation has undergone a remarkable psychological makeover. In 1945, the Royal Canadian Navy had the third-largest surface fleet in the world: the Royal Canadian Air Force was one of the most effective air forces in the world: Canadian troops got the toughest beach on D-Day. But in the space of two generations, a bunch of tough hombres were transformed into a thoroughly feminized culture that prioritizes the secondary impulses of society - rights and entitlements from cradle to grave - over all the primary ones.
The socialized systems of Europe and Canada come in for a sound critique as well; Steyn blasts the lazy attitude of those who live in countries with socialised programs as they prefer to sit around and collect their benefits rather than work or come up with some new invention or technology; the prevailing attitude is to feel entitled to a shorter work week, more free time, a comfy pension plan, health benefits, less responsibility, and the result of that kind of attitude is someone who can't get excited about anything.
The populations of wealthy democratic societies expect to have total choice over their satellite TV packages, yet think it perfectly normal to allow the state to make all the choices in repsect of their health care. It's a curious inversion of citizenship to demand control over peripheral leisure activities but to contract out the big life-changing stuff to the government. And it's hard to come up with a wake-up call for a society as dedicated as latter-day Europe to the belief that life is about sleeping in.
We have really fallen for the nihilism of John Lennon's song Imagine:
"Imagine there's no heaven." No problem. Large majorities of Scandinavians and Dutchmen and Belgians are among the first peoples in human history to be unable to imagine there's any possibility of heaven: no free people have ever been so voluntarily secular.
"Imagine all the people/Living for today." Check.
"Imagine there's no countres." Check. The EU is a post-nationalist pseudo-state.
"Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion, too." You got it.
What else comes under his vindictive pen? the environmental movement, the population crisis movement, relativist ethics, religion-less society, atheism, materialism. But the biggest issue that Steyn attacks head on is the failure of western society to simply pro-create.
Statis Europe signed on to Hillary Rodham Clinton's alleged African proverb- "It takes a village to raise a child" - only to discover they got it backward: on the Continent, the lack of children will raze the village. And most of the villagers still refuse to recognize the contradictions: you can't breed at the lethargic rate of most Europeans and then bitch and whine about letting the Turks into the European Union. Demographically, they're the kids you couldn't be bothered to have.
If we are honest, I don't believe that we can deny Steyn's conclusions, harsh as they may come.
What's happening in the developed world is one of the fastest demographic evolutions in history. Most of us have seen a bazillion heartwarming ethnic comedies - My Big Fat Greek Wedding and its ilk - in which some uptight WASPy type starts dating a gal from a vast, loving, fecund Mediterranean family, so abundantly endowed with sisters and cousins and uncles that you can barely get in the room. It is, in fact, the inversion of the truth. Greece has a fertility rate hovering just below 1.3 births per couple, which is what demographers call the point of "lowest-low" fertility from which no human society has ever recovered. And Greece's fertility is the healthiest in Mediterranean Europe; Italy has a fertility rate of 1.2, Spain. 1.1.....
Hollywood should be making My Big Fat Uptight Protestant Wedding, in which some sad Greek only child marries into a big heartwarming New Zealand family where the spouse actually has a sibling....
There's no need to extrapolate, and if you do it gets a little freaky, but just for fun, here goes: by 2050, 60 percent of Italians will have no brothers, no sisters, no cousins, no aunts, no uncles. The big Italian family, with papa pouring the vino and mama spooning out the pasta down an endless table of grandparents and nieces and nephews will be gone, no more, dead as the dinosaurs. ...
Definitely not bed-time reading, especially if you have a fondness for families.
America Alone, The End of the World as We Know It - by Mark Steyn available from his website www.steynonline.com