July 29, 2009

Islam, Immigration, and Europe

By: Sonny Bunch

Andrew’s post on the bombing of the Outgames in Denmark made me think of Christopher Caldwell’s excellent new book “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe.” Chris’s basic thesis is that Europe’s lost nerve and moral confusion in the wake of World War II and the end of colonialism has created a cultural vacuum filled by Islam that is radically altering the European political and cultural landscape for the worse. As he closes the book’s first section:

How could [Gordon] Brown now expect immigrants and their children to help revive a culture that natives and their children had done little but snicker at? Especially since there was an alternative source of values that appeared, to many European immigrants, more legitimate, more coherent, and more alive than Europe’s discredited national cultures.

That was, of course, Islam.

As I said, it’s an excellent book: Chris examines the collision of Europe’s idea of immigration — “Migrant workers will come, work, and leave when the jobs dry up!” — with the reality of the welfare state — “You mean you want us to work in menial jobs to pay for your excessive retirement packages and then hit the road after paying exorbitant taxes all these years? Fat f—ing chance, monsieur!” — and the tension that has caused. I suppose I should say it’s an excellent book so far; I’m only a third of the way through it. I seriously doubt there will be a dropoff in quality as I progress, though.