UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper XXXIV @ Mandolin Café (Tacoma, WA) August 13, 2007, 7:00 p.m.
Mark Steyn, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, [September] 2006).
[Theme: The West needs “more will” if it is to survive (193).] [Note: On Aug. 12, 2007, this book was #280 at Amazon.com, where 296 readers have written 5-star reviews of it.] [Favorite rhetorical trope: hyperbole. Picking page 111 at random, we read that in France “nobody has any families,” Europeans “mostly despise” capitalism, Europeans have no more great artists, Europe’s “men of science” are all “at American universities,” and Europe “embraced a spiritual death” long ago.] Prologue. Mocks gloomy prognosticators (xixvi). “Europe, Canada, Japan, and Russia” are “running out of babies” (xvi). Demographic growth give power to Muslims (xvii-xviii). “Age+Welfare = Disaster for you / Youth+Will = Disaster for whoever gets in your way” (xix). Enervation of the Western world (xx-xxiv). “Our enemies have made a bet—that the West in general and the United States in particular are soft and decadent and have no attention span” (xxv). Demographic shifts have cultural consequences (xxvi-xxvii). It’s a “clash of civilizations” . . . a “war” (xxviii). Steyn’s means of averting doom: “government returning to the citizenry the primal responsibilities it’s taken from them in the modern era” (xxix). Otherwise the West will someday live under something approaching sharia law (xxx). PART I: THE GELDED AGE Ch. 1: The Coming of Age: Births vs. dearths. If Europe doesn’t “correct course” in 5-10 years, “Europe will be semi-Islamic in its politico-cultural character within a generation” (3; 1-3). Demography accounts for “a good 90 percent” of everything (4). You can’t ignore demography (4-6). English cultural supremacy attributed to demography (“first nation to conquer infant mortality” ) (8-9). Blames environmentalists’ obsession with overpopulation (7-9). Statistics on birth rates (“in the 2004 election, the Bush-voting states had fertility rates 12 percent higher than the Kerry-voting states” ) (9-14). That Islam is “the principal supplier of new Europeans” poses a problem for European modernity (1418). Shakespeare’s seven ages of man applied to world history (18-21). Ch. 2: Going… Going… Gone: Demography vs. delusion. Problems of living in a shrinking society (23-27). Russia (27-31). European denial (31-36). Derides Spanish for “appeasing” Muslim terrorists by voting out Aznar three days after Mar. 11, 2004, Madrid bombings (36-40). Ch. 3: Men Are from Venus: Primary impulses vs. secondary impulses. Blames post-1945 “government interventions—state pensions, subsidized higher education, higher taxes to pay for everything” for destroying “patterns of intergenerational solidarity” (43; 41-47). “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” (48). The U.S. is the “one (partial) exception to the softening of the West,” and English-speaking countries are marrying and reproducing more than other Western countries (48; 47-56). PART II: ARABIAN NIGHT Ch. 4: Flying the Coop: Big Mo vs. Big Mac. Compares West to Abraham Lincoln at his second inaugural surrounded by the conspirators who killed him (59-60). Argues that with globalization, the enemy is among us (60-70). Multiculturalism encourages ignorance of other cultures (70-73). Muslim intolerance; Islamists are “at war” with coexistence (78;73-80). Ch. 5: The Anything They’ll Believe In: Church vs. state. Ironizes on Muslims’ successful assimilation into Western culture of victimization and dependency (81-83). “[T]he vast majority of Islamic terrorists in Europe are on welfare” (83). Argues Islamophobia is justified (84-85), and that while there are many moderate Muslims, there is “no moderate Islam” (85-90). Dangerousness of Muslim reverts (i.e. converts) (91-95). Rails against “defeatist wimps” (95-96). Argues, citing Henri de Lubac, that secularism and civilization are
incompatible (96-98). Laments flaccid state of mainline Protestant churches; praises “evangelical Protestantism,” and regrets its absence in Europe (98-102). Ch. 6: The Four Horsement of the Eupocalypse: Eutopia vs. Eurabia. Rails against European élites (103-08). European decadence (108-12). European politics demonstrates “welfare addiction over demographic reality” (112-17). Europe is becoming bicultural (117-22). Juxtaposes 2005 French banlieue riots and the Battle of Poitiers in 732 AD (122-23). Europeans are complacent, so they’re heading for “the Eurabian civil war” and then “a new Dark Ages” (123-27). PART III: THE NEW DARK AGES… AND HOW TO LIGHTEN UP Ch. 7: The State-of-the-Art Primitive: The known unknowns vs. the knowingly unknowing. Mocks the “Free Tibet” movement (131-32). Dismisses concerns for stability: “The geopolitical scene is never stable; it’s always dynamic . . . ‘Stability is a surface illusion, like a frozen river; underneath, the currents are moving . . . There is no status quo in world affairs (133). “Containment” is also overvalued (133-34). The prospect of “nonpolar geopolitics” (136; 134-36). Decapitation is a harbinger of bad times to come (136-37). “Re-primitivization” is coming, but with high-tech means; e.g. 2003 Sudan “vanishing-penis hysteria . . . spread by cell phones and text messaging” and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is with nuclear weapons (138-43). Criticizes “[t]he Palestinian death cult” and asks “what if that ‘desperation’ goes global?” (144; 143-46). “This is an age of unknown unknowns” (148; 146-50). “Islamism is classic ‘armed doctrine’; it exists to destroy. One day it will, on an epic scale” (152; 150-52). Ch. 8: The Unipole Apart: America vs. everyone else. America depends on its image of strength (153-59). Given U.S. military superiority, the enemy will find “some other form of battlefield” (159-60). Jihadists have learned how to use legal rights (160-62). United Nations is “a corrupt dysfunctional sclerotic anti-American club” (162-64). Muslim concept of jizya (poll tax paid by non-Muslims) has been “extended . . . worldwide” (164-65). Bemoans liberal media’s and antiwar movement’s lack of “will” (165-67). America is
at its zenith; its imperium is benign; its popular culture is widely popular; but its will is weak and demographic trends are shifting against it (167-76). Ch. 9: The Importance of Being Exceptional: Citizens vs. dependents. Applauds supposedly unregenerate American cultural traits precisely because they are relatively primitivist (177-81). Denies he is xenophobic: “I’m not an American, I’m a foreigner. . . . I blush to say it but I like French food, I like French coffee, I like French women. . . . As a neocon warmonger, I yield to no one in my contempt for the French, but that said, cheese-wise I feel they have the edge. . . . Personally, I want it all: assault weapons and Camembert. . . . As they almost say in New Hampshire, live Brie or die” (181-82; 181-83). Invokes 9/11 (and Flight 93) to support his antibig-government views (183-88). Bemoans “the modern social-democratic state” (188-90). Advocates lowering taxes on “young fertile adults” (190). “The chief characteristic of our age is ‘deferred adulthood’” (191). Cites this as one reason “developed societies are ever more dependent on unsustainable levels of immigration”; laments “the Hispanicization of large parts of the country” (191-92). “Our” only hope of winning the “existential struggle” is “free citizens” (192). Ch. 10: The Falling Camel: Last legs. The West needs “more will” (193). Multiculturalism is “a quintessential piece of progressive humbug. . . . it is . . . the real suicide bomb” (194). Arabic proverb: “A falling camel attracts many knives” (194). There is no alternative to war (195-98). Doubts the U.S.’s ability to assimilate Hispanic immigrants (198-99). Mocks hesitance to name Islamism as the enemy, derides those who say Islam is a religion of peace (199-200). Multiculturalism results in comforting Islamism (201-04). “Western man demonstrates his cultural sensitivity by pre-emptively surrendering” (204). There are “three possible resolutions to the present struggle: 1. Submit to Islam 2. Destroy Islam 3. Reform Islam”; only the latter is viable; “we” must “create conditions that increase the likelihood of Muslim reforms” (204-206). A ten point program: 1) Support women’s rights in the Muslim world; 2) “[W]age ideological war”; 3) “Support economic and political liberty in the Muslim world”; 4) Marginalize Islamic states that persecute nonMuslims; 5) Reduce radicals’ funding of mosques, madrassas, etc.; 6) Create an
ideological “civil corps”; 7) “Marginalize and euthanize the UN, NATO,” and other “September 10 transnational organizations”; 8) Stop funding oil dictatorships by transforming “the energy industry; 9) “End the Iranian regime”; 10) “Strike militarily when the opportunity presents itself” (205-06). Tumultuous times are coming; Bernard Lewis endorsed as “the West’s preeminent scholar of Islam” (207-08). Europe is “ahead of the line” and “its fate may wake up even the most blinkered on this side of the Atlantic” (208). Derides multiculturalists response to news of Toronto cell of terrorist plotters (209-10). Cites Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Tragedy of the Korosko” (1898) as still timely, quoting it in such a way as to give the conclusion of the book a providential tincture otherwise rather lacking (210-14). Acknowledgments. Index. 8 pp. No references of any kind. (Some references are bogus: on p. 146, what is given as a quote from the London Daily Telegraph turns out to be from the web site Regime Change Iran (http://regimechangeiniran.com/2006/02/weekin-review-5/).
[On the Author. Born in 1959 in Toronto; complains he’s often described as a “self-loathing Canadian” (75); has residences in Quebec and New Hampshire. Writes for the Western Standard and Maclean’s in Canada. Has published in the Atlantic Monthly, The Australian, the Chicago Sun-Times, the New York Sun, the Washington
Times, the Orange County Register, the National Review (“Happy Warrior”), New Criterion, Jerusalem Post, Hawke’s Bay Today. FOX News conservative commentator. — Educated at the élite King Edward’s School, Birmingham (graduates include J.R.R. Tolkien, Kenneth Tynan, and two Nobel laureates, Sir John Vane and Maurice Wilkins), but left at 16 and became a disk jockey. Hired in 1986 as musical theater critic by the London Independent and in 1992 as film critic for The Spectator. Began writing about politics and moved to The Daily Telegraph in the mid1990s. Alliance with the Hollinger Group has facilitated an international readership in Englishspeaking countries. Left The Spectator and the Daily Telegraph in 2006. He also published Broadway Babies Say Goodnight: Musicals Then and Now (1997) an anthology of colums (Mark Steyn from Head to Toe) and an anthology of obituaries (Mark Steyn’s Passing Parade). Married to a former editor at the Independent; has three children. Supported, and supports, the Iraq war and occupation (“I’m not worried about Iraq. Its political class has behaved with both amazing restraint and impressive resolve” ). Despises the United Nations. Enjoys lampooning environmentalists (“there’s minimal evidence for ‘climate change’” ). Argues multiculturalism is “fundamentally a fraud.” Postures as defender of Western civilization (“a dying West” ). Ignores many incorrect past predictions. Johann Hari considers him a “raw racist” (cf. the term “Chinaman,” used despite widespread condemnation of the term in recent years ). Won the 2006 Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism, given only to conservatives.]