The Daily Bork

June 14, 2005

Europe and Islam

Europeans tend to think they have a good idea of America and the way it works, with their ideas generally being significantly out of alignment with reality and overly influenced by the rubbish presented as news and analysis in most newspapers and TV.

However, it cuts both ways and one idea that routinely makes the rounds of the US circuits is the Islamisation of Europe. Personally I think the issue somewhat overblown and predicated far too much on current events being projected into the future in areas that are notoriously difficult to predict, such as population dynamics and cultural shifts.

Gene Expression has an essay, somewhat opaquelt titled "Toward a conception of a liberal ecology of ideas", that discusses this and crystallises the objections to such a thesis.

Second, let me state that I am skeptical of some of the more dire predictions of the Islamicization of Europe. It seems that in some fora the fact that 50% of the children of Rotterdam are Muslims becomes conflated with the possibility that 50% of the children in The Netherlands are Muslim. True, the 5% who identify as Muslim are waxing, but we must not project our models into the future based on fixed parameters extrapolated from the present. The "Muslim community" is not an idealized Platonic type, a bubble expanding into the universe of The Christian Netherlands, it is a seething mass of individuals nominally cohered under vague rubrics and ideas that are often subject to a great deal of personal interpretation. Additionally, it must be remembered that the Muslims of Europe form more or less an underclass, economically they are marginal or parasitic. My study of history makes me skeptical that from such a base a dominant culture could ever arise. Contrary to popular imagination the Christians of the pagan period of Rome were not slaves, but rather the aspiring urban "middle class." They imposed their will on the pagan masses and elites through the patronage of the Emperors and produced their own eloquent rhetoricians and philosophers, from Origen to Ambrose.1 The self-confidence of European Muslims is in my opinion nothing but bluster and bluff, in the face of the material inducements of the pagan West they shall wither, and their screams of monotheistic fire are nothing but the last gasps of a culture without defense. Nevertheless, unlike some liberal of Left intellectuals I do not view the "Muslim threat" with sanguinity. Their likely absorption and digestion into the mass of post-Christian Europe maybe a painful process. Most especially for the Muslim and post-Muslims themselves, who will have to make the trek between here and there, often without the aid of sympathetic family or the mainstream culture. They will live the "theory" and prescriptions propounded by the pundits. Even if the process of assimilation is inevitable, the length of time and the travails are variables, and I believe that the inducements and constraints that are the purview of government fiat can have great effect. I also believe that the attitude of the substrate culture can have a great influence on the process of assimilation.

This all sets the stage for my main contention in this post: moving beyond a Platonic typology and toward a conception of populational thinking will allow us to more clearly and realistically model the ecology of ideas and people which characterizes the dynamic processes at work in the 21st century in many Western nations effected by immigration. "Muslims" are not an amorphous mass identical in their thinking. Most people would concede this, but you would not be sure from the rhetoric espoused by some. In the article above some, spokesmen for assimilated Muslims and multiculturalist Leftists, seem to assert that Ayaan Hirsi Ali's blasphemy is driving Muslims to more fundamentalism. In quantitative terms this might be generally true, but that neglects the minority of "Muslims" who feel free to shed their identity, reshape who they are, and be proud and vocal in their apostasy. Additionally, this neglects the crucial foci that Ayaan represents as an individual which can serve as a nexus around which to leverage a strategy of triangulation.

With one comment of note,

I once asked a woman who had escaped from Rumania under Ceaucescu if Americans had too much freedom. She fixed me a deadly glare and said, "You can never have too much freedom."

If there is such a thing as liberal fundamentalism, then we must insist upon it in the face of all religious coercion. I have no sympathy whatever for Dutch "intellectuals" who've deserted Hirsi Ali. She's our symbol and our sister and although we don't have to agree with everything she says, we have to support her struggle 100%. No compromise.


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