A few years back Daniel Bernard, the French Ambassador to Britain, was famously overheard at a cocktail party, referring to "Israel, that shitty little country." A short while later, Newsweek questioned Israel's continuing viability as a state. Tony Judt also famously pondered the Israel question in his tract, published by New York Review of Books, "Israel, The Alternative."
In fact, it has become downright fashionable for leading intellectuals on the left to question whether Israel has a right to exist.
Not wanting to be outdone, now, it seems, leading bloggers on the right have decided to put the Europe Question on the table. Does Europe possess the cultural strength to ensure continuing viability in the face of Islam? If Europe refuses to pick iself up and fight off those who would assail them, is there any reason for us to help? Does Europe have a right to exist?
Shrinkwrapped throws his hat in the ring. His piece is (which diagnoses Gates of Vienna as suffering from a "regressive" reaction to the anxieity brought on by Islmization), ostensibly, a criticism of an article which appeared at Gates of Vienna, pondering the question of genocide as a response to Islamization in Europe. While I don't think genocide is a necessary, desirable, or excusable response, and while I do believe there is a campaign towards dehumanization of Muslims by certain forces in the counter-Jihad, I do not think Shrinwrapped arguments, in response to the Gates of Vienna piece, are credible.
In fact, why don't we take a look at Shrinkwrapped's arguments with the name of Israel replacing the name of Europe:
He posits Islam as an existential threat to Israel (Europe) and from that first
assumption, several other assumptions and their attendant conclusions
follow. A second assumption is that Israel (Europe) has specific cultural and
ethnic attributes that must be preserved at all costs. He then
assumes Israel (Europe) has no ability to defend itself culturally or
Israel (Europe) is deeply troubled by the tensions between the native, now
cosmopolitan pan-Israelis, and the unassimilated and angry Muslims within their
midst. Yet if we have learned nothing from the war in Iraq, we should have
at least been able to recognize that Islamism does not represent the future of
Islam. Everywhere that the Islamists have been able to temporarily gain
control, they have quickly become hated and their religious views
repudiated. This is as true in Iran under the Mullahs as in Fallujah under
the tender ministrations of the butchers of al Qaeda in Iraq.
Islam will adjust to modernity or marginalize itself. Israel (Europe)
will recover its history and culture, begin to reproduce, or go the way of other
failed civilizations. Israel (Europe) may yet commit cultural suicide, but
genocide as a defense is indefensible.
Once again, my point is not to defend the Gates of Vienna piece, or to defend genocide as a solution. I believe that, as a civilization, we hold to the principle that all men are created by a God who has infused us with an equal dignity. As such, I am in agreement with Shrinkwrapped on his final point; that is, I do not believe that the wholesale rounding up and murdering of entire groups of people is defensable.
The problem is, Shrinkwrapped, here, posits the question of Europe's continued existence, and he frames the question upon a Darwinian notion of cultural natural selection, rather than on moral grounds.
The European people have a developed system of law. Their laws ought to be respected, whether Muslims outbreed them or not. To question Europe's continued viability on the grounds of Darwinian natural selection is to play politics by will to power. Nazis and Islamists play politics that way. Western Civilization is built on the idea that the one is as important as the many. That the weak deserve protection under the law, just as the strong do.
Furthermore, it seems to me Shrinkwrapped perspective here flies in the face of the case made by writers like Mark Steyn, Bruce Bawer, and Robert Spencer.
Shrinkwrapped criticizes the Gates of Vienna piece, saying, "He posits Islam as an existential threat to Europe and from that first assumption, several other assumptions and their attendant conclusions follow."
Islam is an existential threat to Western Civilization. To posit that idea as the first assumption of an argument is hardly basing one's case on sandy soil. The problem with Gates of Vienna's piece, is not its assumptions, but the conclusions it leaps to based upon those assumptions. The problem is one of logical syllogism, rather than foundational assumptions.
But, back to Shrinkwrapped. Shrinkwrapped, apparently, questions the idea that Islam is an existential threat. Have we rejected Steyn's thesis, that European civilization is existentially threatened by Islam, leaving America with the possibility of a future without its European allies?
Shrinkwrapped's re-presentation of the existential threat posed by Islam flies in the face of Mark Steyn's book America Alone. As such, it is, in my opinion, a paradigm shift, if we are to take his position seriously.
The truth is:
1) Islam is an existential threat.
2) Europe does have specific cultural and ethnic attributes that must be preserved at all costs. That is not to say that I believe industrialized genocide is needed, nor that it ought to be entertained as a solution. That is not how we would have to fight the war. However, I would say that I do believe it is likely that we will find ourselves having to fight this war as mercilessly as we fought World War II. We have often been accused of genocide for our prosecution of that war. Atomic bombs and firebombing of Dresden are cruel methods. But, that's what we believed we had to do to save civilization. And, there are people in the Pentagon right now who are working on such plans with regard to this war.
3) Europe does seem to demonstrate that it has almost no ability, at this time, to defend itself culturally or demographically. And, I am not willing to sit idly by and let it go the way of other failed civilizations.
Additionally, I have deep misgivings with Shrinkwrapped making statements such as the following:
1) if we have learned nothing from the war in Iraq, we should have at least been able to recognize that Islamism does not represent the future of Islam.
Oh really?!? If anything the lesson of Iraq is exactly the opposite. Iraq is now an Islamist government and the Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee the country. Does Shrinkwrapped not care that an Islamist government has tolerated, and likely even encouraged, religious cleansing?
2) Many Muslims around the world may cheer when Israeli, American, or European infidels are murdered in the name of Islam but the vast majority have no interest in entering an existential fight they know they would lose.
I don't think the lesson of the war, thus far, is that Muslims would lose. They have, instead, made progress. Muslims have considerably more power in Europe than they did a few years ago. And, in American, now Condi Rice and the State Dept won't even allow the word Jihad to be used. In the UK, in the span of one week,
a) the government declared that Islamic terrorism should be called anti-Islamic activity,
b) the government decided to pay welfare benefits to the multiple wives of Muslims, and
c) the Archbishop of Canterbury floated the idea of combining Sharia law with British law. Additionally, the EU is attempting to declare criticism of religion to be racist hate speech.
I could go on and on. You know the stories. You read them here.
How is it that Shrinkwrapped believes that his complacent paradigm ought to be the rule for all of us? If not, we are suffering from regressive response to anxiety? That is absolute unmitigated bullshit.
Islamophobia is a natural response.
I would remind you, there are no moderate Muslim political organizations, media outlets, academic institutions, or governments anywhere in the world of any appreciable size.
3) Fundamentalist Islam's rigidity means that it is fragile.
This is the kind of Natan-Sharansky-happy-talk that brought us to approve of the election of Hamas in Gaza. Furthermore, Islamic fundamentalist rigidity has allowed Islam to thrive as a source of fascist power for 1300 years, going so far as to have dominated Western civilization for about 600 years.
4) apostates are now routinely being spared the death penalty Islam has traditionally demanded, women who have been raped are not being stoned to death, and FGM (female genital mutilation) is being increasingly criticized from within Islam itself. Further, there is an immense fifth column living within the heart of Muslim populations that, once engaged and exploited, will destabilize Islam as never before.
I would like to believe this is true, but instead, FGM is gaining ground in Europe and the Americas.
5) Europe will recover its history and culture, begin to reproduce, or go the way of other failed civilizations.
Easy for him to say. Impossible for me to say, without choking on my own bile.
Shrinkwrapped is overstating his case as a reaction to El Ingles going over the line. That he says the things he says does not make them true. At the risk of indulging in the kind of cheap psychoalaysis by proxy of which Shrinkwrapped is guilty, only children and schizoids believe that their words have a magic power to create reality.
Shrinkwrapped has crossed the line, and I am here stating my case so that, hopefully, fewer people will buy his.
The phrase "existential threat" means that we may be extinguished. In this case, we are talking about the possibility that the entire European culture may be extinguished.
When Iran threatens Israel, saying Israel must be "wiped off the map," we understand that as an existential threat. Israel may go to war with Iran over just that threat. In fact, according to our President George Bush, the United States may go to war with Iran over the threat to Israel. "All options are on the table."
Were Iran to actually follow through on their threat, we would expect Israel to do whatever they had to do to avoid being decimated.
That's what we do in a war.
In World War II we dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, and we firebombed Dresden. In the Civil War, we burned Atlanta to the ground. Victor Davis Hanson has written on the subject of what kind of overwhelming force is needed to win wars.
That does not mean that we need to be planning a genocide where we round up and kill Muslims en masse. However, I believe we understand here that Islam is an existential threat to Western Civilization. The testimony of experts on our own Congressional floor has repeatedly told us that it is highly likely that America will be hit with nuclear weapons in the next twenty years.
I believe we would be fools to step back and say that Islamic conquest is not a mortal threat. And, if we are hit with ultimate weapons, I would hope that we would fight back in kind.
In my opinion, Shrinkwrapped is preparing us for a deadly complacency as surely as El Ingles is, apparently (I say "apparently" because I did not read El Ingles' essay), preparing us for genocide.
Since I started writing on this subject in April 2002, one of the things I have worried over is that Europe would go fascist in response to Islam. I worried that the longer they waited to start fighting back, the more likely fascism would arise as a response.
I believe that my worries are being confirmed in front of my eyes.
But, I must say, that the overriding theory behind all my worrying is that I consider Europe to be an indispensible ally. I believe Europe is the father and mother of the United States. We don't want to lose our heritage.
That Shrinkwrapped would say what he says in this essay, and that he would be quoted on it in a positive light, profoundly disturbs me.
I am quite as incapable of making my bed with people who would consider Europe to be dispensible as I am of sitting with people who think that Ethnic Nationalist parties are the solution to our confrontation with Islamofascism.
Shrinkwrapped has gone over the line. I believe he needs to be condemned as clearly as does the Gates of Vienna piece in question.