Note from Senior Management: Jim Pinkerton outlines the central issues in the 1500-year struggle between competing cultural visions several years ago in this article, which first appeared in The American Conservative.
In one of the great epics of Western literature, the hero, confronted by numerous and powerful enemies, temporarily gives in to weakness and self-pity. “I wish,” he sighs, “none of this had happened.” The hero’s wise adviser responds, “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.” The old man continues, “There are other forces at work in this world … besides the will of evil.” Some events, he adds, are “meant” to be, “And that is an encouraging thought.”
Indeed it is. Perhaps, today, we are meant to live in these times. Perhaps right here, right now, we are meant to be tested. Maybe we are meant to have faith that other forces are at work in this world, that we are meant to rediscover our strength and our survival skills.
And so the question: can we, the people of the West, be brought to failure despite our enormous cultural and spiritual legacy? Three thousand years of history look down upon us: does this generation wish to be remembered for not having had the strength to look danger squarely in the eye? For having failed to harness our latent strength in our own defense?
With apologies to the frankenfood-fearers and polar bear-sentimentalizers, the biggest danger we face is the Clash of Civilizations, especially as we rub against the “bloody borders” of Islam.
What if, in the coming century, we lose that clash–and the source of our civilization? What if Muslims take over Europe? What if “Eurabia” indeed comes to pass? Would Islamic invaders demolish the Vatican, as the Taliban dynamited Afghanistan’s Buddhas of Bamyan in 2001? Or would they settle merely for stripping the great cathedrals of Europe of all their Christian adornment, rendering them into mosques? And what if the surviving non-Muslim population of Europe is reduced to subservient “dhimmitude”?
It could happen. Many think it will. In July 2004, Princeton historian Bernard Lewis told Germany’s Die Welt that Europe would be Islamic by the end of this century, “at the very latest.” Other observers, too, have spoken out: Melanie Phillips in& ;Londonistan, Bruce Bawer in While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within, and Mark Steyn in America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It. Admittedly, these writers share a mostly neoconservative perspective, but such can’t be said for Patrick Buchanan, author of the book that out-Spenglers Spengler, The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization.
On the other side of the great divide, militant Muslims are feeling the wind at their backs. Last November, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, leader of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, released an audiotape in which he vowed, “We will not rest from our jihaduntil we are under the olive trees of the Roman Empire”–which is to say, much of Europe. This August, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, traveling to Afghanistan, declared, “There is no way for salvation of mankind but rule of Islam over mankind.” To be sure, there’s no shortage of Christians who speak this way, but none of them are currently heads of state.
If demography is the author of destiny, then the danger of Europe falling within dar al-Islamis real. And in addition to the teeming Muslim lumpen already within the gates, plenty more are coming. According to United Nations data, the population of the Arab world will increase from 321 million in 2004 to 598 million in 2050. Are those swarming masses really going to hang back in Egypt and Yemen when Europe beckons? And of course, over the horizon, just past Araby, abide the Muslim multitudes of Central Asia and Africa, where tens of millions more would love to make the secular hajj to, say, Rome or Berlin.
In other words, if present trends continue, the green flag of Islam–bearing theshahada, the declaration of faith, “There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God”–could be fluttering above Athens and Rotterdam in the lifespan of a youngster today. If so, then the glory of Europe as the hub of Greco-Roman and Christian civilization would be extinguished forever.
If this Muslimization befalls Europe, the consequences would be catastrophic for Americans as well. Although some neoconservatives, bitter at Old European “surrender monkeys,” might be quietly pleased at the prospect, the fact is that a Salafist Surge into the heart of Europe–destroying the civilization that bequeathed to us Aesop and Aristotle, Voltaire and the Victorians–would be a psychic wound that would never heal, not across the great sward of America, not even in the carpeted think-warrens of the American Enterprise Institute. A dolorous bell would toll for all of us, scattered as we might be in the European Diaspora.
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