New book combines humor, accuracy, depth.
The End of the World As We Know It
Regnery Publishing, Inc. September 16, 2006
Mark Steyn, political columnist and cultural critic, has written a remarkable book, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It. He combines several virtues uncommonly found together -- humor, accurate reportage, and deep thinking -- then applies these to what is arguably the most consequential issue of our time: the Islamist threat to the West.
Mr. Steyn offers a devastating thesis but presents it in bits and pieces, so I shall pull it together here.
He begins with the legacy of two totalitarianisms. Traumatized by the electoral appeal of fascism, post-World War II European states were constructed in a top-down manner "so as to insulate almost entirely the political class from populist pressures." As a result, the establishment has "come to regard the electorate as children."
Second, the Soviet menace during the cold war prompted American leaders, impatient with Europe's (and Canada's) weak responses, effectively to take over their defense. This benign and far-sighted policy led to victory by 1991, but it also had the unintended and less salutary side-effect of freeing up Europe's funds to build a welfare state. This welfare state had several malign implications.
The nanny state infantilized Europeans, making them worry about such pseudo-issues as climate change, while feminizing the males. It also neutered them, annexing "most of the core functions of adulthood," starting with the instinct to breed. From about 1980, birth rates plummeted, leaving an inadequate base for today's workers to receive their pensions. Structured on a pay-as-you-go basis, it amounted to an inter-generational Ponzi scheme, where today's workers depend on their children for their pensions. The demographic collapse meant that the indigenous peoples of countries like Russia, Italy, and Spain are at the start of a population death spiral. It led to a collapse of confidence that in turn bred "civilizational exhaustion," leaving Europeans unprepared to fight for their ways.
Read the entire article on the Jewish World Review website (new window will open).