November 16, 2006

Gratuitous Llama Book Review

America Alone.jpg

America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It by Mark Steyn.

One word reaction: Jaysus!

I'm not normally one to buy into alarmist theories, but this book is scaring the willies out of me. Steyn's basic factual premise - that native European (and Canadiam) populations are in demographic freefall - is uncontestable. His projection about the economic implications of this trend - collapse through the inability of aging populations to maintain the cradle-to-grave welfare state upon which they have become utterly dependant - is sound. His observation that the rising tide of Muslim immigration replacing the native population is young, energized and increasingly captivated by the most virulant brand of radical Wahabbism - is frightening. And his belief that the inability of post-Christian, post-modern, post-history Europeans to do anything but be assimilated into the new Islamic Caliphate - is outright nightmarish.

The good news, according to Steyn, is that the United States and one or two other countries (such as Australia), still have the demographic and moral wherewithal to beat back jihad. The bad news is that we're pretty much going to have to do it by ourselves.

Steyn has long been dismissed by our friends across the aisle (as well as many of the "realists" in our own camp) as a lunatic. In this case I pray God they're right. But with the daily stream of news coming in - of riots and fatwas, assassinations and bullying of European governments over points of sharia law, all answered by ever-more meally-mouthed European efforts at appeasement - I've got a baaaad feeling that they are not.

UPDATE: Oh, two other things I wanted to mention. First, I note that whether Steyn is right or wrong, we'll find out soon enough. This isn't if-we-don't-ban-the-internal-combustion-engine-right-now-the-Earth's-temperature-may-rise-one-degree-in-one-hundred-years stuff. Europe's already gone over the cliff demographically and is on its way socio-economically. What actually happens when it hits the ground at the base of that cliff will be seen fairly soon.

And on a different note, I wanted to mention that I believe this is Steyn's first "book" book. He's an essayist by nature and it shows here - I don't think he's altogether comfortable with the longer format. This isn't the first time I've seen this phenomenon. Writers used to shorter formats such as O'Rourke and Noonan, for example, also seem to have suffered it. I toss this out merely as an interesting literary observation, nothing more.

On this front, I recently purchased a couple of Steyn's books of essays: The Face of the Tiger and Mark Steyn From Head To Toe: An Anatomical Anthology. On his native ground, I think of Steyn as being a sharper, subtler version of Peej. Should be fun.

Posted by Robert at November 16, 2006 09:38 AM | TrackBack

Though I'm harshly critical of Europeans, especially their political class, I don't think Europe's "quite dead yet". I think there is still a chance at an awakening and fight from them before it's all over.

To use a Tolkien analogy, I don't think they're all prepared to get on the ships at the Grey Havens for Valinor yet. I'm thinking we're more at a Second Age "last alliance between Elves and Men" point. Europe still has some power, they've just got to get over the ghosts of the 20th century and decide to use it for good.

Watch the Tories in England. They're usually a bellwhether. Also Sarkozy in France. And Berlusconi. If these guys start winning elections, then there is still hope. I also think that the Eastern Europeans aren't going to go down without a fight. Fighting the Caliphate is practically written into their DNA.

Posted by: The Colossus at November 16, 2006 12:34 PM

As a matter of fact, Steyn speculates on the possibility of Europe going out with a bang instead of a whimper as well. And he doesn't paint a pretty scenario, suggesting the parallel between the listless modern Euro state and jolly old Wiemar Germany.

Like I say, I hope the guy is wrong.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at November 16, 2006 12:43 PM