Alarmist or Realistic Assessment?

A couple days ago, I introduced you to a truly significant book by Mark Steyn–America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It. It analyzes the spread of radical Islamic culture in the West and concludes that if we stay on the present course, that culture will overtake all of our Western heritage.

I also said that I intended to provide salient points from the book over a series of postings. Today’s post begins that journey as I draw from the prologue.

Steyn’s prologue, “To Be or Not to Be,” sets the stage for the entire book by providing an overview of what he will be discussing in detail. “Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive the twenty-first century,” Steyn predicts, “and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most European countries.”

That’s a staggering statement for anyone to make, and Steyn naturally has his critics who accuse him of being outrageously alarmist. Steyn responds, “I never thought I’d find myself in the Doom-Mongering section of the bookstore,” yet steadfastly makes his case:

When Osama bin Laden made his observation about people being attracted to the strong horse rather than the weak horse, it was partly a perception issue. You can be, technically, the strong horse–plenty of tanks and bombs and nukes and whatnot–but, if you’re seen as too feeble ever to deploy them, you’ll be kitted out for the weak-horse suit.

He’s talking, of course, about America here. This is the America that won the Cold War with very little help from its erstwhile allies. While some Americans [he calls them the “non-Democrat-voting Americans] talk about having won the Cold War, those “allies” don’t follow suit. The French, Belgians, Germans, Canadians—even most British—don’t talk about it much at all.

There was no sense on the Continent that our Big Idea had beaten their Big Idea. With the best will in the world, it’s hard to credit the citizens of France or Italy as having made any serious contribution to the defeat of Communism. Au contraire, millions of them voted for it, year in, year out. And with the end of the Soviet existential threat, the enervation of the West only accelerated.

In other words, America is truly standing alone most of the time. And we’re not simply “alone,” but rather hated for almost any reason anyone can dream up.

The fanatical Muslims despise America because it’s all lap-dancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans despise America because it’s all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites despise America because it’s controlled by Jews. Too Jewish, too Christian, too godless, America is George Orwell’s Room 101: whatever your bugbear you will find it therein; whatever you’re against, America is the prime example of it.

Steyn ends the prologue with this cheery thought:

Europe has all but succumbed to the dull opiate of multiculturalism. In its drowsy numbness, it stirs but has no idea what to do and so does nothing. One day, years from now, as archaeologists sift through the ruins of an ancient civilization for clues to its downfall, they’ll marvel at how easy it all was. You don’t need to fly jets into skyscrapers and kill thousands of people. As a matter of fact, that’s a bad strategy, because even the wimpiest state will feel obliged to respond. But if you frame the issue in terms of multicultural “sensitivity,” the wimp state will bend over backward to give you everything you want—including, eventually, the keys to those skyscrapers.

Feel better after reading that? For me, it evokes two reactions: first, to do all I can to forestall, or even reverse this trend, because I don’t believe it is inevitable; second, to rejoice that my life is hidden with Christ, and no matter how bad it may get, I’m ultimately on the winning side.