BARBARIANS AT THE GATES?

#1
Excellent article here by Mark Steyn - apologies if you've seen it before. Makes some interesting points about the long term survival of the West. It plays to Huntingdon's 'Clash of Civilisations' thesis, but is nonetheless well thought through.

THE CENTURY AHEAD

It's the Demography, Stupid

The real reason the West is in danger of extinction.

BY MARK STEYN

Most people reading this have strong stomachs, so let me lay it out as baldly as I can: Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries. There'll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands--probably--just as in Istanbul there's still a building called St. Sophia's Cathedral. But it's not a cathedral; it's merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. The challenge for those who reckon Western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the West.

One obstacle to doing that is that, in the typical election campaign in your advanced industrial democracy, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much all parties in the rest of the West are largely about what one would call the secondary impulses of society--government health care, government day care (which Canada's thinking of introducing), government paternity leave (which Britain's just introduced). We've prioritized the secondary impulse over the primary ones: national defense, family, faith and, most basic of all, reproductive activity--"Go forth and multiply," because if you don't you won't be able to afford all those secondary-impulse issues, like cradle-to-grave welfare.

Americans sometimes don't understand how far gone most of the rest of the developed world is down this path: In the Canadian and most Continental cabinets, the defense ministry is somewhere an ambitious politician passes through on his way up to important jobs like the health department. I don't think Don Rumsfeld would regard it as a promotion if he were moved to Health and Human Services.



The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birthrate to sustain it. Post-Christian hyperrationalism is, in the objective sense, a lot less rational than Catholicism or Mormonism. Indeed, in its reliance on immigration to ensure its future, the European Union has adopted a 21st-century variation on the strategy of the Shakers, who were forbidden from reproducing and thus could increase their numbers only by conversion. The problem is that secondary-impulse societies mistake their weaknesses for strengths--or, at any rate, virtues--and that's why they're proving so feeble at dealing with a primal force like Islam.

Speaking of which, if we are at war--and half the American people and significantly higher percentages in Britain, Canada and Europe don't accept that proposition--then what exactly is the war about?

We know it's not really a "war on terror." Nor is it, at heart, a war against Islam, or even "radical Islam." The Muslim faith, whatever its merits for the believers, is a problematic business for the rest of us. There are many trouble spots around the world, but as a general rule, it's easy to make an educated guess at one of the participants: Muslims vs. Jews in "Palestine," Muslims vs. Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims vs. Christians in Africa, Muslims vs. Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims vs. Russians in the Caucasus, Muslims vs. backpacking tourists in Bali. Like the environmentalists, these guys think globally but act locally.


Mr. Steyn is a syndicated columnist and theater critic for The New Criterion, in whose January issue this article appears.

Edited for insane length and copyright issues. PTP
 
#3
Edited as previous suggestion followed up!
 
#4
Just ask yourself, what are we doing now to ensure Britain survives in 100 years time? I don't mean as an island but as a nation.
 
#5
WhiteHorse said:
Just ask yourself, what are we doing now to ensure Britain survives in 100 years time? I don't mean as an island but as a nation.
It's a heavy read, and I don't want to get all fatalistic about it, but Buckminster Fuller has quite a bit to say on that very topic WH:

http://www.rwgrayprojects.com/synergetics/synergetics.html

We are in an age that assumes the narrowing trends of specialisation to be logical, natural and desirable. Consequently, society expects all earnestly responsible communications to be crisply brief. Advancing science has now discovered that all the known cases of biological extinction have been caused by overspecialisation, whose concentration of only selected genes sacrifices general adaptability. Thus the specialist’s brief for pinpoint brevity is dubious. In the meantime, humanity has been deprived of comprehensive understanding. Specialisation has bred feelings of isolation, futility, and confusion in individuals. It has also resulted in the individual’s leaving responsibility for thinking and social action to others. Specialisation breeds biases that ultimately aggregate as international and ideological discord, which, in turn, leads to war.
Edit to add - I know I'm going off at a bit of a tangent from the opening post but clearly we are in a time of dramatic and irreversible change so I hope you will all agree it's worth looking at research from all quarters....

If not G_B feel free to delete/move this one. Thanks.
 
#7
^C'mon the Hammers - my we are a well educated lot on ARRSE these days :D

I think Fuller would argue that we need to embrace multi-culturalism and make all the strands work together, not choose the strongest non-Western one and adopt it as the new-age equivalent of the Cold-War superpower stand-off. ( i.e. Delete East v West, insert Muslim v non-Muslim)

Not that I'm trying to be PC about it - I'm an unreconstituted dinosaur and a good Church of Scotland boy who quite likes fighting for a just cause. Just thought I'd play Devil's Advocate seeing as I can't get out to whack the Barbarians at the Gates yet :D
 
#10
Very interesting article, with some very valid points.

However, such predictions frequently fail to allow for the possibility of adaptation. Ultimately, if a way of life is genuinely threatened, it's proponents will defend it. For all its failings, too much has been sacrificed by Western society in securing the liberal-democratic ideal for it to just let it drift away. I suppose the real concern is that by the time the clarion is sounded, a defence might be too late to be effective.

I would be interested to see a little more research into the effectiveness of islamic integration into Western societies. Although Mr Steyn portrays the spread of islamic people as something of a global conspiracy, I am sure that the vast majority of the relevant individuals and families move to the West for jobs and better living conditions, the very product of liberal economics, which goes hand in hand with societal freedom and respect for the individual. I am not so sure that this would fail to have an effect on immigrants. I think this point could especially be developed by separating genuine immigrants from (for example) British muslims. I wonder whether the survey on 'sharia law -v- domestic' would give the same result if it was carried out by 3rd generation London-Iranians. If liberal democracy and its comforts have had a softening effect on christian fervour, I am confident that, given time, the same effects will be seen on immigrant islam. It is the human condition to choose the path of least resistance, and it doesn't come easier than Western society.
 
#11
Know I remember why I dislike cut and paste. What an artical, pity the poster could not have put in in far fewer words, there by giving the majority of Board members a chance.
So we don't breed enough. Fair comment.
The Arab cuntries certainly seem to be breeding like rabbits, I learned that during my time in Oman.
OK lets get racist
The Yanks used to complain how Colour folk bred like rabbits. I don't think they do now.
If you read Sir Ran Finnes Book 'Where Soldiers fear to Tread' in one section he makes the comment that in the 1960's in Oman 9 out of 10 children died within 10 months of being conceieved. They either died in the womb or within a month of being born. Modern medical methods have taken car of that problem and so the Arab states have massive problems with the growth in population who are now looking for employment.
Employment to an Arab means an office job with telephones and computers and NINJAs from India doing the labouring.
So big problems for Arab rulers.
I will say NO Arab Woman in 1960 had heard of contraception let alone practiced it. (Forget Lebbanon) But Now, Bet you it's changed.
Education reduces the size of families, Education is not a problem in many Arab Muslim cuntries, In most cases.
I ahve always said that women get the Vote in bed. Women have their ways of talking men round, Eve know that all thoes years ago.
The Muslim world is hundreds of years behind the west but it is catching up fast and breeding it's own problems.
john
Far too long a post Brain hurts.
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#12
Islam does not integrate, no more than a virus integrates, it infiltrates, it spreads and then it kills the host and moves on to the next site of infection. Like HIV it destroys the bodies ability to defend itself. Political Correctness is the mechanism.
 
#13
What rubbish Herrenbloke - Certainly extreme versions of Islam behave as you describe (as with extreme versions of most things) but mild forms of Islam are not incompatible the Western way of life.

As for the article I have to admit I didn't read it all the way to the end. As often happens with Steyn's articles (or Herrenbloke's posts) I find small twists of the truth which make me question the validity of his entire argument. I have to admit they are clever twists though as its often difficult to define exactly where his logic has gone astray (although if you want an example of Herrenbloke's posts getting demolished point by point then read the WWI shot-at-dawn posts in the bullying thread).


From Steyn's article:
Some countries are well above that: the global fertility leader, Somalia, is 6.91, Niger 6.83, Afghanistan 6.78, Yemen 6.75. Notice what those nations have in common?
I wonder why Steyn chose to quote fertility rates instead of population growth rates? Fertility rates don't take account of high mortality rates in these countries. I accept these countries are growing relative to Western world but he has exagerated it. Also, as a country develops it is quite normal for death rates to fall while birth rates remain high - hence the population boom. But the birth rate falls within a couple of years.

And yet the world is utterly altered. Just to recap those bald statistics: In 1970, the developed world had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30% to 15%. By 2000, they were the same: each had about 20%.

And by 2020?
So why didn't he do a little bit of maths to come up with a figure for 2020? I think the reason is that the growth of the Muslim world relaitve to the developed world is slowing. I reckon he did do the maths and came up with a not very dramtic figure so decided to leave it at a question mark.

1/10 marks for Steyn on this occasion... His twists, misrepresentation and faulty logic make me question the entire article...

Tricam
 
#14
Well as we in the developed world are spending a huge amount of time and money to reduce the mortality rate in each of those countries, with great success in some, it could be said that we are shooting ourselves in the foot?

The majority of research that I can find on this subject all support his view.

The U.S. Center for World Mission estimated in 1997 that Christianity's total number of adherents is growing at about 2.3% annually. This is approximately equal to the growth rate of the world's population. Islam is growing faster: about 2.9% and is thus increasing its market share. At this rate, Islam would surpass Christianity as the world's main religion by 2023 CE
Time to paint some crossed keys on the Panzers? 8O
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#15
Tricam wrote:

but mild forms of Islam are not incompatible the Western way of life.

Mild forms of Islam have the same aims, it is just a more subtle means.
 
#17
tricam said:
1/10 marks for Steyn on this occasion... His twists, misrepresentation and faulty logic make me question the entire article...

Tricam
So you think that Islam is no threat to the West/Christians ?
 
#18
Not quite Monsoon - I think mild versions of Islam are no threat to the West/Christians. I accept there is a cult-like element of extremists in Islam who are a threat to both themselves and us. Extremists exist in every religion, take for example the lunatics at Waco or the perpetrators of the Sarin gas attack on the Toyko subway. While this kinda of extremism is fairly rare within Christianity - I do accept there is a significant number of cult-like extremists in Islam and that is a problem. However, people such as Herrenbloke comparing them to the HIV virus is not helpful.

Tricam.
 
#19
I seem to recall the lunatics at Waco just wanted to be left alone to let David Koresh bum their wives....as oppose to recreate an Islamic caliphate, promote a religious hate law that prevents any critisism of islamic practice and doctrine, etc.

The dominant tenet is Christianity is toleration. The dominant tenet of islam is not - its evangelism.
 
#20
tricam said:
Not quite Monsoon - I think mild versions of Islam are no threat to the West/Christians. I accept there is a cult-like element of extremists in Islam who are a threat to both themselves and us. Extremists exist in every religion, take for example the lunatics at Waco or the perpetrators of the Sarin gas attack on the Toyko subway. While this kinda of extremism is fairly rare within Christianity - I do accept there is a significant number of cult-like extremists in Islam and that is a problem. However, people such as Herrenbloke comparing them to the HIV virus is not helpful.

Tricam.
In my view the problem with "mild versions of Islam" is that they do nothing to stop the extreme versions and if push came to shove they will pick extreme Islam over the West. Which is exactly what has happend here in the UK the moderate muslims have done nothing to stop the rise of the extremists and even now these moderate muslims will blame everyone else rather than speak against Islam.
 

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