Those who make a business of projecting trends often neglect the acceleration factor. The march of history may be usefully described as “slowly” followed by “suddenly.” Yet we are rarely prepared for those times when history seems to “speed up,” and decades of change are compressed into years or even months. We assume that current trends will continue, and we are surprised when they don’t.
An excellent book on the subject is Tony Blankley’s The West’s Last Chance. Blankley, a nationally syndicated columnist who served President Reagan as a speechwriter and senior policy adviser, began the book with an overview of sudden changes in the course of history: the conquests of Alexander the Great, the French Revolution, the American Civil War, and the Nazi’s rapid takeover of much of Europe.
He then made the case that we are on the brink of another historical reversal of massive proportions—namely, the takeover of Europe by Islam. He suggested that the takeover would be accomplished through demographic changes rather than war and he further suggested that Europeans would mount little resistance to it.
According to Blankley, the lack of resistance would have its source in the fact that demographic changes move slowly and are thus less noticeable. One can see that an attacking army ought to be resisted, but the threat of rising birth rates seems a much less urgent matter.
Moreover, for much of the world the pre- 9/11 decades were a time of relative calm. For one thing, the differences between the West and the Soviet Union had been patched up. The liberal elites claimed that it was merely a case of mutual misunderstanding. The solution to most problems, it was asserted, was to understand the “other.” The best way to do that was to practice “political correctness”—a non-judgmental approach to political and social issues. Ironically, political correctness was the prelude to the highly judgmental ideology of “woke.”
According to political correctness, all cultures and religions are equally good and we have nothing to fear from the “other” except, perhaps, a mild case of heartburn from sampling his exotic dishes. As for Europe’s Muslim migrant problem, the multiculturalists assumed it would soon vanish. Once Muslims realized how warm and welcoming Europeans are, they would gladly assimilate to the host culture. But as Blankley realized in 2005 (the date of the book’s publication) things were not going as expected. Muslims were not assimilating, they were creating “no-go zones.” They were not adopting the liberal ways of the French and the Dutch, rather, they were importing the repressive customs of Morocco, Somalia, and Iran.
What was the problem? In answer, Blankley quoted Abraham Lincoln’s observation that “the dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present…As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.”
But Europeans (and Americans) did not think anew or act anew. Faced with the entirely new situation created by the worldwide resurgence of Islam, they fell back on the inadequate dogmas of the quiet past. They fell back, in short, on political correctness and multiculturalism.
The chattering classes in Western societies insisted that what we needed was more understanding, more immigration, more welcoming, and more criticism of our own culture and heritage.
And more censorship and suppression, as well. Blankley worried that Europeans, blinded “by the effect of a politically correct mentality” would be unable to mount a sufficient resistance to Islamization. And he was right. But Europe’s political, academic, and media elites did mount a powerful resistance against anyone who, like Blankley, dared to bring up the subject of Islamization.
Indeed, concepts such as “Eurabia,” “Islamization,” and the “Great Replacement” were dismissed as anti-Muslim right-wing conspiracy theories. Moreover, prominent counter jihadists such as Italian author Oriani Fallaci, Dutch parliament member Geert Wilders, and Austrian citizen Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff were put on trial for their views. Fallaci was charged with the made-up crime of “defaming a religion.”
But if the “Islamization of Europe” was nothing but a wild theory with no basis in fact why were the elites so anxious to suppress the free speech rights of Wilders and the others? And why was Wilder’s trial held in an underground bunker at Shipol Airport? Why was he surrounded day and night by a security detail? And why was he moved on an almost weekly basis from one safe house to another?
Obviously, there was a real threat, not a mere theory, and the authorities knew it. Numerous death threats had been made against Wilders, his colleague, ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and many others.
Indeed, it was difficult to keep track of all the death threats and assassination attempts directed at those who criticized Islam. In 1989, the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a death fatwah against Salman Rushdie, the author of the Satanic Verses. As a result of the fatwa, assassination attempts (one of them successful) were made against three people connected with the book’s publication. In addition, a hotel-full of people was set on fire in Turkey. Thirty years after the fatwa, a would-be assassin stabbed Rushdie 13 times while he was giving a talk in Chautauqua, New York.
In 2006, worldwide protests over cartoons of Muhammad in a Danish newspaper led to over 200 deaths. When Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, reprinted the cartoons in 2015, its office was attacked by two gunmen who killed twelve.
A month later, an assassination attempt was made on Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist who drew uncomplimentary pictures of Muhammad. In the years following the exhibit of the drawings, Vilks was the target of two failed assassination plots and two violent attacks. In February, 2015 an assassination attempt on Vilks in Copenhagen left two dead and three wounded.
Three months later in Garland, Texas, two Muslim terrorists with automatic weapons attacked an art exhibit which featured images of Muhammad. The gunmen fired dozens of rounds at police outside the event, but were killed before they could get inside. Among their intended targets were Geert Wilders and prominent American Islam critics, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller.
There have been several other assassination threats revolving around images of Muhammad, but I’m sure you get the picture. European authorities get the picture too, but they won’t admit it. That might be provocative. For example, police and other authorities in Rotherham, England knew about the rape and prostitution of 1400 teenage girls by Muslim “grooming” gangs over a decade-long period, but they didn’t do anything about it for fear of being thought “Islamophobic.”
The politically correct notion that one should only say nice things about people of other religions and ethnicities, had a paralyzing effect on European authorities. The desire to be non-offensive often prevented them from putting a stop to criminal and terrorist activities when they were still able to. Instead of acting, the authorities often looked the other way. The kind of resistance that Blankley and others called for—namely, government resistance—was in short supply
Which raises a question. Is it too late now? Tony Blankley’s The West’s Last Chance was written nearly twenty years ago. Has Western Europe already had its last chance?
The years 2005-2007 saw the publication of a number of important books on the Islamization of Europe: Blankley’s book, Bat Yeor’s Eurabia, Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan, Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept, Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel, Mark Steyn’s America Alone, and several others.
All of these books warned that Wester Europe was approaching a demographic tipping point after which the eventual dominance of Islam would be guaranteed. The warning, it seems, was largely ignored. The “alarmists” had their demographic data and startling anecdotes, but the elites had their pleasant narratives about the multicultural melting pot and the wonders of diversity. Moreover, they could point out that although the European birth rate was declining, so was the birth rate of European Muslims. Some said it was a mathematical impossibility for the Muslim population to exceed the native European population in the foreseeable future. So, not to worry.
But birth rate projections are a tricky business. They don’t always account properly for population growth through immigration. And in recent years we have seen massive numbers of Muslim migrants entering Europe—mostly from Northern Africa, but also from the Middle East and Turkey.
Another factor to consider is the one I mentioned at the outset of this piece—acceleration. As they begin to seem inevitable, demographic changes often go into a phase of acceleration.
A good example with which many older Americans are familiar is the phenomenon of “white flight.” The term refers to the migration of white people from racially mixed urban areas to racially homogenous suburban areas during the years 1950 to 1980. Eventually, the pace of this “flight” became quite rapid. As the migration of southern blacks to northern cities increased, so did the white migration to the suburbs.
The white flight was exacerbated by “blockbusting.” Real estate agents in some cities used various tactics to convince white homeowners that real estate values would plummet and crime would rise in their neighborhoods if they waited too long to sell. After convincing white owner to sell at a loss, the same agents would turn around and sell the houses to blacks at inflated prices. At one point in the city of Chicago, more than 100 real estate agencies were changing two to three blocks a week on average.
Researchers found that after the ratio of new residents to original residents reached a certain tipping point, the flight would escalate, often resulting in almost complete segregation of neighborhoods.
White flight is not confined to the U.S. Examples of the phenomenon can be found in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, France, and the United Kingdom. It should be noted, however, that the “flight” often has more to do with the influx of new ethnic or religious minorities rather than new racial minorities.
That said, one of the main takeaways from the “white flight” phenomenon is that after a certain tipping point, demographic changes can occur quite rapidly. As that tipping point is approached, the soon-to-be-minority populations may suddenly opt to leave on short notice, thus creating an acceleration of the flight trend.
If we assume that the tipping point is somewhere in the vicinity of a 50/50 ratio, then many European cities are approaching that point. In a recent FrontPage article, Bruce Bawer points out that, if one includes illegal residents, Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city, already has a Muslim majority. Moreover, he observes that Muslim culture is rapidly replacing Swedish culture in that city.
Since such demographic trends are unlikely to reverse, one might conclude that Malmö’s last chance to remain a Western city has already passed.
The subtitle of The West’s Last Chance is “Will we win the clash of civilizations?”
That still an open question for America. But in Europe it’s a different story. Islam has a solid foothold in Western Europe. And the demographic changes are all in Islam’s favor. Any acceleration in these trends will be difficult to resist.
Besides, you can’t win a clash of civilizations if you won’t admit that one exists. Because the multicultural/woke mentality that grips Europe denies the possibility of a clash, Europeans will be woefully unprepared when it arrives. And there is much to suggest that it already has.