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BOOK REVIEW: ‘America Alone’: Witty, Pun- Filled Look at Why Canadian Mark Steyn Believes U.S. is World’s Last Best Hope Before a New Dark Age of Repression Commences

Posted by kinchendavid on October 21, 2006

By David M. Kinchen
Huntington News Network Book Critic

Hinton, WV – Just before the U.S. Census Bureau announced that our nation had passed the 300 million population mark, I saw author and columnist Mark Steyn on a cable TV talk show remarking what a good thing an advanced Western country was increasing its population, instead of declining due to below-replacement birthrates.

The Canadian who lives in rural New Hampshire and revels in the state’s motto: “Live Free or Die” makes the point strongly and with his customary wit and punning in “America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It” (Regnery, 256 pages, $27.95).

Germany, with about 80 million people, will decline to 38 million in the next couple of decades, Steyn says. Russia, with a peak of 148 million in 1992, will be below 130 million by 2015 and half that by the end of the century, he says. Similar declines will occur in France, Spain, Italy and other countries as Europeans emulate Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” and “prefer not to” reproduce.

The future belongs to the fecund and confident – and most Western countries aren’t possessed of either fecundity or confidence, Steyn argues in this very readable polemic. One of my dictionaries defines “polemic” as “a controversial argument, as one against some opinion, doctrine, etc.” The doctrine that Steyn argues against is the multiculturalism endemic in his native Canada and in Europe, where the dominant culture is often denigrated in favor of “let’s all get along – no culture is better than any other.”

This view is spreading across the U.S. – driven by mainstream media, the so-called “prestigious” universities and the mainstream Protestant churches, Steyn would admit, but he has hope that the U.S. – and Australia – will come to realize that some cultures ARE better than others, especially if they respect the rights of women and minorities.

He doesn’t believe the radical form of Islamism spread by Saudi Arabia that is supplanting more moderate forms of Islam that once prevailed in places like Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan respects anything other than to rule over the world. The biggest export of Saudi Arabia – aside from the majority of the suicide hijackers of 9/11 – is this fundamentalist form of Islam that is not a religion but a form of all-pervasive rule, Steyn argues.

Any reproduction on what my favorite historian, Mark Mazower, calls the “Dark Continent” will be done by “Eurarabia’s” Muslim population, which will turn the continent into another Islamic outpost. Already, there are more mosque goers in the United Kingdom than there are church goers, Steyn says.

He also says that 732 isn’t 7:32 p.m. in Paris, where “youths” (i.e. Muslim hooligans) set the Citroens and Renaults on fire. Remember the riots in France? Or have they disappeared into the black hole of the past, already? It was 732 A.D. when Charles Martel (“The Hammer”) turned back the Islamic invasion of France — and Europe — near Tours, France.

Samuel Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations” is dead on, Steyn believes, because “almost every geopolitical crisis takes place on what” [Huntington calls] “’the boundary looping across Eurasia and Africa that separates Muslims from non-Muslims.’”

“That looping boundary is never not in the news,” Steyn adds. “One week it’s a bomb in Bali. The next some beheading in southern Thailand. Next, an insurrection in an obscure resource-rich Muslim republic in the Russian Federation. And then Madrid, and London, and suddenly that looping, loopy boundary has penetrated into the very heart of the West. In little more than a generation.”

The “can’t we all get along” types populating the West might argue that conservative columnist Steyn, whose grandparents left Belgium for a better future in a once conifident Canada, is way over the top, that “moderate” Muslims will prevail over the extremists. Some Western multiculturalists have even argued that fundamentalist Christians are more of a threat to the U.S. than Muslims.

Steyn would ask those types if the fundamentalists wielding the knives that beheaded Americans Nicholas Berg or Daniel Pearl or British hostage Ken Bigley were of the Christian or Muslim variety.

He would add that yes, of course there are “moderate” Muslims, but there were also “moderate” Germans in the 1930s and great lot of good they did! If you think Americans are neck-deep in conspiracy theories, think about the American-hating Europeans and Muslims who believe that the Israeli Mossad was behind 9/11, at the same time rejoicing that their side had triumphed over “The Great Satan.”

America – and perhaps Australia and a few other countries – will have to confront the forces that would create a new Dark Ages, Steyn believes. In addition to the declining fecundity of the Western world, the European welfare state will be cut back as fewer workers are around pay the high taxes that support those six weeks of vacations and welfare benefits that make working a non-starter. This will happen in Canada and the U.S., Steyn believes, but what will save the U.S. – if we decide we want to be saved – is the population growth that pays for our own welfare state. As the European welfare state is cut back, the main beneficiaries of it – those “youths” torching cars and attacking synagogues – will rampage the continent right into a civil war, Steyn argues.

Here are some points argued by Mark Steyn in “America Alone” :

• The hidden reason that the problem of Islamic jihad has exploded across the world since 1970

• Why the threats that the world faces today should be taken much more seriously than the environmental scare-mongering that has been going on since the 1960s (and, thanks to Al Gore, continues)

• The likely outcome of today’s global situation, in which Islam is militarily weak but ideologically confident — while the West is militarily strong but ideologically insecure

• Disquieting implications of the fact Islam is a religion, not a race or nationality (as it is commonly portrayed in the West) — and an explicitly political religion at that

• Why the liberal talk of finding the “root causes” of terrorism in the errors and excesses of Western foreign policy is so wrongheaded

• Why we are witnessing the end of the late twentieth-century progressive welfare democracy

• Why Libya’s Colonel Qaddafi is probably correct when he says that “there are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe — without swords, without guns, without conquests”

• Why the problem Europe faces today is not one of race, but of culture

• How the willingness to subordinate individual liberty to the primacy of society — as expressed by Nazism, Communism, and more – has blighted Europe for over a century

• The dangerous consequences that are likely to come from manifestations of “cultural sensitivity” — such as the fact that U.S. guards at Gitmo must handle copies of the Koran only when wearing gloves because the detainees regard infidels as “unclean” • How the terrorist attacks in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005 — along with other events such as the murder of Theo van Gogh — were the opening shots of a European civil war

• The little-noticed reason why America’s European “allies” failed to grasp the significance of September 11

• Why the progressive Left can be in favor of Big Government or population control but not both — and how that mutual incompatibility is about to plunge Europe into societal collapse

• Sobering facts about how advanced civilizational suicide already is in Japan and Russia

• How mosques in the West serve as recruiters for the jihad and play an important role in ideological subordination and cell discipline • Why the Spanish government was so eager to appease the jihad terrorists after the Madrid bombings of March 2004

• How oil isn’t the principal Saudi export, Islamic jihad ideology is — and our oil money bankrolls its spread

• Why the war against global Islamic jihad will be harder to win the longer it goes on

• How Western analysts continue to fall into the error of thinking that if a violent Muslim has no ties to Al-Qaeda, he cannot be a terrorist and poses no threat

• Europe’s suicidal multicultural malaise — and why jihadists understand that the Continent is ripe for the taking in a way that America isn’t

• Why it is so important for Americans and others who want their families to enjoy the blessings of life in a free society to understand that the life we’ve led since 1945 in the Western world is very rare in human history

• How the ultimate victory of Islam in America can be avoided not by more government but by less: by government returning to the citizenry the primal responsibilities it has taken from them in the modern era.

Mark Steyn is the senior columnist for Canada’s newest political magazine, the Western Standard. He’s literary correspondent for Canada’s largest circulation magazine, Maclean’s. He’s a syndicated columnist whose columns appear in newspapers and magazines throughout the U.S. and Canada and around the world. He’s right up there with P.J. O’Rourke and Christopher Buckley in my pantheon of witty conservative writers.

Mark Steyn’s web site: http://www.steynonline.com

Publisher’s web site: http://www.regnery.com

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