Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Twilight Of The West?

Germany Wins And Europe Is Free: As the Nazi regime reeled before Stalin's armies, the focus of its propaganda shifted from glorifying German arms and aims, to one of providing Europe's last desperate defence against the bestial threat from the East. Worrying echoes of this propaganda theme can now be detected on the streets of Dresden and, increasingly, across the entire Western World.

IN THE FINAL desperate months of the Second World War, Nazi propaganda underwent a subtle but significant shift of emphasis. In the glory days of victory, when Europe lay at Hitler’s feet, it was Germany’s triumph that was celebrated. But, as Stalin’s divisions rolled inexorably across the Great European plain, and all prospect of a Nazi victory retreated before them, the war was re-presented as a titanic clash of cultures in which a bestial Bolshevism sought to obliterate 3,000 years of European civilisation and extinguish forever the light of the West.
 
The threat from the East is as old as Europe’s memory of Attila and his marauding Huns. That is to say, a strategic nightmare extending all the way back to the dying days of the Roman Empire. Nor was it an empty threat. In the Thirteenth Century the all-conquering armies of the Mongol Khan stood poised to make their final push to the English Channel. Only the untimely death of the Khan in faraway Mongolia spared Europe from the fate that overwhelmed the civilisation of the Han Chinese.
 
The other great threat from the East arrived in the form of the armies of Islam. The first onslaught came via Europe’s soft underbelly in the Eighth Century. Spain fell, and the armies of the Prophet were only finally halted at Poitiers in Central France in 732AD. The second onslaught, led by the Ottoman Turks, hit its stride in the Fifteenth Century, snuffing out the Byzantine Empire, swallowing Greece and the Balkans and striking deep into Eastern Europe. It was only decisively checked at the gates of Vienna in 1683.
 
Existential threats to the survival of Christendom cannot, therefore, be dismissed as mere fever dreams of the racist European Right. From the Fifth to the Seventeenth Century the survival of Christian Europe was, to quote the Duke of Wellington’s pithy description of the Battle of Waterloo: “A damned near run thing!”
 
Precisely because they were real, these threats have become deeply embedded in Europe’s collective memory and are, thus, available to propagandists of every hue. Though the Nazis were defeated, their imagery of a defiant West holding the line against the Godless Communist threat from the East, slotted seamlessly into the propaganda of the Cold War.
 
Old memes, it seems, die hard. Just over a week ago, in the German city of Dresden, more than 18,000 people participated in a demonstration organised by a political organisation calling itself “Pegida” – which stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West. Demonstrators wore black armbands in memory of the 12 people slain at the offices of the French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo.
 
Pegida is an odd political phenomenon. Its tactics and slogans borrow heavily from the mass protest movements that contributed to the fall of Communism 1989. This has not, however, prevented Germany’s Chancellor (and fellow former East German) Angela Merkel, from accusing Pegida’s followers of having “hate in their hearts”.
 
Certainly the opinion of the German Left is that Pegida is a manifestation of the extreme “Neo-Nazi” Right. Counter-demonstrations attacking Pegida’s “Islamophobia” have attracted tens of thousands in Berlin, Cologne and other large German cities.
 
Many Germans are worried that their country’s erstwhile deeply-ingrained anti-Semitism, of which the Nazis took such deadly advantage in the Twentieth Century, has mutated into an equally irrational, but no less vicious, hatred of Muslims in the Twenty-First. After all, it’s not as if the modern-day equivalent of Suleiman the Magnificent is encamped in the outer suburbs of Dresden. Or that the self-aggrandizing “Islamic State” (barely the size of a single province of the mighty Ottoman Empire) constitutes an existential threat to European civilisation. Even thirty-five years from now, in 2050, the best demographic projections put Germany’s Muslims at just 7 percent of the German population.
 
What, then, is Pegida so frightened of?
 
Perhaps it’s the realisation that the rest of the world is crowding in on Europe. That European civilisation no longer commands the power and prestige of a century ago, when its empires bestrode the planet like armoured colossi.
 
As refugees from Africa and the Middle East clamour to be admitted to the member countries of the European Union, perhaps its peoples hear faint echoes of the Barbarian hordes clamouring to be admitted to the grandeur that was Rome.
 
Perhaps Europeans have been seized, like the Nazis in 1945, with the terrifying realisation that the world, upon whose resources they have all grown so fat, is very, very large; and that Europe, her 3,000 years of civilisation notwithstanding, is actually rather small.
 
Perhaps, like the Jews before them, Europe’s Muslim population has become an alarming reminder that history does not stand still, and neither do the peoples who make it. For five centuries Europe has been pushing against the world. Now the world is pushing back.
 
This essay was originally published in The Press of Tuesday, 20 January 2015.

44 comments:

Barry said...

I think multiculti is destroying Europe. Mostly by moslem immigration.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

For God's sake, I think the highest percentage of Muslims in any West European country is something like 5%. How can that destroy Europe? Particularly as now most of the immigrants are coming from Eastern Europe which is presumably more religiously and ethnically acceptable to you Barry?

Brendan McNeill said...

Chris

Reports of those who have visited the PEGIDA rallies, the latest one ranged in estimated size from 25,000 to 40,000, say that they are mostly populated by (gasp) middle class, mums and dads many of them accompanied by their children.

They are peacefully protesting against the Islamifcation of their country.

As to your question ‘what are they so frightened of’?

There are many who believe that just as Nazi ideology was racially supremacist, Islam is religiously supremacist. That it is unwilling and often unable to coexist peacefully alongside those of other faiths or no-faith. This appears to be especially true when their percentage of the population increases.

One only has to look at what has happened to Jews and Christians in North Africa and the Middle East over the last 100 years for confirmation should it be needed.

Why would Angela Merkel vilify peaceful protesters, when she has stated herself that multiculturalism is a complete failure? What happens when political leaders choose to ignore the legitimate concerns of their citizens and vilify them in the process?

The ‘State’ stepped in and cancelled the most recent PEGIDA march because the level of terrorist threat against the marchers was considered too high. Or, to state this another way, Islamic terrorists managed to shut down a peaceful march against Islamic terrorism in Europe’s most powerful nation.

It is not ‘the world’ that is pushing back on Europe as you suggest, it is the followers of Islam, and I suspect what we are witnessing is only the beginning.

Douglas Renwick said...

Hey Chris Trotter. This is unrelated to your blog post, but i am a student who created a blog today and i'm from the far left. I am interesting in writing about all sorts of things that are politically related, but started with an essay on really existing capitalism and climate change. If your interested, you can find it in this link. https://dorenwick.wordpress.com/
https://dorenwick.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/really-existing-capitalism-and-global-warming/

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Islam is religiously supremacist."

ALL religions are that :-).

Anonymous said...

Muslims may only make up 5% of the European population but I would suggest that they are responsible for close to 100% of terrorist atrocities in Europe each year. Also close to 100% of all honour killings, child bride abuses, and other oppressive actions forced on the female muslim population.

They are better off without them.

Jimmie

Jigsaw said...

The concept of separating church and state-something that the West has only comparatively recently managed is still quite unknown to the Muslim religion. The percentage of Muslims in any one country may be 5% but that's an average across a country. The reality in a local area may be much greater. I doubt that many Muslim immigrants want to live in the highlands of Scotland or in rural Cornwall.
Douglas is another far-left blogger-how unusual! I'm sure both readers will be delighted.

Jigsaw said...

In fact the percentage of Muslims in France (which is the highest in Europe) is estimated to be between 5 and 10 %

Guerilla Surgeon said...

As far as percentages go, Birmingham has a 20% Muslim population. And you can see how the non-Muslims laughed about that idiot that claimed it was a no-go area.
As to honour killings it's a cultural thing not just a religious thing.

"In some cultures, honor killings are considered less serious than other murders simply because they arise from long-standing cultural traditions and are thus deemed appropriate or justifiable.[24] Additionally, according to a poll done by the BBC’s Asian network, 1 in 10 of the 500 Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims surveyed said they would condone any murder of someone who threatened their family’s honor."

Only Wikipedia, but........

And depending on how you define 100% of terrorism, Anders Breivik killed how many? 77 or so. There are plenty of other terrorist attacks by extreme right-wing groups in Europe. For instance, in 2011there were 129 cases of violence against Jews in France
"The CNCDH notes that in 19 cases, these violent actions could be imputed to persons of ‘Arab origin or Muslim confession’, with 15 others relating to neo-Nazi ideology"
And if we move to America before 911, pretty much ALL terrorist attacks were Christian. Timothy McVeigh for instance killer 168 people all by his Christian self. Not to mention the Christian terrorism in Africa, with the Lord's resistance Army and so on.

Even in Australia.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/183781#.VL9ro5sfqUk

Sorry guys, you can't ignore this. Well you will but you shouldn't.

Victor said...

GS

The figures are a bit higher than that in some places. In France, the percentage of residents who are Moslems stands at 7.5%. In Belgium it stands at 6%.

I agree that the notion that these minorities are going to destroy Europe is a bit far-fetched.

But there's a legitimate worry in some places that vote-hungry politicians are undermining liberal values in their rush to ingratiate themselves with Moslem voters.

And, of course, further worries are blow-back from the Middle East and Afghanistan, the return of local Jihadis and the sort of terror attacks we've seen in France over the last few weeks, even though, of course, such acts involve only a very tiny percentage of the Moslem population.

Brendan

The most interesting thing about PEGIDA is that it flourishes in parts of Germany (mainly the least westernised parts of the former DDR) where there are very few Moslems.

In contrast, it seems to be very unpopular in Berlin, Frankfurt and Cologne, which have had many decades of experience of living with Islamic minorities.

What conclusions can you draw from that?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

You could have added Victor, that the eastern parts of Germany were never properly de Nazified. It is also telling that their leader is a petty criminal. They're not exactly free with their ideas or philosophy either.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Brendan, you also neglect to mention that demonstrations AGAINST pegida usually contain 2 to 3 times as many people, and by no stretch of the imagination are they all Muslims :-).

Brendan McNeill said...

@ Victor

Good question!

I have also pondered why Dresden, which was part of former East Germany and with the lesser Muslim population has been experiencing the larger push back against Islam.

My conclusion is that there are still sufficient people living in this region that can recall life under totalitarian Government. Consequently, they have no wish to see an alternative form of totalitarianism imposed upon them.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

On the contrary Brendan, East Germans are quite possibly more authoritarian than those in the West. They were never properly de Nazified, because the Communists found it convenient to have an in-place authoritarian regime, which they pretty much just appropriated. They tend to hanker for authoritarianism rather than rebel against it. Anyone who's read anything about East Germany should actually know this.

Victor said...

Hi Brendan

An interesting point about Dresden is that it's in one of the few parts of the former DDR that couldn't receive otherwise ubiquitous West German television broadcasts prior to 1989.

Some German commentators have suggested that people in this area are (for that very reason) prone to see ALL post-1989 changes as imposed upon them from outside. They are thus the most extreme and quintessential "Ossi" nostalgics.

Meanwhile, may I suggest to you that, as the daughter of a Lutheran minister from the DDR, Frau Merkel understands as much as most people (if not a great deal more) about the dangers of totalitarianism.

And so, by the way, do most of the Germans I know. It's kind of obvious from their history.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/21/germany-pegida-adolf-hitler-lutz-bachmann

Ha!

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Victor

While this is perhaps somewhat academic for us, it is less so for the Germans.

I saw one mother in the PEGIDA march being interviewed as to why she was there. She stated that in her village, it was unusual to hear the German language in the main street, and that she had four blond daughters. She could no longer live there.

She did not explicitly state the reason why having four blond daughters in a predominantly Muslim village might be a problem, but I’m sure we can use our imaginations.

On a similar note, we have friends who spend six months every year in a small historical village in Southern France. They live in a three-story house, one room wide that is built into the village wall. It is very picturesque.

The village is now 40% Muslim.

All of the café’s are occupied by Muslim men, no women, no locals. Except for Ramadan when the Muslim men are fasting, then locals reclaim their café’s.

How’s that multiculturalism thing working out for them do you think?

Davo Stevens said...

Gosh, the commenters here go on about Communism. There has never been a Communist country anywhere in the world ever!! They were/are Fascist!

Stalin and Mao were not a lot different from Hitler. Stalin never went out to deliberately kill off the Jews, he just put them into Gulags or,more often, expelled them. Those that couldn't or wouldn't work were also put into Gulags where "Work Shall make you Free!" Mao never had a problem with Jews, not many Jews in his patch.

East Germany just went from Nazism to Fascism (much the same thing), without any real change but instead of Hitler they got Stalin. Either way nothing really changed.

Angela Merkel is extreme rightwing but can't get the full support from the Govt because of the way Germany's political set up is now.

Victor said...

Hi Brendan

I can't comment on the mother of blond children or on her village, although the notion of a largely Moslem village (as opposed to urban neighbourhood) is rather at odds with my own experience of Germany.

According to Wikipedia, such villages do exist in affluent Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg but not, as far as I can make out, in the former DDR.

However, it's also been my experience (in a number of European countries) that host populations tend to vastly exaggerate the percentage of immigrants in their midst. And the exaggerations tend to increase in inverse proportion to the percentages actually involved.

I would agree, though, that there are genuine issues of concern for people in village communities who value the traditional ethnic and aesthetic context of their environments.

And I can certainly see that a German, English or Italian village with a minaret towering above it and the Muezzin calling the faithful to prayer (with the benefit of mega-electronics) might be deemed to be suffering from (what can I call it?) cultural loss.

I'm not a Christian and have no particular animus against the Moslem "Call to Prayer". But I'd much rather hear church bells (and cow bells) in such contexts.

At a more objective level, I would agree that there are significant issues raised by all large-scale migrations. And this is particularly so with large scale Moslem immigration, given the current revival of Islamic religiosity and the global spread of conflict along religious divides.

I would also agree that, in this radically new situation, no Western society has yet worked out a set of principles or policies that are consistent both with its security needs, with its need for social integration AND with the preservation of its values.

To take an obvious example, the French preference for banning Moslem headscarves or Jewish skullcaps in public settings might sit well with France's republican culture. But it sits ill with Anglo-Saxon traditions of tolerance or with post-war Germany's widespread respect for cultures other than its own.

And I think you're in danger of ignoring the specifics of the German context. To my mind, the Federal Republic is a noble and largely successful experiment in planting the roots of liberal democracy in some of the most difficult soil imaginable.

Central to this achievement have been tolerance, legality, equality before the law and a sense of nationhood as something broader than racial or cultural sodality.

Unlike PEGIDA and its followers, most Germans seem to understand what's most of value and what's at risk in their society. And, of course, they also want to keep winning at football, courtesy of a team that isn't made up entirely of blond "Aryans".

Just like the rest of us, Germans may not know precisely how new cultural realities are to be reconciled with their hard-won democratic principles and practices.

But, mercifully, most of them seem to recognise and reject the politics of ethnic division when they see them. Once bitten, twice shy!

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Victor

" Germans may not know precisely how new cultural realities are to be reconciled with their hard-won democratic principles and practices.

But, mercifully, most of them seem to recognise and reject the politics of ethnic division when they see them. "

That may well be true for the host population, but if the growing Muslim immigrant populations are uni-cultural, with demographics and time on their side the multicultural impulse of 'native' Germans becomes increasingly irrelevant.

You might like to read this article. An interview By BENT JENSEN, with cultural historian PROFESSOR, DR. PHIL., Frørup Denmark:

Original:

http://jyllands-posten.dk/debat/kronik/ECE7378962/Europas-undergang-?-tallenes-tale%2F

Translation:

http://vladtepesblog.com/2015/01/23/europes-downfall-the-figures-speak-for-themselves/#more-76090

It spells out the issues clearly.


Guerilla Surgeon said...

This spells it out even more clearly.

http://www.salon.com/2015/01/22/new_atheists_are_wrong_about_islam_heres_how_data_proves_it/

Some actual research.

As for your professor Brendan, he seems quite political. Claiming to be a centrist, but associated with a far right political party in so far as Google translate can tell me. Also very Christian :-). Seems to me that taints his appreciation of Islam just a little.
Not to mention that birth rates tend to be higher amongst the poor. So unless he's corrected for that, with the "gentrification" of Muslims that problem should largely disappear. After all, they said the same thing about Catholics, and now they use birth control at the same rate as anyone else :-).

Incidentally Brendan still waiting for your ideas on how charity is going to solve all our poverty problems. You seem remarkably silent on the mechanics of the whole thing, ideologically appealing though it may be :-).

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi GS

With respect to Islam, time will tell who of us has the best sense of the risks and challenges it presents to western civilisation.

On your second point, I don't see charity as being the answer to poverty, but I do believe the functional family is the best defence against poverty. There is a place for private charity of course, but it's a distant second.

There will always be relative poverty and inequality while the State is playing proxy parent to approximately 20% to 25% of the nations children, not counting those supported by WFF.

We have spent a long time getting the State out of the bedroom, now lets get them out of the rest of the house. Are you with me on that one, or is it just the bedroom that's a problem for you? :-)

Guerilla Surgeon said...

So you believe Brendan people should stay in an abusive relationship, simply because of the children? How do we make families "functional"? I somehow doubt it can be done by private enterprise, without spending a lot of money. Absent that, do we just abandon these children? You see Brendan you just make broad sweeping generalisations and talk in platitudes. You don't seem to have any appreciation of the reasons why people are poor, and any practical methods of lifting them out of it. It's a simple fact of life that marriages will break down. Some for perfectly mundane reasons, some because one of the partners is a bad egg. And of course there are those parents, mainly fathers I do believe, who just abandon their families altogether. What are the alternatives to state intervention here?
And I think there is quite a difference between the state being in the bedroom, and the state trying to ensure that people don't starve.
Glad at least that you have finally admitted that charity cannot cope. You've been hedging around that for some time now.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

As far as the Islamic thing goes Brendan I guess time will tell. But it seems to me time has already told. In the 1930s there were moral panics about Eastern European immigrants, specifically Jews, who were stereotyped as anarchists, and people who wouldn't integrate into society. Not to mention the religious fears. Yet it all came to nothing. A few anarchist bombs and it all petered out. In Britain now apparently there is another moral panic going on about Eastern Europeans migrating to Britain to live on the benefit. I'm pretty sure that will all come to nothing as well.

Victor said...

Brendan

I accept that Islamic militancy has presented Europe with some significant challenges, although I don't agree with you over their scale or starkness.

But, similarly, so has the rise of right-wing populist parties, with racist undertones and (normally) hard right outriders.

On the one hand you have a challenge that's totally new (at least since the days of Jan Sobieski). On the other hand, you have a challenge that's sickeningly familiar.

I agree that time alone will tell which is the greater threat. But no-one concerned with the security or freedom of European nations should be backing either horse.

Brendan McNeill said...

@GS - You have a very anemic understanding of family. I have five married children. If any of them were in an abusive relationship, they and their children would be welcome to come and live with us. I have friends who have done exactly this same thing for their 38 year old daughter and her three children.

We don’t need the State to become the surrogate parent for our children or our grandchildren – thank you, and thank God.

@Victor – please, there is no moral equivalence between Europe’s so called ‘hard right’ and the Islamic supremacists who murdered 12 cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo for transgressing Islamic blasphemy laws, and who also murdered four Jews, just because they could, at a Jewish supermarket.

You of all people should be alive to the situation that Jews find themselves in today’s Islamofriendly Europe.

You say: “no-one concerned with the security or freedom of European nations should be backing either horse.” But in reality one horse is going to triumph over the other. Even the Prime Minister of Canada admits we are at war with Radical Islam. By refusing to engage you cede sovereignty to the most powerful horse. Today in Europe that is a confident and militant Islam.

I agree that it is built on a brittle construct, but even so, it is more powerful than secular materialism, which is the best the west presently has on offer.

Denial has never served any community well, especially the Jews, and that's why they are leaving Europe in large numbers.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

On the contrary Brendan, I have a better understanding of families than you do. There are people out there who don't have convenient well off families that can help support them. There are people out there that don't have much in the way of family at all. There are all sorts and types of families Brendan some of which are supportive some of which aren't. Are you going to force people to support relatives? How is this going to be funded if the family is poor? You might well thank God that the state isn't a surrogate for your grandchildren, but there are people who do need the state - thank God it's there. I'm really confused as to whether you are that naive, or just wilfully ignorant. You seem to live in a little middle-class bubble.
As always, when it comes to specifics you are a trifle lacking. And typically, you think everybody is like you.

And you don't think there's any moral equivalence between the people who murdered the cartoonists and Anders Breivik? Who killed 77 people? Or the guy in America who raided a Sikh temple and killed 6 people because he thought they were Muslims? Or those who shot at a Sikh temple in Greece, simply because there were Sikhs? Your idea of moral equivalence is very, very weird.

Victor said...

Hi Brendan

Believe me, I'm more than aware of the challenges facing Jews in Europe at the moment.

Even so, I doubt whether you'll find more than a few thousand Jews in any given European country who are prepared to vote for hard right, anti-immigrant parties.

Why? Firstly because European Jews recognise the antecedents of such parties and are appalled to find them once more crowding into the public space.

Secondly, because most European Jews are the children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren of immigrants. They have ample reason to fear Islamic Judeophobia. But they also know what it's like to be the castigated "other". And they recognise racist dog whistles when they hear them.

Thirdly, because they know that integralist nationalism, once let loose, may well, given time and circumstances, be turned against them as well.

Fourthly, because "Never Again"!

Even UKIP, which isn't quite your average hard right party, seems to be failing to attract Jewish support (apart from Joan Collins). In fact, even my Thatcherite relations (I have some!) are appalled by its rise.

I differ with those (mainly in the US and Israel)who would have us believe there's no longer a safe place for Jews in Europe. But I would undoubtedly share their view if I thought that the only alternative to Islamo-facism was Marie le Pen, Vlaams Belang or the Austrian Freedom Party, let alone "Golden Dawn" or Jobbik.

Organisations like PEGIDA are just the slippery slope in that direction.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Actually, we don't really know what is causing Jews to leave Europe. I don't think anyone does exit polls. Not helped by wild statements like "every Jew I know is leaving." Which I have read on at least one new site.
Not only that but the number of Jews leaving Europe seems to vary quite widely over time. So it could be Islamic extremism, it could be the crap state of the French economy, it could be a rise in hard right anti-Semitism, or it could be a simple temporal uptick. Coincidence does not make for causation. Good scientific principle.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Sorry Brendan meant to add, if you have some actual statistics on the reasons Jews are leaving Europe, perhaps you could share them with us :-). I would hate to think that your opinion is based on, well......... opinion.

Victor said...

Hi Brendan

One more point.

Of course there's no moral equivalence between the attack on Charlie Hebdo and a largely peaceful demonstration.

Even less is there any equivalence between such demonstrations and the massacre of shoppers going about their wholly unprovocative daily tasks at a Paris supermarket. And, even less than that, is there any equivalence between a demo and the deliberate shooting of little children in Toulouse a few years back.

But demonstrations of the PEGIDA sort are rarely untainted by other less peaceful forms of "political" action.

As you may know, Dresden, the city which largely spawned the movement, was also, a few weeks ago, the scene of the fatal stabbing of a young Eritrean male. And just three days prior to his death, a swastika had been daubed on the door of the young man's flat.

Was all this coincidental and nothing to do with the passions that PEGIDA is helping to fan? I think you'd have some difficulty in convincing me! Moreover, such incidents are far from uncommon across Europe as a whole.

But let's assume for a moment that you're right about Europe's Jewish communities being in denial about the Islamist threat. If so, it hardly makes sense for them to sit around waiting for the Front National or whatever other bunch of xenophobes to also reveal its true colours.

Then obvious course is either to support non-xenophobic parties and institutions or, if that no longer works, to emigrate!

Brendan McNeill said...

@GS – Have you ever stopped to ponder why there are so many poor and dysfunctional families? Could intergenerational welfare dependence have anything do to with it – just maybe?

You don’t have to be wealthy and middle class to support extended family members, that is the stuff of myth and nonsense.

I’m not blind to the dysfunction that exists, but I’m also not blind to its causes. Turning to the State for the last 100 years has simply increased the problem. Can we learn from our mistakes or are we bound to keep repeating them?

@Victor

I respect your opinion, but I suspect you are way too sanguine when it comes to the threat of radical Islam. I hope I’m wrong.

Victor said...

Hi Brendan

Maybe I'm too sanguine about the one threat although I don't think so.

But it seems to me that you are totally oblivious to the other.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

You are weirdly correct Brendan, but I would say that it's intergenerational unemployment rather than welfare dependency. Without welfare what happens to these people? Jobs don't just appear out of nowhere. It's not as if we're giving them free training or anything.
Not everyone is suited to being an entrepreneur. Should they beg in the streets? Should we be a nation of people selling Chinese knockoffs of fancy brand label sunglasses and handbags? You are still talking in cliches. Where is some evidence?
AND THE $64,000 QUESTION – ABSENT WELFARE WHAT DO WE DO WITH THEM? Something which you seem incapable of answering.

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Victor

"Was all this coincidental and nothing to do with the passions that PEGIDA is helping to fan? I think you'd have some difficulty in convincing me! Moreover, such incidents are far from uncommon across Europe as a whole."

Ah, well...

Prosecutors say an Eritrean man has been arrested over the fatal stabbing last week of a compatriot in the German city of Dresden, a killing that came amid tension over immigration in the region.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/22/dresden-stabbing-eritrean-man-arrested

@GS

If you STOPPED SHOUTING and started listening you would have understood my alternative to State funded welfare.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I have been listening to you for years now Brendan, and you are still short on specifics. And you still don't answer specific questions about specific problems associated with your theories. So forgive me if I shout out of frustration. You still haven't answered my question. You never do. Absent welfare, what happens to these people? Or are you still happy to give them welfare? The main point is Brendan what are you going to do with them, as you keep mentioning the poor are always with us.

Victor said...

Hi Brendan

A gift from the heavens for your argument!

But let's wait and see how this one turns out. These are, after all, the DRESDEN prosecutors!

My point remains, however, that Europe faces a challenge from both aggressive Islamisers and racist populism.

The former present a threat to the rule of law and, at their most extreme, to the lives and safety of those they castigate, with Jews pretty much at the top of the list. They are not to be lightly dismissed.

But the latter might very soon vest the government of reasonably large countries in "hard right" hands. We know what that led to last time around and we should not be in any way sanguine about it.

A storm warning is that Greece's openly Neo-Nazi "Golden Dawn" movement achieved third place in this week's election, toppling the once governing social democratic party, "Pasok",from that position.

So OK, Greece is a special case. Moreover, parties like the French Front National are, I agree, rather less extreme.

Moreover, they've learned (albeit only very recently) to disguise their authoritarian, anti-Jewish and anti-democratic animus behind Islamophobe rhetoric and vapid references to "Europe's Judeo-Christian Heritage" and the like.

But, after all their previous decades of Holocaust revisionism and Fascistoid posturing, how can one take their current protestations seriously?

PEGIDA seems to come from a similar stable. All over Germany, of recent years, there have been small local organisations that tout anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic rhetoric(but not, all of a sudden, Antisemitism) and often have seats on local councils.

A friend of mine, who's a member of a local council in suburban Nordrhein-Westfalen, sits on various cross-party committees with the like and describes their populist, modern, democratic stance as "just window dressing" for basically racist and anti-democratic attitudes. And this in Germany, of all places!

Be careful of what you wish for. It might not be quite what you expect.

Brendan McNeill said...

@GS

My final observation to you is this. The welfare state is a very poor substitute for family. In a democracy, you are free to advocate for this option as you seem keen to do, but in my humble opinion, you sell children short every time.

@ Victor

The charm of the progressive left is that they are incurable romantics, but cold reality proves it to be their weakness. The prophet Mohammad beheaded captives, took sex slaves and assassinated poets who wrote verse that was critical of him. You would be hard pressed to differentiate between his actions and those of the present day Islamic State. This is the sober and difficult truth that progressive romantics need to grasp if our civilization is to be preserved for the next generation.

Furthermore, Islam’s holy texts are explicitly anti-Semitic. To be clear they treat Jews as the enemy that needs to be exterminated. That’s why the Mumbai Muslim terrorists took time out of their day to send two assassins to torture and eventually murder a Jewish couple who ran an accommodation business in the city several km away from their primary target. That’s why a lone Muslim gunman in Brussels chose to attack and murder Jews a Jewish museum, that’s why a lone Muslim gunman murdered four Jews in a Kosher supermarket in Paris, that’s why a year or more previously Jewish school children were murdered in France by a Muslim gunman.

This is not about the poverty and oppression of Muslim immigrants, their lack of employment opportunity, or even their sense of victimhood. This is about the example of their prophet, and the exhortation of their sacred texts.

Sure there are extremists on the other end of the political spectrum, but today at least, they are not the ones making the running. They are not the ones slaughtering Jews and Journalists. They are not the ones causing Jews to reconsider their future in Europe. They are not the ones seeking to impose Islamic blasphemy laws on the west.

Muslims as a people are not the problem here, but Islam is, or at least the form of Islam that is presently animating the Muslim world. There are very few on the progressive left who are prepared to address this honestly. Sam Harris is one, amongst a handful of others.

I’m hopeful that you along with others who are readers of this blog will pause and reflect. If we don't begin to hold the Muslim leadership to account for the extremists in their midst, then who will? If we don't challenge them to revisit their theology of violence, then who will?

Victor said...

Brendan

For the umpteenth time, I am neither unaware or unconcerned about the roots of Islamic Antisemitism or their current consequences.

For me, personally, it might literally turn into a matter of life or death, should I, for example, choose to visit my mother's homeland (Belgium).

Nor do I consider myself either "progressive" (yuck!), a member of the "left" (as opposed to the "centre left") or a "romantic" (I prefer Bach). Charm is, of course, another matter.

But, with all due respect, you do seem to have an inability to understand what's happening in Europe at present.

Certainly, there's a huge problem caused by fundamentalists within Islamic communities and by the reluctance of the authorities in some countries to properly enforce the rule of law against them.

But the fact remains that,whatever mayhem they might cause, there's no single European country in which Islamo-Fascists are close to taking power.

Yet, in at least one rather large country, old-fashioned white "Aryan" Fascists (suitably airbrushed) are disturbingly close to that goal, whilst in other countries their appeal is also very much on the rise.

Forgive the emotional nature of my question but which do you consider the more immediate threat to all that our fathers and grandfathers fought for?

Do you really want me to raise my hand in salute to Marine le Pen? If not, what?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Brendan, my final word is this. Family and the welfare state are not mutually exclusive.

If we look at the root cause of your "welfare dependency" it is long-term generational unemployment. That's your fault. :-)

You still don't answer specific questions like what if the family is too poor to help? You just avoid them. Which – with all due respect – means as far as I'm concerned you don't know what you're talking about.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

My final word on your Islamophobia Brendan.

The very origins of anti-Semitism are in your Bible, where the Jews are blamed for deicide. The Gospel of John in particular quotes Jesus as characterising the Jews as sons of the devil or some such.
Martin Luther (a figure akin to Mohammed) was specifically anti-Semitic, and argued for Jews to be enslaved, and Judaism banned.
So, so-far in the anti-Semitism stakes Christians come out pretty much on top. You could also consider reading1st Thessalonians 2:14-6.
The modern word anti-Semitism was actually created by a Christian anti-Semite, to make the emotion – whatever you want to call it – seem more respectable, at least more respectable than Judenhass.

You consistently ignore attacks on Jews and for that matter Muslims by right-wing nutcases such as Anders Breivik (both an extreme right winger and a Christian.) when you say the far right are not doing this. Oh yes they are.
Jews and Christians in North Africa? It is interesting that you choose the hundred year mark, because nothing much happened to them until the formation of the State of Israel. Indeed in some countries they were treated a lot better than they were in the West.

Your inability to take contradictory evidence into account when formulating your Islamophobic rants is quite frustrating. I along with Victor am not at all keen on extremist Islam, but at least he and I can see parallel threads in Christianity.

I would like to think that you would try to deal with some of these specific issues, but your handling of specifics is not good.

(GOD HELP US, NO WONDER I HAVE TO SHOUT! :-))

Brendan McNeill said...

I thought I had posted my last item on this exchange, but perhaps just one more – Is this an addiction? ☺

@GS

The New Testament is not anti-Semitic, neither was Jesus - he was a Jew for goodness sake, but your point about Martin Luther is well made, and I accept that to our immense shame, the Jews of Europe have historically suffered badly at the hands of Christians.

However, to be fair, this is not the case today, and in any event there is no Scriptural justification in the Bible for anti-Semitism, which I believe is the defining point. Unlike Muslims, Christians who engage in such behaviour have no mandate from their texts.

Yes, I’m to blame for unemployment, along with nasal hair and a list of other maladies. ☺

When it comes to the primary source of welfare, the nature of these replies tend to restrict both of us to generalities rather than specifics. I don’t favour dropping state welfare overnight. It took us the best part of 100 years to get here, and it may take that long to unwind.

My point is that it is a failed project, it actively undermines functional families, and it needs to be unwound.

@Victor

Thank you for the clarification, and apologies for applying or implying unwelcome ideological labels! I don’t like them myself, so I should have known better.

I agree that the Islamofacists (as you call them) are not close to taking political power in France (yet) although as in Britain I’m sure they will have elected representatives in parliament. However, they don’t need to become a majority, or anything like it in order to make their totalitarian presence felt. The Telegraph reports today that a work of art showing women’s shoes on Muslim prayer mats was removed from a gallery in Paris France following threats of violence.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11374899/Blasphemous-artwork-removed-from-Paris-exhibition.html

The more we submit, the more we encourage threatening and violent behaviour from the Muslim community. That’s how Islam rolls.

I suspect you will agree that this behaviour by Muslims must account in some measure for the rise of ‘anti-immigration’ parties in Europe, the ones that you appear to be concerned about. Who needs or wants the constant threat of violence and intimidation from this ungrateful and culturally supremacist immigrant community?

The biggest threat to Europe, is that the existing political elite do nothing to address these problems. This is after all what they are best at.

Europe faces some very difficult choices, as do all western nations concerning the rise of militant Islam. We may all have concerns about Marine le Pen, but for the people of France her election may be the lesser of two evils. Ultimately the French will decide this for themselves.

Victor said...

GS and Brendan

Since we're into final words, mine are as follows:

Both Christianity and Islam have sacred texts that castigate the Jews.

Both religions have, in consequence, been responsible for persecuting and discriminating against the Jews. However, the record of Christianity is infinitely worse (i.e. more murderous) than that of Islam.

Conversely, many Christians (such as our friend, Brendan) have gone to great lengths, over the last couple of generations, to distance themselves from this legacy and to explore the Jewish roots of their faith. I honour them for this.

In contrast, Judeophobia has, of late, become quite central to the mindset and belief systems of very many Moslems.

The reasons for this are manifold and not restricted to the foundation of the State of Israel and the dispossession of the Palestinians, although these have obviously been significant factors.

Other factors include (inter alia)the introduction of western Christian Antisemitism into the Middle East by nineteenth century French Catholic clergy, resentment at western colonialism and, more recently, the spread of an extreme, literalist version of Sunni Islam across the Moslem world, courtesy of Saudi Arabian oil wealth.

The 'Salafist' doctrines of Sayyid Qutb have also been influential, as has the perception that Islam is under siege across the globe, be it in the Middle East, South Asia, the Caucuses, Central Asia, the Horn of Africa or the cities of western Europe.

We can argue as to whether this perception of siege is justified. But it's hard to argue against its existence!

Taken together, these factors provide fertile soil for conspiracy theorists. Hence the wide uptake in the Islamic world of, for example, the notorious Russian Antisemitic forgery, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", which I last recall seeing piled high at a book stall in Kuala Lumpur airport.

Yes, all this is a problem and, for Jews in particular,a dire problem. But it's not the only problem facing Europe's Jews or Europeans as a whole, at this time of economic dysfunction and political unravelling, alienation and discontent.

In the 1930s, in not wholly dissimilar circumstances, many Europeans believed they faced an undiluted choice between Fascism and Stalinism. They were wrong.

Similarly the notion that they now face a simple choice between fascitoid nativist populism and surrender to Islamo-Fascism is wrong and urgently needs discarding.

End of conversation, as far as I'm concerned. Time for a cuppa!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Just to clarify, I didn't say Jesus was anti-Semitic. I did say that he condemned the Jews, particularly those that didn't follow him. I just believe that this is part of the origin of anti-Semitism which runs through Christianity. That's where it all began.