Wednesday, November 22, 2006

America Alone?

I was telling my CZ colleagues at our last meeting about this review of Mark Steyn's new book by William Christian. Ted Byfield says it is the only review he can find of this Canadian best seller in the Canadian press and suggests this is because:
the liberal Western world has no solution to the problem [of Islam in the WEst eroding Western and liberal traditions]. It is utterly baffled. It doesn't know what to do.
Byfield has a good description of Christian's odd review:
Typically, up to this date anyway, the Toronto Star and most of the old Southam chain have ignored it. The Globe and Mail, however, faced up to the challenge. The reviewer they chose was William Christian, a much-published professor of political science from Guelph, Ontario. He writes a very strange review. It consists of two elements – a ferocious denunciation of Steyn's book – "possibly the most crass and vulgar book about the West's relationship with the Islamic world I have ever encountered" – and a recitation without comment of some of the alarming demographic and theological facts that Steyn presents.
In short, Dr. Christian's clear responsibility as a reviewer was to respond at least minimally to the validity of Steyn's assertions. In not one fragment of one sentence does he do so. The conclusion is inescapable: He doesn't say, because he doesn't know. He doesn't provide an answer, because he hasn't got one. His solution to the Muslim threat is to pretend it isn't there. His silence betrays his poverty. He is flummoxed, and he is furious with Steyn for having exposed this fact.

But this bewilderment is not confined to Christian. What's notable is that no one in the entire phantasmagorias realm of modern liberaldom is responding to it. The alarms are being sounded and the reigning authorities can do nothing more than denounce those who sound them. Which of course is Steyn's main point. Those in charge do not know what to do. They have built a society that doesn't work, and they hate people who point this out.

But realizing this is surely the first step in building one that does work, and that is what Steyn obviously seeks to do.
I still wonder what Steyn really wants to do. His defeatism on Europe may reflect his honest weighing of reality, but it would be such a disaster for the West if Europe turns largely Islamic that one has to wonder about a writer who does not do more to prod the Europeans into more optimistic patterns of thought. Could America really stand alone as a beacon of freedom if EUrabia's nukes were all pointed at it? Wouldn't the appeasement that the Western left has already begun in partnering with Islam as the last best hope for destroying the hated, American-led, global free market system, likely be completed in that eventuality by America's own anti-American elites? Or, once European nations are fully gone to EU bureaucracy, and Sharia law takes over large chunks of the continent in some kind of millet system, will those of us who want to preserve the sense of shared nationhood that is fundamental to any self-ruling democracy start being heard on this side of the Atlantic?

Also noted: George Jonas says of Steyn's and another's:
Both books have been published by Regnery, a noted American house of conservative books and authors. Both books are hard to get -- perhaps I should say both books are consequently hard to get, to echo Barbara Kay, who has been calling attention in these pages to a virtual conspiracy by Canadian bookstores and libraries to downplay conservative books and publishers. And last but not least, both books have chosen as their subject a war between the democratic West and the despotic East.

1 comment:

Charles Henry said...

"...a virtual conspiracy by Canadian bookstores and libraries to downplay conservative books and publishers."

I believe that, when I see the piles of Michael Moore books sitting day after day at our Vancouver public library and Chapters, and no comparable line-up of pro-US books to balance the scales (and potential sales).

Still, to give credit where it is due: while there are no less than 83 people waiting in line to borrow Steyn's America Alone from the Vancouver library, they have actually ordered 14 copies, not just one, which is commendable. A market-based decision from the library!
I wonder if Chapters ordered that many copies for their Vancouver stores...

What's especially pernicious is that we can't start having the necessary discussions, if the very need for the discussion keeps getting hidden away in the first place.