There doesn't seem to be much in the blogs about the Collapse of Europe Conference held last weekend in Southern California. (UPDATE: See Gil Bailie's impressions, not discussed here.) Pajamas Media has a report that suggests no great fireworks were witnessed but rather a calm representation of the cultural fault lines with which conservative blog readers are now familiar. Thankfully, it appears that even Mark Steyn modifies his prediction that America must soon find itself alone in a hostile world:
not one of the distinguished panelists wanted to write off or dismiss Europe. Instead, they all hoped that the imperiled Contintent could be saved.Which of course it can be, if the Europeans come to care again about their specific cultural tradition as something worth saving, as something which can find ways to go on after the Somme and after Auschwitz. This, of course, will require backing down from the present end-of-history mindset that collapses into the non-thinking mode of seeing all social inequalities as real or potential victimization on the Nazi-Jew model, and seeing all assertions of nationhood and national self-interest as irredeemably a part of social historical forces that must lead again to wars on the model of the great world wars of the last century. The fact that the present European Union, with its dense, expensive, and largely unaccountable webs of bureaucratic regulation, taxation, and social welfare, shows few signs of being a viable or legitimate political agent, one on which people will stake their honour and lives when difficult times arise, let alone of being an ideal form of economic or productive organization (notwithstanding our shared needs for free markets and trade), has yet to budge many Euro leaders from their blind dash away from the national disasters of the last century. This inability or unwillingness to conceive of a competitive and conflictual, a humbling but realistic, future for an international nation-state system as a necessary means for containing and mediating the means for organized violence, and for economic production, makes it all too appealing for European politicos to play the game of endlessly identifying victims of this nation-state system, which plays right into the hands of those unable to assimilate to modern societies and who thus dream of building an empire and religion to dominate and destroy present freedoms (freedoms for which accountable, self-ruling nations are the ultimate and only serious guarantors):
Hirsi Ali explained that for jihad to succeed, a sense of victimization is necessary. Muslims have mastered the art of creating enemies and conspiracy theories which results in group solidarity at the expense of assimilation.And then, in a nod to those who are thinking of joining us at one of our Thursday night Vancouver Covenant Zone meetings at the central library, it was also noted that:
it is the vibrancy of America’s civil society that has most impressed Hirsi Ali during her eight months in the country. She contrasted this with the Europeans’ reliance on the government to solve their problems. Another cause of exasperation for her is the tendency of Europeans to always apologize for their inefficiencies, uncritically romanticize the exotic and declare that all religions are equal. The end result is that the Islamic enterprise – which is made possible by the spread of Saudi money – is facilitated by European schools, media and politics. Hirsi Ali recommends imposing the values of Western society – the ones that were so appealing to her – on immigrants.While Ali, with her history of attacks on all religious and conservative forces, including those of Christianity and Western nationhood, is less than convincing about what values are needed to make Western societies viable and immune to the kind of corrosive forces we see at present (after all, American civil society is rather religious), she does not seem to have had the last word. Mark Steyn got in many wry notes, not least at the expense of the incoherent idea of "multiculturalism":
Steyn reappeared at an afternoon panel on “Multiculturalism and its impact on democratic society.” He called multiculturalism an elusive enemy because one of its very tenets is that there is no point in ever having an argument. The quest to never be culturally insensitive has led to some pretty horrible things. In Britain, for example, many honor killings now go uninvestigated. He could have added that last year a German judge cited the Koran when he rejected a woman’s request for a quick divorce because her husband beat her. Steyn pointed out that multiculturalism is a unicultural phenomenon: only Western countries have signed up for the project. As he once explained to a caller on a radio show, there are very few free Muslims countries. Steyn got plenty of laughs when he said that after he presented the caller with objective statistics showing the lack of freedom in the Muslim world, the man responded, “Well, that’s just your opinion.”...a world where everything is just an opinion, and all opinions are equal, or equally useless: is that the kind of Orwellian nightmare in which you want to be living? If not, it's time we all started asking people: what are opinions for? and seriously pressuring those who have forgotten that opinions owe a debt to reality, like the total dhimmi in London (writing in a pro-homosexual magazine!) who writes an article full of lies to say it will be great when his city becomes predominantly Islamic (because "under Islam all ethnicities are equal. Once you have submitted to Allah you are a Muslim – it doesn’t matter what colour you are. End of story." - end of story indeed, especially for women and homosexuals), all the while willfully ignoring the violent reality of Islam at present, a highly delusional, paranoid, system for projecting infantile desires of domination over supposed enemies. However, as the immediately above-linked panel discussion notes, it is just the present Islamic license to resent reality, and project some kind of narcissistic victory over it, that increasingly appeals to Europe's elites.