Christopher Caldwell, who writes for The Weekly Standard and The Financial Times, has written Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West, a marvelously insightful and even courageous book about Muslim immigration to Europe. Unfortunately, Mr. Caldwell did not stop there. He included a pamphlet's worth of foolish optimism about immigration to the United States—so foolish that it is hard to believe the same man who so neatly dissects the delusions and weaknesses of Europeans does not realize he is also describing American policy-makers.
Read the book—ignore the pamphlet.
As his title itself makes clear, Caldwell believes Europe is in a revolution in which nothing less that the survival of the West is at stake. In what is the book's most memorable passage, he asks "whether you can have the same Europe with different people" and tells us "the answer is no".
Caldwell points out that in 1950 there were practically no Muslims in Europe. By 2000 there were an estimated 15 to 17 million, with 5 million in France, 4 million in Germany, and 2 million in Britain. Like immigrants to the United States, they are young, urban, prolific, and crime-prone. Forty percent of the children living in Paris have immigrant parents, and London's one million Muslims are one eighth of the city's population. Fifty percent of French prisoners are Muslims. In Turin, immigrants are 10 percent of the population but account for only 0.2 percent of the deaths and 25 percent of the births. Muslims who make it to Europe celebrate by having even more babies than if they had stayed home—a pattern observable with Mexicans in the U.S.
Europe absorbs 1.7 million newcomers every year—roughly as many as twice the number America takes in—and almost all are Muslims. At current rates, by mid-century, a fifth to a third of most European countries will be foreign-born.
As Caldwell points out, "Western Europe became a multiethnic society in a fit of absence of mind". A defeated Germany got back on its feet quickly and by 1955 needed more labor. Desperately poor Turks signed up for two-year stints as guest workers and kept renewing.
This Third-World influx more or less repeated itself in all the larger European countries, but until the 1970s most Europeans still thought all the foreigners would go home.
They didn't. Instead, they brought their villages. Caldwell cites amazing statistics: From 1971 to 2000, the number of immigrants living in Germany grew from 3 million to 7.5 million but the number of foreigners in the workforce stayed the same at 2 million. The huge influx consisted of kinfolk, loafers, criminals, invalids, etc. Whole neighborhoods began to look "like a seizure of territory rather than a multicolored enrichment".
Caldwell argues persuasively that it was a unique set of circumstances that opened the continent to a religion that had been Europe's sworn enemy for centuries: post-war rebuilding, the Cold War compulsion to be nice to poor countries, and—perhaps most important—racial guilt over Nazism, Caldwell notes that hypersensitivity about the Holocaust made it easy to blacken defenders of Europe as "Nazis," and that Muslims quickly learned to use this powerful weapon. At the beginning of Alien Nation, Peter Brimelow called this phenomenon "Hitler's Revenge".
These were elite concerns, however. Like Americans, ordinary Europeans would have rejected mass immigration out of hand if they could have voted on it.
Caldwell points out that immigrants did not come because they wanted to be Europeans; they wanted to remain Turks or Moroccans or Bengalis but with a European standard of living. They also showed up just when militant Islam was on the upswing, which shackled their minds even more tightly to their home countries.
The result is an indigestible mass of underclass foreigners who are more alienated from Europe with every new generation. When the French police arrest an Arab, it is common for other Muslims to start chanting "Nique la France" — "F—k France". When French-Arab students are asked if they are French, chances are they will say that is impossible because they are Muslim. Only 5 percent of Turks in Germany say they can imagine being buried there, and only about half say the laws of Islam are compatible with German society. Just under half of Dutch Muslims were "in complete sympathy" with the attacks of September 11. Thirty-seven percent of British Muslims say apostates from Islam deserve death. Sixty years after they started coming to Britain, three quarters of (what are now) Bangladeshis still import their wives from the subcontinent rather than marry co-ethnics tainted by living in Europe.
As Caldwell points out, these people have no intention of assimilating; they expect Europe to change to suit them.
And how have European governments reacted to open rejection? By petting the immigrants and gushing about the equality of all cultures. In 2008, British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith stopped using the term "Islamic terrorism" and started talking about "anti-Islamic activity" instead. The famous Macpherson Report of 1999 defined a "racist" incident as one the victim—or anyone else—thought was "racist". British and French welfare programs started paying extra benefits for multiple Muslim wives and their children. Dutch and British public health services have even paid for "hymen reconstruction surgery" so Muslim brides could fool their husbands.
In 2006, despite warnings from free speech activists, Britain passed a general ban on "incitement of religious hatred". Why? Muslims—but no one else—wanted it.
European Union researchers on anti-Semitism who were supposed to publish a report in 2003 found, of course, that almost all perpetrators were Muslim immigrants. But they couldn't bring themselves to say so. They dithered for a year and finally "balanced" the report, according to Caldwell, by issuing a disingenuous press release saying most of the perps were disaffected whites.
Caldwell notes that the more wildly violent Muslims become, the more theologically learned European (and American) leaders pretend to be. Politicians across the continent assure people that the bomb-throwers are "poorly educated in extremist madrassas" and that violence is "un-Islamic". No less a boob than George Bush posed as an expert in comparative religions by telling us that Islam is a "religion of peace".
European elites are afraid that straightforward condemnation will encourage "nativism" and "extremism". Whenever Muslims riot, steal, throw bricks at firemen, or wreck housing projects, politicians blame themselves for not doing enough.
Caldwell is right to attribute this lick-spittle mentality to a devastating loss of confidence. European leaders, he writes, "have tended to treat immigration to Europe as something immigrants are simply entitled to, part of an outstanding debt that Europe owes the rest of the world for centuries of economic exploitation".
For similar reasons, European politicians made it matter of pride to let in any brown-skinned vagabond who could pronounce the word "asylum". Caldwell quotes one European minister as actually saying, "We live in a borderless world in which our new mission is defending the border not of our countries but of civility and human rights".
The Dutch were notoriously easy touches, and at one time Sweden was adding one percent a year to its population just through asylum—not counting family members. (Both countries later tightened up the rules.)
One of Caldwell's most poignant examples of subservience to outsiders comes from Britain. A 2008 poll found that immigrants were more confident than native Britons that they could influence decisions at local and national levels. And why not? Muslims, non-whites, and foreigners get so much public attention it is natural, as Caldwell puts it, for whites to think "their aspiration are not the real subject matter of Britain's politics".
This book is very good on just how different Islam is from Christianity, and why that causes trouble. First, Muslims know they are right and everyone else is wrong. They have a muscular, intolerant faith that shocks limp-wristed Euro-Christians. That is why the "interreligious dialogue" Christians always crave usually means "discussing how Christians can make life easier for Muslims".
As Caldwell observes, the only reason the term "moderate Islam" exists is because there is so much of the other kind. There are many kinds of Christianity, but no one talks about "moderate Christians" because, compared to Muslims, they are all moderate.
Caldwell reports that Muslims are very keen on freedom of religion—but only so long as it means they can open sharia-law courts and build giant mosques; Euro-imams have openly proclaimed their goal of stamping out any but The One True Faith once they get power.
By contrast, Europeans act on principle. When the French decided they couldn't have Arab girls wearing veils to school, they felt compelled to ban yarmulkes and "large crucifixes" as well. Italians and Germans couldn't ban veils without taking down classroom crucifixes that may have been up for centuries.
Europeans therefore cannot bring themselves to combat alien practices head-on. When the Danes got sick of Muslims fetching brides from the old country, they had to ban young spouses rather than illiterate Third Worlders. By forbidding the import of marriage partners under the age of 24, the Danes mostly stopped the practice, but they had to pretend they had an underage-spouse problem rather than an immigration problem.
Measures like this bother people who shouldn't be bothered. If the authorities step up surveillance on fire-breathing imams, they think they have to keep tabs on other people, too. If they cut back on welfare because of immigrant chiselers, they have to change the rules for everyone. Although it came to nothing, one Swedish bureaucrat, shocked to discover female genital mutilation was going on in her country, argued for mandatory checkups for every Swedish girl.
Surprisingly, Caldwell falls for the silly idea that you can't have free flow of capital without free flow of people—the Japanese and Koreans have proven the two are unrelated. But he is good on arguments against Third World immigration in general. He points out, for example, that peasant labor cannot possibly save European welfare states. Turks and Tunisians soak up social services and make such low wages they are a net drain. He adds that even if, by massaging the numbers, the boosters can show a slight net benefit to the native-born due to immigrants—what George Borjas calls "the immigrant surplus"—this misses the point. Haggling over plus-or-minus tenths of a percent of GNP completely ignores the real impact of immigration, which is not economic at all.
Caldwell can turn a graceful phrase when he writes about how imperceptibly societies change as the ethnic mix shifts. Here is a sentence worth pondering: "When people start doing out of fear what they previously did out of conviction or generosity, they often do not notice the transition."
This is good, too: "One moves swiftly and imperceptibly from a world in which affirmative action can't be ended because its beneficiaries are too weak to a world in which it can't be ended because its beneficiaries are too strong."
Alas, when Caldwell writes about America he doesn't just jump the tracks: he does it going over a trestle. Our Hispanics are not at all like European immigrants, he says, because they are Christians and speak a European language. What's more, they volunteer for the military, have babies, take blue-collar jobs—why, they're just like Americans from 40 years ago!
Practically all of VDARE.COM is devoted to taking the stuffing out of stupidity of that kind, but suffice it say that any group with Hispanic rates of crime, illegitimacy, welfare use, poverty, school failure, and radical disaffection is nothing like Grandma's generation.
How can a man who sees so clearly what is happening across the Atlantic pretend that none of the following applies to the United States?
"For all the lip service paid to diversity, people tend to flee it."
"To express misgivings about immigration was to confess racist inclinations."
"Immigrants and their children were at liberty to express politically their wishes as a people, in a way that European natives were not."
Europe is "not dealing with an ordinary immigration problem at all, but with an adversary culture."
After the 2005 French riots "there was a desire, verging on desperation, to explain the riots as being due to some misconduct of the majority society."
"Europeans fear their individual countries are slowly escaping their political control, and they are right, although they can seldom spell out precisely how."
Europeans live in internal exile, "cut off by economic and cultural changes from the world they thought they would inhabit."
Immigration "means importing not just factors of production but factors of social change."
"In no country in Europe does the bulk of the population aspire to live in a bazaar of world cultures."
Whether out of ignorance, cowardice, or—could it possibly be?—conviction, Caldwell refused to recognize that Europe and America face the same crisis. Whatever he learned in Europe he seems to have forgotten when he stepped off the plane.
There is worse. Caldwell sees as clearly as anyone sees anything that immigration is a disaster for Europe. But he dismisses as moral inferiors the men who recognized the truth long before he did. The book opens with an account of Enoch Powell's famous so-called "Rivers of Blood" speech, given in 1968 when Caldwell was in knee britches. Caldwell admits that Powell's predictions were factually correct—"beyond any shadow of a doubt"—but says, without explanation, that Powell was "morally wrong". This is as obtuse as calling the speech a "rant"—the immensely cultivated Powell was incapable of ranting—but he also calls Oriana Fallaci's hugely successful critique of Islam (The Rage and the Pride) a "tirade".
And what about people who are actually trying to defend Europe against the threat Caldwell so clearly spells out? Jean-Marie Le Pen is a "fear-mongering reactionary" and his National Front is "fascistic". The British National Party is one of those "extremist parties that sow hatred" and Pia Kjaersgaard's Danish Peoples Party is "immigrant obsessed".
Why does Caldwell abuse his elders and betters? Is he afraid he will be called a "fear-mongering reactionary" and thinks he can head off charges by redirecting them?
That is a contemptible trick. And it doesn't even work.
In his defense, Caldwell is writing in an age of terror, in which telling the truth is a firing offense. Still, he should have remained silent rather than denounce patriots who are doing the work he has the good sense to realize must be done.
This book is like a piece of Camembert that is just good enough to pick up and eat after it falls into the dirt. You eat it very carefully.
Jared Taylor (email him) is editor of American Renaissance and the author of Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America. (For Peter Brimelow's review, click here.)