Saturday, November 20, 2010

Coyotes, Rabbits and Western self-loathing

The other day I posted, entitled "Europe, World War II, Suicide, and Jason Bourne." Some Leftists responded to this note, but they were only interested in my comments on suicide. The implications for Europe and whether there still exists a residual negative effect from World War II and whether Europeans feel less secure from not having an effective military didn't interest them -- at least not enough to cause them to comment. These Leftists were interested in whether Europeans might be committing suicide at a greater rate than Americans. It galled them to think this might be true.

They didn't care so much about the larger suicide, the one that Bat Yeor, Oriana Fallaci, Mark Steyn, Claire Berlinski and a host of others bemoan, the so-called slow suicide of European nations -- that is, the unwillingness of Europeans to produce a sufficient number of children to replace the elderly who are dying off. The Leftists preferred discussing the matter of Europeans literally killing themselves now, rather than whether European nations might dwindle out of existence later on. The idea that any European might be driven "by perceptions of cultural malaise" to commit suicide, was, to quote Billy Blogblather "just silly."

Blogblather has engaged in "fashionable self-loathing guilt over supposed Western crimes like racism, imperialism, and colonialism" (to quote Thornton again) so he can hardly object to that assessment. As to praising one's own European culture as preliminary to inducing immigrants to integrate, "how can it be presented as an attractive alternative [to the culture the immigrant has left] and its unique goods celebrated when its public face is one of decadence and trivial pleasure, and when its own intellectuals are eager to voice their hatred of its achievements?"

Biologists tell us that every species has a survival strategy. Coyotes are very good at catching rabbits, but rabbits procreate so abundantly that it doesn't matter. Both survival strategies are excellent. Coyotes will never run out of rabbits to eat, but neither will they be able to eat rabbits out of existence. As to the human survival strategy, we know quite a lot about what has worked in the past. We band together in tribes or larger groups and fight against rival groups. The best fighters survive. The poorest fighters die off. We also have strong beliefs in our religion. If we lose faith in our religion we die off (witness the Roman complaints addressed in Augustine's City of God), we die off. Our hugely complex Liberal Democracies, if we thought about them in this traditional survival-strategy sense, could be considered a great success. We have defeated most of our enemies and seem to have the potential for defeating the rest of them, but our "intellectuals are eager to voice their hatred" of Liberal Democracy's achievements.

The current Western malaise is no new thing. Our Specie's history is replete with examples of tribes, city states and nations deciding they weren't going "to war no more." The Romans regularly decided that internal matters were more important than preparing themselves to defend against a threatening neighbor and paid dearly for their unpreparedness. In modern times France is an example of a nation that largely turned away from war in the face of a seriously threatening enemy. They had a larger army than Germany, but their will to defend themselves didn't match the will of the Germans to conquer them. Has France learned anything from their failure? It doesn't seem so. They have done their best to infect the rest of Europe with their pessimistic philosophies.

[Returning to Thornton] "Of course, for Muslim immigrant children, their attraction to Western popular culture, freedom, pleasure, and material affluence creates a division within their souls, leaving them riven with guilt and doubt. But this wound can be spectacularly healed through martyrdom in the path of Jihad: 'By means of suicide bombing,' Dalrymple concludes, 'the bombers overcome moral impurities and religious doubts within themselves and, supposedly, strike an external blow for the propagation of the faith.'

"Yet in the face of this threat, Europe for the most part has chosen the road of appeasement, like the Europeans of Raspail's novel seemingly content to watch their magnificent civilization evolve into Eurabia, a culture in which Islam and its religious law, sharia, will more and more displace the Judeo-Christian and classical goods of the West -- individual rights and autonomy, democracy, independent thought, everything that has delivered freedom and prosperity to millions of people."

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