Il Foglio is my favorite Italian newspaper, and I especially like the way this editorial starts:
Diceva il polemista canadese Mark Steyn che la nostra visione della globalizzazione si fonda su un equivoco. Non si tratta di essere contenti perchĂ© i monaci tibetani finalmente usano internet, piuttosto: "L'esempio di maggior successo della globalizzazione non sono Starbucks o McDonald's, ma il wahabismo, un'oscura variante dell'islam praticata da pochi estremisti beduini che adesso la petrolricchezza saudita ha esportato in ogni angolo della terra â€“ Waziristan, Indonesia, Caucaso, i Balcani, Amsterdam, Stoccolma, Toronto, Portland, Dearborn e Falls Church".
That's something I said in an interview with them many years ago, paraphrasing a line from America Alone:
When you look at it that way, the biggest globalization success story of recent years is not McDonald's or Microsoft but Islamism: the Saudis took what was not so long ago a severe but peripheral strain of Islam practiced by Bedouins in the middle of a desert miles from anywhere and successfully exported it to Jakarta and Singapore and Alma Ata and Grozny and Sarajevo and Lyons and Bergen and Manchester and Ottawa and Dearborn and Falls Church...
It's some years now since America Alone came out (although, if you're in need of a belated Christmas gift, personally autographed copies are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore). But its thesis is more timely with every passing day. And in yet another holiday season where, from Australia to France to Canada, families who'd never given a thought to Islam have had to come to terms with empty seats round the Christmas table, it is a poor consolation to a dimestore Cassandra to find my supposedly "alarmist" book cited with reference to recent events. Here is Vincent Cooper, in The Commentator, on the ability of the Sydney sheikh and his ilk to wage war against the west from within:
On the first anniversary of the July 7th London Tube bombings, the Times of London commissioned a poll of British Muslims. Here are the findings:
* 16 percent say that while the Tube bombings may have been wrong, the cause was right.
* 13 percent think that the four men who carried out the bombings should be regarded as martyrs.
* 7 percent agree that suicide attacks on civilians in the UK can be justified in some circumstances, rising to 16 percent for a military target.
As the Canadian journalist Mark Steyn points out: "There are, officially, one million Muslims in London, half of them under twenty-five. If 7 percent think suicide attacks on civilians are justified, that's 70,000 potential supporters in Britain's capital city." (Mark Steyn, America Alone)
That's why these guys aren't stopped before they take the coffee shop, or run over the soldier, or behead the female work colleague - because law enforcement can't reasonably be expected to police the very line between widely held views in a vibrant, diverse, multicultural society, and the fellows willing to take them to the next level.
Here's something else I wrote in America Alone:
Our enemies are small worms," Adolf Hitler told his generals in August 1939. "I saw them at Munich." In Europe today, as in the Thirties, the political class prostrates itself before an insatiable force that barely acknowledges the latest surrender before moving on to the next invented grievance. Indeed, a formal enemy is all but superfluous to requirements. Bomb us, and we agonize over the "root causes". Decapitate us, and our politicians rush to the nearest mosque to declare that "Islam is a religion of peace". Issue bloodcurdling calls at Friday prayers to kill all the Jews and infidels, and we fret that it may cause a backlash against Muslims. Behead sodomites and mutilate female genitalia, and gay groups and feminist groups can't wait to march alongside you denouncing Bush and Blair. Murder a schoolful of children, and our scholars explain that to the "vast majority" of Muslims "jihad" is a harmless concept meaning "healthy-lifestyle lo-fat granola bar". Thus the lop-sided valse macabre of our times: the more the Islamists step on our toes, the more we waltz them gaily round the room.
Not much has changed in the years since. A few days ago I wrote about the media's new "Crazy or Muslim?" parlor game, in which the correct answer is crazy - every time. Shiv Morjaria writes to take issue:
The Colorado shooter, the guy who killed his family in Philadelphia, the guy who killed his college classmates at the university of California and the guy who shot up his school in Oregon were mentally ill. They were also all Christian. Why don't you write an article about Christian radicalization? It's only when people's race or religion are different from the 'norm' (white Christians) that it becomes a factor into why people commit the terrible acts they do. I'm not Muslim but I'm appalled at how they are portrayed in the media.
Good day sir
I get a lot of letters like that, day in, day out, over the weeks and months and years stretching back to a long-ago Tuesday morning in September. But hey, don't take it from me, take it from this guy:
It is not that senseless murder does not occur in the United States. After all, we have had our Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and other examples of wanton violence. The difference, however, is that while the criminal acts in the U.S. are not generally committed in the name of religion, almost every single act of mass murder committed in the Muslim-majority countries has been â€” and continues to be perpetrated â€” in the name of God.
That's a fellow called Khaleel Mohammed, a professor of religious studies, in the San Diego Union-Tribune. And, to be honest, he's more patient than I am with the Shiv Morjarias of the world in this second decade of the 21st century. I'm so bored with having to be polite to preening narcissists whose moral equivalence even unto death will ultimately cost us our civilization. Where are the "radical" Christian churches that Mr Morjaria's phalanx of "Christian" killers attended and at which they were "radicalized"? Where are the crusader websites and YouTube videos that urge them on? Where is "the Christian State" whose artfully filmed executions of journalists and aid workers have helped recruit thousands of disaffected young men? Where are the Christian groups willing to burn a teacher to death and shoot his pupils in the name of Christ? What is the Christianist equivalent of "Allahu Akbar"? Where is the crusader flag of St George being held aloft by hostages from the cafĂ© window?
One likes to assume that the moral equivalists are at some level just putting us on - and that, were Mr Morjaria to find himself in a Sydney coffee shop or passing a police station in JouĂ©-lĂ¨s-Tours when some cheery fellow cries "Allahu Akbar!", he would retain, shriveled and emaciated as it is, sufficient of a survival instinct to dive for cover. But I'm beginning to doubt it. Most of those beheaded by the Islamic State are guys who thought as Mr Morjaria did - that these Muslims get a terrible press from all the Islamophobes, so let's go to the Levant and show the world what splendid chaps they are. That's why Christopher Stevens, a believer in the Arab Spring, went to Libya, and died there. That's why Daniel Pearl got in the car with the savages who chopped his head off and sent it round the world on a viral snuff video. Shiv Morjaria is more fortunate: he has not, yet, been called upon to die for his illusions.
~America Alone isn't "about" Islam, so much as a developed world mired in civilizational ennui manifested in deathbed demographics. Early on in the book, I note that Japan, a land largely free of Muslim or any other kind of immigrants, offers the opportunity to study the demographic death spiral in virtual laboratory conditions:
At the beginning of the century, the country's toymakers noticed they had a problem: toys are for children and Japan doesn't have many. What to do? In 2005, Tomy began marketing a new doll called Yumel â€“ a baby boy with a range of 1,200 phrases designed to serve as companions for the elderly. He says not just the usual things â€“ "I wuv you" â€“ but also asks the questions your grandchildren would ask if you had any: "Why do elephants have long noses?" Yumel joins his friend, the Snuggling Ifbot, a toy designed to have the conversation of a five-year old child which its makers, with the usual Japanese efficiency, have determined is just enough chit-chat to prevent the old folks going senile. It seems an appropriate final comment on the social democratic state: in a childish infantilized self-absorbed society where adults have been stripped of all responsibility, you need never stop playing with toys. We are the children we never had.
In my latest book, The [Un]documented Mark Steyn (personally autographed copies of which, etc, etc), I discuss the next phase of Japan's crisis:
A survey by the Japan Family Planning Association reported that over a quarter of men aged 16â€“24 "were not interested in or despised sexual contact." For women, it was 45 percent...
Forty-nine percent of women under 34 are not in any kind of romantic relationship, and nor are 61 percent of single men. A third of Japanese adults under 30 have never dated. Anyone. Ever. It's not that they've stopped "having sex"... It's bigger than that: It's a flight from human intimacy.
No doubt that's just the usual Steynian alarmism. But here's the BBC with a poignant story you may have missed this holiday season:
Japan: 'Solo Weddings' For Single Women
Kyodo news agency reports that Cerca Travel's two-day "solo wedding" package includes choosing your own special gown, bouquet and hairstyle, a limousine service, a stay at a hotel and a commemorative photo album. "This package boosted my sense of self-esteemâ€¦ the effect was equal to a more extraordinary experience, such as visiting a World Heritage castle," says Tomoe Sawano, one of the first to try out a "solo wedding"...
"Nationwide, more Japanese are living alone for a number of reasons - among them aging, urbanization, later marriage age and rising divorce rates," The Japan Times notes in a recent article. It quotes the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research as saying that the country's population is expected to decline between 26% and 38% by 2060.
I would bet on the latter percentage myself.