No. It’s a clash between civilization and barbarism. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born Dutch MP has taught us this fact with painful clarity in both her words and actions. The man who turned Ali’s words into pictures taught us this lesson as well, before he was murdered in the streets of Rotterdam. To teach the world this lesson, Theo Van Gogh paid with his life. And Ayaan Hirsi Ali will too if the Jihadis get their way...
It’s no wonder Dutch Society has grown suspicious. The Muslim Immigrants had come in droves to suckle at the teat of the welfare state. Due to the sheer numbers, most did not assimilate—that is, to learn the language and adopt the basic liberal values of Dutch society. The Muslims respond that, in most instances, to do so would be to abandon their religious faith. But then why come? Presumably to enjoy the benefits of Western society—wealth (while overlooking the values of freedom, the mutual toleration, and open inquiry). The Muslims have come to Holland as parasites. They seek to institute their medieval religious doctrines as municipal law. And when the scrutiny that comes in an open society is turned upon their cultural values, they grow resentful. Some even become murderers.
Isn’t it time people were honest about this clash? Some believe that assimilationist policies are the province of a nationalist (even fascist) nanny state. If taken to an extreme, such could be true. But done properly, civics study is vital to any healthy society. The Muslims of Holland have learned neither the virtues of toleration, nor the liberal system that provides the wealth they came for.
Imagine the pundit you hate the most. I know I have a few I can’t stand: Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Susan Sonntag—the usual suspects on the radical Left. Now, the reason I don’t like them is, of course, that they are basically critical – hostile even – to my views, my country, and liberal democratic values. One way to silence that criticism would be to silence them. I could just line them up one-by-one and with a single armor-piercing bullet I could penetrate all three dense skulls. POW. THUMP, THUMP, THUMP.
But in doing so I would have abandoned everything I value. I would have abnegated any principle of toleration that is essential both to my worldview and to a society of open inquiry. It feels almost ridiculous explaining something that should be self-evident. But it is only self-evident to me (and maybe you) because – somehow, some way – we have been inculcated with the Western virtues of toleration and free expression. But a large segment of Dutch society has not. The same can be said for parts of the UK, France and Germany.
More than likely, the “clash of civilizations” won’t be centered in the US. While the US has its fair share of Muslims, they have not immigrated here as rapidly as they have in Europe—rapidly enough to form large Islamic enclaves. They have – in some sense – become American. The same cannot be said for Europe. (For Europe, Muslim populations are analagous to Hispanic populations in the US in terms of numbers.)
Two decades of lax immigration policies coupled with a welfare spigot set to "on" has drawn the Muslims to the watering hole like midges. In order to stop the influx, many countries like Holland have scaled back the benefits… resulting in resentment and an exacerbated entitlement mentality. Now the midges are starting to bite. And part of what we’re beginning to see in Europe is the direct result of welfare incentives. Too much toleration coupled with subsidized freetime for Jihadis-in-training has yielded a situation that is drawing closer to a breaking point.
Many conservative types are fond of poo-pooing the Europeans for their intransigence with respece to US Middle East policy. But they should not be fooled. Many Europeans are developing more than a suspicion of their Muslim guests and their sentiments aren’t necessarily represented by their governments or their national media.
Don’t believe me? Consider the close call by French Nationalist Le Pen back in, 2001. Or take the emergence of politicians like Pin Fortuyn in Holland. Consider the struggles between the “Pakis” and the whites in the North of England. Or the heating cauldron of “ethnic supremacy” by hordes of Swedish youth.
All this represents the ugly, intolerant backlash against an ugly, intolerant culture that has failed to assimilate. And its just going to get worse. The blame lies with everyone and no one—which is to say that it is the unintended consequences of both European welfare statism-cum-multiculturalism on the one hand, and an inherently chauvinistic form of Islamic culture on the other.
I fear after 9/11, many in the US will continue to be swept into this culture clash. Our only hope is the Europe can reverse the trend before it gets out of control. Even though we Americans are at the center of the War on Terror, Europe is at the center of a war between cultures.