Self-Loathing -- Sightings
This morning the issue is Muslim immigration and what it means. Marty responds to a book from on the right that bewails the impact of Muslim immigration on Europe. The author of this book suggests, essentially, that the Europeans are too nice and too tolerant and thus they will lose their continent. Fortunately, however, Americans aren't as nice or as tolerant, and we will fight back. And so it goes.
It is interesting that when I was growing up, the great fear was that Communists would take over the world. Now it's Muslims. Does it appear to you that we always need an enemy?
Take a read below and offer your thoughts!
-- Martin E. Marty
While the staff took time away from the Center, this writer took a day off in Nebraska, after a year which included time spent in Prague, Helsinki, and Paris. In none of these four places did my dimming journalistic eye and ear detect massive and suicidal “self-loathing.” According to Christopher Caldwell (of the Financial Times and the Weekly Standard), I should not expect to have found it in “my” Nebraska, because it has enough at least residual Christian vitality. But in his Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West, Caldwell does find such loathing. Reviewer Stephen Holmes of NYU Law School nails Caldwell for his alarmism and contradictions, as he captions his review Chicken Little Goes to Europe in the September American Prospect.
Holmes does agree with Caldwell enough to observe overcast skies, but no “sky is falling,” as proclaimed by Chicken Little. What the Chicken Little Flock has to say about Europe, and its religion and ethos, has a bearing on American public life because, if Caldwell is right, there is still enough lively religion in America to help it serve as a fortress against – you guessed it – Muslims, Islam, and Islamism. The author of Reflections is accurate in his observations that European women bear far fewer children than in the past, that several million Muslims have immigrated beckoned by Europeans who wanted Turks, North Africans, and now others, to do their dirty work, and arrive to seek footholds in the form of jobs and opportunities
So Muslims are in Europe, and Caldwell joins or helps lead the ranks of those who see nothing ahead but the “loss” of Europe and its values as Islam establishes “beachheads” behind enemy – that is, Western, Christian, and post-Christian – lines, “patiently conquering Europe’s cities, street by street.” Holmes calls all this inflammatory, which it is intended to be, plus nonsensical, which, though not intended, it is. Meanwhile Muslims fill a vacuum created by Europeans of old stripes who, yes, “are mired in ‘self-loathing’ and ‘hand-wringing’’” or “self-flagellation” in their “guilt-based moral order.” As Holmes spots it, the great failing of Europe is that it has developed an “ideology of tolerance” and hospitality. The word Holmes uses to summarize Caldwell’s complaint is that Europeans have fallen for “humanitarian universalism.”
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