Walter Laqueur has written a very useful description of the challenges Europe faces in the 21st century. He is entirely right to point out that far-below-replacement fertility, combined with growing numbers of inassimilable immigrants add up to demographic catastrophe. He is also right to note that European welfare and social programs are headed for bankruptcy, and that rigid labor markets hobble economies. He writes that without firm measures, Europe will lose its civilization and be reduced to insignificance. Unfortunately, Mr. Laqueur follows these important insights with loony prescriptions. Few books draw so many bad conclusions from so many acute observations.

The Baby Bust

Many people have worried for a long time about the post-baby boom crash in European birthrates. For a population merely to replace itself, each woman must have an average of 2.2 children, but in most European countries the average lifetime fertility for white women is under 1.5. Mr. Laqueur notes that at this rate, the 15 members of the old European Union (before the East European additions in 2004) will have lost 60 million people by 2050. If projections include all of Europe, including Russia, the loss is expected to be 130 million. If there were no change in birthrates through the year 2300, most European countries would shrink to about five percent of their current size, and Russia and Italy to one percent. Already, says Mr. Laqueur, the Russian Far East is rapidly depopulating and thousands of villages have disappeared. He writes that in the Eastern part of Germany, 2,000 schools have shut in the wake of population decline and migration to the more prosperous West.

At the same time, non-Europeans have flooded in by different routes: “guest work,” asylum-seeking, and illegal immigration. How many? Mr. Laqueur doesn’t say. Whether out of conviction or prudence, he counts only Muslims; he thinks other non-whites will make fine Europeans. For many countries, the majority of non-whites are Muslims, so this face-saving distinction does not matter a great deal. However, Mr. Laqueur’s unwillingness to consider race helps explain his cross-eyed conclusions, and why he seems not to understand that the United States and Europe face the same crisis.

In any case, Mr. Laqueur’s count of Muslims is as follows:

France: 5.5 million (eight percent of the total population).

Germany: 3.6 million (five percent).

Britain: 1.6 million (three percent).

Holland: 1.0 million (six percent).

Sweden: 0.4 million (five percent).

Spain: 1.0 million (2.5 percent).

Belgium: 0.5 million (five percent).

Greece: 0.5 million (five percent).

Austria: 0.4 million (five percent).

These are low numbers compared to the United States, where non-whites account for more than a third of the population. Even France, with the worst immigrant problem, is only eight percent Muslim (France does not keep official statistics by race or religion, so this figure is only an estimate, but almost all of its non-whites are Muslims). Probably the country for which non-whites are most undercounted by considering only Muslims is Britain, where non-whites are an estimated ten percent of the population. In Holland, about nine percent are non-white.

Even these relatively small numbers have caused huge problems — and, as Mr. Laqueur points out, the same problems — throughout Europe. Muslims concentrate in big cities, go on welfare, fail to assimilate, drop out, scorn work, commit crimes, and routinely blame the host country for all this. There are now Muslim parts of European cities where Turkish or Arabic is the only language one hears, and where Mecca Cola has replaced Coca Cola. Muslim preachers tell their flocks Islam is vastly superior to the values of Europe, and that assimilation is apostasy. These alien areas continue to expand.

Mr. Laqueur notes that for the older generation, the mosque is more than a religious center. It is a social and political club, day-care and kindergarten, that offers a network so complete they can ignore the greater society. Preachers are losing power over the second and third generations, however, many of whom grow up in street gangs. Families still manage to control most girls, but boys rear themselves. Of all the institutions in a Muslim child’s life, public schools have the least influence.

All over Europe, Muslims quickly learned to milk the welfare system. Mr. Laqueur writes that at first they were loathe to live on non-Islamic charity, but preachers soon explained that the faithful deserve whatever they can squeeze out of the infidel. Leftist social workers scampered around to tell them they were deserving victims of neo-imperialism.

In the densest, meanest Muslim areas, young men beat up whites who wander in. The working-class Europeans who used to live there left long ago, and not even the police come by without overwhelming force. Rape is a rite of passage, especially in France and to a lesser degree in Britain and Scandinavia. Europeans have not yet toughened up their juvenile codes as Americans have, so underage criminals have little fear of police. Crime rates in Europe now rival those of the United States. Mr. Laqueur notes that many immigrant gangs fight each other: Asians vs. blacks in Britain, Turks vs. blacks in Brussels. (Note to Mr. Laqueur: British and Belgian blacks are not Muslims and are, if anything, a worse problem).

The constant backdrop to this record of failure is the pose of snarling victimhood. Europeans have behaved just like Americans: excusing deviance, offering endless uplift programs, assuring whole generations that it is society’s fault they are shiftless thugs. Mr. Laqueur writes that perhaps the newcomers’ favorite complaint is that they are “excluded,” but they maintain a hostile, deliberate separation.

Mr. Laqueur offers well-informed summaries of Muslim immigration to each of the major European countries. In France, for example, the influx was a hangover from empire, and the vast majority of Muslims are Algerian or Moroccan. The French reject all forms of “multiculturalism,” and insist that newcomers learn French, become French, and abide by strictly non-religious norms of public life that date back to the Revolution. There is a small middle class that has assimilated and become essentially French, but for the rest, as Mr. Laqueur puts it, “an antisociety grew up infused with a burning hatred of the other France.” Hatred is the right word. Nique la France (F*** France) is a favorite graffito. When the French national soccer team plays Morocco or Algeria, immigrants boo “The Marseillaise,” and cheer the Arabs.



Mr. Laqueur notes that the number of mosques has grown from 260 in the mid-1980s to more than 2,000, though most are small. At the same time, younger immigrants are much less observant than their parents. Only 20 percent of French Muslims go to mosque on Friday, and only 33 percent pray every day. Teenagers complain that the religion of their elders is too demanding, and Mr. Laqueur suspects many will cease to be Muslims in all but name. He notes correctly that the rioters of 2005 showed no real religious motivation and ignored the clerics who told them to stop burning cars.

Religious or not, immigrants are an extraordinary source of crime. Mr. Laqueur cites a Muslim population of eight percent, but he also cites an estimate that they are 70 percent of the prison population. If this is true, they are a staggering 28 times more likely to be in prison than non-Muslims.

France now has more no-go zones than any other European country, and Mr. Laqueur suggests that as these expand, their inhabitants will demand local autonomy. He notes that although racial or religious preferences run counter to France’s assimilationist tradition, he predicts they will be tried, but suspects they will do little good. For the immigrant problem as a whole “there are no obvious solutions.”

Germany acquired most of its Muslims as Turkish “guest workers,” who came in the boom times of the 1960s and refused to go home. Immigration policy was lax, and many brought families, sometimes illegally. Mr. Laqueur emphasizes that the Turks in Germany are not representative: Most immigrants were poor, illiterate, and far more religiously conservative than most Turks.



Mr. Laqueur says the Germans have made extraordinary efforts to help Turks fit in: “In no other country have immigrants been the subject of so many initiatives by so many well-intentioned institutions to promote their integration.” “Social workers and planners have submitted over the years hundreds and thousands of proposals for the improvement of the situation of the immigrants.” “Never before in the history of migration has there been so much concern and planning.” He notes that part of this effort was fueled by the fear of being thought “racist.”

Nothing has worked. Unlike most immigrants to France or Britain, Muslims arrived not speaking a word of the local language, and built up a parallel society even more hermetically sealed than that of French Muslims. One of the concessions to Turks was for the state to pay for religious instruction for Turkish children, but this only increased their isolation.

Mr. Laqueur writes that the Turkish government supports Turkish-German organizations that oppose assimilation and promote loyalty to Turkey. He adds that there are three Turkish-language television stations in Germany, and virtually every apartment has a satellite dish for broadcasts from the motherland. Young men police the neighborhood, kicking German children out of playgrounds and telling adults they are not welcome. For years, the churches tried “dialogue” with Muslim leaders, but were repeatedly rebuffed.



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