It’s a peculiar job I’ve taken on here, an American peering through the cloudy transatlantic glass trying to make sense of what’s going on in Europe.
I’ve learned a lot in the last three years, but there’s still a lot left to learn. Denmark and Britain mostly make sense (the latter in a discouraging way), but I doubt that I’ll ever fully understand Sweden or Norway. I just keep plugging away, reading the tips, watching the videos, and posting both the appalling and heartening bits and pieces that come my way.
It’s hard to get the big picture. Last week Pundita and I began a conversation on the topic, with each of us filing a report afterwards detailing whatever portions of the elephant’s anatomy that we had managed to grasp.
I concluded by saying, “From where I stand I can’t see anything but trees. It’s not possible to see the forest. None of us can. But it’s occasionally entertaining to imagine what a forest looks like.”
Now Pundita has responded with her peek at the forest: “Gates of Vienna Forest and Cultural Counterjihad”. She’s no more European than I am, but she understands very well the need to pay attention to Europe and try to understand what’s happening there:
…GoV is not a milblog; it focuses not so much on armed conflicts as on political-cultural ones. Unlike Vienna in 1683, modern Europe is not in conflict with invading Muslim armies. Rather, Europeans (to include Anglos) are battling each other over issues connected with Muslim settlements in Europe and immigration of large numbers of Muslims from non-European regions.
For readers outside Europe who haven’t been following this story:
The battles have been bloodless — so far — except for scattered incidents of ‘bullying’ carried out by one faction against another — usually those calling each other “fascist” or “Nazi” from one side and some variation of “Quisling” from the other.
And there have been numerous violent incidents carried out by non-European Muslims against the Europeans in the countries where Muslims have settled. (And to a much lesser extent hate crimes have been carried out by Europeans against Muslims.)
Yet those who speak of European “dhimmitude” are imprecise to the point of misleading. Dhimmi is associated with conquered peoples and the Muslims haven’t conquered so much as a micron of European soil.
I must confess that I frequently use the phrase “European dhimmitude” myself. But it’s obviously not meant to be taken literally — the aboriginal Europeans are not (yet) serfs in their own lands. I use the phrase prodromally, to represent the Eurabian future that inevitably awaits if events continue on their present course.
“Dhimmitude” describes a certain mindset, a lack of cultural confidence, an eagerness to surrender before the battle is fully joined. It’s a shorthand descriptor for a decadent and licentious culture that seems perversely intent on destroying itself.
Last night in the comments Laine pointed out the resemblance between Western European elites and the Shmoos. Shmoos were an imaginary animal species created by the late cartoonist Al Capp, and appeared in the comic strip Li’l Abner:
The Shmoo loved to be eaten and tasted like any food desired. Anything that delighted people delighted a Shmoo. Fry a Shmoo and it came out chicken. Broil it and it came out steak… The Shmoo satisfied all the world’s wants… The Shmoo believed that the only way to happiness was to bring happiness to others.
Ironically, the lovable and selfless Shmoos ultimately brought misery to humankind because people with a limitless supply of self-sacrificing Shmoos stopped working and society broke down.
The analogy fails in one important way: Shmoos could behave the way they did and yet avoid extinction because they multiplied extremely quickly. Europeans, of course, scarcely multiply at all.
But back to Pundita:
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To whatever extent Europeans now feel overwhelmed by Muslim populations it is the Europeans who created the situation. It evolved from European government policies, and with the tacit and even overt approval of the majority in European societies that accepted large numbers of Muslim immigrants.
Protests against the situation have launched an ever increasing political-social struggle that has received very little attention in the American mainstream media — and I suspect the same is true in Canada.
Even when there is coverage, it’s done in a narrow and piecemeal fashion; e.g., reporting on the number of votes received by a ‘extreme’ right wing party in say, France, and which has ‘something’ to do with immigration.
This narrow coverage, when applied to European electoral politics, results in a simplified and distorted account of European trends.
A preoccupation with celebrity political personalities and the “horse race” was made evident this past week in the wake of the Italian elections. The vote was a major Southern European electoral earthquake, with its epicenter in Tuscany and Lombardy, but leaving the entire region rippling with aftershocks.
The Greens and the Communists — the Italian branch was at one time the largest Communist Party in Europe — lost their representation, and the Lega Nord scored an amazing success. But what did the American press see?
Berlusconi is just an afterthought in all this, the tip of an enormous iceberg of change. But to the American MSM, it’s the horse race that counts, and nothing but the horse race, all day, every day.
You can’t get a handle on the struggle through such reports. You can’t understand the myriad issues unless you follow European blogs specializing in the issue, and keep up with press reports in several European countries. Yet this tack can bring you up against the language barrier if you are not fluent in a range of European languages. And it requires a big investment of time for someone who’s just trying to see the big picture.
That’s where Gates at Vienna comes in. There are other North American blogs that routinely or sporadically report on various aspects of the European struggle. But GoV specializes in discussing the struggle.
We do indeed, because the European struggle is the most important of our time. The fate of the entire West hinges on what happens in Europe over the next two decades.
And the struggle is very definitely going to be played out, in some fashion, in North America — and here I would not exclude Mexico. Not today, not tomorrow, but it’s on the way and could end the two-party political system in the USA. Thus, what we can learn from the Europeans can avert much grief down the line.
Western countries — Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, and all the other components of the “civilized world” — have already bought their tickets for the upcoming millennial event. Europe just happens to be first in line at the gate.
Pundita has much more to say about the global ramifications of these issues. Go over to her post and read the rest.
American opinion about events in Europe consists mostly of fantasies and half-truths spun out of press reports, misinformation, disinformation, wishful thinking, and schadenfreude. Depending on the predilections of the blogger or reporter, “Europe Is Doomed”, or “Support Grows for European Far Right”, or “Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Emerges in Europe”. Forget the elephant’s tail — these reports don’t begin to describe even a single bristle.
But Europeans themselves are not immune from simplification and over-generalization. Whether optimistic or pessimistic, they are all writing on the basis of incomplete information.
Nobody, not even the most alert and well-informed European, has a complete picture about what’s happening. Government statistics, with their lacunae and rampant politicization, resemble those of the Soviet Union in its heyday. Newspapers, television, and radio are either state-controlled or state-intimidated, and generally downplay or fail to report news that runs against the multicultural party line.
Opinion polls are laughable. Even when the questions aren’t tendentious — designed to elicit the “correct” answer from a respondent — the polls are conducted in an atmosphere of political repression that discourages honest responses. Considering that the left-wing vigilantes at Expo can access people’s phone records, would you tell the truth to a telephone pollster if you were a Swede?
So anyone — European, American, or otherwise — who says with certainty that “Europe is doomed” or “Europe will be all right” is either blowing smoke or whistling past the graveyard. Nobody knows.
All of us are groping in the dark, because adequate information isn’t available. Not only that, the situation is chaotic, and a chaotic system may change state without warning. Cause and effect still apply, but even when every actor in a chaotic system behaves rationally, its future state is not predictable except in the short term. The differential equations simply aren’t solvable.
All we can do is gather information and observe, hoping that the wisdom of crowds will sift the data and give us a clearer picture of what is happening.
Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog
with linguists and contenders,
I have no mockings or arguments. I witness and wait.
—Walt Whitman, from “Leaves of Grass”
Pundita concludes her post by settling on a sidebar category for Gates of Vienna:
From all this, perhaps Baron and Dymphna can forgive me for fussing about how to categorize GoV for my blogroll. I will split the difference between “Counterjihad” and “The War for Civilization” by naming the category “Cultural Counterjihad.” And I might include this essay in the category by way of explaining my view of Gates of Vienna.
Next step? I would suggest a project to list and categorize the major debates arising in different European countries with regard to immigration/assimilation issues and preserving European cultures. Nothing fancy; maybe in chart form.
“Cultural Counterjihad” will serve just fine. And as for the next step — we’re working on it.