Fjordman’s latest essay, a review of Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, has been published at Jihad Watch. Some excerpts are below:
This is a review of Christopher Caldwell’s 2009 book Reflections on the Revolution in Europe. Let me first start with the positive: Mr. Caldwell is not a bad man. He sees through the rhetoric of Tariq Ramadan, for instance, which makes him superior to the majority of Western journalists, although that is admittedly not difficult to achieve given the terrible quality of Western media these days. The problem is that the ground he covers in his book has already been covered by others, for example Daniel Pipes in his posts or Bruce Bawer in While Europe Slept. This is, in other words, not a pioneering work, and while Caldwell may be better than the bulk of journalists on some issues he is nevertheless not good enough.
Although he does indicate that importing Muslims from, say, Somalia or the Yemen may not work out like previous waves of immigration he doesn’t say anything substantial about whether North Americans or Europeans should therefore halt Muslim immigration. As Claire Berlinski wrote in a review, “Caldwell’s book raises many such questions. It does not answer them. The strength of this book is not in its original reporting, of which there is little, or the solutions it offers, because there are none. What it offers instead is unusual lucidity and comprehensiveness; a reader unfamiliar with the debate would be, upon finishing it, well-informed.”
On the other hand, for a reader who is already familiar with these subjects he adds little that is new. Even when he briefly touches upon important subjects he soon moves on to others, leaving an informed reader feeling unsatisfied. Christopher Caldwell points out that the European Union was created in Western Europe under an American political umbrella during the Cold War and that “The EU, although neither Americans nor Europeans are fond of admitting it, is the institutional expression of the Americanization of Europe.” That could have made for an interesting discussion, yet he does not cover the subject in sufficient detail.
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He also asks “whether you can have the same Europe with different people. The answer is no.” But again, he quickly moves on to other topics. In my view, the question is whether you can have the same of any culture with totally different peoples, and the likely answer to that is no. Nobody in their right mind would ever claim that you could exchange the entire population of South Korea with Somalis and that this would be OK as long as the Somalis “preserved Korean culture,” as if they could or would do so. Yet this totally absurd claim is exactly what the media keep repeating when it comes to Iraqis in Sweden, Pakistanis in Britain, Turks in Germany and other immigrant groups in white majority Western nations.
Caldwell states in his book that “Being tough on Muslim foreigners and nice to Muslim citizens will comfort Europeans only to the extent that they maintain the idea that immigration is something temporary and reversible. It no longer is. Europeans can only hope that newcomers, especially Muslim newcomers, will assimilate peaceably.”
Read the rest at Jihad Watch.