BOOKS: by Bill MuehlenbergNews Weekly
MENACE IN EUROPE: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's, by Claire Berlinski
, June 9, 2007
The gaping hole in Europe's soulMENACE IN EUROPE:
Why the Continent's Crisis is America's
by Claire Berlinski.
(New York: Crown Forum)
Hardback: 288 pages
Rec. price: AUD$49.95These are not good days for Europe. It has lost its way and seems incapable of recognising the many dangers and threats it is facing. Many Europeans recognise that an ideological, spiritual and cultural malaise has swept over the continent, but they seem unable or unwilling to properly assess it, or to adequately deal with it.
Europe certainly has a major, gaping hole in its soul, with its outright repudiation of its Christian heritage. And into this void has rushed various challenges, such as militant Islam, resurgent nationalism (including a revived Third Reich) and rampant anti-Americanism.
Claire Berlinski is an American academic and journalist who has lived and worked in Europe for many years, and she does not like what she is seeing there. She argues that Europe is in the midst of a major crisis, and it is a crisis that will impact America and the rest of the free world.Secularisation
Europe's rejection of its Christian past is only one aspect of this crisis, but it is a significant part. Berlinski is not religious. She describes herself as a secular Jew. But she is well aware of the consequences of the secularisation of Europe.
Radical Islam's attempt to turn Europe into a Muslim stronghold is another major part of the crisis. Berlinski looks at a number of European nations in detail, including Germany, Italy, France, Holland, as well as Britain, and examines how they are coping with their unassimilated and resentful Muslim populations.
Consider the Netherlands, for example. Berlinski shows that just as the Dutch attempted to appease the Nazis 60 years ago, they are now capitulating to militant Islam. Sure, the assassinations of two prominent Dutchmen has given them a reality check, but the Dutch tradition of tolerance is still working to undermine the nation.
When Bosnian Serbs swept into Srebrenica, pony-tailed Dutch forces didn't fire a shot: they simply stood by and allowed the massacre of 7,000 men and boys. Holland, like the rest of Europe, is "passive, paralysed, and fundamentally in disaccord with American idealism", says Berlinski. While European diplomats bickered as Yugoslavia burned, it was the Americans who finally intervened.
Nation after nation in Europe has simply capitulated to hostile forces instead of standing up for what is of value. Within days of the 2004 Madrid terrorist train blasts, the newly-elected Spanish government pledged it would pull its troops out of Iraq, handing the al-Qaeda terrorists exactly what they wanted.
Neville Chamberlain-style appeasement is being replayed over and over again in Europe, with very few Europeans heeding the lessons of history.
Demographic trends are also a major concern in Europe. If present trends continue, much of Europe will be losing population in the near future. And this is closely tied in with a disillusioned collective psyche.
A nation or a continent with no reason to exist, no hope for the future and no firm set of values to cling to, is not going to want to have children. Only people of hope, as well as people with a sense of the past, have children. Nihilistic, centreless Europeans have no hope, have no vision and therefore have no future.
Indeed, the only Western nation which is not suffering from population decline is the United States. Americans still have a sense of purpose and destiny, so they are still willing to have children.
Europeans, by contrast, have been cast adrift, socially and spiritually, with no anchor and no rudder. Their childless nations offer brute testimony to this fact.
Each nation that Berlinski examines shows ominous signs of moral decay and political paralysis. Europeans have lost their way. They no longer have anything to believe in. Thus they no longer have anything to fight for, or to live for.
"Without vision, a people perish," we are told in the Book of Proverbs. That truth is being played out before our eyes in Europe. Thus Europe, as we know it, may not long survive.
For those who are alert and observant, this will come as no surprise. But too many people have been deaf and blind as to the looming fate of Europe. Will Europe arouse from it slumber, shake off its lethargy, and turn things around, or will it simply further decline into oblivion?
Whether the warnings sounded in this book will be heeded, and heeded in time, remains to be seen.