April 21, 2005

It's All Over!!!

VodkaPundit has an intriguing entry on the plight of Europe in the face of hypothetically worsening Islamicization and immigration and how the result might be something similar to Balkan-style ethnic warfare. The comments are even drearier.

The basic tone, at least in the comments, is that Muslims are immigrating in and they're going to be a demographic majority that will force essentially Islamist governments to rise in Europe. Or something to that effect.

I think this mentality that Muslim immigrants are going to ruin everything is incredibly defeatist, pessimistic and most of all anti-American. Why, you may be thinking, would people who are probably strong proponents of American power and prestige ever be rightly considered anti-American? Well I don't mean they oppose America, only doubt (or forget, which is essentially the same) the power of the values that Americans love.

Specifically: faith in a just outcome (happy endings), love of truth, amazing rhetorical support for liberty, and a happy embrace of material luxury and success in wealth. These are very addictive things - just ask people who escaped communism to get here. Plenty of ex-Soviets fled to the US and were shocked by all of these things.

Everyone knows we're rich, and not just rich but luxuriously so. But it's not limited to the US. Coca-cola, rap and basketball go around the world in addition to a bajillion other US staple goods. I mean, they go gaga for Levi's in Poland or pop CDs in Germany. They drink our sodas, wear our clothes, watch our movies, listen to our songs and they eat in our rstaurants. McDonald's in Europe is a different affair from in the US (they change most of the menu to fit local tastes) but it's still considered American in style.

There's resentment over this success to be sure, but whatever grumblings you get from the paleo-euro right and the paleo-green left over in Europe don't seem to be biting into the bottom line very much. They may complain, but they still buy US stuff - often BECAUSE it's from the US.

Does this mean the US gets whatever it wants? Of course not. But it does mean that we have widespread appeal. Our biggest ambassadors to the world in the last century were guys like Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan. These people are astoundingly famous across the world, and can often rival names like Jesus in name recognition.

But once they get here, people are amazed - the success, the wealth, the optimism and the happiness. People here are freer, richer and happier than almost anywhere else in the world. That kind of attitude is very infectious and to foreigners and migrants it's very obvious.

I just don't see an ideology that much less luxurious, much poorer, much less exciting and much less happy and polite overcoming US culture.

The problem for Europe is that they're nihilistic and depressing. They aren't just post-religious, they're post-everything. They don't have a whole lot of purpose and they don't have much of a view of the world except that it sucks and everyone should look out for his own narrow interests. It's very easy for Muslims, cut off from their ancestral countries, to cast about for a cultural and ideological niche. Seeing the hopelessness and malaise of Europe, they revert to Islamic culture even if their parents and grandparents weren't really that religious or conservative. It's a proxy for the lack of European culture and ideology.

But they won't be able to simpyl take over Europe, both because there is quite a bit of lingering European orthodoxy, even if it's not very appealing or transferrable. But moreover, they'd have to take a continent full of people who are prodigious consumers of American goods and culture and turn it into a bunch of people who are willing to forego many of the same luxuries and accept an Islamist government.

I just don't see it happening. We won't have a European Caliphate or a Eurabia. Even if Europe becomes 40 or 50 percent Muslim in a few decades, I think most of them would become somewhat agnostic and enjoy consumer goods and be vaguely yet clearly affected by the values Americans are also affected by. It's too universally adaptable and too universally appealing for freedom, wealth and success to be ignored.

If anything changes in the Islam versus the World power struggle, I think we'll be seeing the opposite: a greater influence of Western and American ideology of liberty and consumerism in the Middle East proper.

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