For a while now, I've been needing a new lunatic-on-call: a site where I can go when, for some reason, I want to read someone who is completely unhinged. For a while it was Jeff Goldstein, but he seems to have dwindled away and been replaced by an army of less interestingly insane people. Then it was PowerLine, but recently they seem to me to have gone downhill; besides, their obsession with their hometown paper bores me. But I think I've found a replacement. Mark Steyn: where have you been all my life?
Consider this, from an interview I found via Crooked Timber:
"I was told by some French guy that 4 out of 5 converts in Islam in Europe, to Islam, are women. I don't know what basis he produced that statistic. When I talk to people, they don't actually disagree with it if you ask around.
I get the feeling here without wishing to be any more homophobic than I'm normally accused of, but in my part of country, almost every lesbian you run across tends to be someone who's just been in a couple of really bad marriages and despaired of men and I notice that in Europe, a sort of similar trend is that women who have been in a couple of bad marriages with western men basically embrace Islam as a way of, you know - and again, whether it's your sort of boorish English soccer lout or your kind of sweet, you know, new male that, "I'll do the ironing, darling" type, that it does seem that the women up here in the north country embrace lesbianism just as a kind of general weariness with the available range of males. So I noticed that there's something similar with the women in Islam in France and Belgium. (laughs)"
Kind of takes your breath away, doesn't it? I mean, I have met one (1) lesbian who claimed to have decided to take women for lovers after several dreadful relationships because, as she put it, "I thought: why not date people who are actually interested in figuring out their emotions?" Stacked up against the much larger number who didn't feel they had any choice in the matter, and whose sexual preferences had precisely nothing to do with their experiences with men, this doesn't seem like evidence of anything except the endless variety of humanity.
But even if sexual preference were something most people chose on the basis of previous bad experiences, why would someone who had had a string of disappointing boyfriends decide to convert to Islam? I mean: aren't Islamic men, well, men? And if so, how would dating Islamic men, as opposed to other men, solve the problem? Is there any reason at all to think that converting to Islam would in any way improve one's disastrous romantic life, as opposed to leaving one to confront the same old problems while wearing a headscarf? And if not, what would explain the act of mass lunacy that Steyn attributes to European women?
Leaving this mythical mass conversion aside, though, there's also lots of fun stuff about the coming Islamicization of Europe. (Sort of like Paul Cella without the lugubriousness, or Tac without the bombast.) From the interview:
"John Hawkins: Give people who haven't read your book yet a quick description of what you think Europe is going to look like in, let's say, 20 years because of declining birth rates, the enormous social benefits they pay out, and the enormous number of unassimilated Muslims they're bringing in to try to fill the gap.
Mark Steyn: Well, my view of Europe in 20 years' time is that you'll be switching on the TV, you'll be looking at scenes of burning and conflagration and riots in the street. You will have a couple of countries that are maybe in civil war, at least on the brink of it.
You will have neofascists' resurgence in some countries and you'll have other countries that have just been painlessly euthanized in which a Muslim political class has effectively got its way without a shot being fired -- and large numbers of people, particularly young people, have left those countries and have moved on to whoever will take them."
From an article in the WSJ:
"Most people reading this have strong stomachs, so let me lay it out as baldly as I can: Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries. There'll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands--probably--just as in Istanbul there's still a building called St. Sophia's Cathedral. But it's not a cathedral; it's merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. The challenge for those who reckon Western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the West. (...)
And by 2020?
So the world's people are a lot more Islamic than they were back then and a lot less "Western." Europe is significantly more Islamic, having taken in during that period some 20 million Muslims (officially)--or the equivalents of the populations of four European Union countries (Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Estonia). Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the West: In the U.K., more Muslims than Christians attend religious services each week.
Can these trends continue for another 30 years without having consequences? Europe by the end of this century will be a continent after the neutron bomb: The grand buildings will still be standing, but the people who built them will be gone. We are living through a remarkable period: the self-extinction of the races who, for good or ill, shaped the modern world. (...)
Worst-case scenario: Sharia, circa 2040; semi-Sharia, a lot sooner--and we're already seeing a drift in that direction."
Um: this is crazy. Europe is not going to institute Shari'a, any more than its women are going to convert to Islam an masse because they are tired of sensitive new age guys. I suppose I don't have any evidence, since it's a claim about the future, and I haven't been there yet. But I'm willing to bet my reputation against Steyn's on this one. I'll also bet on some similar propositions, like: whatever we do or don't do about immigration, the United States will not rename itself Aztlan, nor will the Congress decide to start all its sessions with prayers to Quetzalcoatl. It's risky to make such predictions, I know, but hey: I like to live dangerously.
Besides, it's not as risky as it seems to bet, about Europe, with someone who can write: "The guys in Gitmo, for example, that Dick Durbin makes a big fuss about, actually live in nicer accommodations than a lot of these Muslims do in Clichy-sous-Bous." News flash: there is no suburb of Paris named Clichy-sous-Bous. For that matter, there is no such noun as 'bous' in French. 'Boue', maybe, although it would be odd for a town to be named 'Clichy-beneath-the-mud'. 'Bous' is the 1st/2nd person present tense of the verb 'bouillir', to boil, but it would be even odder for a town to be called 'Clichy-beneath-the-am-boiling'. If Steyn had ever visited the town whose accommodations he's describing, he'd know what its name actually is; and Clichy-sous-Bous is a mistaken version of it that would only suggest itself to someone who had never heard the actual name (Clichy-sous-Bois) pronounced, and moreover didn't speak French. Which tells you something about how well he knows his subject.