Islam: La cuisine, ça peut aussi servir à faire la guerre (Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West)

EurabiaPeut-être que l’interprétation du Coran serait désormais enseignée dans les écoles d’Oxford, et que ses chaires démontreraient à un peuple de circoncis la sainteté et la vérité de la révélation de Mahomet. Gibbon (Déclin et Chute de l’Empire romain, 1788)
L’égalitarisme universaliste, dont ont jailli les idéaux de la liberté et d’une vie collective dans la solidarité, la conduite autonome de la vie et de l’émancipation, la moralité individuelle de la conscience, les droits de l’homme et la démocratie, est l’héritage direct de l’éthique judaïque de la justice et de l’éthique chrétienne de l’amour. Cet héritage, essentiellement inchangé, a été l’objet d’une appropriation et d’une réinterprétation critiques continuelles. A ce jour, nous n’avons aucune autre option. Et à la lumière des défis courants d’une constellation postnationale, nous continuons à nous nourrir de cette source. Tout le reste n’est que du bavardage post-moderne. Jürgen Habermas (1999)
Une société musulmane juvénile au sud et à l’est de la Méditerranée se prépare à coloniser – le terme n’est pas trop fort – une Europe sénescente (…) Ce que seront les conséquences de ces changements est très difficile à dire. Une islamicisation rampante d’une chrétienté décadente est un résultat imaginable: alors que les vieux Européens deviennent encore plus vieux et leur foi religieuse encore plus faible, les colonies musulmanes dans leurs villes deviennent plus grandes et plus ostensibles dans leur observance religieuse. Un retour de bâton contre l’immigration par la droite économiquement néanderthale en est un autre: des électorats vieillissants se tournent vers des démagogues qui offrent des frontières étanches sans expliquer qui exactement va payer les pensions et les soins de santé. Ni ne pouvons-nous éliminer la possibilité d’une fusion heureuse entre des musulmans de deuxième génération rapidement secularisés et leurs voisins post-chrétiens. D’ailleurs, nous pourrions bien nous retrouver avec les trois à la fois: situation 1 en France, situation 2 en Autriche, et situation 3 en Grande-Bretagne. Niall Ferguson
L’Europe peut-elle rester la même avec en son sein des peuples différents ? Caldwell est à ma connaissance le premier à poser la question dans toute son étendue et dans toute sa complexité. (…) L’Europe avait-elle vraiment besoin de tous ces immigrés ? L’argument « capitaliste » est que cette main-d’œuvre a sauvé beaucoup d’industries. En fait c’était des industries condamnées. L’immigration a retardé les gains de productivité, et au prix de coûts latéraux dont le calcul n’a jamais été fait. L’argument « socialiste » est que le rajeunissement général provoqué par l’immigration, avec son taux élevé de natalité, a permis de sauver le Welfare State. Mais il est devenu évident qu’elle ponctionne ce Welfare State plus qu’elle ne lui apporte. Il est donc facile de réfuter ces deux arguments. Mais si on ne le fait pas, si on n’ose pas le faire, c’est à cause du second problème : la difficulté que rencontre l’Europe avec l’islam. Alain Besançon
Peut-on avoir la même Europe avec différentes personnes? Pourquoi l’immigration massive s’est-elle produite quand si peu de personnes le voulaient réellement ? Les immigrés veulent une meilleure vie mais combien d’entre eux veulent une vie européenne ? Pourquoi la fierté ethnique des minorités est-elle une vertu et un nationalisme européen une maladie ? Le politiquement correct est-il autre chose que de la crainte déguisée en tolérance?
Bien sûr que des minorités peuvent modeler un pays. Elles peuvent même conquérir des pays. Il y avait probablement moins de Bolcheviks en Russie en 1917 que d’islamistes en Europe aujourd’hui.
Si la diffusion de la cuisine pakistanaise est la plus grande amélioration de la vie publique britannique au cours du demi-siècle passé, il est également à noter que les bombes utilisées pour les attaques déjouées des transports en commun de Londres du 21 juillet 2005 avaient été faites à partir d’un mélange de peroxyde d’hydrogène et de farine pour chapati. Christopher Caldwell

Cuisine ethnique, diversité culturelle, émeutes raciales, tension sociale, attentats …

Et si la cuisine, ça pouvait aussi servir à faire la guerre?

Au lendemain du désormais traditionnel rituel d’incinération de nos voitures tandis que nos belles âmes font tout leur possible pour interdire le débat sur l’identité nationale et donc sur la place de l’immigration en France …

Et que, fidèle à ses habitudes de girouette idéologique (que ne ferait-il pas pour prendre une énième fois la gauche à contre-pied ?), notre Sarko national nous ressort le droit de vote des étrangers

Retour, avec Michel Gurfinkiel, sur l’important ouvrage sorti en mai dernier du journaliste américain Christopher Caldwell concernant la vague d’immigration musulmane sans précédent que l’Europe connaît depuis la guerre (« Réflexions sur la Révolution en Europe »).

Et qui, paraphrasant le titre de la célèbre critique de la Révolution française par le père du (néo)conservatisme anglo-américain Edward Burke (n’avait-il pas précédemment pris la défense des « colonisés » tant irlandais qu’américains ou même indiens?), a le mérite de pointer la véritable révolution que cette immigration est en est train d’imposer à une Europe minée à la fois par sa perte des valeurs et sa propre démographie en chute libre.

Montrant, contre la bien-pensance habituelle, que cette immigration n’était ni inévitable ni nécessaire (elle a surtout servi à maintenir à flot des industries dépassées), il rappelle aussi, comme on l’ a vu avec les récentes manifestations contre l’offensive israélienne de Gaza, le retour de l’antisémitisme et de la violence qu’elle favorise.

Comme la tentation de nos dirigeants d’en rendre à nouveau les Juifs responsables de par leur refus de négocier leur propre disparition comme prétendue seule solution du conflit israélo-palestinien …

Europe/ La Révolution par l’immigration
Le journaliste américain Christopher Caldwell enquête sur l’immigration islamique en Europe. Un chef d’œuvre. Et un signal d’alerte.
Michel Gurfinkiel.
Mercredi 20 mai 2009

Edmund Burke avait été, à la fin du XVIIIe siècle, l’un des chefs du parti libéral anglais, les whigs. A ce titre, il avait pris le parti des catholiques irlandais contre leurs maîtres protestants, celui des Insurgents, les rebelles américains, contre la Couronne, et enfin celui de l’Inde contre la colonisation. Mais le même Burke devint, après 1789, l’un des adversaires les plus résolus de la Révolution française, et surtout son premier adversaire intellectuel d’envergure, alors que les autres libéraux avaient tendance à l’approuver et à la soutenir. Dans une série d’essais publiés entre 1790 et 1792, sous le titre général de Réflexions sur la Révolution en France, il devait s’en expliquer. Le nouveau régime continental, notait-il, était libéral et démocratique en théorie, mais despotique en pratique ; tout en invoquant la liberté, il la supprimait ; sous couvert de philosophie et de raison, il donnait libre cours à des pulsions destructrices. Il constituait donc une fraude – ou une perversion. Si bien qu’en le combattant, les vrais libéraux ne trahissaient pas leurs convictions, mais au contraire les défendaient.

Christopher Caldwell, un journaliste américain de renom, grand reporter au Weekly Standard, mais aussi éditorialiste au New York Times et au Financial Times, est peut-être le Burke de ce XXIe siècle qui commence. Il s’est mis de lui-même dans la filiation du grand whig en intitulant Réflexions sur la Révolution en Europe un livre récemment publié chez Penguin. Mais c’est surtout par le fonds qu’il soutient la comparaison. Comme Burke, Caldwell décrit une Révolution que les libéraux et autres esprits généreux – la gauche, en termes d’aujourd’hui – se croient forcés de soutenir. Comme lui, il conclut à un piège dangereux. La principale différence, c’est que la crise française des années 1790 était de nature politique et sociale ; tandis que la crise européenne actuelle se situe dans les domaines démographique, culturel et religieux. Il ne s’agit plus, comme voici deux cents dix ans, d’abolir les ordres privilégiés ou la monarchie, mais d’accélérer la substitution d’une population à une autre dans toute l’Europe, et donc d’une civilisation par une autre.

On l’aura compris, Caldwell parle de l’immigration non-européenne et de ses conséquences. D’autres auteurs s’y sont essayés depuis une trentaine d’années. Rares sont ceux qui ont pu se faire entendre. La force de Caldwell, c’est d’avoir mené une enquête particulièrement complète, dans tous les pays européens. Et d’avoir évité tout ce qui pourrait, de près ou de loin, s’apparenter au racisme. Il ne dénonce pas, mais observe, avec minutie. Ses conclusions ont d’autant plus de poids.

Selon lui, les immigrants ont été plutôt bien traités depuis les années 1950, et leur condition n’a cessé de s’améliorer. Partout où ils ont souhaité s’intégrer au pays d’accueil, ils ont pu le faire. Et enfin, là où ils ne l’ont pas souhaité, l’Europe n’a pris aucune mesure de rétorsion, mais au contraire cherché à s’adapter elle-même à cette nouvelle présence. Une telle capitulation constitue, a priori, un « mystère ». En fait, elle ne fait que refléter le collapsus démographique du continent (« un quart de la population a plus de 60 ans ») et les valeurs pacifistes et ultra-démocratiques qui ont prévalu après la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

Ce qui donne à cette évolution un tour alarmant, c’est que la plupart des immigrants, aujourd’hui, sont originaires de pays musulmans, et que l’islam se pense et se conduit en civilisation universelle et conquérante. Le refus d’intégration n’est donc plus une exception, mais la règle. Et la tolérance européenne facilite l’entrée massive de populations décidées à remodeler l’Europe à leur image. « On peut affirmer avec certitude que l’Europe ne sortira pas indemne de sa confrontation avec l’islam », note Caldwell. « A l’heure actuelle, c’est à l’islam et non à la civilisation européenne ou ses valeurs démocratiques que les immigrants accordent une légitimité politique… Ils acceptent les institutions européennes dans la mesure où celles-ci ne freinent pas l’expansion de l’islam. Ils les rejettent quand elles deviennent un obstacle. »

Caldwell consacre plusieurs pages de son livre à l’avenir des Juifs européens. Sur ce sujet comme sur les autres, on ne peut qu’admirer sa lucidité. Il observe que pour beaucoup de musulmans, l’antisémitisme, y compris sous ses formes négationniste et néo-nazie, est « un moyen commode de participer à la culture européenne sans s’intégrer ». Il redoute aussi ce qu’il appelle « la tentation du bouc émissaire » : plutôt que de se mesurer à telle ou telle forme de violence islamique, de nombreux responsables européens affirment que celle-ci cessera, ou baissera en intensité, « quand le conflit israélo-palestinien sera résolu ». Ce qui revient à offrir aux Juifs un choix « horrible » : abandonner leurs frères israéliens ou être considérés comme les vrais responsables d’atrocités éventuelles commises sur le sol européen.

Un livre qui fera date. Mais à lire de suite.

Voir aussi:

Do we need more people in Europe?
David Goodhart
The Observer
May 17, 2009

An American’s view of immigration offers a bracing counter-argument to the prevailing liberal orthodoxy, says David Goodhart

Mass immigration into Europe in the past 50 years has profoundly changed the continent and is likely to change it even more over the next half century. Yet it is a subject so immersed in fear and wishful thinking that it often seems we still don’t have a proper language in which to discuss it.

It is partly for this reason that Christopher Caldwell’s new book, with the melodramatic title Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, will seem rather shocking to some readers of this newspaper. For he asks some unusually direct questions: can you have the same Europe with different people? Why did mass immigration happen when so few people actually wanted it? Immigrants want a better life but how many of them want a European life? Why is minority ethnic pride a virtue and European nationalism a sickness? Is political correctness just fear masquerading as tolerance?

As you can tell from those questions, the book is a sustained attack on the well-meaning liberalism that is still the dominant note in official immigration debates. Yet although Caldwell, a conservative American, believes that European immigration has not been a success, at least for the host societies, he is not anti-immigrant and says that he is a great supporter of the American melting pot. The book, or most of it, is written with the bemused but decent « native » European in mind.

Even if you disagree with his premises, Caldwell is worth persevering with because he is a bracing, clear-eyed analyst of European pieties. And that is partly because, as an American, he knows that mass immigration is not only compatible with a strong, confident, patriotic society, but may even require it. He can see Europe from the outside and has a genuinely pan-European view of the immigration issue, something rarely encountered in domestic commentary.

Caldwell cuts to shreds the conventional wisdom of the « immigrationist » ideology – the view that mass immigration is inevitable and in any case a necessary injection of youth into our ageing continent. He shows, contrary to the immigrationists, that the flows of recent decades are unprecedented. He also demolishes the economic and welfare- state arguments for mass immigration and points out that in most countries there was no desperate need for extra workers in the 1950s – in Britain’s case, Ireland still provided a reserve army of labour. One of the most startling figures in the book is that the number of foreign residents in Germany rose from 3 million to 7.5 million between 1971 and 2000 but the number of employed foreigners stayed the same at 2 million.

Caldwell is at his best describing the confused cultural and intellectual condition of much of Europe at the time the first waves of immigrants were arriving. It was hard, he points out, to follow Europe’s rules and embrace its values when Europeans themselves were rewriting those rules and reassessing those values. After the brutal experiences of the first part of the 20th century – two world wars, the Holocaust and de-colonisation – European elites had embraced a liberal universalism that declared the moral equality of all people and implicitly questioned the legitimacy of most racial and gender hierarchies.Liberal universalism could, in theory, have been compatible with confident nation states and national identities, but in practice it seldom was. The idea of national traditions and solidarities came to be scorned by liberals in many European countries.

Caldwell reverses the conventional argument, which says that if immigration has been a relative failure it is because the host society has been too hostile and unaccommodating. On the contrary, he argues, it is because most of the host societies were too weak and insecure to make newcomers an offer that was sufficiently confident to secure their loyalty and integration. Most European countries, constrained by liberal universalism and the immigrationism ideology, were simply too laissez-faire towards migrants. For the first time in modern history, European societies were set up to allow a big group of citizens to lead their lives as if in a foreign culture.

Caldwell somewhat overstates the case – surely the failures of European immigration can be attributed to both the hostility of the masses and the insecurity of the elites. But then he is not seeking to be balanced and reasonable. This is a declamatory, polemical work and no more so than in its treatment of Islam. In fact, the book is really two essays – one an insightful probing of Europe’s confusion about postwar immigration; the other a rather cartoonish polemic about the potential Islamic takeover of Europe.

There obviously have been, and are, particular problems associated with the arrival into an increasingly secular and liberal Europe of large numbers of Muslims with a strong, often illiberal religious world-view. But Caldwell here abandons his clear-eyed reporting in favour of recycling a mild version of the neoconservative « Eurabia » thesis, which sees a decadent, irreligious Europe overrun by militant Islam.

He provocatively points out that there were fewer Bolsheviks in Russia in 1917 than there are Islamists in today’s Europe. He also invites us to imagine that at the height of the cold war, Europe had received a mass inflow of immigrants from communist countries who were ambivalent about which side they supported. Again, it is fine to square up to the issue of Muslim commitment to national citizenship (one-third of British Muslims say they place their commitment to fellow Muslims before Britain) but to equate the war on terror with the cold war is outlandish.

In other areas, too, Caldwell has a tendency to heckle from the sidelines, rather than grapple with dilemmas. Yes, Europe did overestimate the need for migrants and underestimated the cultural and religious upheaval they would bring, especially those from outside Europe. But does Caldwell want to reverse the postwar liberal universalism and its associated playing down of national identity, which was partly inspired by the US itself? How do we in today’s Europe nurture a sense of national belonging – and a sense of a collective « we » strong enough to sustain generous welfare states – that is compatible not only with mass immigration but also with the postmodern individualism that has been an even more striking feature of recent decades? Liberal nationalisms should not be built against the feelings of the majority, as elite-driven multiculturalism sometimes seems to be, but that in itself does not get us very far.

Moreover, Caldwell is far too sanguine about the US experience with race and immigration and does not seem aware that the idea of the « melting pot » has been under sustained attack in the US for decades. He is also too pessimistic about the UK and ignores, for example, the great success of Indians and Africans in climbing the professional ladder. And he is too ready to take official Jewish accounts of the return of anti-semitism at face value.

And yet, compared with most literature on migration, so often dull and cliché-ridden, this book pulsates with ideas: how the immigrationists cannot, logically, have both integration and their beloved diversity; how it was easier for migrants to integrate into factory economies than the more intimate service economies of today; how migrant disappointment can increase the less racist a country becomes as failure becomes more humiliating. Caldwell even proposes the startling theory that in modern « libertine » Europe, in which the search for sexual pleasure is increasingly paramount, the gap between haves and have-nots is reinforced (although this thesis could surely be reversed: beautiful, sexy poor people can now compete on more equal terms with ugly rich people – just don’t be both poor and ugly in the modern west).

Caldwell quotes the French political philosopher Raymond Aron saying that « with humanity on the way to unification, inequality between peoples takes on the significance that inequality between classes once had ». This applies within as well as between nation states and is another reason why the fallout from decades of mass immigration is, as Caldwell says, the most important problem facing Europe. And it is one which European democracy is handling with a striking lack of confidence.

• David Goodhart is the editor of Prospect magazine

Voir également:

Europe’s risky experiment
Martin Woollacott assesses the effects of immigration
Martin Woollacott
The Guardian
13 June 2009

In a week in which the European election results have shown the potency of the anti-immigrant vote in many countries, including Britain, Christopher Caldwell’s contention that immigration has not only changed Europe but revolutionised it has a topical plausibility. Immigration, he says, and above all Muslim immigration, has planted in the heart of a weak and confused civilisation communities, rapidly growing in number, that have already changed Europe to suit their needs and beliefs. And the chances are, he insists, that in the future we will bend to their will rather than that they will bend to ours.

Rightwing rubbish? Caldwell cannot be so easily dismissed. True, he is a luminary of the Weekly Standard, the American neoconservative magazine Rupert Murdoch finances, but he is one of its more urbane and interesting voices. He knows Europe, especially France, better than most American and British commentators. His columns in the Financial Times frequently dispense a sharp common sense that many liberals find salutary, although not all might say so. He is very good at pinpointing denial and flight from reality, less good at offering convincing and practical alternatives.

Where he is right is in underlining the fact that immigration was encouraged by elites who took a ludicrously short-sighted view of its costs and consequences. The idea was to prop up industries already in decline and, later, to staff industries, such as health and tourism, the full cost of which our societies refused (and continue to refuse) to pay. The manning of underpaid and menial positions could be maintained only by a constant influx of new migrants, since people in established migrant communities either got better jobs or chose, like many in the native white population, to depend on the welfare state and to have no jobs at all. More recently, immigration has been defended as a way of making up for falling birth rates when, as Caldwell points out, it would have to be multiplied an unfeasibly large number of times to have that effect.

This inherently unstable and dysfunctional system was set in motion, in other words, for no good reason. Those who started it off did not foresee how big it would become, nor the mechanisms of family reunion and arranged marriages that would drive it on even when restrictions were belatedly imposed. Most of them did not imagine, says Caldwell, that the newcomers would « retain the habits and cultures of southern villages, clans, marketplaces, and mosques ».

Either that, or they welcomed such retention. It was right and proper that the people Europe had lorded over should now come to the metropolitan countries: they would change us for the better. Not only were all cultures equal, but their cultures were more equal than ours. Caldwell quotes the philosopher Pierre-André Taguieff, who uses the term « immigrationisme » to describe the position that immigration is both inevitable and good. The truth is that immigration was not inevitable on the scale on which it took place, and that its effects have ranged from the pleasing – more ethnic food – to the positive – more cultural diversity – to the truly terrible – race riots, social tension, terrorist attacks.

Caldwell is good on the distorting effect of the universalist code that European politicians and intellectuals impose on discussion of immigration and the making of policy about it. Thus immigration is too often treated as one thing – as if New Zealand computer experts, American bankers and Polish plumbers fell into the same category as villagers from Pakistani Kashmir. Thus any trouble in immigrant communities must be understood in terms of alienation and exclusion, never in terms of aggression. Thus any restriction of rights must be cast within a general framework, so that, for instance, in order to ban headscarves from schools, the French government had to ban yarmulkes and « large crosses » as well, a transparent rigmarole.

When the Danish cartoons furore was at its height, newspapers the length and breadth of Europe upheld the right of free speech – yet the vast majority of them somehow neglected to reprint the offending sketches. The code insists, says Caldwell, that Islam must always be defined as a peaceful religion, yet ignores the way in which Muslim leaders in Europe lay down red lines that the non-Muslim majority is not supposed to cross. Once Muslim majorities emerge in certain towns and areas, Muslims will demand the right to live not only differently, but also separately, and Europe will lose control, Caldwell believes, of significant chunks of its territory. He ignores, in this worrying forecast, the diversity of Islam in Europe, and the often hidden ways in which Muslims in Europe are changing, as well as the strength of the secular European reaction if such developments threatened to become reality. One might reflect on the anxiety over black immigration a generation ago, and note how overdone it turned out to be.

It is not Islam’s strength, however, that is at the core of Caldwell’s analysis, but Europe’s weakness. Like others of neoconservative bent, he has a Spenglerian sense that Europe has lost its sense of purpose. His book, one has to say, is not sure in the end of its own purpose. Is it a call for Europeans to look clear-sightedly at what immigration has wreaked and, in particular, to resist the overweening demands of some Muslims? Or is it a despairing commentary on the weakness of a Europe that has lost the capacity to do so?

But he is right to argue that immigration on the scale that Europe has experienced constitutes a risky experiment to which we need not have submitted ourselves, and of which the final result is not yet clear. He is right that we frequently talk about it in stupid and dishonest ways. If his book sharpens a so far sluggish debate, it will have served an important purpose.

Voir de même:

BOOK REVIEW
‘Reflections on the Revolution in Europe’ by Christopher Caldwell
In Europe, the author argues, the clash between Western civilization and the Muslim world has already been lost — in the latter’s favor.
Tim Rutten
LA Times
August 19, 2009

When an author with Christopher Caldwell’s impeccable conservative credentials glosses Edmund Burke in his book’s title, it’s a safe bet that he’s engaged a question whose implications he believes are absolutely fundamental.

Burke’s great masterpiece of political criticism — « Reflections on the Revolution in France » — is, after all, both the foundational text of contemporary conservatism and a continuing inspiration to classical liberals. Caldwell’s closely argued thesis in « Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West » is that the massive migration of Muslim immigrants into Western Europe now represents as much of a consequential break with Europe’s cultural traditions as the utopian rationalism of revolutionary France did for Burke.

Wherever a reader may fall on the political spectrum, those familiar with Caldwell’s work as a senior editor for the Weekly Standard and, particularly, as a columnist for the Financial Times, know him as an opinionated but fair-minded writer of impressive range and bracing clarity. « Reflections on the Revolution in Europe » does not disappoint, though many may find its essentially despairing conclusion debatable, if sobering.

Those familiar with Western Europe’s current social tensions won’t find much new information here, but the author’s synthesis and analysis are hard-eyed and bracing. A relatively weak, self-doubting Europe, he argues, has allowed mass immigration from a fundamentally alien, basically antagonistic culture on such a scale that the continent’s future is no longer its to decide. Caldwell’s Cassandra is the brilliant anti-immigrant Tory parliamentarian Enoch Powell, who sacrificed a promising career to this issue. In fact, this book can be read as an extended apologia for Powell’s views, which became more extreme over time.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, Caldwell accepts Samuel P. Huntington’s concept of the « clash of civilizations » and puts Western Europe on what the Harvard scholar characterized as Islam’s perpetually « bloody borders. » Caldwell’s assessment of what’s at stake can also be adduced from his approving citation of philosopher Jürgen Habermas, an atheist, who after a dialogue with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) declared: « Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights and democracy. . . . To this day, we have no other options. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter. »

For his part, Caldwell does a particularly deft job of sorting through the ways that fumbling accommodation of Europe’s assertive new Muslim minorities has accelerated the transmutation of an intellectually fashionable anti-Zionism into a virulent new form of anti-Semitism that, according to French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, « will be for the 21st century what communism was for the 20th century: a source of violence. »

Though he’s at pains to point out that most Americans oppose continued large-scale immigration into this country, Caldwell also argues that the issues raised by the mass movement of Muslims into Europe are nothing like those connected to mostly Latino migration into the United States. Latinos, he writes, simply speak another European language and bring with them a culture « that is like the American working-class white culture of 40 years ago. It is perfectly intelligible to any American who has ever had a conversation about the past with their parents. . . . [I]t requires no fundamental reform of American cultural practices or institutions. On balance, it may strengthen them. »

The U.S. experience

On the other hand, he argues, even America’s past experience with immigration has been more dislocating: « [T]he arrival of the Irish in Boston destroyed the Protestant culture of one of the most important cities in the history of Protestantism. The destruction occurred not only because the Irish arrived but also because New England Yankees chose not to live in an Irish-run city that was increasingly violent and corrupt. » Caldwell cites historian Oscar Handlin’s conclusion that « only half the descendants of the Bostonians of 1820 still lived in the city 30 years later. » Caldwell is fond of that sort of epic — and iconoclastic — generalization. The problem is that history — like God — is in the details, and their accumulation seems to undercut the author’s intention. One can bemoan the passing of Massachusetts’ Protestant culture, but for all their turbulence, it wasn’t New England’s Irish immigrants who executed « witches, » nor did the Puritan stock surrender without a fight and simply slink away. Boston was a center of violent mid-19th century nativism — the place where « no Irish need apply » ubiquitously accompanied announcements of vacant situations.

More to the point, despite the fact that Boston’s eligible voters of Irish descent increased by 197% over the period Caldwell describes, the city didn’t elect its first Irish Catholic mayor, Hugh O’Brien, until 1885 — a quarter of a century later. O’Brien was a pillar of the city’s business establishment, enjoyed the support of Catholic and Protestant constituents and would serve four terms over a city government renowned for honesty in an era of endemic civic corruption.

While these may seem like quibbles beside the larger, urgently contemporary points Caldwell makes, the fact is that the past is complicated but knowable — while the future is complex and unforeseeable as often as it’s predictable.

Moreover, while authors are entitled to their arguments, it’s slightly disappointing that a commentator of Caldwell’s breadth and fair-mindedness neglects one of the inconsistencies in the « clash of civilizations » argument to which he subscribes. Caldwell is rightly hard on what he calls « the mediocrity of Muslim societies worldwide, » the violent malice of contemporary political Islam and the dissembling of its covert apologists like the dubious Tariq Ramadan. The fact remains, however, that as deadly as the Madrid and London bombings in 2004 and 2005 were, Europe’s worst post-World War II violence was visited on the European Muslims of Bosnia by the Orthodox European Christians of Serbia. Similarly, the body counts involved in the London bus and Madrid rail outrages pale beside those accumulated by the utterly indigenous, deeply traditional European fanatics of the IRA or the Basque ETA. Somehow, that all needs to be taken into account by a writer of Caldwell’s breadth and seriousness.

Unspoken authority

As a good Burkean, Caldwell believes in what the great man called « prejudices, » which is to say the unspoken authority of tradition, habit, family and shared cultural predilections. In that sense, he believes the clash of civilizations already has been lost in Europe. He also believes that its native peoples must now choose between what Powell called « the tragedy » of American-style cultural pluralism or a kind of quasi-Ottoman order in which religious communities essentially are self-governing within national borders.

History, though, has a way of confounding both Western historical determinism and its not-so-distant intellectual cousin, the resignation of Islamic fatalism.

Voir de plus:

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe

Review by Mark Mazower
Financial Times
May 4 2009

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West by Christopher Caldwell Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West
By Christopher Caldwell
Allen Lane £14.99, 376 pages
FT Bookshop price: £11.99

Between 1850 and 1930 more than 50m emigrants left Europe in what was easily the most intensive movement of peoples ever recorded – another 50m left China in the same period. After a pause for the depression and the second world war, the outflow continued before being reversed from the mid-1950s as a buoyant Europe sucked in workers. Today, there are roughly 15m migrants among the 370m inhabitants of the 15 west European members of the European Union and far more descendants of earlier immigrants as well.

Such figures never speak for themselves and what they signify depends on whom you ask. Sober-minded demographers (there are a few) point out that Europe’s foreign-born population is probably no higher as a proportion of the total than it was in the early 20th century while the immigrant inflow that took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s appears to have slowed down.

But who wants to read sober-minded scholars? As EU population growth grinds to a halt, the continent is still over-represented in global terms as a destination for migrants, many of whom, unlike in the past, come from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. And a lot of them are Muslims. The prospect of demographic apocalypse has always attracted Cassandras; about the only subject that is scarier is Islam. Put the two together, especially after 9/11, and you have a combustible mix.

Caldwell is an American journalist, an editor at The Weekly Standard and a columnist for this newspaper. He knows the banlieues and has talked to more than his fair share of extremists of all persuasions. But Reflections on the Revolution in Europe provides less an analysis than a call to arms to a continent supposedly already capitulating to the new enemy in its midst.

His argument, baldly put, is that Enoch Powell was more right than wrong. Europe is in decline from an “adversary culture”, and Muslim immigration, in particular, poses a mortal threat. He fails, however, to deliver the Burkean tour de force implied by his title.

Throwing off the shackles of political correctness, he plays fast and loose with the data and switches between talk of immigrants, Muslims and “non-natives” as it serves his argument. Europeans, he alleges, are fleeing abroad out of fear of Islam. But the best case of “white flight” he can find is of emigrating Jews and even this is unpersuasive since the number of those leaving for this reason is small and almost certainly exceeded by the reverse flow from Israel and elsewhere. Oddly, Caldwell unselfconsciously invokes the Jews as indigenous Europeans when just two generations ago they were regarded much as he regards Muslims.

Does Islam threaten European traditions of free speech? It is not fear of offending Muslim sensibilities that lies behind recent unprecedented efforts to criminalise scholarly interpretation. As Caldwell admits, Holocaust denial and debates about slavery, the legacy of empire and the Armenian genocide have been far more important catalysts for European legislators than anything to do with Islam. By contrast, the efforts he mentions by anti-racist or Muslim groups to get expressions of prejudice prosecuted have generally ended in judicial or legislative failure.

Nietzsche’s observation that all philosophy is disguised psychology is useful to bear in mind when seeking to understand why commentators such as Caldwell talk about Europe in such alarmist tones. They would say they have to because Europeans have been cowed into submission. Caldwell’s fast-breeding, over-sexualised immigrants have already established what he calls “beachheads” – the idea that the immigrants are the vanguard of a larger invading force – and engineered a reverse “colonisation” of historic cities abandoned by their native inhabitants. Muslim immigration, apparently nothing less than a “project to seize territory”, is well on the way to bringing Europe within the House of Islam. But this sinister fantasy has less to do with reality than with neo-conservative anxieties about the decline of the west.

As a concept the idea of the west has always had its expansively confident side. Yet for decades it also conveyed the fear of its own cultural and racial demise, a fear reflecting Europe’s massively weakened position in the world after 1945 and uncertainty whether the US possessed the self-confidence and political will to step in and take over.

The collapse of the USSR made people wonder what would happen with no shared enemy to keep the transatlantic partnership of the west intact. Then came 9/11 and the sharp divisions over Iraq and the war on terror that split the western alliance in its aftermath. One could trace these divisions back to profound disagreements that emerged between Europeans and Americans about the nature of international institutions, the rule of law and the path to peace in the Middle East. Preferring moral and cultural explanations to political ones, however, neo-cons attribute European dissension to a softening of the continent’s moral fibre, to burgeoning anti-Americanism and, as the ultimate cause of both, to the growing importance of Islam on the continent.

Of course in many ways, Islam ought to attract them – for at least in the stereotypical version presented here, Muslims believe in family, in honour, in fighting for one’s beliefs. Above all, they are united. Caldwell insists that talk of Islam’s diversity is beside the point. Behind the critique, one therefore detects a profound ambivalence: for all their primitivism, Muslims are, in fact, almost what Europeans should aspire to be. The truth, of course, is that generalities of this kind are not much use either in understanding Islam or in finding answers to complex social problems.

No question about it: immigration is one of the key issues facing contemporary Europe. But if you want a good guide to the debate, this is not your book: it is too unhinged, too doggedly provocative, for that. Yet the cultural historian of the future may find it valuable nonetheless, for it reveals the beleaguered cast of mind commonplace among some Americans at the moment when the waning of Washington’s power became evident and a new epoch in world history opened up.

Mark Mazower is professor of history at Columbia University. His ‘Hitler’s Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe’ (Allen Lane) won the LA Times Book Prize for History

Voir enfin:

Europe:
Eurabia?
Niall Ferguson
Hoover Digest
2004 No. 3

Niall Ferguson examines the impact of Europe’s growing Muslim population on a continent that otherwise faces low birthrates and aging populations.

In the 52nd chapter of his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon posed one of the great counterfactual questions of history: If the French had failed to defeat an invading Muslim army at the Battle of Poitiers in AD 732, would all of Western Europe have succumbed to Islam?

“Perhaps,” speculated Gibbon with his inimitable irony, “the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.”

When those words were published in 1788, the idea of a Muslim Oxford could scarcely have seemed more fanciful. The last Muslim forces had been driven from Spain in 1492; the Ottoman advance through Eastern Europe had been decisively halted at the gates of Vienna in 1683.

Today, however, the idea seems somewhat less risible. The French historian Alain Besancon is one of a number of European intellectuals who detect a significant threat to the continent’s traditional Christian culture. The Egyptian-born writer Bat Yeor has for some years referred to the rise of a new “Eurabia” that is hostile in equal measure to the United States and Israel. Two years ago, Pat Buchanan published an apocalyptic book, titled The Death of the West, prophesying that declining European fertility and immigration from Muslim countries could turn “the cradle of Western civilization” into “its grave.”

Such Spenglerian talk has gained credibility since 9/11. The 3/11 bombings in Madrid confirm that terrorists sympathetic to Osama bin Laden continue to operate with comparative freedom in European cities. Some American commentators suspect Europeans of wanting to appease radical Islam. Others detect in sporadic manifestations of anti-Semitism a sinister conjunction of old fascism and new fundamentalism.

Most European Muslims are, of course, law-abiding citizens with little sympathy for terrorist attacks on European cities. Moreover, they are drawn from a wide range of countries and Islamic traditions, few of them close to Arabian Wahhabism. Nevertheless, there is no question that the continent is experiencing fundamental demographic and cultural changes whose long-term consequences no one can foresee.

To begin with, consider the extraordinary prospect of European demographic decline. A hundred years ago—when Europe’s surplus population was still crossing the oceans to populate America and Australasia—the countries that make up today’s European Union accounted for around 14 percent of the world’s population. Today that figure is down to around 6 percent, and by 2050, according to a United Nations forecast, it will be just over 4 percent. The decline is absolute as well as relative. Even allowing for immigration, the United Nations projects that the population of the current European Union members will fall by around 7.5 million over the next 45 years. There has not been such a sustained reduction in the European population since the Black Death of the fourteenth century. (By contrast, the United States population is projected to grow by 44 percent between 2000 and 2050.)

With the median age of Greeks, Italians, and Spaniards projected to exceed 50 by 2050—roughly one in three people will be 65 or over—the welfare states created in the wake of World War II plainly require drastic reform. Either today’s newborn Europeans will spend their working lives paying 75 percent tax rates or retirement and “free” health care will simply have to be abolished. Alternatively (or additionally), Europeans will have to tolerate more legal immigration.

But where will the new immigrants come from? It seems very likely that a high proportion will come from neighboring countries, and Europe’s fastest-growing neighbors today are predominantly if not wholly Muslim. A youthful Muslim society to the south and east of the Mediterranean is poised to colonize—the term is not too strong—a senescent Europe.

This prospect is all the more significant when considered alongside the decline of European Christianity. In the Netherlands, Britain, Germany, Sweden, and Denmark today, fewer than 1 in 10 people now attend church once a month or more. Some 52 percent of Norwegians and 55 percent of Swedes say that God does not matter to them at all. Although the social and sexual freedoms that matter to such societies are antithetical to Muslim fundamentalism, their religious tolerance leaves these societies weak in the face of fanaticism.

What the consequences of these changes will be is very difficult to say. A creeping Islamicization of a decadent Christendom is one conceivable result: While the old Europeans get even older and their religious faith weaker, the Muslim colonies within their cities get larger and more overt in their religious observance. A backlash against immigration by the economically Neanderthal Right is another: Aging electorates turn to demagogues who offer sealed borders without explaining who exactly is going to pay for the pensions and health care. Nor can we rule out the possibility of a happy fusion between rapidly secularized second-generation Muslims and their post-Christian neighbors. Indeed, we may conceivably end up with all three: situation 1 in France, situation 2 in Austria, and situation 3 in Britain.

Still, it is hard not to be reminded of Gibbon—especially now that his old university’s Center for Islamic Studies has almost completed work on its new premises. In addition to the traditional Oxford quadrangle, the building is expected to feature “a prayer hall with traditional dome and minaret tower.”

When I first glimpsed a model of that minaret, I confess, the phrase that sprang to mind was indeed “decline and fall.”
This essay appeared in the New York Times on April 4, 2004.

Senior Fellow Niall Ferguson is also a professor of history at Harvard University and a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. He is also a senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford University. He specializes in political and financial history and provides insight into understanding the complex interaction among politics, war, and national economies. His most recent book is The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West.

Where he is right is in underlining the fact that immigration was encouraged by elites who took a ludicrously short-sighted view of its costs and consequences. The idea was to prop up industries already in decline and, later, to staff industries, such as health and tourism, the full cost of which our societies refused (and continue to refuse) to pay. The manning of underpaid and menial positions could be maintained only by a constant influx of new migrants, since people in established migrant communities either got better jobs or chose, like many in the native white population, to depend on the welfare state and to have no jobs at all. More recently, immigration has been defended as a way of making up for falling birth rates when, as Caldwell points out, it would have to be multiplied an unfeasibly large number of times to have that effect.

This inherently unstable and dysfunctional system was set in motion, in other words, for no good reason. Those who started it off did not foresee how big it would become, nor the mechanisms of family reunion and arranged marriages that would drive it on even when restrictions were belatedly imposed. Most of them did not imagine, says Caldwell, that the newcomers would « retain the habits and cultures of southern villages, clans, marketplaces, and mosques ».

Either that, or they welcomed such retention. It was right and proper that the people Europe had lorded over should now come to the metropolitan countries: they would change us for the better. Not only were all cultures equal, but their cultures were more equal than ours. Caldwell quotes the philosopher Pierre-André Taguieff, who uses the term « immigrationisme » to describe the position that immigration is both inevitable and good. The truth is that immigration was not inevitable on the scale on which it took place, and that its effects have ranged from the pleasing – more ethnic food – to the positive – more cultural diversity – to the truly terrible – race riots, social tension, terrorist attacks.

Caldwell is good on the distorting effect of the universalist code that European politicians and intellectuals impose on discussion of immigration and the making of policy about it.

Publicités

6 Responses to Islam: La cuisine, ça peut aussi servir à faire la guerre (Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West)

  1. Kostas dit :

    Le lien du LA Times ne marche pas…

    J'aime

  2. jc durbant dit :

    Désolé: merci.

    Voici le lien.

    J'aime

  3. […] Islam: La cuisine, ça peut aussi servir à faire la guerre… By francaisdefrance […]

    J'aime

  4. Léon dit :

    Une religion créée sur un prophète guerrier sanguinaire esclavagiste et pédophile ne peut ressembler aux autres… (chaque qualificatif est pourtout avérée)

    J'aime

  5. Lamelle jean dit :

    Mais oui nous sommes en guerre larvée mais réel ils est grand temps de s armer et pas que de patience

    J'aime

  6. Arabomus dit :

    Il est trop tard…trop tard pour les palestiniens et trop tard pour les europeens!

    J'aime

Laisser un commentaire

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion / Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Google+

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Google+. Déconnexion / Changer )

Connexion à %s

%d blogueurs aiment cette page :