Europe's Ineradicable Viciousness?

Steven M. Warshawsky
Yesterday in the New York Post, Ralph Peters wrote a strongly-worded piece  challenging the "pop prophets" who argue that, as a result of demographic and cultural forces, Europe is rapidly turning into a Muslim-dominated continent -- what Bat Ye'or has termed "Eurabia."  Presumably Peters is thinking of fellow commentator Mark Steyn, whose best-selling book, America Alone is based on this exact thesis.  (For my review of America Alone, see here).

Peters argues that reports of Europe's demise are greatly exaggerated, and that once Europeans "feel sufficiently threatened" by the increasing numbers of Muslims in their midst, they will "over-react with stunning ferocity."  According to Peters, there is an "ineradicable viciousness" at the core of European civilization, and he strongly suggests that a genocide of Europe's Muslim population is a likely eventuality.  To support his analysis, Peters points to Europe's historical mistreatment of Jews, the massacres committed by the Crusaders in 1099, the expulsion of the Moors from Spain in 1492, and the growing popularity of Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front party in France.  Peters' argument is not remotely persuasive.

To begin with, societies obviously change over time.  For example, the United States no longer permits slavery or segregation.  No serious person would argue, based on these historical practices, that black Americans are in danger of experiencing similar treatment in the future.  Similarly, while European countries certainly have had a "vicious" past (even the Scandinavians have their Viking ancestors), Peters offers absolutely no reason to believe that either the governments or a majority of the people living in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, et al., retain such intolerant and warlike impulses.  On the contrary, as Steyn and others have extensively documented, the available evidence points in the opposite direction.  (See, e.g., the Madrid bombings that caused the Spanish electorate to vote out the conservative government that had supported the war on terror.)  

Significantly, Peters does not question the demographic trends that underlay the Eurabia thesis.  Steyn reports that Western women in Europe have an average of 1.4 children (well below the "replacement level" of 2.1 children per woman), whereas Muslim women have an average of 3.5 children.  This means that the Western population in Europe will shrink with each new generation, while the Muslim population explodes.  Already in France, for example, it is estimated that the numbers of Western and Muslim youths are roughly the same.  This means that the numbers of potential "warriors" available to each demographic group are at parity.  Hardly the situation that confronted European Jews before World War Two.

There are other problems with Peters' article, and I am sure it will spark many more rebuttals.  But his main argument that Europeans are "world-champion haters" who are poised to slaughter their Muslim neighbors is devoid of evidence, and ignores the very real problems posed by an increasingly Muslim Europe.

Steven M. Warshawsky    

Yesterday in the New York Post, Ralph Peters wrote a strongly-worded piece  challenging the "pop prophets" who argue that, as a result of demographic and cultural forces, Europe is rapidly turning into a Muslim-dominated continent -- what Bat Ye'or has termed "Eurabia."  Presumably Peters is thinking of fellow commentator Mark Steyn, whose best-selling book, America Alone is based on this exact thesis.  (For my review of America Alone, see here).

Peters argues that reports of Europe's demise are greatly exaggerated, and that once Europeans "feel sufficiently threatened" by the increasing numbers of Muslims in their midst, they will "over-react with stunning ferocity."  According to Peters, there is an "ineradicable viciousness" at the core of European civilization, and he strongly suggests that a genocide of Europe's Muslim population is a likely eventuality.  To support his analysis, Peters points to Europe's historical mistreatment of Jews, the massacres committed by the Crusaders in 1099, the expulsion of the Moors from Spain in 1492, and the growing popularity of Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front party in France.  Peters' argument is not remotely persuasive.

To begin with, societies obviously change over time.  For example, the United States no longer permits slavery or segregation.  No serious person would argue, based on these historical practices, that black Americans are in danger of experiencing similar treatment in the future.  Similarly, while European countries certainly have had a "vicious" past (even the Scandinavians have their Viking ancestors), Peters offers absolutely no reason to believe that either the governments or a majority of the people living in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, et al., retain such intolerant and warlike impulses.  On the contrary, as Steyn and others have extensively documented, the available evidence points in the opposite direction.  (See, e.g., the Madrid bombings that caused the Spanish electorate to vote out the conservative government that had supported the war on terror.)  

Significantly, Peters does not question the demographic trends that underlay the Eurabia thesis.  Steyn reports that Western women in Europe have an average of 1.4 children (well below the "replacement level" of 2.1 children per woman), whereas Muslim women have an average of 3.5 children.  This means that the Western population in Europe will shrink with each new generation, while the Muslim population explodes.  Already in France, for example, it is estimated that the numbers of Western and Muslim youths are roughly the same.  This means that the numbers of potential "warriors" available to each demographic group are at parity.  Hardly the situation that confronted European Jews before World War Two.

There are other problems with Peters' article, and I am sure it will spark many more rebuttals.  But his main argument that Europeans are "world-champion haters" who are poised to slaughter their Muslim neighbors is devoid of evidence, and ignores the very real problems posed by an increasingly Muslim Europe.

Steven M. Warshawsky