Can 'Muscular Liberalism' Save the West?

Western European leaders have been calling for the application of a more "muscular liberalism" in recent months.  Their hope is that by hardening their stance on immigration, Europe will be better equipped to deal with issues arising from the financial strains and demographic dangers posed by the massive influx of immigrants from the Islamic world. 

Of course, it is left to each of us to wonder whether Europe flexing her atrophied muscles would be at all effective in warding off the threat.  Decades of a more "impotent liberalism" have thoroughly conditioned Western societies, leading to their ideological insecurity and adherence to the notion of absolute multiculturalism, a policy based on the assumption that all cultures have good qualities that could enrich our own, and that if given the opportunity, they would be eager to offer them to our Utopian venture. 

It has become clear, however, that multiculturalism has not been favorable for Europe.  The continent has been settled by hordes of fundamentalists from the Islamic world who believe their culture is far superior to that of Europeans, an idea etched into their psyche by the Quran. (Sura 3:110).  Not only does the Quran describe their superiority, but fundamentalists read its text very literally to mean that followers of Allah must spread their culture, by force if necessary, to dominate all of the Earth. (Sura 8:39) They believe fervently in the victory, as Allah will see to it that Islamic authority is established. (Sura 24:55) Therefore, many of these newcomers do not wish to make an offering to advance Western culture; they look to depose it, and replace it with their own.  Incredibly defiant toward  assimilation with the lesser cultures of Europe, they have largely bunkered in various enclaves within, where they secretively plot against their hosts while practicing a way of life more suitable to their ideology, free of the "shackles" of Western notions like freedom, human rights, and gender equality. 

In the United Kingdom, for example, this multiculturalism has created a dire situation.  Consider that Anjem Choudary, one of many outspoken Islamic clerics who tout Islamic hegemony and the toppling British law, collects welfare while he is allowed to spout his anti-Western agenda.  Essentially, Britain employs him to rally support for its destruction.  It is one thing to know that someone wants to kill you; it's another thing entirely to know this and still give that person ample money to buy a gun. But this is precisely what the British government has done in pacifying and providing for Muslim immigrants like Choudary, and now that gun is pointed squarely at Parliament's head. 

Islamic demonstrators threaten both the British government and the British people with violence without the slightest fear of response from their impotent hosts.  Perhaps Prime Minister Cameron has finally gotten the message that fundamentalist Muslims in Britain are sending, and maybe that is what spurred him to state that "multiculturalism has failed."  "If we are to defeat this threat," he said, "I believe it's time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past."

Sarkozy of France agrees.  And he has good reason.  His country hosts the largest Muslim population in Europe, much of which collects welfare (which fundamentalists undoubtedly view as jizyah, or a tax on the French for living in Allah's land) and lives in separate communities that engage in riots to effect what Daily Mail Online refers to as "a French intifada: An uprising by French Muslims against the state."  Faced with an immense internal threat, Sarkozy announced that "if you come to France, you accept to melt into a single community, the national community, and if you do not want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in France."

Given that in both of these instances pacifism and appeasement have yielded a restless immigrant population that advocates global jihad and calls for the advancement of Islamic law, is it any wonder Western leaders are looking to beef up their ideology in regard to Islam?

And they aren't alone in saying that multiculturalism has failed in Europe.  "German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australia's ex-prime minister John Howard and Spanish ex-premier Jose Maria Aznar have also recently said multicultural policies have not successfully integrated immigrants." 

Sure, all this rhetoric is in sharp contrast to the impotent liberalism Western Europe has become known for, but it's pretty hard to believe they're serious about hardening their position when they still repeatedly refuse to identify the threat.  Germany's new interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, however, succeeds where many before him have failed.  He has declared that Muslims should be allowed to live in Germany, but "to say that Islam belongs in Germany is not a fact supported by history." 

Compare his comment with the other calls to "muscular liberalism" we've seen.  Merkel, Cameron, and Sarkozy seem to understand the danger they face, but they only sort of allude to what demographic might represent the source of the danger.  Of course, everyone else knows they are talking about the menacing Muslim in the crowd that is brandishing a knife, but these politicians have refused to look at him or speak directly to him.  Conversely, Friedrich casts a gaze directly at him, lays down a gauntlet, and says: "You are here because we allow you to be, but your socio-political ideology [Islam] that conflicts with mine will hold no sway in the governance of my country."

Now that is a more "muscular liberalism." How incredibly promising that a politician with a name other than Geert Wilders could make such a bold and honest suggestion!

But that brief moment of optimism quickly fades.  Shortly after reading Friedrich's comment, we notice that another government minister admonished him. "Of course Islam belongs in Germany...I assume that the new minister will...campaign for cohesion rather than exclusion."   It seems that despite the desperate attempts by some Europeans to claw their way out of the self-constructed abyss of pacifism, others among them routine seize their ankles to prevent any progress.

Muscular liberalism is a noble idea that finds common, reasonable ground between the complete condemnation and complete pacification of Islamic practitioners.  It's just too bad that so few of the European politicians that claim to embrace the notion would choose to practice it fully, and sadder still that so many more are too enamored with impotent liberalism for it to gain any real momentum. 

There is a legitimate question about whether Europe is too far gone demographically for muscular liberalism to save it.  According to what we've seen from its leadership, that wouldn't really matter, though.  It seems clear that European leaders suffer from a profound lack of ideological resolve that will ruin any chance of a positive outcome that the idea of "muscular liberalism" may have ever had.

William Sullivan blogs at