Drawing the red lines

Following yesterday’s column on the Christian-Muslim clash of civilizations, some readers were interested in looking at the data in more detail.  It’s a worthy exercise, as it allows us to draw a few tentative “red lines” that Western civilization should not cross.

If we look at the democracy index of all 167 nations for which it is available versus the corresponding Muslim population in each country, it is clear that an increasing proportion of Muslims correlates very strongly (i.e., massively statistically significant [p=1e-13, r=-0.53) with a declining democracy index (aka less democracy and more authoritarianism).

The red line is unequivocal: full democracies are effectively absent once the Muslim population reaches 6 percent or higher.  The Netherlands currently sits at 6.0 percent.  Wonder why Geert Wilders is so concerned?  His nation sits on the precipice of a potential slide into increasing authoritarianism.

Other Western nations approaching the red line include Belgium (5.9 percent), Germany (5.8 percent), Switzerland (5.5 percent), Austria (5.4 percent), Greece (5.3 percent), Sweden (4.6 percent), the U.K. (4.4 percent), and Denmark (4.1 percent).

You might ask what the relationship is between Christians and the democracy index.  It is the exact opposite of that for Muslims, and even more statistically convincing.  There is a stronger correlation (p=5e-22, r=+0.66), except in the positive direction, between the Christian population and democracy.

In general, more Christians equals stronger democracy, whereas more Muslims equals weaker democracy and greater authoritarianism.

The same trends exist for press freedom, which decays quickly once the Muslim population reaches six percent.  Another red line.

The highly significant relationship between the Muslim population and press freedom is strongly negative.  On the other hand, the significant correlation between the Christian proportion of a nation’s population and its press freedom is strongly positive.

In general, more Christians equals greater press freedom, whereas more Muslims equals less press freedom.

This is science.  Actually, the clarity of the results means that it is settled science.

The implications extend beyond domestic policies, particularly with respect to immigration.  They also highlight the folly of trying to “democratize” predominantly Muslim regions of the world (as with, say, the recent “nation-building” efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan).  The geopolitical facts presented herein show that such efforts are undeniably doomed before they begin on religious grounds alone.