America Alone : The End of the World as We Know it Paperback
by Mark Steyn
It's the end of the world as we know it...Someday soon, you might wake up to the call to prayer from a muezzin.
Europeans already are. And liberals will still tell you that "diversity is our strength"--while Talibanic enforcers cruise Greenwich Village burning books and barber shops, the Supreme Court decides sharia law doesn't violate the "separation of church and state," and the Hollywood Left decides to give up on gay rights in favor of the much safer charms of polygamy.
If you think this can't happen, you haven't been paying attention, as the hilarious, provocative, and brilliant Mark Steyn--the most popular conservative columnist in the English-speaking world--shows to devastating effect.
The future, as Steyn shows, belongs to the fecund and the confident. And the Islamists are both, while the West is looking ever more like the ruins of a civilization.
But America can survive, prosper, and defend its freedom only if it continues to believe in itself, in the sturdier virtues of self-reliance (not government), in the centrality of family, and in the conviction that our country really is the world's last best hope. Mark Steyn's America Alone is laugh-out-loud funny--but it will also change the way you look at the world.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 224 pages
- Publisher: Regnery Publishing Inc
- Publication Date: 05/06/2008
- Category: Politics & government
- ISBN: 9781596985278
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by willhelm
Thought-provoking, attention-getting, and slightly alarmist. Steyn is a master writer with a skillful, post-modern blend of structure, humor, alarmist rant, sobering reality, and calm resolve. Concise and to the point, Steyn presents the facts of our demographically changing world and stands out as a watchman on the times.
Review by PastorBob
I'm cheering Mark Steyn on. It's not that I agree with every conclusion he makes, nor with every idea. But his fundamental thesis, that the western world in the hands of the liberal progressives and the political left cannot survive well in the real global world of ideologies and power, and so will collapse before the advance of any strong ideology that forces it's way, is a good one. We have abandoned truth, common sense, and principles. Without them, the western world will die. Without them, maybe it should. Alarmist? Well what else wakes people up but an alarm?
Review by GaryWolf
One of the more fascinating attempts at explaining the decline of the West is Mark Steyn's "America Alone." Though the main thrust of the book is the threat of Islam, Steyn examines numerous sources of decay in Western society, the upshot being that we are vulnerable to the threat only because of our weakness, confusion, and self-defeating behavior.Steyn offers the reader reams of evidence to back up his assertion that a "significant strain of Islam" (which today happens to be the overwhelmingly dominant one) is wreaking havoc across the planet. Everything from riots in the Parisian banlieue to the massacre of schoolchildren in Beslan to the Palestinian death cult is exposed in all its horror. It is virtually everywhere, and it is constant:"We switch on the news every evening and, though there are many trouble spots around the world, as a general rule it's easy to make an educated guess at one of the participants: Muslims vs. Jews in 'Palestine,' Muslims vs. Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims vs. Christians in Africa, Muslims vs. Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims vs. Russians in the Caucasus, Muslims vs. backpacking tourists in Bali, Muslims vs. Danish cartoonists in Scandinavia."Instead of confronting the threat, or even acknowledging it for what it is, Western elites drag their populations into an anesthetized state of denial. Discussion of the issue (if it exists at all) is filtered through the layers of the multiculturalist narrative, which leaves it sanitized and devoid of real content. Says Steyn:"Bomb us, and we agonize over the 'root causes.' Decapitate us, and our politicians rush to the nearest mosque to declare that 'Islam is a religion of peace.' Issue blood-curdling calls at Friday prayers to kill all the Jews and infidels, and we fret that it may cause a backlash against Muslims. Behead sodomites and mutilate female genitalia, and gay groups and feminist groups can't wait to march alongside you denouncing Bush and Blair. Murder a schoolful of children, and our scholars explain that to the 'vast majority' of Muslims 'jihad' is a harmless concept meaning 'healthy-lifestyle lo-fat granola bar'."As Steyn makes clear, the problem would never have gotten so out of hand were it not for the meltdown of intellect that has occurred among the "educated" portion of the Western world. The jihadis take full advantage of this breach, and they are aided and abetted at every turn by their "progressive" enablers.The West has lost its will to fight. We consistently defeat ourselves. The Islamists"know they can never win on the battlefield, but they figure there's an excellent chance they can drag things out until Western Civilization collapses on itself and Islam inherits by default. An army is only one weapon a civilization wields, and the weapon of last resort, too. But when you add up those elements of national power--military, judicial, diplomatic, economic, informational--it's hard not to conclude that (as was said of the British after the fall of Singapore) at least four of those five guns are pointing in the wrong direction. The point of the media is to speak truth to (domestic) power, the point of transnationalism is to constrain American power, the point of law is to upgrade the defendant--and the upshot of economic power in a time of plenty is that every time you gas up you're funding an enemy who's flusher than he's been since the fall of Constantinople. Meanwhile, we fight the symptoms--the terror plots--but not the cause: the ideology. The self-imposed constraints of this war--legalistic, multilateral, politically correct--are clearer every day."Steyn devotes quite a bit of ink to the issue of demography. The Muslim world, including the recent transplants into Europe, are benefiting from a high birthrate (the "upper reaches of the fertility hit parade") whereas the native populations--especially in Spain, Italy, and Greece--are falling far below replacement rate. The U.S. is chugging along at slightly above replacement level.This phenomenon is of vast historical significance:"In the fourteenth century, the Black Death wiped out a third of the Continent's population; in the twenty-first, a larger proportion will disappear--in effect, by choice. We are living through a rare moment: the self-extinction of the civilization which, for good or ill, shaped the age we live in."Steyn points out that in Europe, the Muslims are young; they are also energetic, confident, aggressive, and ready for sacrifice. The native populations are aging, and they are sluggish, guilt-ridden, fat, and dependent upon the welfare state. It does not take a sophisticated analyst to project scenarios one or two decades into the future. The picture is not pretty.America Alone is a good read. Steyn's wit lies in wait at every turn of the page, and his observations on a wide range of peripheral topics are thought-provoking, to say the least. Take, for example, this perceptive comment on anti-Americanism:"All dominant powers are hated--Britain was, and Rome--but they're usually hated for the right reasons. America is hated for every reason. The fanatical Muslims despise America because it's all lap-dancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans despise America because it's all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites despise America because it's controlled by Jews. Too Jewish, too Christian, too godless, America is George Orwell's Room 101: whatever your bugbear you will find it therein, whatever you're against, America is the prime example of it."Which is followed by this marvelous segue:"That's one reason why [America's] disparagers have embraced environmentalism. If Washington were a conventional great power, the intellectual class would be arguing that the United States is a threat to France or India or Gabon or some such. But because it's so obviously not that kind of power, the world has had to concoct a thesis that the hyperpower is a threat not merely to this or that rinky-dink nation state but to the entire planet, if not the entire galaxy. 'We are,' warns Al Gore portentiously, 'altering the balance of energy between our planet and the rest of the universe.' ... You wouldn't happen to have the statistical evidence for that, would you?"If things continue on their course, predicts Steyn, we may find that"the world will be well on its way to a new Dark Ages. Now, as then, Europe has its do-nothing kings--les rois fainéants--thought these days we call them European commissioners and chancellors and prime ministers. Now, as then, we have a Great Plague--the virus of Islamism--and the great migrations--the continent-wide version of 'white flight' already under way in Holland, as the beleaguered Dutch leave their native land for Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Now, as then, we must all bow before the 'edict of toleration'--as laws and customs are rearranged to abase themselves before the gods of boundless multicultural tolerance."A classic case of this abasement is detailed in the recently added introduction, "Soon to be Banned in Canada." When excerpts from the book were published by the news magazine Maclean's, the Canadian Islamic Congress filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The Muslim group objected to the "flagrant Islamophobia" contained in the book.The Canadian Human Rights Commission has established itself as an extra-judicial star chamber for the enforcement of politically-correct orthodoxy. These little Soviet-style kangaroo courts, staffed by bureaucrats and specializing in "hate speech," have cast serious doubt over the future of Canadian democracy.Discussing the complaint over his "flagrant Islamophobia," and the ensuing witch hunt, Steyn remarks:"The head of the Canadian Islamic Congress is a man called Mohamed Elmasry. In a TV interview in 2004, Dr. Elmasry said it was legitimate to kill any Israeli civilian, male or female, over the age of eighteen. He is, thus, an objective supporter of terrorism. Yet he's accusing me of 'hate speech,' and is apparently the new poster boy for liberal progressive 'human rights' in Canada."And, in a nutshell, that paradox is what this book is about: What happens when a Western world so in thrall to platitudes about boundless 'tolerance' allows the forces of intolerance to carve it out from the inside? In seeking to stifle the arguments of America Alone, the Canadian Islamic Congress is making my point more eloquently than I ever could--that a significant strain of Islam is incompatible with the rough and tumble of a free society."Food for thought.
Review by Malarchy
America Alone is a polemic on the problems of aging and diminishing European societies and the expansion of the Islamic world into those societies. It is written by a Belgian-Canadian living in the US who espouses Christian Republican beliefs and for most people this will either be a book you hate or love. What is great about this book is that it lays down the tough issues that we face. What is terrible about this book is that it associates some clear thinking on demographics and religion with utter nonsense about climate change, welfarism, and citizen militia.Mark Steyn deals in issies that most find unpalatable and much of the European world has chosen to ignore. The European approach is disasterous and with the exception of a few in the Netherlands, we just aren't ready to deal with our own decline. Steyn spells it out brutally and while he might be picking and choosing statistics to bolster his case, it is the general thrust of the problem that should worry the western world.The issue that Steyn deals with primarily is demographics - we all know that Europe is in decline but we do nothing about it. We know that our birth rates are too low and that the population count is being artificially inflated by immigration. Immigration is not inherently a bad thing (and Steyn stops short of arguing that it is) but an influx of people who refuse to identify with the host culture is. In the UK, Muslims have overtaken Hindus in population size in the last decade - I'm not sure anyone can recall a single problem within the British Hindu population as it sought to make itself part of the society within which it lived.This is part of the problem that Steyn identifies - a pan-Islamic model is massively more appealing to Muslims than is any national identity. Steyn is absolutely right to say that the exportation of Wahabbism from Saudi Arabia is a direct threat in the same way that Soviet Communism was but it is just a much more effective threat. Islam is not monolithic but you wouldn't know that from the examples such as that Steyn cites in which a European of Bangladeshi descent demands the right to cover herself from view in a burkha - the burkha is a Bedouin garment designed to combat sandstorms in the desert - not very useful in Europe or Bangladesh so not of those cultures. What the example highlights is that it is the assertive Arabian form of the religion that is being embraced.Steyn fronts up on the war that is really being fought between the West and Islam - culture. It is a war being fought on terms that the West will struggle to win. Demographics favour the East. Henlein (Starship Troopers) puts it better than Steyn can - cultures that out-breed others will inevitable dominate them. Steyn illustrates this perfectly with the case of the United Kingdom which dominated more of the world than anyone in history simply by generating a surplus of healthy people combined with technological superiority. Without the surplus, there would have been no British Empire, no exportation of Corinthian values, no end to the slave trade (a worldwide phenomenon), no system of international laws or liberal institutions.We in the West choose to ignore history - we ignore the collapse of the great and enlightened Athenian empire because it's people became too decadent. Steyn makes the point well that it is younger, hungrier societies that win. Europe has pretty much given up. The societies of the Middle East, filled with a surplus of angry young men are more than we are prepared to cope with so we appease them instead.Unfortunately in reading this book, it becomes difficult to associate with it's core argument because the rest is appalling. Steyn does not even feel the need for internal consistency and his arguments disintegrate which makes this a missed opportunity. Steyn discusses the disgraceful transfers of wealth from the West to the House of Saud in return for oil and what that money does in waging cool war against us. Yet he abjectly refuses to acknowledge the root cause in our dependency on fossil fuels. Without Americans driving their gas guzzlers, we wouldn't be funding our own demise.Steyn doesn't understand climate change and bashes Al Gore in mostly humourless fashion. Steyn promotes gun ownership by citing the safety it provides while living in a society with unbelievable homicide rates compared to gentrified Europe. Steyn advocates citizen militia as a more effective form of self-defence and claims that it is the welfare state that has driven Europe into the tailspin. This is so annoying as it could be argued that the welfare state is a symptom of a decadent society but Steyn argues it as the cause - why do those who take stands against our decadent groupthink have to always make such basic errors of logic?This is an irritating book - it deals brilliantly with the core topic and the culture war Europe cannot win on present course - but it associates that argument with specious nonsense that panders to the Redneck convert and makes it difficult for those who can think for themselves to promote the core thesis.