Can you have the same Europe with different people in it? The answer, says Christopher Caldwell, is no.
Europe has undergone a demographic revolution it never expected. A half century of mass immigration has failed to produce anything resembling an American-style melting pot. By overestimating its need for immigrant labor and underestimating the culture-shaping potential of religion, Europe has trapped itself in a problem to which it has no obvious solution.
Christopher Caldwell has been reporting on the politics and culture of Islam in Europe for more than a decade. His deeply researched and insightful new book reveals a paradox. Since World War II, mass immigration has been made possible by Europe’s enforcement of secularism, tolerance, and equality. But when immigrants arrive, they are not required to adopt those values. And they are disinclined to, since they already have values of their own. Muslims dominate or nearly dominate important European cities, including Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Strasbourg and Marseille, the Paris suburbs and East London. Islam has challenged the European way of life at every turn, becoming, in effect, an “adversary culture.”
The result? In Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, Caldwell reveals the anger of natives and newcomers alike. He describes guest worker programs that far outlasted their economic justifications, and asylum policies that have served illegal immigrants better than refugees. He exposes the strange ways in which welfare states interact with Third World customs, the anti-Americanism that brings European natives and Muslim newcomers together, and the arguments over women and sexthat drive them apart. He considers the appeal of sharia, “resistance,” and jihad to a second generation that is more alienated from Europe than the first, and addresses a crisis of faith among native Europeans that leaves them with a weak hand as they confront the claims of newcomers.
As increasingly assertive immigrant populations shape the continent, Caldwell writes, the foundations of European culture and civilization are being challenged and replaced. Reflections on the Revolution in Europe is destined to become the classic work on how Muslim immigration permanently reshaped the West.
In recent years, conservative writers have published a number of books and even more articles warning about the demographic decline of Europe and the seemingly dangerous march of Islam on the Continent. These analyses, often delivered with smug Schadenfreude, hold that godless, decadent Europeans have given up having children, leaving a fifth column of faithful, fertile Muslims to swamp their societies. In his bestselling America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, Mark Steyn predicted "the demise of European races too self-absorbed to breed." The National Review mockingly advertised a "Farewell to Europe Tour," including a visit to the "Islamic Republic of the Netherlands:" "For this special two-day event, females traveling with our party will be allowed to disembark the plane without a veil!"