by William Kilpatrick
In his 2005 book, The West’s Last Chance, Tony Blankley noted that there is a “natural human instinct to forget the distant past and to assume that the more or less benign trends of the recent past will continue.” Nevertheless, observed Blankley, “shocking divergences from the status quo have defined the path of history.” But these divergences are seldom anticipated. For example, “Londoners in the summer of 1939, my parents included, never expected that forty thousand of their fellow Londoners would soon lie dead in the streets from German bombing.”
The West’s Last Chance is about the danger that Islamization poses to the West. Blankley’s book warns that the citizens of the West face a threat similar to that faced by Londoners in 1939 and are handicapped by a similar inability to recognize the gravity of the threat.
The evidence for Islamization in Europe that Blankley pointed to in 2005 is far more abundant than it was when he wrote. But rather than go over facts that have been chronicled in detail in numerous recent books and articles, let’s ask why Westerners have so much difficulty in recognizing what should be obvious.
Part of the difficulty lies in the natural tendency to “forget the distant past” and assume that the status quo will continue. In our times this tendency is exacerbated by a greater than usual disconnect from the past. Modern man has difficulty remembering the near past, let alone the distant past. To a generation hooked on the sensation of the moment, 9/11 already seems like ancient history. So does the Beslan atrocity, the London tube bombing, and the month-long rioting in three hundred French cities that occurred in 2005. The Boston Marathon bombing happened less than a year ago but seems destined to quickly fade from memory since it was immediately characterized as a “one-off”—an isolated event perpetrated by a couple of self-radicalized lone wolves. It joins a long list of similar “one-off” incidents that include the Buffalo beheading, the “underwear bombers” failed attempt to bring down a jetliner, and Faisal Shazhad’s attempt to blow up Times Square.
It’s all the more difficult to remember the past when the media, the government, and other censors impose an unofficial ban on noticing a pattern to certain events. You have undoubtedly seen those streaming headlines at the bottom of your TV screen—the ones that report the daily toll taken by suicide bombers and church-burners. You may not know that the Religion of Peace.com website actually keeps track of all the deadly Islamic terrorist attack since 9/11. As of September 11, 2013 they had documented 21,583. Earlier generations, less encumbered by political correctness, would have been able to discern a pattern in that, and they would have discerned it long before the number reached five figures. We, however, have been conditioned to view such incidents as discrete, disconnected events. It would be impolite, impolitic, and even Islamophobic to draw conclusions based on such “scattered” evidence. Today’s good citizen can be counted on not to jump to conclusions. Indeed, he can be counted on to look at acres of evidence and not see a thing.
There is still another factor that helps account for the absence of alarm about our situation vis-à-vis Islam—namely, a lack of imagination. It seems paradoxical that a society so soaked in imaginative fantasy would have trouble imagining that what has happened many times in the past could happen again today. But that seems to be the case. Perhaps we suffer from fantasy overload. When everything is fantasy, nothing needs to be taken seriously. And today, just about all entertainment partakes of the fantastical. Futuristic, fantasy, and science fiction movies makes up a large chunk of Hollywood productions, and even ordinary action/adventure films contain action sequences that border on the fantastic. The main purveyors of fantasy, however, are the makers of video games. Youngsters spend many hours a day absorbed in these games, but so also do adults. According to one survey the average age of a gamer is thirty; another study puts it at thirty-seven. Critics of the gamer industry justifiably worry about the effect on impressionable minds of watching too much violent content, but the larger and more insidious threat that comes with long term use is a disconnect from reality, an inability to appreciate the significance of real world events. It’s difficult to read the writing on the wall if your eyes are glued to a computer screen for half the day.
Our ability to read the signs of the times seems to have been considerably diminished. For example, it shouldn’t take too much imagination to recognize the dark future that Islamists have in store for non-believers, seeing that their spiritual leaders are all too willing to publicly declare it and seeing that the bleak future has already arrived for countless non-Muslims in the Muslim world. And the evidence that Islamist designs are not limited to the Muslim world continues to mount. Despite a well-established historical pattern of conquest through immigration on the part of Muslims, Europe continues to welcome a steady stream of Muslim immigrants, with the result that in many large European cities the Muslim population ranges between 25 and 40 percent. It’s estimated that in Brussels, the self-styled “Capital of Europe,” Muslims will comprise the majority of the population within 15 years. If Muslims were assimilating to Western ways and values it might be a different story, but many European Muslims seem to have taken to heart Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s belief that “assimilation is a crime against humanity.” In France alone, there are 751 Muslim controlled “no-go-zones;” in England, Muslims have their own sharia courts; in Scotland, the country’s largest-ever child immunization program was halted following Muslim complaints; in many countries schools have dropped the Holocaust and the Crusades from their curriculums at the behest of Muslims and have complied with Muslim demands for all-halal menus. Moreover, in deference to Islamic blasphemy laws, critics of Islam have been hauled before inquisitorial courts, and across Northern Europe numerous counter-jihad rallies have been cancelled out of fear of the “Antifas”—gangs of street thugs whose mission is to silence those critics of Islam who escape the court system. Meanwhile, churches are burned, Jews are beaten in the streets, and violent crime has skyrocketed.
As in 1939, the European elites have reacted to this cultural putsch with cringing appeasement. The press has muzzled itself. Critics of Islam are hounded from pillar to post. Academics explain away every problem from rioting to rape in terms of poverty and discrimination. And governments increase their already lavish subsidies for the building of more mosques and madrassas. In cultural terms, European leaders have already yielded up to Islam the equivalent of several Sudetenlands. But not everyone who has eyes to see, sees. For those who live in a non-historical fantasy world, the real world can be kept at bay for a surprisingly long time, and for them life will go on as usual—until it doesn’t.
Still, it would seem that today’s harsh realities would be hard to miss even for those inclined to fantasy. For imaginative fantasy it’s hard to beat the worldwide resurgence of a seventh-century religious ideology whose founder, like the characters in The Lord of the Rings, was in the habit of naming his swords, and whose re-emergence as a power on the world stage is as vehemently denied as is the return of Voldemort in a Harry Potter story. Yet “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” (except in the most respectful way) has returned with a vengeance. And if Iranian leaders are right, the Mahdi is also scheduled to return at any moment. He’s the “Hidden Imam” who has been in a trance state since the ninth century but will reappear to defeat the infidels provided the Shia leaders can provoke a sufficiently cataclysmic triggering event in the Middle East.
The world hasn’t seen so many gathering storm clouds since … well, since 1939. We live in interesting times. You would think that more people would notice.
Editor’s note: Above, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is famously pictured in 1938 returning from Munich after having negotiated an agreement with Hitler promising “peace in our time.”
By William Kilpatrick
William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues, including Psychological Seduction; Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong; and, most recently,Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West. Professor Kilpatrick’s articles on cultural and educational topics have appeared in First Things, Policy Review, American Enterprise, American Educator, Los Angeles Times, and various scholarly journals. His articles on Islam have appeared inCatholic World Report, National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Saint Austin Review, Investor’s Business Daily, FrontPage Magazine, and other publications. His work is supported in part by the Shillman Foundation.