Europe Has A Duty To Defend Its Culture

Europe Has A Duty To Defend Its Culture

Why would you import the instability of the Middle East to Europe?
David Harsanyi
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In a 2006 Los Angeles Times column critical of the Left’s attitude towards Islamic radicalism, New Atheist Sam Harris wrote:

… the failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists. To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization.

During this refugee crisis in Europe, those who speak most sensibly about the threat Islam poses to Europe might not be fascists, but they are far less liberal than would be ideal. Proper liberals fear being labeled Islamophobic more than they fear Islam. They function under a quixotic notion that millions of refugees can be absorbed into Western society seamlessly, even if those refugees possess no connection to European ideas, values, or civilization. Good luck.

Let’s set aside the security risks for a moment. Let’s talk about demography. Extending hospitality and asylum for those fleeing persecution is, of course, both Christian and liberal. But what happens when half the Islamic world is escaping persecution? What about most of Africa?

Now, if European nations believe they have a responsibility to help, they should work to alleviate suffering. It’s commendable. But so is preserving a culture that provides stability, freedom, and prosperity for many millions.

Viktor Orban, the nationalist prime minister of Hungary and most outspoken critic of mass Muslim immigration into Europe, asserted that he was protecting Europe’s “Christian values” and “identity” by blocking a central route used by refugees. Now, judging from the coverage, you’d think this meant Europe had time-warped back to 1939. For the Left, the mere mention of “Christian values” insinuates some kind of xenophobic slight that disgraced all people living on a subcontinent built on, well, Christianity.

Extending hospitality and asylum for those fleeing persecution is, of course, both Christian and liberal. But what happens when half the Islamic world is escaping persecution?

Despite the long-term project to do away with European borders, Hungarian culture still exists. Danish culture is a thing, too. The French aren’t some artificial construct drawn up by social engineers. And though it is extraordinarily diverse and rich, European culture exists. Christian culture exists. Sometimes it fails in the most violent and brutal ways. But, in the aggregate, human flourishing does better, by any measure, under this tradition than any other. When you see Austrian or Swiss migration moving eastward to Jordan, let me know.

There is now an unregulated flow of refugees into Europe, many of whom lug around ideologies and theologies in conflict with the values of their prospective homes. And many of today’s liberals find the idea of demanding, or even nudging, newcomers to integrate to be disagreeable, disrespectful, or intolerant. How does that end?

Unlike the United States, structurally and geographically built to assimilate diverse populations, Europe hasn’t experienced this success. Turkish guest workers, for instance, began streaming into West Germany half a century ago and even today their grandchildren are struggling. A large percentage of Muslims in Germany subsist off generous social benefits, and a large percent of their children lack the basic education required to break out of that trap. Other nations, including France, have completely different Muslim populations, but comparable problems. What makes anyone think Syrian asylum seekers will do any better?

Actually, we’re not only talking Syrian refugees.* In Italy, 70 percent of asylum seekers who’ve come in the past year are not Syrians—they’re Libyans, Nigerians, Malians, Gambians, and Senegalese.

There is no way that Hungary could possibly know who those migrants are, where they’re going, or where they’re from, much less have the ability to find any radicals among them.

So back to Hungary: Almost every media report covering the crush of refugees streaming into Europe from Turkey via the Balkans mentions the actions of that country’s “right-wing government”—as if we were dealing with Nazi regime rather than an elected center-right coalition only slightly more noxious and authoritarian than your average socialist government.

The fact is that Hungary is the first place these refugees touch the European Union. More than 100,000 refugees have been registered in the country during 2015. It sees 3,000 new asylum-seekers every day. According to the Schengen agreement, once a refugee is in Hungary he or she is ensured free movement in 26 European countries—22 of them in European Union. There is no way that Hungary could possibly know who those migrants are, where they’re going, or where they’re from, much less have the ability to find any radicals among them. So Hungary shut down its border, which seems like a reasonable thing to do when you have anarchy.

Hungary was punished for this. Angela Merkel’s government, which initially claimedit would take in 500,000 refugees per year, suggested that fines be leveled against countries that refused to accommodate quotas for migrants, as well. Then the European Union tried to figure out how to pressure countries into taking more migrants. The Czechs said no. Slovakia said forcing migrants on it would mean the “end of the EU.”  Poland ignored it. Hungarians tried to put a stop to it.

Now, Germany has also introduced border controls in the south of the country for “urgent security reasons.” What could those possibly be, I wonder? And what happens if those threats become acts of terror? Will there be more Orbans? Or more Le Pens?

Most refugees, no doubt, seek a better life. I have no doubt that life is hell in Syria and it ain’t too great in a Cypriot refugee camp, either. Maybe some welcome signs and a generous welfare program will mollify centuries of history and all of this will work out. It seems far more likely that some kind of anarchy will do one thing, though: import some of the instability of the Middle East to Europe.

*Many Eastern European nations have offered special accommodations to Christian refugees. And they deserve special consideration. Through war and persecution, the dramatic depopulation of Christians has been one of great tragedies of the past decades. They have nowhere else to go. That is not the case for Muslims—both Sunni and Shia—who have allies across the region who could, but refuse, to take them.

David Harsanyi is a Senior Editor at The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Flickr Freedom House

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