A week after Islamic terrorists struck Manchester… Italy’s prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, suggested a “joint declaration against terrorism and extremism,” NATO members criticized Donald Trump for asking them to invest more in their own defense, frightened people took to the streets for a sit-in with songs of Oasis, while Barack Obama, the main culprit for the rise of the Islamic State, spent a week of relaxation and hedonism in the hills of Siena. It looked like the sequel to the movie La dolce vita. Its motto is “carry on,” repeated as a mantra after every carnage.
Europe is affected by what the psychologist survivor of the Holocaust, Viktor Frankl, called the “existential void.” And a selfish, shallow, sterile and self-absorbed Europe is doomed.
Mexican anthropologist Rodolfo Stevenhagen argued that civilization is the set of spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of a society: it includes lifestyles, ways of living together, and systems of values, traditions and beliefs. And all anthropologists unanimously believe that the basis of every civilization is a religion. Two civilizations, the Judeo-Christian and the Islamic, are now on a collision course on the same territory: Western Europe. That is why every month, a major terrorist attack hits a European city: Berlin, London, Stockholm, Manchester, Paris…And that is why the first civilization is reacting only with signs of mourning, and there are no mass demonstrations calling for the destruction of Islamic terror organizations.
Institutions and civilizations collapse more often from within than from the outside. We need to fear more ourselves than our enemies. That is also the case of the Europeans, who granted themselves so many rights and benefits that they can no longer afford to defend these. They have the determination of mice. Islamic suprematists conclude that European countries are like a rotten fruit on a tree: a shake and it will fall. The barbarians were only 5% of the population of the Roman Empire, but they overthrew it, at least in the West.
Two hundred and thirty years ago, Edward Gibbon realized, in fact, that a metropolitan boredom, an inexorable military decline, an economic downturn, a subtle but unequivocal cultural decline, but above all a demographic suicide, had led to the collapse of Imperial Rome. Today, the devastating disease of Europe is not physical.
Life is great from Manchester to Milan and from Madrid to Munich. We have soldiers at every corner who “protect” us. We are proud of being an enlightened society. No, the disease lies in the realm of the human spirit. David Hart calls it “metaphysical boredom.” Hart defines today’s Europe as victim of “a vaguely euthanic dependence on comfort.” He concludes that “no civilization can withstand” this malady.
Europe’s blindness to the dangers of Islam has several causes. One is simply demographic: a drop in birth rate and a rampant aging of society has made Europe dominated by the elderly. And such a society cannot appreciate the power of ideas that capture young people. Secularization has also played a very important role. The growing difficulty that many Europeans find in grasping the power and appeal of religious ideas contributes to their relative passivity and indifference regarding Islam. Multiculturalism is the result of radical secularization: the mosques are built on the ruins of the churches. Europe is relatively prosperous, and this wealth makes it difficult to understand the mentality of those who feel they have everything to gain and nothing to lose. That prosperity gives the illusion of being protected from Islamic terrorism.
No matter how often European “values” are spoken about and praised by our defeatist leaders, such as Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, a weak will, an inertia, a fatigue and a lack of confidence has created a timid European society that avoids conflicts and tries to ignore all the signs of danger perceived as damaging to its own hedonism. It is time to reread the speech that Alexander Solzhenitsyn gave in June 1978 before Harvard students. The great writer of the Communist Gulag denounced “the decline of courage.” He said that “courage has abandoned not only the Western world as a whole, but also each of the countries that compose it.” He also said that “moral mediocrity asphyxiates the best human impulses.”
Since courage has abandoned the West, the West has surrendered. It may not look like it, but it is all over. The European establishment is repeating that it is “fighting terrorism,” but in fact it is giving up.
To illustrate how dramatically populations can change, historian E.M. Kulischer recalled that in 900 AD, Berlin had no Germans, Moscow had no Russians, Budapest had no Hungarians, Madrid was Islamic and Constantinople had very few Turks. Is it now time in the West for a historic replacement of population and civilization? Meanwhile, the Europeans must carry on like lambs to the slaughter.
Giulio Meotti, cultural editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author. He is the author of three books: A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism (Encounter Books); J’Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel (Mantua Books), and La fine dell’Europa, about the Christian and demographic decline in Europe. He is a columnist at Arutz Sheva and his writings have appeared in publications including the Wall Street Journal, FrontPage, Commentary, and The Geller Report.
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