Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West Christopher Caldwell Doubleday, 2009
Christopher Caldwell is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard. With this book, he has added his voice to the literature discussing and warning against the on-going change occurring in the identity of Europe as its native population shrinks and as an immigrant population, mostly Islamic, establishes within it a growing parallel society. This journal has reviewed three of the earlier books: Walter Laqueur's The Last Days of Europe (in our Winter 2007 issue, pp. 519-522), Tony Blankley's The West's Last Chance (Winter 2005, pp. 524-531), and Patrick J. Buchanan's The Death of the West (Spring 2002, pp. 126-130).
Even though they deal with the same theme, each of these books, including Caldwell's, has much to say that keeps it from being a mere repetition of the others. Caldwell's contribution consists largely of his emphasis on Islam and his dissection of shibboleths that have long ruled the thinking within Europe, especially within Europe's governing class. This isn't to say that he doesn't have a good deal else to tell.
His work with The Weekly Standard makes clear his identification with American "neo-conservatism"; and, among the authors just mentioned, this puts him closest to Blankley. He avoids, however, the extremes of which we were so critical in Blankley's book. Caldwell does not join Blankley in calling for a testosterone-ladened ruthlessness in response to jihadism. Caldwell mostly limits himself to factual explication and conceptual analysis, leaving policy prescriptions to others. If he agrees with Blankley's extremes, he gives no indication of it.
It is surprising that Caldwell writes about the demographic threat to Europe without showing an awareness of (or giving a nod of recognition to) the other books. He does, at least, tell about Jean Raspail's haunting 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints; but neither the bibliography nor the index mentions Blankley, Buchanan or Laqueur. The surprise at these omissions is lessened, of course, because we know that many authors say very little about the contributions of others. This fashion would seem to stem in part from the incivilities imposed by publishers' and authors' frequent insistence upon an overly-constricted interpretation of the "fair use" doctrine, which has long made it legally uncomfortable to bring in other authors.
Caldwell's book gives informative details about the history of Islamic immigration into Europe. During the decade immediately following World War II, a prostrate Europe desperately needed manpower, and brought in large numbers of immigrants for what Europeans thought would be short stays. But then, when "the economic benefits [that] immigration brought [proved] marginal and temporary," most of Europe (except for France until 2006) shifted to a more selective type of immigration. It found it difficult, however, to find highly skilled people. Despite this and "generously financed repatriation programs" in the late 1970s, the flood of immigration continued, at which time the rationale changed from "labor immigration... to refugee immigration" (also spoken of as "political asylum"), to which was added the bringing in of relatives for "family unification." The new rationale converted the welcoming of immigration into a moral duty, as distinct from an economic necessity.
It eventuated that the refugees didn't return to their home countries after the exigencies that had forced them to flee to Europe dissipated. In fact, there proved to be a vast overhang of population in the Third World that yearned to be in Europe. Some Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, spent large sums to support the immigration, aiding Islam in Europe and financing the building of mosques. In the meantime, the European Union adopted the principle of internal openness that permits free movement within Europe. This has had the effect of taking from national governments the ability to limit immigration into their respective countries. …