Forgive me if this analogy makes light of a serious matter, but the “fight,” if it can even be called that at this time, between Western democratic ideals and Islamic fundamentalism is like a Lebron James-led fast break. The outcome is inevitable, largely because the defense is predictably feeble. Those lagging behind on defense represent the dissolution of real Western resolve, leaving platitudes like “stronger together” and “love trumps hate” to try and stop a merciless adversary that thinks of compromise as the ultimate transgression.
Or, for hockey fans, it’s like a power play that never ends instead of only lasting a prescribed amount of time. The West has multiple players in the penalty box of perpetuity – restricted borders, harsh rhetoric that doesn’t fold in favor of political opportunism, and a general zeal for freedom, to name a few. At least now, with President Trump in the White House, it appears that the U.S. military- the goalie if you will- is back to defend the net.
In light of the onslaught of terror that has enveloped Europe, the Manchester attacks being only the most recent example of what has now become anticipated rather than just possible, these analogies are instructive. Each attack seems to elicit a more anemic reaction, further emboldening an enemy with no shortage of ardor.
Perhaps the most unfortunate part of what has transpired is that we were warned. Many sounded the alarm and were unsurprisingly written off by the Left as apocalyptic lunatics. One man stands out because of his unrivaled prescience, Canadian author, and media commentator Mark Steyn. In 2006, Steyn wrote the book America Alone, anathema to liberals because it’s laden with logic that totally undermines the asinine notion of a cohesive global community in which the Islamists capitulate to the irresistible forces of “love” and “understanding.” That the book was banned in Canada should be more than enough to convince us of Steyn’s cogency and authority.
Steyn covers an array of issues that have led to the decay of Western culture and consequently the upsurge of Islamic influence, among them the dissolution of European borders, a feckless European Union hell bent on dissolving national identities for some absurd utopian fallacy, and economies hemorrhaging money on entitlement programs.
His central thesis, however, is predicated on something much simpler yet often overlooked: populations. In short, Steyn argues that the European situation is irreparable because they do not have enough babies. Meanwhile, Muslim nations have been incredibly fecund and have thus established an unsettling numerical advantage over the West, especially Europe. Consider the statistics: in 2005, the five countries with the highest fertility rates were Niger, Mali, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Yemen, all over 6.5 children per couple.
By contrast, while only at a paltry 1.9 children per couple in 2005, Ireland was one of the most reproductive European nations, a telling sign is given that it was still falling short of the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman. Other European nations, Steyn points out, faced an even graver population predicament. For example, at only 1.1 births per woman in 2005, Spain’s population “[was] halving with every generation.”
Despite such an alarming population disparity, one that has fueled the now inexorable surge of Islamist immigrants into Europe, America Alone, as the title suggests, expressed hope that the United States would not similarly open the floodgates to the tide. While just barely achieving the fertility replacement rate of 2.1 births per couple in 2005, America, Steyn opined, was the last paragon of Western liberty that could stanch the flow of Islamist imperialism. Steyn hoped that an immutable commitment to the ideals of democracy and national pride would be enough to salvage what was left of the West.
If the last ten plus years are any indication, we didn’t get the memo. Under the irresolute and toothless Obama administration, what began in Europe percolated into the United States, and the results have been tragic. All we’ve learned from Boston, San Bernardino, and Orlando, among other attacks, is that America has adopted the European tenet of political posturing over common sense.
Meanwhile, at only 1.87 births per woman in 2016, we’re procreating even less, while many adversarial Muslim nations now outpace us by more than double. At 5.22 births per woman in 2016, Afghanistan has almost tripled our rate of reproduction. The continuation of such a gross discrepancy will only exacerbate an already major problem and fuel the temerity of adversaries who call us the great Satan.
To be sure, we can draw at least a measure of comfort knowing that the present administration will defend liberty and American values. The question remains, even if the United States decides to get back on defense or retrieve once inviolate ideas from the penalty box, have we missed our chance to eradicate Islamic fundamentalism by creating an irrevocably complacent culture?