The refugee crisis in Europe and the response of the various European governments and of the European Commission, surrealistic as they seem, make sense only if one understands that the agony of contemporary Europe (like that of the United States) is the agony of liberalism, whose contradictions have suddenly caught up to it with the speed and force of a tsunami that has taken even liberalism’s fiercest critics by surprise. Liberals, we can see now, are prepared to sacrifice not only their respective nations but the liberal order itself to the enforcement of liberal ideology in its most abstract form. Clearly, Angela Merkel is resolved never to forget the crimes of the Third Reich, but 71 years after Hitler’s fall she would do far better to recall her own sufferings as a child and as a young woman under the East German regime, an ordeal from which she ought to have learned the consequences of attempting to translate any ideological theory into political practice.
On New Year’s Eve in Cologne, 1,000 of what witnesses described as dark-skinned youths from the Middle East and North Africa, many if not most of them stinking drunk (in violation of the laws of their prophet), surrounded hundreds of young women and robbed, grabbed, groped them, and raped several, oblivious to the police standing helplessly by, and shut down a central train station. As of this writing 653 people had lodged complaints with the Cologne police, who were holding four accused criminals in custody. The federal police have identified 32 suspects, 22 of them “asylum seekers.” It took the department and the German government days to acknowledge the atrocity, while the news media remained silent in a notable departure from the liberal ideal of an informed society. Similar attacks occurred in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, and Nuremberg, and the head of the federal criminal police claims that the mass assaults are being loosely organized between cities. When the Cologne attack was finally acknowledged, the media treated it as a surprising and wholly unexpected occurrence, a phenomenon unlikely to happen ever again. In fact, attacks like these had been occurring since 2014 in Sweden, where, according to The Spectator’s Ivar Arpi, large groups of young men whom the police described as “so-called refugee groups primarily from Afghanistan” sexually harassed girls attending a music festival, one of them aged 12. Police officers in Stockholm have been ordered not to mention the suspected perpetrators’ nationality or ethnicity in their reports, and the facts of the matter are only now being released to the public, a segment of which has responded by asserting that all men are alike, white, brown, or painted blue; natives, refugees, or (presumably) terrorists. One contributor to the country’s largest tabloid, pointing to the fact that German men had been guilty of sexual assaults during the Oktoberfest in Munich earlier that year, argued that people who describe the attackers as North African or Middle Eastern must be racists.
A year after the violence in Sweden, the German government and the media followed the same formula in their handling of the riot in Cologne. Chancellor Merkel and the news people stayed silent as long as they possibly could, and her government is said to have ordered the police knowingly to misrepresent the general refugee crisis in order to avoid unwelcome public reaction. A member of the federal police, speaking anonymously, testified that officers at the borders are under orders not to restrain migrants attempting to escape custody, lest “violence” ensue. There is some confusion concerning whether the police were adequately reinforced on New Year’s Eve by the interior minister at the request of the police chief, or whether the chief erred in not making his request until too late. He was, in any event, fired in order to “restore the public faith in the police.” The move failed spectacularly, given that the disaster is being widely blamed on the force, presented by a female reporter for the New York Times as perhaps having “fail[ed] to anticipate the new realities of a Germany that is now host to up to a million asylum seekers, most from war-torn Muslim countries unfamiliar with its culture,” and trying afterward to hide their incompetence. A female analyst and Turkish native, resident for decades in Germany, put the riot down to Germans who regard the refugees as a burden and a danger instead of a gift that will keep on giving. “We need,” she explained, “a new common history, a new shared history,” especially in “practical” matters, such as policing. To which the Times writer added helpfully, “This was new terrain for all, and just one taste of the challenges facing Germany and its leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, to assimilate a huge new population in an atmosphere of dwindling tolerance and volatile politics.” Neither lady thought to mention a part of Arab history and culture presumably worthy of being shared by the West: the Taharrush gamea, an Arab sex game whose description corresponds exactly to the assaults in Europe—collective physical harassment and abuse by gangs of young males who take advantage of crowds to insult, proposition, grope, rob, and rape young women, a practice become widespread since the political uprisings and demonstrations that accompanied the misnamed Arab Spring and is now being imported to Europe by the “asylum seekers,” roughly 70 percent of whom (according to Reuters) are men at least as interested, if not more so, in the huge harem they clearly imagine Europe to be as they are in political asylum. For liberals, these young savages offer no serious danger. Explain to them what European romantic customs are, and they’ll be more than happy to conform to them tomorrow!
The reaction in Europe and the United States to these eruptions of barbaric lawlessness and aggression proves just how many of liberalism’s historical commitments liberals are prepared to jettison in a crisis such as the present one, which directly threatens advanced liberalism’s project of “inclusiveness,” the creation of multicultural societies, and the eventual dissolution of anything properly describable as the Western nation-state.
For instance, liberals have been trying for decades to realize the “risk-free society” in which 100 percent of the population is safe, 100 percent of the time, from unhealthy food, unsafe automobiles and intoxicated drivers, environmental pollution, an unhealthy workplace, dangerous gadgets, dangerous children’s toys—and guns. The vision of a risk-free society is a principal motivation in the campaign to subvert the Second Amendment. (Liberals’ antipathy toward a heavily armed population capable of defending itself against foreign invaders and, especially, tyrannical liberal government is another.) But gun owners here and on the Continent do not celebrate public holidays by ganging up in the streets and robbing and assaulting women, or anyone else. Yet in the liberal view, while legal gun owners should not be tolerated as potential threats to the public safety, not only must marauding invaders from barbarian cultures be tolerated, but more of them should be invited to come and be welcomed among us. Another Times reporter has pleaded (in an ostensible “news” article) on the invaders’ behalf that, “While the police say the assaults in Cologne were carried out by hundreds of men, even that is a narrow sliver of the more than one million asylum seekers who entered Europe last year.” A narrow sliver indeed—but a far, far broader one than the miniscule percentage of gun owners who commit murder and mass murder (and rape) with their weapons, but whom liberals wish to disarm by outlawing and confiscating those weapons under a policy of “zero tolerance” for gun violence.
For another instance Henriette Reker, the feminist mayor of Cologne, suggested when news of the attacks in her city was at last made public that “There’s always the possibility of keeping a certain distance of more than an arm’s length” from a Muslim rapist. So a woman’s right to her body and her dignity as a woman must be sacrificed, when necessary, to a Muslim invader’s “right” to both of them. It seems the Western feminist movement is preparing to surrender its cause to the patriarchal male-chauvinist Moor before a single shot has been fired in the most recent battle for Europe, the clash of civilizations. Liberalism may prove even weaker than Western Christendom has done in confronting an enemy before whom oppressed and aggrieved feminists find themselves morally disarmed.
The response of European liberals and of the liberal elites who dominate the various Continental governments and the European Union that tries, with increasingly less success, to dominate and finally to anneal them into a single authoritarian bureaucratic entity ruled by socialist economics and political correctness makes two things abundantly plain. The first is that liberalism has committed itself since the 1950’s to the cause of so many distinct, and often naturally opposed, groups and categories of people they consider victims that liberals are intellectually disabled and politically confounded when the interests of one victimized group conflict with those of another—in the present case, women versus minorities, immigrants versus women. The same goes for the principles liberalism espouses collectively, though they are inherently contradictory: here, equality under the law versus the need for special treatment for some people, the will of the majority versus the moral authority of the minority, public order versus disruptive cultural self-expression, and so on. In these vexed situations and similar ones, liberals try to surmount ideological contradiction and intellectual bankruptcy by deciding on a purely ad hoc basis in the interests of the victim du jour, frequently at the expense of the victim of the day before yesterday. This mental operation involves resort to a good deal of pretentious, vapid, and abstract language—the language of bureaucrats and politicians, which Orwell attributed to moral insincerity and intellectual dishonesty.
Mostly, though, the instinctive and panicked response of liberals on both sides of the Atlantic to the European refugee crisis reveals the degree to which the elites are alienated from ordinary people. This application of the word alienation is an invention of the Western left in the 1950’s to describe the withdrawal of sensitive and morally superior souls (almost always liberals or communists) from the materialistic wasteland created by the decadent bourgeoisie. By contrast, the contemporary left uses the word to identify those coarse-spirited and morally obtuse, even wicked, people who cannot tolerate life in enlightened liberal society: “populists,” “xenophobes,” “nativists,” “conservatives,” and otherwise unredeemed, and probably unredeemable, folk. For liberals, such people are eminently replaceable, and they don’t much care who replaces them, so long as they hail from multicultural backgrounds and are not white skinned—and that includes the “narrow sliver” who practice Taharrush gamea, for whom excuses can always be found in so noble a cause as enfolding the Third World into the Continent. Women and girls of Europe, you have nothing to lose but your chastity!
Liberals have fooled so many people for so much of the time over the past century that they have grown overconfident in the ability of their own propaganda to overwhelm popular opinion and even, through its incantatory powers, to alter reality itself. That confidence, together with liberalism’s ideological understanding of human nature, is its greatest weakness in this critical moment in Western history, blinding liberals not only to what is really going on in the world but to how real people see and understand what really is going on. In the liberal imagination, the demonstrable effects of mass migration and the Islamization of Europe, being insignificant or actually beneficial, are simply an excuse on the part of “right-wing extremists,” “xenophobes,” and “racists” to oust moderate liberal governments across Europe and to crush liberalism itself on the Continent. This is why the media speak sarcastically of “so-called patriots” and native militias patrolling the streets “in the name of protecting women.” It is why the United Nations condemns a bill passed by the Danish government to confiscate money and valuables from asylum seekers entering the country in order to pay for the costs they incur, on the grounds that it would offend their dignity and “could fuel fear, xenophobia and similar restrictions that would reduce—rather than expand—the asylum space globally and put refugees in need at life-threatening risks,” and why others have likened the proposed policy to the seizure of valuables from Jews by the Nazis during the holocaust. So dangerous a misreading of prevailing public sentiment by the rulers of Europe possibly has not occurred since 1848, when revolution convulsed the Continent. Should the European governments in the 21st century remain deaf and blind to the meaning of the events unfolding under their noses, the Spirit of 1848 may well awaken in 2018, or even earlier. But this time around it will be rebellion, not revolution, that they have to face.