The Strange Death of Europe - A Review
Title: The Strange Death Of Europe: Immigration Identity Islam
Dimensions: 352 pages, 9.59 × 6.4 × 1.24 in
Published: June 20, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
ISBN - 10:1472942248
ISBN - 13:9781472942241
This was a difficult book to review. It was difficult because it is impossible to summarize the contents without shortchanging the author. I wanted to be thorough in my review while at the same time be economical enough to write a review that readers could easily get through - I know how busy people are these days. You can be the judge as to whether or not I have accomplished this.
I prefer paper books to electronic format and that is what I used. I bought a pack of sticky-notes and had intended to use them throughout the book to note important and worthwhile points. I ran out of sticky-notes just after the one-third mark. This was irritating initially, but I cheered up when I realized that this fact simply confirmed what I was quickly becoming aware of: this book is jammed with important information and things that really are worth knowing and thinking about. In addition to presenting much new information and many new ideas, the author has also accomplished two things that brilliant writers and thinkers have accomplished throughout history. One of these accomplishments is that the reader will suddenly have an epiphany while reading a paragraph, and a once vague notion that the reader had held will suddenly be put into sharp focus, brilliantly articulated, and made completely clear. These are great moments for a reader. The other accomplishment is that the reader, if they are reading carefully, will acquire the gift of being well armed to enter combat over ideas.
Of these two achievements, the first can be very moving and highly enjoyable for the reader and can also leave the purchase price of the book easily forgotten. The second is more serious and actually contributes much to our civilization through public and private discourse. I think that the use of a military analogy is highly apt at this time in our history and on this topic. Readers who are familiar with the work of Russell, Hitchens, Mencken, Orwell, or Plato, are heavily armed. If you try to pass off pabulum or recycled platitudes onto such people you will find this out very quickly. I would suggest that this is the equivalent of being outfitted with a full set of body-armour and automatic weapons, while readers of Mother Jones or Salon will find themselves armed with a plastic sword, a cardboard vest, a tinfoil hat, and a wheeled plastic unicorn to ride on. This book falls firmly into the first category and will arm you very thoroughly and put you on a solid foundation should you wish to go forward and discuss the topics contained within. We are in serious times and we need serious people with serious ideas to partake in our public discussions. The book fills this role beautifully.
While I was reading the book I was trying to come up with a word or a phrase that would accurately describe what it is about. I put a lot of thought into this and would even think about it while I was out running. The word that kept coming to me was corruption. It's a book about corruption - the corruption of our political system, of our intellect, and of our language. It is also about the corresponding cowardice and apathy that allows corruption to grow and to spread. The book is much, much deeper than that, though, and also asks and answers some very deep philosophical questions. However, corruption dominates much of the book and the facts and figures provided make it an unavoidable topic. For example:
In the same month that these insistences that people 'get over it' emerged, a poll by YouGov found 67 per cent of the British public believed that immigration over the previous decade had been a 'bad thing in Britain'. Only 11 per cent believed that it had been a 'good thing'. This included majorities among voters for every one of the three major political parties. Poll after poll both before and since have found the same thing. As well as routinely prioritizing immigration as their number one concern, a majority of voters in Britain regularly described immigration as having negative impact on their public services and housing through overcrowding, as well as harming the nation's sense of identity. Page 26
Despite this, the country's government went ahead and allowed and encouraged mass immigration anyway. If this is not the corruption of a democratic system then I don't know what is.
Murray is also exceptionally good at noticing and pointing out the ironies and contradictions that this corruption produces. There are many examples of this to be found in the book and I will relay just three of them here.
In 2003, a report into anti-Semitism by the European Monitoring Center was quietly shelved when it found that the upsurge in anti-Semitic activity in Europe was caused by a rise in attacks on Jews by young Muslims. Yet despite such attempts to cover over the facts, the facts kept breaking out - often in the most brutal ways possible. - Page 142
The country that had allowed in hundreds of thousands of Muslims without expecting them to integrate, and which harboured some of the most radical preachers and cells in Europe, withdrew citizenship from one of the only immigrants who actually showed what a fully integrated immigrant to Holland would look like. Hirsi Ali moved to America, becoming, as Salman Rushdie subsequently put it, 'maybe the first refugee from Western Europe since the Holocaust'. - Page 155
...half of all Germans strongly feared terrorism as a result of the influx. Perhaps the most interesting was the finding that among foreign born Germans just 41 per cent wanted to see a continuation of mass immigration, with 28 per cent wishing to see it end completely. In other words Merkel had even lost the approval of migrants for her migration policy. - Page 256
The book is packed with such examples and Murray's skill here is something to be admired and appreciated. The information that he provides is extremely useful because it clearly shows the empty and deceptive nature of our political and media organizations, who collude in creating and enforcing false narratives. Some of this is summed up perfectly in chapter sixteen, where Murray very adeptly illustrates the parallels between the work of author Michel Houellebecq and the current situation in Europe. Near the end of this seven page exploration, he writes, "And of course the novel's truest conceit is the depiction of a class of politicians across the political divide so keen to be seen above all as 'anti-racist' that they end up flattering and ultimately handing over their own country to the worst and most swiftly growing racist movement of their time." This is a devastating critique of our culture, our entire political system, and our media organizations. The implications of this idea are huge and our political leaders had better take notice. If this is how something as important as our civilization is being handled, then we really are in serious trouble.
Another of the interesting contradictions that Murray points out in the book is the fact that mass-migration often hurts the working-poor first and most deeply. What is interesting about this is the fact that most often it is the virtue-signalling pro-mass-immigration politician who claims to speak for the poor. It really is about time to stop allowing politicians to have everything both ways. Wouldn't it be great, for once, if a politician actually came out and took a position on something important?
The book also contains many accounts of very serious and gruesome acts of violence committed by migrants. It is not enjoyable to read about violence; however, it is important to acknowledge that it exists and to also to explore the causes. What Murray does here is important in that it shows that if you were to rely on your public broadcaster or your local news outlets, you would have no idea how badly things are actually going in the mass-migration business. At the very least, these accounts should cause even the most sheltered and optimistic liberal to ask if unlimited mass-migration might not be such a good idea after all. It should also cause some people to ask themselves why they are learning of this frequently reoccurring violence only now. This is an important question. Our local news outlets and our public broadcasters seem to have an endless supply of time and money to relay "news" stories about deals on cell phones or how to use newly crafted gender pronouns correctly, and seem to miss the really important stuff altogether. Why is that? Murray details an account of a Frenchwoman and her three daughters - aged 8, 12, and 14 - who, in 2016, were stabbed by a Moroccan migrant for "dressing immodestly". While stabbing his victims he was yelling 'Allahu Akbar'. This is only one of many incidences that is detailed in the book and was also news to me. What all of this confirms is that the mainstream news industry is committing suicide. That's up to them if that's what they want to do. But unfortunately, if you live in a country with a bloated public broadcaster, you are forced to help fund their suicide, along with funding your own ignorance.
The book also explores the fraudulent nature of the whole mass-migration business. On some busy migrant routes, garbage cans full of identification papers have been found. This goes a long way to explaining the now all too frequent cases of criminal migrants who, upon arrest, turn out to not be 17 years old, as they had claimed, but actually in their 30's or 40's. This makes a mockery of our civilization as a whole. And on this topic as well, the media and our governments are silent. Murray also offers an explanation for this. He rightly states that the reason that many politicians are silent on many of these terrible situations is that they're the ones who created them. A politician has only two options here: either stay silent, or offer an apology. Offering an apology for fucking up your country would take tremendous courage. Have you ever seen an instance of a career politician acting in a way that required tremendous courage? We're much more likely to get silence on such an important issue. And besides, if they apologized, it would necessarily imply that they might take some action to try and correct their mistake. We know that this is unlikely to happen because it would force them to act in a way that would put them in the same category as their opponents, who they had just previous accused of racism and fear-mongering. Imagine being stupid enough to set that trap for yourself.
The philosophical and cultural questions that this book delves into are very deep and very interesting. There is no question that you'll get your money's worth here. There is far too much contained in the book to even attempt a coherent summary, and so, what I will do is relay a paragraph that was deeply meaningful to me personally, and I'll explain why. I have asked the publisher's permission to reprint the paragraph here and also in another article, which I will hopefully write very soon. I chose this paragraph because it beautifully articulates an idea that has been evolving in my and many other people's minds for some time now.
Then at some point in the last decade the winds of opinion began gently at first to blow in the contrary direction. They began to affirm what renegades and dissidents suggested in the post-war decades and admit, grudgingly, that Western liberal societies may in fact owe something to the religion from which they arose. This admission was not made because the evidence changed: that evidence was there all along. What changed was a growing awareness that other cultures now increasingly among us did not share all of our passions, prejudices or presumptions. The attempt to pretend that what has been believed and practiced in modern Europe is normal has taken repeated blows. Across some rather surprising learning moments - a terrorist attack here, an 'honour' killing there, a few cartoons somewhere else - the awareness grew that not everybody who had come to our societies shared our views. They did not share our views about equality between the sexes. They did not share our views on the primacy of reason over revelation. And they did not share our views on freedom and liberty. To put it another way, the unusual European settlement, drawn up from ancient Greece and Rome, catalysed by the Christian religion and refined through the fire of the Enlightenments, turned out to be a highly particular inheritance. - Page 261
This is followed by another paragraph, continuing on the same idea, just as beautifully written and ending with the following:
After all, how long can a society survive once it has unmoored itself from its founding source and drive? Perhaps we are in the process of finding out. - Page 262
These are deep questions. I used to be what you might call a militant atheist. I am still an atheist but no longer militant. My thinking on this topic has evolved so much that I would now say that my atheism is the least important thing about me. I would have laughed at this idea twenty years ago and it took a lot of reading and a lot of thinking to get here. One of my biggest hopes for our civilization is that atheists in the Western world will stop behaving like children who are mocking their parents after suddenly figuring out that Santa doesn't exist, and instead study the much larger picture of where we came from, how we got here, and where we are headed. I think that both the unity and the political force that could be created by this have the potential to be massive and important. Obviously, Murray is well onto this and has managed to put it much more eloquently than I have so far been able to do.
This book is a major achievement and it is obvious that much serious effort was put into it. It is my opinion, based on reading the book, that the author has a love of language, history, philosophy, politics, and the exploration of ideas in general. People like that tend to write very well and also to produce work with real staying power. This book is a major contribution to the topic of migration and it is written in such a way as to be very interesting while at the same time being very serious, detailed, and crammed full of important information. Therefore, the book is likely to be both very popular and extremely difficult to argue against with any credibility. In other words, it's a politician's nightmare. In fact, if I were a politician in Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, or Italy, and I read this book, I would be red-faced, clutching my most basic belongings, and skulking towards the nearest airport, head down and avoiding eye contact.
There is something else that is unique about this book. I have a fairly extensive library and I rarely lend books to people. The reason for this is that it is an odd thing about a book that when you lend it out you rarely get it back - unless you ask for it back, and I don't do that. There is something about a book itself that blurs the line between lending and giving. I have found that this has been very reliable over decades now and so I am very careful. This book, however, I will lend out, even though I like it. The reason is that the ideas contained within are important and it is essential that they work their way thoroughly out into our civilization. So, I recommend that you buy the book, read it twice, and then give to someone who might not otherwise get their hands on it.
I will finish up by saying that this book can be viewed in three different ways, depending on your perspective. If you are from Britain, the book is simply a depressing and detailed post-mortem report on your civilization. If you are an Islamist, it is a strategic manual. If you are Canadian, American, or Australian, the book is a grave warning of events to come if you blindly leave your country's affairs to your politicians and their compliant and sickly media machines. I think that the book will probably be most beneficial for Canadians, Americans, and Australians, as it is a warning that leaves no ambiguity about where we are headed if we carry on down the same path that some European countries have chosen. If you were ascending on a dangerous alpine hike at the wrong time of year, lost and low on supplies, and bumped into a group of descending hikers who warned you that you were going the wrong way and that you were headed for disaster, and that the correct path was just a hundred meters downhill and to the West, would you listen to them? I would. The Strange Death of Europe is a warning of exactly this type.