I have read two books that turned out to be truly prophetic. Not clairvoyant, mind you, just prescient. The authors were like Isaac Asimov’s futurologist Hari Seldon in his Foundation epic: they had a far-reaching grasp of how present trends would turn out. One of these books was Andrei Amalric’s Will the Soviet Union Survive until 1984? It was published in English in 1970 and already foresaw that the USSR must unravel because of irreconcilable ethnic tensions between the disparate Soviet “republics.” Okay, he was just a few years early.
The other book was Jean Raspail’s novel, The Camp of the Saints (English publication in 1975), whose title comes from Revelation 20:7-9: “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.” It suddenly occurred to the author one day as he relaxed at the beach: what if the inexhaustible hordes of the scarecrow poor from all over the Third World were to show up on the shores of affluent Europe? Would the survivor guilt of the liberal West sap any and all resistance to the invading army whose only weapon was their terrible neediness? Would Europe throw open its doors, welcoming the destruction of their culture with the famous last words, “Give me your tired, your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores”? You know they would. And now, in 2015, they have.
No one can question the motives of refugees from embattled Syria and other blasted zones of famine and pestilence. They would be fools not to seek a better life elsewhere, namely elsehere (for they come a-knocking at our chamber door, too). But one must not ignore the foreseeable consequences (Raspail, after all, foresaw them). In effect, if not intent, what we are witnessing is a colonization of the Jewish-Christian-secular West by the Islamic juggernaut. You may think me paranoid and racist, but I am neither. Such knee-jerk reactions are only expressions (and tools) of the self-righteous self-hatred that leaves the beleaguered West welcoming its own demise.
We can already see the advance of Finlandization (“Russia gets a cold and Finland sneezes.”), a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, whereby we are so fearful of accusations of “Islamophobia” that we whitewash militant Islam and make accommodations to Muslims that we would never make for Christians. Canada is at this very moment considering the adoption of blasphemy laws that would declare any criticism of Islam to be hate speech and deserving of prosecution. Maybe that’s what it will take for my Politically Correct atheist buddies to see what’s at stake. There will only be more of this pernicious nonsense the greater the proportion of inassimilable Muslims are brought in. Of course, many Muslim immigrants do assimilate, but many do not, as witness the troublesome Muslim enclaves in Dearborn and Minneapolis-Saint Paul.
But what is a tender-hearted European/American to do in the face of Muslim legions demanding entry? It is a “tough choice” such as politicians always jabber about but never seem willing to make. But Garrett Hardin was willing to make it. In his famous essay (titled more aptly than he could know!), “Lifeboat Ethics: the Case against Helping the Poor” (Psychology Today, September 1974), he dared to face the terrible question whether the affluent West ought to keep coming to the rescue of famine-stricken Third World nations. Leave aside the vital fact that no such famines have ever occurred in democratic nations, only under dictatorial regimes like Albania, Ethiopia, and North Korea, implying the famines were preventable and caused by rapacious misappropriation of resources (and of international famine relief!). Suppose the famines are due to the populations exceeding the carrying capacity of their land. If the West rushes in to provide the food, are we not only sowing the seeds of another, even worse, famine in the next generation? If the population is already disastrously huge, you know what is going to happen if we pump it up further via foreign aid. What is more heartless: to sit by and mourn at tragedy now, or to contribute to a worse disaster down the line? The dilemma is not doing the right thing versus refusing to do the right thing, but rather of salving our consciences in the short run at the price of causing even greater tragedy in the long (and not too long) run. Alas sentiment masquerades as morality.
Of course, as witness the vacuous platitudes of Pope Francis, Christian compassion is a case, perhaps the case, of sentiment masked as morality. Heedless of the foreseeable results, Christians urge unqualified mercy to all. What this amounts to is a mirror image of Islamo-fascist zealotry: the overruling of real-world considerations in favor of inflexible dogma. What I am saying is that such sweet Christian “political snake-handling” plays right into the violent hands of those who will sooner or later take advantage of it. But Joachim Kahl (The Misery of Christianity, 1971) was right: what do you expect from a religion whose moral epitome is a man surrendering himself to death? “What, after all, is the cross of Jesus Christ? It is nothing but the sum total of of a sado-masochistic glorification of pain” (p. 30). Does not Harvard theologian Gordon D. Kaufman say much the same thing? “In the cross were found meekness and submission, nonresistance to evil, self-sacrifice: and the resurrection meant that just this cross was the very revelation of God’s inmost nature” (Systematic Theology: A Historicist Perspective, p. 432).
But it is even worse than that, I’m afraid. Hardin bids us picture a lifeboat in a pitching sea, filled to capacity while many others are swimming and sinking in the surrounding waters. You see swimmers approaching and demanding to be taken aboard, but there is no room! What do you do? Your fellow soaked and sodden passengers start beating them away with their oars. But your conscience urges you to jump overboard to make room for one more. Never mind that your replacement is likely to lack your tender-heartedness. You will simply have extinguished the last ember of conscience in the boat, and from there on in, it’s Lord of the Flies. Congratulations.
The same issue arises when we consider the naïve absurdity of pacifism. You’re too pure to bloody your hands fighting Nazis? You’re only aiding their efforts, you fool! What a moral accomplishment.
But the rising tide of Muslim refugees from a region already ablaze with sectarian violence and insanity is not quite like that. The vast majority of refugees harbor no murderous aims. Of course not. But if you don’t think they embody a serious threat to Western civilization, take a long look at Western Europe and the cultural compromises they have already made. Europe is already morphing into Eurabia. Sweden is the prime case of cultural suicide and self-hatred. France welcomed an influx of North African Muslims years ago just to have worker bees to do their dirty work. The shrinking French population will bequeath their once-great civilization to those indifferent to it or contemptuous of it. Wait and see the bonfire of the vanities when the heirs of France turn the Louvre into a mosque. I hope I don’t live to see it.
To bring the issue to a point: we must decide whether quantity matters more than quality, whether the maintenance of Western Enlightenment values is worth sacrificing human lives, whether ours or others’. Most of us have no difficulty deciding when it is a question of standing up against armed invaders. But I suggest the issue is no different when the invaders are desperate seekers of a too-costly mercy. It is analogous to a mass of plague-bearers at the door: they’re already doomed; will it help them if we join their number? I for one do not fancy playing the role of the bleeding heart Father Panelou in Camus’s The Plague (another prophetic novel), who so sympathized with the plague sufferers to whom he ministered that he felt guilty not being one of them and then psychosomatically induced the symptoms and succumbed to them.
So says Zarathustra.