There’s an Islamist insurgency in Europe, especially in 10-percent Muslim France. Its grassroots militia, a minority of the minority, is only part of the problem. Much of the problem is an active polity ensconced in country that shares none of the host nation’s history or traditions and has no qualms about imposing a foreign regime on their “neighbors,” democratically or otherwise.
While the civil threat was metastasizing, European liberals genuflecting to their multiculturalist god pretended there was no problem that public secularization and buying social peace with taxes couldn’t fix. They naively abandoned the unique, subjective spiritual material of life. They resolved nothing was worth dying for. In turn nothing was worth standing for.
They allowed any sort of people to cross their borders because the lesson they learned from World War I and World War II was nationalism is bad, and that any basis for rejecting immigrants is really latent racism, the gravest sin. But is transnational socialism an improvement on national socialism?
Natan Sharansky cautioned against the error of post-nationalism in his 2008 book Defending Identity, which made his opposition to France’s burqa ban confusing, to say the least. Not all identities are created equal. The correlation between burqa wearing and illiberal shariah is high. French values, such as they are, cannot coincide with shariah. Nothing loves paint like a blank canvas, and in the end there is only one canvas, one culture. Sharansky seems to have walked back his opposition to the burqa ban. He told the Times of Israel shortly after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist massacre:
The French stance ought to be that “if you want to become a citizen of France you should have to accept that the culture that you will live in is the culture of human rights and liberty. And if you don’t want this, if you say, ‘Sorry, but my culture is that of the Koran,’ then you can be the citizen of some other country.”
Liberalism, then, is only possible when one national, cultural identity is operative for all citizens. If it’s not operative for all, then it must be illiberally enforced. Liberalism by definition fails when its central thesis is put to the test. It doesn’t exist.
Europe is learning just how valuable trust is to civil society. You expect your car won’t get vandalized in the Wal-Mart parking lot because you trust there are no vandals—none that the public won’t deal with swiftly, at least. But what if one in ten people is a vandal, or would protect a vandal? Is your car safe then?
Now the cancer is in an advanced stage. It’s too widespread to contain, unless the Europeans settle their differences with a totalitarian security apparatus.