A man without qualities diagnoses the Islamization of Europe

[The protaganist’s] ambivalence towards morals and indifference to life has brought him to the state of being “a man without qualities,” depending on the outer world to form his character. A kind of keenly analytical passivity is his most typical attitude.
—Wikipedia’s article on Robert Musil’s novel, The Man Without Qualities

Christopher Caldwell was interviewed by Brian Lamb on CSPAN last evening.

He said: “Books on immigration often take a dim view of Islam. My book is not like that. I take a respectful view of Islam.”

Then he said something like the familial values of Islam can be helpful to Europe.

Then he said: “I am describing a situation, I am not giving a policy brief to Europe…. It’s a description of situation on the ground, not a manifesto of what Europe ought to do about it.”

And why did he take this approach? “While I was writing the book, Europeans were mad at the U.S. over Iraq war, and were in no mood to take advice from an American.” Are we to believe that if the Europeans had not been mad at the U.S., Caldwell would have given them advice? Based on his entire personality and outlook, such an implication is impossible to credit.

Caldwell continued: “One thing that struck me was how much Europe’s institutions and values were being changed. When you go from a culture based on historic norms, to a culture based on mediating between different cultures, you lose a lot. Instead of just letting people go about their business, you have to have rules for everything.”

I have to say, as I said last week after listening to his interview with John Miller, that I find Caldwell a seriously unimpressive individual, a man without an intellectual center of gravity. However, while he lacks any good point of view (or any point of view at all), has no chest, and is not, even in his own estimation, looking at this issue as a man of the West looking at the West being mortally threatened by its ultimate adversary, perhaps, based on his close research into the facts on the ground, and his observations such as the last one I quoted above, he provides information and insights in his book that will be useful to men of the West.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 14, 2009 05:58 AM | Send

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