Derbyshire and Steyn pretend to talk about Muslim immigration

Several readers have sent me an item by John Derbyshire on Muslim immigration and a reply by Mark Steyn. One reader writes:

It seems to be dawning on Mark Steyn and John Derbyshire that maybe Muslim immigration is not such a great idea.

In fact there is nothing new here. At the end of his blog entry, Derbyshire writes: “The mass immigration of Muslims, in particular, seems like a really bad idea.” But before he gets to that point, he specifically dismisses the idea of doing anything to stop the mass immigration of Muslims:

Stop issuing visas to Muslims? Identified how? By name? What about this guy?

Instead of grappling with the issue seriously, Derbyshire takes the most obvious objection, that not all Muslims have Muslim names, and acts as though that makes it impossible to do anything about Muslim immigration. For Derbyshire, the existence of a single Muslim who changed his name from Daood Gilani to David Headley kills any possibility of keeping Muslims out of this country.

Most of the rest of Derbyshire’s entry is taken up with irrelevant recollections about how the English felt when the first Pakistanis arrived in England decades ago. Far from applying himself to the issue that he raised, he resorts to his usual “reminiscing about England” escapism.

As for Steyn, he declines to deal with the immigration issue at all in his entry at the Corner, but talks around it. Indeed, apart from his quotation of Derbyshire, he does not once use the word “immigration.” The closest he can bear approaching the subject is to tell about an old idea of his—which takes up most of the entry—that one would not choose to turn a society into a bilingual society if one had any choice in the matter. Meaning, by analogy, that it would not be a good idea to allow the Islamization of the West if it could be prevented. Except that Steyn doesn’t actually say that. In short, he’s only recognizing the Muslim immigration problem (1) by implication (through his bilingualism example), and (2) retrospectively—suggesting, without actually saying so, that it would have been a good idea not to allow the Islamization of Europe in the first place. And, again, he’s only speaking about Islamization, not about the immigration that led to the Islamization.

As for what to do about it now, he says he has no idea:

But I can’t understand why any society would lightly volunteer to become semi-Muslim—which is what in effect Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany et al have done. And, once you’ve done so, like Derb says, what’s the answer?

Steyn has been writing about the Islamization of Europe for how many years, and he has no idea why the Europeans allowed this to happen or failed to stop it. Ironically, however, Steyn himself supplies the answer to that question, by his own evasive and politically correct handling of the Muslim issue. Through all those columns and his book about Islamization, he has never once mentioned the thing that allowed it to happen, Muslim immigration. The issue didn’t exist for him. The word never appeared in his writings, just as it does not appear in his present article (except for his quotation of Derbyshire). Steyn is like someone who has written dozens of articles and a best selling book about the problem of out-of-wedlock pregnancy, without once mentioning out-of-wedlock sex.

Thus Steyn through his own miserable example has answered his question: why would societies allow themselves to become semi-Muslim? If he, whom legions of brain dead conservatives regard as the top authority on the Islamization of Europe and indeed as a hero of the anti-Islamization cause, absolutely refused all these years even to refer to the fact that the Islamization of Europe had been and was still being brought about by Muslim immigration, let alone to say that therefore such immigration should be reduced or stopped, why should European leftists have done what the great conservative himself resolutely declined do so? Steyn, and the Europeans he looks askance at, all support or refuse to oppose Islamic immigration, because the ruling principle of both liberals and “conservatives” is that it’s wrong to discriminate against or exclude a non-Western or nonwhite group. If Steyn wants to understand the mental processes that allowed the disastrous growth of Islam in Europe, he only has to look at himself.

But what about the present? Well, in the usual manner of neocons, Steyn only notices that immigration is a problem (though, again, he never uses the word immigration) after the immigration has advanced so far that according to the neocon, nothing can be done about it. When something could have been done about it, your typical neocon stoutly denied that it was a problem and ridiculed people who thought that it was; but after the disaster has happened, and the neocon can no longer deny it, the neocon says, “Hey, gosh, that wasn’t such a good idea, was it? But it’s too late to do anything about it now.” I have shown many times this vicious pattern by which neocons prevent at every stage of the process any critical debate on immigration, thus facilitating the Third-Worldization of the West. And now we see Steyn doing the same.

There is, however, the implied idea in Steyn’s piece that since Islamization should not be allowed to reach the point of parallel societies, and since the Europeans have reached that point, and the U.S., by implication, has not, therefore the U.S. should stop Muslim immigration. But that’s only an implication buried deep in his reasoning. He doesn’t actually say that or anything approximating it.

Finally, I have a question of my own: why do so many members of the conservative base fail to realize that Derbyshire and Steyn are not serious men, but jokers and b.s. artists?

And the answer is that, at least when it comes to the fundamental issues of race, immigration, and civilizational survival, many of the conservatives are themselves not serious men. They are intellectual children. So they look to intellectual children as their representatives and leaders.

—end of initial entry—

LA writes:

See the previous time (which was also the first time ever) that Steyn dealt with Muslim immigration, in his Maclean’s article in August 2009 about Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe. In that article, as I showed, as soon as that Steyn acknowledged Caldwell’s point that Muslim by their very presence are going to change Europe into something else, he instantly returned to his usual defeatist point that there’s nothing we can do about this, because the Muslims are “young,” and Europe is “aging.” Also, he didn’t actually say that such a change was bad or undesirable.

Daniel S. writes (his comment was sent before the above entry was posted):

John Derbyshire presents us with a defeatist response in the wake of the Christmas Day jihad attack: Stop issuing visas to citizens of Muslim countries? No, the jihadis are all over. This next batch is British-born.

So, since there are already Western-born jihadists among us we should not keep others out? We may not be able to use the denial of visas to stop British or American born jihadists, but we can certainly stop those coming from Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Pakistan. Obviously visa denial alone will not end the Islamic threat, but it would be an important first step, so why does Derbyshire ridicule it?

Stop issuing visas to Muslims? Identified how? By name? What about this guy?

Again, Derbyshire tries using the exception to ignore the rule. Yes, jihadists can change their Arabic names to Western ones, but if they had been denied entry visas in the first place this would not be a problem. The case he brings up: David Headley, born Daood Gilani in Pakistan. If Gilani\Headley had been denied entry in the first place (he did not change his name until after coming to the U.S.) he would not have been able to conduct much of his anti-Western jihadist work.

So there’s a lesson: Mass non-European immigration into the West has highly unpredictable consequences. The mass immigration of Muslims, in particular, seem like a really bad idea.

Indeed, that is an important lesson, but Derbyshire does nothing with this knowledge. He brushes aside the suggested policies that would begin to address this looming problem. More dead ends from the establishment conservatives (be they neo or paleo).

LA writes:

Andrew McCarthy, responding to Derbyshire and Steyn, once again shows that he is one of the two or three intellectual adults at National Review. Unlike Derb and Steyn, who are incapable of forming concepts and only deal with issues in terms of anecdotes, jokes, and asides, McCarthy explains what jihad is about: it’s about imposing sharia over non-Muslim societies. Then he says:

The creation of parallel Muslim societies is not just an incidental by-product of living in a dynamic, mobile world. It is a jihad.

In other words, the issue here is not some generic “diversity.” It is a specific thing called Islam. We need to understand this specific thing, its nature, its structure. But Derbyshire has previously declared that Islam is not worth knowing about and that people who take Islam seriously and seek to explain it are neurotics who “need to get a life.” Steyn also is incapable of thinking about Islam in any more specific terms that it’s something vaguely unpleasant and threatening.

Derbyshire and Steyn will never rise to McCarthy’s level of adult conceptual thought, because to deal with concepts as distinct from playing with riffs and anecdotes and talking about their feelings and throwing off funny asides would not hold out any fun for them. And for Derbyshire and Steyn—as for girls, as the song goes—it’s all about having fun.

Richard Hoste:
As he doesn’t mention the word “immigration” either, I don’t see what you’re applauding. Who cares if they imply Islam is bad unpleasant or say it directly? None of them care to stop it.

LA replies:

Good point. He wasn’t responding to the immigration aspect of the discussion but underscoring the meaning of jihad as a central aspect of Islam aimed at implementing the rule of the Islamic law, which he felt that Derbyshire and Steyn were not seeing. However, in the past, McCarthy has made clear statements against Muslim immigration. For example, in an article in the Washington Times in October 2006, McCarthy and his co-author Herbert London, as part of a set of practical measures they were advocating against radical Islam, wrote that “Immigration from and aid to Muslim countries should be drastically reduced.” And let us remember that the number of establishment conservative Islam critics who have explicitly advocated the drastic reduction of Muslim immigration can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand.

However, since the current discussion at the Corner that McCarthy was responding to dealt with immigration, McCarthy should have brought it up there. A person who is serious about an issue brings it up repeatedly, not just once in a while. And this is especially the case when that issue is already the topic of the discussion at hand. (Readers may also be interested in this exchange I had with McCarthy at VFR in 2007 on whether we should be at war with Islam.)

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 29, 2009 03:30 PM | Send

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