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Re: What’s the Answer?


Derb’s pessimistic post (even by his own impressive standards) concludes as follows:

The mass immigration of Muslims, in particular, seems like a really bad idea.

I’ve been mulling this one ever since Jonah got into a bit of back-and-forth in the wake of Fort Hood as to whether Islam itself is the problem.

Years ago, apropos a Spanish-language payphone in Vermont, I said I couldn’t understand why any country would voluntarily become bilingual. If you happen to find yourself in one for historic reasons, you make the best of it. I like anglophones and I like francophones but, if I were designing a jurisdiction from scratch, I wouldn’t include large numbers of both on the same patch of land. Not because they’ll be killing each other but because it’s a significant impediment to civic cohesion — because, for most people, it will mean you can’t share the same jokes, the same cultural allusions. In Quebec, they used to call it the “two solitudes” — which is a good way of putting it: parallel societies.

Islam is bilingualism on steroids. When the community reaches the size it’s now at in Yorkshire or Malmo or Rotterdam, it has the ability to self-segregate and you wind up on the road to “two solitudes,” parallel societies. (That partially explains the second- and third-generation disassimilation Derb references.) For example, we think of Amsterdam-to-Detroit as a flight between two Western cities. But if you’re Muslim it’s a flight between two outlying provinces of the dar al Islam — the fast Islamifying Amsterdam and Dearborn, Mich.

As I said, if you happen to find yourself in a bilingual society (which, as in Canada, is really two unilingual societies), you make the best of it. But I cannot see why any society would choose to become bilingual. Likewise, if you’re in Nigeria or southern Thailand or Kashmir, you make the best of it. 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?