Yikes! That Spiegel Online piece about Europe I linked below turns out to be a year old. I hadn’t noticed that. It’s still well worth a read of course, but no longer stands in evidence of a changed mood in Europe. Let me note, however, that it isn’t just this piece I had in mind when I said the mood in Europe may be changing.
For example, I was also thinking about this column from The Economist. The Economist tends to dismiss American critiques of “Eurabia” as scare-mongering. This piece, however, takes a far more somber line. What really stunned me was the very end, where the author seems to despair of resuscitating any notion of British national identity that might serve to unify Muslim and non-Muslim Britons. I think that reflects the sort of profound pessimism we see in folks like Steyn, but usually see pooh-poohed by the Economist and other European writers. It really is extraordinary to see the author of the Economist’s Bagehot column saying, “…it may be beyond the exhortations of worried well-meaning politicians to revive an idea of British national citizenship that is relevant and powerful enough to do what is needed.”
I think the author here is trapped by the Economist’s own position, which has long disparaged the importance of nation and culture, and focused almost exclusively on the significance of economics. Faced with the recognition that some relatively “thick” notion of British nationality and culture may need to be nurtured after all, the response is pessimism. In other words, once you stop denying, as the Economist tends to deny, that Muslim integration is a profoundly serious problem, the result is something like American-style Euro-pessimism.