A Masterly Look at Europe – Why Douglas Murray’s New Book is a Must Read
“Europe is committing suicide,” writes Douglas Murray in the first sentence of his erudite, dispiriting, and indispensable new book, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam. In words that I agree with but that put the matter in a way so stark that they even made me catch my breath, Murray predicts that “by the end of the life spans of most people currently alive Europe will not be Europe and the peoples of Europe will have lost the only place the world we had to call home.” This cataclysm, in Murray’s view, has two causes: mass immigration and Europeans’ loss of faith in European “beliefs, traditions and legitimacy.” Europeans feel guilty about their past; they’re “jaded,” weighted down by an “existential tiredness,” a feeling that their corner of the world “has run out of steam” and that their culture, for which they have insufficient regard, might just as well be replaced by another.
Murray (a prolific author, debater, and commentator who, at the age of 37, is perhaps Britain’s most eloquent critic of Islam and mass immigration) starts with his own country – namely with Conservative MP Enoch Powell, one of the most brilliant and accomplished men of his time, who in 1968 gave an extraordinary prescient oration, the so-called “Rivers of Blood” speech, in which he warned of the long-term results of UK immigration policy. Instead of prompting the immigration controls that 75% of his countrymen wanted even back then, the speech ended Powell’s career and made his name synonymous with hatred. Three out of four members of the general public were with him, but to the elite he was Hitler – and his instant official disgrace made it impossible, during the ensuing decades, to have anything remotely resembling an honest public debate on immigration. The Muslims kept pouring in, and though most Brits disapproved, they kept their heads down, shrugging silently. What else could they do? They knew that if they spoke up, they’d get the Powell treatment.
Meanwhile, slightly different versions of the same tragedy (or farce?) were being played out across northwestern Europe. Everywhere, the natives were lied to by their politicians and media: the scale of immigration, they were told, was far lower than widely believed; their country had always been “a nation of immigrants”; immigrants represented a net economic asset; crime statistics were inflated; and, naturally, Islam was a religion of peace. Those who criticized immigration – because they saw their culture disappearing, their secular democracy challenged, their taxes going to support indolent, criminal aliens, and their own access to housing and schools cut off by policies that favored foreigners – were called racists and nationalists, were accused of being fixated on skin color, and were ridiculed for failing to have a sophisticated enough appreciation of the value of cultural diversity.