Caldwell’s reflections

There are many excellent books on the European crisis reflected by the events in Paris this past week. Among them I would cite Bat Ye’or’s Eurabia, Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept, Melanie Phillips’s Londonistan, and Claire Berlinski’s Menace in Europe.

If I had to pick one to recommend, I’m not sure which I would pick. I find myself returning frequently to one book that falls into this category: Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West. The book was the subject of a useful review by Anne Applebaum published in the New Republic.

The book is well written, in an almost aphoristic style. Chapter 4 is titled “Fear masquerading as tolerance.” In chapter 4’s section on Diversity and self-loathing, Caldwell writes:

Diversity described both a sociological reality (there were more foreign looking people around) and an ideology (there ought to be more foreign looking people around). The ideology was perfectly in tune with the neutrality among cultures espoused by the builders of the European ideal. Diversity, though, could never really be a stable or neutral ideal because Europeans did not know enough about other cultures to make it one. Diversity meant rooting out traditions that excluded people and trammeled the liberties of newcomers. All cultures have many such traditions. But while Europeans could easily dismantle their own prejudices, the prejudices of other ethnic groups were, quite naturally, invisible to them. At the heart of European universalism was European provincialism.

We are victims of a similar provincialism with a whopping dollop of the left’s hatred of the United States thrown in for good measure.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn’s America Alone also belongs on my list.

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