Thursday, May 18, 2006

Europe’s Two Culture Wars

From the current issue of Commentary magazine, an essay by George Weigel on what is fundamentally wrong with Europe.

Fundamental wrongs are usually spiritual.

In the case of Europe, Weigel sees two different culture wars on that continent.
The first of these wars . . . “Culture War A” — is a sharper form of the red state/blue state divide in America: a war between the postmodern forces of moral relativism and the defenders of traditional moral conviction. The second —“Culture War B” — is the struggle to define the nature of civil society, the meaning of tolerance and pluralism, and the limits of multiculturalism in an aging Europe whose below-replacement-level fertility rates have opened the door to rapidly growing and assertive Muslim populations.

The aggressors in Culture War A are radical secularists, motivated by what the legal scholar Joseph Weiler has dubbed “Christophobia.” They aim to eliminate the vestiges of Europe’s Judeo-Christian culture from a post-Christian European Union by demanding same-sex marriage in the name of equality, by restricting free speech in the name of civility, and by abrogating core aspects of religious freedom in the name of tolerance. The aggressors in Culture War B are radical and jihadist Muslims who detest the West, who are determined to impose Islamic taboos on Western societies by violent protest and other forms of coercion if necessary, and who see such operations as the first stage toward the Islamification of Europe. . . .

The question Europe must face, but which much of Europe seems reluctant to face, is whether the aggressors in Culture War A have not made it exceptionally difficult for the forces of true tolerance and authentic civil society to prevail in Culture War B.
Weigel’s detailed and subtle essay paints a picture of secular elites who are so enmeshed in fighting Culture War A that they are likely to lose Culture War B.

They can, in other words, summon the courage to attack declining Christian values, but not to confront militant Islam.

We frankly find our self thinking that they fully deserve to lose Culture War B, and that if they end up living under a rather fundamentalist Islamic regime, then justice will have been done.

But the collateral damage will be huge.


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