Tell me again about Europe and her pains,
Who’s tortured by the drought, who by the rains.
Glut me with floods where only the swine can row
Who cuts his throat and let him count his gains.
It seemed the best thing to be up and go.
— William Empson, from “Aubade”
Over the last two years Gates of Vienna has gradually become more Eurocentric than would be expected of an average American blog. A certain well-known lefty blog — I won’t stoop to name or link it here — has referred to us as “the Eurotrash version of LGF”. And with good reason. Who could disagree?
The more I investigate the Great Jihad, the more important Europe seems. The United States military fights on the front lines of the “War on Terror”, but Europeans live on the front lines. What happens in Europe is crucial: if the USA follows Denmark’s example, we can expect to defeat the Jihad. If we use Sweden as a model, we can put our head between our legs right now and kiss our collective fundament goodbye.
In either case, what happens in Europe foreshadows the shape of things to come here in the USA.
When I was in Copenhagen staying with Steen at his apartment, I had the privilege of sitting in on some extensive conversations with Fjordman. Most of the time it was just the three of us, but for a while late at night after the Counterjihad Summit, several other Danes were there, as well as Gaia, a British member of Vigilant Freedom. The group discussed a wide-ranging set of issues concerning Muslim immigration in Europe.
Fjordman and I agree that if Europe succumbs to the Jihad, then America won’t stand a chance — if they go down, we go down. We will last longer, but we will face the same fate. The European crisis stands before us to warn America of what is to come.
Our biggest problem isn’t that a crazed horde of mujahideen might have access to French nukes or British military hardware — although that most definitely is an issue for our national security. The real problem is that American political culture is not vastly different from its European counterpart. Their response to the Islamofascist crisis — dhimmitude, collapse, civil war, or a reawakened sense of national purpose — is likely to prefigure our own.
In Fjordman’s opinion, Sweden is more of a basket case than any other European country. Caught in a self-destructive spiral of immigration, high taxation, welfare spending, and denial, it faces a looming catastrophe.
“Paul Weston wrote on your blog that Europe will face a civil war by the year 2025,” he said, “but I think he underestimates how soon it will be. Within five to ten years at the most Swedish society will collapse. It can’t be avoided; the Swedish welfare state is simply unsustainable.
“But the civil war won’t start in Sweden. Sweden is too far gone. I think the civil war will appear first in Britain, which has the second-worst conditions. But the British still have a spirit of resistance.”
Gaia agreed vehemently. “People in Britain will eventually reach the breaking point,” she said. “Just beneath the surface people are really, really angry, and it will take just a little spark to set it off. The hostage situation in Iran only made it worse.”
The general discussion that followed reached a consensus on the outline of future events in the UK:
|1.||The British government continues its suicidal policy of promoting Multiculturalism and cracking down on British “racists”.|
|2.||A precipitating incident by an immigrant or group of immigrants sparks violence, with mobs of angry Britons taking the law into their own hands.|
|3.||The riot police and possibly military troops are summoned by the government to quell the “racist hooligans.”|
|4.||At this point a true civil war has begun, with the Government and civil authorities, in tacit alliance with the Islamists, fighting native Britons.|
|5.||Elements of the police and the military are reluctant to fight against their own countrymen — with whom they are in broad agreement — and they defect to the “racist” side of the conflict.|
|6.||Next step…? Perhaps a full civil war?|
Fjordman and Gaia both felt that Britain will eventually come through the bloody conflict, and finally give up its self-destructive policies, after paying a huge price.
Sweden, however is another matter entirely.
While I was at Steen’s he showed me a recently-published book entitled Exit Folkhemssverige: en samhällsmodells sönderfall (Exit “The Swedish People’s Home”: A Model Community Disintegrates) by Ingrid Björkman, Jan Elfverson, Jonathan Friedman, and Åke Wedin. It’s about the end of the “Swedish model” and the coming implosion of Sweden’s welfare state along with its historical social consensus.
Steen and Fjordman consider this an important book, and it's no surprise that it had trouble finding a publisher in Sweden. The authors supplied Steen with the text document of the entire book, and he has started a blog dedicated to its online publication, chapter by chapter. No English translation is available yet, however.
The ideal of Folkhemssverige has driven Swedish policy for more than sixty years, and the fact that it has become untenable is difficult for Swedes to accept. That, plus the stifling blanket of consensus that is an endemic part of Swedish culture, has made it virtually impossible to construct an alternative public policy, or even to discuss the possibility of one. The Swedish polity, chained to the anchor of the welfare state, is being dropped gagged and blindfolded into the multicultural lagoon.
No one I talked to, not even the Swedes, had much optimism for Sweden. But the Swedish delegates at the Counterjihad Summit were determined to do whatever they can to keep Fjordman’s dire predictions from coming true.
The European Union is a hybrid organization. It claims some of the attributes of a sovereign state, but on other issues allows its member states to exercise their customary sovereignty.
Borders, for example, are open within the EU. There may be checkpoints when crossing from one country to another, but at most inner EU borders, traffic flows freely.
Social welfare policies, on the other hand, are still under the control of the individual European states. As a result, Third World immigrants — many of whom subsist on state payments — tend to move to where the welfare programs are the most generous. The largest concentrations of Muslims are thus found in the big cities of Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, and Sweden. The country borders within the EU behave like permeable membranes between plant cells, with the osmotic pressure of welfare regulating the flow of rent-seekers from one country to another.
Since the Danish elections of 2001, when the current ruling party gained power, Denmark’s welfare policies for immigrants have remained strict and uninviting by European standards. Denmark has an immigrant population, but it is not growing, and Muslim immigrants from other parts of Europe do not find it an attractive destination.
Sweden, however, is at the opposite extreme. It stands as a shining beacon of opportunity for immigrants, supplying generous subsidies to newcomers and allowing for the addition of extended family members to immigrants already resident.
Since the border in South Jutland between Germany and Denmark is open and unpatrolled, immigrants simply walk across to Denmark from Germany and keep going. They cross the Øresund Bridge from Copenhagen to Sweden, take up residence in Malmö, and begin drawing their lavish state subsidies.
That’s an osmotic pressure causing a flow of people in one direction. But another flow works in the opposite direction — Swedes (or, rather, “persons of Swedish background”) are leaving Sweden for Denmark. Swedes who actually want to work for a living will find wages in Denmark that are on average 30% higher than those at home. Not only that, there is more to buy in Denmark, and at a lower price.
The Friday afternoon I was in Copenhagen, as we passed through the downtown area, Steen pointed out the crowds of people and said, “Those are all Swedes.” They come to Denmark to work, shop, and relax, and not all of them return to Sweden.
So the population dynamic in Sweden is a complex one, with the productive, law-abiding, and hard-working Swedes tending to move across the bridge, leaving behind the elderly and the layabouts — and the immigrants. It’s a vicious circle that is depleting Sweden of both its fiscal and human capital.
With productivity in severe decline, Sweden relies on increasing debt to maintain the system in its current form. According to Fjordman, Norway — which is flush with North Sea oil money — holds a lot of Swedish paper, but the load on Sweden will soon become unsustainable. The crunch will come; the bubble will burst, and the dream that was Folkhemssverige will be gone.
“When the Swedish welfare state collapses,” said Fjordman, “the immigrants who lose their payments will have to go somewhere. Denmark will probably be fairly successful at keeping them out. A lot of them will migrate to Norway, some will move to Germany and the Netherlands, and some will probably end up in Eastern Europe.”
I asked him what would become of Sweden.
“Sweden as we know it now will cease to exist. It’s hard to say what will take its place. It’s not a pleasant thing to contemplate.”
So civil war comes first to Britain, and social collapse comes first to Sweden. What’s in store for the rest of Europe?
Fjordman sees different outcomes in different countries, depending on the policies of the individual governments. As civil unrest increases, it’s possible that ethnic homogeneity will increase along with it. Immigrants will concentrate in the major cities to form de facto Islamic states, while native Europeans take refuge in the smaller towns and countryside, and resist further immigration and Islamification.
“Europe may well become a patchwork of different kinds of states,” he said, “with Sharia installed in places like Rotterdam and Hamburg, and more rural areas maintaining the traditional culture.”
But when the welfare spigot is turned off, expect the conflict to intensify and become more brutal. Cities teeming with large immigrant groups — whose families may lose their customary means of support — could become predators on the surrounding areas.
“I expect that in thirty or forty years, much of Europe will become something that would be currently unrecognizable.”
I noted that many people who are my age or older are saying things like, “Boy, I’m glad I won’t be around to see all this happen.” But Fjordman — assuming that a fatwa doesn’t find him first — will live to see these changes. That’s why he’s so determined to get the word out.
“It will happen in my time,” he said.
Dymphna has called Fjordman “the Dark Prophet of Norway”, and with good reason. But, despite all the gloomy forecasts, he holds out a kind of guarded optimism. Not all of Europe is doomed.
“Some European countries are starting to wake up and resist,” he said. “Not all of them will resist successfully — parts of Europe will inevitably become Islamic — but some will be successful. That’s where I disagree with Mark Steyn.
“Those countries that rediscover the value of the nation state as the natural source of democracy will develop a healthy political culture. That’s what I hope to live to see.”
Update: Fjordman has asked me to add this:
I would still not say that is inevitable that some parts of Europe will go Islamic, even Sweden or Holland, but the likelihood is certainly considerable. The reason why I like to draw up different scenarios in some of my posts is to remind myself and others that the future is not yet written. Fatalism is an Islamic trait, not a Western one. To be Western means upholding the belief that individuals, including yourself, can affect and change the future. We should not resign to defeatism, especially while we still have a chance to change the course of history. If we don’t do anything, then yes, this will be the end result. All the more reason to work hard on anti-Jihad activities.
Thanks to our Swedish correspondent LN for sending me the “Far, var var du?” illustration.