With the subtitle: ‘Immigration, Identity, Islam’, Douglas Murray’s latest book was always going to be controversial. The first few chapters depict the changing demographics of Europe: Muhammad is the most popular boys name in the United Kingdom for example, and in London, white Britons are now the minority.
The catalyst for the book seems to have been Angela Merkel’s decision to resettle 1.5 million migrants into Germany in August 2015. Murray wholly denounces the Western European response to the crisis. He blames an obsession with guilt, and a paranoia of the re-emergence of fascism and Nazism with an endless urge to atone for Europe’s ‘past sins’. But such levels of immigration are not sustainable, Murray argues, and will change the face of the continent forever.
Perhaps the most interesting chapter is number thirteen, titled ‘Tiredness’, which charts Murray’s philosophical thinking of contemporary Europe. Having confidently jettisoned Christianity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for Enlightenment values, progress, and belief in the goodwill of man, Europe now acts like an embarrassed old fool licking its wounds from the bloodbaths of the twentieth century. Europe it seems, has just about given up. It’s been there and got the tee shirt. Everything that gave so much reason for optimism at first: Communism, fascism (to some), the belief in progress, even Capitalism – all seemed to end with the deaths of millions of people. And in the absence of a solid faith-based society, most of our lives seem wanting; propped up with consumerism, even meaningless.
Europe’s last trump card seems to be its belief in post-Enlightenment values, such as human rights. But as Murray argues, these so-called ‘universal rights’ are little known of or cared for in the minds of millions of immigrants shaping the continent. Instead Europe is home to a confident and growing Muslim population fostering illiberalism – particularly towards gays (Murray himself is homosexual), Jews, and anyone who dares blaspheme the religion. And this is the crux of ‘The Strange Death of Europe’: the juxtaposition of a confident, rapidly growing minority versus a demoralised, tired and – due to low birth rates – shrinking native European majority. Murray’s view is this is a demographic time-bomb waiting to go off and with grave consequences.
Warning: ‘The Strange Death of Europe’ is a depressing read, but it is also an articulate and impressive argument from a stance so often denounced as racist with the ears covered. That doesn’t mean it should be ignored, however.