Mark Steyn kicks off the new year in familiar guise, in the New Criterion, with his trusty demographic diagnosis concerning the future of Europe, which, to him, looks distinctly Islamic.
Persuasive, up to a point. Steyn says Europe will see a Muslim majority by the middle of the century. "Native" Europeans are no longer having enough babies, whilst Muslims represent the biggest growing segment of the population in many regions. Ergo, Steyn reckons, the Muslim majority will soon achieve either civil war or Sharia law.
As often, Steyn lays into liberal pieties and unwary, loose-tongued celebrities with gay abandon - Cameron Diaz gets it in the neck, and some throwaway otiosities she made are duly skewered.
Good knockabout fun. But one has to wonder whether the millions of Muslim citizens - who come to Europe to make money in an environment where it is possible for them to do so, are really clamouring to dismantle the system from which they benefit.
So how keen are Muslims to be ruled by mullahs, once they have lived in the west? It is true that westernised Muslims of the most well-integrated sort sometimes turn to Islamist jihad, as the suicide bombings in Britain last July showed. But they are a tiny minority amongst Muslims. Some would say that the riots in France this winter, which had little to do with a global jihad, show that marginalised Muslims will easily turn to violence against the laws of their host countries. But it is difficult to accept this as a model for what will happen across Europe, if only because so many Muslims are prospering here, and have been doing so for generations now.
Mark Steyn's demographic diagnosis is designed to make our flesh creep. He fails, not so much because his argument is overfamiliar, but because it is based on a false assumption: that the Muslim majority is gunning to establish shariah law across Europe. Further, Steyn discounts the effects of wealth creation on the attitudes of Muslim immigrant families. Long may they prosper.
The New Criterion ? It?s the demography, stupid