“Two Solitudes”

Mom is from Quebec, Dad (was) from Saskatchewan – and yet they made it work.  L’on est bien faible quand on est amoureux.*

It’s a wee bit tougher on a national scale, eh?  Here Mark Steyn draws a terrific analogy between bilingualism and Islam:

Re: What’s The Answer? [Mark Steyn]

Derb’s pessimistic post (even by his own impressive standards) concludes as follows:

The mass immigration of Muslims, in particular, seems like a really bad idea.

I’ve been mulling this one ever since Jonah got into a bit of back-and-forth in the wake of Fort Hood as to whether Islam itself is the problem.

Years ago, apropos a Spanish-language payphone in Vermont, I said I couldn’t understand why any country would voluntarily become bilingual. If you happen to find yourself in one for historic reasons, you make the best of it. I like anglophones and I like francophones but, if I were designing a jurisdiction from scratch, I wouldn’t include large numbers of both on the same patch of land. Not because they’ll be killing each other but because it’s a significant impediment to civic cohesion – because, for most people, it will mean you can’t share the same jokes, the same cultural allusions. In Quebec, they used to call it the “two solitudes” – which is a good way of putting it: parallel societies.

Islam is bilingualism on steroids. When the community reaches the size it’s now at in Yorkshire or Malmo or Rotterdam, it has the ability to self-segregate and you wind up on the road to “two solitudes”, parallel societies. (That partially explains the second- and third-generation disassimilation Derb references.) For example, we think of Amsterdam-to-Detroit as a flight between two western cities. But if you’re Muslim it’s a flight between two outlying provinces of the dar al Islam – the fast Islamifying Amsterdam and Dearborn, Michigan.

As I said, if you happen to find yourself in a bilingual society (which, as in Canada, is really two unilingual societies), you make the best of it. But I cannot see why any society would choose to become bilingual. Likewise, if you’re in Nigeria or southern Thailand or Kashmir, you make the best of it. But I can’t understand why any society would lightly volunteer to become semi-Muslim – which is what in effect Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany et al have done. And, once you’ve done so, like Derb says, what’s the answer?

12/28 11:40 PM

*One is very weak when one is in love

What’s the Answer? [John Derbyshire]

I emerge blinking and disoriented from my Christmas-time battle with the Ravensburger Corp. to learn of this latest attempt to blow up a passenger plane.

It seems that our federal government is unable to locate its own rear end with both hands and a flashlight. What a surprise!

Planes are flimsy things. They have to be to get off the ground. If, as seems likely, we are in an arms race between, on one side, crazy jihadis fired up with visions of paradise, and on the other, bored airport-security personnel on minimum wage, it looks inevitable that sooner or later the jihadis will score one. What’s to be done?

• Stop issuing visas to citizens of Muslim countires? No, the jihadis are all over. This next batch is British-born.

Cops fear that 25 British-born Muslims are plotting to bomb Western airliners. The fanatics, in five groups, are now training at secret terror camps in Yemen … The British extremists in Yemen are in their early 20s and from Bradford, Luton and Leytonstone, East London. They are due to return to the UK early in 2010 and will then await Internet instructions from al-Qaeda on when to strike.

• Stop issuing visas to Muslims? Identified how? By name? What about this guy?

• Trust the feddle gubmint to maintain efficient databases on terror suspects? Ha ha ha ha ha!

• Trust the Department of Homeland Security to keep one step ahead of jihadi ingenuity? Woo-hoo hoo hoo!

• Vanquish evil at its source? Okay, how’s that going? Not so well.

It seems to me that the future of commercial air travel is not bright. The business is already part-militarized; and military protocols don’t mix well with commerce. A rash of successful terrorist bombings could kill off the whole industry. Perhaps we shall regress to each nation just having one national airline. Won’t that be fun! Or perhaps we’ll find some other way to get about.

One item missing from VDH’s list of lessons to be learned is the surprises you get from the second generation in an age of mass immigration from non-European countries. I can remember the first Pakistanis (which at that time included Bangladeshis) showing up in England. They weren’t much liked: As people have been noticing since Chaucer’s time, the English just don’t care for foreigners. There were some unpleasant “Paki jokes” going round in the late 1960s. It was distaste for people with strange habits, though; there was no element of fear. As the first generation settled in, a grudging acceptance developed. The local corner shop was taken over by a family from Pakistan, who seemed nice enough; and the fast-food place on the next block did a lovely chicken curry. I can’t recall anyone even thinking that there were Islamic terrorists in Britain’s future.

So there’s a lesson: Mass non-European immigration into the West has highly unpredictable consequences. The mass immigration of Muslims, in particular, seem like a really bad idea.

12/28 02:11 PM

This entry was posted in Culture and Religion, Foreign Affairs, Freedom, Politics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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