In the New Yorker's profile of Joseph Lieberman (see below), Lieberman mentions a book with which readers of The New York Times may be unfamiliar. That's because the book, despite getting notice in virtually every other publication on earth and … Read More
In the New Yorker's profile of Joseph Lieberman (see below), Lieberman mentions a book with which readers of The New York Times may be unfamiliar. That's because the book, despite getting notice in virtually every other publication on earth and appearing on the Times nonfiction bestseller list, hasn't been reviewed in the Times. The book was published in September 2006, so we've given up hoping that the Times will correct this . . . oversight. You'll just have to take Lieberman's word for it:
In another conversation, he told me that he was reading “America Alone,” a book by the conservative commentator Mark Steyn, which argues that Europe is succumbing, demographically and culturally, to an onslaught by Islam, leaving America friendless in its confrontation with Islamic extremism.
“The thing I quote most from it is the power of demographics, in Europe particularly,” Lieberman said. “That’s what struck me the most. But the other part is a kind of confirmation of what I know and what I’ve read elsewhere, which is that Islamist extremism has an ideology, and it’s expansionist, it’s an aggressive ideology. And the title I took to mean that we Americans will have ultimate responsibility for stopping this expansionism.”
Yes, this is a shameless plug: Steyn was for a long time the theater critic of The New Criterion, where I used to work, and he remains a contributor. (I hear through the grapevine that he's going to review Zachary Leader's Amis bio for TNC.) But this book really is as important as Lieberman—to say nothing of dozens and dozens of Amazon.com users—seems to think. What is the Times's snub if not an admission that America Alone is highly flammable? But don't take my word for it. Don't even take Joe Lieberman's. Take the Hitch's. His qualified, but very serious and very detailed, review in City Journal of Steyn's book is a testament to its value (though it is, and I'd rarely say this about Hitchens, not as much fun as the book itself). Of particular interest are his recommendations for improving Steyn's argument:
Steyn is much more definite about the cultural side of his argument, in other words, than about the counterterrorist dimension. If I wanted to sharpen both prongs of his thesis, I would also propose the following:
1. An end to one-way multiculturalism and to the cultural masochism that goes with it. The Koran does not mandate the wearing of veils or genital mutilation, and until recently only those who apostasized from Islam faced the threat of punishment by death. Now, though, all manner of antisocial practices find themselves validated in the name of religion, and mullahs have begun to issue threats even against non-Muslims for criticism of Islam. This creeping Islamism must cease at once, and those responsible must feel the full weight of the law. Meanwhile, we should insist on reciprocity at all times. We should not allow a single Saudi dollar to pay for propaganda within the U.S., for example, until Saudi Arabia also permits Jewish and Christian and secular practices. No Wahhabi-printed Korans anywhere in our prison system. No Salafist imams in our armed forces.
There are seven more. Read the whole thing here.