Allison's Reviews > America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It

America Alone by Mark Steyn
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Oct 29, 07

bookshelves: currently-reading
Read in October, 2007

The scariest thing about this book is the number of people it sucked into its black hole as easy as pie. I tried to find a single professional critique of the book and failed. Finally I hit the blogosphere and found the sanity debunking much of Steyn's claims.

People are taking everything Steyn says as unchecked Truth and Fact. Greatest Joke of all time. Steyn's writing style is jolted. He peppers his work with nonstop quips that add NOTHING to the reader's experience except to be an annoyance and to show how smart the author thinks he is. My biggest problem with the book is the complete lack of citation. Wikipedia has more footnotes than Steyn bothers to use (I think he used a grand total of one). While many of his Fertility rate stats were true (though rounded) the entire book is based off his single extrapolations. He launches into unwarranted racism and single mindedness and rarely backs himself up. He also uses the art of 'leaving things out' (e.g. the Islamic fertility rate is high, yes, but also falling rapidly).

This book was obviously a bunch of his articles lengthened and combined to make chapters. The whole piece could be condensed into a 10 page effort.

Despite all of what I said I would still recommend this to people but on the condition that they keep a VERY open mind. Steyn's viewpoints may not be all 'wrong' and should be listened to, but they should not be bought into like gift wrapped Answers to Life.
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Hugh Henry I find your review difficult to understand. You seem to disagree with everything Steyn says, yet you admit that his fertility stats are correct. The fertility rate stats are the cornerstone of his work, so you are really conceding his point. He observes that native Europeans are not having very many children and the Muslims immigrating into Europe are having several. What gives you the idea that Muslim fertility is falling rapidly? In Iraq, you can see flocks of children surrounding two or three women who are all wives of one man. Muslim women think they are worthless if they do not have children, as any midwife who has worked with them can tell you.

Allison Saying that Muslim fertility rates are rising is one thing, proving that this correlates to Islam taking over the world is another. A simple stat rule: correlation does not imply causation. I'm not disputing the situation in Pakistan and the Iranian Revolution, but saying that Europe is going to be "Eurabia" in 30 years seems far fetched.

America Alone is a book based almost wholly on opinion. Sure the barest of facts are correct and yes maybe that one Islamist extremist said those things, but he fails to back up any of his extrapolations in a very one sided argument. Many of the "stats" he uses are extremely tentative and unofficial. For many of his claims for every 20% stat you find another source saying 30 or 60%.
The book reads like one long diary entry rant and is poorly structured for the analytical reader.

Hugh Henry What other various possible explanations are you thinking of for Muslims having such high fertility rates not linked to Islam?
My sister, a nurse midwife, spent a month in Egypt and almost all of her out-patients were seeking assistance with getting pregnant because Muslim women have no value without children. When she told one woman who was obviously infertile that he had to find other ways to have worth, the interpreter, who was a Christian, refused to translate the message because Muslim women have only one source of value.
We can quibble over whether European countries will change hands in one generation or three, but the trends are in progress. If we both live long enough, we will find out whether the extrapolations are correct.

Allison If Christians have babies, there will be more Christians in the world. So Islam is gaining a larger - recently more vocal - representation.

I dispute Steyn's claim that this larger representation means a world sweeping Jihad. There were many points (in between the run-of-the-mouth-bullshit) which were interesting, if not valid, that he puts forth. Particularly the concept -or lack thereof - of Second Generation assimilation.

What prompted my low rating was what I considered a first draft style presentation. I can disagree with content and still like a book however steyn's patronizing and narcissistic narrative voice took away from any substance he might have held.

Hugh Henry Point well taken on Steyn's tone. I consider him entertaining and humorous. If we were not reading about violence in France by young Muslim men on a monthly basis and in the Netherlands a little less often, not to mention riots over the Danish cartoons, I would not fear a jihad in Europe either. The immigrants are creating enclaves of Muslim rule and refusing to assimilate. In France, there are places where the police cannot go safely.
If a large fertility among Muslims were the only population trend in Europe, the traditional European culture would face less of a threat. As it is, the influx of Muslim immigrants coincides with an enormous drop in fertility among native Europeans. In Greece and Italy, the rate has fallen below 1.3 children per woman. This may not signal the end of Greek culture, but no culture has ever recovered from such a low fertility rate. It is like Wesley and Buttercup in "Princess Bride."
Wesley: A few more steps and we'll be safe in the fire swamp.
Buttercup: We'll never survive.
Wesley: Nonesense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.
I'm enjoying this exchange of ideas. Do write again.

Allison I won't lie. I laughed - chuckled - at a few of Styen's one liners.

I saw CNN's "God's Warriors" partially last night. I don't know if you've seen it, but it focuses on Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. It's very good.

Steyn seems to believe that Europe is ready to roll over for Islam. In fact, he suggests it is too lazy by way of a large mothering government and is essentially already playing dead. I don't think that Islam will completely engulf Europe in 20 years, or in 50 years. Nor will it do so, if ever, without a fight. That's what our survival instinct is for. It is why Theo Van Gogh died and why a Jihad isn't going to fly in the long run.

I think there is a very vocal, terrifyingly wide-spread and influential woahobbian faction of Islam that's given the world the notion that Islam is out for blood. Muslims are more likely to identify themselves as Muslim first, French/American/Spanish/Hungarian second. The same is true for Christians (in fact a recent poll showed this to be true at a larger percent for American Christians). But isn't that natural? Faith > nationalism.
Steyn also mentions Islam's wish to go "back in time" to modernize - rescinding women's rights etc. In 2000 the Southern Baptist Church voted to prohibit women pastors. This "backward" modernization is partly what has the west's panties in a bunch. Do we stand by and watch as equality of the sexes, tolerance, and a "western way of life" is purged from an entire religion/region (Islam/Middle East)?

Hugh Henry How fittingly ironic that at the moment you were writing about how Southern Baptists are really just like Muslims, there were Muslims in Sudan pouring out of their Mosques to demand a death sentence for a British teacher. Teddy bears named Mohammed are so dangerous. Baptists do not have a history of placing women in pastoral positions - the SBC vote was simply deciding whether or not they would follow the actions of more liberal denominations. Women in America can attend seminary, seek ordination in plenty of other Christian denominations, and serve the Church in a wide variety of roles. Women in Saudi Arabia are forbidden to drive cars.
The thing that separates Christians from Muslims today is tolerance. Muslims in America go about their business undisturbed and people suffer no penalties for insulting Christianity. Artists can make paintings of "Mary" covered with manure and pornographic clippings, a crucifix in a vial of urine, etc., without fear of reprisals. Why did twelve Pakistanis have to die in riots over a completely false story of a Quran flushed down a toilet? Rioters in Nigeria executed pogroms against Christians because of the newspaper mentioning Mohammed and beauty queens.
Steyn asks whether Europeans have the will to resist the takeover of Islam. If this generation does not demonstrate the will, the next generation will not have the manpower, will or not, to resist. The election of Sarkozy in France may be a sign of will for survival on the part of the French. We shall see.

Hugh Henry Check it out: Great Britain just proposed granting welfare benefits to additional wives. One side is assimilating.

Dylan Um...didn't Steyn himself mention that all birth rates - including Islamic birth rates - are decreasing and that by 2050(?) they would be below the rate of replacement?

message 10: by Greg (new) - rated it 1 star

Greg On a more basic level . . .
This is a very limited variety of Islam. It is also the variant of Islam that one of the US's two biggest Middle East allies is literally *founded* on.

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