Stephen Walt on Anders Brevick, Immigration, and Western Culture

If there’s one characteristic that defines the European nationalist parties, it is that they have eschewed racialist rhetoric in favor of cultural arguments. Geert Wilders, Marine LePen, et al. have claimed that Islam is incompatible with Western culture—that Muslims refuse to assimilate and have values that are incompatible with Western modernity, particularly on women and sexuality.

Without doubt this tactic has made nationalist parties more acceptable to mainstream voters and more difficult to attack by the left. It is not possible to tar these parties with the ultimate post-WWII pejorative—”Nazi—which is sure to come up if one breathes a word about ethnic interests of Whites.

Now Stephen Walt, of Israel Lobby fame, attempts to undercut cultural conservative arguments that he associates with Breivik—“the idea that he is defending some fixed and sacred notion of the ‘Christian West,’ which is supposedly under siege by an aggressive alien culture” (“Breivik’s Warped Worldview“). (He’d doubtless disapprove even more of Breivik’s Nordicist proclivities.)

In my review of The Israel Lobby, I made the following point about Western elites:

Confronted with the moral critique of America emanating from elite universities and the media, the old Protestant intellectual establishment quickly yielded the high ground. Many of them became avid cheerleaders of the new multicultural zeitgeist that rejected the America and even the Americanism of their ancestors, to the point that the new zeitgeist has become a consensus among elites of all stripes. They accepted their own demographic decline, and they gave up their pretensions as cultural leaders and trend setters. And they implicitly paved the way for their eventual  loss of political power to other groups, some of which have historically conditioned grudges against them—a dangerous situation to say the least. In doing so, they became the pallbearers for their own people.

Sadly, this applies to Stephen Walt. In the current main TOO article, Charles Dodgson does an excellent job of refuting Walt’s moral indictments of the West. Right now I am reviewing Ricardo Duchesne’s The Uniqueness of Western Civilization—a book that I strongly recommend for intellectuals like Walt. Duchesne, a sociologist at the University of New Brunswik, is fond of showing how the critics of the West typically presuppose ideas whose origins are uniquely Western.

For example, in discussing the anti-Western attitudes of Franz Boas (one of my least favorite intellectuals), Duchesne notes,

there is … an unavoidable paradox contained in the very historical origins of cultural relativism, for its roots lie in the uniquely Western idea that there is a universal humanity. Starting with the Stoic cosmopolitan idea that each person is a member of a common cosmos, through to the Christian idea that all humans irrespective of local, ethnic or cultural origin were created by the same God, to the 16th-century idea that humans have a ‘natural’ rights-bearing disposition to life, liberty, and dignity, the West has long cultivated the notion of a universal humanity. (p. 31)

Even more pointedly, in his discussion of the fad among historians for a “blinkered, anti-Western” world history, Duchesne notes that

the trend toward a more even-handed evaluation of non-European peoples, initiated by Western scholars in the first half of the 20th century deserves to be acknowledged. It is, after all, a trend in character with the ideals of human rights and dignity advanced by European civilization. (p. 53; emphasis in text)

There is nothing in Breivik’s writings to suggest that he thinks that Western culture is “fixed.” Even a cursory glance at Western history indicates an extraordinary internal dynamism. Western culture has indeed been open to outside influences, but Duchesne notes that

the rise of this culture cannot be abstracted from the special developmental history of the Greek and Roman assemblies of citizens; the parliaments, municipal communes, universities, and estates of the medieval era; the reading societies, salons, journals and newspapers of the Enlightenment; the political parties, trade unions, and nationalist groups of the 19th century. … At the heart of Western modernity … is the ideal of freedom, and the ideal of a critical, self-reflexive public culture. (pp. 237–238)

Moreover, just because Western culture is not fixed and is open to outside influences does not mean that factors internal to Western civilization are not critical. In searching for the dynamism of the West, ultimately a great weight must be given to internal factors. This uniqueness comes down to the Western proclivity to individualism and its correlatives: the simple household, monogamy, exogamy, relative lack of ethnocentrism, relatively high position of women, moral universalism, science, and individual rights against the state—in my view a legacy of our history as northern hunter-gatherers. But of course, any appeal to evolved ethnic tendencies is anathema to contemporary academic elites in the West—a phenomenon that is, ironically perhaps, itself the result of ethnic conflict initiated and maintained by hostile and aggrieved ethnic outsiders.

And given the ethnic origins of the West, ethnic aliens are indeed a threat. Walt writes as if Breivik has no rational reason to be worried that 4% of the people living in Norway are Muslims. But all the projections indicate Muslims will be a majority in many European countries later this century. To suppose that European civilization can survive such a transformation is folly indeed. There is no culture where Islam dominates that has any of the characteristics of Western modernism mentioned above. As I am sure Walt would acknowledge, Western nation-building in the Middle East has been an abject failure; the West has had absolutely no success in implanting liberal culture in any part of the Muslim world. The Arab Spring is rapidly devolving into an Islamic nightmare.

The same may be said for African cultures where, for example, South Africa is steadily descending into barbarism, invidious nepotism, political authoritarianism, poverty, slavery, and lawlessness that characterize the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

I completely understand why European nationalist parties and Breivik wish to frame the struggle in terms of cultural conflict given the post-WWII intellectual climate of hostility toward evolutionary and biological thinking. Nor do I expect intellectuals like Stephen Walt to be sensitive to arguments that massive non-White immigration inevitably lowers the Darwinian fitness of the traditional peoples of Western immigrant-receiving countries.

In addition to declines in IQ, there is clearly natural selection against the Danish gene pool in general [resulting from non-Danish immigration]. That is, at the same time that Darwinian natural selection has been relaxed for IQ, immigration (especially non-Western immigration) has resulted in intense natural selection against Danes as an ethnic group, with the result that in the long run they will be displaced entirely. That is, if we continue these population projections well beyond 2072 when ethnic Danish births are projected to be 33% of the total births in Denmark, the births to ethnic Danes will become a vanishingly small percentage of the total births and there will be selection against genetic combinations unique to Northern Europe. For example, the genes underlying Nordic appearance … would become less and less common. This is Darwinian selection with a vengeance. (See here)

Clearly it is in the ethnic interests of Europeans to prevent their biological displacement.

However, even if one takes a completely cultural viewpoint, there is no reason for optimism. Walt writes that compared to people like Breivik, he has “greater confidence in the inherent strengths of a liberal society.”

I don’t. Any Whites who think that the liberal culture of the West with its roots in the European Enlightenment will persist when Whites become a minority are dreaming (see above_.

One might frame it in terms of a variation on Pascal’s Wager: A rational person should behave as though biological tendencies are critical for the construction of European culture(s) and therefore act to prevent large-scale immigration that could tip the demographic balance against Europeans. This is because Europeans have everything to lose if there is any possibility that allowing the traditional peoples of the West to become minorities in the societies they founded will result in disaster for Europeans at the hands of peoples with historical grudges against them or will result in the demise of liberal European political institutions—particularly personal freedoms which are completely absent in the Muslim world and foreign to Africa.

If we are indeed witnessing the demise of the West, as there is every reason to believe, elite intellectuals like Walt will bear a very large portion of the blame.

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