At The Financial Times: Christopher Caldwell on Trump & Trumpism, a comment by Political Reporter

It has been some time since we have read Mr. Caldwell in the pages of The Financial Times. As background to reading Caldwell on the American Trump phenomenon, and to further the readers knowledge of his idiosyncratic Neo-Conservative world view, in The Age of Terror, one could not find a better critic than Marxist Historian Perry Anderson. Here is a excerpt of Anderson’s reviews of  Caldwell’s book ‘ Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West’, the last three paragraphs of that review are instructive:

In nevertheless suggesting that Europe is confronted with an all but revolutionary danger to its traditional being, Caldwell not only overstates the problems that Muslim minorities – which still amount to no more than about five per cent of the population of Western Europe – present to the EU, but unusually for such a cogent writer, falls into contradiction with himself. On the one hand, he declares that “the conditions unifying Europe culturally have not been better for decades, and Islam is part of the reason why. Renewed acquaintance with Islam has given Europeans a stronger idea of what Europe is, because it has given them a stronger idea of what Europe is not”. On the other hand, he pronounces Europe to be “a civilization in decline”, in which many Europeans already feel themselves exiles in their own homelands, as the number of immigrants rises around them, and an alien creed looms ever larger.

His final word is that “Europe finds itself in a contest with Islam for the allegiance of its newcomers. For now, Islam is the stronger party in that contest, in an obvious demographic way and in a less obvious philosophical way. In such circumstances, words like ‘majority’ and ‘minority’: mean little. When an insecure, malleable, relativistic culture meets a culture that is anchored, confident and strengthed by common doctrines, it is generally the former that changes to suit the latter”.

Both judgements cannot be right. But they can be, and are, equally mistaken. Europe is neither being galvanized into a new sense of unity by the reemergence of Islam as its historic adversary, nor demoralized by the superior faith of its Muslim immigrants. If it has cause for disarray, that lies elsewhere, in the combination of servility and resentment it regularly displays in its role as camp-follower of the American hegemon. So far as its relations with the world of Islam are concerned, the best thing that could happen to Europe would be for it to be evicted, bag and baggage, from the Middle East, along with its overlord. That would be a revolution worthy of the name.

‘The bogeyman of Islamism’ is no stranger to Mr. Caldwell!

Political Reporter


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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