1. Europe is on fire. It has been for some time. Roughly half a century after World War II, it is being conquered, by degrees, with no battle. That last terrible war destroyed the national idea and made Western-style democracy vulnerable to the dangers that threaten its existence with no real ability to cope with them.
The intellectual elite that once held those societies together is now working hard to destroy them. Sophisticated ways of thinking are being employed to keep these societies from defending themselves. Europe does not know how to deal with the millions of Muslims who do not want to integrate into Western society and do not accept Western codes, and some of whom state openly that their goal is Europe's defeat.
Sweden is perhaps the most fascinating case of all. It is there that Western liberalism reached its peak in its willingness to take in millions of immigrants (almost 2 million out of less than 10 million), most of them Muslims. The legal system, the media and the welfare system, among others, have mobilized to promote acceptance of the other, the different, the persecuted. But the blood-drenched rioting that has been going on in Stockholm in recent weeks creates the impression that all that acceptance was in vain. The situation in France, where suburban areas are described as powder kegs, is much worse.
2. In 2005, during the riots in France, the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut said in an interview with Haaretz, "In France, they would like very much to reduce these riots to their social dimension, to see them as a revolt of youths from the suburbs against their situation, against the discrimination they suffer from, against the unemployment. The problem is that most of these youths are blacks or Arabs, with a Muslim identity. Look, in France there are also other immigrants whose situation is difficult -- Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese -- and they're not taking part in the riots. Therefore, it is clear that this is a revolt with an ethno-religious character."
He added that to see the hatred and violence only as a reaction to French racism was "to be blind to a broader hatred: the hatred for the West, which is deemed guilty of all crimes." France was exposed to it then. Sweden and London are being exposed to it now, or previously. Who remembers?
People were appalled by the beheading of the British soldier in broad daylight on a London street. But what are they going to do about it? The murderers converted to Islam several years ago and underwent a rapid transformation. That must never be mentioned; anyone who talks about it will be branded a racist. Incidentally, the French left wing attacked Finkielkraut after his interview with Haaretz, forcing him to retract his statements. He even joined the Geneva peace initiative. Maybe that is why very few intellectuals repeat his accurate observations openly. Nobody wants to get into trouble with the thought police.
So if the reason in France has nothing to do with religious, ethnic or national differences, but only issues of social justice, why was that British soldier beheaded? British commentators offered a possible motive: the British military's intervention in Muslim states. In other words: It's our fault.
In Western countries, any public figure who warns that the riots are not about economic issues alone, but are also an existential threat, is attacked by the gatekeepers and accused of xenophobia, extremism, racism and other high crimes deserving of the mark of Cain.
3. In the first half of the 1980s, the journalist and philosopher Jean-Francois Revel published his book, "How Democracies Perish." While Revel was referring to the conflict between the West and the Soviet regime, his statements are also appropriate for any sort of totalitarianism, including the Islamic version.
One could paraphrase Revel's statements by saying that the conflict between Islam and the West is like a soccer game in which one team disqualifies itself from going past the half-way line while the other plays freely inside its rival's 18-yard box. While Islam treats its rivals (including those who pose no active danger to it) as threatening its very existence and works for their destruction, the West treats subversive elements who actively endanger its existence as mere rivals with whom it has a simple disagreement, no more.
The outcome of this essential difference between these systems is that compared with totalitarian regimes, democracies are far less capable of defending themselves against enemies from within. Islam is exploiting this to the hilt in both the spreading of global terrorism and the creeping takeover of the West.
Democracies tend to ignore and even deny threats to their existence because they are reluctant, actually unwilling, to do what is necessary to cope with those threats. In other words, democracies like to calm the situation down and not rouse the demon from his lair (even though the demon awoke long ago and has been threatening to swallow them for some time), mostly by justifying and encouraging "moderate" elements over "radical" ones. Sound familiar?
4. In September 1938, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Italy signed the Munich agreement, giving Germany the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. The agreement, which was considered an act of appeasement of Nazi Germany, is considered responsible for the outbreak of World War II a year later. It also hastened the collapse of Czechoslovakia, which was dismantled six months before the war broke out.
Afterward, Chamberlain returned to London with his famous umbrella, waving the paper signed by Hitler and proclaiming "peace in our time." Right after the agreement was signed, the French diplomatic corps described Hitler as trapped between the "radical" Goebbels and Himmler and the "moderate" Goering. The tyrant, they said, had to be supported so that he would not fall into the hands of the radicals. Recognizing the West's feeble character, Stalin, too, demanded concessions from the Roosevelt administration, claiming that the Politburo was criticizing him for his tendency toward liberal reform.
Thus, in their pursuit of peace and quiet, the Western democracies believe -- even after making countless concessions that have brought neither peace nor quiet -- that if we make more gestures the situation will calm down, even if for only a few years.
Democracies have a tendency toward selective amnesia when it comes to history. "As things are now ... only the West's failures, crimes and weaknesses deserve to be recorded by history," while totalitarian regimes are always about to experience "reform," "change" or a "spring," and peace is always just around the corner.
Because of that, many historians in the West deal only with documenting atrocities committed by the West. Their equanimity toward the atrocities committed by Islam creates the impression that the West has lost its survival instinct entirely.
One of the mechanisms that made the loss of this instinct possible is what Revel calls "the industry of blame." A large system made up of intellectuals, academics and the media (among other things), it fosters one-sided ideas of historical guilt. The West's culture of self-blame does not allow for putting any responsibility on the other side, even as the abyss opens under its feet. Any active attempt to resist the dangers that Islam places before the free world brings with it intellectual confusion bordering on paralysis.
In a situation like this, all that remains for Europe's feeble elite to do is what it did 75 years ago -- cooperate with the forces that endanger it and sacrifice one democracy on the altar of a fictitious peace. Do you understand now why the riots in Europe are not waking up the West, but rather strengthening its attacks on Israel?