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Douglas Murray On Europe’s Apocalypse

As regular readers know, I finally got around to reading the British writer Douglas Murray’s book The Strange Death Of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam [1] recently. It’s fantastic, and I cannot recommend it strongly enough. I found several things striking about it.

First, there is Murray’s detailed documenting of statements that politicians of the European left and right have been making for decades, saying that they were going to crack down on uncontrolled immigration. They all lied.

Second, Murray frames Europe’s immigration crisis with its concomitant civilizational crisis — that is, its loss of faith in its ancestral religion, Christianity, as well as its loss of faith in itself.

Third, Murray writes about all of these outrageous facts and developments in a controlled, even tone … which, ironically, makes his narrative that much stronger. This man is not a ranter. (I should add, because it will matter to some of you, that Murray is an openly gay atheist who worries about what’s happening to Europe in part because liberal Christian Europe has made it possible for people like him to live in peace.)

Over the weekend, an Italian friend sent me a link to an interview Il Giornale did with Murray [2]. It’s in Italian, but below, courtesy of Google Translate, is an English version:

Why do you speak of “strange” death of Europe?

Nobody would have expected it to be like that. In France, the title has been translated as “the suicide of Europe.” It’s strange because it’s amazing.

What’s killing it?

Two facts, together. First: mass immigration, which is completely changing Europe. Italy knows well what we are talking about.

The other?

What we Europeans are doing to ourselves: it is strange that a civilization totally changes itself, on the cultural, philosophical and religious level, without opposition. What struck me is that, after the book’s release, there has been much debate on the issue of immigration; while the questions I ask about what we Europeans are doing to ourselves, our values ​​and our tradition, have not raised criticism. This worries me: it means that everything is true.

Or that nobody cares?

Both things. It is difficult to deny what I say about European civilization at sunset, but then we must ask ourselves: what do we do?

And instead?

Instead there is a European passivity, which shrugs and says: Well, that’s how it goes.

Even by politicians?

Yup. I always speak with politicians. For many of them, the subject is action …

Even Angela Merkel said that multiculturalism has failed.

In 2010, in Potsdam. And then? So what do we do?

The other day in Strasbourg there was another attack.

This attack is the norm with which we should live … Last night in Milan I went to visit the Christmas market near the Duomo: there were armed soldiers, trucks, bollards. It’s sad for me. It’s what I call the bollardization of life, the deterrent of life .

What is that?

We are getting used to these dissuaders, which are ugly and cumbersome, even when, as in Oslo, they put flowers on them. But it is not normal. And then: why do not we put good border dissuaders, then? Why surround the buildings, rather than our countries, with what was once called borders?

Is the trend irreversible?

I do not believe so. But it would serve a huge dose of political will to change history, and I do not see this will.

What should we do?

“The most important thing would be to repatriate illegal immigrants. As [Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo] Salvini has promised. If it does not, it means that there is no more hope.


Because if you can not solve the problem of people who should not be here, then you can not even talk about all the issues of integration. If repatriation is not possible, then it is over: we will no longer have borders or states, and we will go on using the bollards.

Why don’t politicians act?

Out of laziness. It is a constant procrastination in dealing with threats.

On the other side there is the crisis of European civilization.

The spread of German guilt is a brilliant trick to make us lose faith in ourselves. I am convinced that there is every reason to be self-critical, but I see no reason to be a masochist.

Are Europeans masochistic?

If self-criticism helps me improve, it’s an issue, but if it makes me fail, or die, it’s a problem. We must distinguish who speaks as a friend and who as an enemy.

You say that Europe is “tired”. What does it mean?

I think this tiredness is linked to feeling how all the options are on the table. In chess it is called zugzwang: when you are forced to move a piece, but whatever you do, you will not improve your situation — on the contrary, you will make it worse. This is how it is with immigration. If you let everyone in, you have the problems now. If you do not let everyone in, they’ll call you fascists. What are you doing? And if you say that the past of Europe is complex, and not just focus on negative things, because there is also good, and that good are extraordinary achievements, which make Europe unique, then you’re a colonialist.

The principle by which we praise any diversity, except the culture that has allowed it …

We pretend to be a neutral space, in which the whole world can enter, and live together. I think it’s crazy.

In the book, you surveys in which the distance between the decisions of politicians and the perception that citizens have of topics such as immigration and integration is clear …

A cynic would say that this happens because politicians know very well, before coming to power, that the situation is impossible to solve … On the other hand, many politicians perceive the problem, but they do not speak.


Because the speaker ends up badly, like Pim Fortuyn in Holland. Or like my friend Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Why are there few people like her? Because his is certainly not an attractive job.

So politicians know what’s happening, but do not act?

It often happens that, in private, politicians agree with me, but then they add: I cannot say it in public. For lack of options, and not to risk their career. At this moment Italy has a very important role, politically.

For what reason?

Up until now, those who have shown themselves to be anti-immigration have always been paying a price, and therefore they were accused of being anti-immigrant, anti-host, cruel, fascist.

And today?

Today, for the first time, those who are not open to these critical perspectives start paying a political price.

How will the future be?

Incredibly chaotic. Socially and culturally. It all depends on the decisions that politics will now take. The first thing to do, absolutely, is to recognize the mistakes made in the past, and never repeat them again. Never again.


No open borders. Stop trying to save everyone in the world. Do not be ridiculous. But they have not understood it yet.

Maybe from this you see why The Benedict Option [3] has been popular in Europe. (I’ll be in Spain next month speaking about it in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Sevilla; more details to come.) European Christians are facing an existential crisis far more severe than what we in the United States are facing. Whatever our own immigration problems may be, they are primarily a matter of Western, Christian peoples trying to get into this country.

On the other hand. between political correctness (the result in part of an American version of “German guilt”) and ubiquitous laissez-faire philistinism — from which the Right has by no means been immune — we are also surrendering our roots in Western civilization, and choosing to lose our cultural memory. Americans beware: if you just go with the flow, you too will wash over the edge of the falls, though perhaps more slowly than Europe.

66 Comments (Open | Close)

66 Comments To "Douglas Murray On Europe’s Apocalypse"

#1 Comment By Roy Fassel On December 18, 2018 @ 9:09 am

Then there is this Rod!

Set It and Forget It: How Better Contraception Could Be a Key to Reducing Poverty
Delaware’s ambitious bid to offer one-stop shopping for birth control is a social experiment that other states will be watching.

By Margot Sanger-Katz


#2 Comment By Haigha On December 18, 2018 @ 9:29 am


I may have given short shrift to Murray’s affection for the residue of Christianity. But that reinforces my basic point. After all, if you respect Murray and his intellect, the fact that he can’t believe, despite really, really wanting to, is a pretty good data point against Christianity, particularly for anyone on or close to the fence.

#3 Comment By Seoulite On December 18, 2018 @ 9:34 am


I think Murray’s comments on Christian dreams are simply a poetic way of saying that Christianity is at the foundation of European culture. He would agree that it is fading or is already gone, and laments it greatly.

#4 Comment By JonF On December 18, 2018 @ 10:03 am

James, please explain why we need to “maintain the population” There are eight billion of us roaming around the planet, a number far in excess of the historical average- for most of recorded history human numbers hovered at or less than 500 million. If the population eventually fell to under a billion, by wholly peaceful and non-catastrophic means, why would that be problematic? Survey after survey has shown that on the average people want somewhere between two and three kids. The situation currently is that most people can’t afford that many. In a lower population world where humans, even with a high level of automation, would command premium wages, that would not be the case. I have to suggest that there is no real demographic crisis in our world and the gradual, non-violent and natural reduction in our numbers may well produce a much better future.

#5 Comment By CatherineNY On December 18, 2018 @ 10:57 am

I can understand that an Italian interviewer might not know this, but the book title is a clear allusion to one of the most famous and influential books about British political history, “The Strange Death of Liberal England.”

#6 Comment By Khalid mir On December 18, 2018 @ 11:56 am

No, fair point, Seoulite. I can see what you’re saying. Undoubtedly true and, to invoke Steiner again, it is worth asking what happens to a culture without that pull to the north of the future. But a lot of modern culture, what Rieff called third world culture, is opposed that tradition ( a ” negation of the negations”). To conflate these internal trends in the history of western civilisation with immigration- if that’s what he’s doing- is, I think, slightly disingenuous. But I can see how that narrative might be popular in an age of ( cultural) anxiety.

#7 Comment By Mark B. On December 18, 2018 @ 12:21 pm

One should always bear in mind whether or not one has an apocalyptic longing and mindset when describing a perceived apocalypse. This should be done in general, observing oneself in debate on where one stands emotionally on the issue, but espescially in the case of apocalypses by Muslims.

Alexis TK27 sums it all up very well. There are arguments pro and contra the ‘apocalypse’, because there are different facts that paradoxically point in different directions.

The future is wild!

#8 Comment By One Guy On December 18, 2018 @ 1:56 pm

Maybe, just maybe, Europe (and the USA, of course) should stop taking actions that result in massive amounts of refugees. The war in Iraq was mostly the fault of the USA, but there were European soldiers there, too. The EU could put more pressure on Saudi Arabia to end the Yemen war. Ditto for the Syrian conflict.

It’s not like, “There I was, walking down the street, minding my own business, when ‘BOOM’, there were lots of refugees!!”

#9 Comment By Hunter C On December 18, 2018 @ 6:01 pm

“The implications of this is that some form of coerced childbearing is necessary to maintain civilization, whether through propaganda and social pressure, limiting availability of contraception, or outright coercion. If a society nobly refuses to intrude on the liberties of other by refusing to do this, they will quickly be replaced by those who do. Darwin will not be mocked.”

If this is true then outright coercion is by far the preferable option of those you mention. The others are both dishonest and cruel. Coercion is naked in its cruelty, which is a virtue, because it is thus less likely to be carried on longer than absolutely necessary.

#10 Comment By sb On December 19, 2018 @ 7:55 am

“European Christians are facing an existential crisis far more severe than what we in the United States are facing. Whatever our own immigration problems may be, they are primarily a matter of Western, Christian peoples trying to get into this country.”

Rubbish! The US is being colonised by invaders/migrants just as quickly as Europe Rod (as are Canada, Australia, New Zealand) – its just that European citizens of these, the only 4 Euro-majority nations outside Europe, can’t reject multi-cultural immigration on grounds of not wanting to be colonised in their own indigenous lands, as they colonised those 4 nations centuries ago. Hence the rapid demographic changes in Europe are mirrored or dwarfed in those 4 states (NZ had jaw dropping 10% population growth in the last 5 years, mostly non-European – at that rate, Euros become minority in just a few dcades).

Of course, Europe is being attacked by the SS troops of Islam – an army of young, fit, fighting age men that no-one in history would ever have called refugees.

Douglas Murrray is brilliant. But I disagree with his analysis of politicians motives – Merkel, May and Macron work openly for the liberal capitalist elite (EU, Bilderberg group etc) who want the destruction of homogenous nation states, so they can rule over the fragmented individuals left.

That’s why people vote for populist nationalists like Salvini, Orban, etc. They recognise politicians different to the normal Democrat/Republican ‘twins’.

But without regaining active Christianity, we cannot regain anything. It motivates and inspires us. Which is why passing on the faith is so important, and the underpinning failure of our parents generation.

#11 Comment By Cornel Lencar On December 19, 2018 @ 1:17 pm

Personally I am a bit tired of this old trope of Christian heritage that forms the root of European Civilization. Does anyone remember the Renaissance? and where that term and idea comes? I don’t deny the Christian heritage, but Europeans, by and large share soo much more:
– while quite diverse, it is racially homogeneous
– We all had the same sky gods and telluric forces
– look at the traditional folk costumes around Europe to see the commonality
– look at traditional dances: dancing in the circle (hora), and the leg dance (mostly of men)
– the masks of folklore, all over Europe
– the commonality of languages, with mostly sharing the indo-european root.
– Christianity is a late graft that tried to accommodate older traditions.
– But at the bottom, Europeans are pragmatic, have a materialistic view of the world (trying to understand the mechanics of this world) and are by and large proponents of a modicum of equality, that harks back to the tribe and the village and the idea that merit should propel a leader.

So given how the situation is changing in Europe, nationalistic Russia or the actions of the Chinese government to forcefully integrate the muslim-turcic population in Xinjiang are looking more and more reasonable to common folk in Europe. And the Orthodox in the east and south, and nationalistic Poles, and Hungarians, and Czechs (and relatively religious), that fought and resisted the muslim invasion for 500 years will not just lie low.
What politicians should be worried is that without appropriate and timely action (removal of illegals, stronger borders, and pacification of the middle-east at the expense of even breaking the alliance with the U.S.) is imperious, otherwise the whole continent will relieve the massacres from Bosnia, or the religious wars from the past (or Rwanda) – it will be a movement driven by hoi poloi, not by an atheist ideology.

As a father of a young daughter, the prospect of living under the confines of male controlled Sharia Law is a line I would not accept to cross, so yes, all options would be on the table, as U.S. politicians love to say…

#12 Comment By William Dalton On December 19, 2018 @ 1:27 pm

“If you want a Christian society, then the logical course of action is to profess Christianity, whatever you may privately believe or doubt. No one is going to be persuaded to keep the faith, or fight for Christianity, by paeans from an atheist.

“[NFR: It’s wrong to compel someone to lie about what they believe. — RD]”

It’s not compulsion to tell the critics of the dechristianizing of culture to either profess the faith or keep quiet about it. But why turn against your allies?

I’d look at the example of King Agrippa (Acts 26:28). The obstacle may not be the failure to convince someone intellectually that the teachings of Christianity are true. Most frequently people will not admit them to themselves because they will then be obliged to live with the consequences of professing that belief and then be obliged to live by them.

#13 Comment By C. On December 19, 2018 @ 3:24 pm

“Whatever one thinks about Christianity as a values system or a religious tradition, there can be no doubt that in the form of the Christian churches as they’re actually existing today it’s one of the major forces for mass immigration, and therefore part of the problem. If anything, a Christian resurgence in Europe might make the situation even worse.”

It would really depend on the type of Christianity involved. The Vatican/Roman Catholic clergy and mainline (liberal) Protestants seem to support mass immmigration. Conservative Protestants, evangelicals, and many Roman Catholic laymen seem to oppose it. I’m not sure how the Orthodox feel about it, but I would suspect that they would oppose it if the immigrants were not already Orthodox themselves.

#14 Comment By VikingLS On December 19, 2018 @ 5:39 pm

“Auschwitz, Verdun, the Somme, and Stalingrad. Any culture that subjects itself to these hellish evils in a single human lifetime is not long for this world.”

The Armenian genocide, Chinese occupation of Tibet, The Cultural Revolution in China, Rwandan genocide, the Khemer Rouge, the constant bloody struggles amongst various Hindus and Muslims on the subcontinent, the abuses of the Castro regime in Cuba, Muthi murders in South Africa. Our Asian, African, and Latin brothers and sisters were responsible for all sorts evils, often comparable, throughout the 20th century. Suggesting only Europeans were creating hellish Evil during the last century is actually really really racist.

“On the French and British case, immigration is, more often than not, the backwash of imperialism and it’s associated assumptions about ‘race’.”

Again, something many non-white cultures also engaged in, and engage in now, given the opportunity. Why single out the English and French? Why not go after the Zulu or point out the hypocrisy of the Sioux for objecting the white people taking from them what they themselves took from the Pawnee?

“Notice how none of the migrants today wants to go to Poland or Hungary, but they do want to go to France and Britain. Learning Polish and/or Magyar is hard. ”

Russia has a large population of immigrants, many of whom come from places outside of the former Soviet Union, and Russian is harder than Polish, though perhaps not Magyar.

“The notion, pace Huntington, that ‘Latin America’ is not part of the ‘West’ is the most daft thing I have ever heard of.”

Then you need to get out more.

“TLDR: Europe made it’s own bed, and now they dare complain that they have to lay in it. Cry me a river.”

Most European countries did not have African and Middle Eastern colonies. Most European countries are bearing the burden of the migrant crises.

Again, it’s pretty racist for you to suggest that a Swede is responsible for the sins of the British Empire just because they’re both white.

And stop it with the “cry me a river” crap. That’s not Christian.

#15 Comment By JonF On December 20, 2018 @ 10:42 am

Cornel Lencar, European civilization rests on three foundations:
1. The heritage if tge Indoeuropean tribes, who merged with an earlier farming people from the Middle East. Hence the similar pantheons in antiquity. In some place the Uralic tribes, distant linguistic kin perhaps, and next door neighbors of the IE people, have to be mentioned.
2. The heritage of Greece and Rome, whether directly or by later import
3. Christianity, which is the foundation on which modern Europe was founded after
the collapse of the earlier Mediterranean civilization in the 6th and 7th centuries. It was Christianity that served as the vehicle for the spread of Greco-Roman cultural influence into northern Europe.

#16 Comment By Willaim Wallace On January 22, 2019 @ 10:32 am


Paganism was Europe’s ancestral religion. Christianity was an invention of Constantine.