So, the Muslim murderer of French soldiers and Jewish schoolchildren, goes down in a haze of gunfire. Too bad they couldn’t catch him and interrogate him to find out more about his contacts, but when a mass murderer of children is shot to death, I can’t find it in me to pity the guy. Your mileage may vary.

Mark Steyn, on the Toulouse Jewish school massacre:

Look, pace Ed West, isn’t it just a teensy-weensy little bit to do with Islam? Or at any rate the internal contradictions of one-way multiculturalism? No, it’s not a competition. Most times in today’s Europe, the guys beating, burning and killing Jews will be Muslims. Once in a while, it will be somebody else killing the schoolkids. But is it so hard to acknowledge that rapid, transformative, mass Muslim immigration might not be the most obvious aid to social tranquility? That it might possibly pose challenges that would otherwise not have existed — for uncovered women in Oslo, for gays in Amsterdam, for Jews everywhere? Is it so difficult to wonder if, for these and other groups living in a long-shot social experiment devised by their rulers, the price of putting an Islamic crescent in the diversity quilt might be too high? What’s left of Jewish life in Europe is being extinguished remorselessly, one vandalized cemetery, one subway attack at a time. How many Jewish children will be at that school in Toulouse a decade hence? A society that becomes more Muslim eventually becomes less everything else. 

That’s an interesting remark, the last line, which I’ve highlighted because I’d like to discuss it. In one sense, the statement is meaningless. A society that becomes more Christian eventually becomes less everything else. A society in which more people become alike is a society that becomes more uniform. This is a tautology.

But what Steyn is getting at is the claim that Muslims are uniquely resistant to the ideology of pluralism, which is the glue that holds a multicultural society together. The totalizing claims of Islamic religion, and the fierceness with which many Muslims hold to them, cuts through liberal society like a hot knife through a stick of butter. If Steyn is right, then the degree to which contemporary Muslims become reconciled to modern liberal society is the degree to which they become less authentically Muslim.

I generally agree with Steyn, if only because it’s clear that not every religion or ideology is capable of being absorbed by liberal capitalist society. This is actually in some ways a compliment to Islam. Sayyid Qutb may have been a murdering fanatical totalitarian, but he was not entirely wrong about the way modernism and capitalism would radically transform Muslim societies that embraced them. (Whether or not those Muslim societies so threatened could stand some modernization is a different question.) I wonder, though, to what extent Europe’s experience with its Muslim minority is a local problem. Though we have a problem with the Muslim Brotherhood leading American Islamic institutions, we haven’t seen remotely the problem here that Europe has had. I think this is partly because the US has attracted a far greater percentage of educated Muslims than Europe. It’s partly because they’ve come in much lower numbers, which makes them easier to absorb. And it’s partly because America has a more fluid and open society than European societies. To restate, my  hypothesis is that America has had fewer Muslim immigrants than Europe, and was better able to assimilate the ones we have had. Relatedly, Europe’s problems may stem from the fact that it has had a different class of Muslim emigre (e.g., the Netherlands has been overrun with Moroccan rednecks, not educated middle class Moroccans), has had far more of them to try to absorb than America, and has had fewer cultural resources to facilitate that assimilation.

Thus have the multiculturalist policies of various European countries failed, because the culture of Islam that many of Europe’s Muslim emigres brought with them has proven highly resistant to the pluralist mindset living in contemporary Europe requires. Discuss — and please, resist the urge to resort to Manning’s Corollary:

Manning’s Corollary to Godwin’s Law: In any online conversation about an incident of violence perpetrated by adherents of Islamic fundamentalism, the conversation will inevitably devolve into claims that Christians commit the same type and degree of violent acts, regardless of how demonstrably false that is; further, the claim will be made that past historical violence involving Christians means that present-day Christians are morally incapable of denouncing current violence involving Muslims.