In Defense of Christendom: Having ignored its inheritance, Europe wonders why its house is falling apart.

Europe is dying because it has become morally incompetent. It isn’t that Europe stands for nothing. It’s that it stands for shallow things, shallowly. Europeans believe in human rights, tolerance, openness, peace, progress, the environment, pleasure.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan  meet in Istanbul, Oct. 18.

The death of Europe is in sight. Still hazy and not yet inevitable, but nevertheless visible and drawing nearer—like a distant planet in the lens of an approaching satellite. Europe is reaching its end not because of its sclerotic economy, or stagnant demography, or the dysfunctions of the superstate. Nor is the real cause the massive influx of Middle Eastern and African migrants. Those desperate people are just the latest stiff breeze against the timber of a desiccated civilization.

Europe is dying because it has become morally incompetent. It isn’t that Europe stands for nothing. It’s that it stands for shallow things, shallowly. Europeans believe in human rights, tolerance, openness, peace, progress, the environment, pleasure. These beliefs are all very nice, but they are also secondary.

What Europeans no longer believe in are the things from which their beliefs spring: Judaism and Christianity; liberalism and the Enlightenment; martial pride and capability; capitalism and wealth. Still less do they believe in fighting or sacrificing or paying or even arguing for these things. Having ignored and undermined their own foundations, they wonder why their house is coming apart.

What is Europe? It is Greece not Persia; Rome not Carthage; Christendom not the caliphate. These distinctions are fundamental. To say that Europe is a civilization apart is not to say it is better or worse. It is merely to say: This is us and that is you. Nor is it to say that Europe ought to be a closed civilization. It merely needs to be one that doesn’t dissolve on contact with the strangers it takes into its midst.

That’s what makes the diplomacy of Angela Merkel, undisputed regent of European foreign policy, so odd and disconcerting. The German chancellor leads a party called the Christian Democratic Union, one of the chief purposes of which is to rally the German right to a reasonable conservatism.

Yet there she was in Istanbul on Sunday, offering a deal in which Europe would agree to visa-free travel for Turks in Europe starting next year, along with quicker movement on Turkish membership in the European Union, if only Ankara will do more to resettle Syrian and other refugees in their own country. Europe would also foot the bill.

This is machtpolitik in reverse, in which the chancellor is begging small favors from weaker powers on temporary matters in exchange for broad concessions with far-reaching ramifications. There are 75 million Turks, whose per capita income doesn’t match that of Panamanians. The country is led by an elected Islamist with an autocratic streak, prone to anti-Semitic outbursts, who openly supports Hamas, denies the Armenian genocide, jails journalists in record numbers, and orchestrates Soviet-style show trials against his political opponents. Turkey also has borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran. These would become Europe’s borders in the event of Turkish membership.

This is the country Ms. Merkel proposes to bring into the bosom of Europe. Her apologists will say she’s being disingenuous, but that only compounds the disgrace of her overture.

It also compounds the danger. Could Europe’s liberal political traditions, its religious and cultural heritage, long survive a massive influx of Muslim immigrants, in the order of tens of millions of people? No. Not given Europe’s frequently unhappy experience with much of its Muslim population. Not when you have immigrant groups that resist assimilation and host countries that make only tentative civic demands.

And not when a heedless immigration policy, conducted in fits of moral self-congratulation, leads to the inevitable reaction. In Switzerland on Sunday, a plurality of voters cast ballots for the Swiss People’s Party, known mainly for its anti-immigrant stance. Its sister parties throughout Europe are also the political beneficiaries of the migrant influx, trafficking on legitimate grievances against the postmodern state to peddle illiberal cures. Few things are as dangerous to democracy as a populist with half a case.

It says something about the politics of our day that this column will be condemned as beyond the moral pale. Such is the tenor of the times that it is no longer possible to assert without angry contradiction that Europe cannot be Europe if it is not true to its core inheritance. This is the marriage of reason and revelation that produced a civilization of technological mastery tempered by human decency.

“It is commendable that the West is trying to be more open, to be more understanding of the values of outsiders, but it has lost the capacity for self-love,” a prominent German theologian noted about a decade ago. “All that it sees in its own history is the despicable and the destructive; it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure. What Europe needs is a new self-acceptance, a self acceptance that is critical and humble, if it truly wishes to survive.” 

That’s Joseph Ratzinger, better known as Benedict XVI. He’s out of fashion, which makes him that much more worth hearing.

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commented 2015-11-24 21:30:01 -0500 · Flag
Turkey shoots down Russian fighter jet!!
Hard to believe, but unfortunately true, yet not surprising. Erdogan who has been supporting IS for many years, allowing supply routes for weapons and fighters through Turkey and across the border into Syria probably realized that the fragile coalition between Western and Russian forces would defeat his friends eventually, is trying his best to stop any coalition that would endanger his friends.
Osama Hussain aka Obama assists him in this of course by declaring that Turkey has a right to defend its air-space without even being 100% sure if the Russian jet violated Turkish air-space. He should have condemned Turkey’s action and threaten them with expulsion from NATO. Instead he has brought on another “Cuban Missile crisis” since Putin will have to react to this what he might call an act of war against Russia and an attack against Turkey will involve NATO, ergo bringing us closer to WW 3 once again. This would be a perfect scenario for the Muslims to watch the Infidels destroy themselves.
Is there no way that someone with a backbone can impeach Osama Hussain? the man is dangerous. He is fighting against IS just as much as he needs too being the US President and his policy against Assad is totally illogical. The recent past has shown that by removing the Dictator, you create Chaos and Assad is the only one left to stop this Chaos at least in Syria. With Osama Hussain in the USA, Erdogan in Turkey and Merkel in Germany who is just plain incompetent and stupid letting Millions of Muslims into Europe to carry the Jihad into the West the future outlook is to put it mildly and not to use four leter words, bleek
commented 2015-11-20 01:06:11 -0500 · Flag
Today I read again; Islam is an inherently peaceful religion? who actually believes this BS? Osama is telling us this rubbish all the time. Reality is that ALL terrorists attacks starting with 9/11 have been carried out by Muslims. If you actually read the Koran you will realize that it calls for violence against non believers or Infidels. Stop the Muslim hugging and come back to the real world. Those Barbarians who killed all those people in Paris were .. well .. MUSLIMS and so were the 9/11 bombers and so were … this list goes on and on and it is mind boggling how this message does not seem to register with our Politicians … well may be because one of them is called Osama Hussain and happens to be the US President??
commented 2015-11-14 21:48:41 -0500 · Flag
Human rights and the Geneva Convention do not apply to IS since they have been designed for humans. Re-open Guantanamo and send anyone affiliated with IS or any of the other religious fanatic barbarians there. The Death penalty should be carried out without any of the prisoners having a right to legal reprieve. The justice system has been created for humans, not for Barbarians. Jihad is happening, we are at war and CNN should be kept out of it. The media will assist the enemy by showing pictures of dead children (in a lot if not most of the cases produced by IS who are very good at propaganda) after a bombing trying to turn public opinion. The problem is, that every Muslim is a potential Terrorist and there are Millions in the USA. Even if the Parents are hardworking and docile, their Children as has been seen in the past, may be radicalized and become Terrorists. How to stop that from happening no one can answer. But at the very least, those who have gone to any of those places like Iraq or Syria and come back should be arrested at the airport and send straight to Guantanamo never to be released since they will be a continuous danger to the public.
commented 2015-11-13 21:41:15 -0500 · Flag
A very sad day for all of us. Unfortunately what happened in Paris will become common in all of Europe and Merkel should bow her head in shame and resign for allowing unchecked Syrians and other Muslims into Europe by the millions. We are at war with the Muslims and this will only be resolved when Western politicians grow a backbone send a massive western military force into all those countries to finally wipe all terrorists and their infrastructure.
Flatten everything where terrorists are hiding without being afraid of CNN because civilians may get hurt and deport all so called refugees back to where they came from. Muslims holding western passports should also viewed as potential enemies as the Paris event will surely show that at least some of those terrorists were carrying French passports.
It is time that European and US politicians start caring for their own and stop this Muslim ass kissing
commented 2015-11-04 00:53:13 -0500 · Flag
prerequisite to becoming a politician is the ability to lie while keeping an absolutley straight face and that you actually believe the dribble you are expelling via your mouth. Merkel is rather good at that and the Germans as well as all other Europeans will be in for a rude awakening when Muslims start to riot in the streets, suicide bombers blow up dozens of Germans at a time and when eventually Germany and the rest of Europe are overrun by Muslims. I can only see her motivation in that she wants to become the next head of the UN and the first female as such.
Reality is that Muslims are extreme and will, once they have reached high enough numbers start to cause chaos. I have to cringe when I hear our politicians like Merkel, but also Obama talking about the peaceful religion called Islam. They should really read the Koran before making such uninformed statements.
Muslims view us, the non believers as sub-humans and a crime against any non believer is not a crime as far as the Koran and the Islamic believe is concerned. Anyone saying anything against Allah or the Koran has to be killed based on the Koran scriptures.
I’m waiting for the first German to be killed by an immigrant because he said something wrong about the Koran or Allah. Immigrants are already fighting among each other because there are different groups put together who’s tribes have been fighting each other for centuries.
People who firmly believe that if they kill a non believer will sit on Allah’s lap and get 40 virgins have no place in the Western World. Most certainly they will never integrate into our society and since it is not considered a crime to steel from non believers, become thieves. In the UK their are groups of Pakistani Muslims enslaving Western Girls into prostitution and they feel not guilty in the slightest because those girls are non believers. The Germans have no idea, are blissfully unaware what is already in their country and more coming every day. Jihad is already happening and our Politicians either don’t know and really believe the rubbish they are saying or .. well, cannot think of any motivation why they insist on destroying their own countries and culture.

I do wonder where the German government will make places available where those peace loving Muslims can stone their women if they get caught doing something naughty?
commented 2015-11-03 00:47:28 -0500 · Flag
Merkel and her cohorts should be taken to court for High Treason. She, as the leader of Germany should have thought about this idiotic statement and have some research done before announcing “Hey ya’ll come to us”. Everybody with a decent education has left those chaotic places like Syria, Libya and Afghanistan a long time ago. The mob that has arrived and keeps on coming in and to Germany are farmers and crooks. The ISIS leader announced a year and a half ago that he would food Europe with refugees and hide his fighters among them. Apparently Merkel did not hear of or see that public announcement. The head of the German BND stated “There are no terrorists among those refugees” a statement that he based on what one may wonder. Most were left into Germany without the slightest background checks.
Besides the danger Merkel has created for Germany and Europe as a whole (free travel within the Schengen regions) with God know how many terrorists waiting for the “word”, the sheer problems she has created for the German population (part of which seem to be blissfully unaware and still support this catastrophic policy) are now slowly coming to bear. Merkel and her minister of Employment were talking loudly about integration. There are only a few problems they seem to have overlooked.
These people have if any, only a rudimentary education. Most will not want to do an apprenticeship because it is below their believes of themselves. None will even consider working below a woman since in their firm believe women are less than men and should obey the man at all times, not the other way around. How is that supposed to go down in a German workplace. Those leftist politicians, or goody two shoes. especially those women among them of whom a lot are feminists will be in for a rude awakening.
Most of the refugees do not speak or write any English and certainly no German. Their language and alphabet if totally alien to that of Germany and if ever, it will take them ages to learn the language.
The refugees like all Muslims see a non Muslim as a sub-human being and killing any non Muslim is not a crime in their believe. Those people do as matter of fact believe or to be more precise are fanatical about Islam.
What Merkel has done is not help Germany to replenish its work-force, but to invite millions of future social care receivers with countless Terrorists thrown into the mix. People so alien to western culture that even those who are not terrorists will cause havoc within Germany and other European countries.
If Merkel thought she new the “people” of the middle East, here is a bit of news for her; Those are not the people you meet during Gala dinners while on a state visit.
The next interesting event will be when they all start rioting because the cannot get Halal butchered meat since this is illegal within the EU due to the fact that it is severe animal cruelty. I wonder how she is going to pass this hurdle?? may be by once again ignoring the European law (she did already by waving the agreement that refugees have to register in the first European country they arrive in) and allowing Halal butcheries to open in Germany.
Many refugees are already rioting because they have not been giving the luxurious housing they were told by those who toke their money to bring them across nor the thousand of Euros in cash…
What Merkel has done will have an effect on Germany comparable to a war and will endanger the European Union. When the first suicide bomber get activated by ISIS, those the German BND chief said did not exist, there will be a storm of protest and Germany will be blamed for inviting those unchecked refugees into the Union.
German, hard working tax-payers will really be pleased when the VAT will be increased dramatically to pay social security for millions of immigrants, those that according to Merkel would replenish the German workforce who all will be holding out their hands for their social security and use the German health care system.
Wonder how those Germans who live in social housing will feel when they will be forced to either move out or accept a few immigrants to live in their small apartment and when all the new Mosques have opened the Saudi’s already announced they would finance in Germany and the Imam screams through the loudspeaker at 5am calling his people for morning prayers and does that 5 times a day….
I’m a German but have been living abroad as an expat for the last 40 years and I’m allergic to stupidity and incompetence and broke out in a rush when i red about Merkels statement. Should I ever have toyed with the idea of returning to Germany one of these days, there will be no Germany to return to in a few years.
Damn, Politicians should regularly be checked for their mental health and before someone is allowed to become a politician he or she should have to undergo an IQ and common sense test.
commented 2015-10-26 16:29:07 -0400 · Flag
Thomas commented

Merkel has become Obama, complete, with her very own set of Failed, Infantile policies,
perhaps she too is waiting for the ‘community of nations’ to arrive – READ ON,

“They have their own Islamic values.

Why should 23-year-old Mohammed work for four decades so that Hans or Fritz across the way can retire at 61 and lie on a beach in Mallorca? The idea that Mohammed would ever want to do such a thing out of love for Europe was a silly fantasy that European governments fed their worried citizens.

Mohammed doesn’t share European values. Nor are they likely to take hold of him no matter how often the aging teachers, who hope he gets a job and subsidizes their retirement, try to drill them into his head. Europeans expect Mohammed to become a Swede or a German as if he were some child they had adopted from an exotic country and raised as their own, and work to subsidize their European values.

The Muslim migrants are meant to be the retirement plan for an aging Europe. They’re supposed to keep its ramshackle collection of economic policies, its welfare states and social programs rolling along.

But they’re more like a final solution.

Mohammed is Fritz’s retirement plan. But Mohammed has a very different type of plan.

Fritz is counting on Mohammed to work while he relaxes. Mohammed relaxes and expects Fritz to work. Fritz is not related to him and therefore Mohammed sees no reason why he should work to support him.

Mohammed’s Imam will tell him to work off the books because paying into the system is gambling. However taking money out of the system is just Jizya; the money non-Muslims are obligated to pay to Muslims. Under Islamic law, it’s better for Mohammed to sell drugs than to pay taxes.

Mohammed isn’t staking his future on the shaky pensions of European socialism. He invests in what social scientists call social capital.

He plans his retirement by having a dozen kids. If this lifestyle is subsidized by infidel social services, so much the better. And when social services collapse, those of his kids who aren’t in prison or in ISIS will be there to look after him in his golden years.

The Mohammed retirement plan won’t save European Socialism. It will bury it.”
commented 2015-10-23 23:15:27 -0400 · Flag
Manfred D. commented

Merkel will soon be toast but will retreat into a comfortable pension and a life in an enclosed bubble insulated from the problems that she would have saddled her people with.
commented 2015-10-23 23:09:27 -0400 · Flag
Watt commented

illegal immigration is a violation of the rule of law mass emigration reduces wages working conditions unemployment in Europe still exists Europeans avaliable for this kind of work illegal immigrants can not be rewarded for breaking our rule of law laws How can cohesion and identity of our society flourish in such chaos
commented 2015-10-23 23:06:42 -0400 · Flag
Karl C. commented

Angela needs to be reminded that these unilateral decisions now affect Germany,of course..but also all the other countries in the EU,a.k.a 450 million people,citizens. Did Angela care about the opinion of her citizens ? NOPE…Did she even care about the opinion of the other countries ? NOPE. How would you feel about your neighbor,suddenly inviting lots of people to live with him,and walking into your house and telling you 1-You need to pay for his guests too 2-He will send guests to live in your house if their skills are not sufficient. 3-The decision is his,not yours.
commented 2015-10-23 22:31:51 -0400 · Flag
Harry L. commented

So merkel whores herself and her country and culture to an islamist thug and proposes to open the door to 75 million more non-european muslims (as if the 800,000 she wannts to take in is not enough) just so the thug erdogan can help her with some of the syrians and the other hundreds of thousands of economic (not war) immigrants traipsing through european borders. The woman is even more short-sighted and ignorant than she seems. Can germany do not better than her?
commented 2015-10-23 22:26:43 -0400 · Flag
Susannah commented

I find ex-Pope Joseph Ratzinger’s words prophetic. “It is commendable that the West is trying to be more open, to be more understanding of the values of outsiders, but it has lost the capacity for self-love,” a prominent German theologian noted about a decade ago. “All that it sees in its own history is the despicable and the destructive; it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure. What Europe needs is a new self-acceptance, a self acceptance that is critical and humble, if it truly wishes to survive.”
commented 2015-10-23 22:23:41 -0400 · Flag
Lawrence K. commented

Merkel has always been a lead-from-behind mediocrity. Her apologists stew in their own “moral self-congratulation” at her recent policies, but even the blind can see what tragedy and self-negation that will bring. Germany is crumbling from within. It needs new infrastructure and schools and its Hartz IV recipients live in poverty, but somehow Merkel will make it possible to take in 1 million Muslims and the German culture and standard of living will weather the storm. We will see.
commented 2015-10-23 21:21:06 -0400 · Flag
Michael S. commented

@dolan: please spare us the Vox propaganda videos. It is fools like you who sit on their bottoms tapping on the keyboard and pretending to “educate” us to your leftist perspective while Europe is flooded with foreigners who have no education in its values and only search for better economic conditions. And the author’s name is Bret Stephens, not Stephans, but what does that matter when your ilk is happily holding the doors open to the demographic suicide of the West.
commented 2015-10-23 21:10:42 -0400 · Flag
Michèle C. commented

It is scary and I do not see a change of attitude. The socialist mentality is so deeply ingrained in Germany – much to the profit of others who are laughing their way to the bank. Having grown up in a very different system I grapple with understanding the causes.

What happened to cause such a mass inertia?
commented 2015-10-23 04:42:22 -0400 · Flag
Surprising about Bret Stephan´s column is that it appears in such a reputed paper as the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Stephan´s remarks are an oversimplification and misinterpretation of events.
By way of illustrating the complexity of the drama unfolding in Syria and what is causing waves of refugees, it is worthwhile reviewing how it all came about. Three minute video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKb9GVU8bHE
Mr. Stephan mistakes Christianity and its fundaments of love, hope and charity with a strange mixture of interpretations.
commented 2015-10-22 00:48:00 -0400 · Flag
Andrew E. commented

“In Defense of Christendom
Having ignored its inheritance, Europe wonders why its house is falling apart.”

True here also, from Obama and the supreme lib social engineers right on down.

“It is commendable that the West is trying to be more open, to be more understanding of the values of outsiders, but it has lost the capacity for self-love,” a prominent German theologian noted about a decade ago. “All that it sees in its own history is the despicable and the destructive; it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure. What Europe needs is a new self-acceptance, a self acceptance that is critical and humble, if it truly wishes to survive.”

That’s Joseph Ratzinger, better known as Benedict XVI. He’s out of fashion, which makes him that much more worth hearing."

True as it can be. The deChristianized west is far too weak to vanquish Islamist extremism, that weakness the goal of the secularists, from Obama and the supreme lib social engineers right on down.