Troubled Continent

European leaders staged a show of solidarity in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Muslims had a good laugh about that.

The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age, by James Kirchick (Yale University Press, 288 pp., $27.50)

James Kirchick’s The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age is an engaging meld of journalism and history. The product of six years of living in and reporting from Europe, Kirchick’s book is essential reading for anyone trying to make sense of the upcoming elections in the Netherlands, France, and Germany, which will take place amid economic stagnation, jihadist attacks, and Vladimir Putin’s attempts to undermine NATO by subventing philo-Russian populist/nationalist parties.

Across the continent, but particularly in those three countries and in Sweden, it’s almost impossible to discuss immigration and Islamism without being accused of racism. Free discussion is confined to what Europeans call the “opinion corridor,” and dissidents step outside it at their own risk. “Rising support across Europe for xenophobic, populist parties,” writes Kirchick, “is partly the result of a constricted political discourse in which decent, ordinary people are told not only that plainly visible phenomena don’t exist but also that voicing concerns about these allegedly nonexistent phenomena is racist.” It is as if Islam were a racial category.