Dread is not the sentiment I normally associate with writing these reviews.
I have to admit that I in no way looked forward to writing this book review. It isn’t just that the subject matter is contentious, but also that books like this fill me with a feeling of epistemic dread. The author made many claims throughout this book, and the only honest thing I can say to a good many of these claims is that I have absolutely no idea whether they are true or not, and in many cases have no idea how I could go about drawing a conclusion about the claim in question. Consult any source on the topic, and the opposing side will tell you that that source is either suppressing the truth or ignoring the facts.
It’s enough to make you want to curl up in a ball and wait till its all over.
According to the author, the Strange Death in question is how European leadership and cultural practices are permitting Europe to die via the influx of Muslim immigrants. The author numerates all the ways that different things happening in Europe are working to facilitate a replacement of European values and culture with one from the orient.
And this is why the claims made are important. It isn’t just that Murray spits out facts into the ether for you to either accept or reject, but it’s that his venom-soaked claims form what is ultimately a toxic tapestry. They coalesce into an idea about what is going on with Europe, and the idea has a whole lot of conspiracy to it. The author never comes out and claims that there is an active conspiracy afoot (complete with mustache twirling ne’er-do-wells) – that is a conclusion you have to draw for yourself. But he does lay out all the pieces of the puzzle, and he sets it all up in a way that you would be a fool not to believe in the conspiracy, even if it is a serendipitous conspiracy.
Serendipity is where I draw the line. The right wing often claims to be protectors of personal freedom. But somehow books like this are always ready to accuse atheism and modern culture of causing these problems, forgoing the understanding that if ‘meaningless’ modern art is popular now, it is so because it won in a capitalist free market war of ideas. As is European secularism. But we can’t have those freedoms, apparently because Muslims.
To be fair, this is not to say all the claims in the book are wrong. I have enough ties to Europe to know that the influx of migrants is not being handled properly, and that some of his over claims are not false. However, that does not mean that the conspiratorial tapestry he weaves does exist.
If the overall argument of the book is merely “Europe is not integrating immigrants properly”, then we have no disagreement. But I suspect that that is not all he is trying to say.