December 15, 2009

While Europe Slept

Posted in Europe, Nonfiction, Politics, Religion tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:20 am by caelesti

While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within by Bruce Bawer

While I’d heard news stories about cultural tensions with Muslims in Europe esp. France I did not realize the full extent of these problems.  Bawer details many outrageous human rights abuses especially of women, children, gay and Jewish people by Muslim immigrants.

He blames European countries’ policies of multiculturalism & cultural relativism for being so “tolerant” of Islam that they turn a blind eye towards extremism. He claims that any criticism of Islam is suppressed as being racist.

He points out that the U.S. is used to immigration and encourages new citizens to see themselves as Americans, and embrace common values of democracy and equality, but Europe was not prepared to integrate large numbers of immigrants from drastically different cultures, and native Europeans have a lack of confidence in their cultural values stemming from the World Wars and guilt over colonialism.

One big caveat I have with “While Europe Slept” is that Bawer does not cite his sources- no footnotes. It seems odd, especially when he mentions specific incidents and quotes. That said, it has sparked my interest to further research Islam in Europe. I think he raised some valid criticisms of European policies, though I do think he has a bias against the E.U. that didn’t seem especially relevant to this book. His dismissal of any real racism or discrimination towards African & Asian immigrants in Europe seems unfair and dishonest.

Read July 2009


May 18, 2009

The Big Sort

Posted in Politics, Sociology at 3:09 pm by caelesti

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart by Bill Bishop

Why is there such political and cultural polarization in America today? That is the question Bill Bishop sought to answer in “The Big Sort”. He discovered that while we were once much more mixed in our neighborhoods, cities and counties, we have been moving- often intentionally to be around “people like us”. So how and why did this shift occur? He traces it back to the year 1969- before that people trusted each other more, and trusted the government much more. After events in that year, there has been a steady decline in civic involvement, and increasing distrust among races, religious vs. secular people, liberals vs. conservatives as these groups have had less contact with each other.
There are a lot of statistics and numbers laid out in this book, which I liked being a former political science major. For others it may be more than you want to know. But it’s great to see thorough research backing it up, not just rampant speculation as many other books have done. Also while you are reading this think about how your lifestyle has been “sorted” and what impact that has on your actions and worldview.