Saturday, January 5, 2008

Good stuff

Gary Younge has an excellent column in the current Nation, related to Europe and the OHMIGODTHEMUSLIMSARECOMINGWHEREAREALLTHEWHITEBABIES sentiment. An excerpt:

But the primary threat to democracy in Europe is not "Islamofascism"--that clunking, thuggish phrase that keeps lashing out in the hope that it will one day strike a meaning--but plain old fascism. The kind whereby mostly white Europeans take to the streets to terrorize minorities in the name of racial, cultural or religious superiority.

For fascism--and the xenophobic, racist and nationalistic elements that are its most vile manifestations--has returned as a mainstream ideology in Europe. Its advocates not only run in elections but win them. They control local councils and sit in parliaments. In Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France and Italy, hard-right nationalist and anti-immigrant parties regularly receive more than 10 percent of the vote. In Norway it is 22 percent; in Switzerland, 29 percent. In Italy and Austria they have been in government; in Switzerland, where the anti-immigrant Swiss People's Party is the largest party, they still are.

This knowledge is a healthy corrective. Since 9/11 there's been no shortage of people selling racial and religious dread. Ideally, Younge might convince pro-Western patriots to take another look at both their facts and their allies.

And he's just a good writer too. On this side of the Atlantic we too often think of British idiom as an automatic mark of intelligence. It isn't, but the UK has produced its share of sharp stylists, and Younge may be joining them. I'll take him over the sour wino who preceded him.

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