For a while now I’ve been seeing sporadic publications by someone named Josef Joffe. His views always seem kind of crazy. But only kind of. And since he lacks clear-cut affiliations with crazy institutions, I tend to think maybe he’s not as crazy as he seems. But then I see another article and I think “how crazy is this guy?” But, here he is, the editor of Die Zeit in Germany and, frankly, I don’t think of Continental newspaper editors as likely candidates for padded cells. This virtually uncritical review of Mark Steyn’s book in The New York Sun is, however, the last straw. The man’s ’round the bend — as much if not more so than Steyn himself:
If the Europeans have thrown in the generative towel, Mr. Steyn plows ahead, the Muslims have not. They are lean, mean, and super-fertile, and they are thrust forward by a mighty sense of moral superiority as they look down on the decadent, libertine, and slothful West. Again, Mr. Steyn has a point. There is a lassitude about Europe that stands in stark, possibly tragic contrast to its glorious past — when its adventurers roamed the four corners of the globe as conquerors, when it produced everything, from the Renaissance to the fax machine, that makes up Western civilization.
Honestly, what is one to say? There’s a long and, frankly, not especially distinguished tradition of this sort of thing. You may recall that as far back as The Great Gatsby sensible people were satirizing this as blowhard Tom Buchanan recommends Rise of the Colored Empire by “this man Goddard,” a reference to Lothrop Stoddard’s forgotten non-masterwork The Rising Tide of Color. Actual arguments about economics and international relations tend to go missing here as we try and blend together anxiety about the changing social role of women with anxiety about the changing ethnic composition of society and serve it up as a tale of foreign menace and western decline. The next step, which Steyn already seems prepared to take, is to start castigating the broad population for its weak-kneed unwillingness to see the necessity of drastic measures from whence it’s a short step to the need to abrogate democracy, etc., etc., etc.