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July 2017

That Joe and Mika New York Magazine Cover Is Why Everyone Hates the Media When journalists willingly make themselves the center of the story, ordinary voters shake their heads in disgust. By Tiana Lowe

Once upon a time, the greatest sin journalists could commit was to make themselves a part of the story. On Sunday, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski did just that, soaking up the fluorescent spotlight on the cover of New York magazine and dishing about their “star-crossed relationship with the president” — and, of course, each other — in its pages.

During trying times, contentiousness between the press and the president has often morphed into spectacle, with anchors such as Sam Donaldson receiving flak from the public for seeming to enter the political arena rather than report or comment on it. With the advent of social media, the lines between reporting, commentary, analysis, and activism were blurred, and they’ve been obliterated by the crossover of celebrity into politics. First there was Al Franken. Now, there is Trump. Soon, there might be Senator Kid Rock. So it makes sense that reporters will become unwittingly entangled in the political fray. We saw as much with Megyn Kelly, who became a political lightning rod overnight following Trump’s deeply personal attacks on her moderation of the first Republican primary debate.

In all fairness — or depending on whether you believe that Morning Joe’s fluffy platforming helped him win the Republican nomination — Trump sort of started it. In his petty, derisive, unpresidential tweet-storm last month, he attacked Brzezinski’s appearance and Scarborough’s sanity, and immediately after the fact, the pair responded with a measured defense in the Washington Post. They seemed to rise above the pathetic occasion and take Trump’s bullying in stride. At first.

Earlier this month, Scarborough published a high-and-mighty critique of the GOP, notable only for what it unwittingly revealed about its author. No, the former Republican congressman did not object to Trump’s denouncing John McCain for being captured in the line of duty during the Vietnam War. He did not declare the Republican party shot when it chose Trump as its nominee. He reached his breaking point only once the personal became political.

The next stop on Joe and Mika’s media junket was The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, in which the duo discussed the vicissitudes of journalism in the 24-hour news cycle, the ethics of sourcing, and their own relationship, making a few obvious Trump jokes along the way. At the end, Joe even got to debut a song from his new dad-rock album!

Their New York magazine cover, then, really shouldn’t be shocking, yet somehow, it is.

It’s not that journalists and commentators should exist in the shadows, especially when Trump pulls them into the arena. Jake Tapper and Megyn Kelly have both recently been featured and glamorized in monthly magazines, but in each case they discussed their roles as journalists, not as the leaders of an opposition or resistance movement. Mika and Joe, meanwhile, used the opportunity to embrace their roles in the cheap soap opera of petty palace intrigue.

“At one point, Joe sent me a Snapchat and Donald was on top, and then he sent me another one and Melania was!” Brzezinski gushed about her pet bunnies, not-at-all-creepily named after the president and first lady, to Olivia Nuzzi, the magazine’s Washington correspondent. The nearly 6,000-word cover story is rife with such anecdotes. Scarborough makes sure to get in a plug for his album, discussing the process of writing a love song for Brzezinski. She makes sure to flaunt her “large diamond solitaire” and play with his hair in front of Nuzzi. They both express shock and awe that Trump remained, well, himself as he progressed from candidate to president. Barely half of the feature covers the pair’s dealings with the president. The rest reads like an incredibly nuanced analysis of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

This Is a Safe Space. No Jews Allowed. Why are some American progressives embracing overt anti-Semitism? By Mark Joseph Stern

Are you a Jew in Chicago who’d like to march for LGBTQ rights and gender equality? You’ll have to follow a few rules, helpfully laid out in recent weeks by the Chicago Dyke March and the Chicago SlutWalk.

First, you must not carry any “Zionist displays.” What are Zionist displays? That’s for others to decide. A Star of David might be OK. But if it’s on a rainbow flag, it probably isn’t because “its connections to the oppression enacted by Israel is too strong for it to be neutral.”

Second, you must express solidarity with Palestine. Marching in a parade with a pro-Palestinian stance is not sufficient, nor is advocating for a Palestinian state. As an openly Jewish person, you’ll need to satisfy more heightened scrutiny; other marchers may repeatedly demand that you disavow Israel and swear allegiance to the Palestinian cause. You must comply with these demands or else you will be expelled.

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

Third, you must renounce any previous connections you have had with Israel. Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of a group with ties to Israel? Repudiate and repent. Openly Jewish marchers are presumed to be in league with the Israeli government unless they can prove otherwise.

One final note: If you are a journalist who covers the implementation of these rules, you deserve to lose your job.

Listed all at once, these guidelines may sound too blatantly anti-Semitic to be stated openly—yet they are, at present, the operating principles of two widely celebrated progressive movements in Chicago. Both the Dyke March and the SlutWalk allege that these rules are compelled by intersectionality, the theory that all forms of social oppression are linked. In reality, both groups are using intersectionality as a smokescreen for anti-Semitism, creating a litmus test that Jews must pass to be part of these movements. American progressives should reject this perversion of social justice. No coherent vision of equality can command the maltreatment of Jews.

The debate over intersectionality and anti-Semitism jumped into the headlines following last month’s Dyke March, an LGBTQ demonstration that avoids the corporate sponsorships and bland political undertones of mainstream Pride events. During the march, several organizers approached Jewish demonstrators who were carrying rainbow Star of David flags. The organizers asked whether these women held Zionist sympathies, their suspicions reportedly having been aroused when the flag-carriers allegedly replaced the word “Palestine” with “everywhere” in a group chant. (That chant: “From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go.) One woman, Laurel Grauer, reportedly responded, “I do care about the state of Israel but I also believe in a two-state solution and an independent Palestine.” The organizers then ejected the Jewish demonstrators.

What Else Did Al Gore Get Wrong? Over time, the former vice president’s pronouncements on population may be more embarrassing than his climate predictions.By James Freeman

Al Gore’s latest global warming movie will open in U.S. theaters on Friday. “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” arrives eleven years after his award-winning “An Inconvenient Truth.” In the interim, conservatives like talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh haven’t let Mr. Gore forget his most dire and least accurate weather predictions. But the Gore analysis on another issue is being rejected by even some of his committed climate allies.

The good news for all of us is that Mr. Gore appears to have overstated the threat of eco-apocalypse, which he seems to implicitly acknowledge on his latest media tour.

Back in 2006, CBS News reported on Mr. Gore’s arrival at the Sundance Film Festival:

The former vice president came to town for the premiere of “An Inconvenient Truth,” a documentary chronicling what has become his crusade since losing the 2000 presidential election: Educating the masses that global warming is about to toast our ecology and our way of life.

…Americans have been hearing it for decades, wavering between belief and skepticism that it all may just be a natural part of Earth’s cyclical warming and cooling phases.

And politicians and corporations have been ignoring the issue for decades, to the point that unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return, Gore said.

Eleven years later, the mischief makers at the Climate Depot website asked him about the 10-year deadline at this year’s festival—just before he climbed into a large chauffeured sport-utility vehicle. He didn’t have much to say then, but in the absence of drastic global measures, it’s clear that Mr. Gore now believes that the end is not quite nigh. The tech website CNET describes an “optimistic” Mr. Gore with a “sunny outlook” discussing his latest cinematic venture with a crowd in San Francisco.

The new movie will likely spark more discussion about the accuracy of various Gore environmental predictions. The left-leaning Politifact has flagged several “half-truths” from the former vice president.


Sarah Halimi case: Will truth lead to justice? Nidra Poller

Commemoration of the Rafle du vel d’hiv

There was every reason to expect the July 16th commemoration of the Rafle du vel d’hiv to be limited to the usual concern for the dead. It does not take a gigantic soul to condemn retrospectively the arrest, deportation and extermination of more than 13,000 Parisian Jews, including over 4,000 children. Since 1995, when President Jacques Chirac placed responsibility for the irreparable crime on France, subsequent presidents have followed suit. But the Front National candidate Marine Le Pen dissents. During the presidential campaign she vehemently rejected this misguided repentance: France was in London, the Vichy government was not France. Her international anti-jihad supporters didn’t even notice let alone understand this reassertion of the founding values of the party she inherited from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen.

dozen members of the Truth and Justice for Sarah Halimi committee, meeting a few days before the commemoration were resigned to the certainty that it would be restricted to the historical past. The Crif, they supposed, would maintain its lay-low institutional role and not make waves or in any way embarrass the president who, at this stage, had shown absolutely no interest in the case and its broader implications. One member suggested they wear white armbands, a knotted piece of torn sheet like the ones handed out at the recent demonstration of cyclists for Sarah.

The ceremony kicked off early in the morning on July 16th with a walk around the memorial garden guided by Serge Klarsfeld who has tirelessly unearthed and published information about the exterminated children one by one. For security reasons, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu did not accompany the small group. The Vel d’hiv ceremony was a striking contrast with the pomp and circumstance of the 14th of July parade with honored guest President Donald Trump, protected by the most imposing security detail known to man. The magnificence of French architecture, French style, French ceremony, the Champs Elysées, the mounted Garde Républicaine, combat planes with their red white and blue plumes, military cadence, well-rehearsed exactitude, the first ladies and their wardrobes (no one can compete with Melania Trump). The back-slapping shoulder-tapping good hearted-hugging friendship between the Trumps and the Macrons was almost comical…and almost sincere.

The site where the infamous winter velodrome stood until it was demolished in the mid-fifties is surrounded by nondescript buildings. The modest ceremony was held before a small audience under a pitched tent roof in the presence of a handful of survivors, a bouquet of children, a sprinkling of descendants of righteous gentiles. Brigitte Macron, contrary to what had been announced, did not attend. The commemoration, broadcast live by BFM TV, LCI and, of course, i24 news French channel, was followed by ample media commentary. As far as I could tell CNN Intl. did not cover or even mention the ceremony.

Rabbi Oliver Kaufman chanted El Mole Rachamim, Raphael Esrail recited the kaddish, followed by a minute of silence, the Marseillaise…but no Hatikvah. And then, Crif President Francis Kalifat stood upright and articulated forthrightly the message that Jews and non-Jews have been trying to communicate to French society and authorities over the past seventeen years. Yes, Jews and non-Jews. One of the ploys used to stifle this message is the constant repetition of “the Sarah Halimi murder has dismayed French Jews, the Jewish community is distressed by the failure to investigate the anti-Semitic motive of the suspect,” etc. as if it were a narrowly Jewish issue pushed by parochially Jewish worry warts and exploited to attract attention to their minority concerns.

Hamas Must Remain on Terror List, Says EU’s Top Court The European Court of Justice reversed a lower court’s decision By Laurence Norman

The European Union’s top court ruled Wednesday that Palestinian group Hamas should be kept on the bloc’s terror list, reversing a lower court decision, but said the striking down of a Sri Lankan terror group listing was appropriate.

The decisions won’t have an immediate impact. Both groups were relisted on new grounds by the EU earlier this year and any funds connected to the groups remain frozen. However, the earlier ruling on Hamas in 2014 had added to tensions with Israel and raised questions about the bloc’s counterterror work.

In the case of Hamas, the European Court of Justice said the lower court’s 2014 decision wrongly demanded stronger evidence from EU member states to keep the group on the terror list.

“We welcome the ECJ ruling which confirmed the legality of Hamas listing in 2010-2014,” said the EU embassy in Israel. “The EU continues to consider Hamas a terrorist organization; measures restricting its activity remain in force.”

The ECJ said that while specific evidence must be provided by an EU member state to blacklist a group or person, there were less strict conditions on evidence to maintain that blacklisting. All that was needed to extend the listing was evidence showing that there is a continuing risk of the person or group being involved in terrorist activities. As a result, the lower court was wrong to discard the looser evidence provided on Hamas’ continuing terror activities.

However, for the Tamil Tigers, the court said that the EU didn’t explain why it believed the Sri Lankan group, following its military defeat in 2009, still posed a terror risk.

The court therefore confirmed the lower court’s decision to annul the freezing of Tamil Tiger funds from 2011 to 2015.

Connect the Dots to Stop Terror Plots Congressional barriers to information sharing would heighten the risk of another 9/11. By Adam Klein

Why didn’t intelligence agencies prevent 9/11? According to the 9/11 Commission, before the attacks, information from intelligence agencies “often failed to make its way to criminal investigators” at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

By the summer of 2000, the Central Intelligence Agency already knew that two future hijackers were associates of known terrorists, that both men held visas to enter the U.S., and that one had in fact flown to Los Angeles in March 2000. Unfortunately, the FBI learned of this in August 2001—at which point the men had already made their last, fateful entry into the U.S. With better information-sharing, the FBI might have arrested the terrorists and prevented the 9/11 attacks.

Some members of Congress now propose to erect new barriers against information-sharing within the intelligence community that could make it even more difficult for officials to spot future terrorists before they strike.

The proposal would affect Section 702, a 2008 law that allows the intelligence community to collect the communications of foreign intelligence targets when the communications travel across U.S. internet cables or are stored on U.S. servers. This has been an effective counterterrorism tool because foreign targets’ messages often touch the U.S. internet infrastructure.

Foreign targets are not protected by the Fourth Amendment, so the government has the authority to collect their messages under Section 702 without a warrant. But when foreign targets communicate with Americans, those messages are collected as well, raising privacy concerns.

Another key aspect of the privacy debate around Section 702 is what intelligence agencies should be allowed to do with that data. Courts have allowed agencies to search their 702 records for foreign intelligence purposes and, in the FBI’s case, for evidence of crime, which sometimes includes searches for information about Americans.

Privacy-minded House members from both parties are now reportedly considering amending Section 702 to bar government officials from searching 702 data for information about an American unless they get a warrant, based on probable cause, from a federal judge. Reformers have leverage this year because Congress must pass a 702 reauthorization bill before the law sunsets on Dec. 31.

But keeping officials from searching this data would make it more difficult to prevent homegrown terrorist attacks. In 2009 the National Security Agency used 702 to collect emails in which an unknown person in the U.S. asked an al Qaeda member in Pakistan for advice on making explosives. Those emails led the FBI to Najibullah Zazi, a Colorado man with imminent plans to bomb the New York subway system. Catching him saved dozens if not hundreds of lives. If an American appears to be radicalizing, the first thing the FBI should do is check the information already in its database to see whether that person has been in contact with known ISIS or al Qaeda operatives. CONTINUE AT SITE

ObamaCare’s GOP Preservers Seven Republicans pull a switcheroo as repeal fails, 45-55.

The Senate voted 45-55 Wednesday not to repeal ObamaCare with a two-year delay to replace it, and the only consolation for Republicans is the clarity of seeing who voted to preserve and protect rather than repeal and replace.

Congress had passed and sent to Barack Obama’s desk a similar measure in 2015, with support from every current Senate Republican except Susan Collins of Maine. This time seven voted no, including Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who aren’t up for re-election until 2022 and 2020, respectively. If you’re going to renege on your political promises, better to do it early, we suppose.

The repeal failure follows a Tuesday vote in which nine Republicans defeated a package to replace parts of the law and rehabilitate Medicaid, which went down 43-57. Only three Republicans voted against both, or to maintain the undiluted status quo: Ms. Collins, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Dean Heller of Nevada.

In 2015 Ms. Murkowski’s office put out an encomium to her many efforts to unwind ObamaCare, which she voted against in 2009. (See nearby.) Ms. Murkowski has co-sponsored bills to delay the individual mandate and to nix the law’s “Cadillac tax” on expensive plans. She bragged about her vote to eliminate the medical device tax and published op-eds on the “harmful impacts” of ObamaCare. This was apparently make-work for her staff.

Mr. Heller is the only Republican likely to have a tough re-election fight next year, and this week he made it that much tougher. The Nevadan voted Tuesday to allow debate, which Democrats will portray as a vote for repeal. But the GOP voters who helped him eke out a roughly 10,000-vote victory in 2012 will rightly judge the opposite from Wednesday’s vote. Don’t bet the fortune in the Vegas casinos or on a second Heller term.

Then there’s Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah, who voted for repeal and will soon be flaunting their self-styled reputations as the only political saints in Sin City. The reality is that their long refusal to vote for less-than-perfect repeal gave decisive leverage to Senate GOP moderates, who have combined to water down reform.

The practical effect will likely be to squander a historic opportunity to put Medicaid on a sustainable budget and better serve the truly needy rather than able-bodied adults. Can we at least no longer hear lectures from Mr. Paul of the kind he offered in January that we “can absolutely not balance a budget” without addressing entitlements?

The Senate is continuing to debate amendments in a crush of votes, and no one knows what will result. The most likely possibility is a “skinny repeal” that kills discrete features of ObamaCare like the employer and individual mandates and medical device tax. Moving even a “skinny bill” into a conference negotiation with the House is better than nothing, but it is light years from the bold Republican Senate promises of 2015-2016.

The best outcome of Wednesday’s repeal vote would have been to send the bill to a Republican President who is willing and even desperate to sign it. But at least voters have clarity about which GOP Senators are willing to ratify President Obama’s achievements.

Why Jeff Sessions Recused The AG wasn’t weak. He was following the law and sound advice.

President Trump lashed out again Wednesday at Jeff Sessions, and his fury over the Attorney General’s recusal from the Russia campaign-meddling probe may take the President down a self-destructive path. So this is a good moment to explain why Mr. Sessions felt obliged to recuse himself and why it was proper to do so.

Mr. Trump seems to think Mr. Sessions recused himself in March due to a failure of political nerve after news broke that he had met with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign. Mr. Sessions did recuse himself shortly after that story broke, and the AG didn’t help by forgetting to report those meetings during his confirmation hearing.

But Mr. Sessions and his advisers had been considering recusal long before that story broke—and for reasons rooted in law and Justice Department policy.

After Watergate in 1978, Congress passed a law requiring “the disqualification of any officer or employee of the Department of Justice, including a United States attorney or a member of such attorney’s staff, from participation in a particular investigation or prosecution if such participation may result in a personal, financial, or political conflict of interest, or the appearance thereof.”

The Justice Department implemented this language with rule 28 CFR Sec. 45.2. This bars employees from probes if they have a personal or political relationship with “any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution” or which they know “has a specific and substantial interest that would be directly affected by the outcome of the investigation or prosecution.”

This language didn’t apply to Mr. Sessions during his confirmation process because he didn’t know the contours of the FBI and Justice investigation. But the AG soon learned after he arrived at Main Justice in February that the investigation included individuals associated with the Trump presidential campaign.

Mr. Sessions had worked on the campaign, and he clearly had personal and political relationships with probable subjects of the investigation. These included former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and potentially others.

James Comey publicly confirmed this on March 20 when he told the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI “as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination.”

Some legal sages say this means Mr. Sessions did not have to recuse himself because this was a “counterintelligence,” not a criminal, probe. But you have to be credulous to think Mr. Comey would ignore potential crimes if he found them in the course of counterintelligence work. Mr. Sessions might have become a subject of the probe because of his meetings with the Russian ambassador.

The AG had no way of knowing where the investigation would lead, and the ethical considerations were serious as the post-Watergate statute makes clear. During his confirmation hearing in January, Mr. Sessions had promised that “if a specific matter arose where I believed my impartiality might reasonably be questioned, I would consult with Department ethics officials regarding the most appropriate way to proceed.”

Mr. Sessions fulfilled that promise, and on March 2 he announced that he’d recuse himself “from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States” based on the advice of senior career Justice officials. Imagine the media storm if word leaked that Mr. Sessions had ignored his department’s ethics officials.

Mr. Sessions’s recusal helped Mr. Trump for a time by eliminating an easy conflict-of-interest target for Democrats. The calls for a special prosecutor died down. They only erupted again in May after Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey and tweeted his phony threat that there might be White House tapes.

E.R. Drabik The Great Immigration Non-debate

If the only justification for sky-high immigration is it’s “good for the economy”, it is a policy fundamentally flawed. Judged through the prism of existing citizens’ interests, there is no economic case that can justify the transformative changes current policies are inflicting.

According to recent media reports, President Donald Trump and his team are working with Republican senators on a bill to halve legal immigration – to 500,000 per annum – into the United States. Across the Atlantic, Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to reduce immigration to less than 100,000 a year. In launching the Tory’s recent election manifesto, May said immigration to the UK needs to be brought down to “sustainable” levels. In 2016, she argued that there was “no case, in the national interest, for immigration of the scale we have experienced over the last decade.”

Immigration has also erupted as a major issue in the lead-up to September’s New Zealand election. The country’s main opposition party, Labour, has pledged to slash the migrant intake, which is presently running at record levels. Perhaps more significant is the recent surge in support for the populist New Zealand First, led by the wily Winston Peters. The great survivor of Kiwi politics and known for his colourful utterances, Peters has slammed the government’s unfocused immigration “merry-go-round” and wants permanent visas restricted to 10,000 per annum. With his party likely to hold the balance of power come September, Peters may very well get his way.

Yet, while other Anglosphere countries look to curb immigration, Australia is moving in the opposite direction, with Canberra firmly planting its foot on the mass-immigration accelerator.

The numbers coming in are, quite frankly, insane. Over the last 12 years, annual average net immigration has tripled from its long-term historical average, to 210,000 people a year. Australia is importing a population equivalent to Hobart each and every year or an Adelaide every six years, with this turbocharged intake expected to continue for decades. By way of comparison, Australia’s annual immigration inflow is roughly equal to that of Britain’s, despite Australia only having around a third of the population.

While the populations of most other developed countries have either stabilised or declined, Australia’s population surged by a staggering 21.5% between 2003 and 2015 on the back of Canberra’s immigration-on-’roids policy. If current trends continue unabated, Australia’s population is projected to nearly double by 2050, to over 40 million. Needless to say, this immigration-fuelled population explosion will have a host of far-reaching social, cultural, demographic, economic and environmental consequences. But practically no effort has been expended by governments considering what Australia will look like in 10, 20, 40 or 80 years under this high immigration scenario. Canberra is rushing at breakneck speed while blindfolded towards a big, ultra-diverse Australia. In the long history of human folly, this must certainly be a stand-out.

Nor has the Turnbull government provided an official rationale as to why it is running the largest per capita immigration programme in the world. The entire sum of its immigration policy appears to be to bring in as many people as quickly as possible while assiduously burying any sort of public discussion on the issue. The government didn’t even mention the 2017-18 permanent intake number in the budget papers. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton made no public statement on the matter. Dutton’s position atop a new super ministry, ostensibly to enhance national security, has been pilloried by pundits on both sides of politics as ministerial overreach. Yet, at the same time it has been reported that Dutton is considering outsourcing vast swaths of Australia’s immigration system to the private sector, effectively surrendering control over our borders. Rorters, dodgy middlemen and fifth columnists will be rubbing their hands in anticipation.

There has been a steady stream of puff pieces in the mainly left-leaning media claiming that mass immigration is both necessary and beneficial. However, the arguments proffered tend to be exasperatingly specious and quickly fall apart under scrutiny. Despite the various claims by some business groups and others, Australia does not have a general skills shortage requiring heavy and sustained inflows. Moreover, current immigration policy is, in fact, largely detached from Australia’s labour market requirements. As a recent report by the Australian Population Research Institute found, any relationship that existed between skills recruited under the points-tested visa subclasses and particular shortages in the labour market has eroded under successive governments. This is resulting in large numbers of ‘skilled’ permanent migrants of dubious professional quality and relevance in fields such as IT and accounting, despite these sectors having a significant surplus of workers. In any case, the annual immigration report by the Australian Productivity Commission made it clear that about half of the skilled migrant steam includes the family members of skilled migrants, with only around 30 percent of Australia’s total permanent migrant intake actually ‘skilled’.

Nor can immigration realistically provide a solution to the ‘problem’ of an ageing population, as is frequently claimed by immigration enthusiasts. Again, the Productivity Commission has stated in numerous reports that immigration is not a feasible countermeasure to an ageing population since migrants themselves also age. As migrants grow old, even larger inflows will be required to support them, and so on ad infinitum. In other words, using immigration in an attempt to counter population ageing is the epitome of an unsustainable Ponzi scheme. Cambridge Professor of Economics Robert Rowthorn has memorably compared it to Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory’s insatiable demand for virginal victims. According to legend, the “Bloody Lady of Csejte” used to regularly bathe in the blood of chaste young women in an effort to preserve her fading youth. To stay young, she needed to constantly replenish the supply of virgins. At some point Australia’s Báthoryian policymakers are going to have to bow to the inevitable and deal with the ageing population, as Japan and other smart countries are already doing, rather than trying to delay the day of reckoning through misguided and ultimately counterproductive immigration policies.

A New Look at the Death of Europe Rael Jean Isaac

With the publication of The Strange Death of Europe Douglas Murray has made a significant contribution to a crucially important, if still niche genre: the Islamization of Europe. A small number of writers (given the huge impact of this development) have focused on the issue, among them Bat Yeor, Oriana Fallaci, Mark Steyn, Christopher Caldwell, Bruce Bawer, Soeren Kern, Giulio Meotti, Guy Milliere, Ingrid Carlqvist, Melanie Phillips. This small band is all that confronts the blatant and pervasive coverup by politicians and mainstream media.

Murray’s contribution takes several forms. He brings the story of Europe’s civilizational suicide up to date. He provides a chronological tale of the debacle from the post-World War II importation of what were imagined at the time to be temporary workers from Muslim countries needed to fill labor shortages to the disastrous decision by Angela Merkel in August 2015 to throw open Germany’s borders without limits, with the slogan “We can do it.” He sets forth Muslim terrorist actions in Europe in punctilious sequence, including those targeting individuals, like the murder of Theo van Gogh and the Charlie Hebdo staff; the attacks against Jews, and the terror aimed at the general public, for example, the Bataclan massacre and the mowing down at random of people celebrating Bastille Day at the Nice beach. He describes the broader challenge to European society posed by Muslims who do not resort to terror, but espouse values wholly at variance with those of their host countries. Most important, he seeks to explain Europe’s “strange” behavior, why Europe is committing suicide with its elites leading a reluctant but passive public over the cliff.

In part, Murray’s explanation does not differ much from that advanced by several of those cited above. In Murray’s words, “The world was coming into Europe at precisely the moment that Europe has lost sight of what it is.” It was a Europe that had lost faith in its beliefs, traditions, its very legitimacy. But Murray is especially good in focusing on the importance of guilt, what he calls Europe’s “unique, abiding, and perhaps fatal sense of and obsession with guilt” in shaping its behavior. While not ignored by others, the role of guilt has not been given the attention it deservedly gets here.

To this reviewer, that the Holocaust should shake Europe’s faith in its civilization is only right and fitting. In the current issue of Commentary Terry Teachout points out how Europe’s great orchestras dutifully fired Jewish members and banned music by Jewish composers even as the music-loving Hitler in 1938 declared “Germany has become the guardian of European culture and civilization.” It can be no surprise if Europeans ask, “How could what Hitler conceived himself as zealously guarding be worth preserving?”

But as Murray sees it, guilt has become a “moral intoxicant”–Europeans have become “high” on it. They cannot fall back on their Christian faith because their “foundational story” was fatally weakened in the nineteenth century by the combination of Biblical higher criticism and Darwinism. The replacement beliefs in multiculturalism (and Murray quotes Samuel Huntington’s apt observation that multiculturalism is essentially an anti-Western ideology), tolerance, diversity, and “human rights” (as those who have seized control of the issue define them) are no substitute for the fervent divinely-grounded convictions of Islam.

Murray addresses the puzzling question: why there has been so little pushback from Europeans as they have been inundated by millions committed to ideologies anathema to their own? One reason is that the penalties for speaking out are high. Murray writes that those who have shouted fire over the years have been treated as arsonists. They have been “ignored, defamed, prosecuted or killed.” The media has been swift to silence those among them who dared to so much as raise the issue. Murray cites the fate of Erik Mansson, editor-in-chief of the Swedish paper Expressen, who as far back as 1993 published the results of an opinion poll showing 63% of Swedes wanted immigrants to return to their countries of origin. Noting the difference between those in power and public opinion, Mansson said he thought the subject should be discussed. The only result was that the paper’s owners promptly fired Mansson.