I recently read Hilaire Belloc’s The Great Heresies. I confess to having read nothing else of Belloc which I now intend to put right. He was a Roman Catholic of great conviction and this apparently colours much of his political and historical writings. It is of course central to the book I have just read. At this time, I don’t want to go into all of the heresies against the Catholic Church which he covers, of which The Reformation is prominent. I want to focus on Islam, which he calls “the great and enduring heresy of Mohammed.”
A first thing to remember is that this book was published in 1938 when the Islamic world was largely occupied by Western Powers. If you trace a line from, say, 622 (when Mohammed and his followers reportedly migrated from Mecca to Medina) to 1938, it would be hard to find another period when the Islamic world was at such a low ebb. Now listen to Belloc.
Millions of modern people of the white civilisation – that is, the civilisation of Europe and America – have forgotten about Islam. They have never come into contact with it. They take for granted that it is decaying, and that, anyway, it is just a foreign religion which will not concern them. It is, as a fact, the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilisation has had, and may at any moment become as large a menace in the future as in the past.
Switch to the present.
Fifty-six countries are members of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (I have left out the non-country Palestine). Iran will soon have a nuclear bomb. What North Korea did Iran can certainly do. The world’s Muslim population of around 1.7 billion is due to grow to 2.8 billion by 2050, according to a study this year by Pew Research. That same organisation projected in 2015 that Muslims will make up over 10 per cent of Europe’s population by 2050. That, let me guess, will prove to be a serious underestimate. Radical preachers abound inside and outside the West. Muslims have carried out over 30,000 deadly terrorist attacks since 9/11.
Imagine Belloc now. What would he think? Of course, he would think that he was right all those years ago. But he would surely be amazed that the threat had grown so large, had penetrated the very bosom of the West, under our very noses, so to speak, without it causing profound alarm. He surely would think that our political leaders had turned traitorous or stupid to continue to preside over Muslim immigration. And, as to the religion of peace epithet, his reaction presumably would be unprintable even for a devout Catholic.
A possible clue to Western political malfeasance lies in something else Belloc wrote.
I say the suggestion that Islam may re-arise sounds fantastic – but this is only because men are always powerfully affected by the immediate past – one might say that they are blinded by it.
This resonates with me. I find it all around me. Intelligent people aware of Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, and the like, think that bad things can’t happen. In my experience in Australia, they see the recent peaceful and prosperous past lasting forever. I remember expressing concern to a colleague after the Cronulla riots in 2005. His response was typical. Like other migrants, Muslims will become Aussies in nature and outlook, he claimed. That happened before and is bound to happen again. Isn’t it?
Our political leaders have a responsibility to shake us out of suicidal torpor in the face of dire threats. Be Churchill-like in other words. Unfortunately, our politicians almost to a man and woman are appeasers of the worst kind. The worst kind are not those who simply deny the threat. They are those who kow-tow to it and invite it into the living room where our grandchildren are playing.
Maybe we have the political leaders we deserve. Sometimes I think that when I listen to some Pollyannas around me. Others, thankfully, are perceptive enough to realise that bad things happen if we let them. But I fear such people are outnumbered.
Torpor will do us in when the enemy is resolute. Islam has been resolute for 1400 years. Here, finally, is Belloc again.
In Islam there has been no such dissolution of ancestral doctrine or, at any rate, nothing corresponding to universal break-up of religion in Europe. The whole spiritual strength of Islam is still present in the masses of Syria and Anatolia [≃ Turkey], of East Asian mountains, of Arabia, Egypt and North Africa. The final fruit of this tenacity, the second period of Islamic power, may be delayed – but I doubt whether it can be permanently postponed.
So here we are, eighty years after Belloc wrote. Islam is not only outside the gate but has a rapidly growing foothold within. As prescient as he was even he could not have foreseen that happening. Sheer self-destructive madness isn’t predictable.