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Decline and Fall: Europe's Slow Motion Suicide [Hardcover]

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Item Number 393491  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   161
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   0.88 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 13, 2007
Publisher   Encounter Books
ISBN  1594032068  
EAN  9781594032066  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
In this penetrating and provocative book, classicist Bruce S. Thornton shows that Europeans today increasingly resemble the Eloi of H.G. Wells's The Time Machine: cultured, sophisticated enjoyers of la dolce vita waiting to be devoured by bestial Morlocks, a static "museum civilization" living off the cultural and spiritual capital amassed in the previous 25 centuries. This book shows how Europe reached this pass and analyzes what Europe's decline means for the US. Despite our cultural and historical ties, Thornton argues, Europe is likely to continue in its decline and will increasingly be a drag on America's interests, particularly in fighting jihadist terrorism.

Publishers Description
Once a colossus dominating the globe, Europe today is a doddering convalescent. Sluggish economic growth, high unemployment, an addiction to expensive social welfare entitlements, a dwindling birth-rate among native Europeans, and most important, an increasing Islamic immigrant population chronically underemployed yet demographically prolific--all point to a future in which Europe will be transformed beyond recognition, a shrinking museum culture riddled with ever-expanding Islamist enclaves. Decline and Fall tells the story of this decline by focusing on the larger cultural dysfunctions behind the statistics. The abandonment of the Christian tradition that created the West's most cherished ideals--a radical secularism evident in Europe's indifference to God and church--created a vacuum of belief into which many pseudo-religions have poured. Scientism, fascism, communism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, sheer hedonism-- all have attempted and failed, sometimes bloodily, to provide Europeans with an alternative to Christianity that can show them what is worth living and dying for. Meanwhile a resurgent Islam, feeding off the economic and cultural marginalization of European Muslims, knows all too well not just what is worth dying for, but what is worth killing for. Crippled by fashionable self-loathing and fantasies of multicultural inclusiveness, Europeans have met this threat with capitulation instead of strength, appeasement and apologies instead of the demand that immigrants assimilate. As Decline and Fall shows, Europe's solution to these ills--a larger and more powerful European Union--simply exacerbates the problems, for the EU cannot address the absence of a unifying belief that can spur Europe even to defend itself, let alone to recover its lost grandeur. As these problems worsen, Europe will face an unappetizing choice between two somber destinies: a violent nationalistic or nativist reaction, or, more likely, a long descent into cultural senescence and slow-motion suicide.

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More About Bruce Thornton

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Is associate professor of classics at California State University at Fresno.

Bruce S. Thornton currently resides in Fresno, in the state of California. Bruce S. Thornton has an academic affiliation as follows - California State University, Fresno.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Terror really does work - in Europe.  Sep 19, 2008
Civilizations that are running out of people inevitably must import others to keep their economic machines running and growing. America was built on just such a principle, with Latin America the current chief source of new population.
America assimilates. Americans may proudly declare their ancestral origin, but almost all live the American life, speak English, and eschew violent creeds from their country of origin. It is expected of them. Americans do not live in fear of the Mexican immigrants within their midst.
The European intellectual elite(!) know better. They believe that if they follow the dictates of Arabia they will get an assured supply of oil and immunity from terrorism. Hence the influx of millions of Muslims, most with no intention of assimilating. Europe has welcomed its own "enemy within".
The member states of that other European chimera - the European Union - have surrendered to this same elite the power to dictate how every country should behave: Avoid offending the newcomers at any cost. This would work well if it were reciprocated, but it isn't. Hence Europeans obsequiously remove piggy banks from the lobbies of banks and silence the church bells of Rome; and in exchange, any criticism of Islam is met with riots, murders and terrorism.
Mr. Brewer convincingly and disturbingly argues that Europe is dying, while the rest of the world looks on in horror.
Europe has a problem, but it's not Marxism  Sep 6, 2008
This book is worth reading because it provides a profound analysis of Europe's capacity to grow and to play on the global political and economic stage. The author gets it right on many key issues, with the notable exception of its judgment of Marxism. (Hence only 4 stars.)
Forget going-down-the drain image on the cover, which Mr. Thornton himself does not feel comfortable. As an economist, I advise readers not to treat this book as a prophecy of Europe's economic future. Largely ignoring the fact Europe is a complex entity with a vibrant business sector that's exposed to the competitive global markets, the prediction of a permanent economic decline in absolute terms is most likely to be proven wrong. I believe Europe is destined to slowly lose its relative political and economic power while maintaining a comfortable, if increasingly anxiety-filled, standard of living.
That said, Mr. Thornton's central point is correct: the modern European civilization is intellectually and morally bankrupt. Post-war Europe has not found a unifying belief and transcendent value to fill the void left by an abandoned Christianity. Secular humanism offers an illusionary "EUtopia" in complete contrast to what made the West great. By committing to cultural relativism, social welfare entitlement, anti-religion, and anti-Americanism, the continent is committing a "slow motion" suicide. Economically, Europe is destined to increasing irrelevance because of its demographic crisis, social welfare system, and ethnic tensions associated with immigration.
Written largely for an American audience, Mr. Thornton's book is a frontal attack on the romantic notion that Europe represents a progressive future that all advanced nations should emulate. The liberal left, such as Jeremy Rifkin, have argued that the American Dream of individualism, cultural exceptionalism, materialistic growth, private property rights and political realism toward the rivals of the West should be replaced by an European Dream of collectivism, cultural relativism, "sustainable" development, leisure, "rights of nature," and political appeasement. As an expert in classics and humanities, Thornton makes a powerful case that this European vision is rooted in the bankrupt Enlightenment Romanticism and the socialist dream of human perfectibility. The European dolce vita lifestyle is not a more humane and fulfilling way to live compared to workaholic, money-grubbing Americans. Without a higher purpose, the ultimate future for Europe could be H.G. Wells's Eloi, a delicate, youthful, vegetarian species that seems to live in a paradise but actually represents the retrogression of the human race.
A staunch defender of religion, Mr. Thornton could have made a stronger case about the central human paradox: first, maximum human happiness and minimum pain are what we want, but we must transcend our own well-being; second, given human nature, our transcendence must be achieved through none other than pursuing our self-interests. In critiquing communist socialism that underpin the European social welfare system, he falls into the common trap of discrediting Marx's theory based on how much misery and how many deaths that the communists have caused. One could easily use his criterion to argue against his beloved Christianity. Furthermore, he seems to contradict himself by advocating religion on one hand, and discrediting Marxism as a mere pseudo religion on the other.
In fact, there is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water. As Thornton correctly pointed out, Marx's philosophical thought bears a deep imprint of Christianity, while the failure of USSR and other socialist countries is rooted in the Romantic notion of human perfectibility and the superiority of central planning over markets. Marx's idea that History is progressive, that it is up to us to find its direction, that we can make a difference in this universe is as powerful and attractive as ever. The failure of Marxism is the unfortunate result of its inability to adapt to changing economic, social, and cultural realities that falsified many of its precepts (ruthless persecution of the first "deviationist" to maintain Marxism's purity actually killed it), while the Christian theology managed to evolve (certainly beyond The Old Testament), discarding unworkable ideas such as the Utopian commune and adapting to new social environments. As Marx reacted to the French "Marxists" of the late 1870s, "All I know is that I am not a Marxist."
Due to its unique experience of suffering greatly in God's hand for centuries, many European people remain wary of organized religion and lofty ideologies. Rightly so. But it is also a mistake to discard higher purpose altogether. Like Thornton, I am pessimistic about Europe's future, but hold out hope that somehow it will respond to various geopolitical, demographic, economic and social pressures and rediscover its spiritual roots.
A brilliant and timely work  Jul 21, 2008
This is an excellent antidote for those delusional Americans that somehow maintain the illusion that the solutions for our country's woes (real or imagined) is for America to become "more like Europe." As Dr. Thornton points out, with fact after fact, is that it is of course exactly the opposite. This book is an excellent companion to Mark Steyn's "America Alone" and Bruce Bawer's "While Europe Slept."
Detailed, packed with info and quotes. Highly recommended!  Jul 5, 2008
This awesome book is very informative, packed with quotes, details and info you can't find any where else. But the grim future of EUtopia (It's also where Liberals in Canada and US would like us to follow) is making me scared. According to stats, by 2025 France will be a majority Islamic country. Russian army will be a majority Muslim army by 2020. These are scary, not because radical Muslims are scary, but because this change is being forced upon the rotten continent of Europe so fast that it can not keep pace. And as it is clear, the Eurabians have two option: 1- Submit to the will of Allah and become Muslims at once, 2- Start a civil war again and run concentration camps (That's where Eurabians are best at). These two options scare the hell out of me and makes me very sad. At any rate, this book is an eye opener for the naive Westerners in Canada, UK, US and western EU countries. Europe is a mess and hopefully it won't need America to save it again. As for this book I highly recommend this book.
Dystopia deconstructed  Jun 21, 2008
Decline and Fall is a valuable addition to the growing corpus of literature on the continent's problems and uncertain future. Recommended titles include the entertaining and witty but not unserious Menace in Europe by Claire Berlinski, the mostly disturbing While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer and the melancholy The Last Days of Europe by Walter Laqueur.

What constitutes Europe? Besides the 25 countries of the EU and those awaiting membership, it also includes non-members like Switzerland and Norway. For Thornton, the idea of Europe represents a set of values and beliefs or a particular world-view that broadly defines the West in general. He examines the specific nature of the European model, one that is perceived in certain circles as more humane and sophisticated than that of the Anglosphere. Then the evidence of Europe's accelerating decline and its causes are discussed.

The welfare state, accepted across the political spectrum with almost complete unanimity, has resulted in disappointing economic growth rates and perpetually high unemployment. The birthrate of native Europeans is in steep decline whilst there are large unassimilated immigrant communities suffering from mass unemployment resulting in huge welfare dependence. These people are alienated from, even hostile to, their host countries.

Europe's decline proceeded in stages beginning with the collapse of faith, followed by the disasters caused by Christianity's secular Salvationist substitutes like nationalism, socialism, communism, fascism and more recently the plagues of environmentalism and multiculturalism that have undermined its confidence. The perceptive French philosopher Chantal Delsol considers moral relativism - the rejection of all absolutes - as a form of nihilism that resulted from profound disillusionment with ideology. A newly resurgent Islam exploits this weakness and there is nothing to counteract the process.

The continent's dependence on oil imports coupled with its lack of a coherent belief system revived its long tradition of appeasement in the face of threats. After the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the subsequent oil blackmail a turning point in foreign policy occurred when countries like France shifted away from Israel to the Arab side as documented in Eurabia by Bat Ye'or. If antisemitism is a reliable measure of a society's mental health, Europe is seriously unwell. Anti-Zionism is rampant and barely distinguishable from antisemitism amongst the political and media elites.

Fanatically secular, these elites refuse to acknowledge the continent's Christian heritage, a significant spiritual bond between all member states. As the EU expands so does the Eurocracy. The EU power structure is not democratic at all and notoriously out of touch with ordinary citizens. As the continent loses ground to rapidly growing economies like those of India and China and living standards decline, dissatisfaction will rise. It is likely that the assault upon freedom of the press will intensify with the smoldering unrest amongst the immigrant communities flaring up more frequently.

Owing to the habit of consensus-seeking by the major parties of the centre left & centre right, the discontent of native Europeans is expressed by previously unthinkable levels of support for far-right movements in many countries. With their disdain for real democracy, the smug elites have been ignoring the danger signs. It's clear that sooner or later something must give.

A combination of external threats, declining living standards and internal unrest may lead to drastic changes. This scenario is not unlikely as there are indications of Russia seeking an alliance or cartel with oil and gas producers to put the squeeze on Europe while it is already buying aggressively into strategic European companies. Not found in the book, the following scenario is just speculation:

If these accumulating problems are exacerbated by major terror attacks, native Europeans will look elsewhere for leadership. A climate of fear will be conducive to spiritual revival in the form of a dramatic return to their historical faith, Constantine Christianity. A charismatic leader in that tradition who inspires confidence will signal the end of the Brussels bureaucracy, leading Europe towards a different kind of unity, one that may be based on faith.

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