My book isn’t about what I want to happen but what I think will happen.
Steyn says I accused him of supporting genocide. I plainly didn’t. In fact, I said that he "clearly rejects it." I merely noted his cool indifference to the possibility. Elsewhere, Steyn has considered the chance of an anti-Muslim final solution and writes:
Even if you’re hot for a new Holocaust, demography tells. There are no Hitlers to hand.
Am I wrong to detect a certain tone of regret in this? Again, this isn’t an endorsement of genocide. It’s an argument that it’s not feasible in Europe – no new Hitlers, dammit – and would destroy the character of America to become genocidal. Glenn Reynolds is in the same camp. He has predicted genocide, but doesn’t actually endorse it. In this post, he lays his view out with clarity:
Civilized societies have always won against barbarians ever since the industrial revolution made making things a greater source of power than breaking them.
Civilized societies have found it harder, though, to beat the barbarians without killing all, or nearly all, of them. Were it really to become all-out war of the sort that Osama and his ilk want, the likely result would be genocide — unavoidable, and provoked, perhaps, but genocide nonetheless, akin to what Rome did to Carthage, or to what Americans did to American Indians. That’s what happens when two societies can’t live together, and the weaker one won’t stop fighting — especially when the weaker one targets the civilians and children of the stronger. This is why I think it’s important to pursue a vigorous military strategy now. Because if we don’t, the military strategy we’ll have to follow in five or ten years will be light-years beyond "vigorous."
Again, Reynolds isn’t urging genocide. He’s predicting it. With a little relish for flavor, wouldn’t you say?
I should add, I guess, that I don’t mean to get into a fight with my new Atlantic colleague, Mr Steyn. He is one of the funniest, sharpest writers in America today. Up there in humorous writing, in my book, with Kinsley, Hitchens, Barry, Chait. I share his disgust at Islamist fundamentalism and admire his willingness to tackle it head on. His wildly successful book, alas, is an intellectually vulgar diatribe based on the crudest demographic reductionism (and many very good jokes at the expense of the idiot left). I think the right is currently divided between those who hate the American left more than the Islamist right and those who take the opposite view. I’m afraid my dislike of anyone to the left of Joe Lieberman is not as intense as my dislike of religious terrorism. Which is why it’s getting lonely out here.
P.S. On this whole meme, Matt Yglesias has a good post.