NRO’s Kevin D. Williamson has an uncomfortable question for you: “If you were the citizenry of a European country without a large, unassimilated Muslim minority, why would you want one?” In the Times of London, columnist Melanie Phillips writes that the onslaught of displaced people “will alter the cultural balance of the country for ever.” And, as right-wing Dutch leader Geert Wilders laments of the “Islamic invasion,” it is “an invasion that threatens our prosperity, our security, our culture and identity.”
Kevin Williamson refers to Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Walls.” Frost, writes Kevin, is “America’s underrated policy guru,” who advises in his poem “to never knock down a fence until you understand why it was put up in the first place.”
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down. I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
The European Union is one of the great fence-demolishing projects of our times, and it is not without its merits. There are some persuasive arguments for governing the movement of European capital, goods, and people under a very liberal regime; and, given the unhappy history of Europe in the 20th century, there’s a heaping helping of idealism at work, too, and as William F. Buckley Jr. once observed: “Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.”
Kevin then asks another question: “What is the U.S. going to do about the crisis?”
We may look back (some of us conservatives with red faces) on George W. Bush and his nation-building democracy project, as unimpressive as that strategy appears in retrospect, and foreswear another adventure on those lines. But what’s the next big idea? Donald Trump dreams idly and daftly of seizing Iraqi oil fields; Senator Rand Paul is working very hard, without much in the way of persuasive results, to get his native libertarian non-interventionism to jibe with the realities of ISIS et al. The mainstream Democrats have settled upon the philosophy that they don’t need a philosophy, because everything that is wrong with the world is, and forever will be, George W. Bush’s fault, and, besides, somebody somewhere in Kansas is being rude to a homosexual or an abortionist.
Peggy Noonan, in a separate column in the WSJ, has questions of her own: “Do we not have a right to control our borders? Isn’t the refugee wave a security threat? ISIS is nothing if not committed to its intentions. Why would they not be funneling jihadists onto those boats?”
Good fences do make good neighbors, as the Germans are so rudely discovering. “What lessons do we Americans take from this,” asks Kevin Williamson. Read more here.