The bestselling French novel Soumission (Submission in translation), by the always-provocative nihilist Michel Houellebecq, features a literature professor at the Sorbonne named François who is the very embodiment of Europe’s secularized decadence. After an alliance between the Socialist Party and the Muslim Brotherhood Party results in a fundamental transformation of the country’s political landscape, François finds himself living in an Islamic patriarchy in which polygamy is legal, all teachers are required to be Muslim, and his university is renamed the Islamic University of Paris-Sorbonne.
“The facts were plain,” François observed. “Europe had reached a point of such putrid decomposition that it could not longer save itself, any more than fifth-century Rome could have done. This wave of new immigrants, with their traditional culture – of natural hierarchies, the submission of women, and respect for elders – offered a historic opportunity for the moral and familial rearmament of Europe.” The fight “to establish a new organic phase of civilization could no longer be waged in the name of Christianity. Islam, its sister faith… had taken up the torch.”
With no moral or spiritual center to ground him, François is easily seduced by the new order and converts to Islam in order to gain a more prestigious position at the university and to indulge in arranged marriages with sexually compliant young wives. He chooses the path of least resistance to the “foregone conclusion” of Muslim domination. His submission, symbolic of Europe’s ongoing capitulation to an ascendant Islamic fundamentalism, is every bit as chilling as Winston Smith’s embrace of Big Brother at the conclusion of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Many books have been written identifying the causes of Europe’s slow-motion cultural suicide, among them a tsunami of Muslim immigration, the corrosive effects of political correctness and multiculturalism, willfully blind political elites, and perhaps most significantly, the decline of Christianity. What Matthew Arnold called “the melancholy, long withdrawing roar” of Christianity’s retreat from the continent is leaving a vacuum of moral and spiritual conviction which a virile, unconflicted Islam is filling. Christianity, as François notes, “had renounced its temporal powers, and so had sealed its own doom.”
The result, as we are all painfully aware, is that an enervated Europe now is riddled with Muslim no-go zones and sharia courts. Calls to prayer are blasted publicly from loudspeakers and streets blocked by praying believers. Polygamy and female genital mutilation abound. Sexual assaults and anti-Semitic hate crimes are skyrocketing. The push for blasphemy laws is finding increasing support. And of course, the continent experiences periodic bursts of violent jihad ranging from “lone wolf” attacks to coordinated assaults on concert crowds and commuter trains.