The vast majority of Western politicians and members of the media today appear to be guided by the idea that it is better to be wrong about Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History than to be right about Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations. This seems simply an abbreviated expression of a widespread unwillingness, or inability, to call things by their real names. Let us examine the reality that is so hard for many members of liberal societies to acknowledge, and which explains why Huntington’s diagnosis of the current era is far more fitting than Fukuyama’s.
Huntington’s working hypothesis for analyzing current events basically follows German sociologist Max Weber’s “sociology of civilizations.” Yet the term “shock of civilizations” was coined in 1957 by the historian Bernard Lewis, in the aftermath of the Suez crisis.
The clash of civilizations should not be understood, however, in a purely military context. The clash of civilizations in which we find ourselves today is less direct in three main ways:
The two “civilizations” are not on distinct opposite sides. Not all Muslims are Islamists; not all Europeans want to defend European civilization.
Two religions do not stand against each other. Europe has religiously disarmed and in its place has put a totally irrational dogma in the form of multiculturalism.
The clash is not taking place with arms. Although terrorist attacks are severe, the attempt by one civilization to subjugate the other is occurring on a broader ideological and religious plane.