Likewise, halfway across the world, the Arab Spring was also hailed as the voice of youth, tweeting its universal message of hope and change. A year on, it’s proved to be rather heavier on change, and ever lighter on hope. Egypt’s first freely elected head of state is a Muslim Brotherhood man. In the parliament of the most populous Arab nation, the Muslim Brotherhood’s party and its principal rival, the Even More Muslim Brotherhood, between them won nearly three-quarters of the seats. In traditionally relaxed and secular Tunisia and Morocco, elections have been won by forces we are assured by the experts are “moderate Islamists” — which means that, unlike the lavishly bankrolled American protectorate of Afghanistan, they won’t be executing adulterous women in the street, or at any rate not just yet. …

The mistake made by virtually the entire Western media during the Arab Spring was to assume that social progress is like technological progress — that, like the wheel or the internal-combustion engine, women’s rights and gay rights cannot be disinvented. They can, very easily. In Egypt, the youth who voted for the Muslim Brotherhood are more fiercely Islamic than their grandparents who backed Nasser’s revolution in 1952. In Tunisia, the young are more proscriptive than the secular old-timers who turned a blind eye to the country’s bars and brothels. In the developed world, we’re told that Westernization is “inevitable.” “Just wait and see,” say the blithely complacent inevitablists. “They haven’t yet had time to Westernize.” But Westernization is every bit as resistible in Brussels and Toronto as it’s proved in Cairo and Jalalabad. In the first ever poll of Irish Muslims, 37 percent said they would like Ireland to be governed by Islamic law. When the same question was put to young Irish Muslims, it was 57 percent. In other words, the hope’n’change generation are less Westernized than their parents. Thirty-six percent of young British Muslims think the penalty for apostasy — i.e., leaving Islam — should be death. Had you asked the same question of British Muslims in 1970, I doubt the enthusiasts would have cracked double figures.