Not that the two are mutually exclusive.

Mark Steyn’s book America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It is far more profound than anything Nancy Pelosi has to say. And Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan will do more to save America than any plodding pseudo-documentary by Michael Moore.

Plus, unlike Michael Moore, Rosie O’Donnell, and every episode of Studio 60, Steyn and Cohen are actually funny.

Two comedians. Neither of them Americans. But they may be the last hope of Western civilization.

Yes, things are that bad.

You’d know just how bad if you’d read Steyn’s hilarious-yet-horribly-depressing America Alone. I would summarize the book this way — “Holy crap, we’re screwed!” — but I hate to sugarcoat.

Because Europeans have stopped breeding (17 European countries are at what demographers call “lowest low” birth rates), Steyn notes that “Islam is now the principal supplier of new Europeans.” The result will be “Eurabia,” a continent that, within our lifetime, will have Muslim majorities in some countries (Spain, the Netherlands) and sizeable Muslim minorities in others (France, Great Britain).

This would merely be interesting if the second and third generation of European Muslims were doing what other immigrants have done and integrated into European society. But they aren’t.

Steyn again: “Seven percent of British Muslims consider their primary identity to be British, 81 percent consider it to be Muslim … Second- and third-generation European Muslims feel far more fiercely Islamic than their parents and grandparents.”

Which is why Muslim populations in überliberal nations like Sweden, Canada and Germany are demanding — and getting — recognition of sharia law and Islamic courts. It explains why England’s Foreign Minister is under political assault for refusing to meet with Muslim women wearing the veil. And why France, where 2,500 cops have been injured fighting their own intifada in its streets this year, cannot fight Islamic extremism abroad.

The true enemy of the West, in Steyn’s opinion, is our slavish devotion to one virtue over all: Tolerance. We don’t have the cultural cojones to say to the Islamic world — “Sorry, but we just won’t accept burkas, burning books about Mohammad, and beating homosexuals to death. We’re right and you’re wrong.”

And then, just when Western civilization is about to tolerate itself to death, who should appear? Borat the Magnificent!

Borat is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, and yes, it’s also one of the most disgusting. I assume you know the premise: Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen plays the bumbling Kazakh TV reporter interviewing people, prominent and obscure, who think Borat is a real person — one who just happens to be utterly clueless. Borat says and does things that civilized people find wildly inappropriate (calling a panel of feminists “chicky” and “sweetheart” was one of my favorites) to test the limits of our tolerance.

Some reviewers have focused on the Americans Borat discovers who share the character’s worst prejudices (like the redneck USC students longing for a return of slavery — Go Cocks!). But that misses Borat‘s most profound point.

What Borat mocks is tolerance itself. Borat screams anti-Semitic rants or roams into a woman’s dining room with a baggie of his own feces, and the first reaction of the good, multicultural Americans around him is to find a way to accommodate, to understand, to (as one clueless woman in the film did) be fascinated by our cultural differences.

Watching Borat, we begin to wonder if there are any Americans left who haven’t achieved total P.C. wussification. What we want is what Mark Steyn wants: For someone with the cultural confidence to stand up and say “What the hell’s wrong with you, boy?” and throw Borat out on his ear. Three cheers for intolerance!

One day in the near future, some city council in San Francisco or Detroit will consider allowing sharia courts here in America. Normal Americans who, alas, would never read a book like America Alone will glance at the nightly news and see earnest Muslims insisting that all women — not just Muslims — must cover their heads in public places. And these post-Borat Americans will laugh. They’ll wonder, “What is this, a put on?”

The Islamists will be laughed out of the room. Western civilization will be saved. All because a couple of funny guys were willing to tell the truth.

Proving yet again that, in comedy, timing is everything.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.