Monday, September 14, 2015

Mass migration: Leading to "a hellish outcome"?

The Austrian border

Joel Kotkin in the Orange County Register:

...This new migration comes at a time of profound weakness of European culture. If one thing has united Europe in the past, it was a common Christian heritage...

But today’s Europe is experiencing something close to a collapse of religiosity, with church attendance rates among the lowest on Earth. In the Czech Republic, for example, it is widely claimed that more people believe in UFOs than in God.

Overall, Europe is rapidly becoming “post-Christian,” inserting in its place a religion of good intentions. This could well, as the saying goes, lead to a hellish outcome.

Certainly, vague humanitarian sentiments may not be much of a match for the beliefs of a much stronger religious community, with powerful and ancient values, and still with a strong attachment to family. Previous waves of immigrants---including those of the 1960s---entered a confident society with strong values and a decent birthrate. Today, they confront a European society that does not much believe in anything but a post-modernist faith in their own emotions.

As Europe’s Muslim population continues to surge rapidly, particularly in northern Europe, these old European values---religious but also civil---can be expected to erode further. As the Daily Mail’s Peter Hitchens has pointed out, immigrants to Anglophone countries, in relatively small numbers, generally adjust to the prevailing pluralistic values of the new societies. Now, he suggests, Europe faces an “unstoppable demographic revolution in which Europe (including, alas, our islands) merges its culture and its economy with North Africa and the Middle East. If we let this happen, Europe would lose almost all the things that make others want to live there"... 

In the process, the cultural life of the continent likely becomes more “multicultural” and global and ever less European. Its lodestar is no longer its own past or its common European dream, but a future determined by affairs elsewhere, and by people who, in many cases, are largely indifferent toward the continent’s historical legacy---including some who wish to demolish it.

Ironically, it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel who proclaimed five years ago that “multiculturalism had utterly failed” in her country. Merkel now has become the chief enabler of a massive shift in population that can only---given the weakness of Europe’s own culture---be essentially merged with and even undermined by that of the Islamic world.

Yet not everyone in Germany, or elsewhere on the continent, has forgotten the chancellor’s admonition. Some of the opposition comes from those Eastern European countries, notably, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, that now find their own integration into the European Union complicated by the great migration. Poorer, less sure of themselves and outside the good-intentions consensus, these countries have become outliers, much as they were in Soviet times....

In France, where 56 percent of locals oppose accepting refugees from Syria, Marine Le Pen’s National Front is a legitimate threat to win the presidency. And there are smaller, but similarly oriented parties in Holland, Sweden, Finland and Austria. This includes many of the most liberal countries in the world. Denmark’s immigration ministry has tightened its rules and even placed ads in Beirut, Lebanon, newspapers, urging migrants not to come.

Even in Britain, historically a migration magnet, the United Kingdom Independence Party which, although not openly racist, follows both anti-immigration and anti-EU policies. UKIP is thriving in a country where the majority sees Islam as a threat, and three-quarters of Britons expect more terrorist attacks.

In almost every country, affluent and educated people are far less likely to oppose greater immigration than their more working- and middle-class fellows. It’s easy for the cosmopolitan upper tier---who enjoy the benefits of cheap domestic labor, colorful cultural festivals and ethnic restaurants---to dismiss these concerns. But on the street the impacts are felt more prominently by citizens who often live in neighborhoods and suburbs where migrants settle.

Can this kind of reaction happen here? It seems to be already taking shape through the personality of Donald Trump, who has tapped this concern in a crude, but effective manner. 

At the same time, a growing number of liberals, including writer Thomas Frank and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, acknowledge that the economy of “open borders” could accelerate the rapid decline of our native-born working class and middle class, something that even some “open borders” advocates acknowledge. The crisis of migration may be most acute in Europe, but it is rapidly taking on a global cast that could become ever more divisive in the years ahead (emphasis added).

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