Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Great European Unraveling

Writing in The Australian Douglas Murray outlines the crisis that is currently destroying the European Union. For another angle, see this story by Barbie Latza Nadeau in the Daily Beast.

Murray explains that it all began with a spasm of motherly compassion accompanied by deep feelings of guilt.

When the body of a young Syrian boy was found washed up on a beach in Turkey last year, many Europeans were strangely bounced into thinking that this was both Europe’s fault and its responsibility.

Leftist Europeans thought they were being presented with a great moral opportunity, that is, a chance to show the world their moral superiority. It tells us to be wary of people who ostentatiously claim the moral high ground:

For parts of Europe the human tidal wave appeared to present a kind of moral opportunity. The Swedish government boasted of becoming a “humanitarian superpower”. “Mutti” (mother) Merkel — to give her the name Germans often used to accord her — presented the desire of ­refugees to actually come into Germany, rather than flee from it, as something of a historical atonement.

Those who were in the throes of this moral spasm came up with some seemingly cogent arguments in favor of immigration. These new immigrants, they argued, would be Germany’s future workforce:

Her government also disingenuously and short-sightedly echoed some free-marketeers who suggested that this tsunami of mainly young people could assist the “greying” German population by providing the labour force for the next generation. Never mind that this “labour force” had no jobs to go to or that they were moving through southern European countries such as Italy and Greece, which themselves had between 25 per cent and 50 per cent youth unemployment rates.

Being great humanitarians and believing that all cultures are the same these German politicians followed the appalling example of their Swedish neighbors and ignored the possibility that Muslim immigrants might not be able to assimilate and might not possess the skills that would make them valuable workers:

This argument also criminally foresaw no problems from importing a new working class from a different continent with a different creed and different values. Cologne helped reverse that lack of foresight. But there is some unravelling to do yet.

When it comes to workforce participation the reality looks quite different. Today in Germany, the newspaper Die Welt reports, the unemployment rate is around 7%. The unemployment rate for Syrian immigrants is 64%; that of Lebanese, 49%; that of Iraqis, 43%; that of Afghanis, 31%. The jobs that the new immigrants do get tend to be unskilled. Immigrants who have been in the country for a long time do not do very much better.

And no one should have been surprised that the rampant misogyny should be accompanied by a rising tide of anti-Semitism.

Crucially, for the first time, Merkel looks weak and on the defensive. It was only after allowing a million more migrants into the country — and as reports of anti-Semitic incidents began to seep in — that the Chancellor said Germany did not want any anti-Semites to come to Germany.

And it was only after the horrors of New Year’s Eve that Merkel and her ministers began to say that anyone who thought women were rape fodder was not welcome in Germany.

Today 40% of Germans believe that Merkel should quit. For now we have no reason to think that this is going to end well.

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