Many thousands of migrants–some refugees, some not–are making their way from Islamic countries in the Middle East and Asia to Turkey, thence to Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and finally, for most of them, Germany. The largest number come from Syria, but other Islamic countries are represented from as far away as Afghanistan. It is still not clear to me why this torrent has suddenly broken free.
Germany has promised to take 800,000 migrants, representing 1% of the country’s population. That is an enormous number; for the United States to do the same would require admitting more than 3 million people. On the other hand, the U.S. admits a million immigrants every year, while Germany is only proposing to do this once, so in reality the burden on us (or the benefit, if you will) is far greater. Presumably most Germans recognize, however, that 800,000 is only the beginning.
There is a wide spectrum of reactions to the current migration. A reader writes:
These migrants have a certain arrogance in insisting on, not rescue merely, but comfortable resettlement in the wealthiest societies in the world with access to an exceedingly generous welfare state to boot. Not for them a decent interval being cared for in Italy or Greece; only Germany or Sweden will do, if not the UK, Canada or (shudder) the USA. It’s as though I pity a street bum and offer to buy him vouchers for Burger King or Domino’s Pizza and he is aghast, insisting on steak and lobster at The Palm – along with the proper attire for admission!
How about that? Why is it that countries that don’t have lavish welfare systems are not target destinations? And also–why is it that the migrants are overwhelmingly young men? There are a few women, children and families; but numerically, young men predominate. This is not what one would normally expect from a group of refugees fleeing a war zone.
Our reader continues:
The language and rhetoric of “problem solving” is misplaced. When an event of this scale and enormity occurs and it seems apparent that the forces behind it are huge, a different perspective is required. The current wave is just the beginning and the response just encourages more. Oh, sure, it will stop just as soon as the 14 century old Sunni-Shia conflict and the various middle eastern tribal hatreds and rivalries abate and the entire African continent, soon to have 2 billion people, ceases to be fundamentally dysfunctional.
That means that the situation is utterly intractable. An intractable situation is not a “problem” that can be “solved”: it is a fact which must be reckoned with.
Our reader points to a web site by a guy named Kunstler (related? I don’t know) whom our reader describes as “a leftwing crank, an obsessive apocalyptic Luddite…but often correct on PC matters.” The immigration issue can make odd bedfellows! I think Kunstler is correct here:
I reject the idea that it’s “racist” to want to preserve one’s national culture and character (especially in language), or to favor bona fide citizens for gainful employment…. National boundaries will be defended. Sentimentalists will have to step aside. History is not a bedtime story about bunnies and kittens.
But a lot of damage will be done before the sentimentalists throw in the towel.
Pamela Geller writes:
If these were real refugees, where are the women? Where are the elderly people? Where are the weak and the sick? It is increasingly clear that what I have said is true: this is not a refugee crisis. This is a hijrah, a migration to Islamize a new land.
I hope that is too pessimistic, but this kind of thing doesn’t give one confidence:
Four police officers and 11 asylum seekers were injured in a brawl in the town of Suhl in Thüringen Wednesday evening sparked by a dispute over the Koran.
An Afghan tore out pages from the Koran at a refugee shelter, prompting anger from 20 other residents, said a police spokesman Thursday.
The confrontation escalated into a riot involving some 100 refugees, with 125 police officers sent to the scene to break up the brawl, it was reported.
Police then came under attack from the refugees and were pelted with sticks and stones, with two officers so badly injured that they are currently unable to return to their duties, while seven police vehicles were damaged.
It took four hours to bring the situation under control. The Afghan was taken into police custody for his own safety.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the United States absorbed a huge number of immigrants relative to our population, although nothing like the number we are taking in today. But in those days, a serious effort was made to assimilate newcomers. Public high schools taught courses in Americanism. I, personally, would be much more willing to contemplate mass immigration if we had the cultural will to resurrect the teaching of Americanism. But that isn’t happening. Still less can we expect the Germans to teach Germanism.
It is often said that a country can have a welfare state or it can have open borders, but it cannot have both. In a world in which billions of people live in poverty and oppression, this strikes me as blindingly obvious. I am not optimistic that the current migration from the Middle East, Asia and North Africa into Europe will end well.