Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum – The Acting Man Blog
Politicians are faced with quite a dilemma over the refugee crisis in Europe: on the one hand, no-one wants to simply send back people fleeing from a brutal civil war or let them freeze to death in the coming European winter. On the other hand, it is crystal clear that many so-called “economic refugees” – which include numerous people who simply want to avail themselves of the welfare state goodies on offer in Europe – are exploiting the situation by riding piggyback on the stream of genuine war refugees.
Refugees crossing fields in Slovenia on their way to the Austrian border
Photo credit: Darko Bandic / AP
As Mish has correctly pointed out, the political leadership of Germany (and this holds for Sweden as well) has made a major mistake by telling asylum seekers to “just come”, in the process ignoring agreements on asylum policy laid down in the EU treaties. What many people apparently heard was: Welcome to our welfare state goodies, whoever you are!
Not surprisingly, this has not only attracted a huge wave of migrants to Europe, but has made choosers out of beggars. These days migrants tend to be picky about where they want to go. Naturally, they prefer the lands of milk and honey they have heard so much about. Who wouldn’t want as much free stuff as possible?
It is equally unsurprising that other European countries – which haven’t been consulted about this approach – are extremely reluctant to agree to the quota system for resettling refugees across Europe that has been proposed by Germany and the EU bureaucracy in Brussels. They accuse Germany of having exacerbated the crisis by advertising its open borders policy, which is undoubtedly true.
By now another thing has become clear: the welcoming culture is not only clashing with the wishes of an increasingly resentful and restless electorate, but also with economic realities. The countries that are most popular with asylum seekers have reached, or are close to reaching, the limits of their capacity to accommodate refugees.
Modern-day democratic politicians rarely stop to wonder where the resources for their grandiose plans will come from. They tend to be surprised when it turns out that these resources are actually finite. However, we happen to believe that the growing political backlash is what is really getting their attention these days.
We have previously discussed recent developments in Sweden, where said backlash threatens to wipe the establishment parties off the political map in the next election (see “Refugee Crisis Blowback” for details). A friend of ours has made an important point in this context – we quote:
“An irony of the leftist tendency to adopt an arrogant stance brooking no public dissent is that marginalized dissenters are driven out of the mainstream and radicalized.”
Indeed, if one surveys the media and political landscape in Sweden, widespread and thorough enforcement of political correctness has become the norm (to a lesser degree this is noticeable in Germany as well). Any critic of the open border policy runs the risk of being labeled an extremist.
Many people in Europe are worried when being apprised of things like the rise of Salafism, which is incidentally the form of Islam propagated by IS. Salafists are eager to establish the sharia as the law of the land, which is clearly incompatible with the principles of a free society. The growth of Salafism in Germany is briefly discussed in the (slightly dated) video below:
Salafism in Germany
Obviously, Salafists are only a tiny minority in the Muslim community and the movement’s growth is in fact regarded as quite worrisome by moderate Muslims as well. However, even if the movement is small, the fears Salafism engenders are not entirely unreasonable. It is a fast growing movement that inter alia happens to bring forth terrorists as a byproduct. It is especially successful among disaffected Muslim youth in the similarly fast growing ghettos in European cities.
The video below is quite sobering in this context. It starkly illustrates that integration remains a formidable challenge (we are sure a similar video could have been made just about anywhere in Western Europe). It presents two schools in the aforementioned ghetto areas in Germany, where a large majority of the pupils are children of immigrants. They speak German quite well, which is where their connection with Germany’s culture seemingly ends. They appear to have no respect for values most Europeans are taking for granted. If there ever was a “no future” generation susceptible to radicalization, this is surely it:
Second generation immigrants in German schools in Berlin: no future and a yen for violence
These are the things that worry the average citizen – and rightly so. Although one should not overestimate the problem, it cannot really be ignored either. In the name of political correctness, these problems are not to be discussed though – or let us rather say, there is evidently a strong desire on the part of the authorities to sweep their existence under the rug.
Germany’s most famous Salafist preacher, Pierre Vogel a.k.a. “Abu Hamza”, a former professional boxer who converted to Islam in 2001. He inter alia studied Islamic theology in Medina, Saudi Arabia. He is a proponent of strict sharia law, but has carefully avoided to publicly advocate violence, as he is under surveillance by a branch of Germany’s intelligence services, the “Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution”. He advocates polygamy, and among his pearls of wisdom is the assertion that “music is the voice of Satan”. He denies supporting IS, but these denials don’t sound decidedly half-hearted.
Photo credit: Reuters
Political parties in Europe tend to be quite stringent in enforcing party discipline. US congressmen and senators habitually defy the party line when voting on specific issues; this is regarded as perfectly normal. In most European countries it is usually quite a rare occurrence (crossing party lines has become more frequent though since the debt crisis, and fractures within political parties are becoming visible over the refugee crisis as well).
As a result of this party discipline tradition, politically moderate critics of the welcoming policy and multi-culturalism often find no support for their views in the political mainstream. We have personally never had a problem interacting with people from other cultures, but we believe it is a mistake to simply denounce people who want to preserve the cultural cohesion of their countries as racist and xenophobic.
Since said critics are not getting a hearing in the mainstream, they are increasingly voting for more or less radical fringe parties (or perhaps we should actually say “former” fringe parties). This is quite obvious in Sweden, where the nationalist “Sweden Democrats” (SD) are dominating the polls these days.
Refugees walking toward the Swedish border on a Danish expressway
Photo credit: Bax Linhardt / APA / EPA
Sweden’s mainstream parties call the SD a far right party which they have to boycott as a matter of principle (note that being labeled “far right” in Europe does not necessarily mean one actually is far right. In many cases the label is appropriate, in others it is simply meant to discredit parties daring to defy the establishment). They have steadfastly refused to cooperate with it in any shape or form. From a political perspective, this is turning out to be a strategic mistake.
Experience shows that protest parties tend to lose support once they join political coalitions, as they are forced to accept compromises. Many of their voters then desert them again. Making an outcast of the SD is now backfiring on Sweden’s mainstream parties, as its support has kept growing by leaps and bounds. The established parties have helped the process along by completely ignoring the growing concerns of ordinary Swedes – while SD has successfully positioned itself as the only party willing to address these concerns.
Things have now finally come to a head in Sweden. The country is simply overwhelmed by the flood of asylum seekers. Moreover, following the IS attack in Paris, distrust of Muslims and fear of their culture “taking over” has risen to fresh heights in Europe. What radical Islamists refer to as the “gray zone” has been eroded further.
Sweden’s SD party has likely attracted even more support in light of recent events. The combination of Sweden’s infrastructure being overwhelmed by the sheer number of asylum seekers and the realization that the political landscape is likely to change radically if the government continues on its current course has provided us with the following few seconds of political theater last week:
Green deputy prime minister Åsa Romson breaks out in tears upon announcing that Sweden’s generous immigration policy has been revoked for the time being
It is possible that Ms. Romson’s feelings are genuine, but we distrust displays of emotion by politicians on principle. Unless she has made room for refugees in her own home and is feeding them from her salary, it is probably fair to say that her compassion is confined to dispensing other people’s money.
Here is a translation of what she and prime minister Lövfen said during the press conference the above snippet was taken from:
On Tuesday, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said this policy would be reduced to bring it in line with the EU minimum, meaning many would only be granted temporary residence permits. Mr Löfven said the country needed “respite” from accepting such a large intake of refugees. “It pains me that Sweden is no longer capable of receiving asylum seekers at the high level we do today,” he told the conference. “We simply cannot do any more.”
Åsa Romson became visibly emotional as she announced the U-turn on asylum policy at the conference. “I’m going to be completely honest,” she told reporters. “Recently, we’ve been having difficult discussions within the party. About the perception of reality.
“In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been convinced that this is the best way to help the local green party politicians actually do something,” she went on, before bursting into tears. In comments made later, she admitted the reversal was “a terrible decision”, but said leaving her position would have only exacerbated the situation.
Reading between the lines, she seems to be saying: “I was forced to throw my high-minded taxpayer-funded principles overboard in light of reality overwhelming our ability to continue with current policies. But why should I relinquish power? Surely that would only make things even worse!” A little reminder that she’s indispensable.
Sweden’s prime minister and Socialist Party leader Stefan Lövfen and his deputy Green Party leader Åsa Romson
Photo credit: Roger Wikström / TT
There are undoubtedly many Swedes who support the government’s immigration policies, but clearly their number has been shrinking relative to those who don’t. We admit the problem isn’t easy to deal with. We are neither xenophobes, nor do we believe genuine refugees shouldn’t be helped. However, clearly many Europeans are getting worried about the situation, and an ever more polarized political climate is the result.
The influx of refugees is primarily the result of war, which in turn is a quintessential statist policy. It is best to think about the problem from the perspective of the individual. Would any of us, as individuals, ever get the idea to go to the Middle East and bomb anyone there? That seems a highly unlikely proposition. There was no Al Qaeda in Iraq (the predecessor of today’s IS) before the US government decided to invade Iraq under the pretext of a non-existent WMD threat. This is not meant to absolve terrorists from their barbaric deeds, it is only a reminder that terrorism hasn’t just dropped from the sky unbidden.
Of course we cannot know whether civil war wouldn’t have broken out in Syria anyway. We cannot go back in time and test what would have happened under different circumstances – at best we can make educated guesses. So the question is then, would we as individuals be ready to help innocent people fleeing persecution?
We believe a great many of us would, and coercion by the State would certainly not be required to motivate us. The only reason why civil society no longer provides such help voluntarily (at least not to a sufficient extent) is that the State has usurped this function.
The U-turn by Sweden’s government is quite a meaningful development. It will infuse Germany’s drive to get the rest of the EU to accept some form of quota solution with fresh urgency. More clashes with the countries opposed to this plan are already baked in the cake.
The EU will increasingly come under strain – for instance, recent polls for the first time show a solid majority in favor of a UK exit from the EU. We are strong supporters of the subsidiarity principle and are strenuously opposed to the drive toward ever greater centralization of political and bureaucratic power in Brussels, so this particular development doesn’t bother us. On the contrary, it should provide a positive impetus to the subsidiarity debate.
However, we fear that the things that are actually good about the EU – free trade and free movement of people and capital – are likely to suffer setbacks as well. After all, the refugee crisis is already leading to the reestablishment of internal borders.