The Hassan Chop of Logic

Br. Will links to an interesting review of Christopher Caldwell’s new book Reflections on the Revolution in Europe by Michelle Goldberg.

Will notes that he thinks there is cause for real concern–without going into as he calls it (correctly) Steynian hysterics–concerning Muslim immigration patterns in Europe.  An analysis that is not the fears of Eurabia or Daniel Pipes psychosis (edit: psychosis there is redundant) about Western Europe being taken over by a Taliban-like or Saudi-esque government nor yet the inability to discuss any difficult/challenging issues for fear of being called a racist.

Goldberg claims that Caldwell’s book fits this third option:  serious not hysterical; focused on European issues and not (as Goldberg correctly points out) filled with so much attacks on domestic liberals in the US culture war like the Mark Steyns, Pipes, and so forth are.

Caldwell’s book sounds like it will be worth the read.  Another book I would recommend in this vein is Londonistan.  That book points out that there are “no go” neighborhoods for white Europeans, even police in some cases, in certain immigrant dominated neighborhoods in Europe.  My sense from US history is that it’s not all that different from similar phenomena in urban ghetto existence (or 19th century Italian Mafia controlled neighborhoods, or Irish mob controlled areas).  It’s a worrisome trend but not unknown in the Western world.

And there are serious issues at play.  One of which Will mentions is that European history and culture is not built around a history of immigrants and assimilation.  At least not since the coming of the Vikings and Gothic tribes.  To be defined as European, to be accepted as truly European, means being descended from Europeans.

In the US, conversely, identity is largely (though certainly not entirely) built around common adherence to the American dream:  suburbs, BBQ grills, 2.3 children, white picket fence, dog/cat, capitalism, belief in American exceptionalism, etc.  You can be brown, black, white, whatever and fit that mold and be recognizably American.  Of course there is still among some a kind of White American Protestantism as “real” America, largely on display of late in a retrograde backlash (or is it blacklash?) movement, showing that it realizes its dominance is a thing of yesteryear.

Not the same in Europe.  Take the example of Sarkozy in France.  He argues strenuously that Christianity is part of European identity, yet he never goes to church, I would bet money doesn’t believe in anything approaching God, is a serial divorcee, and at the same time is a bulwark of the French secular religion of laicite:  with his push to ban Muslim headscarves.

Third generation born and raised in Germany Germans of Turkish descent are described by the “real” Germans (i.e. white Germans) as Turks. For all the US right-winger shots at hyphenated identities, European immigration of Muslim Europeans would go a whole lot faster if there was a concept like Turkic-Germans.  In Europe, very broadly speaking, it’s like they have the worst of multiculturalism.  They have the negative side of multiculturalism: i.e. treating all cultures as these homogeneous monolithic wholes altogether separated from other monolithic homogeneous cultural wholes, none of which can be criticized.  They don’t have the flip or positive side of multiculturalism:  the hyphenated identities allow for a sense of oneness (e.g. American) while allowing people to live out that unity through a number of various diverse formations (e.g. African America, Asian American, Latino America, and really we should say White Americans).

With all that said–and again not minimizing real issues involved here–some perspective is in order, particularly on demographics and immigration numbers.  This link from the Wilson Center on a new study they conducted is a real tonic in this regard.

Here’s a key finding:

One fact that gets lost among distractions such as the Times story is that the birthrates of Muslim women in Europe—and around the world—have been falling significantly for some time. Data on birthrates among different religious groups in Europe are scarce, but they point in a clear direction. Between 1990 and 2005, for example, the fertility rate in the Netherlands for Moroccan-born women fell from 4.9 to 2.9, and for ­Turkish-­born women from 3.2 to 1.9. In 1970, ­Turkish-­born women in Germany had on average two children more than ­German-­born women. By 1996, the difference had fallen to one child, and it has now dropped to half that number.

These sharp reductions in fertility among Muslim immigrants reflect important cultural shifts, which include universal female education, rising living standards, the inculcation of local mores, and widespread availability of contraception. Broadly speaking, birthrates among immigrants tend to rise or fall to the local statistical norm within two ­generations.

This is part of a larger worldwide trend where Muslim birthrates are falling either to near or even below replacement levels in a number of countries as diverse as:  Iran, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Tunisia, Morocco, in fact every Arab country except the quite underdeveloped Palestinian territories and Yemen.

This pattern is going on even with Britain and France–who interestingly have seen a slight demographic uptick over the last half decade even as Muslim immigrant birth rates continue to fall.

Lastly this:

Because of this bastardization of knowledge, three deeply misleading assumptions about demographic trends have become lodged in the public mind. The first is that mass migration into Europe, legal and illegal, combined with an eroding native population base, is transforming the ethnic, cultural, and religious identity of the continent. The second assumption, which is related to the first, is that Europe’s native population is in steady and serious decline from a falling birthrate, and that the aging population will place intolerable demands on governments to maintain public pension and health systems. The third is that population growth in the developing world will continue at a high rate. Allowing for the uncertainty of all population projections, the most recent data indicate that all of these assumptions are highly questionable and that they are not a reliable basis for serious policy ­decisions.

Btw, stellar use of bastardization.  The article then goes on to make some arguments about how to keep European social welfare standards in the face of an aging population:  raise the retirement age and increasing the work force.  I think those would help but I think the article tries to soft foot the seriousness of that trend.  But overall it’s an excellent piece and well worth the read.

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5 thoughts on “The Hassan Chop of Logic

  1. Well I for one feel better. I don’t withdraw my objections in the previous post because demography aside they remain pertinent. But it’s good to see in black and white that Steyn is wrong.

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  2. Londonistan is a crock of shit, plain & simple. It’s written by notorious Arab hater & ultra-Zionist kook & conspiracy theorist Melanie Phillips, a birther racist extreme right-winger who believes that Hillary Clinton wants to destroy Israel & that Barack Obama is an extremist Muslim, & that the Palestinians should be collectively punished (never mind how many kids that kills). I wouldn’t trust a damn word she says, she’s the most poisonous voice in the British mainstream, by a merry old mile.

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    • James,

      I’m aware of her ideological affiliation and it does color her book–I should have mentioned that. That said, whatever her spin there was still something to be gained (I found) from reading the book. It’s possible to separate out the true elements from the ideology.

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      • The real problem with her thesis is that people forming ethnic blocs in London is nothing new. You can indeed go to areas where there is an almost entirely Muslim population (note: you can go to them, they aren’t No-Go zones), for instance near by to my mostly white area there’s Acton, which is primarily Muslim Somalians in areas.

        But that’s only a fragment of the picture: if you go past acton you hit Ealing, which is almost entirely Asian in places, then in others almost entirely Pole. Sharing a borough with my area of Chiswick is Southall, well known for being barely anything save South East Asian. If you go North out of the city you’ll pass through an area which is overwhelmingly Hasidic, & a bare male scalp is a tough find. If I go to a friend’s area on a bus by the end of the trip I’ll be one of the few people on it who isn’t Afro-Carribean.

        That’s just how London works: there are some sections dominated by certain races, others by others. Personally I don’t see this as the optimum, it’s not what I would call the ideal outcome. I’d love to see racial miscegenation to the extent that Londoners become ethnically indistinguishable. But as it is to suggest that somehow Muslims are posing some special new problem by keeping themselves in a bloc is nothing short of moronic. It’s how ethnic groups seem to operate here. You know what won’t help that? The systematic effort to demonise & alienate Muslims, to make them feel unwelcome, suspected & not “real” Britons which is being staged by practically all elements of the UK right.

        The problem is more Melanie’s than anyone: she hates Arabs, she loathes Muslims. She sees them entering the city & it terrifies her. In reality, they’re simply following a longstanding London tradition &, in her own way, so is she: the terrified reactionary howling doom. In actuality, Acton is safe during the days (seems like Somalian men like standing out on the streets chatting to each other, which means there are copious witnesses for any crimes), & safe during the nights (there’s just nobody around, I’ve walked home from there plenty of times).

        The area which I used to live in (Shepherds Bush) which was riddled with crime had a large Afro-Carribean population & was only so dangerous because of the present drugs prohibition, which allows dealers to become kings of the neighbourhood. If we legalised hard drugs & prescribed them via the NHS they’d go out of business overnight. Additionally, Melanie would most likely die of an aneurysm triggered by pure fury. I’ll be generous & call that a price I’m willing to pay, rather than a free bonus.

        The true problem here is that it’s not possible to separate truth from falsehood with Phillips, because she’s just such a morbid fantasist.

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