Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wir Fahren Gegen Engelland

The Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, has resorted to xenophobia in an attempt to shore up her political standing. She has primarily lashed out at Turkish immigrants. Germany, however, is in a situation where it needs to import more labor.

Germany did not permit those immigrants to come out of the goodness of the German soul. Germany would not be where it is today without the workers who immigrated there after the Second World War. The Nazis, however, never went away. They just went underground and are still there in all but name only.

More to the point of the title of this post: Every time that the Germans have become interested in what it means to be a German and "the purity of the German nation", blood has covered much of Europe. The last time a German leader talked about the preservation of German culture, millions of people were put to death for not being sufficiently "Aryan".

German nationalism is awakening. Those nations that have, as parts of their territory, land that the Germans have regarded as theirs, including France, the Czech Republic and especially Poland, had better start dusting off their war plans and mull over the state of their militaries.

For they may see the Wehrmacht coming for another visit again.


XR650L_Dave said...

Her opinion and xenophobia to be compared as a separate exercise, it is appropriate to say that for successful immigration to occur (immigration that helps a country) there does need to be a certain level of integration. A fully separate enclave of a radically different culture ultimately is going to benefit the country and the immigrants very little.

Does this integration happen quickly? No. Difficult for me to say if there is more resistance or less desire to integrate today than when the Italians or the Irish came to the US- for more than a few years you could certainly describe the areas where they initially settled as enclaves of a fairly different culture.

I do think Muslim culture is more different from 'western' culture than previous waves of immigrants, and I also do think there is a bit more resistance (from within their group) for Muslims to integrate, but there are positive ways to encourage this integration as opposed to calling it a failure and courting xenophobic sentiments.


Comrade Misfit said...

Dave, I disagree, for I suspect yo are looking at this from an American viewpoint. In America, you are no longer a foreigner but an American as of the day you are sworn in as a citizen. Even if some don't regard you as a full American, your kids are. (The experiences of the Americans of Japanese origin in 1942 vary, of course.)

In most of the rest of the world, that is not true. It is not citizenship, but where your roots are. Just because your parents moved there doesn't make you a German or a Frenchman or Japanese. As the saying goes, "just because the cat gave birth in the oven doesn't mean the kittens are biscuits." Even if I were fluent in German and had a German passport, I'd be no more German in the eyes of Germans than would be my cat.

Germany will never accept the integration of its Muslim population. France hasn't and in the case of France, their Muslim population are French citizens. But they are not regarded as French.

Peter said...

Comrade Misfit, may I respectfully disagree to a certain extent? You're quite correct in your portrayal of European cultures not accepting you as a member; but the fundamental problem with certain immigrant groups (Muslim in particular) is that they don't consider themselves to be members of their host culture. They simply won't make any effort to join their host culture; instead, they insist on their right to remain a cultural enclave of their own within the wider nation. This is what's so destructive to national identity when the numbers of such immigrants become an appreciable percentage of the total population.

Here in America, the same problem exists, although on a far smaller scale. I point to the Hmong and Vietnamese immigrants after the Vietnam War; the Kurdish, Somali and Ethiopian immigrants in the 1980's and 1990's; and Muslim immigrants from more culturally stratified societies such as Chechnya, the various ex-Soviet 'stans', etc.

Of course, it's too early to say whether subsequent generations of the groups I've identified will 'inculturate' successfully. I'd say until the third and fourth generations have been born and grown up here, we won't know for sure whether integration into an 'American culture' has taken place successfully. However, in Europe, there have been two, sometimes three generations born to such immigrants, and they have not integrated. This bodes ill for the future of national culture in the countries concerned.

(Please note that this isn't a judgment on those who haven't integrated. If I were of their number, I might do precisely what they're doing. However, from the perspective of the host nation, it is indeed a problem; and it'll be a problem here as well if things don't proceed differently here. I'm mindful of Theodore Roosevelt's comment about being American [see http://tinyurl.com/h69ek ]. I still think he had the right of it.)

Comrade Misfit said...

Peter, when I was a small child, I met the last surviving members of my family's immigrant generations. They spoke heavily-accented and mediocre English. I'm told many of the older ones who came over on the boats never learned.

That's not uncommon. I've dealt professionally with families where the young children act as interpreters for their parents. The immigrants are immeshed in the culture from the old country and when they adapt, it is often poorly.

The children have a foot in both worlds. The grandchildren often cannot speak more than a few words of their grandparents' language, for they are as American as a kid in Montana.

That is the historical arc in this country.

The difference in many European nations is that those grandchildren, though they were raised in those nations and speak the local language as natives, are not regarded as being nationals of that nation, regardless of their citizenship status.

In that situation, there is no point in the second or third generations of the immigrants from trying to assimilate. if the Germans are going to address this issue, they should start by examining what it means to be a German.

Unknown said...

Yes there are problems with the integration of Muslims here in Germany, but they are greatly exagerated. It is mostly a problem of failed city development plans and the degree of Ghettoisation varies greatly between the german citys.
It also should be noted that the acceptance of "germans with migration background" is growing slow but steadily. Muslim soldiers are absolutely common in our (still) conscription based army and their share of Graduates of higher education is growing too.

you see there is no need to recall the horrors of our past (as if we could ever forget them) just because the Merkel Administration is loosing the polls and is trying to cash in with playing the fear card

S O said...

This mini article is crap. Serious crap.

a) "xenophobia".
There is no need to explain something with xenophobia if it can be explained with other means as well.
The Turkish minority is much worse in regard to economic measurements (they're basically 90% lower class, negative net social transfers even during working age in average) and crime statistics than most other immigrant groups.
The football player Özil gets high praise as a positive example, Vietnamese get high praise for twice as much % Abitur (highest school degree in Germany) than average.

b) "Turkish immigrants"
Actually, the debate isn't about immigrants. It's mostly about those who were born in Germany, many of them having a German passport. It's about a subset of German society which is on a track to economic failure and thereby became a burden to all.

c) "it needs to import more labour"
That's an often-heard, yet totally ideological assertion. A full discussion of this would be too long for a comment, so I'll just say that it's misguided to believe that Germany needs "to import more labor".
Most importantly, the average Turk or Turkish descendant in Germany is NOT the kind of "labor" Germany needs.

"Germany would not be where it is today without the workers who immigrated there"
That's obviously true, but misleading. The net effect is at most zero in macroeconomic terms. The misguided belief that immigrants provide a net advantage was disproved by history. Those who came and worked, who paid into social insurances now get their benefits - the net effect to others is therefore at most zero. A look at the imported problems and especially at the effect of economic structural change 8which destroyed all those low income worker jobs once assumed by immigrants) suggests that the foreign worker idea was rather disadvantageous to the general population. The rich people who held company shares did probably have a net benefit so far, though.

e) "Nazis ... never went away"
Actually, those who were adult Nazis in 1945 are by now 85. Almsot all of them "went away", and almost all of the remainder are either mentally largely inactive or no Nazis any more.
What's left are a couple wannabe groups, collection pools for the dumb. Brits call them "hooligans", we call them "Neonazis". So what?

f) "Every time ... blabla... blood ...blabla"
Nonsense. This happened only once in a strict sense (does not qualify for a "ever time").

g) German nationalism maybe awakening (albeit mostly in regard to football's European or World championships!), but it's certainly still an order of magnitude below the nationalism of about half of Europe's countries.

h) About neighbours: Crap, utter crap. All borders are recognized and there's not even a sizeable minority of Germans who would like the idea of repeating the re-unification's process of propping up an underdeveloped region again. Even the reunification had its opponents in 1990 for this reason, and a Russian offer to sell Kaliningrad district to Germany was rejected in the 90's as well.