Xenophobes Win, Homophobes Lose

Good news and bad news from Europe this weekend. First, the good news from Poland, where the free-market Civic Platform, led by Donald Tusk, received 41 percent of the vote in Sunday's general election. The outgoing government of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski—co-founder of the Euroskeptic, hyper-nationalist, homophobic Law and Justice Party—won't be missed by many in Brussels (or, it seems, among Poland's young, urban voters). Tusk promised that, if elected, his party would push for a 15 percent flat tax on both corporate and individual income and ease restrictions on the hiring and firing of employees. For all of Law and Justice's reprehensible policies (like that delightful suggestion that gays should not be allowed teaching positions), I'll give them a some—but not much—credit for its aggressive lustration policies, aimed at purging Polish politics of collaborators with the Soviet puppet government. The right idea, poorly executed.

And now for the bad news: In Switzerland, the anti-immigration SVP trounced the opposition Social Democrats, who lost nine seats in the lower house of parliament and managed only 19 percent of the vote nationwide. Also distressing, the free-market Free Democratic Party lost voters to the SVP, shedding five seats from the 2003 election. The SVP managed an impressive 29 percent of the vote, solidifying its position as the country's largest political party, and gaining seven seats in the Swiss parliament. The AFP has reaction from Geneva:

"It's the strongest score of any party" since 1919, political scientist Hans Hirter told AFP. The daily Le Matin dubbed the result a "triumph" for the SVP and the architect of its shift to the right over the past two decades, Justice Minister Christoph Blocher. The establishment Neue Zuercher Zeitung, however, warned of "increasing polarisation" in Switzerland.

Here is the vote breakdown, courtesy of Tages-Anzeiger (From left, the major parties listed: Swiss People's Party (SVP), Social Democrats (SD), Free Democratic Party (FDP), Christian Democrats (CVP), Greens (GPS)):

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  • ||

    It takes a lot to get me to say this, but seeing all the complete whacked out parties that can actually get seats in a European parliament, the two party system doesn't look so bad.

  • thoreau||

    See, I don't get this: How could the Swiss, of all people, be upset over the idea of a multi-ethnic/multi-lingual society?

  • ||

    I'll give them a some-but not much-credit for its aggressive lustration policies, aimed at purging Polish politics of collaborators with the Soviet puppet government. The right idea, poorly executed.

    Just like the Baath in Iraq. You remember, the dead-enders.

    It's funny how frequently the phrase "The right idea, poorly executed" gets applied to political purges.

  • ||

    If it were true xenophobia, I would say it's a problem. I do not believe, however, that every culture is equally valuable, or that every cultural belief needs to be bowed to.

    I am not an expert on their actual stance, but my impression is that this is in response to specific cultural influx that is fundamentally incompatible with western values.

    My personal opinion is that if an influx of population from a specific area causes 'problems' it's a problem with the system, not the people. For example in the US, I don't believe the problem is a Mexican flow into the US, but is that out system attracts immigrants for the wrong reasons. If we had no real 'safety net' I'd say come one, come all, as anyone coming would be coming to earn their own way.

    Anyway, likely the solution for Switzerland due to this election will not be the right one, but I don't think it was absolutely a bad reaction of the population to kind of retool before they open back up.

  • ||

    Michael-

    What are the economic policies of these guys? Are they fascists in that sense as well?

  • Hans Ubrige the Lewd||

    Ha! I still got 6.1%!

  • ||

    Joe, but "executed" and "purge" just go together so nicely.

  • Episiarch||

    See, I don't get this: How could the Swiss, of all people, be upset over the idea of a multi-ethnic/multi-lingual society?

    Because they consider other European languages and ethnicities to be basically A-OK. Very different brown Muslims are a different story to them.

    My experience in Europe is that the immigrants are just not seen--they stick to their own ghettos and neighborhoods. Don't be fooled into thinking it's like here is the US where there is a lot more mixing going on.

  • ||

    Morgan-

    The SVP is incompatible with "western values" as much as anyone else.

  • ||

    LoL, Warty.

  • ||

    Cesar,
    The SVP is generally free-market, unlike most other xenophobic parties in Europe. The NPD (Germany), Sweden Democrats, Danish Peoples Party, etc., are all left on economic policy and right on immigration. In other words, a huge welfare state for everyone...but immigrants.

  • iih||

    Michael --

    Can you give a backdrop as to why the Swiss (at least some) have elected more of the SVP? What is the reason they are becoming more popular? Thanks.

  • ||

    The NPD (Germany), Sweden Democrats, Danish Peoples Party, etc., are all left on economic policy and right on immigration. In other words, a huge welfare state for everyone...but immigrants.

    So they're nationalist. But also socialist. Hmm...

  • iih||

    So they're nationalist. But also socialist. Hmm...

    Hmmmm... indeed. The last time I heard of something like this were the... the Na...

  • ||

    thoreau

    To expand on what Episiarch wrote, it must be noted that the Swiss are intensely nationalistic. It is my impression that there is a great deal of cultural conformity across the four liguistic groups making up their Nation.

    This is especially pronounced within cantons each of which tends to have a fairly homogenous language and culture.

  • ||

    OT

    Google is amazing. There is exactly one search result for "Hans Ubrige" and it is this thread, less than 25 minutes after that comment.

    Which was a very funny comment, in a very strange way.

  • Jozef||

    "I do not believe, however, that every culture is equally valuable, or that every cultural belief needs to be bowed to."

    How I wish other people had the same belief and burned all rap CDs...

  • TLB||

    I'm not familiar with the SVP, but let me suggest a market solution to the "problem" Reason identifies: all those who support massive immigration to Switz. should post a bond guaranteeing that that immigration will work out OK. After 10 or 20 years, if it hasn't worked out OK, then they'll forfeit the bond, as well as their liberty and their money as payment for all the damage they did.

    Of course, the alternative is that "libertarians" like those from Reason could continue to support forced, involuntary changes.

  • Episiarch||

    Lonewacko, is that really you? There are TooManySpaces in your post. It just seems...wrong, like the MexicanGovernment.

  • ||

    In other words, close to 3 out of 4 voters chose parties that don't preach xenophobia.

  • ||

    joe-

    If the KKK was an American political party and controlled 25% of the Congress, wouldn't you think theres something wrong with American society?

  • thoreau||

    ThatCan'TPossiblyBeLoneWacko.

  • ||

    TLB is not familiar with game theory.

  • ||

    If the KKK was an American political party and controlled 25% of the Congress, wouldn't you think theres something wrong with American society?

    I smell a lot of "if" coming off this plan...

  • ||

    Sure, Cesar, but the SVP is not the KKK. They even went out of their way to argue that they were pro-immigrant, and just wanted to crack down on "criminal immigrants."

    Also, keep in mind, the anti-immigrant jihad was being waged by a faction of the SVP. Other SVP politicians were quoted in the media denouncing that political stance.

    So it's really like asking if the GOP won 25% of the Congress. The SVP is an extremist anti-immigrant party by Swiss standards.

  • ||

    Joe-

    Heres a Swiss political map.

    The Swiss equivalent of the GOP is hardly the SVP. That would be the Christian People's Party.

  • ||

    Cesar,

    It's tough to translate directly from a two-party system to a multi-party system. The SVP would be a faction of the GOP.

    My point is, these people are not even at Tancredo levels of anti-immigrant rabble-rousing, never mind the KKK.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Cesar,

    It takes a lot to get me to say this, but seeing all the complete whacked out parties that can actually get seats in a European parliament, the two party system doesn't look so bad.

    Well, there is a significant difference between being a party holding the largest number of seats and actually governing. If Switzerland works like any other parliamentary system then the SVP will have to join up with other parties that have other priorities. In this way a multi-party system often works little differently than a two-party system.

  • Bingo||

    So they're nationalist. But also socialist. Hmm...
    can't stop laughing at this lol

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Episiarch,

    Should Europeans be frustrated with the immigration situation as it exists today?

  • ||

    Glad to see that not all peoples and not all nations are eat up with the religion of multicultualism. Common sense does in fact prevail sometimes. Go Swiss!

  • ||

    Sloson,

    The problem is that the lone wacko parties that have one or two seats end up getting a disproportionate influence. This happens in Israel all the time where wacked out ultra orthadox parties get to break ties between more dominant parties. That is why a multi-party parlimentary system sucks. You can get 5% of the vote but if you are crafty enough get about 50% of the influence.

    I think Joe is right, these guys are radical by Swiss standards. I don't think I would worry to much about brownshirts running Switzerland just yet.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    BTW, it seems that every few years after a "far right" party has some electoral success in Europe there is a discussion in some circles re: the "rise of the far right" in Europe. Then some left-wing party has similar success somewhere else in Europe.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    John,

    The problem is that the lone wacko parties that have one or two seats end up getting a disproportionate influence.

    Similar claims are made about interest groups here in the U.S.

  • ||

    The problem is that the lone wacko parties that have one or two seats end up getting a disproportionate influence. This happens in Israel all the time where wacked out ultra orthadox parties get to break ties between more dominant parties. That is why a multi-party parlimentary system sucks. You can get 5% of the vote but if you are crafty enough get about 50% of the influence.

    That pretty much says what I was trying to express. Yes, there are coalitions, but imagine what a coalition formed between Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan would look like.

  • ||

    "Yes, there are coalitions, but imagine what a coalition formed between Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan would look like."

    They would get together and run trade policy for us. Wouldn't that be wonderful.

  • ||

    imagine what a coalition formed between Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan would look like.

    Ahhh! No! NOOOOOOOOOO!

    Make it stop, please, make it stop...

  • ||

    Ernest, do you know what a canton is?

    Oh, no reason...

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Casar,

    Yes, there are coalitions, but imagine what a coalition formed between Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan would look like.

    Isn't the "big tent" nature of the two main U.S. political parties exactly like that? Coalitions of often quite diverse (even conflicting) interests.

  • ||

    Isn't the "big tent" nature of the two main U.S. political parties exactly like that? Coalitions of often quite diverse (even conflicting) interests.

    I believe the real whackos do less damage if they fight it out within a big party rather than in the halls of Congress.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Cesar,

    Well, in coalitions in parliamentary democracies the "fighting" and politicking does go on behind the scenes.

  • ||

    Glad to see that not all peoples and not all nations are eat up with the religion of multicultualism. Common sense does in fact prevail sometimes. Go Swiss!

    Ernest is a hero of irony.

  • ||

    Euroskeptic, hyper-nationalist, homophobic

    Shame about that last. I suspect its what cost them the young urban types.

    Not sure what a "hyper-nationalist" is, but I'm all for Euroskeptics.

  • ||

    iih, off topic. Congrats on your Bosox. I can feel the gloating. ;-)

  • Syloson of Samos||

    R.C. Dean,

    Why exactly?

  • Episiarch||

    Should Europeans be frustrated with the immigration situation as it exists today?

    I have no idea. I have merely noted that for all their talking about multiculturalism, it seems like most Europeans use that as a cover word for "sure they can come here and work but they should stick to their own kind". European cultural/racial identity is a hell of a lot more powerful than ours. Just ask a Basque, or an Andorran, or a member of a Swiss canton.

    These election results don't surprise me, not because I think the Swiss are closet racists, but because a growing number of Swiss may be feeling (right or wrong) that their "Swiss-ness" is being threatened by immigration. So, cultural identity being as strong as it is, they may overreact.

    As Americans, we have a tendency to just watch our culture change and not really care (or enjoy it) except for certain Buchanan types.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Episiarch,

    European cultural/racial identity is a hell of a lot more powerful than ours. Just ask a Basque, or an Andorran, or a member of a Swiss canton.

    I simply disagree. Americans of varying regions can be as "tribal" as any other nation.

    As Americans, we have a tendency to just watch our culture change and not really care (or enjoy it) except for certain Buchanan types.

    That runs counter to much of American history. Many, many americans has been been repeatedly convulsed with apoplectic fits when it comes to cultural change. Indeed, rightly or wrongly the reason we are having this "debate" over immigration in the U.S. is due to the millions of Americans who find it problematic.

  • iih||

    Off topic (sorry!)

    iih, off topic. Congrats on your Bosox. I can feel the gloating. ;-)

    Where were you last night? I was "blogging" the game while David Wiegel was blogging the GOP "debate". My quote from last night after winning said: "Where is J sub D when one needs one!" But I did find one Tribe fan to troll on. You and I are now the trolls being off topic.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Episiarch,

    As should become rather apparent I don't buy into "American exceptionalism."

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Go Rockies!

  • ||

    Contra-Episiarch, I've never seen a great deal of "talk about multi-culturalism" among Europeans.

    The French want to be French, the Swedes Swedish, etc. The French certainly don't consider the ethnic and cultural isolationism of certain Parisian suburbs to be ideal; they want those kids to become Frenchmen.

  • ||

    If they're the Rockies, does that make their opponents the Apollo Creeds?

  • Bernd||

    So wait, it's somehow supposed to be *sad* that a party that's pretty much libertarian and decentralizing in by far most positions wins over *social democrats*? Since when are we rooting for the reds here?

    Just because that party protests unrestricted immigration from much less libertarian societies than Switzerland, arguing among other points that it will irrevocably change its culture towards the collectivist, which is hard to dismiss if you look at some immigrant tendencies in the rest of Europe?

    Actually, all snark aside, a sponsorship system idea (not quite as hard, though) as TLB suggests doesn't sound too bad to me, although he seemed to have meant it more as "do ya, punk?" doesn't sound too stupid to me.

    Also, let's go a bit "for a magazine called reason..." here for a second:
    Between war-hawk Rauch and semi-socialist Moynihan, what do these people do at a libertarian magazine? Is the AEI over headcount or what?

  • iih||

    Americans of varying regions can be as "tribal" as any other nation.

    E.g.: New England's "Us vs. the World" attitude? New England's sense of extreme pride and stubbornness? I do find that very admirable, by the way. The problem is that this attitude could (and have been) be shielding a lot of racism.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    joe is absolutely correct about the theory behind the concept of French citizenship.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    iih,

    Well, regional pride isn't something which is only found in New England.

  • ||

    Bernd-

    I'd vote for the Free Democrats as probably would everybody else here. Well, joe would probably vote for the SDs, John probably for the Christian Dems.

    You don't have to be a fundamentalist Muslim to contradict western values. Nationalists parties do that, too.

  • ||

    Americans of varying regions can be as "tribal" as any other nation.

    I agree, and have proof, being from Pittsburgh n'at.

  • iih||

    Syloson:

    I was just giving one particular example. MI and central Illinois, on the other hand, I found, had no sense of regional pride -- except if you are a Wolverine, I guess. With the auto industry going down hill, it seemed like there was nothing else in SE MI remaining to be proud of.

  • Episiarch||

    As should become rather apparent I don't buy into "American exceptionalism."

    Except that I wasn't referring to American exceptionalism, I was referring to the fact that our cultural identity isn't as much about what our genetic lineage and social customs are as the Europeans. It's not exceptionalism, it's a difference in our cultures. Spare me the assumptions about exceptionalism until I actually imply it.

    The French would want the suburb-dwellers to be French, yes. For some reason (which has been delved into by lots of people with many different opinions), however, many of these people are not choosing to become French.

  • iih||

    You don't have to be a fundamentalist Muslim to contradict western values. Nationalists parties do that, too.

    Isn't socialism a Western value? So all those socialist Europeans and Canadians are not really Western?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    iih,

    They'll find something. Very few of us will ever be anything like László de Almásy.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Episiarch,

    ...I was referring to the fact that our cultural identity isn't as much about what our genetic lineage and social customs are as the Europeans.

    Well, first of all, genetic lineages in Europe (and the U.S.) are largely socially constructed affairs. Second, I beg to differ. Social customs are extremely important when it comes to the various American social groups.

  • iih||

    They'll find something. Very few of us will ever be anything like László de Almásy.

    I guess not. Hopefully, people won't decide to pick ugly stuff to be proud of.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Episiarch,

    Ask yourself a question: how many of the people that you know are radically different from you?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    iih,

    All of which makes me want to re-read The English Patient. :)

  • Bernd||

    Cesar -

    The FDP is too close to the German FDP for my tastes (or the Austrian liberals, for who I worked, and boy am I happy now that that party pretty much died - if I want social democracy, I can get it from the original brand!).

    If you like the politically correct arbitrariness of the postmodernist "meh, accept everything" style and commitment to utilitarian economics that somehow end up growing government by making it "more efficient", I guess that's just fine for you.

    The modern European parties are always up for every compromise between the status quo and socialism because you can't be a radical - no sir! - that's for the others (who promptly end up winning in baby steps). I'm not against compromises at all, but they have to be in the right direction.

    The FDP is much like Reagan - much talk about freedom, but in the end you get tax cuts via debt, and whatever happened to the Department of Education anyway?

    SVP is very Ron Paulite in many ways; and RP also does not support unlimited immigration (but is also not at all against immigration per se). Must be a coincidence...

  • ||

    Hmmmm... indeed. The last time I heard of something like this were the... the Na...

    No need to wonder...hell just read this quote:

    "If we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline. We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership which aims at a larger good. I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army.…I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis-broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe."

    Opps that isn't a quote from them that is from FDR. Silly me for getting the two confused.

  • ||

    Syloson of Samos,

    Ask yourself a question: how many of the people that you know are radically different from you?

    If I know the most, what do I win? The anecdotal award?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    iih,

    Anyway, you are right (if this is what you were getting at) that there isn't anything necessarily wrong with being tribal. From the standpoint of evolutionary "success" it has been, well, quite successful.

  • iih||

    All of which makes me want to re-read The English Patient. :)

    Me too! For nothing else other than the nostalgia for old Cairean decoration.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Taktix,

    ...what do I win?

    A warm fuzzy feeling.

  • Bernd||

    Also, Cesar - what has anything about this to do with Islam per se?

    I couldn't immigrate into Switzerland nilly-willy either - but rather get a work permit, then a permanent work permit, live there lawfully for years and years and then maybe start applying for citizenship - and I'm a white male atheist, in a growth industry, and citizen of a neighbouring country.

    I also think they're pretty much right when they intend to choose their company carefully, although I sure wouldn't mind being able to get myself to Zug easier. ;)

  • iih||

    joshua:

    "I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis-broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe."

    And GWB and the neocons did not even need to make such pronouncements. It was almost hand delivered to them.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Disclaimer: I have no problem with open immigration policies.

  • ||

    Isn't socialism a Western value? So all those socialist Europeans and Canadians are not really Western?

    I think he means uniquely western...socialism is just the name westerners give to good old state totalitarianism...which is a pretty universal across societies.

  • Matt Jenny||

    Michael C. Moynihan,

    Three minor corrections on the situation in Switzerland:

    Also distressing, the free-market Free Democratic Party lost voters to the SVP, shedding five seats from the 2003 election.



    Like most European parties that call themselves "liberal", the Swiss Free Democratic Party is definitely more libertarian than what is considered "liberal" in the US, but it is nonetheless not particularly libertarian. They're pretty much middle ground on most issues. As a Swiss libertarian, I had no reason to vote for the FDP.

    (From left, the major parties listed: Swiss People's Party (SVP), Social Democrats (SD), Free Democratic Party (FDP), Christian Democrats (CVP), Greens (GPS)):



    The Swiss abbreviation for the Swiss Social Democrats is "SP". In the Swiss political context, "SD" stands for the Schweizer Demokraten (Swiss Democrats), a minor nationalist and state socialist party (though not explicitly Neonazi -- there is a Neonazi party in Switzerland called PNOS, but they're even smaller than the SD).

    The following isn't altogether true either:

    The SVP is generally free-market, unlike most other xenophobic parties in Europe.



    While the SVP could maybe be regarded as more free-market oriented than the FDP, it's still nowhere from libertarian. Their xenophobic, anti-immigration stance is just the most obvious. Apart from that, they also are the most hysterical supporters of agricultural subsidies (the party was founded as the "Farmers, Artisans, and Citizens' Party"). And they've launched a citizen's initiative to ban Muslims from building Minarets. The party also officially opposed civil unions between homosexuals when that was put to a vote a few years ago. Plus, they're pretty rigidly anti-drugs.

    Apart from these points, though, the SVP is probably less dangerous than France's Le Pen or Austria's Jörg Haider, regardless of what is being written in the New York Times and other newspapers about Switzerland soon becoming a fascist nation or whatever. And even if the SVP actually were openly fascist and still got their 29% of the votes, they still couldn't reign arbitrarily over the Swiss population due to the unique political system in Switzerland.

    Still, it is a very sad fact that the SVP got most of its votes due to their populistic and xenophobic appearance. They've constantly been gaining more power since the 1990s -- since Switzerland experienced a quite large influx of refugees from the Yugoslav Wars. But this wasn't a unique experience. For example, Switzerland experienced a big influx of Italian guest workers in the 1970s and, of course, that didn't mean the end to civilization in Switzerland. So the recent immigration issues in Switzerland are in my view hugely blown out of proportion by the power hungry SVP populists and their supporters.

  • Episiarch||

    Ask yourself a question: how many of the people that you know are radically different from you?

    Don't be obtuse. I am talking matter of degree. You seem to want to disprove something that I said, but I can't quite tell what it is, because I don't think I said anything other than European cultures are more homogenous than American ones, and that what we might be seeing in Switzerland is merely a desire to maintain that homogeneity.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Matt,

    Thanks.

  • iih||

    Matt Jenny:

    Thanks for the valuable input!

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Episiarch,

    ...because I don't think I said anything other than European cultures are more homogenous than American ones...

    So there are American "cultures?"

  • ||

    And GWB and the neocons did not even need to make such pronouncements. It was almost hand delivered to them.

    Seriously iih...I mean I can see a qualitative comparison between FDR's fascism and GWB...but no where near a quantitative one.

    Bush gets away with it because no one cares about the rights of a small number of terrorists....he would not get away with it if it was everyone.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Anyway, European cultures don't seem to be any more or less homogenous than American "cultures."

  • ||

    Bernd-

    I doubt the "immigrants" the SVP talks about are Austrians and Frenchmen.

    What country are you from and what party do you vote for?

  • ||

    Also Bernd, Matt Jenny just completely contradicted what you said about the SVPs economic policies.

  • Episiarch||

    So there are American "cultures?"

    Dude, what is your point? If you have one, make it, instead of posting one-line responses that say nothing. Judging by your comment about exceptionalism, you seem to derive a certain measure of smug self-satisfaction from opposing anything you pervceive as smacking of American exceptionalism, even when it's...not about exceptionalism.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Episiarch,

    Ahh, have a good one. :)

  • Episiarch||

    Anyway, European cultures don't seem to be any more or less homogenous than American "cultures."

    Really? Know any Europeans? Know any Basque, or Catalonians?

  • Bernd||

    they still couldn't reign arbitrarily over the Swiss population due to the unique political system in Switzerland.

    Also, there are those pesky Ordonnanzwaffen.

    Having full-on military assault rifles and ammo with each citizen makes ruling arbitrarily a bit harder as well, I'd imagine.

    It's one of the few things to the definite libertarian credit of the FDP that their grass roots are strongly against the drive on the socialists' part to ban private stewardship of the military rifles.

  • ||

    Really? Know any Europeans? Know any Basque, or Catalonians?

    Or Flemmings, or Walloons, or Bretons, or Alsatians, or Roma, or....

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Episiarch,

    Know any folks from Seattle? Or San Francisco? Or Boston? Or rural parts of the American South?

  • ||

    As should become rather apparent I don't buy into "American exceptionalism."

    "American exeptionalism" actually is derived from a negative quality...namely that the US lacks or has weak state sponsorship of culture. Cultures tend to thrive in such an environment, thus the exeptionalism.

  • ||

    Sylon-

    I'd say theres more difference (and animosity) between a Flemming and a Walloon--who are right next to each other--than there is between a Southerner and New Englander.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Episiarch,

    Anyway, I have a differing opinion on the issue. Such is the way of things. *shrug*

  • ||

    Americans of varying regions can be as "tribal" as any other nation.

    And team sports is a fairly innocuous way to display it. (European soccer fans excepted).

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Cesar,

    Tons of New Englanders have moved to the South and they in live in their own enclaves and communities. That ought to tell us something about how important regional, etc. identity is to Americans.

  • Episiarch||

    Know any folks from Seattle? Or San Francisco? Or Boston? Or rural parts of the American South?

    Yes. Plenty. There are differences, of course. But they are not the same. I think that Catalonian hatred of the Spanish is similar to Southern hatred of Yankees, except that for the Catalons, it was 30 years ago, not 140. It's not just regional differences, it's history going back thousands of years with many wars and subjugations that are remembered.

    We had one (devastating) war, and other than that, most of our differences are regional, without blood fueds and the like.

  • Bernd||

    Cesar -

    I'm Austrian and I don't vote any more, what's the point.

    It just gets my goat how everyone everywhere beats up on the SVP with completely overblown claims; just like they did on Fortuyn. Those guys have their niche because the European establishment's policies are ruinous, and they know it, so they throw out the red herring of calling everything that contradicts them fascist and xenophobic.

    Also, yeah, the SVP is far from perfect, but "completely contradicts"? "more free trade than the FDP" is somehow complete contradiction? It's not like sinking money in farming isn't idiotic, but at least there aren't that many farmers left.

    Finally - they may not *mean* Austrians; but as long as the POV of the law is neutral in word and spirit (which is hard to go around given the place the rule of law still has in Switzerland), they can hardly spin it there - but only through bureaucrat's discretion. Which shouldn't exist, period.

    If the rules require giving discretion to bureaucrats, there are too many and too far reaching rules.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Cesar,

    Not that there is anything wrong with them living in their own communities, etc.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Episiarch,

    But they are not the same.

    I say they are or quite similar.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Episiarch,

    ...it's history going back thousands of years with many wars and subjugations that are remembered.

    Most regional and national identities in Europe are less than a couple of hundred years old. That's one of the differences between popular memory and history; and an "ancient" lineage of popular memory is quite easy to produce.

  • ||

    Bernd-

    It just gets my goat how everyone everywherebeats up on the SVP with completely overblown claims; just like they did on Fortuyn. Those guys have their niche because the European establishment's policies are ruinous, and they know it, so they throw out the red herring of calling everything that contradicts them fascist and xenophobic.

    European politics sounds like it sucks even more than politics here. And I didn't think that was possible.

  • ||

    If the rules require giving discretion to bureaucrats, there are too many and too far reaching rules.

    I am trying to get a local land planner fired...could you please move here and take his job?

    =)

  • Episiarch||

    I say they are or quite similar.

    American regional differences lack the racial aspect of the European differences. I may have just as much German in me as a Southerner, so all our differences are based on location.

    But regional differences in Europe are bolstered by their shared genetic heritage as well.

  • Episiarch||

    Most regional and national identities in Europe are less than a couple of hundred years old.

    I am getting the feeling that you don't really know any Europeans. You are exactly right, but don't realize why. It's the blurring of these national identities and incorporation of regions into different countries that causes part of the issue. Catalonians view themselves as Catalonian, not Spanish. Flemish are closer to the Dutch than they are their own countrymen in Wallonia. The Polish remember what the Germans did to them. And so on.

  • Bernd||

    Cesar -

    I wouldn't say that; the US in the end isn't that much cheaper regarding regulation or taxes (and where it is, it's financed by debt; or means living in flyover country).

    If I have to lose half of my income anyway, I'd much rather it be spent on welfare for lazy drifters than on killing innocent foreigners. Which is sadly not that hyperbolic if you think about it.

    Also, we haven't had quite your kind of rabid prohibition, so our cops are not the kind of militarized jackbooted thugs who kill innocents with impunity that you seem to have aplenty, if all the isolated incidents Mr Balko keeps reporting on are an indication.

    But yeah, it sucks pretty much on the same level; after all we're all subjects rather than free men, what else can we expect?

    Right now I live in Quebec, which seems to be pretty much just like Europe, with all the benefits & drawbacks.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Episiarch,

    American regional differences lack the racial aspect of the European differences.

    This is a very odd statement. "Race" (whatever the heck it is) plays a significant part in American regional differences and always has. Indeed, "race" is one of the most important factors in American social and cultural development. One sees the term used quite often throughout American history until quite recently to describe the differences between American regions. I suspect you will still see it lurking in the shadows of those differences.

    Yes, I have never met, hung out with, had discussions with, roomed with, etc. any Europeans. ;)



  • ||

    If I have to lose half of my income anyway, I'd much rather it be spent on welfare for lazy drifters than on killing innocent foreigners. Which is sadly not that hyperbolic if you think about it.

    Hey now thats not true! It also goes to line the pockets of Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and Blackwater!

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Anyway, American history is chocker block full of racial, cultural, etc. conflict, quite violent conflict in fact, that is more than simply the Civil War. We, like other groups of people, tend to forget about this and tend to ignore the ever present differences within our particular national group, until those differences rise up and kick us in the ass.

  • ||

    I don't know what to think about this one. My pure beating Libertarian heart says its wrong, but I've seen first hand what's happened to France.

    We in America are facing a Mexican immigration which is very different from an Arab one. The Mexicans come from a Western society, they believe their homeland does not provide the freedom and prosperity they crave. Many of the Muslim immigrants, on the other hand, want to make the host country more like their homeland and attack western values.

    The Swiss just dont want a Muslim population. They want a secular society with equal rights for women and freedom of speech. Islam is opposed to these things. Islam does not recognize a separation of Church and state (which Judaism and Christianity when strictly read do), Islam does not recognize the rights of women, and Islam does not recognize freedom of speech.

    If you think I'm full of it just look to the Hirsi Ali affair. Now I know that not all Muslims are like this but if Holland did not have a Muslim population the secularity of the Dutch state and freedom of speech would not be in such danger.

    Deep down in my Libertarian heart I would like to believe that all people can form together in rational society, but I can understand on a gritty, perhaps irrational level what the Swiss are thinking.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Not that I oppose such differences; they are generally a big part of what makes a society successful.

  • ||

    I have merely noted that for all their talking about multiculturalism, it seems like most Europeans use that as a cover word for "sure they can come here and work but they should stick to their own kind".

    When you let in immigrants in the numbers that European countries are admitting, they'll "stick to their own kind" without any prodding. The way to encourage them to assimilate is to let them trickle in.

  • Bernd||

    Cesar -

    Too true. Given what they do, we're really lucky that government is so inefficient and corrupt.

  • Les||

    They want a secular society with equal rights for women and freedom of speech. Islam is opposed to these things. Islam does not recognize a separation of Church and state (which Judaism and Christianity when strictly read do), Islam does not recognize the rights of women, and Islam does not recognize freedom of speech.

    And yet, all over the world, there are Muslims who desire a separation of church and state, believe in equal rights for women, and support freedom of speech. While there are Jews and Christians who desire none of these things.

    Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is interpreted by many people in many different ways. It's not the religion that's the problem. The problem is when stupid people practice the religion.

  • ||

    It's not the religion that's the problem. The problem is when stupid people practice the religion.

    Les, there enough injustice and bloodshed to blame both religion and it's practitioners. Read the holy books. They get ugly. All of them.

  • iih||

    Islam does not recognize the rights of women

    Unlike European and American women, women in Islam had the right to ownership, and did not have to change names when they got married since they were not seen as "owned" by the husband. In the bay'aas (the equivalent of voting today), during the first 40 years the voice of women was eqaul to that of the men. When did women's suffrage take place in the West? It was not perfect back then, but it was certainly revolutionary.

    I agree with Les, take any philosophy (even libertarianism), put in the hands of stupid people and you get horrible things. Human stupidity is always the culprit.

  • Les||

    Les, there enough injustice and bloodshed to blame both religion and it's practitioners. Read the holy books. They get ugly. All of them.

    I agree about the books. But there are plenty of practitioners who ignore the ugly parts and live peaceful, tolerant lives. I think this demonstrates that it's not the religion that's to blame, but the character of the individuals who use the religion to justify their negative behavior.

  • iih||

    there enough injustice and bloodshed to blame both religion and it's practitioners. Read the holy books. They get ugly. All of them.

    Why have a book? Here is a "religion" that does not have a book, and a single idiot can take it and call for pretty horrible things. And how about this thing that some people, who did not have a book, install? It is all about human stupidity.

  • ||

    So wait, it's somehow supposed to be *sad* that a party that's pretty much libertarian and decentralizing in by far most positions wins over *social democrats*? Since when are we rooting for the reds here?

    Since the people that actually have the brains to take steps to preserve what freedom they have declined to embrace Reason's particular and peculiar hobby-horse in pursuit of that goal. That's when.

    It looks like the Swiss are doing exactly the Swiss are known for - that is, they're doing what's good for the Swiss, and to hell with everyone else.

    Good on the Swiss! Were it only that more governments would emulate their example of actually serving the interests of their citizenry, rather than reinterpreting "freedom" to mean "the citizenry should be free to have exactly what it doesn't want rammed down it's throat by fiat", which is apparently the modal libertarian interpretation of the concept....

  • Libertarians are irrelevant||

    It is always good to see Reason stay level-headed during political debates. For instance they would never smear individuals opposed to the breaking of immigration law as racists and xenophobes. Oh, wait...

  • ||

    "And yet, all over the world, there are Muslims who desire a separation of church and state, believe in equal rights for women, and support freedom of speech. While there are Jews and Christians who desire none of these things."

    Except that the sector of Muslims who desire freedom of speech, equal rights for women, and separation of church and state is much smaller proportionally to the sector who desires these values in the Jewish community. The Christian sector might be roughly equivalent, but the difference these days is that the Christian sector who opposes these values tends to be just more obnoxious rather than violent. A fundy Christian in the West might get upset over "piss Christ* but the worst you'll see is calls for bans, protests, angry ranting on Fox. They're not going to go try and kill the artist.

    Let's also not forget the millions of girls in Muslim societies subjected to circumsicion, using rusty or unclean razor blades, knives, what have you; then are sown up makeshift style and later die, suffer from painful urination, excruciating menstrual episodes, hepatitis, tetanus, etc.

  • Les||

    gib, what percentage of Muslims in Europe and America favor female circumcision or killing people for blasphemy? Are those figures rising or falling? What percentage would be enough to legally limit the immigration of Muslims?

  • ||

    How 'distressing' that the Swiss think they have an actual right to determine whether the immigrants they allow to settle in their own country are culturally compatible or not! They must just hate brown people I suppose. What other possible reason could there be to exclude Muslims. I live in Britain and our Muslim population has made a wonderful contribution. Only a mere 10,000 of them are currently being tracked by M15 as potential terrorists. And possibly less than a third of them support or sympathise with their fellow jihadist supremacists!

    You open borders libertarians, who complacently dismiss as xenophobes anyone who disagrees with you, really can't see what ridiculous utopian fantasists you are can you?

  • robc||

    See, I don't get this: How could the Swiss, of all people, be upset over the idea of a multi-ethnic/multi-lingual society?

    Way late to the party on this one, but basically Switzerland is a union of single-ethnic/single-language/single-denomination cantons. They arent multi anything (well, except language - most are there).

    If you look at the history of the cantons there are German Catholic, German Protestant, French Catholic, French Protestant, and Italian Catholic cantons (Romanche doesnt dominate any canton).

  • iih||

    gib:

    FWIW, amongst majority Muslim countries, FGM is practiced only in the horn of Africa, Egypt (mostly the poorer, more backward country side), and Ethiopia (mostly Christian nation). It is not practiced (on any significant scale) outside that region. Recently, there is a big public discourse in Egypt where (some) religious leaders have been actively countering the claim that FGM is Islamically mandated. No where in the Quran is there a decree on FGM.

  • iih||

    Scott:

    1. So there are 10,000 bad Muslims in the UK. What is the total # of Muslims there? (wikipedia says 1,591,000).

    2. When I was back in Egypt, at the time when the government was cracking down on extremists, somehow they disappear and end up showing up in places like Manchester, London, etc. I would personally blame the government for having loose immigration laws that allows extremists into the country. The just abused an opportunity that, ultimately, the government has given. SO I would suggest reforming the immigration laws such that only those who can positively contribute to British society are let in, whether they be Muslim or not.

    My 2 pence ;-)

  • ||

    "gib, what percentage of Muslims in Europe and America favor female circumcision or killing people for blasphemy? Are those figures rising or falling? What percentage would be enough to legally limit the immigration of Muslims?"

    Question 1: Does the exact percentage matter as much as just the fact that violent reaction to having one's sacred cows skewered is a palpable, tangible reality wherever there are large populations of Muslims? Does that figure matter as much as the fact that European newspaper editors and on the street journalists, as well as governments, take the threats seriously enough to change course, censor material, fail to print critical material, hide people who have had a fatwa put on their head, etc.?

    Question 2: I don't know but I do know that the Dutch filmaker who was killed for making a movie wouldn't care much whether he was part of a rising or falling statistic. And the millions of girls suffering from genital mutilation are not decreasing in numbers in any sort of rapid fashion.

    Question 3: That's unrelated to my point. In fact I largely favor open immigration. My point was that an equivalence to how Muslims, Christians, and Jews react to being offended cannnot be blithely drawn. Additionally, it isn't just the figures that are important. There might be as many Christians as Muslims who oppose enlightenment values - yet, tacitly at least most western Christians accept them in that violent reaction is much rarer these days and operates on a smaller scale.

    iih,
    You forgot Somalia, largely a Muslim country. I suppose you're right that it's a phenomenon that, to some degree, transcends religion, yet considering that millions of African girls, predominantly in Muslim contexts, are suffering from this practice, it appears that the *practitioners* believe that it's sanctified by the Koran. So whether or not the Koran supports this cruelty, just as more moderate Muslims say that the Koran does not advocate Jihadism the way its interpreted by fundamentalists, the sad fact is that millions of Muslims believe that it does and react violently to having it disobeyed or criticized.

  • iih||

    gib: I did mention the "horn of Africa" which does include Somalia.

    predominantly in Muslim contexts

    When they do it, they do not (and can not) justify it by Islam. There is simply no evidence of FGM anywhere in Quran! In fact there is an order against "fooling around" with private parts. In general, a Muslim believes that if it is made by God, then there must be a reason behind having. That applies to all Muslim body parts.

    it appears that the *practitioners* believe that it's sanctified by the Koran.

    Then they, not Islam in this specific respect, are dead wrong.

    the sad fact is that millions of Muslims believe that it does and react violently to having it disobeyed or criticized.

    Wholeheartedly agree. I was just trying to keep the facts clear.

  • iih||

    Correction: remove "Muslim" in "That applies to all Muslim body parts." Duh, I know it may be interpreted very badly if we left "Muslim" in there. That was a typo.

  • Matt||

    Michael C. Moynihan:

    Being of Polish origins myself and having relatives currently living in Poland, there are some corrections on the situation in Poland I'd like to make:

    As for "the Euroskeptic, hyper-nationalist, homophobic Law and Justice Party":

    While one could argue about the Euroskepticism of the Law and Justice Party (while the EU negotiations were bitter, the party's leader did sign and hence eventually supported the EU Reform Treaty, despite the protests coming mainly from the right-wing opposition), I do not think "hyper-nationalist" is a correct characterization of this party. It has been mostly applied by the more Euroenthusiastic part of the political scene in order to portray the opposition to the Reform Treaty in a negative light (the opposition included, more specifically - for example - the disagreements related to the EU's "Charter of Fundamental Rights" - even though it was quite mild compared to, say, the non-negotiable 'red lines' of the UK ex-prime minister, Tony Blair; and one certainly can't characterize the Labour Party as "hyper-nationalist"). "Nationalistic" would apply rather for the parties like the UKIP in the UK (and even in this case I wouldn't call it "hyper-"), and the concessions made by Law and Justice Party put it very far from that position. Taking into account the noise made by it during the negotiations, with virtually no results, I would rather call it "incompetent."

    As for the homophobia - I've heard of a few remarks made by the member of the party, including the one you've recalled, but (thankfully) none of that was reflected in the actual policies and/or the party platform, and harsh criticism at home included the members of the very same party. Though I consider that one could make a case a public person should be careful with using certain words, there's also "free speech" v. "responsible speech" issue involved here - being a believer in a full free speech rights I will be the last one to criticize anyone for just saying what seems irresponsible or even just plain crazy (even though I may disagree wholeheartedly) - on the other hand, standing up for individual rights as well, I'd probably be the first one to criticize the attempts to actually implement any of potentially discriminatory policies. So I'm somewhat mixed on that one...

    I'd say there's one word which would correctly and aptly characterize the type of the party the Law and Justice was and still is: "reactionary."

    Promoting the obsolete government regulations, socialism and heavy economic interventionism, coupled with the lack of ability to professionally negotiate with the EU, resorting to the class-warfare rhetoric in the name of "solidarity" (using the term as a Polish equivalent to 'socialism') and pandering to some voters promising the benefits, subsidies, and so forth.

    One thing is for sure - the majority of the Poles does not feel sorry this party has finally lost power [well, possibly excluding the 30% of its voters ;)] - and rightly so.

    As for the "free-market Civic Platform" - as much as I (or anyone for that matter) would like to believe that - nothing can be further from true.

    The Civic Platform can be more correctly characterized as an ordoliberal party, with some Christian-democratic influences/factions. The corresponding economic model is the "social market economy" (stemming from the ordoliberalism, though also strongly influenced by the "social democracy" - meaning here a continental European economic model (with Germany and CDU party being the main examples) - though distinctively different from the Scandinavian socialism - also a political ideology belonging to a wider class known and referred to as "socialism"). Ordoliberalism generally promotes anti-trust regulations, central bank monetary ("stabilizing") interventions, taxes raising revenues enough to ensure balanced budgets (as opposed to lower taxes coupled with lower spending), collective bargaining (incl. a privileged role for the trade unions). "Social market economy" boils down to support of the continental European model of the post-WW2 welfare state in general.

    The Christian-democratic contributions to the Civic Platform are conservative stances on social and ethical issues, including opposition to abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia and stem cell research. (Not just funding of the research, but the research per se.)

    I guess I can also refer to "10 promises", on which the Civic Platform ran in this campaign:

    http://www.platforma.org/aktualnosci/newsy/art108,dziesiec-zobowiazan-platformy-.html
    (in Polish, sorry; below is my attempt at translation):

    1. We'll accelerate and make use of the economic growth.
    2. We'll radically increase the wages in the public sector, raise the pensions and retirement benefits.
    3. We'll build modern highways, expressways, bridges and beltways.
    4. We'll guarantee universal health care and get rid of the National Health Fund (NFZ).
    5. We'll simplify the tax code - by introducing the flat tax with pro-family rebate, getting rid of over 200 fees and charges
    6. We'll expedite construction of new stadiums for the (UEFA) Euro 2012.
    7. We'll quickly fulfill our mission in Iraq.
    8. We'll make the emigrants from Poland want to come home and invest in Poland
    9. We'll improve the education level and popularize the Internet
    10. We'll actually fight the corruption.


    Now - 1st one could mean both pro-growth policies (which could be a nice thing) and expansionary fiscal policies (much less fun). "Making use" has a redistributive bent to it. The voting record of the members is quite mixed, so I guess we'll just have to see.

    I guess that pts. no. 2, 3, 4, 6 and 9 can be safely characterized as socialism (the "education" system to be improved is the state public education system, supported by the Civic Platform /not a mention of even trying a voucher system, forget about private education/, the "popularization" of the Internet is meant in a redistributive sense - as in "Every home should have Internet access" (c) Democratic Party, incl. the possible price regulations in the telecom. industry).

    Point no. 7 reminds of the Democratic Party and its empty promises backed with no real plan for victory or just coming home (no matter where are you coming from, I guess there's not much of an argument about the failure of the Democrats with this respect.)

    Point no. 5 - "simplifying the tax code" - reflects the fact that ordoliberal Civic Platform stands in the very opposition to what Goldwater stood for. To explain why I'm not impressed, let me just quote Goldwater himself:

    "I have little interest in streamlining government in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that will impose an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible."

    If you'd like to look for the opposite side to the argument made by Goldwater, the Civic Platform fits just about right. The very important point is that the proposed tax code changes are supposed to be "revenue neutral" - that is merely changing the way the taxes are collected, not decreasing their level (and unfortunately - not a chance of smaller government, lower spending / fiscal restraint, or any of that...) That also includes "getting rid of the NFZ" in pt. 4 - in the Civic Platform plan the taxes will be raised directly by the state instead through the NFZ, not lowered. Socialized health care is not only going to be left intact, but "guaranteed."

    This very way of thinking - rarely considering whether something is good for the individual taxpayer - rather, always putting "what's good for the budget" first - is something I'd consider an anathema to the free-marketeers.

    Getting rid of fees and charges sounds great. Points 8 [if that's meant in a voluntary sense ;)] and 10 sound nice as well - as many other campaign promises do - I guess all of them remain to be verified...

    The other thing which I might add is the unwavering support for the EU's "Charter of Fundamental Rights"... I'm not saying all of it is necessarily bad, but what it also includes is:

    "Article 14 Right to education
    - 1. Everyone has the right to education and to have access to vocational and continuing training.
    - 2. This right includes the possibility to receive free compulsory education.
    - 3. The freedom to found educational establishments with due respect for democratic principles and the right of parents to ensure the education and teaching of their children in conformity with their religious, philosophical and pedagogical convictions shall be respected, in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of such freedom and right.
    "

    "Article 23 Equality between men and women
    - Equality between men and women must be ensured in all areas, including employment, work and pay. The principle of equality shall not prevent the maintenance or adoption of measures providing for specific advantages in favour of the under-represented sex.
    "

    (effectively allowing for the 'gender affirmative action')

    "Article 34 Social security and social assistance
    - 1. The Union recognises and respects the entitlement to social security benefits and social services providing protection in cases such as maternity, illness, industrial accidents, dependency or old age, and in the case of loss of employment, in accordance with the rules laid down by Community law and national laws and practices.
    - 2. Everyone residing and moving legally within the European Union is entitled to social security benefits and social advantages in accordance with Community law and national laws and practices.
    - 3. In order to combat social exclusion and poverty, the Union recognises and respects the right to social and housing assistance so as to ensure a decent existence for all those who lack sufficient resources, in accordance with the rules laid down by Community law and national laws and practices.

    Article 35 Health care
    - Everyone has the right of access to preventive health care and the right to benefit from medical treatment under the conditions established by national laws and practices. A high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities.

    Article 37 Environmental protection
    - A high level of environmental protection and the improvement of the quality of the environment must be integrated into the policies of the Union and ensured in accordance with the principle of sustainable development. Article 38 Consumer protection Union policies shall ensure a high level of consumer protection.
    "

    Source: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Charter_of_Fundamental_Rights_of_the_European_Union

    Taking into account the Civic Platform support of:
    - the tax credits (to selected groups; e.g. "pro-family" legislation and tax code; in the previous parliamentary term also unequivocal support of and the votes for the 'baby bonds' /is that's where Hillary's taking inspiration from? ;)/)
    - "investment support" (read: subsidies for special interest groups),
    - minimum wage laws,
    - government-run universal health care,
    - EU environmental agenda (relying on the regulations instead on the market) and the Kyoto Protocol,
    - government funding for health coverage,
    - opposition to the right to gun ownership
    - opposition to privatization of the social security system,
    ...the Civic Platform is economically a version of the Democratic Party, socially influenced by the socially conservative Christian-democrats.

    Perhaps in comparison to some other European parties the Civic Platform could be called "free-market" but... with "centrally planned" replacing the "free" part, and adding "legislating morality" afterwards.

  • ||

    Gib,

    Does the exact percentage matter as much as just the fact that violent reaction to having one's sacred cows skewered is a palpable, tangible reality wherever there are large populations of Muslims?

    Hmm, lets analyse this.

    Wikipedia states that there are approximately 1.5 million Muslims in the UK.

    If as you say, there are 'violent reactions wherever there is a large population of Muslims', I garuantee you, that if those 1.5 million Muslims were to decide to prove you right, and indeed rise up in violence as the cute little true Muslims that they are, there wouldnt be much of an England left.

    A good thing though, that they prove you wrong.

    You say paraphrased, 'statistics dont matter when Theo Van Gogh is being stabbed by a Muslim'. Interesting. Do they matter when he is being stabbed by a Christian? Or a Black? Or a Martian? Or are Muslims somehow beyond maths where the actions of one stain the rest of us?

    You just spent the past few says talking about how, statistically, within Xians, or within Jews, they dont do as much violence. You used statistics. Fine. But now when someone talks to you about more statistics, this time the intra-group statistics of another group, you say theyre irrelevant.

    In essense, when someone says 'Xtians do violence too', you say 'Yes yes but look at the percentage'. But when someone says 'look %-wise at how many Muslims commit violence in the West', you say, 'Statistics be damned! They stabbed Van Gogh!'

    Its obvious you are indeed a biased and hypocritical individual, based on your statements and rationale. And I am not going to try to change you, its not my job, and in fact you only harm yourself some more so what do I care. It will eventually catch up with you.

    But at least try to be consistent. You want to judge us using absolute numbers where 1 = infinity? Then lets do it for all groups. You want to talk statistics and percentages? Then lets talk percentages. Have some shred of honor at least.

    Allah 3alim

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