European Union

A Revolution in Europe

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In the latest print edition of The New Republic (not online, alas), Anne Applebaum reviews Christopher Caldwell's new book on Islam and Europe, Reflections on a Revolution in Europe. I read it a few months ago and happily noticed that, unlike many shrill commentators on this issue, Caldwell actually did an enormous amount of on-the-ground research (when I was living in Sweden, he stopped by Timbro, my former employer, to talk about the situation in Stockholm and Malmö) and speaks a handful of European languages. For those of us that are reflexively pro-immigration in the United States—and if I were to hazard a guess, I would say the Caldwell is not one of those fearful of "Mexifornia"—he provides a compelling and convincing argument as to why the situation in Western Europe is rather different than the one in Texas and Southern California. Here is Applebaum giving the reader a rough précis of Caldwell's argument:

Caldwell's is a complicated argument, with both religious and social elements, not all of which I am qualified to judge. Among other things, he notes that Muslim dislike of European attitudes to women and sex leads Muslim men–even second-generation Muslim men–to import wives from their home countries. The imported wives, who often do not speak European languages, in turn tend to preserve the customs of the home countries in their adopted countries for another generation. He also observes a phenomenon that historians of American immigration would certainly recognize: in practice, contact with European culture has tended to make Muslims more conservative, not more liberal, about the culture they remember from the past. Their children and grandchildren, meanwhile, are able to keep in touch with that culture in a way that previous generations never could, through the easily manipulated world of satellite television. Back in Bangladesh, young people may long to be "modern" and go to nightclubs, but in the Bangladeshi enclaves of London, one sees a much different sort of Islamic world on Al Jazeera.

Applebaum gives Caldwell a fair hearing, and seems to broadly agree with his diagnosis of Europe's current immigration challenge. And she is also right to point out that his argument is far more complex and nuanced than one can possibly convey in 3000 words. But diagnosis and prescription and rather different things; Applebaum sees a rosier future, one in which Europe's intergrationist impulse and the benefits of liberal society eventually overwhelm the tribal and illiberal:

Perhaps because I belong to the group of people who fondly and naovely imagine that Islam may evolve–every other monotheism has–I am not entirely persuaded by Caldwell's elegant pessimism. There are multiple examples–many multiples of examples–of Muslim immigrants who have integrated seamlessly into Europe. I am thinking of the secular and sophisticated Iranians of Paris, the Pakistani shopkeepers on British high streets, even individuals such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one of Europe's most fervent exponents of Enlightenment values. All have succeeded because some elements of European life–the entrepreneurial tradition and the blandishments of capitalism; the cosmopolitan cultural scene; the large role given to public intellectuals, particularly those who have something new to say–are well suited to the absorption and the cultural adaptation of outsiders. I do not see why Muslim immigrants will remain magically immune to all the integrationist influences that have shaped other immigrants into contented citizens of Western societies.

There are also some historical precedents. As noted above, the habit of importing spouses from the old country was also practiced by American immigrants–Jewish, German, Irish–some of whom also remained isolated in their own communities into two, three, or more generations. But these groups were finally integrated, partly through the lure of prosperity–in the end you had to speak English in order to get on–and partly through schools and peer pressure. Caldwell is right when he notes that Europeans always underestimate how deeply conformist American society is, and how much overt pressure there has always been to assimilate; but it is not impossible to imagine that a few changes in Europe could make a big difference. Indeed, that ban on the veil in schools in France is now widely perceived as an enormous success, precisely because it has tended to accelerate the assimilation of Muslim girls (and thus it might eventually be possible to drop it). Nor is it impossible to imagine that Europe could recover from the current recession–from which, with the exception of Britain and Ireland, it has suffered less drastically than the United States–and that a subsequent burst of economic growth could pull immigrants into the mainstream.

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  1. Most people can’t hack it as a religous fanatic. The worldly temptations of modern society are too much. It is one thing to live like this on the Pakistani frontier where you really don’t have any options. It is another to do it in the middle of modern civilization. Sure, some can do it. Some nuts even check out of modern civilization to do it. But most can’t.

    You can see this in the Turkish kids running around Germany. These girls have makeup on and nail polish and are dressed all cute and then have their head scarfs (always color coordinated) on. Maybe I am naive but I can’t see those girls growing up to be Sharia following fanatics. The old smelly goat Imams who think they will are kidding themselves.

    The only wrench in the works is violence. The fanatics can never win if people have a choice. They can only win if they can indtimidate people through violence. That is why societies have to absolutely make sure that people have a choice to integrate if they want and completely tramp down on things like honor killings and forced marriages.

    1. “”””These girls have makeup on and nail polish and are dressed all cute and then have their head scarfs (always color coordinated) on.”””

      So we are pinning our hopes on the people who are easily distracted by bright colors and shinny objects and they are going to be the future of Europe and the West!

      1. No. We are pinning our hopes on the fact that young people, if given a free choice, are more interested in having fun and attracting the opposite sex than they are in being religous fanatics. That doesn’t sound like a bad bet to me.

        1. IF their fathers don’t run them over with their cars for not being sufficiently traditional, as happened here in America just recently…

          But progress is progress. Hopefully, honor killings will one day be a painful reminder of a barbaric past.

      2. It’s worked before.

      3. If only.

        Sadly, our future looks like its increasingly in the hands of a smaller and smaller group of idealogical oligarchs with big ideas.

    2. I went to school with a bunch of Iranians and I totally see what you’re saying. Most of the girls completely threw off the chador the moment they left the old country, but even the ones who kept some vestiges of it dressed really hot otherwise. The combination of headscarves and whale tail might just be the most kinkily hot thing ever.

      1. my chemlab partner in junior year was a hot Iranian chick who wore short skirts.

  2. Agreed, John. The scarves may actually become an accessory that non-Muslim girls adopt if they look good on their Muslim friends. Fashion is a trendy beast.

  3. One of the main reasons that Mexican immigration into the America southwest is different from Europe is that Mexicans are not “foreign” to the Southwest in any meaningful way. Every Anglo who grew up in the region has had long term sustained contact with Spanish speaking hispanics both native and immigrant. Nobody really notices except in those places where the welfare state turns low-skill, low income workers into drags on the economy.

    I would also point out that Muslims are not all hicks from the sticks of the 14th century. In Kosovo, the Muslims were the urbanites and the Christian Slavs were the murderous medieval hillbillies. A few dozens Kosovo Muslims fled to my hometown in rural Texas and integrated in nicely.

    However, I think Europe is in trouble because of (1) its ethnic states and (2) its expansive welfare state. Ethnic states cause more ethnic polarization. A welfare state is a zero-sum game in which one group can only benefit to the detriment of another. Add to that slow economic growth and limited economic mobility and you can produce a powder keg.

    Remember, the conflict doesn’t have to be about religion. A secularized and assimilated muslim population could be just as dangerous if they by into the whole modern identity politics scam. Modern leftism provides even more reasons for a minority to lash out than does Islam.

    I imagine that long term everything in Europe will settle out but you could have said the same thing back in 1933. “Settling out” in Europe usually involves bloodshed.

    1. Exactly, the largesse of the Euro welfare state will subsidize the idle and restless middle-eastern youth into poverty and their poverty will ultimately create a sort of identity-politics, us v them backlash that could explode into violence.

    2. Western liberals have always played with fire with identity politics. They are generally stupid and illinformed. So they really have no idea how dangerous and violent tribalism and identity politics can be.

      They have gotten away with it because minorities in the US tend to be very well assimilated and non-violent. Even in the darkest days of Jim Crow blacks still shared a similiar culture with Southern Whites and were only violent in self defense.

      America is really a miracle in that regard. In the rest of the world and throughout most of history identity politics ends in genocide. If liberals continue to feed identity politics and tribalism among Muslims, genocide by one side or the other is going to be the result.

  4. But the fact that some Muslim men will move to Europe or America yet want to remain as conservative as their homeland perplexes me. Just goes to show money will always be the draw.

    1. My great grandfather came from Germany in the 1870’s. Never spoke a word of English. Lived in a German-speaking town in western Iowa. Money was his draw (as mention a few days ago, he was a founder of Anheuser-Busch One of his daughters became a surgical nurse and married a doctor (whose sister was married to one of the Vanderbilt kids; I have a trunk full of their portraits). Another daughter went to school and became a stenographer (legal secretary), moved to the big city, got a job at a law firm and traveled the world. His great grand children have MBA’s and Post-docs in the hard sciences (one’s work won the Nobel Prize). The annual income of this latest generation of his progeny runs well into the millions.

      My point here is that this whole “they don’t want to learn English and assimilate so we need to be afraid is total BS.

      1. I don’t punctuate for shit.

      2. It is not about language it is about culture. Had your grandfather had four wives married his daughters off to old men when they were 11, and beat them if they “acted too Western” there would have been a problem.

        1. Three generations later and I still eat a good deal of German food.

          1. So do I. I have grandparents on both sides that were second generation immigrants. My great grandmother grew up speaking German. I love the food and the beer.

            What I can’t figure out is, how did good German families like the Buschs and the Coorses end up making such crappy beer. They had to have known what good beer was when they came over.

            1. I have often wndered the same thing.

              BTW, My great Uncle on my Paternal side was Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff, von Hindenburg’s Chief of Staff, yet I have no plans to invade Russia.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Ludendorff

              1. Wow. I am distantly related to Gunter Von Kluge, who was a army group commander on the Eastern Front and was later one of the Valkarie plotters.

                I also, have no plans to march on Poland or Russia.

                1. I never said I wouldn’t march on Poland.

              2. It might be a recessive gene on your part. The Irish in me still makes me want to blow up the Brits.

            2. It may not be true, but I’ve always heard it was prohibition that is to blame. Before prohibition Coors and Anheuser-Busch made excellent beer – then they had to start making low alcohol beer in the 1920s to stay in business and American tastes and expertise didn’t recover until the 1980s.

      3. Another daughter went to school and became a stenographer (legal secretary), moved to the big city, got a job at a law firm and traveled the world. His great grand children have MBA’s and Post-docs in the hard sciences (one’s work won the Nobel Prize).

        That’s all very nice – but Nobel prizes in hard sciences being won by Germans is not news. Tell us how many have been won by Mexicans.

        If you don’t know the answer, I can tell you.

        1. Sorry, but teh spics just don’t scare me.

          1. Me either. They only scare me to the extent that they like big government and seem to like to vote Democrat. But rich white people seem to do that to. And we don’t deport all of them.

        2. Germany in the 19th Century was a more poor and backward place than Mexico today by a long shot. A lot of the German immigrants to the US had never been more than a few miles away from their home villages before leaving. And if you’re trying to say that Mexicans are intrinsically unintelligent, then you’re a fucking ass helmet.

          1. Hold it. Germany was poorer than Mexico today in absolute terms but not relative terms. Germany in the last half of the 19th Century was a lot richer relative to the rest of the world at that time than Mexico is today relative to the rest of the world.

            And Germany was a 100 times more culturally rich in the 19th Century than Mexico ever has been. Germany of the 19th Century gave us Beethoven, Wagner, Kant, the modern chemical industry, some of the best universities in the world, and some of the biggest scientific discoveries in history.

            1. “And Germany was a 100 times more culturally rich in the 19th Century than Mexico ever has been”

              [citation needed]

              1. Name one composer to come out of Mexico of the significance of Wagner or Beethoven, one philosopher of the significance of Kant, one scientist of the significance of Haeckel, Planck, Roentgen, or Wohler. Germany in the 19th Century was a pretty amazing place in many ways.

                1. You think like a Westerner.

                  1. You think like a Westerner someone who grew up in the culture that transformed the world.

                    1. Really? Which one? China or Babylon?

                  2. Well, you think like a fool – but they’re not exclusive.

                2. Name one composer to come out of Mexico of the significance of Wagner

                  Los Lobos

                  1. I disagree, Los Lobos is much more significant than Wagner.

                3. The Macarena.

                  1. How about all of the literature that has come out of latin america?

                    Borges, Cort?zar, Quiroga, Garc?a M?rquez, the list goes on…

          2. America back then was also a place in which people with little education and low-skills could find good jobs. Most people found good jobs that required little more than a strong back and good work ethic. Today, that is not so true.

            The disparity between the education of the average American today and the average Mexican is much greater than the disparity in education between the average American and the average German immigrant in the 1800’s.

            We should also remember that immigration prior to WWII was largely composed of people considered middle-class in their source societies. Even people seen as crushing poor by history were still comparatively well off in their time. With a few exceptions such as the Irish Potato famine, most immigrants were people already well equipped to succeed.

            1. Give me your educated, your middle class,
              Your comparatively well off in their time,
              The well equipped to succeed of your teeming shore…

              1. Sounds good to me. I never got why we would want “wretched refuse”.

          3. The average 19th century German peasant was better educated than the average modern Mexican. More literate, better math skills, far better at basic craftmanship. A lot of modern Mexican immigrants have also never been more than a few miles from their villages before they set out for the US.

      4. There are some difference today than in the past:

        (1) Emigration used to be a big, once in a lifetime leap. Oceanic travel was a luxury for the wealthy like the Concord was. The very act of emigrating to America was an act of burning one’s bridges. People had to learn to identify with America because they had no place else to go. Such conditions no longer exist. Even those who come here desperately poor can save up enough money to go back and forth to the old country. Plus, as noted, modern communications keep people as tightly connected to their source communities as they are to their American neighbors. All this slows assimilation and identification with America.

        (2) In the past, immigration was tightly controlled. America has gone through a series of immigration panics, each one triggered by an immigration surge followed by an economic reversal. After each panic, immigration slowed to a trickle which prevented people from getting physical about it. Today, we no longer control our borders except to keep out the college educated. No matter how bad the economy or how resentful the native born, immigration will continue. Our modern experience will be much different from our historical experience in that regard.

        (3) There was a conscience and widely supported public policy to force the assimilation of immigrants especially those in big cities. Public education was specifically designed to teach English and to foster an American mythology that immigrants would be eager to identify with. Today, of course, we have the opposite.

        (4) In the past, America had no welfare state/regulatory state and zero-sum politics played very little role in people’s lives. Now we have a massive state and half our political spectrum is wholly invested in identity politics. One groups political gain is becomes another group’s loss in a way not seen in previous generations. Combined with identity politics, this is a recipe for balkanization.

        People forget that America had great success with immigration in the past because we possessed certain cultural traits and political outlook. We’ve lost a lot of those traits and that outlook so our future experience won’t be the same.

        1. (1) Emigration used to be a big, once in a lifetime leap.

          Not quite…

          Because the collective memory is largely shaped by the immigrants who stay, it’s easy to forget how many came and left. According to the historian Mark Wyman, author of Round-Trip to America, at least a quarter of the 23 million immigrants who came to the states between 1880 and 1930 eventually made their way back home. The return migration rate for Italians was even higher, at 50 percent.

          (2) In the past, immigration was tightly controlled.

          In the recent past… More than three-quarters of American history had virtually no controls.

          1. My point still stands. In the context of German immigration, we’re talking about early to mid-1800’s before steam ships so the percentages where much lower. Transportation cost did drop sharply after 1900.

            In the context of today, prior to WWII we had nothing like people shuttling back and forth several times a years. Mexican immigrants certainly rotate back and forth at a historically unprecedented rates. Even people from the old world pop back and forth a lot. I know several immigrants with at best middle-class incomes that still go back to the old country once a year and take the kids along.

            1. Mexican immigrants certainly rotate back and forth at a historically unprecedented rates.

              If by “historically unprecedented” you mean historically low, you are correct. They used to migrate across the border seasonally with extreme regularity. Even in the late 19th century when a nominal entry fee was applied at the border in the East, it was not applied on the border to the South because it would be too much of a burden on migration.

              It is only recently that border crossing has being policed to the point that it is better for the migrants to bring their families to the US and stay than it is to leave them where it is cheaper to live and only come the US to work.

              1. I meant the Mexican pattern as compared to European or Asian immigration.

                1. Okay. The “historical” bit confused me. Mexicans have been regularly migrating north and south since the 1700s. It was only in 1848 that it started being called immigration — when anyone took any interest in it at all. And it was only a century later that the US started taking an interest in hampering it.

                  Incidentally, Canadian immigrants also shuttle back and forth several times a year — and always have.

    2. Californians are similar when they move to Nevada. They escape their socialist hellhole government, and then try to vote the same thing in here.

      1. Fucking proposition 13…

    3. “But the fact that some Muslim men will move to Europe or America yet want to remain as conservative as their homeland perplexes me. Just goes to show money will always be the draw.”

      While failing to see the inextricable connection between personal freedom and economic development. Saudi Arabia would be as poor as Afghanistan if not for oil.

  5. Nice to know electing a new people isn’t a purely European inclination. We wouldn’t have any of those kinds of people here, would we?

    1. I sent that article to Hit and Run about four times. They have never touched it. The Left has always hated the fact that western society never became a prolitariate. So, the fuckers are just trying to import one.

      1. Of course they aren’t going to touch it! Show me any country that has ever let cosmopolitans do it’s business for it, and I’ll show you an angry, unhappy country! Look at Britain, France, the Netherlands, or Spain. They leave a trail of cluster-fucked nations wherever they go. If there any exceptions, they’ve managed to escape my attention.

        Cosmopolitans are the societal equivalent of the black plague. Any country so unfortunate as to allow itself to become infested with them has inevitably lived to regret it.

        1. ?Qu? es “cosmopolitans”?

          1. He means teh Joooos.

            1. Heh. Yeah. With nice Jewish names like Moynihan, Gillespie, Mangu-Ward, Howley….

              Nice try, dipshit.

              1. What are these countries you speak of that are or were run by people with the libertarian stance of Reason’s staff?

                Your using the “if False then True” is a true statement thing here, aren’t you…

                1. They’re called the countries that are run by people who, through intellectual arrogance, think they and their countries are beyond history and immune to the same forces that have destroyed others. I.e., tribalism, economic irrationality, et al.

                  But why worry – we’re magic, nothing can happen here. Bend it, shape, transform it, this country’s indestructible.

  6. Perhaps because I belong to the group of people who fondly and naovely imagine that Islam may evolve–every other monotheism has–I am not entirely persuaded by Caldwell’s elegant pessimism.

    Unfortunately, the only way to know that for sure is to find out the hard way. And then it will be too damned late to do anything about it.

    Do us all a favor and gamble in somebody else’s casino, mmmkay?

    1. Teh Mooslims don’t scare me either.

  7. “Indeed, that ban on the veil in schools in France is now widely perceived as an enormous success,”

    The odd thing about all this shit about Muslims in Europe is that people always disguise their nationalistic/xenophobic opposition to immigration and foreign cultural influences in the language of faux-liberalism

    so Muslim women arn’t allowed to wear a head scarf because its “socially conservative” or because it stops people “integrating”

    But its no wonder that people can’t integrate when their religious beliefs are trampled on by the state and its hardly “socially liberal” regulating peoples clothes and beliefs

    Personally, to me, Islam is as just as abhorrent as all the other bullshit religions but I really can’t see any reason why governments should be allowed to regulate people’s clothes, attitudes or beliefs.

    1. It’s for their own good. ;0)

    2. Head scarfs seem to be the wrong battle to fight. Things like arranged marriages and honor killings are the real dangers to assimilation. The head scarfs are not. Full on burkas are. But not head scarfs.

      1. John, relative to your first post on this thread, I can attest that I have a hard time hacking it as an anarcho-free enterprise-individualist fanatic pain in the ass.

      2. John, I’m pretty sure that honor killings are pretty vigorously prosecuted anywher in Europe.

        I know they have a lot of strange customs and all, but I’m pretty sure that there’s no countries in Europe where murder isn’t a very serious offense.

        1. I shouldn’t say “honor killings” but rather “honor abuse”. A lot of muslim women are the victims of pretty serious abuse. And sadly the authorities in Europe and Canada just don’t take it seriously because it is considered part of their culture.

  8. All have succeeded because some elements of European life–the entrepreneurial tradition and the blandishments of capitalism

    We’re talking about Europe here?

  9. As noted above, the habit of importing spouses from the old country was also practiced by American immigrants–Jewish, German, Irish–some of whom also remained isolated in their own communities into two, three, or more generations.

    I’d like to import one ‘o them wimmen from an Asian country.

  10. Funny how every anti-Islam or pro-Israel article/blog post on Reason seems to be authored by Michael Moynihan.

    1. So what? Why is this anti-Muslim unless it is untrue? If you don’t think it is true, say why. But spare us the Moynihan is a zionist bullshit.

      1. It’s anti-Islam because the anti-Islam is the worlds version of racist in the US. The politically correct bullshit has made any comment, study, or opinion on the matter that is not completely capitulant to PC version is evil. Never mind how much you have to back up your assertion or how unbiased you attempt to be.

        1. Okay morons, are you familiar with the agenda of the owner of the New Republic? How about The Weekly Standard, the neo-conservative magazine Christopher Caldwell is senior editor at? We have a neo-conservative writing in a neo-conservative magazine and being blogged about by a guy who never saw an article that cast Muslims in a negative light that he didn’t like. The article is anti-Islam because it claims that unlike every single other group to come before them, Muslims won’t be integrated because…they can watch Al-Jazeera on satellite TV gasp! Go watch Glen Beck or something, morons.

    2. Admit it Michael, we know your real name …. Moynawitz

  11. Of all the world’s false religions, Islam is the second most evil and destructive. The first is Unitarianism, of course.

    1. What about Zorastrianism?

  12. Name one composer to come out of Mexico

    Carlos Santana

  13. Carlos Santana

    Let’s confine our vulgarity to sideboob and buttfucking jokes. The answer is Conlon Nancarrow.

  14. America and Europe are being undermined by today’s immigration policies. One would think that the cosmopoitans are trying to ethnically cleanse white people’s out of existance for the a greedy new utopia’s being created, i.e. the EU, the NAU, etc… hte joos are such great shite.

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