Wednesday, September 23, 2020

OPINION AND ANALYSIS | 27-10-2018 08:48

The wretched of the earth know the West is best

The political climate has changed in Europe and, to a lesser extent, in North America, making it permissible to talk more honestly about the likely impact of mass immigration.

For several weeks now, a “caravan” of Hondurans – plus others who are hitching a ride, as it were – has been trudging through Guatemala and Mexico toward the United States. Donald Trump has vowed to stop it by military means if, as is likely to happen, it manages to reach his country’s southern border. Though some humanitarian souls in the US and elsewhere think he should simply wave them all in and give them whatever they need because they are fleeing poverty and the extraordinarily bloodthirsty gangs that infest their native land, most Democrat politicians prefer to remain silent or limit themselves to hand-wringing about how dreadful things are.

They behave this way because they know that most “Hispanics,” let alone blacks, Asians and, for what they are worth, whites, are against illegal immigration and fear that the arrival of the wellpublicised caravan could help Trump’s supporters in the forthcoming mid-term elections by “energising” Republican voters who otherwise would stay at home.

In an abstract way, defenders of open borders who say nobody should be penalised because they were unlucky enough to be born in a country Trump would describe in scatological terms may have a point, but it would be helpful if they took into account the inevitable consequences of putting into practice what they propose. Do they really want North America or Europe to become more like Syria, Algeria, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Congo, Guatemala, or Honduras? Perhaps not, but letting in tens of millions of individuals from such countries would be bound to have that effect.

Multicultural societies may be far more “vibrant” than the stodgily homogeneous ones advanced thinkers are fond of despising, but if history is any guide, they also tend to get torn apart by communal violence. In Europe, this is already happening. Gérard Collomb – who a few weeks ago greatly annoyed president Emmanuel Macron by unexpectedly quitting his job as France’s interior minister – reported that in parts of Marseilles, Toulouse and Paris “the situation is very difficult and the phrase ‘reconquering the Republic’ is apt because in these districts it’s the law of the strongest that reigns, that of the drug dealers and radical Islamists, which has supplanted the Republic.” He also warned that, much as he disliked the term, “civil war” is no longer a mere fantasy. France may be worse off in this respect than other European countries, but many others face the same problems.

Until very recently, the fears expressed by Collomb would have been derided by members of the entrenched establishment as typically right-wing scare-mongering, but of late the political climate has changed in Europe and, to a lesser extent, in North America, making it permissible to talk more honestly about the likely impact of mass immigration from what are euphemistically called “underdeveloped” countries.

Seeing all newcomers as victims who should be protected and given a hand may be all very well and do credit to those who think that way, but if too many of them flock in, more will retain the habits that made their home countries what they are, dreadful places which most of their inhabitants yearn to leave behind. There is also the unfortunate fact that, while most migrants are presumably as peace-loving as the people who want to embrace them, tagging along with them are criminals looking for places to loot and holy warriors determined to enter paradise by killing as many infidels as possible.

Like Angela Merkel, who opened the doors of Germany and the rest of Europe to a million migrants – a large proportion of whom had been brought up to be anti-Semites – in order to make amends for Auschwitz, the people who in Western democracies dominate academe, the media, cultural activities, finance and the main political parties, insist that as colonialism was bad, very bad, it is up to them to repair the damage done to previous generations of non-Westerners by giving a warm welcome to their descendants.

Such views are wholeheartedly shared by the individuals ruling countries that, in the decades after World War II saw their former colonial masters depart, and since then have rarely missed an opportunity to shower insults on them. Despite the valiant efforts of North Americans to make out that since the late 18th century their country has been leading the fight against imperialism, not only in Latin America but also in much of the rest of the planet they too get tarred with the same brush.

Does this mean that hardly anyone living outside the West would dream of going to live in the places to which the pith-helmeted or kepi-wearing martinets retreated after being kicked out of the lands they had plundered for a hundred years or more? Embarrassing as the thought should be to the many who assumed that getting rid of the Europeans would make life better for their former colonial subjects, it looks as though the majority of these now wish that they too had joined the retreat. Most of Franz Fanon’s “wretched of the earth” have no doubts on the matter.

Before the Berlin Wall was demolished, it was fashionable among conservatives to say that the thousands of East Europeans who risked their lives to flee west were “voting with their feet.” Much the same can be said about the far larger numbers of Africans, Asians and Latin Americans who are prepared to go to any length to get into Europe or North America. They know that life there is far better than it is in their own country.

This is something the many Western progressives who go on about how terrible their own societies are and how much better they would be if they became more “diverse” by importing the customs and habits of mind that can be found in places tens of millions of people are trying to escape from, do not want to hear. This is why they discourage attempts to put pressure on immigrants to make them adopt the ways of the countries in which they have chosen to make their home, apparently without realising that unless they do, the nativist movements they fear so much will continue to get stronger.

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James Neilson

James Neilson

Former editor of the Buenos Aires Herald (1979-1986).


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