This article was published by HonestThinking on 19 May 2007.
For the record: What follows is a translated and considerably expanded version (approximately double size) of an article that was originally published in the Norwegian daily Klassekampen on 5 December 2006 (see Europas dype krise). It has caused a bit of debate among Norwegian intellectuals, but no one has yet challenged the basic assumptions upon which it rests. Also available in the Czech language.
By Ole Jørgen Anfindsen, Oslo, Norway
editor, HonestThinking (ole at honestThinking.org)
Sometimes we make things too complicated. This article is an attempt at explaining, using as few words as possible, why Europe in particular, and the entire Western world in general, is in a deep crisis. This explanation will be followed by a brief discussion of some possible objections, after which several sobering facts and quotes are provided. The article is wrapped up with some concluding thoughts and remarks.
My pessimism on behalf of the Western civilization rests on the following simple observation: Somewhere, somehow, there has to be a limit to the amount of diversity a society can handle without becoming dysfunctional.
I am not pretending to know exactly where this limit is; I am merely claiming that such a limit must necessarily exist. With this as our basic assumption, we may reason as follows.
First, it is indeed possible to list the most important factors that could potentially make a society dysfunctional. At the very least they include language, culture, religion, and ethnicity. Carefully note the qualification in the first sentence of this paragraph; the just mentioned factors will not necessarily create problems, but they all have the potential to do so. Differences in these four areas are examples of what we may call essential differences, i.e., differences that cannot be allowed to grow without bounds if society is to remain healthy. This is so because these factors are strongly connected with our sense of identity, belonging, and loyalty; the kind of stuff without which no society can function.
Second, any society’s ability to handle essential differences will vary with time. For example, a society with an expanding economy will temporarily have larger tolerance in these areas. Given that economic growth cannot continue indefinitely, Western societies’ ability to deal with essential differences is sooner or later bound to be reduced.
Third, whenever a society exceeds its limits concerning the amount of essential differences it is able to handle, some kinds of forces will – necessarily – come into play in that society and restore a sufficient degree of unity (*).
How is this going to affect Europe in the coming decades? The options appear to be pretty draconian:
· Some groups of people will have foreign languages, cultures, and/or religions forced upon them.
· People from different groups will move away from each other.
· People from different groups will kill each other.
The end result of this process is likely to fall into three main categories, although hybrid scenarios are also possible:
· Europe could be split up along dividing lines of language, culture, ethnicity or religion, not unlike what happened when Yugoslavia disintegrated.
· Europe could be taken over or become dominated by immigrants.
· Immigrants could be forced to leave Europe or in other ways lose their influence.
It can hardly be denied that the level of diversity is steadily increasing in all nations currently taking part in the multicultural project. I have yet to see any suggestion by anyone as to how we are going to avoid reaching the above mentioned critical limit.
One possible objection to the above line of reasoning is that diversity is a strength, not a liability. Such an objection misses a crucial point, however. Granted, too little diversity can certainly be a problem, but so can too much. There are virtually infinite numbers of real life phenomena that have this kind of property; you need a certain amount of the stuff in question, but hardly ever is it simply a matter of having as much as possible.
Diversity within human societies is no exception to this rule. As soon as such diversity grows above the limit of that which is useful and healthy, one is going to see symptoms such as the development of parallel societies within the larger society, lack of communication and mutual understanding due to different languages, incompatible worldviews, conflicting values, and so on and so forth.
A few steps further down the line the proper functioning of democracy will be hindered by citizens voting for candidates who represent their particular religion, ethnic group, or language, rather than voting for candidates with the better political program. If diversity continues to grow without bounds, sooner or later the society in question will become dysfunctional.
Tragically, these things are occurring before our very eyes here in Europe. Still, academia and the media are only moderately concerned, and the vast majority of our politicians appear to be pretty much clueless as to what could or should be done about this.
Interestingly enough, while the public is regularly brainwashed with slogans like “diversity is our strength”, diversity of opinion on issues related to multiculturalism is not always appreciated, to put it mildly. On the contrary, the ruling elite is still putting serious effort into preventing true, profound, rational, and informed discussion of these painful issues.
The result is an intellectually numbing consensus culture that makes sure we all march to the same tune of diversity. Diversity, that is, in those areas where our elites have decided that diversity is A Good Thing, but uniformity, conformity, and political correctness elsewhere. Europe is, simply put, in deep intellectual trouble, which in turn is bound to cause political trouble.
Let’s elaborate on these issues by having a look at some sobering facts from the Netherlands, Great Britain, and France.
According to statistics published in November 2006 by the Norwegian daily Klassekampen, 119.275 people chose to leave the Netherlands in 2005 while 92.297 entered the country that year. The majority of those who left were ethnic Dutch, while the majority of the newcomers were non-Westerners entering through family reunion. This process has been going on for several years now and is expected to grow stronger in the future.
In March 2006 the Dutch intelligence organization AIVD published a report called Violent Jihad in the Netherlands. The report addressed the fact that in spite of formidable attempts to stem the developments, the radicalization of young Muslims continued unimpeded. AIVD warns that if the current trends continue, the Dutch society might be headed for disintegration.
In June 2006 The Sunday Times reported that one of Great Britain’s most experienced military strategists, Rear Admiral Chris Parry, warned that the currently ongoing demographic development represents a threat to the West comparable to what made the Roman Empire collapse. We are simply unable to integrate, much less assimilate, the increasing flow of immigrants that are coming to Europe.
In France the situation is already particularly serious. Suburban violence and rioting is so common that it is no longer considered news, and therefore largely ignored by the media. But whoever looks into the general situation concerning integration of non-Western immigrants in Europe, will find that the situation is quite scary in other places too. Pertinent issues include lack of discipline and associated learning-problems in schools, growing levels of violence and crime in large cities, more and more ethnic Europeans finding it difficult to live in a huge numbers of suburbs and other areas, and also an increase in the assaults and harassment of Jews.
On the international scene there is a steady flow of articles and books predicting the downfall of Europe, which creates a rather interesting situation. On the one hand a number of experts and intellectuals do their best to warn of impending catastrophes. On the other hand the ruling elite insist that all is well. Reference Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg who in March 2006 wrote the following in the periodical Samtiden: “The last twenty years have probably been the most successful in the history of mankind. The world is making progress, and the pessimists are wrong.”
It’s about time we replaced cheap propaganda with serious analysis. Is it the case or not that the above mentioned essential differences are growing out of control in Europe these days? What, if anything, is going to stop this growth? As far as I can tell, this can only come about if we rethink our entire immigration regime, but most of our politicians, as well as large portions of media and academia, seem to vehemently reject any such proposition.
The adherents of the multicultural project seem determined to ensure that their political Titanic continues full steam ahead, no matter what the future cost in terms of human lives and societal breakdown. These people deserve to be labeled multicynical.
Europe has not been in such dire straits since Hitler’s madness covered our continent in darkness. Whose fault is that? The primary responsibility rests upon naïve, cowardly, power-hungry, and/or arrogant politicians. And in no small part it rests upon media and academia, large portions of which continue to idealize the situation and quench democratic debate.
Every now and then some of the top politicians in Europe, for example Tony Blair, will utter tough words about immigration, integration, Western values, the death of the multicultural ideology, or something like that. However, unless and until they demonstrate in practice that they are prepared to follow through with measures that could actually make a difference, I suspect these are just empty words from incompetents with no real plan of action. Less likely, but not entirely unthinkable, these are words from cynical people trying to hide their real intentions.
We are, at increasing speed, headed for problems of unprecedented magnitude. Closing our eyes and hoping for the best until it is too late, is probably the worst possible strategy. Unless the problems are soon acknowledged, and serious efforts made to find viable solutions, it is probably just a matter of time before untold numbers of Europeans will follow the Dutch example, and look for an emergency exit. Indeed, more and more of Germans and Britons are already doing so. Such a migration pattern can only continue for a certain period of time before it becomes self enforcing, in which case Europe’s fate will be sealed. Any morally responsible person owes it both to immigrants and Europeans to try to prevent such a scenario.
This article is obviously written from a European perspective. However, the wishful thinking, the utopian visions, and the intellectual dishonesty that is well on its way to destroy Europe, is rampant in the rest of the Western world as well, not least in academia and media, the influences of which should not be underestimated. The situation in the USA and the rest of the Western world may not be as bad as in Europe, but the same processes that are eroding the foundations of civilized society here, seem to be busily at work there as well. In particular there is reason to be concerned that the USA will become seriously weakened or even torn apart by internal tensions that are already visible for the whole world to see.
Islamists are very much aware of this. They understand perfectly well that our diversity is their strength. Even so, many conservatives still see Islamism as our only enemy, failing to see the even larger threat coming from within.
Unless we strengthen our efforts to wake up the general public to the challenges we are facing; unless we manage to break the yoke of politically correct thinking; unless we honestly confront reality in all areas that are crucial for a well-functioning society (no matter how painful the truth may be); the entire Western world could crumble before the end of this century. Actually, I think it might possibly happen within our lifetimes. With the added qualification, of course, that many of us will cease to be alive once these processes really get going.
(*) Footnote: This sentence is not meant to preclude the possibility that a "sufficient degree of unity" could be restored through the breaking up of the society in question into smaller units.
Different versions of the above article were in April and May of 2007 submitted to four well-known publications in the UK and USA (three primarily paper-based, one web-based). None of them accepted the article. This surprised me somewhat, because they all regularly publish material that is critical of the currently ongoing multicultural developments.
Why was this article rejected? Not having received any feedback, I can only speculate. My guess is that the publications in question are uncomfortable with the mere mention of the words ethnic or ethnicity in the context of serious problems. It should however be quite clear from my article that I am not advocating any extreme points of view on these kinds of topics. On the contrary, I am stating that a certain amount of diversity, including ethnic diversity, is good for a healthy society. However, unless we start dealing in a frank, honest, and respectful way with the challenges posed to us by ethnic diversity, I fear that our chances of winning the war against global jihad and radical Islamism will be slim indeed. Moreover, failing to deal with this topic is going to pave the way for people who will certainly be frank, who may perhaps try to be honest, but who will probably have little or no intention of being respectful in these matters. What we need here is free, open, and proper intellectual discussion in the spirit of John Stuart Mill’s classic essay On Liberty. See in particular Chapter II – of the liberty of thought and discussion; the essence of which is captured by Mill as follows:
· First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.
· Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any object is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.
· Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds.
· And not only this, but, fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will be in danger of being lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect on the character and conduct: the dogma becoming a mere formal profession, inefficacious for good, but cumbering the ground, and preventing the growth of any real and heartfelt conviction, from reason or personal experience.
If only intellectuals had been willing to heed the admonitions of Mill during the past 60 years or so, the West would have been in an entirely different situation today (and the world would almost certainly have been a better place).
There are multiple reasons why Islamists will gain by ethnic diversity growing uncontrollably in the West, and I will briefly mention two. First, this will in itself weaken our societies, destroying the foundation for well-functioning democracies and creating a need for a totalitarian ideology that can clean up the multicultural mess by bringing the sum total of essential differences below the critical threshold. Second, some ethnic groups are very likely to become fertile ground for Islamic revivals. I encourage people with access to pertinent information to further elaborate on these topics.
In any case, refusing to face reality has hardly ever been a good strategy. If it is true, as claimed above, that ethnicity is one of the central factors (not the only one) when it comes to people’s loyalty, identity, and sense of belonging, then we ignore this topic at our own peril.
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