Several readers of this Letter asked me some months ago to write about the Migrants situation in Europe and its predictable impact on the region. As a matter of fact, I did not really react to those requests, as I did not want to hurry and preferred to see how the situation was evolving.
But I believe it is now time to write some thoughts about that issue, as always based on an analytical approach to reality and a maximum use of common sense, even if not in-line with the current "political correctness"!
Readers who know me personally since many years are perfectly aware that I am far from being a white supremacist. I have always been indifferent to differences in race, color, shape or belief. What triggers me is what people say (to a limited extend) and more importantly, what they do.
Many years ago, probably still naive, I thought that free traveling and "globalization" would lead to the emergence of an overall mixing of races and cultures. But this vision proves very unrealistic and for many reasons. First we have to learn from history - something many people seem to be unable or unwilling to do nowadays.
The first country we can learn from are the USA. White, Black and Latinos have been living next to each other for centuries now, but the American nation is still living in silos, many many years after the official ending of slavery and segregationist policies. Looking at statistics from the US Census on mixed marriages, the picture is as follows. The Census also assumes that we can double the rate of interracial couples after including non documented unmarried couples.
The rate of mixed marriages however is still quite low, especially between black and white population, although they have been sharing the same land, culture, language and in most cases religion since centuries.
Another example to illustrate that is France.
The first modern times large migration to France took place in the second part of the 19th Century, with people leaving Italian regions (mostly from the North) in economic difficulties. Next waves of indeed economic migrants came from Spain, Portugal and Poland in the middle of the 20th Century, and finally the wave coming from Maghreb after WW2.
Italian migrants moving to France
Medias in Europe tend to use those waves of quite successful integration (although the wave from Maghreb never was properly integrated) to prove that the current wave of migrants from Africa and Middle-East can only be a similar success.
Such assumption based is however very misleading for a number of reasons. Let's come back to the Italian migration in late 19th century, a phenomena I could study closely when working on my family history.
Italians moving to France had in fact a large common cultural and religious common ground with the French "locals" receiving them in their community. This is not limited to religion (both groups were catholics), or to a language from the same linguistic family. The similarities in names is also striking. Many locals in the Rhone-Alps regions were called Thomasson, Levrat or Andruetan, while new comers counted many Tomassone, Levra or Andruetto. What happened was much closer to the re-unification of the same family, united a few centuries earlier under the banner of Piedmont-Savoy. The assimilation of those migrants was indeed a matter of one or two generations, with mixed marriage getting common, although French people often called the new comers "les Ritals" or "les Macaronis", but with a tone closer to irony than racism.
The Portuguese wave took little time to fully integrate, also favored by a common religion and languages from the same family. The Polish wave also did relatively well integrate for the same reasons, except the language from a different linguistic family, but the number of those migrants was far smaller and their high level of professionalism helped as well (many of the migrants left ailing coal mines at home to work in the then booming coal industry in the North of France). Interestingly, French business corporations actually attracted them, in desperate need for experienced miners and workers.
Migration waves from North Africa developed along a completely different scheme, where male workers were brought in the country to help during the economic and construction boom following WW2, and initially lived in poor conditions, sending all the money home to feed their families and living in slumps, an issue fixed later by the French authorities with the creation of basic housing facilities for migrants. Until the 70's, families could not easily join the father working in France, and therefore no integration could happen at all. From the 70's onwards, families moved to France as well, and the number of migrants increased rapidly, not only male working force, but women and children.
Family of Migrants from Algeria (60's)
Analyzing the rate of mixed marriage in France is quite complicated and may be was analyzed in details by someone (if you know about such work, please tell me!). The reason behind such difficulty is that statistics from official data are based on nationality of the new married, but not their origin (race or religion is ignored by law in official documents in France). In short in means that if the two new married have a French passport, they do not list as mixed marriage, even if one of them is white and the other from black Africa. On the contrary, a bride with Algerian passport marrying a girl from Algerian origin but holding a French passport shall show as mixed marriage. Moreover, law in France gives French nationality to everybody born on French territory, with the side effect to transform all migrants into regular French citizens after one generation, at least on paper!
Although the rate of interracial marriage in France seems higher than in the US, drawing conclusions is tricky because of the comments above. The large amount of single parents in France also makes it difficult to really understand the level of integration.
However, and based on personal and friends' experience, inter-cultural marriage brings a number of additional misunderstandings and difficulties within a couple, than can remain at the level of detail, but eventually can make life very difficult or be a show stopper from the start. The more common areas between groups, the more chances of successful integration. Very different languages are a clear obstacle, but not the most critical one. The important elements are how the two cultures understand key principles in life like: the role of parents in the family, the relation between parents and children, the place of religion, the relationship with the previous generations, the male/female role-play, moral rules, sexual rules and others. Those are the keys that are opening the door to integration or the door to social dislocation - not making any value judgment of good or bad choices. The absolute positions of each are not important - only differences are!
For most of the elements listed above, Italian migrants and natives had almost identical positions in the middle of the 19th century. Migrants from North Africa of course had far less common ground to integrate with French natives, but interestingly had much more chances to integrate in the 50's and 60's than today, as religion was a that time not so important for migrants, just like for the French since the Revolution. Part of them by the way successfully integrated.
Coming back to the recent massive waves of migrants, listening to Western media gives an impression of total incompetence and absence of common sense, and if not, of total lack of honesty. When people say that the flow of migrants from Africa and the Middle-East are a chance for Europe and shall be integrated like Italians one century ago, a simple common sense screening should turn all lights to red, but is seems populations are Daltonian. In details:
- Europe needs more people and cheaper working forces. How can that argument be used seriously when jobless levels in Europe are still very high, after many jobs have been moved to Asia over the past two decades. What do they imagine? That jobs shall be brought back to Europe and Asian workers replaced by the present migration wave? And what about the repeated warnings by opinion leaders, saying that a big part of the work force shall be replaced in a few decades by robots (by the way much more disciplined and manageable than current migrants...)? No consistency, no honestly, as usual.
- the mixing of cultures shall enrich Europe. As stated earlier, the point is not in this Letter to advocate for the higher level or quality of culture between races or regions, but to point to the real issue, which is the differences between cultures, making integration almost impossible. How can we seriously say, as I heard many times in the western media, that migrants should be integrated fast and smoothly? Those people (and again no judgment here) have a complete different value scale than western Europeans. Most of the almost sacred values of today's Europeans - sexual freedom (LGBT etc), dress code, religion considered as an old tradition to use 3 times in life at best), women status, etc - are indeed completely at odd with the values of most of those migrants, coming from countries where for example being gay can means prison or death.
Believing that such groups living in completely different mental worlds can merge in harmony is again a sign of incompetence or dishonesty. Such a belief gets close to a pure ideology. Like in Soviet times, when the Soviet leadership praised the new man generated by Soviet Communism, the "Homo Sovieticus", the West seems to believe in the rise of a new multi-cultural European man, the "Homo Consumens" as Erich Fromm would say, a new man without any roots nor values, only free to adore the idol "Market", consume, consume and more consume. But the two ideal men shall have the same destiny, in the bin of History.
Homo Sovieticus Homo Consumens
Our ideologues of cultural melt-down as always refuse to listen to the past and to History. Whenever a social evolution is forced and imposed, the counter-reaction always come, and is either very powerful if it can develop, or has to be eliminated by a fearful repression, like in the 20's and 30's in the Soviet Union.
The reaction now is only starting and our politicians seem to be surprised (really?) that "populist" parties came ahead of recent elections. But I am sorry, you can be angry or happy that those parties come up winning, but surprised should not be an option.
The trend shall continue and shall bring back Europe many decades back. Shall we see a very strong and winning opposition to the migration waves, bringing with it the end of the present neo-liberal order, or an enforced "politically correct integration" under a rule of iron?
I would not risk a bet, but in all cases I think those migrants are doomed, either sent back on a rough manner for not being compatible with the local traditions, or sent back on a rough manner for not being docile enough to become good consumers!
But the above is only the rosy and optimistic side of the coin, and is based on the assumption that present migrants can be entirely compared to old times migrants, like Italians, Poles, Algerians who moved to France, or to Turks who moved to Germany in the 60's, people seeking a better life and not more. But unfortunately, many questions are still open about those Migrants and raise a lot of concern.
One of the question is related to the ambiguous behavior of European Media and Leaders. For example, and from the beginning of that flow of people into Europe, and although many of them, like the ones the Media was mostly talking about, are coming from war-torn regions. In such a case, the term traditionally used should be "Refugee", not "Migrant". Migrant as a word implies a permanent move, while Refugee implies that people moved to save their life, but plan to return when the situation home improves.
Another fundamental question is the total absence of control of people entering the European Community. All previous migrations where under the control of the authorities (even the Vietnamese Boat People in the 70's), while in this case, all control was lost and basically anybody could get in. Knowing that many of those migrants come from regions where extremist Islam developed very well over the past 20 years, no need to be a visionary to understand that part of them are touched by such ideology, and that it did not leave their mind after touching the coast of Greece or Italy! While Europe already has an issue (at least in some countries) with extremist Islam that developed within the existing migrant population, such an inflow is far from desirable.
Of course some of those migrants are genuine and deserve help from Europe, but how many and where are they? After the failure of European authorities to control and organize the transfer of those people, nobody has an answer to that question.
All this unfortunately does not sound good, and chances that the situation evolves towards a real armed conflict between communities is not to be ignored. Are European leaders planning for such internal conflict to support their interest? I do not think so. I simply believe they again just proved their complete incompetency and lack of understanding of the real world, a place they apparently never visited.