I am writing this post for fellow Europeans who, like myself, have been bewildered by leftist propaganda in schools, universities, and the news for decades. It is one thing to oppose racism, but it is another to regard anti-racism as the only European value worth protecting. What about our democratic liberties, our ancient mentalities, and our cultural identities?
If we, particularly Germans and Austrians, define ourselves as the Nazis’ ethnospiritual heirs, born in original sin, and nothing but, then replacement-level immigration does seem desirable; it sure explains our suicidal ethnomasochism. But is that really the best self-definition we can come up with, or is it a collective pathology that our governments have learned to breed and exploit?
Mass immigration is not desirable, nor is it a peripheral political issue unjustly exaggerated by right-wing populists to snatch votes from uneducated, working-class people who feel angry, disenfranchised, and in need of racism to distract themselves from their own problems and shortcomings. No. Mass immigration is a major problem in Europe today, and it’s time we grow free from our self-destructive, morally fetishized historical guilt.
But—don’t we need immigration to maintain our economic growth, to secure our welfare states, to culturally enrich our nations, and to not get left behind in the inevitable process of globalization? Well, let’s see. Let’s throw some facts against these assertions. (The following four sections are based on chapter three of Douglas Murray’s outstanding book The Strange Death of Europe.)
1. Mass immigration benefits Europe economically.
“Immigrants are important for our economy,” leftists argue, but what are the facts?
- Taxpayers are coerced to fund welfare benefits (housing, schooling, healthcare, etc.) for people who have never contributed to the system. For example, immigrants cost the United Kingdom £114-159 billion from 1995 to 2011; in healthcare alone, over £20 million are spent only on translation services every year.
- Employers benefit from the immigrants’ willingness to work for lower pay, for it allows them to reduce wages. Too bad for the working class.
- The majority of immigrants are poor and poorly educated. Entrepreneurs and migrants with PhDs are the rare exception, and they typically migrate within Europe, not into Europe.
- Maybe some low-skilled immigrants are doing the jobs low-skilled Europeans ‘won’t do’, but then they are also keeping them unemployed. Not to mention the actual racism implied in deeming Europeans to be ‘above’ some kinds of work that non-European immigrants are not.
Given the economic structure of European countries, mass immigration is a net detriment.
2. Mass immigration secures European welfare systems.
“Since Europe is a graying society, we must import young people to secure the retirement benefits for our ageing Europeans,” leftists argue, and they are not entirely wrong. Fertility rates across Europe are too low to maintain native population growth, without which our welfare systems cannot be sustained. Nonetheless, mass immigration is a fallacious solution for this problem for at least three reasons:
- “The nation states of Europe include some of the most densely populated countries on the planet. It is not at all obvious that the quality of life in these countries will improve if the population continues growing.” (Murray, p. 45)
- Immigrants are not immune to ageing. Who will finance their pensions? Their children or yet another flood of immigrants? The short-term solution of importing an entire generation from abroad to support the older generation feeds into a pyramid scheme that is bound to break. Yet, of course, this is irrelevant for party politicians whose foresight is strictly limited to the next election: better please today’s senior voters and après nous, le déluge.
- Even the short-term solution presupposes that immigrants pay more into the system than they take out, which is not what is happening.
A wise politician would correct unsustainable welfare systems (e.g., by raising the retirement age) and give Europeans a feasible opportunity to have more children instead of deterring them by fragmenting their society, destroying their culture, misallocating their tax money, and depressing their wages.
3. Mass immigration enriches Europe’s cultures.
“Even if immigrants are a financial burden, they certainly provide us with invaluable cultural benefits,” leftists argue, disclosing their ethnic self-hatred. Here is why their cultural openness is naive:
- It is a common fallacy “that the value of migrants continues to increase as their numbers increase.” For example, “the amount of enjoyment to be got from Turkish food does not increase year on year the more Turks there are in the country. Every 100,000 extra Somalis, Eritreans or Pakistanis who enter Europe do not magnify the resulting cultural enrichment 100,000 times.” (Murray, pp. 51f.)
- Praising immigrants for bringing their culture to us entails that they need not assimilate to the host society, but rather that both should adapt to each other. This reveals the euphemism ‘cultural enrichment’ to really mean a coercion to change. Even if the changing part were not seen as so bad, the coercion part certainly is; after all, the European electorates have never voted for open borders.
- Are liberal values not important for leftists? “A Gallup survey conducted in 2009 in Britain found that precisely zero per cent of British Muslims interviewed (out of a pool of 500) thought that homosexuality was morally acceptable.” (Murray, p. 53) I know, leftists hope that such unacceptable views—meaning ‘unacceptable if natives hold them’—will organically change over time. But what if, conversely, Muslims become the majority over time and make liberal views unacceptable?
- After discussing Muslim violence, gang rapes, and female genital mutilation, Murray sarcastically concludes that “the agreement seems to have been reached with the general public that it is not such a bad deal: if there is a bit more beheading and sexual assault than there used to be in Europe, then at least we also benefit from a much wider range of cuisines.” (Murray, p. 57)
Cultural openness is best practiced by traveling around the world and getting to know different cultures, not by inviting them to come to us and replace ours. If we want one culture to expand so much that it replaces others, we are really wishing for anti-diversity. Replacement may still be some decades away, but it seems more realistic than the illusion of multiculturalism. The pipe dream of intercultural fusion failed to trump the political reality of segregation, and eventually, one culture will prevail over its territorial contenders. Global ethnopluralism might be a better long-term goal.
4. Globalization makes mass immigration inevitable.
“Even if mass immigration doesn’t benefit Europe, there’s no way to stop it because we can’t stop globalization,” leftists argue. This, too, is untrue. Globalization is indeed a reality, but it is not the same as the ideology of globalism, and if economic pull and open borders were its necessary corollaries,
then there is no reason why Japan [the world’s third largest economy if measured by nominal GDP] should not currently be experiencing unparalleled waves of immigration from the West. […] Japan has avoided a policy of mass immigration by implementing policies that stop it, dissuade people from staying there, and make it hard to become a citizen if you are not Japanese. Irrespective of whether one agrees with Japan’s policy or not, the country shows that even in this hyper-connected age it is possible for a modern economy to avoid the experience of mass immigration and show that such a process is not ‘inevitable’. In the same way, although China is the world’s second largest economy, it is not a destination for asylum seekers or economic migrants on the scale of Europe. (Murray, pp. 58f.)
The real danger of the servile, passive ‘there’s nothing we can do about it’ attitude is that it completely ignores public concerns, which breeds resentment, rage, and radicalization.
What about ethics?
I am aware that many leftists promote mass immigration not for selfish national reasons or because they believe in fatalistic globalization. In their minds, they are doing the ethically right thing. Yet what ethical arguments do they have? Human rights? Not a good argument. Leftist values? Values are not necessarily ethical. Humanism? True humanism is ethnopluralistic.
I concede that some utilitarian calculations do favor open borders. However, they do so only if they factor out economic long-term consequences, factor out the perils of letting radical Islam expand unbridledly, and factor out prospective disasters like civil wars. It is not a given that we will maximize the well-being of conscious creatures by disregarding everything but the emotional impact of tragic individual fates (and no, most migrants are not refugees).