October 19, 2015

THE CAMP OF THE SAINTS IS JUST A NOVEL, RIGHT GUYS? RIGHT? GUYS? Christopher Caldwell: The Rising Migrant Tide: What Merkel wrought.

The result is a rupture between politicians and publics that has spread across Central Europe. Sixty-one percent of Germans polled in February opposed migration from non-EU countries. In Merkel’s own party, 126 members of the Bundestag signed an angry petition distancing themselves from her policy. Horst Seehofer, state governor from her party’s Bavarian wing, is threatening to declare a state of emergency, due to crowded refugee conditions in Munich. Her Social Democratic coalition partners, generally more liberal on immigration than Christian Democrats, have called for a ceiling on newcomers. President Joachim Gauck, a Christian of a decidedly unworldly bent, has warned that Germany is reaching its limits. Opposition parties have sought to take advantage. . . . How could it not? Citizens of all the tiny countries that lie between the Middle East and Germany were witnessing a migration far too big for Germany to handle. They knew Germany would eventually realize this, too. Once Germany lost its nerve, the huge human chain of testosterone and poverty would be stuck where it was. And if your country was smaller than Germany—Austria, for instance, is a tenth Germany’s size—you could wind up in a situation where the majority of fighting-age men in your country were foreigners with a grievance. . . .

None dare mention Islam. One young Syrian-Austrian religion professor told the daily Der Standard that five of her students had gone off to join ISIS. “But Islam is not the problem,” she insists. Germanness is not mentioned, either. The Germans are often referred to in German-language accounts as die einheimische Bevölkerung—the native population. Nor do Austrians give the impression of having great resources of self-knowledge. There was a pretty young woman standing in front of an escalator in the Westbahnhof collecting money for refugees a few weeks ago. She was wearing a T-shirt bearing the Gloria Steinem slogan “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” What did she think she was doing? Attacking men? Or summoning the kind of men who won’t be spoken to that way?

There is something in this that reminds one of the financial crisis of 2008. Like a too-big-to-fail bank, Merkel has made a bet that will allow her to pocket the credit if she succeeds and spread the baleful consequences to others if she fails. It appears now that she is going to fail. Her defenders exult that she is showing a different face of Germany than the one the world knows from the last century of its history. It is premature to say so. Merkel is showing the face of a Germany that is acting unilaterally, claiming superior moral authority, and answering those who object by saying they’ll thank her for this someday. As such, she is dragging the whole European continent towards unrest. No German role is older.

Read the whole thing.

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