Tag Archives: multiculturalism

What Went Wrong in Sweden?

Once Sweden looked like the closest thing to a real utopia. How did it turn into a dystopia of burning cars?

Tino Sanadaji looks at the problems that led to the recent riots. Sanadaji, by the way, knows whereof he speaks: he’s a Kurdish immigrant in Sweden.

First: Islam is not the main problem.

Radical Islamism is a problem, but it’s not related to this unrest. Most rioters appeared to be secular, even atheist. Some were Christian Assyrians. Frankly, most young immigrants in Sweden today do not care much about Islam. A far more potent influence than Islam on the Swedish ghetto is American gangster rap.

One problem is the generous welfare state:

In addition to free health care and other services, a family of four in Sweden is entitled to around $3,000 in welfare benefits each month.

Hence many immigrants, lacking the strong work ethic of Swedes, never enter the labor market.

Partly it is the sheer scale of immigration.

Non-Western immigrants were 1 percent of Sweden’s population in 1980 and have since increased to 10 percent of the population. Today, 60 percent of total welfare payouts in Sweden go to immigrants.

Partly the low human capital of many immigrants.

Partly multiculturalism.

Resentment toward the West makes integration harder. Immigrants learn — and make use of — the message of victimhood, which fosters hostility toward their host society. And claiming victim status is appealing from a psychological perspective, as it confers moral superiority.

Partly it’s the globalization of US ghetto culture:

Immigrants who wish to integrate and adopt a Swedish identity are accused of “acting white” or being “an Uncle Tom.” The latter is not a translation from Swedish; the American phrase “Uncle Tom” is the actual term of abuse.

Partly too the high cohesiveness and high social capital of Swedish culture.

Keep in mind that Sweden was never an easy country to integrate into culturally. Swedes tend to be reticent, solitary, and reserved. Theirs is a complex culture, full of subtle rules and opaque codes of conduct. Lutheran Sweden is defined by strong behavioral norms enforced through social pressure. Swedes are conformist and quite intolerant of deviation from group norms, whether it’s immigrants or Swedes who break with protocol. Immigrants who do not conform to expected behaviors are looked down upon and often sense low-level hostility in their private encounters with Swedes.

That social capital made the social democratic experiment work well in Sweden, but the multiculturalist experiment is not working.

Icy Scandinavia was never a particularly well-chosen testing ground for the multiculturalist experiment.

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Memo to the Swedes

Sorry to hear about your current troubles.

There has been a sixth night of rioting in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, despite police reinforcements being deployed.

Cars were set alight in poor suburbs inhabited largely by immigrants

The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Stockholm: “The whole policy of immigration and integration is being questioned”

(BBC News)

Clearly you didn’t get the memo from the Canadians: if you must have mass immigration, make sure you have a highly selective system of admission.

Best of luck.

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A Dose of Clannishness

Felipe Fernández-Armesto praises clannishness in a review of The Rule of the Clan by Mark S. Weiner in the WSJ.

The author musters a wide range of case studies of clannish behavior, from ancient Arabia, through medieval Iceland and traditional Scotland, to Wagner’s Nibelungen, Arafat’s Palestine, and the North Korea of Kim Jong Il.

I am reading the book now. Fernández-Armesto, a world historian with a strong multiculturalist bent, fails to mention that Weiner actually has interesting things to say about clannishness in more strategic places like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Weiner aims to alert liberals to some of the problems of clannishness, from honour killing to feuding to Islamic fundamentalism. But Fernández-Armesto sees nothing to worry about. In fact, he likes clannishness.

All vertical structures, from clans to churches, that clasp, in a single embrace, people from contrasting and potentially warring economic strata will help us perpetuate stability and avoid the tumbrils.

No. Some associations are voluntary (civil society) and others are not (clans). The former are sources of liberty and the latter are not. That is the essential difference.

Fernández-Armesto’s multiculturalism blinds him to the ways that societies with a history of weak lineages and less clannishness (much of Europe, also Japan) became far more successful. I have no objection to clannish societies retaining the rule of the clan. But I do object to the multiculturalist idea that a dose of clannishness would help us in the West in any way.

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Mythical Creatures Sighted

Consider two recent sightings of mythical creatures:

  • Gay Girl in Damascus sighted

Remember all the optimism about the Arab Spring? Turned out to be unrealistic, of course.

But at the time the un-realists latched onto a blog called Gay Girl in Damascus – A lesbian Arab protestor! It was just what the Western feminist multicultural left dreamed about. It was too perfect. Too good to be true.

In fact, it was untrue. Gay girl protestor in Syria turned out to be white male grad student in Scotland. Ho hum.

Someone in KKK costume was apparently seen at night on the campus of this ultra-liberal institution. But this is likely fantasy. Local police say it was most likely a woman wrapped in a blanket.

Such sightings give an insight into the multiculturalist mindset. In the West non-existent racist mythical creatures are at large. But in the Rest non-existent lesbian feminist protestor mythical creatures are at large.

Cave hic dragones!

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Ink in the Han River

One remarkable fact about South Korea: the foreign population of South Korea has been shooting up. From a mere 200,000 in 2001 it reached 1,400,000 in 2011 (that is 2.8% out of 50 million).*

Formerly, South Koreans espoused ethnic nationalism. It is still espoused by North Korea. In a 2006 meeting, North Korea complained about the growing number of foreigners saying “Not even one drop of ink must be allowed to fall in the Han River.”

Why this remarkable shift from ethnic nationalism to multiculturalism?

Mostly, it is due to marriage. About 10% of weddings involve a foreign partner. Korean women avoid marrying relatively poor rural men, hoping to catch an urban husband. So, farmers seek overseas brides. The result: an influx of Vietnamese, Filipina, and Chinese women.

Partly, it is due to overseas study. Many South Koreans study abroad in English-speaking countries, where they encounter the dominant multicultural ideology.

Partly too it due to government policy. Government adverts adorn the Seoul Metro showing happy multi-ethnic families.

And part of it is due to a general opening up of South Korea. Imported goods have become ubiquitous and prestigious.

It’s hard to say what the effects will be. The degree or level of multiculturalism appears to be less than in the West. Half the foreigners are Chinese. Most of the rest are from Southeast Asia. Because many are women coming specifically to marry Korean men, they will not form a closed-off endogamous group as some immigrants in the West have done. The half that are Chinese will not become a new underclass. Chinese overseas generally prosper – in contrast to the new underclasses of migrants in the West. So, with some luck, South Korea should be able to avoid two of the worse problems of multiculturalism in the West: new underclasses, and closed-off endogamous groups.

Another fact: the fertility rate is just 1.2.

*Source: Daniel Tudor, Korea: The Impossible Country (Tuttle Publishing, 2012) chap. 25.

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Someone Didn’t Get the Memo

India, it seems, has yet to get the memo about avoiding ethnocentrism, promoting multiculturalism, and remaining silent about group differences.

From a new school textbook in India (source):

Eskimos (er, that would be Inuit): “lazy, sluggish and short-lived”, because they live on “a diet largely of meat”.

Arabs are superior to Englishmen. “The Arabs who helped in constructing the Suez Canal lived on wheat and dates and were superior to the beef-fed Englishmen engaged in the same work.”

Meat-eaters: “They easily cheat, tell lies, forget promises, they are dishonest and tell bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes”.

Overall, multiculturalism is still primarily a Western phenomenon.

Afrik News claims, for instance,

In Morocco, and north Africa, there is a serious problem of racism towards Black people. Called “Black Africans,” they are considered descendants of slaves and labeled “hartani”—literally, “second-rate free men”—or even worse, “aâzi”—which translates to “bloody Negro”. Blacks in Morocco, be they students, migrants, from the South of the Sahara or others, are constant victims of discrimination…

Looks like the Angel of History has only managed to deliver the message of anti-ethnocentrism to a select few addresses.

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Current Opinion in English Canada and Quebec

Canadians do not to want any further increases in multiculturalism for Quebec. Quebecers remain nationalistic as witnessed in the recent provincial election (Sept 2012). English Canadians are also nationalistic: in a recent poll in English Canada, respondents were against giving any more powers, funding, or special status to Quebec.

In the Quebec election, we had a range of nationalisms: strong nationalists (PQ 54 seats 31.94% of vote), multiculturalist soft-nationalists (Liberal 50 seats 31.2% of vote), mid-way nationalists (Coalition Avenir Quebec 19 seats 27.05% of vote), and far-left nationalists (Quebec Solidaire 2 seats 6.03%).
This is not surprising: Quebec is a nation with a distinct ethnic origin and language. Quebec nationalism is not going away. Their efforts to maintain themselves as distinct nation are quite understandable.

Meanwhile in English Canada, Abacus Data did an online poll for Sun News (Aug 2012) on English Canadian views about the Quebec question.

If there was a referendum in English Canada on the future of Quebec in Confederation, how would you vote?
Keep them in 52%
Remove them 26%
Unsure 22%

88% said all the provinces should be treated equally even if it upsets Quebec.
12% said everything should be done to keep Quebec including special treatment.

Would you support or oppose giving Quebec more funding, powers, or special status if it would keep the province from separating?
Strongly oppose 61
Somewhat oppose 16
Somewhat support 9
Strongly support 3
Unsure 11

I interpret all this as opposing further multiculturalism.

The Canadian way of dealing with French Quebec as a national minority is a relatively strong form of multiculturalism: a high degree of federal autonomy for the Quebec government; French given official language status, not just in Quebec, but across the country; Quebec with guaranteed representation in the main institutions of the central government; and the plentiful public funding of French culture, education, and media.

That will probably remain, but there is little support for extending it.

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