Let me start you off with two anecdotes.
In high school, I was lucky to go with a full class of great people, and by the time we were 15, we were all one big happy family, everybody talking to each other, with no cliques or feuds or serious drama. Just 25 great friends.
There was one potential exception – a few years in, an Ukrainian guy whom I will call Viktor (not his real name) transferred to our class, apparently from a very different environment. As such, he displayed certain … Leanings.
“Viktor, are you really wearing this tracksuit to the theater?”
“The tracksuit cost more than your dad makes in a year you cunt.”
Not off to a great start. But within six months, he was completely chilled down and one of us.
There’s an important lesson here that’s universally true. Peer group is the most important factor in deciding what side of a person’s nature ultimately prevails.
The key factor with Viktor’s successful assimilation was that there was only one of him, and the latent potential for trouble yielded to peer pressure and the chilled out and friendly atmosphere. This wouldn’t have happened had there been even two of them. Two would have formed a duo and reinforced each other.
In a similar vein, an old and good friend, occasional contributing author and co-founder of a company we’ll be introducing to you guys soon, lives in a small Bavarian town. Though there are less than ten thousand people, it is surprisingly diverse – there are Turks, Arabs, Serbians, Albanians, Croatians, Greeks, Italians, Czechs (about half the town actually), Armenians, Kurds, Vietnamese …
And it works.
The crucial thing is that there is more or less one family of each. Nowhere near enough to create a subculture or, worse yet, a ghetto (even if only street-sized). Yes, some of the nationalities have fifteen thousand children per family, but their major influences are their classmates and teachers, rather than a paranoid insular group with its own religious schools and whatnot, hostile to the host culture, or just as often, other migrant groups.
As a result, members of ethnic groups that still hate each other’s guts in the Balkans run adjacent restaurants and are friends in this little Bavarian town. This wouldn’t be so easy if they weren’t just two guys and their families.
In small numbers, they have to deal with each other as people, rather than as groups with trainloads of prejudices and long and not always pleasant histories and feuds and “you fuckers invaded us in 1450 and I will therefore be horrible to your kids when they come for pizza”. In direct personal contact unpolluted by group identities, they find out they’re actually all just people who want to make a living and see their kids grow up happy, and what grandpa always said about those untrustworthy and wicked Sunni/Shia/Albanian/godless infidel fuckers was actually not all that true. This changes everything, and this is how we need to approach this.
Hey, my own grandparents would be horrified by my freely fraternizing with Germans, who invaded us back in the 30s. But my German friends are just guys like me.
I’m pointing this out because migrant groups often have bigger problems with prejudice and laughably paranoid ideas about other nations/creeds/cultures than the largely oversensitive and pummeled-by-political-correctness Westerners. But a similar shift takes place in the mind of a native German when he grabs a Döner from the Turkish dude every day. Hey, he’s just a guy like me after all.
And, say, a Syrian who is immersed in direct, everyday contact with Germans – more Germans than other Syrians – and finds out their mere existence probably doesn’t offend God after all, rather than sloshing about in a closed ideological echo chamber controlled by some insane wahhabist imam sponsored by Saudi Arabia, is much less likely to blow up a concert hall.
Therefore encourage contact.
As Sting put it in a rare moment of a musician being right about something:
“Men go crazy in congregations; they only get better one by one.”
Smooth assimilation, whether of cheese in soup or newcomers in a society, requires division into the smallest units possible, and massive contact. Basically, maximize surface area.
Therein is part of the answer to Europe’s current immigration woes. Can we take in several million people from a completely different cultural background? Yes, but it helps if we spread them out.
The solution is solubility, which depends on the level of dispersion.
A family per village = no problem. A suburb entirely inhabited by immigrants = riots, female genital mutilation and jihad.
There are synergetic effects at work, and trouble grows exponentially with concentration. Remember the Ukrainian proto-douche who actually became massively cool because he was alone and surrounded by good examples.
The plan of some German urbanists to build a new city for migrants (“Urbanist” is ancient academic codespeak for “Stalinist idiot”) is literally the worst policy imaginable. It is the opposite of what will work.
There is good and bad in everyone, and enclaves reinforce the bad, especially when there are assholes actively provoking the very worst of the bad, often publicly funded by clueless idealists or deliberately subversive radicals in public administration and government.
This is not exclusively a Muslim problem – the Irish or Italians in America had similar reputations. Of course, those too were deserved.
Leaving the problems of criminality and extremism in migrant communities up to “community leaders”, rather than the police, as for instance the previous British governments tried, is rank idiocy, since the “community leaders” are themselves frequently the organizers of nefarious and criminal activity – at any rate it can scarcely take place without their blessing, if not active involvement.
A good solution is to finally completely separate church and state and simply stop funding any and all religious groups and especially schools, realizing that “religious education” is a profound oxymoron.
Look for the same sources of trouble in all instances of problems with immigration – ghettoes, enclaves, criminal groups active within the communities. Parallel societies instead of proper assimilation.
Europeans at first aimed for a parallel co-existence of disparate value systems, which has turned out to be impossible.
We have to change strategy and aim at genuine assimilation. That is to say, we need to make it our explicit, principled, non-apologetic priority to educate immigrants and their children in Enlightenment values – democracy, freedom of expression and religion, human rights, rule of law, secularism – and accept that no meaningful compromise is possible between modernity and medieval mythologies. Religion is to be tolerated as optional private practice, but mercilessly crushed whenever it tries to challenge the primacy of the secular order.
In other words, we need to do with Islam in Europe what we did with Christianity 300 years ago.
This will attract the beleaguered moderates and persecuted true liberals from unstable countries to our shores, and simultaneously discourage the fundamentalists from coming for fear of having their children seduced by secularism, away form the path of stonings, female subjugation and killing gays.
The claim could be made that assimilation will happen automatically even with large communities. There is significant historical evidence to debunk such naivete. The experiences of France, Britain, Germany and Sweden to name only the most glaring cases, show that second-and-third generation immigrants are often more radicalized and hostile to the native culture than the first.
Because cultural enclaves were permitted to be established within the host culture. The new strategy needs to be one of dispersion and assimilation. If you don’t like it, if you’re not prepared to see your daughter in a miniskirt sipping wine and reading John Locke and Fifty Shades of Grey, don’t come. Simple as that. Want a piece of European prosperity? Adapt to the culture and prove you won’t be a disruption.
Ready to do that? Please come and make yourself at home. The more, the merrier. We ask only that you grant us the same rights, freedoms and privileges we grant you.
This sounds entirely reasonable and fair.