All people are equal. We take this statement for granted. It is included in a number of international treaties and declarations. It has become a dogma. It is based on at least one completely fallacious premise resulting from a confusion of terms. However, it is not merely an intellectual problem since its impact on the future of European society has been disastrous.
This is because “equality” has become fundamentally dogmatized. Social democrats in particular tend to interpret the equality dogma in such an exaggerated way that its effect is almost as negative as the totalitarian and feudal inequality of past regimes.
Turning the postulate that all people are equal and equally valuable into a dogma has given rise to a demand for equal opportunities, perverting this Christian-Enlightenment idea to the extent that we now speak of an opportunity of results. No sooner does the slightest hint of inequality make an appearance and the social democratic way of thinking, which is dominant in a number of countries, tries to put everyone on an equal footing regardless of the differences between them. By force, if necessary. Afterwards it claims cynically that this is meant to represent “justice” and “fairness.”
Denying the Differences
Wherever the results are manifestly not the same, the differences between people have either been denied or an outright war has been waged against them. Let me give just a few examples:
• In education there is a strong opposition to marking, entrance examinations, performance requirements, and drawing distinctions between individual schools;
• all schools are expected to be inclusive so that even the most disabled children are taught together with gifted ones;
• aggressive or mentally ill individuals are not supposed to be “locked up”;
• instead of quality of scholarship, gender equality has become the primary criterion in appointing university professors;
• in sex education children are increasingly inculcated with the alleged complete equality of all forms of sexual activity;
• equality dogmatists want to stop everyone from using health services outside the steadily collapsing state healthcare system;
• they demand confiscatory taxation in order to eliminate all differences between real incomes and to eradicate individual property;
• and in criminal law the slogan of “a society without prisons” keeps cropping up.
While new chefs or tourism industry staff are almost impossible to find in the Tyrol, people working in this sector are often unemployed in Vienna.
Floodgates to Other Demands
In this context it is not surprising that ideologues of equality fail to distinguish between migration and the granting of political asylum. The decisionon whether to grant asylum is no longer based on whether a person has fled their country because they were directly and personally persecuted, which used to be the precondition for granting asylum based on the Migration Convention. Equality means that those who have passed through dozens of other safe countries before applying for asylum, engaging in “asylum shopping,” should also be granted protection.
Exactly the same nonsense is being applied in the labor market. One example is the quotas for the representation of women on supervisory boards. Not only does this requirement constitute yet another serious economic restriction, it also ignores the fact that in many sectors there simply are not enough women who may be interested in taking on the demanding tasks involved in being on a supervisory board. In other words, quotas seriously damage the situation of many men who might be able to take on the positions in question.
The opening of borders towards the East has turned out to be a blessing for the West, and its impact has been far more beneficial than predicted.
At the same time the enforced “women quotas” have opened the floodgates to other demands for minority representation, be they in favor of Muslims, people who are illiterate, dyslectic, of a particular sexual orientation, members of sects, the old or the young. Once you have uttered the word “quota” you have to keep using it. That is the only way to live up to the egalitarian dogma.
Labor Shortages? Let the Migrants In.
Even more absurd is the application of this dogma in the sphere of the labor market and mass migration. A shortage in the labor force in certain sectors, from the technical professions to doctors and nurses, is a well-known fact. In countries with full employment, such as Germany, this shortage is nowadays felt across all sectors, even though only ten years ago the country suffered from high unemployment. On the other hand there is Austria which, after a long period of high unemployment, now struggles with asymmetric labor shortages. While new chefs or tourism industry staff are almost impossible to find in the Tyrol, people working in this sector are often unemployed in Vienna.
In view of this labor shortage some infinitely naïve people, especially entrepreneurs, have advocated the following approach: “Hundreds of millions of young people around the world are unemployed and wish to come to Europe. Let’s make use of them to solve our labor market problems.” It is this kind of thinking, in conjunction with other factors, that has resulted in, among other things, the recent decision to let millions of illegal migrants enter Europe.
Great Britain and the Migration from the East
What is depressing about this way of thinking is that there is indeed one wave of migration where this really has proved to be the case. I am talking about the hundreds of thousands of people who came to Great Britain, Germany, and Austria from Eastern and Central Europe after the fall of communism. This migration has benefited both sides. Most of the new arrivals from former communist-bloc countries are hard-working, well-educated, and willing to adapt. They have filled gaps in many professions affected by shortages. They have also quickly contributed to economic growth in the countries of their choice, and have become fully integrated there.
The opening of borders towards the East has turned out to be a blessing for the West, and its impact has been far more beneficial than predicted. Great Britain is the only country where migration from the East has become a significant issue. However, it certainly did not play a decisive role in the British vote to leave the EU.
The influx of labor from Central and Eastern Europe has recently declined, not because of problems in the host countries but because of the rapid economic growth in the home countries. The Visegrad states (Poland, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics) in particular have achieved de facto full employment and their economic prospects are outstanding, making their citizens reluctant to leave even though wages still lag behind those in the West. Moreover, these countries themselves now attract labor migrants from Ukraine.
The really big problems started well before the EU enlargement and they were connected with the large-scale migration of labor from Turkey.
The Problems Began with the Turks
There is no such good news with regard to South-East Europe. Nevertheless, the really big problems started well before the EU enlargement and they were connected with the large-scale migration of labor from Turkey.
Nearly all the immigrants from Turkey are Muslims. Moreover, many of them are radical nationalists. This specific religious and nationalist background is exacerbated by a phenomenon that had not, initially, been anticipated in Germany or Austria, where the Turkish workers were referred to as Gastarbeiter, i.e. “guest workers.” Unlike real guests, however, most of them remained, and were even joined by other family members later. Also—and this is why it is particularly problematic—they have permanently cut themselves off from the world around them, indulging in their denominationally oriented nationalism. They have not gone back for obvious reasons. In addition to better infrastructure, the social benefits in Western EU states are, in fact, too generous to be easily given up.
Nevertheless, in most cases their integration into society has failed and has not taken place to this day, whether linguistically, in terms of education, or by intermarriage with people from other cultural backgrounds. Naturally, they also refuse to adopt the values prevalent in the host country by (e.g.) giving up their archaic attitude to women. Nor do they tend to give up Turkish citizenship.
Admittedly, in many countries there are Turks who have become perfectly integrated in terms of language, values, and culture, and become very successful as well. Nevertheless, many of them differ strikingly from other migration waves of the recent past.
The Unwillingness to Integrate
The Turks who live in the European Union are often unwilling to integrate. This manifests itself in the fact that most of them are ardent followers of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, showing him even more support than do Turks living in Turkey. Many have not been put off by Erdoğan’s hateful chauvinism or the transformation of Turkish democracy into a prison dictatorship. Nor have they been discouraged by Turkey’s slide from a secular and relatively modern state into a fundamentalist Middle Ages.
This raises concerns, especially with regard to the future of West European societies, also in view of the substantially higher birth rate among Turkish women. This is so dramatic that Turkish immigration, a certain positive economic impact notwithstanding, cannot be judged a success. The same is true in terms of the economy. Most of the jobs which the Turks came to fill have vanished. These were undemanding jobs that are now done by machines. Neither has the second and third generation of Turkish workers managed to adapt to the changing labor market.
Far too few Turks have gained qualifications that would enable them to take on more demanding technical jobs in which there are still shortages, and too few of them are university graduates. Moreover, education and jobs have completely passed by the women, with the result that many have remained literally hidden under their headscarves, their lives limited to looking after their homes and children.
The Turks who live in the European Union are often unwilling to integrate. This manifests itself in the fact that most of them are ardent followers of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
European societies, befuddled by their do-gooder self-delusion as well as thanks to a temporary economic demand for cheap labor, have refused to accept that Turkish immigration has failed. The myth prevailed that immigration would be ultimately beneficial to the host country, just as was the case of the Jews who fled the Holocaust to the US or the Sudeten Germans who fled to Germany and Austria. In addition to this, the socialists and the Greens soon began to court the Turkish vote, which a priori penalized anyone who drew attention to the problems.
The Turks Were Followed by “Refugees”
Before Western governments managed to fully analyze the failure of Turkish immigration, which has given Germany and other countries more problems than it has solved, another wave of migration arrived. The smaller-scale Bosnian prelude was followed by the great “tsunami” from a range of third world countries. The list of new refugees’ countries of origin ranges from Afghanistan to Eritrea.
In German and Austrian business circles, voices were again heard justifying the opening of borders to a new great migration by the need for a bigger labor force. These illusions were dispelled only in late 2016. As recently as in 2015 many had quite seriously claimed that Syrians and Iraqis would be a real bonus since they were better educated than the Turks.
There were, however, additional reasons that played into the hands of the open-arms policy:
• The German politicians in particular were wary of being labelled as heartless by the media;
• the pressure from the left-wing media, whose profound disdain for European identity has been characteristic since 1968;
• the conviction among those in power that in order to defeat the so-called extreme Right they had to oppose all its demands;
• the false interpretation of the notion of “love thy neighbor” on the part of Christian dignitaries;
• the erroneous estimates of the scale of migration that would follow if the gates were opened;
• the inappropriate and flawed comparisons between the current migration and the Jews fleeing the Holocaust;
• a wholly exaggerated interpretation of the Migration Convention by the highest European courts, which gradually allowed groups not covered by the Convention to remain in Europe;
• underestimating the cost of the “massive flight” to Europe;
• the widespread misapprehension that the migrants were fleeing individual persecution rather than being driven by the desire to finally enjoy a share of European prosperity;
• and the fact that after 70 years of peace and prosperity, Europe has completely lost the ability to take a firm stand.
European societies, befuddled by their do-gooder self-delusion as well as thanks to a temporary economic demand for cheap labor, have refused to accept that Turkish immigration has failed.
Nevertheless, let us set aside all the reasons for the welcome bubble listed above and focus on the argument, heard particularly from Germany, that opening the borders was necessary because of shortages in the labor force. This argument was used mostly in the context of the demographic disaster resulting from Europeans’ widespread and rapid ageing which, in turn, has two main causes:
• Instead of the average birth rate of 2.1 child per woman required to maintain population levels in Europe, the average birth rate is below 1.5 child per woman (n.b. this figure includes Muslim women with their higher birth rate);
• at the same time, the constantly increasing life expectancy results in a growing number of people who make no contribution to economic performance. While this phenomenon is positive in its own right, its negative impact is related to the fact that the growing life expectancy is not reflected in an increased pension age.
In view of this catastrophic news, the idea of welcoming millions of people from the third world in order to resolve the demographic problem seems logical at first sight. However, this is wholly illusory.
In German and Austrian business circles, voices were again heard justifying the opening of borders to a new great migration by the need for a bigger labor force. These illusions were dispelled only in late 2016.
First and foremost, the fallacy of the equality dogma becomes apparent. In terms of their ability to join the labor market, a person from Africa or the Middle East is not comparable to a European. However, this is precisely what many advocates of mass migration believe.
Not even years of study can bridge the gap in education. Similarly, as the small number of migrants who do have the requisite education has shown, an African doctor or an Arab computer engineer is not comparable to their European colleagues.
Dramatic differences in education attainment and knowledge levels are substantiated by results of the Pisa comparative tests. Before the war in Syria, the survey also included fifteen-year-olds in that country, provided they had access to education at all. The study showed that Syrian education lagged nearly four years behind the European average in terms of knowledge among fifteen-year-olds. The war is certain to have made this gap even bigger.
It is thus absurd for the dogmatists to enthuse about the number of years of education the “refugees” have. A less naïve view shows that even a few extra years of schooling after arrival in Europe is not enough to bridge the cultural differences. The main reasons are as follows:
• Geneticists point out that many inherited factors have to be taken into account that will manifest themselves in future generations through various epigenetic changes;
• educationalists claim that the first four years of life are key to human development, i.e. the parental influence that passes on the parents’ cultural and social traits;
• moreover, an additional problem arises in Islamic culture. Of the nearly 50 Islamic countries on the planet, only Turkey and Iran have developed an educated middle class, and in these two countries attempts to permanently establish democratic rule of law have also failed. This suggests that the cultural and religious influence represents a strong disadvantage in terms of the ability to fully integrate into post-industrial society.
The fallacy of the equality dogma becomes apparent. In terms of their ability to join the labor market, a person from Africa or the Middle East is not comparable to a European.
Islamic Societies Lack a Tradition of Employment
in Social Care Apart from the knowledge gained through education, successful integration also requires the acquisition of deep-rooted social and cultural virtues: punctuality, diligence, orderliness, reliability, discipline, accuracy, basic mathematical skills, awareness of key levels of legal and social behavior, adaptability, as well as a basic willingness to accept a completely new cultural context. All of these skills, very important in our European societies, are often lacking in immigrants from third world countries. That is why one can confidently predict that only a half of these young men, at most, will ever be able to work in a normal profession, with most of them never being able to undertake more than very basic tasks. All the others will live at public expense for the rest of their lives, with plenty of time to hatch silly ideas.
Besides, Islamic societies in particular lack a tradition of employment in the one area that ageing Europe needs most of all: social work and care for the elderly. These are tasks that in the Islamic world are carried out exclusively by women, and only within their families. To say nothing of how shocking Islamic families would find it if women worked outside the home.
It is not true that the number of jobs on offer will decline in future. In fact, there will be more jobs in some sectors, for instance in electronics or other technical fields, as well as in counselling and communication, or social work. However, these are all areas in which it will be extremely difficult for immigrants from the third world to succeed because of the shortcomings mentioned earlier.
Living off the West, not for the West
This is why a large proportion of the new arrivals will live at the expense of Western societies rather than for their sake, and that is why they will fail to contribute to the creation of values. This is why the hopes that many in Europe had pinned on the positive economic impact of the “refugee” migration are completely unfounded. Even if the frequently cited negative phenomena such as Islamization and cultural and social decline did not occur, no other new immigrants would arrive just in order to finance and care for an ageing Europe.
Europe expects in vain the advantages of migration for the labor market promised by business and equality dogmatists. On the contrary, continued migration will lead to enormous additional costs.
P.S. Should the text above suggest that many of those from Africa and Arabs are lacking in certain skills, this must not be taken as a generalization. There are positive exceptions, people who have managed to overcome every obstacle. I am sure that there will be many more of these.
Islamic societies in particular lack a tradition of employment in the one area that ageing Europe needs most of all: social work and care for the elderly.
However, it would be wrong to generalize from these cases or, what is worse, to demand on this basis that everyone should be given a chance to show Europe that he or she might be that positive example. It is just such an opportunity that hundreds of millions of people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America have been waiting for, ever since the opening up of Europe. Many of them have not yet set out on their journey. It would be crazy to offer all of them a chance, given the cost and the problems arising from their deportation. It would be far more sensible, just, and Christian to provide them instead with assistance in their home countries. There are many ways of doing this, from creating a system of technical education to a free market not constrained by pan-European subsidies. Unfortunately, this is made very difficult by the activities of a number of left-wing non-governmental organizations as well as by US President Donald Trump’s neo-isolationist policies.
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