Immigration, Extremism, and Existentialism

Life in the tiny town of Sumte, Germany, is about to become very different. The 105 residents of the remote and little-noticed Lower Saxony village will soon be joined by 500 of the millions of migrants who are heading to Europe from the Middle East, with another 250 scheduled to arrive soon after, so it is reasonable to expect that some significant changes are inevitable. The rest of the western world won’t be out-numbered seven-to-one within its own borders quite as soon, but it would still do well to consider the fate of Sumte.
It’s tough enough for a town of 105 people to suddenly accommodate another 750 or so in the best of circumstances, especially when it has no shops or schools or police stations and a limited amount of sewers and roads and other infrastructure, and such an influx of newcomers who do not speak German and practice a consequentially different religion and derive from countries with a culturally enforced hostility toward western values is by no means the best of circumstances. The German government, which one might well have thought had been created to protect the German way of life for its citizens, has reportedly told the people of Sumte that the only responses to the resettlement plans are “yes and yes,” and the rest of the western world suddenly seems faced with the same grim options. The people don’t much like it, in Sumte or pretty much anywhere else in the western world, but their supposedly democratic governments don’t seem to care. Throughout most of Europe’s officialdom, and among at least half of America’s political parties, and even among the American press that brought us the sad story of Sumte, the bigger worry seems to be that extremist nationalist parties might benefit from the inevitable discontent.
We’re at least somewhat sympathetic to the concern regarding Germany, where extremist nationalist parties have proved so very bellicose over the past century, although even there we’re inclined to feel sorry for the Sumteans, but we wonder why Sweden and Great Britain and Denmark and other countries that have less troublesome histories should be similarly guilt-ridden. The sudden surge of migrants asking for the generous welfare benefits of Scandinavia, long the envy of America’s liberals and the role model for the surging insurgent Democratic presidential campaign of self-described and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, suddenly has those far-right crazies popping up even there. Even in the United States those Republicans have gone so extremist as to oppose mass immigration, with the same appalled reaction from the respectable press and the more respectable members of both major parties, and there is the same glaring gap between the opinion of the populace and that of its elected officials. Almost nowhere in the western world are the governments acting to defend the western civilization that its people have grown accustomed to, whether the populace prefers it because of racism and xenophobia and chauvinism or the same objectively valid reasons that have caused millions of people from the Middle East to migrate to the west, which also seems worrisome.
If the respectable press and the respectable parties are able to declare that any opposition to a preemptive surrender to a Third World invasion is outside the realm of respectability, we expect that the disreputable parties will indeed benefit. The New York Times’ account of Sumte’s travails includes some clearly reviled quotes from one neo-Nazi town councilman, as well as some regretful comments by an unreformed East German communist town councilman that are quoted with great respect, and although we’d like to think that at least a few of the other 103 people in town are somewhere in the more sensible middle we expect they’ll be tarred as right-wing extremists if they’d prefer to not be suddenly outnumbered more than seven-to-one by people who don’t speak German and practice a consequentially different religion and derive from countries with a culturally enforced hostility toward western values. Here in America we can still hope the Republicans will  insist on immigration policies that perpetuate the existing culture, and will retain whatever respectability comes with its status as one of the two major parties, but in much of it Europe we can see how only the worst sorts of elements will address the concerns of otherwise respectable people.
For the moment America’s immigration problems are less threatening, as most of the country’s unprecedented number of new arrivals don’t speak English but at least practice a religion that is less consequentially different than the American norm, or they don’t practice any religion at all, which is becoming the American norm, and they’re not so hostile to most western values, even if they derive from countries with a culturally enforced hostility to capitalism, but the issue is still thorny even here, and the Middle Eastern influx is becoming even thornier. Already the issue has provided a platform for the likes of Donald Trump, and anyone hoping to shame him out of the race should hope that a more respectable candidate will emerge to represent the overwhelming public opinion in favor of retaining something more or less like the cultural status quo.
The same respectable secular opinion that believes the culture of any cannibalistic Amazonian jungle tribe with bones in noses must be preserved in amber seem to also think that Sumte, Germany, or the entire country of Sweden or all of western civilization should be sacrificed on an altar of multi-culturalism to the most supremacist strain of Islam.  They’re worried that extremist parties might benefit from the extremism of the small town yokels in Sumte, Germany, and Wichita, Kansas, and we share their concern, but we’d also prefer to not only avoid the Nazis or the admittedly less dangerous charms of Donald Trump but also leave Sumte and the rest of western civilization intact.

— Bud Norman

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