Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Culture Wars or Globalization for make Great Benefit Glorious Nation of ...

by epochepoque Thu Jul 14th, 2016 at 08:05:58 PM EST

Authoritarianism and the Logic of Intolerant Nationalism

My previous diary focused on the socioeconomic roots of the current populist tremors. As polling data shows, that explanation is not sufficient. Today I found an article that delineates the psychological sources of the authoritarian backlash.

When and Why Nationalism Beats Globalism - And how moral psychology can help explain and reduce tensions between the two - Jonathan Haidt - The American Interest

I'll show how globalization and rising prosperity have changed the values and behavior of the urban elite, leading them to talk and act in ways that unwittingly activate authoritarian tendencies in a subset of the nationalists. I'll show why immigration has been so central in nearly all right-wing populist movements. It's not just the spark, it's the explosive material, and those who dismiss anti-immigrant sentiment as mere racism have missed several important aspects of moral psychology related to the general human need to live in a stable and coherent moral order.
Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger


Chapter One: The Rise of the Globalists


... as they industrialize, they move away from "traditional values" in which religion, ritual, and deference to authorities are important, and toward "secular rational" values that are more open to change, progress, and social engineering based on rational considerations. Second, as they grow wealthier and more citizens move into the service sector, nations move away from "survival values" emphasizing the economic and physical security found in one's family, tribe, and other parochial groups, toward "self-expression" or "emancipative values" that emphasize individual rights and protections

... As societies become more prosperous and safe, they generally become more open and tolerant. Combined with vastly greater access to the food, movies, and consumer products of other cultures brought to us by globalization and the internet, this openness leads almost inevitably to the rise of a cosmopolitan attitude, usually most visible in the young urban elite. Local ties weaken, parochialism becomes a dirty word, and people begin to think of their fellow human beings as fellow "citizens of the world"... Cosmopolitans embrace diversity and welcome immigration, often turning those topics into litmus tests for moral respectability. ... Parochialism is bad and universalism is good.

A feasible explanation for the urban-rural divide. Hard to be cosmopolitan if the world around you is withering. That doesn't mean there are no authoritarian city dwellers and no hillbilly liberals but it accounts for the significant percentage gap between the areas. It also explains why tribalism goes up when times get tough, e.g. prisons are usually neatly segregated and erstwhile multiethnic Iraq has turned to ethnic cleansing as a stabilizing tool.

Chapter Two: Globalists and Nationalists Grow Further Apart on Immigration


... There is nothing necessarily racist or base about this arrangement or social contract. Having a shared sense of identity, norms, and history generally promotes trust. Having no such shared sense leads to the condition that the sociologist Émile Durkheim described as "anomie" or normlessness. Societies with high trust, or high social capital, produce many beneficial outcomes for their citizens

... [Positive sentiment toward immigrants,... and desire for Britain to leave the EU] Residents of Inner London are extreme outliers on both dimensions when compared to other cities and regions of the UK, and even when compared to residents of outer London.

But if you are a European nationalist, watching the nightly news may have felt like watching the spread of the Zika virus, ...

By the summer of 2015 the nationalist side was already at the boiling point, shouting "enough is enough, close the tap," when the globalists proclaimed, "let us open the floodgates, it's the compassionate thing to do, and if you oppose us you are a racist." Might that not provoke even fairly reasonable people to rage? Might that not make many of them more receptive to arguments, ideas, and political parties that lean toward the illiberal side of nationalism and that were considered taboo just a few years earlier?

One of the worst things about the refugee debates last year was the black-or-white thinking and rhetoric. Refugees were either deemed evil uncivilized hordes or innocent angels sent to us to cure us of our selfishness. The most visible media images were applauding volunteers who gave teddy bears to refugee children, and images of burning refugee shelters. It seemed like social distrust was amplified in a back and forth manner like on a swing set.

Chapter Three: Muslim Immigration Triggers the Authoritarian Alarm


... they hate people whom they perceive as having values that are incompatible with their own, or who (they believe) engage in behaviors they find abhorrent, or whom they perceive to be a threat to something they hold dear. These moral concerns may be out of touch with reality, and they are routinely amplified by demagogues. But if we want to understand the recent rise of right-wing populist movements, then "racism" can't be the stopping point; it must be the beginning of the inquiry.

...authoritarianism is not a stable personality trait. It is rather a psychological predisposition to become intolerant when the person perceives a certain kind of threat. ... The answer [...] is what she calls "normative threat," which basically means a threat to the integrity of the moral order (as they perceive it). It is the perception that "we" are coming apart:

The experience or perception of disobedience to group authorities or authorities unworthy of respect, nonconformity to group norms or norms proving questionable, lack of consensus in group values and beliefs and, in general, diversity and freedom `run amok' should activate the predisposition and increase the manifestation of these characteristic attitudes and behaviors.
So authoritarians are not being selfish. They are not trying to protect their wallets or even their families. They are trying to protect their group or society.
Well, self-interest vs selfishness. It's a rather semantic debate. But the motive becomes clearer.
... But when Stenner gave them a news story suggesting that Americans are becoming more morally diverse, the button got pushed, the "authoritarian dynamic" kicked in, and they became more racist and intolerant.

... Status quo conservatives are not natural allies of authoritarians, who often favor radical change and are willing to take big risks to implement untested policies. This is why so many Republicans--and nearly all conservative intellectuals--oppose Donald Trump ...But status quo conservatives can be drawn into alliance with authoritarians when they perceive that progressives have subverted the country's traditions... Brexit can seem less radical than the prospect of absorption into the "ever closer union" of the EU. ...

T]he increasing license allowed by those evolving cultures generates the very conditions guaranteed to goad latent authoritarians to sudden and intense, perhaps violent, and almost certainly unexpected, expressions of intolerance. ... The kind of intolerance that springs from aberrant individual psychology, rather than the disinterested absorption of pervasive cultural norms, is bound to be more passionate and irrational, less predictable, less amenable to persuasion, and more aggravated than educated by the cultural promotion of tolerance
Writing in 2004, Stenner predicted that "intolerance is not a thing of the past, it is very much a thing of the future."
There have been two recently publicized cases here where muslim males refused to shake a female teacher's hand out of religious reasons. This is likely a boiling point for a lot of people who have been taught it's common courtesy to shake hands. And thinking with your culture bias and thinking about your wallet goes hand in hand. One probably begets the other, see for example the zoning wars or the social spending wars. Also, isn't it ironic? Tolerance and diversity create room for ... intolerance! 'That's just how we roll!'

Chapter Four: What Now?


... When immigrants seem eager to embrace the language, values, and customs of their new land, it affirms nationalists' sense of pride that their nation is good, valuable, and attractive to foreigners. But whenever a country has historically high levels of immigration, from countries with very different moralities, and without a strong and successful assimilationist program, it is virtually certain that there will be an authoritarian counter-reaction, and you can expect many status quo conservatives to support it.

... If this argument is correct, then it leads to a clear set of policy prescriptions for globalists. First and foremost: Think carefully about the way your country handles immigration and try to manage it in a way that is less likely to provoke an authoritarian reaction. Pay attention to three key variables: the percentage of foreign-born residents at any given time, the degree of moral difference of each incoming group, and the degree of assimilation being achieved by each group's children.

Ultimately, nothing inspires greater tolerance from the intolerant than an abundance of common and unifying beliefs, practices, rituals, institutions, and processes. And regrettably, nothing is more certain to provoke increased expression of their latent predispositions than the likes of "multicultural education," bilingual policies, and nonassimilation.
Hindsight is 20-20 but yes, Blair could have called for a delay of free movement after the Eastern EU expansion like other EU countries did. And Merkel sure could have done something to help refugees without blowing up Dublin, Schengen and the German asylum system. It was confusing to see how she -just a short time before those events- denounced multiculturalism and then proceeded to practically boost just that. Now she's preaching tolerance for pork. It's quite a shit show. Thankfully the AfD guys are busy with internal strife and their poll numbers are going down. But you can't count on the right-wing populists to be stupid forever. I'm feeling queasy and I agree this short era could be a turning point for western democracy.

Display:
A bit of entertainment from 1994 (Cracker - To Be a Somebody). So none of this is really new. Is there a crack-up coming with stress piling onto stress?

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Thu Jul 14th, 2016 at 11:17:47 PM EST
Another factor enters this picture. New elite values never penetrate entirely into the culture - usually well less than half of the total population eagerly embrace them. This is countered by the inertia of the deference that the lower orders have usually given elites, either of merit or of birth. Certainly in the USA Enlightenment values never became the popular norm. But this lack of buy-in can be masked by presumption and blindness as well as the failure of problems to rise to a certain threshold for the dissenters.

That is likely the reason that revolts such as Leave can be so devastating to elite projects. And, it seems, elites are usually oblivious to the lack of buy-in from the lower levels of society. This has become increasingly a problem as the voting franchise has been ever more widely extended throughout the 20th Century. This problem has now reached critical proportions in the USA and the UK.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jul 15th, 2016 at 02:42:36 AM EST
Certainly in the USA Enlightenment values never became the popular norm.

The early American colonies, states were very egalitarian societies by historical norms:

VOX (June 16, 2016):

Colonial America was the most income-egalitarian rich place on the planet. Among all Americans - slaves included - the richest 1% got only 8.5% of total income in 1774. Among free Americans, the top 1% got only 7.6%. Today, the top 1% in the US gets more than 20% of total income. Colonial America looks even more egalitarian when the comparison is by region - in New England the income Gini co-efficient was 0.37, the Middle Atlantic was 0.38, and the free South 0.34. Today the US income Gini is more than 0.5, before taxes and transfers. Colonial America was also far less unequal than Western Europe. England and Wales in 1759 had an income Gini of 0.52,and in 1802 it was 0.59. Holland in 1732 had an income Gini of 0.61, and the Netherlands in 1909 had 0.56.  Also, if you agree with neo-institutionalists that economic equality fosters political equality, which fosters pro-growth policies and institutions, then America's huge middle class is certainly consistent with the young republic's pro-growth Hamiltonian stance from 1790 onwards. That is, the middle 40% of the distribution got fully 52.5% of total income in New England, the cradle of the revolution!

Weak social stratification could not decide the fate of Enlightenment values in the US.

Without overwhelming financial-industrial authorities yet, Enlightenment was basically claiming substantial authority in the early US. It was almost a dream case for Enlightenment values, except that great many humans were not inclined to give central authority to a set of novel abstract principles. Powerful drive for romanticism, "weird" religions emerged as opposition to the high-minded authority.

And that remains the issue for today as ever. Intellectual authority was never fully acknowledged. Speculation about reasons for that could be endless. But for a start, progressives have to acknowledge the reality that they had hardly earned any congruent authority. We may anxiously chuckle at authoritarian sentiments of Trump supporters, but to many brains of Homo Sapiens (i.e., a primate species) progressive reverence to Enlightenment values is just another case of authoritarian sentiment - no matter if the sought authority is abstract.

Recently Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted plainly that all policy making should be rationally based on evidence. It is worth to see a few critiques of that.

by das monde on Fri Jul 15th, 2016 at 04:37:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Weak stratification was only present in New England. The Dutch employed slaves from the start in New York and the planters in the South largely replaced convicts sentenced to 'transport' and indentured servants by slaves by the 1680s.

E

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jul 15th, 2016 at 03:50:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not from the VOX article, right?

Even with slavery, standard equality measures look similarly and historically good through the colonies. The original hierarchical social-religious projects, indentured white servitude dissipated within a few decades. The colonists were rather equal before typhoid, dysentery, labour demand. With basic survival resolved, the birthrate was high in all colonies, indicating a broad well-being basis.

Sustained inequality trends started with land scarcity within the original colonies, including New England. The Salem witchcraft episode underscored interesting religious and social-economic dynamics.

Here is a compelling resource:

1. Worries plagued the God-fearing pioneers of New England settlements

a. The pressure of a growing population was gradually dispersing the Puritans onto outlying farms, far from the control of church

b. Although the core of Puritan belief still burned brightly, the passage of time was dampening the first generation's flaming religious zeal

c. About the middle of the 17th century a new form of sermon began to be heard from Puritan pulpits -- the "jeremiad"

d. Taking their cue from the doom-saying Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, preachers scolded parishioners for their waning piety [...]

2. Troubled ministers in 1662 announced a new formula for church membership, the "Half-Way Covenant" that offered partial membership rights to people not yet converted; it dramatized the difficulty of maintaining the religious devotion of the founding generation

a. Jeremiads continued to thunder from the pulpits, but as time went on, the doors of the Puritan churches swung fully open to all

b. This widening of church membership gradually erased the distinction between the "elect" and other members of society

c. In effect, strict religious purity was sacrificed somewhat to the cause of wider religious participation (more and more women)

3. Women also played a prominent role in one of New England's most frightening religious episodes to ever occur in the area

a. A group of adolescent girls in Salem, Massachusetts, claimed to have been bewitched by certain women and a hysterical "witch hunt" ensued, leading to the lynching in 1692 of twenty individuals, nineteen of whom were hanged and one whom was pressed to death

b. Larger-scale witchcraft persecutions were then common in Europe and several outbreaks had already flared forth in the colonies but the reign of horror in Salem grew not only from the superstitions of the age but also from the unsettled social and religious conditions

c. Most of the accused witches were associated with Salem's prosperous merchant elite; their accusers came largely form the ranks of the poorer families in Salem's agricultural hinterland

d. This episode reflected the widening social stratification of New England, as well as the anxieties of many religious traditionalists that Puritan heritage was being eclipsed by Yankee commercialism

The first Great Awakening was basically the first mass movement in America, demonstrating the born American suspicion of authority - be it autocratic religion, British royal, or intellectual. It also rationalized or mitigated effects of cultivated land scarcity - perhaps the core driver of growing inequality.
by das monde on Sat Jul 16th, 2016 at 02:14:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My response should have read ' "Weak stratification" was... ' Only those two words were quoted and from your post. There was a distinct hierarchy in Virginia, though there was also social mobility. Level of education, starting with the level of education of the parents, was a dividing line. This was still true by the early 19th Century. Lincoln rose from humble beginnings, having become literate at home, by self study and apprenticeship to an attorney, under whom he 'read the law'. Then his innate abilities allowed him to use this knowledge to rise to elected office.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jul 16th, 2016 at 03:35:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The paradoxical problem with education is that humans are competitive. A consequence is this: many kids at school loose interest in education (especially sciences) not because of low confidence in learning the curriculum, but because of low confidence in competing with nerdy kids in glasses. They would rather enjoy social superiority over the nerds.

It is easy not to pay attention to this from a progressive-institutional point of view. But on a massive behavioral scale, the value of education is its competitive edge rather than rational competency. Armchair progressives should better start paying attention to this.

Intellect is generally a higher status characteristic for humans. How else did our outsized brains evolve? The modern society and universal education messed up this linkage somewhat. But with glorious times of swift progress and ample resources apparently ending, the future is with masses that do not particularly value education (especially knowing the recent screw-up in high education). People, especially men, will rather look for narrow mastery than broad education. And they will be comfortable with selection by inequality.

by das monde on Sat Jul 16th, 2016 at 01:15:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 "And they will be comfortable with selection by inequality." That is the problem. And what we call 'civics' needs to be thoroughly reformed so that students get a clearer idea of how the world really works and what influence they can have upon it. But, were teachers to start doing this en masse there would likely be great public outcry about 'polluting the minds of our youth." Imagine if I were to expalain money with Warren Mosler's example from British African Colonization; to paraphrase:
The British went in and established plantations to grow crops for export: indigo, sugar, bananas and coffee and established mines for available minerals, but the natives did not want to work on the plantations. They lived in thatched huts, grew food crops, did some hunting - all on their own terms - and were self sufficient. So the British Governor established a hut tax - pay so many shillings per month or the colonial army would destroy your hut!

Now there were plenty of workers available. They needed to earn shillings to pay the hut tax. And, best of all, actually paying the workers with actual coins was optional. The plantation owners could just report that the required work had been performed for each family that provided so much labor. (End of Mosler's example.) Of course they could also establish a colonial store that carried items the natives wanted which English manufacturers made and pay the natives more than just that required for the hut tax, which they could then use at the colonial store. And they could also offer to but things the natives could obtain by hunting or foraging such as ivory, feathers and furs.

This would offer a clear example of how money can be made to work and how power relationships operate. But it would likely be a bit too clear for many parents in the community. Damned Communist teacher!
   

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jul 16th, 2016 at 08:33:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Culture Wars or Globalization for make Great Benefit Glorious Nation of ...
elites are usually oblivious to the lack of buy-in from the lower levels of society. This has become increasingly a problem as the voting franchise has been ever more widely extended throughout the 20th Century.

The voting franchise has been effectively declining for decades. In the US, the extreme case, only about 50% of potential electors bother to vote, and this tendency is steadily rising in Europe. However, I wouldn't ascribe this to lack of buy-in to elite moral values, but to economic factors, and simple pragmatism : why bother, when there is no electoral offer which corresponds to my interests? Government of the middle class, by the middle class, for the middle class (in the best case!)

Sure, there is a plurality of the population, and of electors, who don't buy into progressive moral issues, and may feel that their voice is not being heard, and may seize on big-ticket events like Brexit or a US presidential election to express their rejection of ... well, pretty much anything and everything. There is not much we can do about them, except wait for them to die, and invest in social engineering so that their children will be better people.

Oh, and improve the economy so that it works for them. Then, they will generally no longer feel impelled to stick up their middle finger on the "moral" issues.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Jul 17th, 2016 at 11:56:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The extent of the franchise and actual turnout are two very different things. But there HAVE been concerted Republican efforts BOTH to depress turnout and to restrict the franchise, especially amongst black voters. The turnout repression operates through the candidate selection process - ugly choices - and more generally, obnoxious negative advertisements by third parties, while disenfranchisement has been the fruit of concentration on winning control of state government and the SCOTUS ruling that prior review of laws affecting voting rights had to be approved by DOJ.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jul 17th, 2016 at 01:38:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...In the US, the extreme case, only about 50% of potential electors bother to vote

It's lower than that.  In 2010 only 32.7% registered voters, representing 26.9% of the population of Texas, participated in the election.  In the 2014 election 29% representing 27.9% of the total population of Mississippi voted, the average turnout in 2014 was 36.7%.    

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jul 17th, 2016 at 04:02:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think most of us will find Haidt's narrative intuitively obvious. We are human, and nothing that is human is foreign to us. But the off-the-cuff policy prescriptions that you draw from it are highly dubious, and I'm choosing my words with care.

So let's see : caricaturing your argument only mildly : if only Merkel hadn't let the refugees in, the UK wouldn't have voted for Brexit.

Well, if she had to do it again, I hope and believe that she would do the same thing. No, with the urgency of millions of people on the move, and the prospect of seeing them machine-gunned on the Hungarian border or whatever, she was the conscience and the honour of Europe in opening the borders.

Sure, there are negative consequences, there is backlash, plenty of damage and plenty of things to patch up etc... but that was a once in a generation situation, and she did the right thing when others dithered, stonewalled or reached for the barbed wire.

And sure, the media treatment was/is simplistic. Morally, the choice is pretty binary : accept/reject. Deontologically, in times of crisis, one hopes journalists will prefer good to evil, and avoid fanning the flames. (This is, of course, debatable : others may prefer amoral journalism).

As for Brexit, personally I blame the English soccer team for being such a shower in the Euro. aka : shit happens.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Jul 17th, 2016 at 11:38:16 AM EST
It would be more appropriate to blame neo-con, interventionist policies for the Middle East interventions that led to the immigrant crisis, and Merkel was always a hard sell on those policies.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jul 17th, 2016 at 01:42:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't have minded helping out a few thousand people stranded in the middle of Hungary or somewhere if it had been a one-time thing. But out of incompetence and miscommunication it became a massive railroad. An uncontrolled train of people who suddenly felt invited to take the Balkan route to a 'glorious' future in central Europe. Interviews in Turkey at the time bear out this out and it's not like IS and Assad were dropping bombs 100 meters behind the refugees in Turkey or Lebanon. People did think everyone was invited because of the accidental pronouncements by Merkel and other high-ranking politicians (I hate selfies).

By the time the trek was really in high gear the government had manouvered itself into a corner from which it couldn't escape. 'We gotta help people!' became an absolute non-negotiable moral requirement and anyone opposed was potentially a fascist who wanted to mow down helpless people with machine guns on a newly built Berlin wall. See the black-and-white thinking here? Once that requirement was in place you could never stop because why would the next refugees in line be less deserving of shelter than the previous ones?

What people forgot was that they had been happy to ignore people in need for quite a while until that point. Did anybody do something about Syria for the past years? No. People had looked on or away while hundreds of thousands were killed and millions displaced. The same goes for the lesser suffering happening in Europe itself, in their own country. Human beings are just like that. We can never be morally perfect and empathy is inversely proportional to distance. But at that time it was considered a reason of state. So it fell to other countries who were not as entrapped to enforce some limits.

Are people now being mowed down by machine guns on the former Balkan route? No. Instead, the once hopefuls are living in bad conditions in Greece, still hoping that the borders will be opened. More people have embarked on the trek not just from the Middle East, and more people have died trying to cross the mediterranean. Is that a morally acceptable outcome?

Interviews nowadays show how disillusioned refugees generally are with Germany. The people left behind in Turkey and Greece are frustrated with St. Angela for doing this deal with Turkey and people in Germany have found out that it's not some Shangri-La. Jobs, new friends, and a welcoming culture? More like welcome to Hartz4. It's a slow-moving social trainwreck. How moral is that?

As to the effects on Brexit, one can sure argue that Merkel's policies were not that significant, Remain polled much higher even in this year and so on. We'll never know whether it tipped the scales. But it sure was misguided, vain, and in it's own way immoral.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sun Jul 17th, 2016 at 03:33:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't have month-by-month data in front of me, but the massive population movements started several months before Merkel's open-borders moment. Why did Syrians in particular decide last year, in huge numbers, to abandon (or monetize) everything they had and take a gamble on Europe? Because their situation was desperately bad and deteriorating, with no prospect of improvement : ever-worsening multi-cornered civil war, and strategic stalemate.
Sure, the movement was no doubt prolonged by the open-borders moment. But to portray it as caused by Merkel's pronouncements is, as politely as possible, non-truthful.

European Tribune - Culture Wars or Globalization for make Great Benefit Glorious Nation of ...

As to the effects on Brexit, one can sure argue that Merkel's policies were not that significant

That wasn't my argument.  

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Jul 17th, 2016 at 05:30:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was expecting you to come up with data to back up your extraordinary claims :

An uncontrolled train of people who suddenly felt invited to take the Balkan route to a 'glorious' future in central Europe. Interviews in Turkey at the time bear out this out and it's not like IS and Assad were dropping bombs 100 meters behind the refugees in Turkey or Lebanon. People did think everyone was invited because of the accidental pronouncements by Merkel and other high-ranking politicians

Well, let's see. Merkel announced at the end of August last year that Germany would register Syrian refugees, regardless of their country of origin, thereby suspending de facto the Dublin accord.

Let's look at refugee arrivals into the EU via the Mediterranean, a reasonable proxy for the total nuber.

Sea arrivals by sea to Greece (green) and Italy (orange) in 2015

Sure enough : the numbers increased after Merkel's announcement. Looking at the shape of the curve, it's not easy to use it to support an argument that people suddenly felt invited into Europe. Obviously, there is no possible influence on the August numbers. And in practice, anyone who crossed the Mediterranean in September, in particular if they are a family, had to have made the decision to liquidate their lives and leave Syria prior to Merkel's announcement.

So ... Maybe there was an effect on the November numbers? People who decided to chance the long, dangerous trip to Europe because of Merkel's announcement? It may plausibly have added tens of thousands. Perhaps the numbers might otherwise have peaked in September instead of October.

But bearing in mind that anyone "interviewed in Turkey at the time" had already been desperate enough to leave home and become a refugee in Turkey :  A possibility of moving to Europe and being a refugee there, rather than being turned back at the border, or returned to Turkey subsequently, undoubtedly precipitated a displacement of large numbers of people who were already refugees.

And these are the people you don't want the EU to admit. They should be Turkey's responsibility. After all, Turkey was  enthusiastic supporters of the Gulf war, the root cause of the current refugee crisis. Wasn't it? Unlike a majority of the EU countries, especially those central European ones who don't want to take any refugees. They were against the war. Weren't they?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jul 18th, 2016 at 08:30:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reports at the time said that people could make the journey in less than three weeks, Syria to Germany, start to finish. Some of the other non-Syrian people who chanced the journey could simply buy a cheap plane ticket to Turkey and join the trek. Everyone sensed it was a limited window of opportunity, so there was a last-minute panic with people piling on the Balkan route, refugee or not (quite a lot of people who had just waited for the chance). They were obviously right to think that way.

Then seasonal weather conditions got worse so that slowed down the train. Then the EU-Turkey deal and the Macedonian border closure came. However, if those things hadn't happened I can guarantee you that the train would currently be in full swing, now that people had even more time to make up their minds and prepare.

What's really vexing is that even now as the great pile of asylum applications is being processed, the rate of acceptance is at 52.5%. Not that much higher than last year when it was 48.5%. So we can hardly say that these are all refugees fleeing oppression and violence. But that was the built-in assumption during the great asylum hic-up. Which lead to the system being overtaxed and all the other nasty secondary political effects.

Personally, I think the only way to preserve the instrument of asylum (which is always called a 'high social good' - not a cheap good), preserve the system without blowing it up, and preserve solidarity is to get people out directly from war zones after checking their applications. The current system where the applications of those who make the hurdle race (if people bother to apply) can take ages to be decided, and where negative decisions mostly can't be enforced is destined to fail. Resources and energy are being spent on anything but helping refugees. A new underclass along ethnic lines is being built as if that was a socially healthy thing. Solidarity is being bled out and replaced by intolerance.

Incidentally, today the social-democrat prime minister of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, Hannelore Kraft, said in an interview she is "glad that the borders are closed". Just last year she sounded very different on the issue.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Tue Jul 19th, 2016 at 12:06:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reports at the time said that people could make the journey in less than three weeks, Syria to Germany, start to finish.

Here's a hint : you should look for a spike in the proportion of single males arriving in September (because you can't move a family of refugees from Syria to Europe in three weeks). You really need some data. Storytelling will only get you so far.

What's really vexing is that even now as the great pile of asylum applications is being processed, the rate of acceptance is at 52.5%. Not that much higher than last year when it was 48.5%.

I can understand why you're vexed : it doesn't fit your narrative, does it? One would expect a higher proportion of chancers, swamping the worthy asylum candidates, if they were jumping at the opportunity of a perceived open door policy. But no significant change.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jul 19th, 2016 at 10:51:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Culture Wars or Globalization for make Great Benefit Glorious Nation of ...
Hindsight is 20-20 but yes, Blair could have called for a delay of free movement after the Eastern EU expansion like other EU countries did.

But that would have missed the point. I thing there was a Grand Bargain that was implicit when the central European countries joined the EU : I was appalled at the time that so little direct economic aid was offered to them, but free movement of workers was an obvious compensation. For Blair, it was an economic boost, a gift to the new entrants in the form of remittances, and a means of keeping wages low in the UK. It worked marvellously well on that front. For higher-wage countries like France, central europeans would find it hard to get work, so we got the Bolkestein directive, which achieved the same thing through the back door : "detached" workers working for letterbox companies that defraud social security etc and don't comply with local labour regulations, and pay effectively a small fraction of the local hourly minimum wage to their indentured workers. I've always been puzzled why this situation is tolerated; it can only be some sort of implicit quid-quo-pro deal.

I've got a feeling that this may blow up big time, as central European countries get assertive on other issues.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Jul 17th, 2016 at 12:07:39 PM EST
Hard to be cosmopolitan if the world around you is withering.

And with full employment it did not need to wither. Indeed with full employment, arrival of new people means arrival of more productive labor.

But we don't have that, and without full employment the far right and their blame of the others rise wheter there are actual others to blame or not (see Finland for a case of hardly any immigrants and a big far right party).

While the political elite has often preached the liberal right to seek asylum, they probably have been afraid of refugees triggering a rise of far right, considering the order that has been established in Europe.

First, you have countries outside Europe that gets payed to stop refugees. Most prominent of which is currently Turkey. Ten years ago, the European assistance to Libya was a matter of some prominence in the atlernative press.

Then, you have the outer ring of members who must be solely responsible for any refugees managing to get to Europe.

Thirdly, you have the transporter liability to prevent refugees taking ships or planes into the center.

But not only have our political elites been busy exporting economics that creates poverty and conflicts, Europe also serves as support zone for the US attempts at blowing up the arab speaking countries, creating refugees.

Add that the first ring has got partly blown up by European and US bombers, and that the second ring is held in poverty by Euro-policies, and there was only a question of time before the system broke down. Now, with bigger bribes to the aspiring dictator of Turkey, part of the wall is up again, but it is again a question of time.

Unless we start peaceful relationships with neighbours and full employment policies pushed both at home and abroad. But how likely is that?

by fjallstrom on Sun Jul 17th, 2016 at 09:42:44 PM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]