Multiculturalism in Europe?

Muddle through seems to be typically European on important issues such as whether or not the EU should be federal or member states should have the most say. The latest in this debate is apparently that the EU is seeking to secure its own revenue. Perhaps we will come to see the EU against the member states?

Another muddle through issue is that of multiculturalism vs pure racial delight. Germany is hotly debating how to select one or the other of continuing immigration of skilled labor for the obvious need thereof or if the conclusion of Merkel's comment of a failed multiculturalism attempt will mean end of immigration. Germany is now actually a net emigration country.

In Sweden people seem to debate what Merkel meant with her comment. It is true that Germany have given citizenships based on blood links and prevented Turks from gaining citizenship, sometimes all the way to the third generation. On the other hand, there are 3,000 mosques in Germany. With the Swedish experience where multiculturalism also have failed, if Merkel is right, because we are seeing an anti-foreigner active party entering the Riksdag. So what is Merkel saying when tightening integration probably will not work, since Sweden have tried that? On top of this it seems like the Swedes are more tolerant to foreigners.

Angela Merkel went to Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey for help in ordinating language training for her Turkish speaking prospective Germans. The same Erdogan had given a speech in Germany to 15,000 Turks, in Turkish, where he said that they should not integrate (help is on the way?). Erdogan had however now agreed to language training for Turkish immigrants. A change of hearts? Germany is against Turkish EU membership so this is a possible negotiation point.

In other words Germany is behind in the nation-building of a liberal multicultural state and we should perhaps focus on our own problem to reach the front. What is it that makes people start getting nervous when the foreigner count reaches 5-10%? It is not rational. There is no possible reason to fear that an ethnocultural minority will take over in Sweden, even if the foreigner count doubles. It is also apparently the case that most Western democracies experience that ethnocultural minorities actually benefit from keeping cultural attributes when they integrate rather than demanding total assimilation which is not reasonable to require for all immigrants.

In any case, critics of multiculturalism nowadays apparently claim that the stability of the democracy is threatened. What I have heard from the Sweden Democrats is that they also think there is an economic cost from immigration. In other words they are against foreign aid. People like Will Kymlicka believe that stability is actually enhanced because of minority rights given to ethnocultural minorities. Experience also shows that loyalty to the nation state is not affected negatively by minority rights of the type that does not infringe on standard liberal values.

The language question, raised by Merkel, is interesting from the point of view of the US which perhaps is the country that separates state from ethnicity the most by not having a constitutional national language requirement. Apparently it was arranged from the beginning that English speaking people always where in the majority in each region.

But most people learn the language and still group themselves ethnically based on dual language skills. People get help from other immigrants from the home country and this must mean that they are aided in their integration. Apparently this does not work as well in Europe. People differ in their attitudes. But let us hope that we will not have the same problem in Europe as we had in the 17th century between Protestants and Catholics with the current ethnocultural and religious problems.

All these problems are tightly linked to the position of the woman in the family and the work place. The only party that actively brings up the integrity of the old core family in Sweden now is the Christian Democrats which is in crisis due to being the smallest party in the polls with a falling trend in memberships and voters. I have gotten the feeling, and also from my own experience, that the traditional families are slowly braking up based on other organizational parameters in the current society. This development could have beneficial effects on the integration issue even if the civil society will necessarily take an other blow with unknown consequences from this historical phenomenon.

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