The utter failure of multiculturalism?

Germany: third place winners in 2010 World Cup

It wasn’t just Germans who were disappointed to see their team fail to win the 2010 World Cup in South Africa this summer. If this was the team that represented “multi-kulti”, for most of us who had the pleasure of watching their performance, the response was: let’s have more — not: this is an utter failure. Did Angela Merkel so quickly forget?

In The Guardian, Philip Oltermann writes:

Today, when I heard reports of Angela Merkel announcing that multiculturalism had “utterly failed”, my first thoughts were: who is she talking about? I am German, and I have a sister whose three boys are half-Peruvian. My brother’s children are part-Japanese. My partner is English. Were we all utter failures?

“Multi-kulti” covers a grey area somewhere between co-existence and co-operation, and one hopes the German chancellor was trying to speak in favour of team-play and against mere tolerance. My guess is that Merkel wasn’t talking about us, or about Poles, Italians or Greeks living in Germany, but about her country’s 4 million-strong Muslim population – in which case she has still chosen her words terribly badly. The result is a faux pas uncharacteristic of a politician who has won a reputation for treading quietly in matters diplomatic.

So what made her say it? The question over how to integrate Muslim migrants and the rest of German society is hardly new: politicians and commentators have been discussing it ever since the first wave of Gastarbeiter (migrant workers) arrived in the 1960s. If you look at the figures alone, there would be no particular reason to reheat the debate at this time: the number of Turkish immigrants into Germany in 2008 was as low as it had last been in 1983, according to Der Spiegel magazine, and the number of asylum applications is about a sixth of what it was in the mid-90s. More Turks returned to Turkey last year than came to live in Germany, which is actually bad news for the German economy, because with the population forecast to fall by 11.6 million by 2050, the country needs every qualified worker it can get its hands on.

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2 thoughts on “The utter failure of multiculturalism?

  1. Observer

    Put simply — Multiculturalism on a personal level has NOT — I repeat NOT — failed in Europe : We have all grown, and we all enjoy different cultures on a ‘daily life’ level.

    And no, I am not going to cite the phony new labour cliche that we should bloody well ‘celebrate’ choices of ‘curry and carnivals’ as the benefits of multiculturalism.How shallow is that?

    No — instead, that growth has manifested in our friendships at college and school; ( how many of us had ‘inter racial’ friendships that we grew and learnt so much from ) it manifests in what we have learnt from the relatively new presence of Buddhist and Hindu places of worship in our areas where our own churches and synagogues have no longer always been of relevance to us; it has enriched our lives via music and art, when our own has not always inspired us. We are all changed in so many good ways.

    More importantly now — no one has the right to interfere in our private lives, and we have, or we all know friends who have now intermarried and their families now carry two or more cultures. No one — repeat no one — has any right to now turn around and pontificate to us whether multiculturalism has ‘succeeded’ or ‘failed’ on those grounds — Who are we; some kind of guinea pigs or political think tank experiment?

    The elites can f__K off — we have made *our own* realities from living and working with myriad cultures now.

    However — where multiculturalism has totally failed — is as a ghastly economic project within a fading, decadent Capitalist vision : It has undermined the host culture , because the poorest and most vulnerable ethnic Europeans are now far, far weaker and with no foundation in their own countries . Who would want for example, to employ a young English white working class electrician for twenty points ( forty dollars ) an hour, when a young Polish lad will do the same job for five pounds ( ten dollars) an hour? Who would want to employ a young Irish painter and decorator — when a young Ukrainian lad will do the same job at less than a quarter of the price? Who would want to hire a factory work team of young ethnic British school leavers, who wanted ten pounds an hour, health care plans, may pension plans after ten years, and regular leave — when a team of Romanians will do the exact same job for three pounds an hour with no pension, no holiday, no protection, and no job security?

    That is the truth of the matter — and as the new immigrants have been exploited and used — we should never forget that the white working classes in UK have, at the same time, been decimated , destroyed and undermined in ways Margaret Thatcher could only have dreamt of.

    If you do overlook the injustice done to the ethnic poor and vulnerable of Britain — Don’t be surprised later then, and hold your hands up in horror when reactionary groups like the EDL grow as a reaction.

    And ultimately, don’t be a dupe; don’t be a puppet; don’t be a foolish stooge — don’t blame the Muslims. And don’t blame the young immigrants. And certainly don’t blame the new ‘mixed nationality’ kids.

    We need to blame the economic /banking elites for gutting these communities in every way imaginable and taking away the host countries’ ethnic populations’ very sense of belonging and economic survival at source, and then treating the new immigrants as little more than chattel and mobile work-horses.

    What cruel governments we have in Europe, that can encourage mass immigration on unprecedented scales, turn the host communities upside down — and then turn around ten years later and have the gall to tell us that ‘Multiculturalism has utterly failed.’

    These European elites from the luxurious, privileged, well heeled inner sanctum restaurant and banking and think tank areas of Paris, London and Munich and the elite areas of the countryside are utterly despicable, and without any conscience. They have no vision, no morality beyond that of consciousness of their bank balance.

  2. Philip Getz

    With regard to the current uproar about multiculturalism, it must surely be worth viewing the latter phenomenon within the context of known principles of human nature. Humans are social animals and we obey the same laws as most animal societies. Yes, we are gifted with more sophisticed resources as well, such as advanced cognition and morality, but in attempting to explain the multicultural debacle, we cannot brush aside our evolved animal nature. However politically incorrect, to do so reflects a lack of integrity: The more we ignore the facts, especially the decision-makers, the more self-destructive we are.
    People bemoan the superficiality of the media, meaning that the multi-determined aetiology of events – physical and psychological – is almost never fully analyzed scientifically. A case in point is the muticulticulturalim debacle. Everyone seems to voice an opinion based on polital bent, whether left or right. But in all the articles perused, I couldn’t find ONE reference to he world of evolution and ethology (the social behaviour of animals). The behaviour of animal societies must have a bearing on human nature. After all (with the exception of creationists!) we are part of the animal kingdom. and descended from more primitive primates.
    Most animals are dominated by innate imperatives such as identity, territoriality, and “pecking order”, and these laws of nature pervade the animal kingdom. Both identity (for example “MY baboon troop”) and territoriality produce an overwhelming resistance to strangers from other groups. In fact, so fierce is this innate force, that weak defenders will defeat stronger intruders.

    Even in a nation of immigrants, such as America, the newcomer tends to be abhorred if grudgingly accepted. In the new South Africa, xenophobia is bringing waves of killings of refugees from the north. Yes, the Rainbow Nation is blessed with relative peace between blacks and whites, but the degree of mutual toleration betwen groups already sharing common territory (albeit with a tendency for exclusive clustering) is known to be far greater than the initial response to newcomers. Even so, many multicultural countries are beset by serious inter-group strife, as we know.

    It is natural for baboon troops and human groups (national and racial) to be separate and to maintain the identity of their evolving culture. In an era where it is polically correct to welcome foreigners, there is a denial of these ethological laws, with consequences of inter-group tension and the dissolution of local culture and identity. In many cases, such tensions culminate in civil wars. In the case of England, there is no literal civil war, but it is arguable that rampant immigration since WWII has been a major factor in the perception that England has lost it’s character and identity, it’s “soul”.

    If a countries such as Germany and others need foreign labour, understood. But taking the laws of our animal nature into account – and bearing in mind our human ability to utilize our special powers of rationality and morality – we can tolerate a measure of foreign immigration so long as our xenophobic instincts are not overprovoked.

    In fact, many humans actually ENJOY the colourfulness and social stimulation of a multicultural society. Some seek out friends from other groups. But a balance must be struck which retains the integrity and security of the in-group.

    All this is not to say that we are not special in the animal kingdom in our ability to make rational choices which can override “instincts”. As choosers we are moral beings. But we ignore the lessons of our animal nature at our peril.

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