The latest article on the migrant problem in Europe is fascinating on a few levels. The biggest reason that the European leaders chose to admit the staggering number of refugees that they did was humanitarian in nature. As best they could tell at the time. the refugees were coming from war torn nations like Syria in the Middle East, or locations such as North Africa where conditions in many states are appalling and corruption among political leaders is rampant. From a German point of view, the stigma of Nazism is still a stench in the air that they feel they still need to eradicate even seventy-one years after the war ended. Europe as a whole still reels from that stench as witnessed by their rather open immigration policies (as one example). As Nazism was viciously anti-immigrant and pro-ethnic German based on a faulty ideal, European nations have taken the extremes of Nazism and reversed them to create extremes of openness. This means to say that Western European nations that have embraced the EU have made open migration to member nations a major component of EU membership. The assertion here is that guilt and fear of being branded a Nazi was the driving force for this component of membership, albeit a tacit one. Publicly, the reasons given were to provide a workforce and job opportunities for the peoples of the member nations thereby increasing the economic vitality of Europe. Please see my previous post on BREXIT for a little more information.
The generation that is in control in most of these European nations have not forgotten the destruction, devastation, and horrors that were World War Two. Open arms, a welfare state that is accessible to anyone, and liberal doctrines of crime and punishment have become the norm for Western Europe. I have referred to this condition as the Hitlerian Effect, and will be outlining and writing on it in the coming months. The result? Open societies that have functioned, for the most part, quite well since the 1960’s. Life had gotten easier for many that suffered the trauma of World War II. Millions of orphaned kids had a chance, adults that thought their lives were over under Nazism or national devastation were given a new lease on life. The post war creation of the EEC (European Common Market) and its subsidiaries eventually morphed into the EU which has as one of its components free movement of peoples from member states in order to better their economic condition. This movement of people also provides needed workers for nations with very low native birthrates, something that is afflicting many western European nations. It seemed like the best of all worlds, and that was taking place under the shadow of the Cold War. The United States was instrumental in the European resurgence as the Marshall Plan provided needed funds for Europe to get jump started. There were strings that came along with Marshall Plan aid, but suffice it to say that the United States, in its effort to help rebuild Europe (and blunt possible Soviet expansion) offered a way out for so many crippled nations after the war. The reader must understand that just because the war was over, things did not go back to the way that they had been prior to the war. Leveled nations with no housing, displaced people from all over Europe (which may have posed the biggest challenge), destroyed economies, murdered parents and children scattered in heaps throughout the European landscape* just to name a few of the problems were the new normal. Occupations, mass rapes, disease, and people fleeing from East to West to escape Soviet imposed communism further contributed to the chaos. Europeans understand the former all to well which may explain in great part why they welcome the refugees with open arms. This, however, has a price and it is one whose debt is going to be paid. To be sure, many Europeans actually ventured to the Middle East as refugees to get away from the war, much like what is going on currently, although there were some significant differences (article).
If history teaches us nothing, it teaches us that massive numbers of people, from anywhere, must at some point assimilate into the culture that they have migrated to if the host culture is going to survive. This does not mean to suggest that once people enter into a nation that they forget who they are. What it does suggest is that the immigrant person must acquiesce and adopt the ways, laws, and manner of living that exist in the host nation.
During the period of the Roman Empire, Rome subjugated and placed many peoples under their yoke. It is also generally agreed that the Roman Empire was one of the greatest achievements of all of human history in terms of expansion, trade, the arts and sciences and architecture, to name a few. It has even been suggested by more than one historian that nations have chased the Roman dream of European hegemony long after its demise in an attempt to achieve some level of Roman greatness.* Rome, of course, was not perfect on any level. Conditions such as slavery, brutality, bad living conditions were rampant throughout the Empire. The point is that they successfully integrated many cultures into their midst and even took some of the best parts of those cultures and integrated them into their own. They allowed societies to continue to exist, provided that those societies recognized Roman law and order first. For centuries, Germanic peoples made their way into the Empire and were commonly referred to as barbarians. The numbers were small enough and regulated enough that they easily assimilated into Roman culture, becoming “Roman”. They became not only part of the fabric of Roman life, but many obtained Roman citizenship and lived quite well in the Empire.
As the Empire disintegrated due primarily to poor leadership, a decaying economy and barbarian pressures on the frontier, more and more of the tribal peoples made their way into the Empire, but in such numbers that they no longer needed to assimilate. They had a numerical advantage as the Roman legions that secured the border lands were melting away (due, primarily, to not being paid), and Roman leadership became helpless to stop it as a result (although they were also too busy lining their pockets as well). There are myriad books on the subject, with their own biases, and even attempts to explain Rome’s fall with a revisionist slant, but the point is that the key pieces that I’ve outlined are the roots of Rome’s fall and have been considered as such for generations. While historians may argue the minutiae of the fall of Rome, the ingredients that I have described remain constant.
Why do I mention this? Simple. Europe, as currently constituted, cannot continue to allow unfettered migrant access to its shores simply based on humanitarian reasons alone. In addition, the continued influx of peoples that either cannot or are completely unwilling to integrate and assimilate will result in not only chaos in the European nations that accept them, but eventually, over time, the native cultures will become overwhelmed and develop into a minority in their own territories. History proves this true, and it will remain so as long as humans live on this planet. This does not mean to say that immigration should be stopped, but it does suggest that controlled access to host nations is not only necessary, but vital, for the survival of the host nation socially, culturally, and economically. It is simply untenable for a nation to accept, without reservation, unfettered immigration into the host nation without consequences for the established culture.
The experience of the Second World War scarred Europe, and many of the leaders in the West are still subject to the pain of those scars as evidenced by their actions. Every day that they wake up, the memories of that war stir in their being and while Europe could have afforded those scars in the past, it cannot any longer. At some point, refugees have to take control of their own nations, rather than simply flee to other nations for relief. Europe can no longer afford it politically, socially, or economically. Neither can the United States.
*For further information, please see the book The Savage Continent
*There are many, many articles and books on this subject. It has been suggested that Charlemagne’s empire was the first true attempt at this re-imaging. Even the barbarians worshiped what was once Rome, preserving their laws in many instances as well as cultural artifacts.