Europe Can’t Avoid Immigration
If Ann Coulter had neither a law degree nor some fear of being parked permanently beyond the pale of respectable discourse, she might write like Katie Hopkins. The latter, a British columnist for the Murdoch tabloid The Sun is now in heavy soup for penning a scabrous column about African migrants, which by chance happened to be published a few days before a large boat of such migrants sunk in the Mediterranean, drowning at least 700. Before that tragic event, Hopkins had let fly what she thought about the people from the southern continent scrambling to seek asylum in Europe:
NO, I don’t care. Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad.
I still don’t care.
Because in the next minute you’ll show me pictures of aggressive young men at Calais, spreading like norovirus on a cruise ship.
Watching them try to clamber on to British lorries and steal their way into the UK, do I feel pity? Only for the British drivers, who get hit with a fine every time one of this plague of feral humans ends up in their truck.
She went on to liken the would-be migrants’ tough durability to that of cockroaches, suggested they be deterred at sea by gunboats rather than met by rescuers, etc. Unsurprisingly, bien-pensant Britain has worked itself into a fury like nothing seen before; several online petitions with thousands of signers are demanding The Sun “redeem” itself by sacking Hopkins, while a group called the Society of Black Lawyers is trying to get her prosecuted for inciting racial hatred. It might help Hopkins that she is a columnist who trades regularly in the outrageous, which includes thoughts that many people actually think. She once wrote that dementia victims take up hospital space and should be euthanized. She is also not writing for American Renaissance, but for Britain’s largest selling newspaper.
I have prior experience criticizing immigration for a Murdoch-owned tabloid, and found no readiness at the top to support someone promoting immigration restrictionist views. Of course I didn’t write like Hopkins, but in a more measured and deliberate style, with statistics about wage rates and school performance, and quotations from George Kennan and Eugene McCarthy. But that was in New York, in the mid-1990s. There are as yet no signs the Murdoch operation will pull the plug on Katie Hopkins in today’s London. It goes without saying that it is insensitive and vulgar to liken would-be migrants to cockroaches, inviting the inevitable Nazi comparisons which thousands in Britain are making.
Nevertheless there is the matter of massive African and North African migration to Europe, and all the politically correct censorship in the world won’t make it go away. The blunt truth is that tens and perhaps hundreds of millions of Africans don’t want to live in Africa, where their governments are cruel and corrupt, and are, in growing numbers, willing to spend their life savings on bids to be smuggled into Europe. Add to this a massive flow of refugees from Syria’s civil war, and the pressures to enter Europe via the Mediterranean are boiling over. Africa’s population is north of a billion now; by the end of the century it is predicted to rise to four billion. Of course this is a Malthusean disaster waiting to happen, which could be stemmed by some combination of birth control and economic development. But in the meantime, young Africans try to break into Europe. A trickle of refugees and a reasonable number of immigrants can of course be accommodated generously, but when the numbers rise into the tens of millions, obviously Europe’s civilization would be transformed in unforeseeable ways. One can’t really be a sensitive human being and remain unmoved by Africa’s suffering. But is it really unreasonable to suggest that Africans might react to bad rulers by trying to improve their governments or overthrow them, as have other peoples throughout history?
Despite the horror of mass drownings in the Mediterranean, there is plenty of non-politically correct discussion of this question in Europe now. Both Angela Merkel and David Cameron have stated that the multicultural society is a failed project, and no one really suggests it will be improved by massive infusion of poor immigrants. In Paris today, no one flees screaming from the room if someone suggests the idea that European navies will have to be reconfigured to stop the migrant smugglers and ensure no one can claim asylum simply by landing in Europe by boat. Australia is doing that now, and one of France’s largest political parties—the National Front—is calling for France to follow Australia’s example.
Just as significantly, the European center-right is developing a mainstream vocabulary to discuss immigration effectively. The day after Hopkins published her piece, Le Figaro, the center-right French paper which lies at roughly the same place on the political spectrum as the Wall Street Journal here, published a piece by Hervé Juvin, the author of a prominent anti-globalist polemic on the “ecology of civilizations.” Juin’s essential argument, in the piece and elsewhere, is that the ideology of individual rights, in conjunction with the relentless march of global capitalism, is destroying the diversity of civilizations, which may be the diversity that matters most. It is an argument, using concepts which are broadly popular, to support the idea of France remaining, if it wishes, French. He noted that the opinions of the French people were never sought about the project of changing the ethnic origin of the people who inhabit the country, nor was the issue subject to meaningful debate or democratic vote. A French court ruling, decreeing the right to family reunification, is the engine of much of French immigration. Reading this, one recalls that it is possible to read similar arguments about American immigration policy in restrictionist websites, but never, ever, in the Wall Street Journal.
Of course the circumstances are different: even most American WASPs came to accept the idea that the United States was a “nation of immigrants”; Charles de Gaulle by contrast was not embarrassed to describe France as a country of whites with Latin and Christian roots. Political predictions are hazardous, but I would venture that Europe will somehow find a way of not permitting everyone who touches European soil on a boat to receive asylum. I know my colleague Pat Buchanan believes Europe is doomed through immigration; by contrast, I would predict the Europeans will find a way to select the immigrants they want. They may even tolerate Katie Hopkins getting away with saying what she really thinks.
Scott McConnell is a founding editor of The American Conservative.