Citizens of all the tiny countries that lie between the Middle East and Germany were witnessing a migration far too big for Germany to handle. They knew Germany would eventually realize this, too. Once Germany lost its nerve, the huge human chain of testosterone and poverty would be stuck where it was. And if your country was smaller than Germany—Austria, for instance, is a tenth Germany’s size—you could wind up in a situation where the majority of fighting-age men in your country were foreigners with a grievance.
Well, that’s one way to look at it. A scary way. More:
There is not much willingness to acknowledge the civilizational complexity of the situation into which Germany has now dragged all of its Central European neighbors. Cant rules. How often Merkel’s representatives say: “Barbed wire is no solution.” And how wrong they are. Do you wonder why Bulgaria, which built a border fence this year, has no migrants? Or why 92 percent of asylum-seekers have settled in just 10 EU states? Former foreign minister Joschka Fischer has warned that Europe “must not sacrifice its basic values.” By this he means it must remain vigilant against ancient forms of intolerance. New forms of intolerance and complacency escape his gaze. The opening of the New York Times’s run-up to the Vienna elections was a doozy:
As befits the city of Sigmund Freud, Vienna has two faces—one sweet, one sinister. Behind the schnitzel and strudel, Mozart and the opera, lurks the legacy of the Nazis who forced Jews to clean sidewalks with toothbrushes. . . . Now, to the astonishment of many and the alarm of some, the burning question in Vienna’s elegant cafes is, Which face will prevail in the city’s bellwether elections on October 11?
And there you have the consensus reading of Europe’s migration crisis in all its moral complexity: It’s not just that those uneasy about migration are as bad as Hitler. Those happy about it are as sweet as strudel.
None dare mention Islam. One young Syrian-Austrian religion professor told the daily Der Standard that five of her students had gone off to join ISIS. “But Islam is not the problem,” she insists. Germanness is not mentioned, either. The Germans are often referred to in German-language accounts as die einheimische Bevölkerung—the native population. Nor do Austrians give the impression of having great resources of self-knowledge. There was a pretty young woman standing in front of an escalator in the Westbahnhof collecting money for refugees a few weeks ago. She was wearing a T-shirt bearing the Gloria Steinem slogan “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” What did she think she was doing? Attacking men? Or summoning the kind of men who won’t be spoken to that way?
Read the whole thing. You’ve got to see the withering last line of the piece.