One of my favourite books is The Great Migrations by John Haywood. It documents and analyses the most significant movements of peoples since the dawn of mankind. There have been many such migrations and now, in the 2010s, we are in the grip of another, no less significant, movement of human beings, chiefly (but not exclusively) from Syria to neighbouring lands and beyond. Reasons for such migrations vary; it is important to bear this in mind when we see images in the newspapers and on the television. We must address the Syrian refugee crisis with a critical eye and a cool head, not let our baser emotions cloud our judgement.
I appreciate that this does not come naturally to many, especially to those of an effeminate disposition. The sight of a lifeless three-year-old lying face-down on a beach is a harrowing one, for sure. Unfortunately, Aylan Kurdi was not the first child to die fleeing his homeland, nor will he be the last. In August, the bodies of five children were discovered in Libya by coastguards after a boat carrying around 450 people capsized. Others, children and adults, will meet a similar fate, for their journey is a perilous one. So dire is the situation in war-torn Syria that the people there will risk their lives for a week or so if a life of relative safety awaits them at the journey’s end. I daresay I might be tempted to do the same were I in the same situation. Then again, I might stay and scavenge in the ruins. The experience would be character-building, if nothing else.
Inevitably, there arose a chorus of condemnation, hand-wringing and demands from the governments of Europe to ‘do something’. This something amounted to taking in in thousands of refugees. German Chancellor and head girl Angela Merkel has risen to the occasion and Germany will have housed more than 800,000 by the end of the year, by some estimates. Cue gushing praise from The Guardian, The Huffington Post, the Twittersphere and other such havens of left-wing do-goodery. Is the German government’s open-door policy entirely motivated by altruism? Consider this: in 2014, the Federal Republic’s birth rate was 8 per 1,000 persons, while her death rate was 10.9. 26% of the German population is aged 60 or over (one of the highest proportions in Europe), while those aged 15 or under count for just 13.4%. Between 2000 and 2010, the population shrank by 0.1% and is projected to shrink further in the years to come. Faced with an ageing population and by extension a dwindling proportion of taxpayers, could this grand humanitarian gesture be in fact a shrewd calculation to ensure long-term economic stability? Consider also the shadow of the Third Reich that continues to hang over the German psyche. I sense a need from those welcoming in the refugees to exorcise the demons of the past and refashion their nation as the paragon of enlightenment and exemplar of libertarian virtue. I would be very interested to get a perspective from those Germans who are not so enthusiastic about this large-scale influx of newcomers. They have been largely sidelined by mainstream international media.
The UK, meanwhile, has come under pressure to play her part and David Cameron promises to house 20,000 more refugees by 2020. This is a relatively small number and he has come under criticism for dragging his heels on the issue. His reluctance is understandable, though, given how contentious the immigration issue is in Britain. Bringing in more healthy young people may seem like a sound strategy from an economist’s perspective and will certainly assuage a lot of guilty consciences, but think for a moment about exactly whom we are bringing in. Look carefully at the images in the news reports. Why are most of them men? Certainly, the moral crusaders at establishments such as the BBC will try to steer your attention to case studies of photogenic women or apple-cheeked toddlers, but the truth is that they constitute only a minority among the endless waves of humanity pouring into Europe. Look again at the newsreel images. Ask the lorry drivers at the ports. See for yourself. Most of the migrants coming this way are young Muslim men (Syria is 90% Muslim). Overwhelmingly, disproportionately so. Were they so callous as to leave their families behind, or are they simply economic migrants, opportunists seeking a better life elsewhere?
Throughout history, men have always been at the vanguard of any migratory endeavour. It is entirely understandable that many should wish to improve their lot in a land where the living standards are significantly higher or where there are more jobs. However, today Europe is faced with a huge influx of people, the scale of which has not been witnessed since the Second World War. Moral obligations aside, think for a moment about what this entails in real terms: housing, medicine, food, water. Wherever these migrants are housed, they will place a strain on the existing infrastructure. It was a smart move on Chancellor Osborne’s part to fund Britain’s intake from the overseas aid budget, but where there are more people, there are more queues, traffic jams, longer waiting lists for GPs and fewer available hospital beds. Does the average European citizen have a ‘moral obligation’ to endure a lower quality of life? The strain will be felt most acutely by the poorest in society – is it any surprise, then, that so many ordinary Europeans are wary of or even hostile to the idea of living alongside thousands of newcomers?
Letting in thousands more Muslim men into a society whose cultural foundation is Judeo-Christian is dangerously naive. Many Muslims consider kuffar women – especially the fair-skinned and blonde-haired – to be fair game. In Britain, we have seen the scale of this problem, as gangs of Pakistani men prey upon vulnerable young white girls, lure them with false promises and sexually abuse them, sometimes for years. The scale of their predation is far out of proportion to their numbers, which are relatively small nationally. Do the German social democratic legislators have any idea what they have unleashed upon their people? These droves of poor, unmarried Muslim men seek a more comfortable, safer life. Should they find it, what will they desire next? They will want what most men want: sex. Without sufficient funds for a visit to the local brothel, where will they find it? Not all Muslim men will resort to rape, but sexual frustration can manifest itself in myriad ways, none of them pleasant. Moreover, Islamic culture is very different from – some would say, at odds with – Western culture. Therefore, to compare Syrian, Eritrean or Somali migrants with the Jews who fled the Nazi persecution or the Irish fleeing the Potato Famine is absurd. Where there is Islam, there is the foul doctrine of Wahhabism and the ever-present threat of a terrorist attack over something as trivial as a satirical cartoon. It does not matter if most Muslims are what one might term ‘moderate’. All it takes is but a handful of fanatical individuals to form a murderous coven that, with sufficient organisation and determination, can snuff out the lives of many innocents. How often do orthodox Jews cut off the heads of unbelievers? When was the last time we heard of Hindus setting off bombs on public transportation? It is apparent, from the horrors that are daily inflicted upon the Middle East, that the Islamic world is still mired in the barbarism of yesteryear and, unlike other religions, has yet to encounter its Age of Enlightenment. Swelling the numbers of a people who are already viewed with great suspicion among Europeans (with good reason) is unwise. The Islamic State cockroaches were not born yesterday: they know they can easily send in sleeper agents among the anonymous flocks of desperadoes crossing into Europe; indeed, they are already doing so. I fear that the Middle East’s woes today may become Christendom’s problems tomorrow.
I do not object to the United Kingdom taking in more Syrian refugees, but there must be strings attached. First, they should not be housed among the general populace, but confined to a dedicated refugee camp where the authorities can keep an eye on them lest they cause mischief. Second, at least 60% of the refugees should consist of women and children and all must be Syrian, not Somali or Eritrean or Pakistani. There are oppressive regimes all over the world, it is true, but to take in every soul who is languishing in the clutches of a cruel tyrant is simply not feasible. Third, their health needs should be addressed by visiting medical staff, either appointed by the state or charitable institutions such as the Red Cross. It would be unreasonable and unfair to expect the National Health Service to take the extra strain, struggling as they are with tighter budgets and longer waiting lists. Finally, these refugees must understand that this is not a Muslim country, but a secular, enlightened one based on Judeo-Christian beliefs. They will encounter practices and traditions that will offend them but it is they who must adapt to an alien culture, not we.
It is understandable, even commendable, to feel horrified and outraged when confronted with images of dispossessed people and the hardships they have endured, but such virtue signalling does nothing to address the problems that large-scale migrations cause, particularly when such a high proportion of them consist of young, Muslim men. The concerns of millions of Europeans must not be dismissed as paranoid delusion. The left-wing bourgeoisie of Germany, Austria and Sweden may pat themselves on the back now but I fear their complacency will only serve to strengthen the cause of the far right. Europe is a continent of sovereign nations, not a charity. At a time when most of these nations are struggling to emerge from a long recession and Islamic fundamentalist movements are thriving, it is rather insulting to preach at ordinary Europeans about moral duties and expect them to give shelter unreservedly to people who may have nothing but contempt for their way of life.