Friday, November 26, 2010

Are Muslims lowering the intelligence of German society?

The above is an article written by David Goodhart from the British Journal Prospect entitled "The Challenge of German Liberalism." It is a review of Thilo Sarrazin's Germany Abolishes Itself: How we are putting our country at risk.

Here are some highlights from Goodhart's article: "Nowhere in Europe is the gap between public opinion and published opinion as wide as in Germany. And nowhere has public policy been more influenced by a 1960s generation, post-national, society-is-to-blame kind of liberalism. Yet this “official” liberalism has never reflected the way people live and think, even in the German chattering classes. When I lived in the country, 20 years ago, it felt far more socially conservative than the similar circles I had come from in London.

"Another difference that struck me was the invisibility of the Turks and the other big minorities living in Germany, compared with the relative visibility of Britain’s minorities. I later worked out why this was. There was what Peter Schneider calls an 'unholy alliance' between left and right to pretend that Germany did not have an integration issue—especially amongst its Turkish, middle eastern and north African minorities. By 1990, there were more than 2m Turks living in Germany, many of them second and third generation. Yet the Christian Democratic right still refused to accept that some of the “guest workers” who had arrived in the 1950s and 1960s had come to stay—and rejected the idea that Germany was an “immigration country.” This meant that they put no effort or money into turning Turks into Germans. As for the anti-national left, the idea that the exotic Turks should be forced to learn the language of the SS was equally abhorrent. So the mainly Muslim minorities were left alone in their parallel worlds.

"Things have got a lot better in the last 20 years. In 1999, the then Social Democrat government made it easier to become a German citizen and about 30 per cent of Turks now have full citizenship. Turks and other “New Germans” are more visible in political and public life. The flag waving at the 2006 World Cup in Germany seemed to herald a national “normalisation” and the multicoloured football team at the 2010 World Cup revealed a fully multi-racial land (although they continued to play German, not multicultural, football)."

"But Sarrazin is more interested in the failure of the Muslim background Turks and north Africans—about half of Germany’s ethnic minority population (which altogether is now about 15 per cent of the total). And he describes the failure in shocking and pitiless detail. The poor German spoken by third-generation immigrants, the abysmal performance in school (72 per cent of Turks living in Germany, aged 20 to 64, have no qualifications at all), the high crime rates, the fact that they take far more out of the welfare state than they put in (only 33 per cent of Muslim Germans live mainly from their labours). According to Christopher Caldwell . . . the number of foreign-born residents rose from 3m to 8m between 1971 and 2000, but the number of employed foreigners stayed the same at 2m."

"The fact that Muslim migrants perform poorly in the context of German society does not, however, support the outlandish claim that they are inherently stupider than Germans or other minorities. Sarrazin does not quite say this but he does assert that their poor performance is dragging down the country’s average ability level—something that could probably be said of most of Europe’s immigrant groups from poor countries, at least for a generation or two. But Sarrazin digs deeper into the intelligence story. He is fascinated by group IQ levels and includes a long discourse on the above-average IQ results for modern Jews—a product, he argues, of the ancient selection pressures on a persecuted minority which resulted in larger families for those who performed well in the trade, finance and intellectual pursuits that Jews were restricted to. Given that intelligence is at least 50 per cent inherited, Sarrazin claims that over many generations a cultural trait can thus become biologically “fixed” in a population."

"It is a shame that an otherwise powerful and overdue argument about integration should be too easily reducible to a racist slogan: “The Turks are making us stupid.” Germany’s dismal failure to integrate something like 7 per cent of its population is clear enough without requiring a detour into intelligence theory. And the message from this book is hardly going to inspire Turks to become better citizens of Germany: already 58 per cent feel they are not welcome in the country.

"Sarrazin’s policy solutions are relatively mainstream, echoing some of the new Labour reforms in Britain: tighter control of immigration and language tests for newcomers; steps towards compulsory citizenship for long-term residents; a sharp focus on teaching German at immigrant-dominated schools. Sarrazin is also concerned at how the welfare system creates alienation, saps initiative and prevents the workplace integration that countries like America are famous for, and so he recommends probationary periods before immigrants are entitled to benefit. The government is already acting on some of these points."

COMMENT: If you go to the Prospect web site you can hear an interview by Philip Dodd on Radio 3's Nightwave. It is the last interview -- after Michael Holroyd, Bridget Riley, and Garry Trudeau. In his article and in the interview, Goodhart bemoans the fact that Sarrazin muddied the water of his otherwise good book with pseudo-eugenics. And yet Sarrazin is doing something very like what Herrnstein and Murray did in their 1994 book The Bell Curve. People were outraged and just about everyone denounced the book, but their arguments were valid and almost immediately changes were made to the American Welfare system, during the Clinton administration, no less. Notice that in the penultimate paragraph of Goodhart's article, he writes that "Sarrazin's policy solutions are relatively mainstream . . . The government is already acting on some of these points"

Sarrazin has already been denounced. He even lost his job, but his arguments are valid and the government is acting upon them. So you see, Liberals and Leftists aren't all bad. They will denounce arguments from Hernstein, Murray, and Sarrazin, but if they are valid and enough people clamor their agreement, they will act upon them. Of course they won't withdraw their denouncements of Herrnstein, Murray and Sarrazin. That would be asking too much. Those denouncements stand.

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