Category Archives: integration

Tell me all about Fido

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 08.42.36An Indo-British friend of Dalrymple’s

says that he found two things necessary to integrate into English life in its more affable aspects, namely

  • to go to the pub
  • to speak to people out walking their dogs (about their dogs)

From these two activities all else follows; you are a stranger no longer.

Europe’s Muslims and social exclusion

Dalrymple identifies as a large threat to Europe’s future the presence of a sizeable and growing immigrant population, a big part of which, he says with delicate understatement, 

is not necessarily interested in integration.

As the population ages, the need for immigrant labour increases, and among sources of such labour are the Maghreb, the Middle East, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Dalrymple writes:

When I recently drove to Antwerp from the south of France, I thought I had arrived in Casablanca. There are parts of Brussels where the police are enjoined not to be seen eating or drinking during Ramadan. Similar accommodations are occurring all over Europe: in the Central Library in Birmingham, for example, I found a women-only table occupied exclusively by young Muslims dressed in the hijab. (They were the lucky ones, members of liberal households that allowed them out on their own.)

Across the non-border in France, there has been

a salutary monoculturalism,

but the country’s cock-eyed economic and social policies have

helped, if not to create, at least to maintain Muslim ghettoes. On one hand, the children of immigrants were told they were French; on the other, they were de facto excluded from the rest of society. Ferocious resentment was the result, and we ain’t seen nothing yet.

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Xenophobes and multiculturalists

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 12.51.26The pessimistic, xenophobic, and implicitly socialist attitude to immigration

The successful cultural negotiation many immigrants accomplish, Dalrymple writes,

pleases neither the racist xenophobe nor the multiculturalist liberal, who are united in the belief that assimilation is wrong in principle and impossible in practice. The former wants there to be no foreign presence at all; the latter wants to preserve the foreignness of foreigners, thus provoking the very xenophobia he claims to decry and despise.

The racist xenophobe regards the wish to migrate

as more of a threat than a compliment. Because they conceive of a national economy as a cake of predetermined size, they believe the immigrants’ slice must take the crumbs from their mouths. In times of unemployment, immigrants are said to take our jobs by undercutting wages; in times of full employment, they are said to take advantage of our generous social security system and drive up our taxes. They either work too hard, or not hard enough. They can never arrive at the right moment in the economic cycle.

For his part, the multiculturalist liberal, while he approves of, indeed enthusiastically advocates, mass immigration,

believes that all cultures are equal, except for his own, which is uniquely wicked and imperialist. Assimilation, in his view, would be yet another despicable instance of cultural imperialism — but, of course, it would also throw doubt upon his own world outlook, which he has adopted precisely to establish his own superior broad-mindedness and tolerance….Keeping foreigners in cultural ghettoes is a necessity for him, if he is to preserve his self-regard.

(2001)