Paul Marshall reviews Christopher Caldwell’s new book Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West in the Wall Street Journal.
In his reflections on Europe’s slide into a sort of secular suicide, Mr. Caldwell notes the key role played by that most religious impulse: guilt. He argues that the dominant moral mood of postwar Europe was “repentance for two historical misdeeds, colonialism and Nazism.” Over the decades, guilt has festered into “a sense of moral illegitimacy” and a “self-directed xenophobia” that now shapes the continent’s response to immigration.
Originally, the reasons given for encouraging mass immigration to Europe were economicâ€”a means of remedying Europe’s purported labor shortage and, eventually, of bolstering economies obliged to fund generous pension plans. Immigrants “would emerge from the desiccated and starving hamlets of the Third World and ride to the rescue of the retirement checks and second homes, the wine tastings and snorkeling vacations, of the most pampered workforce in the history of the planet,” Mr. Caldwell writes. Such economic rationales proved to be chimeras, though. Nowadays, with majorities in many countries consistently opposed to immigration, a new justification has had to be found: the flat assertion that immigration and asylum policies are “nonnegotiable moral duties that you don’t vote on,” or perhaps even discuss.
Except that there is nothing “purported” about a domestic labor shortage in modern Western countries.
Free education and social mobility afforded the respectable portions of the former working classes a ready path to white collar employment. Egalitarianism and the doctrines of the left supplied excuses to avoid manual labor for the ineducable, and generous social welfare policies assured that those who would not work would still have color televisions.
The consequence has been everywhere in Europe and America a drastic shortage of manual labor of domestic origin, and massive Third World immigration to fill the gap.
We are much luckier in America. We get Roman Catholic Hispanic immigrants, who are highly assimilable. Europe is getting hostile Muslims.