Freedom of expression:
…and you know all about this freedom:
All the rest are just details, really.
A German Kurd looks at “parallel” societies within a single country:
The largest group in Germany with an immigrant background – after the Aussiedler or ethnic German resettlers – are the Turks, who were once recruited as guest workers and, unlike many Portuguese, Spanish and Greek economic migrants, did not return to their native country. These people of Turkish origin have now lived in this country for half a century. That would be a success story in itself if the following problem did not exist: many of them are not culturally, religiously, economically, socially or politically integrated. That creates an atmosphere of mutual critical scrutiny. Many issues have been debated in Germany – from the smell of garlic that allegedly wafts from housing blocks where the majority of tenants are from the Orient and how to tie a headscarf so that it doesn’t allow ambiguous assumptions about someone’s loyalty to the constitution and democracy to ethical controversies about specific slaughtering methods that are traditional in some cultures. Nevertheless, there is no subject that people argue about more passionately than Islam. All in all, you could say that although these debates have been vigorously and tirelessly conducted, people still haven’t really got to know one another even after 50 years. That applies to both sides. We stand on the threshold of the others’ home, as it were, but know nothing about them apart from their name. You may consider that good, you may consider that bad; there are equally good arguments for ignorance as there are for interest.
Here’s what I know: nothing creates friction within a society more quickly, or more certainly, than separate-but-equal mini-societies, who do not share a common language, culture, religion or worldview.
It is, despite the writer’s example of Israel, a recipe for failure. (Israel can have a divided society because it allows its security apparatus a degree of freedom unknown in the West.)
Now, I’m not suggesting some monolithic all-or-nothing nation: far from it. Monolithic cultures, and people who advocate them, tend to lead to State-sponsored activities like public beheadings, extermination camps and mass resettlement/expulsion of “the others”.
But there has to be some kind of glue, some common ground, or else humans, by nature, will always be suspicious of “the others”. This is a genetic impulse which is so deeply implanted in the human psyche as to be fundamental, and not capable of change.
So: what common ground, then?
Religion is pointless—too many imaginary friends, too much subjectivity, and (such as in Saudi Arabia or the Gulf states), too much fertile ground for oppression.
Culture is essentially a meaningless basis for a society, especially in a nation of immigrants such as ours, or in a world which has become far smaller since civilization (and its corollary, mechanical progress) increased. We are, in essence, made richer by diverse cultures in a society, as long as one does not exist to the exclusion of the other, or another does not nullify the country’s principle culture.
Language. This is it. Unless people can talk to each other and be understood, there is absolutely no way that hostility and enmity can be prevented, and there is no way that people can come together. And note that I’m not supporting language chauvinism such as has been practiced in France over the years: that way ultimately ends up stultifying not only progress, but the society as a whole. The Language Police are little different, in their rigidity, than the Religious Police.
Note too that I’m not suggesting that retail stores, for example, be disallowed from speaking to their customers in any language they choose—but I am insisting that government should use one, and only one language to communicate with its citizens. (I don’t care, for example, if Mexican immigrants can’t read an IRS form. Call it a “spur to learning”, if you will.) In the long run, while accommodation to non-English-speakers may sound high-minded or even polite, it will end up doing more permanent harm than the temporary inconvenience caused by its opposite policy.
There’s more, of course, a lot more, but that would do for a start.
The very existence of nation-states creates the basis for “parallel societies”—but to create a microcosm of that situation within a nation will simply bring the global turmoil and enmity to people’s front door, instead of keeping it outside the borders.
At 11.00am on this day in 1918, the guns at last fell silent.
Of course, the armistice came too late for millions upon millions.
For the Fallen by Robert Laurence Binyon
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
As we all know, Danes once formed part of the dreaded Viking group of raiders who held most of Western Europe in a grip of terror: killing innocent people, rape, pillage, sacking monasteries etc. In the past century or so, however, the Danes had become totally wussy, with a soft social tolerance of all things which would otherwise be beyond the pale in any ordered society.
Well, it seems like you can only push these particular Norsemen so far before they start getting twitchy:
So why is Denmark banning the burka and threatening to end benefits for migrants whose children don’t integrate?
Across the country, 21 other [ghettoes] with high crime rates, soaring unemployment and more than 50 per cent non-Western residents… are due to be ‘eradicated’ by 2030, following the introduction of controversial laws aimed at protecting ‘Danishness’ and ridding the country of so-called ‘parallel’ societies.
Later this year, legislation will force all families living in these ghettos to send their toddlers, as young as one year old, to approved day centres to learn the Danish language and Danish values.
The children will have to complete 25 hours of compulsory state education and, while the primary focus will be on language skills and learning, the plan is to educate the mainly Muslim children in the Danish way of life, as well as to give instruction on religious holidays, Christmas and Easter, and their importance in the Christian calendar.
I’m going to pause right now, to allow the cheers and applause to die down. (I bet His Rottieness The Emperor Misha — who is Danish — is cheering his head off.)
There’s nothing “controversial” about this legislation at all. The primary responsibility that all immigrants should assume when arriving in their host country is to assimilate and acculturate — even if only for gratitude’s sake. The fact that the (primarily Muslim) newcomers in Denmark (and in other European countries) have not done so is reprehensible, and the Danish government is quite justified in saying “Assimilate or we’ll end the benefits which we so readily grant you when you arrive here.”
Good for them, say I. And if these assholes dig their heels in and refuse to obey the law, then Denmark should deport all of them — including their Danish-born children — back to their home countries. I’m so sick of newcomers insisting that the hosts should change rather than they themselves.
In fact, this is such a good idea that I think I’m going to write to TexGov
Jim Greg Abbott and suggest that we copy the Danish program here for all immigrants, but especially for Mexicans and Californians. (For the latter, we need a crash course on conservative values and another one on gun ownership, to name but two.)
We can start by removing all that Habla Español bullshit on our official documents, because the official language of this country is English and if you come here, you have to learn it.
As the Danes would say: it’s time to fit in or fuck off.
As I looked for pictures which I thought would capture the spirit of the day, this one seemed to do it best:
In case you’re wondering, it’s a small town somewhere in Wisconsin. And a close-up of the crowd further along the road:
For a more “traditional” pic, how about this one:
And lest we forget:
Finally, for all those Islamist assholes out there, here’s one which encapsulates the American Dream and denies theirs:
Now… get out there, eat that BBQ and enjoy the fireworks tonight, all of you.