Merkel Says German Multi-cultural Society Has Failed

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Re: Merkel Says German Multi-cultural Society Has Failed

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 20 Oct 2010, 13:48

zyzzx: I really don't know. I suspect it's something to do with a combination of two things. One is how fatalistic their religion seems to be, especially as summarised by the term "Inshallah" and that the very name of their religion means submission. It's a very Weberian analysis, I know.

The second is that they seem to have a highly developed sense of pride, to the point of really shooting themselves in the foot. This seems to manifest itself in a really, really heightened sense of being agrieved over their relations with the West, specifically the U.S. and Israel (which may or may not be considered Western, but that's beside the point), both formerly and presently.

Regarding China's lack of Nobel Laureates, I would say two things about that. Firstly, China does kick goals in other areas. Secondly, I have no doubt that within twenty years, we're going to see a massive increase in the amount of high-end manufacturing and innovation coming out of China. It's already doing all sorts of interesting things with renewable energy as well as cars. I don't quite know that it will surpass the scientific output of the West in that time (though it could if the West had to slash funding or made it very unattractive for innovators to base themselves there), but the scales will certainly tip at least a moderate amount in their direction. Almost by necessity, China will have to move away from being the world's producer of cheap crap since it can't continue to advance its people without going more high-end. I just can't see it with the Muslim world generally. Sure, they're trying to put together some interesting universities and so on in various parts of the Gulf, but it doesn't seem like it's on a large enough scale or that they could even implement such things on a societal level without radically changing their cultures. I think the one thing the West has going for itself against China and many parts of Asia at the moment is that the West has better institutions and methods for producing really great innovators. Much of Asia still seems to focus on working really hard in school, rather than working really smart in school. Perhaps, as they develop, Asian nations will put more of a focus upon quality of life. We'd better hope so in a way. Otherwise, when they're working both hard and smart, they're going to have it all over the West. I just don't see the Muslim world being anywhere near being in that game. The West's long term economic and military rivals (and role models, I might add, since it doesn't have to be seen entirely in a negative light!) will not be in the Muslim world, which is why I think the whole War on Terror is a massive distraction that only hastens the shift in power from the West to the East.

I'm sceptical about the effects of Christianity on a society in many respects, although that said, whilst I really don't like the Mormons, if everyone followed their example, they'd work a lot harder and be a lot more successful. They have both positive and negative aspects to their religion from an atheist's perspective.

Yet my observations of people in the four Muslim nations I have been to (Egypt, Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia, in that order) is that they seem to have an inordinate amount of time to sit around and drink tea, play backgammon or go to the mosque, or they're involved in the tourism industry shaking down foreigners (which is not specific to Muslim nations, of course) and it's hard to figure out who does the actual work there. It doesn't strike me as a coincidence at all that Taiwan is quite developed, despite being an agricultural backwater a couple of generations ago. Walking around here, everyone is always busy. It's go, go, go 24 hours a day here, which does have its drawbacks, but also provides lots of benefits. It's a world away from the Muslim nations I've been to. For someone whose life ambition or family examples consisted of wanting to sit around doing bugger all (which, from my observations, seemed to be quite common), I should imagine sucking on the teat of European welfare would be vastly preferable to actually having to work hard in a country like America or Canada, which is probably why the latter possibly get the cream. That said, in Australia (which you'd think would be more in line with America than Europe), getting a class full of Chinese kids is a dream gig because they actually ask for more homework and want to impove their test scores and so hang on your every word, written or spoken. Aside from white trash, getting a bunch of Muslim kids would have to be one of the worst gigs because not only will they not do the homework, they'll argue constantly with you about why it's somehow not their fault, but is in fact your fault.
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Re: Merkel Says German Multi-cultural Society Has Failed

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 20 Oct 2010, 14:08

suiyuan: Nicely sidestepped. Again.
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Re: Merkel Says German Multi-cultural Society Has Failed

Postby BigJohn » 20 Oct 2010, 14:29

Guy in Taiwan:

As usual, you are painting a picture that shows only black and white, but of a world which is in countless shades of gray.

There are many Muslim uni students in Canada, and I found them to be more hard working than many of the non-Muslims, some of whom would spend considerable amounts of time drinking.

Most of them go on to become respectable professionals.

Countries such as Turkey are doing OK without oil. It's the world's 15th biggest economy and slated to join the EU.

Malaysia hasn't squandered its chances to develop itself in a reasonable way.

Many of the entrepreneurs who are changing India are Muslims.

Many Gulf States have risen out of poverty due to oil and have diversified to finance and investment.

So, yeah, I've been to India and Indonesia and I know a thing or two about the 3rd world and the kind of self-defeatism you are referring to, but I have to say I find your ideas way overstated.
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Re: Merkel Says German Multi-cultural Society Has Failed

Postby Mucha Man » 20 Oct 2010, 14:52

GuyInTaiwan wrote:....It doesn't strike me as a coincidence at all that Taiwan is quite developed, despite being an agricultural backwater a couple of generations ago....


Taiwan was not an agricultural backwater a few generations ago. Even under the Qing it was wealthier than China which is why we have so many nice temples (locals could afford the best materials and craftsmen). The Japanese built up a prized infrastructure and by WWII the majority of the population was literate and had at least elementary school education.

Taiwan went downhill after the war because of KMT mismanagement and slaughter of the professional class, and only got back on it's feet in the 60s. But it had a long history of trade, entrepreneurial and business acumen, high education standards, and so on. It also greatly benefited from overseas Chinese groups and the injection of the Shanghai business elite. In other words, Taiwan was primed to explode economically.

If you're this ignorant about a place you live in I can only imagine how little you bother to understand countries you've merely visited.
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Re: Merkel Says German Multi-cultural Society Has Failed

Postby Jack Burton » 20 Oct 2010, 14:59

Interestingly, even my German friends have problems with other Germans from other parts of the country. E.g. my Thuringian friend works in Swabia for a Bavarian company and says Swabians are so cold (that, for a German to say!!), and Bavarians are so-and-so. My friend from Mainz says southern Germans are so-and-so, and they all dislike former East Germans for their welfare, can't get past the Commie past hump, even though "we" have subsidized billions to modernize East Germany, etc. And these are more serious criticisms than, say, a Californian making fun of a Midwesterner or Texan.
So if they can't even get along with other Germans.... well. lol
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Re: Merkel Says German Multi-cultural Society Has Failed

Postby yuli » 20 Oct 2010, 15:23

GuyInTaiwan wrote:my observations of people in the four Muslim nations I have been to (Egypt, Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia, in that order) is that they seem to have an inordinate amount of time to sit around and drink tea, play backgammon or go to the mosque, or they're involved in the tourism industry shaking down foreigners (which is not specific to Muslim nations, of course) and it's hard to figure out who does the actual work there.


The same could be said about people in Milano or Mexico or Madrid - mostly Christians there, no? In certain latitudes, people who hang out in the heat of the day tend to stay in the shade, move little, and drink lots of liquid (the people doing the work at that time are usually the women in the houses). What does any of this have to do with Islam or failure to integrate culturally? :eek:

You could actually say that it is the Germans who, for all their economic prowess, don't seem the smartest cookies in the tin: they've had the Nazi experience to learn from and 50 years of guest workers in the country with various associated social problems - and yet, they haven't figured out how to get along with the people they themselves invited into their country. :) And now Merkel talks about Christian values that immigrants are expected to embrace. Like... tolerance? kindness? modesty? sharing? You really have to wonder who the people are who are most in need of such values...

Leaving such facetious speculation aside: I don't have much tolerance for any of the organised religions that are involved in this kerfuffle - "opium for the masses" is about right - but I have even less tolerance for notions along the lines of "adherents to religion A are naturally better human beings than those who belong to religion B". However appealing such ideas might be emotionally, they are nothing more than "prejudices" (judgements made before knowing the relevant facts) , i.e, a kind of obvious ignorance (not to fret: ignorance is curable).

Just imagine, if the headline had been, "Merkel says Germans have failed to make their society multi-cultural". Now that would have given us something to work with. And Merkel would have gotten some respect from me (not that she has any reason to care, but still... :wink: )
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Re: Merkel Says German Multi-cultural Society Has Failed

Postby Jaboney » 20 Oct 2010, 15:35

Well put.
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Re: Merkel Says German Multi-cultural Society Has Failed

Postby suiyuan31 » 20 Oct 2010, 15:59

GuyInTaiwan wrote:suiyuan: Nicely sidestepped. Again.
I am only ignoring your completely OT hypotheticals. There are rules on these forums about staying on topic, and I don't want to guess what I would do if I had kids or what I would do if I ran into a bunch of kids smoking and cussing...it's all just too weird to answer. It's a nice way to sidestep the whole topic at hand, though. Would it really make you feel better if I said I prefer a teenage baby sitter? Would you then feel justified in your stereotypes of Muslims? Please... :roll:
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Re: Merkel Says German Multi-cultural Society Has Failed

Postby Mucha Man » 20 Oct 2010, 16:35

I'll answer the teen question. If it was Taipei I'd walk past them. Taichung or Kaohsiung take a good look first. Vancouver, depends on the neighborhood. In west van I'd walk past them and probably say hello. In east van again check them out first. And here's the clicher GiT, if they were Asian and in east van I'd probably be more likely to avoid them than if they were white because that is how the stereotypes work in Vancouver.
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Re: Merkel Says German Multi-cultural Society Has Failed

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 20 Oct 2010, 18:06

Muzha: Taiwan was certainly an agricultural backwater compared to say, the U.K., even when Taiwan was under the Japanese. It wasn't an industrial giant in the league of the West, that's for sure.

yuli: Given your thesis about hot latitudes, how do you explain Singapore, or even Vietnam for that matter? Not a lot of sitting around doing very little in those places. Any sitting around time seems to involve a textbook. Likewise, why have the Mormons prospered so much, despite living in a fairly hot and dry part of the U.S.? I thought I outlined what this had to do with Islam -- I think there's a certain fatal attitude bound up in certain religions or cultures, whereas others readily believe the ball is definitely in one's court. I think Singapore is a very special example of this. What is it, exactly, that has made it so successful? Sure, we can talk about its geographical location for trade, but there were previously other cities in that vicinity that dominated trade in other time periods. There seems to be more to it than that though. Likewise, in terms of failure to integrate, I thought I pointed out that coming from a place where you sit around a lot, a different place that pays you to sit around a lot probably looks very attractive, and it doesn't encourage people to get up and work. I suspect, whether accurately or not, people who migrate to the U.S. do so because they think if they're smart and work hard, they'll become filthy rich, whereas people migrate to a lot of European nations because they think it will be a bit of an easy ride. I've said many times that I think the German welfare state is a big part of the problem, yet it's obviously not all of the problem or you'd see fairly equal numbers of old-German stock and other immigrants on welfare as Turks or other Muslims. That's the elephant in the room.

Yes, I would agree that the Germans do seem to have really made a mess of this. They haven't been too bright about how they managed it.

I understand that others have problems with using the terms "better" or "worse". I think in the mostly post-religious West, it's an interesting cultural hangover from Judeo-Christian days. It's part of Nietzsche's "slave morality".

Germans have failed to make their society multi-cultural. For me, being multi-cultural, bi-cultural or even mono-cultural is not the issue though. It's an issue of whether a society is successful or not. There are multi-cultural societies that are more successful than non-multicultural societies, and vice versa. Multi-culturalism in and of itself is neither a good nor bad thing, and as I've said before, I'm pro-immigration. It depends upon the kind of multi-cultural society you're talking about and the degree to which they all share in some sort of meta-culture, which is the difference with the U.S. I'd say. U.S. culture is very different to that of many of the other English-speaking countries that were heavily colonised by British and European people. It's really taken a very different course, and there are probably a lot fewer people (as a percentage of the population) whose ancestors were from the British Isles. I think it's really an example of a kind of country that isn't even so much multi-cultural as a real melting pot. I would also say the former Yugoslavia was a completely different kettle of fish to Singapore, despite both being multi-cultural.

Muzha Man: Are you actually saying you really would behave in such ways, or are you just saying that's what you would do if you followed the stereotypes?
And you coming in to scold us all like some kind of sour-puss kindie assistant who favors olive cardigans and lemon drinks without sugar. -- Muzha Man

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