Ill-Tempered Mohammedans in the Socialist Paradise
In the wake of recent revelations about the identities of the morons involved in the horrific Paris attacks (happily, most of them shuffled off the mortal coil as well, thereby improving the aggregate degree of moral clarity and intelligence in the world), a friend pointed us to an article at Unz Review that asks: “Why Does Belgium Have Such Angry Muslims?”
Our instinctive, immediate reaction was to argue that the bland, boring Belgian welfare state simply makes people angry by virtue of its existence. What is Belgium? It is that useless, additional stretch of flat land you are forced to cross on your way from Paris to Amsterdam. Just driving through it probably makes people angry.
“Teenage crisis, then and now”
Cartoon by Chappatte
Then we became aware of the following statistic from an article at QZ, which shows the European countries providing the largest numbers of foreign fighters per capita to ISIS (not surprisingly, Belgium heads the list):
European countries providing the largest number of foreign fighters per capita to the battleground in Syria and Iraq
In case you haven’t noticed dear reader, the list contains the most famous socialist paradises of Europe. The countries Bernie Sanders would love to emulate, such as Sweden, Denmark, France, Belgium, etc.
We will take it as a small piece of evidence that welfare statism leads to moral decay and deadens people’s souls. As we have pointed out in our comment on the refugee crisis, there are a number of statistical facts that cannot be denied. By way of example, we presented the following data points:
The vast bulk of refugees arriving in Europe does end up firmly attached to the teats of the European welfare state (as an aside, economic refugees are at present indeed exploiting the fact that the number of genuine war refugees is exploding; there is e.g. a brisk trade in fake Syrian passports in places like Turkey and Egypt). As the European press reports , in Norway it takes on average seven years before a successful asylum seeker finds a job. 85% of Muslim immigrants to Switzerland become recipients of social welfare. Practically all refugees from Chechnya, Afghanistan and Somalia residing in Vienna are receiving “needs-oriented basic welfare provision” (in this case, approx. $9,950 per person per year, plus extras like a top-up for heating costs in winter and free healthcare).
As we have noted elsewhere, many Muslims in Europe are ending up as economically marginalized ghetto-dwellers. We don’t want to minimize their personal responsibility, especially as statistics also suggest that refugees from some other areas of the world (such as Vietnam) tend to exhibit a great deal of social mobility, and are prepared to work extremely hard for becoming successful and well-integrated members of society. As an aside, one can of course not generalize. “Many” is by no means the same as “all”. Keep in mind when reading this that there are many individuals who have managed to escape the trap we are describing below.
The Price of Welfare Statism
One must keep in mind that socialist welfare statism comes at a price. Consider a refugee with a limited skill set, not even able to speak the local language. What is he supposed to do? He isn’t employable, because minimum wage legislation forbids that he offer his labor at a price the market will bear. He also cannot possibly start his own business from scratch.
Off the cuff we know that e.g. in Austria, it takes on average 134 days for a business to obtain all the necessary permits allowing it to operate (obviously, the average masks the fact that this represents a wide range, depending on the type of business – it is quite a stunning figure nevertheless). During the time a newly opened business is waiting for all these permits, demands for payments to all kinds of organizations connected with the State are beginning to crowd the mail box. There is no such thing as a “business starting from scratch”.
This leaves two possibilities. Our hypothetical little-skilled refugee can e.g. opt to join the black market in some capacity and hence become a criminal. The shadow economy includes a broad range of activities, from fairly harmless ones like offering undocumented labor services to decidedly more dubious ones like obtaining membership in organized crime rings. The common thread is that all of these activities are considered criminal.
Alternatively, one can simply decide to obtain welfare. A great many law-abiding refugees are thus going to become welfare dependents, whether they really want to or not – a man has to eat after all. Over time, this welfare dependency tends to become a firmly ingrained cultural trait among certain immigrant populations. Looking at second-generation immigrants in ghettos like Belgium’s Molenbeek district that has recently attracted so much attention for being a breeding ground of jihadists, these are often people who have grown up watching their parents doing nothing except regularly cashing their welfare checks.
Surveys have found that such people often begin to regard this situation as a perfectly normal state of affairs. They are characterized by a complete lack of ambition at a very young age already. Numerous immigrant children in schools have no answer to the age old question “what do you want to be when you grow up”. They don’t even understand the question. Isn’t the government paying for everything anyway? Why would one want to “be” something?
This means that they will have no real life; instead, they will end up spending a lot of time aimlessly vegetating in their ghettos, with unfocused rage building in their hearts. Their frustrations are waiting to find expression though, and radical fundamentalist groups are well aware of this. They see potential recruits galore.
And so it comes that the countries most open to welcoming migrants and offering the most generous welfare benefits are ending up as the most prolific breeding grounds for jihadists. Many people likely won’t understand this. Shouldn’t the generous help generate gratitude? Maybe it does in the beginning – but eventually, it becomes hate. Government boondoggles aren’t called boondoggles for nothing; it is their essential feature that they bring about the opposite of what was intended with mind-numbing regularity.
Giving them a purpose….
Readers may recall Milton Friedman’s remarks on immigration, which we discussed in Immigration Revisited a short while ago. We believe Friedman has hit the nail on the head with his argument: the one thing that makes immigration potentially problematic is the welfare state.
It seems the problem runs even deeper than Friedman suspected, even though it remains at the core at an economic one. People who move to a foreign country to make a better life for themselves by their own efforts can never be regarded as a problem. Their contributions will not only benefit themselves, but their fellow men as well. People who come to partake in welfare handouts are a problem from the outset, but the situation is more complicated than that.
The institutional set-up in many developed welfare states practically forces newcomers who lack special skills to become welfare dependents. Once they have have attained this status, their motivation is accordingly lowered; eventually an entire generation of frustrated young people without perspective or purpose hangs about in ghettos with nothing to do. Easy pickings for extremist ideologues.
Chart by: QZ.com