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Old 2011-04-28, 14:22   Link #41
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
The difference is largely due to Europe consisting of Nation States, the USA is not a Nation State, but more of a political entity. The doctrine of Nationalism is what is ultimately causing the problem, IE we're a group and this is our land through some divine right. The reality is that most of these "nations" have not existed for very long, and even if they have historically large portions of the population were not from that nation.
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
The USA, however does not derive it's legitimacy from nationalism (though it did to an extent in the late 19th and early 20th century). Instead America derives it's legitimacy from concepts like Freedom and Democracy. It's based on an ideology: "This is the land of the Free". The Soviet Union was similiar, though in it's case it was based on Communism: "We are spearheading the communist revolution around the world". Most modern western states fall into one of those 2 categories. Things get more complicated when we talk about former colonies though, they have more murky foundations for their legitimacy, which may be part of the reason they are often so unstable, those living in them have no reason to believe "this is my country".
The discussion finally gets closer to home on the real issues driving "multiculturalism".

As you've observed, and as I've tried earlier to illustrate, "culture" is an amalgamation of several aspects of a tribe's identity: ethnicity, language, religion, history and geography.

While it's indeed noble and worthwhile to aim for "multiculturalism", we will fail to achieve such a state if we think the issue can simply be resolved by separating such strong, emotive calling cards from "secular" ideals. And while we are indeed a single "race" in theory, in practice, no one ever really thinks that way. We look different. We speak different languages. We worship differently. We cherish different ethical ideals. All these are part and parcel of what defines who I am in relation to the world at large. And as long as my personal identity is important to me, such differences will always divide us.


So, to put it another way, before we can talk about "multiculturalism", let's clarify what kind of identity we think we share in a given state. And I guarantee that on this point alone, you'd find a never-ending spectrum of opinions.
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Old 2011-04-28, 14:29   Link #42
Ithekro
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Unity if forged for a reason. What there is lacking is a reason for the human race to be unified.
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Old 2011-04-28, 14:30   Link #43
DonQuigleone
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
The discussion finally gets closer to home on the real issues driving "multiculturalism".

As you've observed, and as I've tried earlier to illustrate, "culture" is an amalgamation of several aspects of a tribe's identity: ethnicity, language, religion, history and geography.

While it's indeed noble and worthwhile to aim for "multiculturalism", we will fail to achieve such a state if we think the issue can simply be resolved by separating such strong emotive calling cards from "secular" ideals. And while we are indeed a single "race" in theory, in practice, no one ever really thinks that way. We look different. We speak different languages. We worship differently. We cherish different ethical ideals. All these are part and parcel of what defines who I am in relation to the world at large. And as long as my personal identity is important to me, such differences will always divide us.


So, to put it another way, before we can talk about "multiculturalism", let's clarify what kind of identity we think we share in a given state.
My personal view though, is that people should just leave people to live their lives as they will. I don't want anyone to dictate to me how I live my life, and likewise I won't tell them how to live theirs. As long as they don't break the law I'm fine. If they want to wear headscarves, or put up Mosques what's the problem?

I find the laws being passed in France and Switzerland a bit worrying as a result. What's really the difference between a headscarf and a nun's habit?

@Ithekro: I see no reason for the Human race to be unified, just that we don't go around killing each other. I'd say diversity is a strength.
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Old 2011-04-28, 14:32   Link #44
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My outsiders opinion, while I do think EU citizenry are aware and share a certain European identity, the present nationalist and cultural identification are too entrenched to really ferment support for more federalism.
To be honest I don't anyone here in England really identifies themselves as European. Atleast I never have. I suppose that might have something to do with the fact that we didn't adopt the Euro.
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Old 2011-04-28, 14:35   Link #45
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Either that will be a long time coming or could be accelerated by the furthering Middle Eastern and African immigrant debacle.

My outsiders opinion, while I do think EU citizenry are aware and share a certain European identity, the present nationalist and cultural identification are too entrenched to really ferment support for more federalism.

I mean there is a common thread of ethnic background culture and history between various Southern U.S. states who see themselves as somewhat "different" than the North.

However, I see and hear of large culture gaps between not only also Northern vs. Southern Europe (and West vs. East) but Britian vs. Germany vs. France vs. Italy. Hell look at Ireland and Spain.

It's not impossible, but will be a LONG time in the works.
Part of the problem of immigration and minorities in Europe and Asia is the perceived correlation between immigration and crime/social problems. Some of that perceived correlation are indeed real. Such problems become manipulated and played around with "traditional nationalistic" feeling with the public through the media and politicians.

While such problems also exist in the US, the ethnic minorities and recent immigrants had strong political and economic influence (like Barack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Soros, and Jerry Yang), and are able to counter that "traditional nationalistic" (aka 3rd or 4th+ generation American white immigrants) force. I am not sure that I know any ethnic minority able to reach the top tier of European politics and economy. Please correct me if I am wrong. Without hard power (political or $$$), it is hard to press changes for tolerance.

There goes the saying:
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Originally Posted by The Untouchables
You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.
A correction of immigration and minority problem includes empowering the immigrants and minorities. While that can be helped by external means, a big part of the empowerment has to come from the immigration and minorities themselves as well.

Of course US is a country build on top of immigration. So historically speaking, the concept of tolerating immigration is somewhat build into history of the US.
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Old 2011-04-28, 14:36   Link #46
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You can have diversity within a union...the United States have been doing that for well over a century, and the British were doing it for as long or longer. The EU is working on it now.

One just identifies with being human first, ethic group second, rather than having human be the lowest common denominator.
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Old 2011-04-28, 14:42   Link #47
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
My personal view though, is that people should just leave people to live their lives as they will. I don't want anyone to dictate to me how I live my life, and likewise I won't tell them how to live theirs. As long as they don't break the law I'm fine. If they want to wear headscarves, or put up Mosques what's the problem?

I find the laws being passed in France and Switzerland a bit worrying as a result. What's really the difference between a headscarf and a nun's habit?
Ah, but you've unwittingly pointed out what you think should be a "shared identity": a Constitution (or Common Law, in the case of Britain) that all people in the state can agree with and have a stake in. And I suspect this is what Vexx means by separating the "secular" from everything else.

That's the first step. Depending on the society and the enclave we're trying to integrate, how ever tightly or loosely, we then have to discuss the laws that we would like to share. And this, in particular, causes Muslim communities some distress, because of syriah family laws.

How we've dealt with this issue here in South-east Asia (or in Malaysia and Singapore at the very least) is to have, in effect, parallel family laws. One set for Muslims, another set for everyone else. We can live with it, because that's the way it has always been in the first place. It's part of the socio-cultural, geographic reality that has always defined us who live in this region.

But, in places like Europe or the United States, I can well understand why such a system would be anathema. In which case, well, a lot more dialogue is obviously necessary. What do you wish to share? What defines you who make up the state?
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Old 2011-04-28, 14:48   Link #48
MaiNoKen
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
My personal view though, is that people should just leave people to live their lives as they will. I don't want anyone to dictate to me how I live my life, and likewise I won't tell them how to live theirs. As long as they don't break the law I'm fine. If they want to wear headscarves, or put up Mosques what's the problem?

I find the laws being passed in France and Switzerland a bit worrying as a result. What's really the difference between a headscarf and a nun's habit?

@Ithekro: I see no reason for the Human race to be unified, just that we don't go around killing each other. I'd say diversity is a strength.
The laws are passed by an elected (flawed) democracy - just like the rants we have any anime forums about Ishihara laws. It is a combination of voters vote stupid, and the minorities (or Japanese otakus haha) are unable to project their power up and force the law makers to listen to them (the law makers listen to their doubleplusungood stupid voters).

One does not project your power up by living poor, as disorganized social group, or being perceived as troublemakers. When those folks band together with a few open strong voice (I hate to be Machiavellian, but I have to say it: backed with $$$), those laws will never get passed. Power talks, period.
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Old 2011-04-28, 15:11   Link #49
DonQuigleone
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Originally Posted by MaiNoKen View Post
Part of the problem of immigration and minorities in Europe and Asia is the perceived correlation between immigration and crime/social problems. Some of that perceived correlation are indeed real. Such problems become manipulated and played around with "traditional nationalistic" feeling with the public through the media and politicians.

While such problems also exist in the US, the ethnic minorities and recent immigrants had strong political and economic influence (like Barack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Soros, and Jerry Yang), and are able to counter that "traditional nationalistic" (aka 3rd or 4th+ generation American white immigrants) force. I am not sure that I know any ethnic minority able to reach the top tier of European politics and economy. Please correct me if I am wrong. Without hard power (political or $$$), it is hard to press changes for tolerance.
Depends on the country. Sarkozy president of France had a hungarian father and French/Greek-Jewish Mother. Ireland, on the other hand, is Irish through and through in the political sphere. But we have only people moving here recently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Ah, but you've unwittingly pointed out what you think should be a "shared identity": a Constitution (or Common Law, in the case of Britain) that all people in the state can agree with and have a stake in. And I suspect this is what Vexx means by separating the "secular" from everything else.

That's the first step. Depending on the society and the enclave we're trying to integrate, how ever tightly or loosely, we then have to discuss the laws that we would like to share. And this, in particular, causes Muslim communities some distress, because of syriah family laws.

How we've dealt with this issue here in South-east Asia (or in Malaysia and Singapore at the very least) is to have, in effect, parallel family laws. One set for Muslims, another set for everyone else. We can live with it, because that's the way it has always been in the first place. It's part of the socio-cultural, geographic reality that has always defined us who live in this region.

But, in places like Europe or the United States, I can well understand why such a system would be anathema. In which case, well, a lot more dialogue is obviously necessary. What do you wish to share? What defines you who make up the state?
Indeed so, we need a set of common laws. I think such laws should be very minimalist though. Basically doesn't dictate the lifestyles of the citizenry, their religion etc. Western Governments do well in this regard.

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Originally Posted by MaiNoKen View Post
The laws are passed by an elected (flawed) democracy - just like the rants we have any anime forums about Ishihara laws. It is a combination of voters vote stupid, and the minorities (or Japanese otakus haha) are unable to project their power up and force the law makers to listen to them (the law makers listen to their doubleplusungood stupid voters).

One does not project your power up by living poor, as disorganized social group, or being perceived as troublemakers. When those folks band together with a few open strong voice (I hate to be Machiavellian, but I have to say it: backed with $$$), those laws will never get passed. Power talks, period.
The people vote for their laws, if they happen to vote for bad ones, they bear the consequences. I see no huge problems with democracy. In fact I see the inability of most governments to do much of any significance as much as a plus as a minus. Look at the kind of harm decisive governments can cause.
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Old 2011-04-28, 15:32   Link #50
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Unity if forged for a reason. What there is lacking is a reason for the human race to be unified.
This is where the hostile invading aliens come in!
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Old 2011-04-28, 15:35   Link #51
DonQuigleone
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This is where the hostile invading aliens come in!
I knew it! They all laughed when I started stocking up on supplies, guns and ammunition. Well, now the joke is on THEM!
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Old 2011-04-28, 15:36   Link #52
Ithekro
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Doesn't even really need to be hostile. Just that they exist would cause a form of speciesism because that would mean there could be one that is hostile.
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Old 2011-04-28, 15:38   Link #53
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
This is where the hostile invading aliens come in!
Joking aside, it is an interesting hypothetical scenario. Would the human race become united in the face of such a threat? Or would we be akin to the Amerindians when the Europeans arrived - unorganized, with some siding with the invaders to defeat their old foes once and for all? I'm not sure what would happen, but I have trouble believing humanity will suddenly unite.

Furthermore, in a futuristic world with one or more sentient alien species, would nations, countries, and the like become integrated units of a united planetary government? Or would we remain divided? Such a scenario would truly put the concept of multiculturalism to the test.
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Old 2011-04-28, 15:53   Link #54
sneaker
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Originally Posted by MaiNoKen View Post
Part of the problem of immigration and minorities in Europe and Asia is the perceived correlation between immigration and crime/social problems. Some of that perceived correlation are indeed real.
That doesn't really cut it. The sheer amount of immigrant aggressiveness and crimes can't go unnoticed. Go into Western Europe's prisons and look at the ethnicity of the inmates.
It sometimes goes to such extremes as this:
http://www.eutimes.net/2009/04/immig...-oslo-in-2008/

And the local folks haven't forgotten how it was before this massive immigration, unlike the US where there's "always" been a mix of races.
Go back to the 50s and tell a German or a Swede they will have problems with Ghettos, violence in schools and similar problems. Something like that was unthinkable back then. Today these problems are to be found everywhere throughout western and northern Europe.
I guess the US handle(s?) it better than Europe because of the following:
- Violence (including threatening) and other crimes are punished very strictly by law/police/judges. In Germany there are "youth" who have accumulated over 100 crimes and are still roaming the streets freely, instead of getting locked up or send home. People in the US wouldn't believe how soft Europe has become.
- The immigration is much better controlled in the US, most legal immigrants actually contribute to the Economy and are highly trained. In Europe most of the Immigrants are unskilled and untrained (or not at a high enough level).
- The US doesn't grant as much welfare as European countries. In Germany there is no limit on the time you can live on welfare, the state pays your apartment and you get free health care. There are immigrant families who have been living on welfare for decades. Even immigrants that are ordered to leave can continue to get welfare.

Someone posted a video about a shopkeeper getting terrorized - this is not uncommon here, too. People can't expect help from the authorities, they can't or don't want to help you and even if they find the culprits guilty they will most likely not face any prison at all. Politicians rather avoid these matters altogether.

Also the sheer amount of immigration is gigantic. In Germany every third child born is from an immigrant background, in West German cities it's already over 50%. Politicians are telling the people that those immigrants are needed to pay our pensions, but people are asking themselves: how can they pay for our pensions if they are workless?

I can only speak for me of course, but IMHO the drawbacks of European style immigration outweigh the benefits by far. I'd rather have all borders shut down than to have the current immigration laws. But we cannot go back, we cannot correct the errors made in the past anymore, naturalization has become easy and widespread so we have to find a different way to solve these problems than to send them "home". Apart from zero tolerance I don't have any solutions - but nobody seems to have. German politicians are advocating a politic of integration now, like we have seen in Great Britain and Holland, but it failed there and it will fail here. We're just a decade behind.
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Old 2011-04-28, 16:36   Link #55
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Originally Posted by Ithekro View Post
You can have diversity within a union...the United States have been doing that for well over a century, and the British were doing it for as long or longer. The EU is working on it now.

One just identifies with being human first, ethic group second, rather than having human be the lowest common denominator.
Apparently I'm wired to think that way from a young age:
Human First... I like that.
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Old 2011-04-28, 17:22   Link #56
MaiNoKen
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Depends on the country. Sarkozy president of France had a hungarian father and French/Greek-Jewish Mother. Ireland, on the other hand, is Irish through and through in the political sphere. But we have only people moving here recently.
I think the key point is do nation building on someone who spent a large part of their life abroad or of foreign descent. That includes education and empowerment. Of course, Sakorzy does help himself quite a bit to get to where he is - no matter who his parents are. I am going to stop short from saying anything political incorrect about "multiculturalism failed" immigrants.

Quote:
The people vote for their laws, if they happen to vote for bad ones, they bear the consequences. I see no huge problems with democracy. In fact I see the inability of most governments to do much of any significance as much as a plus as a minus. Look at the kind of harm decisive governments can cause.
.
Democracy gets the government that the people deserve. Smart people/voters get good governments, foolish voters do not. You vote what you get - be that be good or bad. The greatest strength of democracy is also its greatest flaw. Of course, I still prefer democracy over dictatorship for the same reasons you listed . It is just that democracy is not the end solution. Democracy is the least worse choice that is available.

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That doesn't really cut it. The sheer amount of immigrant aggressiveness and crimes can't go unnoticed. Go into Western Europe's prisons and look at the ethnicity of the inmates. (The rest of quote omitted to save space)
If voters know how to vote and know who to vote for to give the political will and pressure to tackle the immigration social problem, it will happen. Somehow the anger against immigration problems do not translate to effective policy. Why is the buzz on Islamic dress and architecture instead of changing immigration and criminal laws? Why there is no courage in tackling the real problem? Why the focus is on some superficial irrelevant issues?

If voters tell politicians that they want tough immigration or police or else they vote for someone else, the change will happen, but somehow it does not. Voters do not know what are their best interest.

Is democracy really serving its function when voters do not know what they really want? It is just another manifestation that voters get the government they deserve.

Last edited by MaiNoKen; 2011-04-28 at 17:37.
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Old 2011-04-28, 18:13   Link #57
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If voters know how to vote and know who to vote for to give the political will and pressure to tackle the immigration social problem, it will happen. Somehow the anger against immigration problems do not translate to effective policy. Why is the buzz on Islamic dress and architecture instead of changing immigration and criminal laws? Why there is no courage in tackling the real problem? Why the focus is on some superficial irrelevant issues?
Why? A very good question indeed - I don't know the answers.

One problem is that Westerners are raised (not to say brainwashed) to be extremely tolerant towards other cultures and they will judge people that advocate harsh immigration laws quickly. They outright oppose any party that is judged as right wing. The funny thing is that there's been some kind of online "party chooser" here, where all parties are asked to answer some questions and it will show the voter which party he mostly agrees with after he has taken the same quiz. And each time I see quite a few people whining on the forums about how ridiculous that test is, after it has proposed them to vote right or far right, while they consider themselves to be leftists.

Also journalists tend to be mostly left wing rather than right wing, and you can't make any new party gain a significant amount of power without massive media campaigns + politicians choose to better not oppose them.

Another problem is that we don't have any plebiscites, like they do in Switzerland, so even if the majority of the people opposes a law, it still might pass legislation because all major parties support it.
Examples:
- All main parties were in favor of the Euro, while the majority of the people was against it
- No main party agrees to pull our troops out of Afghanistan, while the majority of the people has been since the very beginning

Not that plebiscites solve all those problems, Switzerland's immigration problems are pretty much identical to those of Germany and Austria. But they passed stricter immigration laws (not to forget the minaret ban) recently against the will of the majority of Swiss politicians.

And of course not to forget:
Many people don't think the current immigration is a problem, or that the problems we see are not the fault of the immigrants, but rather that of the native population. More people than I'd like to admit think like this and I blame our upbringing for this.

What I find truly ironic:
Germans are taught in school about the Nazis and the Holocaust over and over again, "so that history will never repeat itself". But if Muslim immigrants hunt Jews they look away or downplay it, because all they ever learned was to hate themselves. It is already repeating and we aren't any better than our grandparents:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YX7wmt3ZQ0
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Old 2011-04-28, 18:17   Link #58
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I guess the US handle(s?) it better than Europe because of the following:
The US and Europe comparison doesn't work and it always leads to various Europeans cherry pickings their argument, usually the arguments they want to hear and use in their respective country.
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The immigration is much better controlled in the US, most legal immigrants actually contribute to the Economy and are highly trained. In Europe most of the Immigrants are unskilled and untrained (or not at a high enough level).
The majority of immigrants to America have always been and always will be mostly unskilled and untrained. Furthermore the way they live in America is not much different how they live in Europe: In large communities, who keep to themselves and hardly speak the native language. And yes there is disdain, mistrust even hatred towards the newcomers by the Americans: first it was the Roman Catholic Irish who would destroy the Anglo-saxon Protestant way of life, than it was the Roman Catholic Germans followed by the Roman Catholic Italians and now it's Roman Catholic Mexicans.
And yet the second and third generation immigrants are fully integrated; in return they also contributed to the American culture and cuisine: St.Patricks day is widely celebrated, Pizza, Hotdogs (originally called Frankfurter) and Hamburgers are associated with USA not with Italy nor Germany.

And let's compare this with Europe, with their itsy bitsy tiny nation-states in which the same group of people lived in a region uninterruptedly for over millennia with a grandiose history full of proud historic figures and glorious battles (all won of course) with all the bad stuff glossed over and ignored (unless you're Germany and the topic is the second world war, for obvious reasons) .
Are the second generation Turks, Moroccans, Kurds and all the other Muslims fully integrated? Of course not! (Some are though) Their grasp of the native language is also quite poor (especially compared to the 2nd generation immigrants in the USA) Or how about this? Will a Kurdish dish ever be part of the Norwegian cuisine? (similar how pizza is part of the American cuisine) Or a Turkish dish part of the German cuisine? Or a Moroccan dish part of the Dutch cuisine?
Hihihi, hahaha, hohoho I'm laughing too the idea is too absurd! An Alien invasion is more likely than that.

Believe it or not this isn't the first time in European history in which a large group of people failed to integrate in various European societies, these large groups kept to themselves, kept practising their own customs and religions. I'm of course talking about the Jews and Gypsies. The latter, after two centuries, are still not integrated.

I don't think the reason of lack of integration of immigrants in Europe has anything to do with welfare state, lax youth criminal system and open borders. I think the core problem is somewhere else...
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Old 2011-04-28, 18:38   Link #59
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Originally Posted by Blaat View Post
The US and Europe comparison doesn't work and it always leads to various Europeans cherry pickings their argument
Can't deny that...

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Originally Posted by Blaat View Post
The majority of immigrants to America have always been and always will be mostly unskilled and untrained.
I was kinda comparing the current situation to that of the USA, not the one long time ago. The US has changed their politics in the mean time, while Europe has not.

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Originally Posted by Blaat View Post
I don't think the reason of lack of integration of immigrants in Europe has anything to do with welfare state, lax youth criminal system and open borders. I think the core problem is somewhere else...
Well, I personally consider open borders a huge part of the problem, because no immigrants = no integration problem. Easy, huh? We Europeans simply had the choice if we wanted multi-culturalism, we decided in favor (or at least not against it) and now we reap what we sow.
But other countries like Japan still have the chance to decide against it. Finland just had an election and the right wing gained quite some power (like they did in Hungary) - they have few immigrants and it seems they don't like what they see in Sweden to happen there, too.

And it's not like we have problems with every kind of immigrants - we don't have any problems with people from South East Asia, the US or Australia. You were talking about European immigrants in the US - now look at the US and tell me whose the majority: the Europeans or the Indians? Those Germans and Italians integrated pretty much into the society of their ancestors or the ancestors of other European countries. Tell me what originally Arab dishes you consider American now?
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Old 2011-04-28, 18:48   Link #60
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I too am wary about just targeting welfare. I'm not saying it may not need reforming, but can you say that there are no natives abusing such practices?

I generally agree with the problem of targeting superficial issues. A lot of people here in America think that if you build a wall and make the official language DE FACTO English then suddenly we have made a great stride.

It's a big long, boring discussion about farm subsidies, NAFTA, bilateral trade practices, educational infrastructure, stuff like that. Stuff that WE would probably have to admit we messed up on and enables the problem. People don't want to hear that and the politicans and media know it, because of ignorance, parochialism and tunnel vision.
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