23 November 2010

The German "Bell Curve" Becomes European Best-Seller

Thilo Sarrazin, a minor German politician on the technocratic wing of the country’s Social Democratic party, has just written what is probably the bestselling political book in postwar Europe (1m copies in hardback and counting). Everyone in Germany knows at least a simplified version of what Germany Abolishes Itself says, and the reaction to the book is helping to drive government policy on minority integration. _Prospect

Thilo Sarrazin
A German politician -- a Social Democrat -- has gained fame in Europe by authoring the German equivalent of Charles Murray's controversial book, The Bell Curve. If The Bell Curve was too much for the 1990s US politically correct pseudo-intellectual community, imagine how a German equivalent must be faring amid the suicidally PC intellectual communities of Europe!
The message of the book, in headline form, is that Germany is becoming smaller (thanks to the familiar story of a falling birthrate among native Germans) and stupider (thanks to the fact that educated Germans are having fewer children and the fastest growing part of the population are poorly-integrated Muslim immigrants). That “stupider” is, of course, contested and has led to accusations of a flirtation with eugenics—of which more later.

But Sarrazin is no right-wing populist in the image of Jörg Haider, the late Austrian politician, or even Geert Wilders, the anti-Islamic leader of the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands. Much of the book is a dry compendium of economic and social data. [editor: like The Bell Curve]

...The political and media class’s initial instinct was to denounce the book, and Sarrazin was forced out of his job at the Bundesbank. But as sales started to take off and as the new social media—the bloggers and emailers—lined up overwhelmingly behind Sarrazin, the reaction of political Germany shifted, albeit grudgingly. Chancellor Angela Merkel opportunistically declared the happy-clappy multikulti of the German left to have “failed utterly.” There was even a respectful and self-critical essay in Der Spiegel magazine by a leading liberal, Peter Schneider.

...Sarrazin’s policy solutions are relatively mainstream, echoing some of the new Labour reforms in Britain: tighter control of immigration and language tests for newcomers; steps towards compulsory citizenship for long-term residents; a sharp focus on teaching German at immigrant-dominated schools. Sarrazin is also concerned at how the welfare system creates alienation, saps initiative and prevents the workplace integration that countries like America are famous for, and so he recommends probationary periods before immigrants are entitled to benefit. The government is already acting on some of these points.

Ultimately, Sarrazin’s hard-headedness is a welcome counterpoint to the wishful thinking of the 1968 generation. The former finance minister of Berlin, who looks like a soldier in the Kaiser’s army, is a member of the awkward squad. You can imagine him causing minor riots at liberal Berlin dinner parties. Most of his argument is clear-eyed and well-informed, but he could not resist the provocations both on intelligence and on the nature of the underclass... _Prospect
The author of the profile piece above, David Goodhart, is oblivious to much of the scientific evidence supporting statistical group differences in IQ and behavioural tendencies such as crime and poverty. But he performs a useful service by pointing the reader toward a sea change in German public discourse -- which is slowly becoming a new European discourse. While Goodhart's piece is full of misinformation based upon outdated societal prejudices, the information that slips through is quite important.

The politically correct policies of the left have led to a developing demographic catastrophe in Europe, which can no longer be denied. More of the same political correctness will not stop the slow motion train wreck from reaching its bloody conclusion. But a rude awakening -- even a belated one such as seems to be occurring -- can help to mitigate some of the inevitable destruction.

Sarrazin has started the boulder rolling down the mountainside. Now, neither he nor anyone else has control of where it will go. Once a popular discontent grows into a popular movement, all bets are off. Will it turn into a nightmare of terror like the French or Russian revolutions? Or will it turn into a multi-century success story, like the better planned aftermath of the American revolution? Only time will tell. The future of Europe hangs in the balance, and the recent PC history of European thought leaders in general, offers no reassurance.

Review of Sarrazin's book from an Aussie perspective

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Blogger Falco said...

I've read a few press articles, and what annoys me is the strangely reversed allocation of praise and critic – in places where Sarrazin is populistic, journalists say he has some good points, and in places where he is citing strong scientific evidence (like high heritability of IQ), they call it absurd pseudo-science. But at least he said this things aloud and had people discussing them. It seems Germans are actually reading this book! So perhaps some people will not rely on ignorant journalists' verdict of what's pseudo-science, but will judge by themselves (and perhaps consult wikipedia before spreading this ignorance and embarrassing themselves ;)
(FTR I've just received the book, so I haven't read it yet, but I will ;)

Tuesday, 23 November, 2010  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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