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Germany on the brink


Ross Douthat, The New York Times, 09-01-2016.


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Ross Douthat

But if you add a million (or millions) of people, most of them young men, in one short period, you get a very different kind of shift.

In the German case the important number here isn’t the country’s total population, currently 82 million. It’s the twentysomething population, which was less than 10 million in 2013 (and of course already included many immigrants). In that cohort and every cohort afterward, the current influx could have a transformative effect.

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If you believe that an aging, secularized, heretofore-mostly-homogeneous society is likely to peacefully absorb a migration of that size and scale of cultural difference, then you have a bright future as a spokesman for the current German government.

You’re also a fool. Such a transformation promises increasing polarization among natives and new arrivals alike. It threatens not just a spike in terrorism but a rebirth of 1930s-style political violence. The still-imaginary France Michel Houellebecq conjured up in his novel “Submission,” in which nativists and Islamists brawl in the streets, would have a very good chance of being realized in the German future.

This need not happen. But prudence requires doing everything possible to prevent it. That means closing Germany’s borders to new arrivals for the time being. It means beginning an orderly deportation process for able-bodied young men. It means giving up the fond illusion that Germany’s past sins can be absolved with a reckless humanitarianism in the present.

It means that Angela Merkel must go — so that her country, and the continent it bestrides, can avoid paying too high a price for her high-minded folly.



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