Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Because I hate using good material at an away game...

re: The refugee situation in Europe which has the Right Thinking Set so in a tizzy that it's been wall-to-wall on NPR for a week now.

The differences in refugee experiences (and the different levels of lingering cultural guilt) from WWII help to explain the different attitudes toward refugees in Hungary and, say, Sweden. To mix my metaphors, Sweden wears a hair shirt to this day for standing by and holding Germany's coat during the '39-'45 portion of the World War. Hungary, on the other hand, was not that long ago a source of refugees, not a destination, and therefore feels a lot harsher about the whole thing, a lot more willing to say "Hey, we're really sorry, but things are tough all over, buddy."
Assimilation is *so* 19th Century, and was never a European thing anyway, where tribal volkways linger in ways that subconsciously horrify the bien pensants who secretly harbor them. The Swedish professors and politicians who refer to "New Swedes" do it, whether they want to admit it or not, to distinguish the Moslems held in the zoos of Malmo and Stockholm from regular Swedish-type Swedes.

We used to do assimilation. You would move here and we would hate you and make you live in ghettos and organize political parties against you, and your kids would learn our games and our songs and our language and move out of the ghettos and be our tradespeople. And your grandkids would be our doctors and lawyers and aldermen and would forget your language and we would add your food to our menus and take one of your holidays and hang it on our wall as a trophy and use it as an excuse to get drunk every year.

But not any more. Now assimilation is imperialist and racist and bad. Indeed, in Europe, which is several kilometer markers further down this road than we are, assimilation is actively discouraged. No, no, Mr. Refugee... You don't need to learn the language; you'll never be one of us anyway. You just sit there and let us feed you and keep you like a zoo animal to look at and remind ourselves that we don't feed you into ovens anymore like our parents did because we're so much better now.

We'll see who cracks first, the guests or the hosts, but sooner or later, somebody's getting loaded into cattlecars, because that's how things go in Europe.