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May 10, 2003

Immigrants in Europe

From the recent Economist an article on immigrants in Europe. Though the tag lines don't mention it-it is basically about Muslims, little mention of West African Christians or British Sikhs aside from a token sentence here & there. This is partially because of Muslim numbers-but also because they are surely more difficult to assimilate.

Europe's minorities

Forget asylum-seekers: it's the people inside who count

May 8th 2003
From The Economist print edition


The real issue for European societies is not how to keep new foreigners out but how to integrate the minorities they already have

TWO young men set off with suicide bombs to Tel Aviv. One carries out his deadly mission, the other fails. Embittered Palestinians? No. Both are Muslim Britons, one indeed born in Britain.

Why did they do it? The easy answer is extremism—learned in Britain. Few British Muslims are extreme in their faith; hardly any, however they feel about Palestine, are in favour of terrorism. Yet those two men are not just nasty mavericks. They symbolise a wide-ranging question with no easy answers: can Europe integrate its mainly new, and growing, minorities?

Ask the habitually tolerant Dutch. The most potent phrase in Dutch politics today is normen en waarden, norms and values. Traditional Dutch ones, of course; yet few Dutch people two years ago had ever heard the phrase, or thought about the values. Then came September 11th, and then a politician called Pim Fortuyn. Suddenly the Dutch elite noticed what ordinary citizens had long believed, but not dared to say: that many of their immigrant neighbours did not (or so the average Dutchman felt) share these Dutch values.

It was a moment of truth, not only for the Netherlands but for the whole of northern Europe. At last, not just were the long-term effects of immigration openly on the agenda but it was permissible to be open about them; in particular, to admit that they would not go away again if only the plebs would put aside those racial and other prejudices which the better-educated, suburban-dwelling liberal elite wouldn't dream of sharing. Fortuyn was shot dead a year ago; his party was soon in chaos. But the veil that decency and goodwill had cast over discussion of such questions has been decisively torn away.

The main noise since then has been about asylum-seekers and how to keep them out. But the real issue is the immigrants, and their descendants, who are already inside. Integrate these, and European societies could cope well enough with the relatively few asylum-seekers.

That demands changes of attitude in the host societies and among the newcomers. In many European countries it has not been achieved: witness the shaky attempt in France, which has 4.2m Muslims, to set up a council in which they can find a political voice. Yet most of rich Europe is scrambling towards this ideal. Rightly so: social disunity could be a huge long-term threat to Europe, and, as the past two years have shown, harmony does not grow on trees.

Count in their locally born descendants, and there may be 12m-15m poor-country “immigrants” inside the EU: Turks and Kurds, Arabs, Asians (mostly from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), all manner of sub-Saharan Africans, Caribbeans, Latin Americans. Some of these communities are long-established, like the West Indians who were first brought into Britain to meet labour shortages in the 1950s, or the Turks who helped to prolong Germany's Wirtschaftswunder, the economic miracle that began 40-odd years ago. Some are newer, like the Bangladeshis who have poured into Britain within the past 20 years. But all share two things. First, they are communities, mostly distinct in skin-colour, language and religion from the natives, and not just random collections of individuals. And, second, these communities are not integrated into the society around them.

Just how large they are, from where and settled where, no one knows; in part, because definitions vary. Nordic statistics, for example, tend to lump together new arrivals with the children, even grandchildren, of earlier ones. There are solid reasons for that: the children of, say, brown-skinned, Muslim, poor Pakistanis will certainly be dark, nearly always Muslim, mostly able to speak Urdu, and often, as adults, poor. Yet there are also solid reasons against: nearly all will be vastly more fluent than their parents in the language of their adopted land, and familiar with its ways. And their children, in turn, still more so.

And that is the trap into which most European countries, unwittingly, have fallen. Because natural assimilation has worked in the past, they have sat back to let it do its natural work again.

That was not absurd. Most of Britain's 300,000 Jews are descended from east European immigrants of around 1880-1910. When these arrived, they too were concentrated in poor east London; they too spoke foreign tongues, had their own religion and habits, and were often disliked by the natives, some better-off and long-established Jews included. And officialdom lifted barely a finger to turn them into Britons. That was left to the—often vigorous—efforts of sympathetic, or worried, Jews already in place. Yet by now Britain's Jews (the Hasidim apart) are as assimilated, as British, as any descendants of the Angles or Normans. They did it; why not leave others alone today to do the same?

Because things have changed. Today's newcomers have come fast, and in far greater numbers. They are, literally, more visible to the eyes of native prejudice; and, the spirit of 2000 being far from that of 1900, they—and still more their children—are likelier to resent prejudice than to hunker down, hope not to be noticed and put up with it when they are. Nor have many shown the vigour that saw Britain's Jews spread where they chose and win the acceptance that education, money and a position in the world habitually buy; Britain's Gujaratis, originally from western India, are a parallel case, but a rare one. Maybe all should have assimilated, but the fact is they haven't.

So it is that Oslo has its “little Karachi”; that to Berliners the Kreuzberg district means Turks; that a Parisian calls Montreuil, just to the east, “the second capital of Mali”; that you can count 20 pupils coming out of a Rotterdam primary school before you spot the first obviously Dutch one.

Yet, until recently, few but specialists asked: what is to be done? Britain's Race Relations Board, set up in 1966, has groranged with the question only to reach, in most cases, the usual answer: teach the natives to be less prejudiced. That is a worthy reply, but only half of one. The other half should have been to ask what solid reasons might lie behind the prejudice, and what could be done about them, not least by the minorities at issue. To ask such things was almost like blaming Jews for anti-Semitism. But the answer to both questions is, quite a lot—some of it just the reverse of what good-willed people have done till now.

Go back to the Dutch. Their society was for centuries built on the “mosaic”, not “melting-pot”, notion of integration: we are Catholics and Protestants (and more), we have each our own churches, schools, even sports clubs. But we live in mutual respect, we're all Dutch. Then in late 2001 they got a shock, symbolised by a magazine poll that asked Muslims their view of the September 11th attacks. A bad thing, said 61%. Fair enough? No: what kind of community is it where 39% do not automatically condemn the murder of 3,000 innocents? Not much of one, said the native Dutch—and “not like us”.

So? One response was gut hostility to at least the Arab incomers: the word Marokkanen, preceded by an obscenity, was soon in public use. Another was to demand still fiercer immigration controls than the already tough ones brought in earlier in 2001. But the thoughtful answer—it was Fortuyn's, rapidly taken up by other parties, right or left—was to think how to make the country's Muslims more like “us”.

In Rotterdam, where the Fortuynists became the largest party on the city council, the resultant coalition made a priority of inburgering, the forming of citizens. Get more immigrant children into kindergarten, make sure they master the language, push them to stay longer at school and get better job skills. And act correspondingly for adults, newly arrived or long resident: encourage or shove them into citizenship courses, show them how ordinary Dutch society works and how it thinks.

Such notions can spring from and lead into racism. But it is hardly an act of hostility to make people improve their social or work skills; it happens to all schoolchildren. And to most of the native Dutch, this was simply a reasonable “when in Rome do as the Romans do”, and a recognition that this acculturation was not happening fast enough, but needed to be pushed.

This approach is now spreading fast. Indeed the Danes, a people very conscious of their immigrants, would say they pioneered it. They elected a Liberal (ie, free-market) government in late 2001, and a new ministry for “immigrants and integration” began not just fiercely shutting the doors but also pushing the integration that the previous government had merely talked about. The emphasis is on jobs: “Work is the key to integration.”

Both sticks and carrots are used. Welfare benefits for all the newly arrived have been cut—for their first seven years!—to well below the rates for most Danes. But they can now work part-time while drawing these. To help the process, the newcomer must sign up to compulsory courses in civics and language and, if need be, compulsory work placements. Fail to comply, and your stingy benefits will become even stingier. But extra money is going into integration, for example, to job counselling for immigrants and to educating foreign women brought in for marriage.

That is the theory, and these are early days. Already problems are plain. The government says what is to be done, but the local authorities have to do it, and don't find that easy. Tighter controls on bringing in a bride are unlikely to drive a young male immigrant into instant marriage with a blue-eyed blonde. Nor will a need for nine years of legal residence, plus other requirements, before he can be naturalised as a Dane help to make him feel like one.

That is the trouble: the clash between the widespread European feeling of “Let's have fewer of these people”, and being more welcoming to those already inside. Norway, which is following Denmark down the compulsory “induction” route, has less anti-immigrant feeling. But a new rule won by its most anti-immigrant (and, at this moment, most popular) party bars accepted asylum-seekers from bringing in family members unless they can support them. That will push some people to work, but it will hardly make them feel they belong—and it is not meant to.

Germany for years exemplified a rather different paradox. It welcomed its “guest-workers” as workers, but no way, least of all by easy naturalisation, did it try to integrate them. The newcomers naturally tended, and cheerfully were left, to stick in their national groups, socialising, shopping and praying with each other, reading their own newspapers—Turkey's Hurriyet has a flourishing German-printed edition —and more recently watching their own satellite-television programmes.

An immigration law was passed last year, aimed, among other things, at integration, with publicly financed courses in German language, history and other citizen-like knowledge. Compulsory courses? That was left unclear, as the law itself still is: for procedural reasons, not content, the Constitutional Court last December struck it down. It may yet be revived.

Britain, in contrast, though endlessly alarmed these days about asylum-seekers, has done startlingly little to integrate the millions of immigrants and their offspring, largely from its ex-empire, that it already has. And until recently, and still very largely, the British line has been to accept the resultant mosaic, cross one's fingers and hope: no compulsion here.

Though the state has been slow to finance Muslim schools in Britain (the Netherlands, in contrast, has more than 40 already), multiculturalism is still the rage. Many urban local councils put out documents in several languages. And visiting cricket teams from Pakistan or India win loud support from their ethnic cousins, though most of these are British-born and thereby British citizens; a phenomenon that irritated one of Margaret Thatcher's senior ministers, but worries few people in Britain and prompts fewer still to suggest any measures that might alter it. Only recently has an authoritarian home minister begun to think of forcing newcomers into British ways, and even he is thinking strictly of newcomers. The case of the Tel Aviv suicide bombers may yet promote fresh thinking; so far it has promoted only fresh security measures.

The French notion of integration, in contrast, is strictly that of the melting-pot, with the heat supplied by “republican values”, secularism not least. That noble ideal can produce tortured arguments over the right of Muslim schoolgirls to wear headscarves. But, worse, it led for years to official unreadiness to admit that there was a problem with, specifically, the large Arab and Muslim population, and one requiring active treatment.

Since the September 11th attacks, and amid rising alarm about Muslim terrorists, especially from Algeria, there has been much talk of the need for newcomers to accept French values, but little certainty of how to achieve it. The authorities have long been eager to see Islam “naturalised”, with imams trained in France rather than sent and paid for from abroad. France, a secular state by constitution, cannot finance religion. It has, however, been fairly generous in regularising the status of illegal immigrants: of 140,000 who applied when the left came to power in 1997, 80,000 were accepted. This gives some ammunition to the racist right, but it is surely a step towards integration.

This year has brought one more overt effort that way: the setting-up of a single national Islamic council to act as an interlocutor with the authorities. But will this in fact bring more integration—or less? The new body, which met for the first time on May 3rd, was elected in April by delegates from nearly 1,000 mosques. But are these the authentic voice of the Muslim community? The Archbishop of Paris, not alone, doubts it, arguing that most Muslims do not go to the mosque, and that “you can't reduce the issue of North African immigration”—much the largest—“to one of Islam”. What's certain is that the election gave a large voice to Muslim traditionalists and fundamentalists, and these were soon challenging the government over headscarves (in identity-card photos, this time). If such clashes occur often, the new council could be a factor against integration; and the interior minister's threat to deport imams who challenge republican values, which is not yet a crime in France, is no great way to teach those values.

Spain and Italy, parts of which centuries ago were actually ruled by Muslims from North Africa, are by northern standards surprisingly relaxed about their immigrant descendants. Spaniards are proud of the Christian Reconquista, but also of their Muslim heritage; they hear more about the dozens of Moroccans drowned trying to cross the straits of Gibraltar than about the thousands labouring in Andalusia's horticulture and elsewhere. Italians once had a historic phrase “Mamma, li Turchi!”—the Turks (ie, Muslims) are coming! But they are likelier these days to know a not-so-historic north-Italian joke, and it is not immigrants who are its target:

Q: Why did Sicily win the Nobel peace prize?
A: Because it was the only Arab country that didn't make war on Israel.

Italian governments have often acted to legalise illegal workers: measures in 1990, 1995 and 1998 each gave papers to more than 200,000 people. Though one party in the Berlusconi coalition government is openly anti-immigrant, a fresh offer from that government last summer brought almost 700,000 applications. How many will succeed is unclear, given the slow start to the process and the doubts among Mr Berlusconi's governing partners, who see this as a means not of promoting integration but of sorting out who wants to work and who does not, and excluding the latter. The permits in any case will be valid only for a year, though renewable.

More recently, the home minister offered “dialogue” to Italy's moderate Muslims, aiming to isolate the extremists: a move mostly welcomed by Muslims, although the Archbishop of Turin stirred the pot by saying that the church should offer them the Gospel as well. But to Italians the problem with immigration is not so much one of alien values as of the arrival, with the Balkan immigrants, Muslim or not, of Mafia values. And acculturation is still, as ever, left to work largely by itself.

Citizenship and the vote
There is one obvious way of helping it along: citizenship, or at least the vote. Treat people as voteless foreigners, and why would they feel anything else? Let them vote, and maybe they will feel at home. In fact, this remedy may not be much of one. As Commonwealth citizens, most members of Britain's minorities, even those not formally British, can vote already. Anyone born in France (or most European countries) is a citizen automatically. In contrast, Germany until 1998 based citizenship on descent, not birthplace, and required 15 years of residence before an outsider could be naturalised; most of its ethnic Turks are still Turkish citizens. Yet as between France's Arabs, many of whom are French citizens, and Germany's Turks, it is the Arabs who feel, and are seen as, more alien.

Still, political rights must have some integrative value. EU countries already let each other's citizens vote in local elections. Now the EU's economic and social committee is arguing for “civic citizenship”, which would give long-term residents from outside equal local-voting rights—and indeed more valuable ones, such as equal access to education and jobs.

Whatever the method, one thing is sure: Europe needs active integration policies. It cannot just sit around and wait for time to sort things out. That has been tried. It has not brought disaster—but it could.

Posted by razib at 11:31 AM

The Economist says:

"The real issue for European societies is not how to keep new foreigners out but how to integrate the minorities they already have "

Perhaps it might be prudent to "keep new foreigners out" until they figure out "how to integrate the minorities they already have."

Posted by: Steve Sailer at May 10, 2003 01:54 PM

From one papist to another: Amen!

Posted by: duende at May 10, 2003 06:00 PM

Isn't there a curious paradox at work here? Aside from the special difficulty of assimilating low skilled low income Pakistani Islamic immigrants in the UK, Anglo American societies like Australia, NZ, the US and UK have less problem assimilating immigrants than the stodgy socialistic Euro-weenies - despite the fact that the socialistic Euro-weenies consciously pursue assimilationist policies (consistently with their collectivist ideologies) while the more liberal open societies of the Anglosphere either tolerate or in some cases subsidise cultural diversity. Could there be some law of perversity and unintended consequences at work here? Right wingers tend to correctly point to unintended consequences in other areas of social engineering - well, here is another. Call me an economic determinist but I think culture and race matter far less in the long run than economics. The Anglosphere societies as a general rule have more flexible economies (even though within the Anglosphere there are differences of magnitude for instance between Australia and the US) - thus *despite* the non-consciously assimiliationist policies of the Anglosphere the immigrants in the Anglosphere generally have better economic opportunities, etc. Even though the 1st generation of any immigrant group may have relatively high unemployment rates (you find this with the current Arab migrants in Australia) there is a greater likelihood of diminishing unemployment rates in subsequent generations. This better helps assimilation - participation in the economy, productive work, interacting with fellow citizens in the marketplace - than possibly any attempt at collectivistic social engineering.

Of course I think it also helps that citizens of the Amglosphere are generally less race conscious and more open and accepting of diversity than the inherently conservative Europeans (compare for instance the French attitude with the American/Australian 'can do/fair go' attitude. This helps lessen alienation/resentment but so do the greater economic opportunities arising from a more flexible economy. Perhaps immigration might also encourage the Eurosclerotic economies to adopt more neo-liberalism (sort of a pressurising effect complementing globalisation) and this is a public good.

Generally I'm more with Godless than anyone else on this forum, that is, that immigration per se isn't a problem, nor is cosmopolitanism. Though I think Godless is too pessimistic about the prospects of poor people from semi-feudalistic economies (the Mexican example) and too ready to presume that middle class immigrants are necessarily superior. Immigrants are alreadt self-selected, and the poor from feudaliatic economies have not been able to manifest their true potential in their old countries.
Of course this doesn't lessen the concern with the impact on existing poor here but that's solely a *distributional* issue and from the perspective of rational economies no reason to assign weights differently since the aggregate effect is lower prices which means a larger pie.

Posted by: Jason Soon at May 10, 2003 06:32 PM

Good article, but it overlooks one key issue: relative birthrates. A society may be able to tolerate a distinctive subculture in its presence if the birthrate of that subculture is moderate (the same as, or not much greater than, that of the host population), but if the birthrate is seen to be much higher, there is a very natural (innate?) defensive reaction. Some of the world's worst ethnic troublespots (Israel/Palestine; Northern Ireland; Kosovo) have the underlying feature of a sharp differential in ethnic birthrates.

The 'establishment' response to this problem in Western Europe is that high immigrant birthrates will come down as the immigrants become accustomed to prevailing economic and social conditions in the host country. It remains to be seen if this is always the case. In Britain, the birthrate of Indians (Hindu and Sikh) is now moderate (though their high marriage rate probably keeps reproduction above average), but among Pakistanis and Bangladeshis it is still much higher. There do seem to be factors in Moslem religion and culture which favour high birth rates. Does anyone know of any wider comparative evidence on this point? Are there any Western countries with large Moslem communities where the birth rate has come down to the host population average?

Posted by: David B at May 11, 2003 03:27 AM

The problem is not the native European host societies, but the immigrants themselves. It is not the Europeans that need to reform, it's the immigrants. Why is it the Europeans that must accomodate themselves to immigrants? It is the immigrants that should be adapting to European society.

As well, has anyone else also considered this: Europe has hardly any East Asians, while Canada, the U.S. and Australia have plenty. East Asians, in particular Chinese, Japanese and Koreans make the best immigrants - thrifty, education-oriented, Confucian values, upwardly mobile, low criminal propensity, not-too-many babies, and, most importantly, quick-to-assimilate. The success of immigrants in North America and Australia can largely be attributed to the much greater proportion of East Asian immigrants. (Yet for some reason, the Chinese don't immigrate to Europe. Is there a particular reason for this? Europe is really missing out on massive human capital. Where were they during the millionaire Hong Kong exodus?)

I do not believe that Anglo-American societies are inherently more inclusive or receptive to immigrants than European ones, as Jason asserted. It just has to do with the type of immigrants that these nations receive. Canadians and Australians do a careful job of screening potential immigrants by keeping undesirables out and promote the immigration of those with skills. Muslims in Canada, the U.S. and Australia are highly-educated, and therefore you do not see the social problems and ghettoization in Sydney, Houston or Toronto that afflict Muslims in Paris, Bradford, Brixton, Copenhagen, Rotterdam etc. In other words, what much of continental Europe gets are the useless scum - asylum-seekers - and therefore it is no surprise that Europeans hold racist attitudes.

Should Europe implement an immigration points system ala. Canada that rewards and promotes the entry of those with skills - regardless of ethnic origin - and those that can actually contribute to society, you would see much less resistance to immigrants in Europe. But as long as you get the poor, the unskilled, and the uneducated, you will see the formation of a permanent racial underclass that will plague Europe for decades. Except that indolent disenchanted Muslims in Europe, with their numbers and their fundamentalism, pose a much much greater threat than African-Americans in South-Central ever will.

The quick solution: restrict the importation of all asylum-seekers entirely. I don't care if your country is f***ed up. If you're not useful to us, we don't want you. If asylum is what you truly want, move to Brazil.

Enough of this bleeding-heart humanitarianism. Promote the immigration of the educated and the skilled. Less Chowdhurys, more Chows.

Posted by: Sen at May 11, 2003 09:44 AM

muslim vs. hindu birthrate-muslims allow polygany (there is a tradition of polygany in hinduism, but tends to be more limited) and widow remarriage. the second point is connected to the social acceptance of divorce in muslim culture. additionally-muslim men may marry non-muslim women, but the children usually are raised in muslim in my experience, and should be according to muslim law.

Posted by: razib at May 11, 2003 02:29 PM

I don't think the high birth rate of Moslems in Britain has much to do with polygamy or widow remarriage. Most Pakistanis and Bangladeshis have only one wife, but (on average) more children than Hindus or Sikhs.

It may be (at least partly) a social class thing: the Hindus tend to be more middle class and assimilate to British middle class patterns. (I.e. 1 to 3 kids.) I just wondered if there is also a religious imperative to procreate to the max. Some orthodox Jews (Lubavitch?) and fundamentalist Christians seem to go that way, and I would add the Catholics, except that Italy now has one of the lowest birthrates in Europe.

Posted by: David B at May 12, 2003 03:04 AM

david-well, the things that i mentioned were/are more important in south asia-especially correcting for class as muslims tend to be less wealthy and educated. but the mullahs and the like tend to be pro-natalist, but it is not a religious stricture, as iran did an about face, going from pro-natalist to pro-planned-parenthood in a few years. there is a common muslim joke-'procreate if you can't proslyetize'.

Posted by: razib at May 12, 2003 09:20 AM

I love how the economist is complaining that immigrants are bringin Mafia values to Italy!

I know everything in the world can be blamed on dose dam 'mmigrant, but I think Mafia values were not unknown in Italy!

The Economist is going thru a bout of Muslim paranoia in the past two years. This is the third lengthy article I have seen on The Muslim Menace (cue doom music). I preferred when they just when on and on about legalizing prostituution -- it made for better graphics.

Posted by: Ikram Saeed at May 12, 2003 01:45 PM

Come on, razib -- polygyny does not increase the birth rate. Mathematically you end up with one guy with x wives and x guys with no wife (or perhaps some sort of decimal arrangement with prostituion and adultery).

Raising children of infidel mothers as Muslims does increase the Muslim birthrate, though.

The French are hardnosed about assimilation, but France is pretty diverse. Besides the indigenous Basques, Alsatians, and Bretons, they've taken in a lot of Eastern European refugees and a lot of people from their former colonies.

You don't hear much about Belgium in these discussions, but I've read that they have one of the highest immigrant populations percentagewise. Belgium is something of an artifical country, with three national languages already. Perhaps they are a relative success story.

I think that there is a connection between welfare state policies and ethnic homogeneity. My own part of the midwest was a center both for nativism and for socialistic ideas, and sometimes it was the same people. Many democratic socialists of the early XX c. had nativist or eugenicist ideas.

Posted by: zizka at May 12, 2003 02:13 PM

I think that there is a connection between welfare state policies and ethnic homogeneity.

Yup. Sociobioligist Frank Salter has an upcoming book , Welfare, ethnicity, & altruism: New data & evolutionary theory, that provides data to support that very same conclusion.

David #1 has also drawn that conclusion here before too.

Posted by: Jason Malloy at May 12, 2003 02:37 PM

I've also argued that the countries of Northern Europe are less suspicious of the state because they've never been governed by foreigners. Someplace like Sicily can go through 10 governments in a few centuries, often predatory foreign governments, and this leads to an incredibly deeply ingrained suspicion of the state, leading to widespread acceptance of various sorts of corruption, tax evasion, smuggling, black-marketing, etc.

Posted by: zizka at May 12, 2003 10:44 PM

It's rather amusing to see a high Muslim population growth rate attributed to the practice of polygyny. In Pakistan polygyny is an extremely rare practice owing to the prohibitive cost and the rising acceptance of divorce as a substitute to a second marriage. This is a trend that seems to be confirmed in South Asia as well:
"In India as a whole the incidence of polygynous marriage is highest among the persons returning their religion as tribal religion (15.25 per cent), next come the Buddhists (7.97 per cent) followed by Jains (6.72 per cent)". What the data clearly reveals is that of all these religious groups, Muslims have the lowest incidence of polygynous marriages.

For more myth and facts with regards to the Muslim growth see the link:


Population growth is in itself not a bad thing as long it is surpassed by economic growth so that per capita income rises...

Muslims in Western Europe tend to have more children than the Europeans primarily because they have more of a stress on family values. European families are artificial structures where an extreme stress on personal independence inevitably leads to alienation between parent and child. Muslims are renowned for their close-knit families and I think it is a laudable feature that defines their civilization.
Europeans are also suffering from a generational postponement of births, whereby women of a marriageable and maternal age are postponing childbearing (Italy and Spain are very good examples of this).

Ultimately Europe's demographic decline is attributable to destructive individualism and its incompatibility with a congenial family environment structures.

Posted by: Zachary Latif at May 13, 2003 03:19 AM

zach, i made a simplification on the polygany point, but you should really do a little research before characterizing european families in such a fashion. italian children live with their parents well into their 30s and italians have LLLOOOWWW birthrates, lower than northern europe. in fact, the problem is TOO much family values as italian women don't want to baby a man that's been taken care of by mama for years.

Posted by: razib at May 13, 2003 10:34 AM

also, check out how great islamic family values are:

Posted by: razib at May 13, 2003 10:38 AM