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Habermas`s Huff About Thilo Sarrazin
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November 01, 2010, 04:00 AM
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The continuing success of the German high wage economy relative to the Anglo-American low wage / high finance system is raising worries among the global great and good that a newly confident German public might start thinking for itself on…immigration!

Particularly agitating to transnational elites is that Social Democratic central banker Thilo Sarrazin published an immigration restrictionist book, Germany Abolishes Itself. (Here`s Rafael Koski`s informative review of Sarrazin`s book in VDARE.com.) Since August, it has sold a million copies. (Trust me when I tell you that`s an astonishing total for a statistics-heavy social science work.)

Germany`s economic model requires, on average, a highly productive population with strong human capital. Germans deeply value extensive technical education or demanding apprenticeships in the skilled crafts. But high investment parenting means that, especially in a crowded country like Germany, children are expensive. Thus, the main long-term threat to Germany`s high investment / high wage model is the below-replacement birthrate among Germans.

Sarrazin advocates policies to boost the birthrate so that Germany won`t abolish itself. Yet there`s an obvious problem: incentives to reproduce would tend to appeal more to parents who don`t invest as much in their children`s human capital, especially Germany`s Muslim immigrants.

Germany is now into its third generation of Muslims.  As Sarrazin documents, they tend to lag behind in achievement, much as Mexicans do on average here in the U.S., even after four generations.  

What are the causes of these gaps? Genes? Culture? Or whatever?

We`ll eventually find out for sure. But meanwhile, this is the pragmatic take-home message: these disparities have been long enduring. Therefore, they can`t just be assumed away when discussing immigration policy.

Conclusion: immigration restriction is a logical necessity.

This is especially true in welfare state Germany. There, immigration from the Muslim world since the abolition of guest worker programs in the 1970s has been more or less an elaborate form of welfare fraud carried out through marriages arranged to obtain "family reunification" visas. As Christopher Caldwell pointed out in Reflections upon the Revolution in Europe, Reflections upon the Revolution in Europe, from 1971 to 2000, the number of foreign-born people in Germany rose by 150 percent—but the number of foreign-born workers didn`t go up at all.

Neighboring Denmark, the epitome of a civilized country, has had an immigration-restrictionist party in the ruling coalition since 2001.The Danish government has actually cracked down to some extent on arranged marriage immigration scams by not accepting foreign spouses under 24.

Like American scientist James Watson in 2007, Sarrazin was quickly forced to resign his post. Here, when somebody gets fired for political incorrectness, the general assumption is that he must have had it coming. Yet the German people have responded by assuming that if the ruling elite is desperate to silence Sarrazin, he must have something important to say.

Elite efforts to dissuade anyone from listening to Sarrazin`s analysis have now spread to America.

Godwin`s Law famously states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." A corollary is: Whoever mentions Hitler first loses the debate.

Nevertheless, the New York Times recently played the Nazi Card flagrantly, frontpaging an article about some museum exhibition in Berlin called "Hitler and the Germans: Nation and Crime".

Michael Slackman`s October 15, 2010 article, Hitler Exhibition Explores a Wider Circle of Guilt, made clear that the political point of the exhibition (and, in turn, his article) was to shame 21st Century Germans through guilt-by-descent into not standing up for themselves over current political issues such as immigration:

"But one curator said the message was arguably more vital for Germany now than at any time in the past six decades, as rising nationalism, more open hostility to immigrants and a generational disconnect from the events of the Nazi era have older Germans concerned about repeating the past. …"

Sarrazin`s book is Exhibit A in what must be covered-up:

"Increasingly, Germans have put the guilt of the past behind them, reasserting their pride in national identity in many positive ways. But there also have been troubling signs seeping from the margins into the mainstream. A best-selling book by a former banker promoted genetic theories of intelligence and said that Muslims were `dumbing down` society."

And similarly, on October 28, the Times ran a long op-ed, Leadership and Leitkultur, by the celebrated German philosopher, Jürgen Habermas, a Marxian Establishmentarian, complaining that today`s Germans want to talk about things he doesn`t want them to talk about:

"Since the end of August Germany has been roiled by waves of political turmoil over integration, multiculturalism and the role of the `Leitkultur,` or guiding national culture. This discourse is in turn reinforcing trends toward increasing xenophobia among the broader population."

Habermas` magnum opus is entitled The Theory of Communicative Action. In theory, Habermas is all for Communicative Action.

In practice…not so much. He writes:

"These trends have been apparent for many years in studies and survey data that show a quiet but growing hostility to immigrants. Yet it is as though they have only now found a voice: the usual stereotypes are being flushed out of the bars and onto the talk shows, and they are echoed by mainstream politicians who want to capture potential voters who are otherwise drifting off toward the right."

Over the years, Habermas has written at vast, Teutonic length about "communicative rationality" in the "public sphere." But to demean Sarrazin`s arguments, the empirically-outgunned philosopher resorts to transparent fallacies routinely exploded in Logic 101 classes, such as argument by assertion and appeal to authority. For example,

"It all began with the advance release of provocative excerpts from Germany Does Away With Itself, a book that argues that the future of Germany is threatened by the wrong kind of immigrants, especially from Muslim countries. In the book, Thilo Sarrazin … fuels discrimination against this minority with intelligence research from which he draws false biological conclusions that have gained unusually wide publicity."

Well, I guess that wraps that up. Habermas has asserted that Sarrazin`s conclusions are "false"—so what more evidence do we need?

In case you aren`t fully persuaded, however, Habermas has another arrow in his communicative quiver: appeal to authority. Unfortunately, Habermas appeals to an authority that almost nobody in America has ever heard of:

"After half-hearted responses in the press by a handful of psychologists who left the impression that there might be something to these claims after all, there was a certain shift in mood in the news media and among politicians toward Mr. Sarrazin. It took several weeks for Armin Nassehi, a respected sociologist, to take the pseudoscientific interpretation of the relevant statistics apart in a newspaper article. He demonstrated that Mr. Sarrazin adopted the kind of `naturalizing` interpretation of measured differences in intelligence that had already been scientifically discredited in the United States decades ago."

Armin Nassehi?

In case you are skeptical about this Nassehi person`s authority, let me remind you that Habermas calls Nassehi "a respected sociologist", so that`s all you need to know about the content of his argument. If you can`t trust "a respected sociologist", who can you trust?

While nobody has bothered to translate Nassehi`s article into English, a glance at it shows that Nassehi, in turn, tries to befuddle Germans by appealing to the pseudo-authority of the usual suspects from the English-speaking world:

"Besonders einflussreich war etwa die evolutionsbiologische Kritik von Richard Lewontin, Steven Rose, Leon J. Kamin und Stephen Jay Gold [sic] gegen den genetischen Determinismus …"[Die Biologie spricht gegen Biologismus, October 18, 2010]

Few well-informed Americans take Stephen Jay Gould and Company seriously anymore. But the poor Germans, who have been shielded from all this, might assume that the Four Horsemen of Disinformation know what they are talking about.

You can turn Nassehi`s article into quasi-English at Google Translate. It`s the usual hoo-ha: The Bell Curve is outdated! Epigenetics! Neuroplasticity!

Let me repeat: whether or not the cause of lower achievement in Muslims in Germany or in Latinos in the U.S. is caused in part by genetics is not terribly relevant to prudent immigration policy. The facts are that these gaps have existed for generations. And despite expenditures of billions over the last 45 years, nobody has shown that they can make them vanish.

Habermas blusters onward in the New York Times:

"The poison that Mr. Sarrazin had released by reinforcing cultural hostility to immigrants with genetic arguments seemed to have taken root in popular prejudices. When Mr. Nassehi and Mr. Sarrazin appeared at the House of Literature in Munich, a mob atmosphere developed, with an educated middle-class audience refusing even to listen to objections to Mr. Sarrazin`s arguments."

In other words, Sarrazin defeated Nassehi in open debate. (You can read a lengthy description of the evening here.)

That sounds like Communicative Action in action to me. But Habermas, intellectually impotent against Sarazin`s research, can`t let up on his use of embarrassingly loaded terms like "poison" and "odious":

"Amid the controversy, Mr. Sarrazin was forced to resign from the Bundesbank board. But his ouster, combined with the campaign against political correctness started by the right, only helped to strip his controversial arguments of their odious character."

Habermas` obvious subtext:

Why doesn`t everyone stop talking about things I know nothing about? I`m the expert on Communicative Action, and now Germans are taking action to communicate about subjects that confuse and scare me.

Why don`t they just shut up and listen to me lecture like they used to?

Poor Herr Doktor Habermas, the recognized heir to Kant, Hegel, and Marx, a man as used to enjoying adulation as President Obama, is now petulantly annoyed that the big issues in 21st Century Germany turn out to be two topics—immigration and intelligence—upon which he appears to be simply ignorant.

Sound familiar?

[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.com features his daily blog. His new book, AMERICA`S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA`S "STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE", is available here.]