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20 April 2019

Immigration, Lawfare and The Rise of National Populism: Eric Kaufmann’s White Shift Points the Way to Irenic Compromise

"Quite a lot of White Shift, Eric Kaufmann’s brilliant, lengthy and massively researched book, revolves around the Overton Window, insofar as he charts the increase in resistance to norms laid down by multicultural ideologues as the 'white' majorities of Europe and the Anglosphere react to a perceived threat to their cultural and ethnic dominance. The Kulturkampf that has ensued is analysed with clarity and balance. However his core theme is that migration is a feature of human existence..."


We do not love our country merely as a part of the great society of mankind: we love it for its own sake, and independently of any such consideration” Adam Smith[1]

The argument that minority groups are encouraged to take pride in their identity while whites are not strikes me as undeniable in the present climate.” Eric Kaufmann[2]


A report in the Financial Times (12 Feb. 2019) outlines what the paper with its masterly use of euphemism calls a policy “reappraisal” by Germany’s Christian Democrats concerning their policy on immigration. A better description would be a “180 degree turn,” following the fall-out from Chancellor Merkel’s disastrous decision to welcome one million migrants in 2015-16 without apparently even consulting her party, let alone the electorate. The most notable aspects of this “reappraisal” are the pledges made, which would formerly have attracted hyperbolic abuse and charges of racism across the pharisaical German media and most of the political spectrum. Merkel’s anointed successor stated that the party would do “everything it could” to ensure that a mass influx, as in 2015, “will never be repeated.” There were plans to deny asylum to refugees who provide false identities, to deport migrants convicted of rape or other sexual offences, and to designate other safe countries of origin whose citizens cannot automatically claim asylum in Germany. A senior CDU figure finally admitted what everybody already knows, namely that “most people slated for deportation are never actually sent home.” Further it was suggested that refugees already registered in one EU country should not necessarily be allowed to cross into other member states (“secondary migration”), which would seem, inter alia, to put the kybosh on Germany’s attempts to shift the burden of its mistaken policy of the past onto other EU countries. Since most migrants arriving in, say, Greece only want to go to Germany (or possibly Sweden), this promises to aggravate existing tensions between north and south in the EU.

Above all however, the about-turn highlights a remarkable widening of what Eric Kaufmann calls the “Overton Window.” “What is the Overton Window?” I hear you cry. The phrase was invented by a social scientist of that name to describe the permitted parameters of public discussion on sensitive issues, typically migration, which both the media and politicians long adhered to. This self-censorship was for many years successful in keeping the topic of immigration off the political agenda and effectively allowed left-liberals to dictate what could or could not be frankly discussed in this respect, as well as how it should be discussed. Anyone transgressing the boundaries of the Overton Window, as policed by its self-appointed guardians, could be smeared and side-lined as racist or xenophobic, particularly if they complained that immigration was too rapid, too voluminous, or creating undesirable side-effects in the host country. However the artificial restrictions of the Overton Window cannot be maintained indefinitely in a free society. Its subversion is presciently summarized in Anthony Trollope’s novel Phineas Finn (1868), where a Mr. Monk makes the following observation: Many who before regarded legislation on the subject as chimerical, will now fancy that it is only dangerous, or perhaps not more than difficult. And so in time it will come to be looked on as among the things possible, then among the things probable; and so at last it will be ranged in the list of those few measures which the country requires as being absolutely needed. That is the way in which public opinion is made.”

Quite a lot of White Shift, Eric Kaufmann’s brilliant, lengthy and massively researched book, revolves around the Overton Window, insofar as he charts the increase in resistance to norms laid down by multicultural ideologues as the ”white” majorities of Europe and the Anglosphere react to a perceived threat to their cultural and ethnic dominance. The Kulturkampf that has ensued is analysed with clarity and balance. However his core theme is that migration is a feature of human existence, at least since the demise of hunter gatherer societies: in the long run there is no more possibility of preventing it, especially from poor to more developed and prosperous societies, than King Canute could control the tides. The whole of America is predicted to become ”majority minority” by the 2040s, and twenty-two of her top 100 metropolitan areas already are.[3]

It is a mark of Kaufmann’s scholastic integrity that his book is scrupulously fair to all sides in this emotionally charged debate. In passing he candidly admits that most of his colleagues in the Social Sciences are left-leaning, which cannot but have some (though may be unconscious) impact on their findings; and he is unsparing in his critique of the excesses of what he calls “left-progressive” activism, but obviously also of actual racism or xenophobia. His definition of racism is “(a) antipathy to racial or pan-ethnic groups, defined as communities at birth; (b) the quest for race purity, or (c) racial discrimination which results in a violation of citizens’ rights to equal treatment before the law.”[4] While (b) and (c) are uncontroversial, the problem with (a) becomes apparent if applied to criticism of Islam, which is a religious construct incorporating the political. Kaufmann evades the problem by pointing out that Muslims have different views, which is true, but this does not prevent liberals from placing critique of the fundamental assumptions of Islam in the racist category by calling it ”Islamophobia” (as Kaufmann does). In any case Islam is self-consciously a supra-racial concept (the ”ummah”) so it seems inappropriate to categorise it as inspiring ”racism.” I shall return to this problem later.

Kaufmann himself is of mixed Asian, Jewish and Hispanic lineage, but (as he himself says) is recognised as part of the ”white” majority due to his upbringing and long academic career in the Anglosphere. He would seem to be the ideal person to write such a book. His researches are based on a dizzying number of surveys and the argument is fleshed out with a large number of statistical charts (not always easy for the layman to follow), plus extensive anecdote and quotation. It is a tour de force.

Strategies of Survival for White Majorities

The book is structured as four parts respectively entitled Fight, Repress, Flee and Join. Part I looks at the history of white identity and its attitude to immigration in a historical perspective and deals (as does the whole book) with the Anglosphere and Europe. Part II deals with what Kaufmann calls ”left-modernism,” beginning with the 19th century and the rise of Populist Right resistance to it. Part III deals with strategies of flight or ”the geographic and social retreat of white majorities” (e.g. from urban areas that become colonised by immigrant groups.) Part IV essays a look into the future, dealing with such topics as assimilation through interracial miscegenation, and is basically positive and optimistic. The way Kaufmann sees it, the most encouraging trend is for the main features of the political and social white culture to be embraced by immigrants who become identified with it through marriage and a concomitant acceptance of that culture’s key institutions. There are exceptions, and he also poses the question as to whether ”unmixed whites” will become extinct, a possibility for states with below replacement birth rates that also reject immigration; there are also exclusivist societies like that of the Quebequois, which strongly resist the open door immigration policy espoused by the Anglo-Canadians who control the national policy levers.

The analysis of Canada, where Kaufmann’s parents live, and where he has worked for long periods, is a particularly fascinating chapter. Anglo-Canadian society, which identified strongly with the British Empire, suffered an identity crisis as the empire waned and by 1965 the Union Jack had been replaced by the Maple Leaf flag. Soon national policy switched from quasi-exclusive British settlerism and became over time one of the most extreme examples of multiculturalist ideology in the West. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that Canada is a completely new society with “no core identity and no mainstream.” It is a ”post-national state” according to him. He is, says, Kaufmann an apostle of ”progressive modernism,” something that is of course vulnerable to its own dogmatics – on a visit to India Trudeau tried to virtue-signal his cosmopolitanism by dressing in Indian attire, only to be accused by PC zealots of ”cultural appropriation.”[5] His brand of ”positive liberalism” is however provoking a backlash. The ex-leader of the left-wing New Democratic Party in British Columbia, who happens to be a Sikh-Canadian, has written blisteringly of how the commendable desire to reduce inequality has “mutated into an ideological orthodoxy based on a neurotic desire to repudiate the sinful white man.” [6] The psychologist and best-selling author Jordan B. Petersen has also stood out against what he sees as the unhealthy coercion of ”positive liberalism.” In his book 12 Rules for Life he has written: In the West, we have been withdrawing from our tradition-, religion- and even nation-centred cultures, partly to decrease the danger of group conflict. But we are increasingly falling prey to the desperation of meaninglessness, and that is no improvement at all”.[7] Both the NDP’s Sikh and Petersen are reacting against the erosion of personal freedom and free speech that an increasingly tyrannical approach to thought and opinion by left-progressive hegemony is perceived as causing.

Here however one must define one’s terms: Isaiah Berlin differentiates ”negative liberalism” from ”positive liberalism,” the former being in fact more desirable because it celebrates tolerance, but does not oblige people to sign up to beliefs or dogmas they do not share. As Kaufmann picturesquely puts it: ”If someone doesn’t have a taste for Marmite, asking them to celebrate it is a coercive form of of positive liberalism with no roots in Western legal tradition.”[8] Moreover positive liberalism is a bit like a mutating virus as new obligations (which are in fact prohibitions) are added to the list of what must be not only accepted but celebrated. This is a ”subtle but critical move” and those who disagree may be ”deviantized as racists who have transgressed the sacred values and therefore cannot be tolerated.” Unfortunately the sacralisation of  supposedly liberal values in this way is increasingly prevalent in the universities. In what should be the last bastions of free speech, denunciation has sometimes taken the place of debate, with the accompanying aggression of ”no platforming,” harrassment, threats and even violence.

The White Man As Symbolic Oppressor

Kaufmann claims that ”
the Western tradition of opposing one’s own culture begins with the so-called ’lyrical left’ in the 19th century”, but its roots surely lie earlier in the Enlightenment, and of course it even existed to a degree among some of the thinkers of Ancient Greece. It certainly existed among the Romans: the poet Horace ironically addressed a letter to the Emperor Augustus which began ”Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit (’Fierce Rome had been captured by captive Greece.’)” He meant thereby that the fashion amongst the Romans for all things Greek showed their acceptance that they had overrun a culture arguably superior to their own. Free critique of one’s native society and culture is a key factor in social or political progress, since static, uncritical societies remain hidebound and (in western terms) backward. However what is now happening with the counter-cultural movement that Kaufmann calls ”left-modernism” is not simply a critique but a ”theory of white ethno-racial oppression,” a ”millenarian project sustained by the image of a retrograde white ’other’.”[9]  

Apart from being itself racist, this dogma requires the application of double standards on a heroic scale if the unique evil of the white man in history is to be sustained as an unchallengeable fact. ”The progressive storyline for white majorities is a morality tale celebrating their demise, and ... much of today’s populist reaction stems directly or indirectly from this trope.” [10] He adds (P.483) that ”Invoking the history of racism to justify harsher treatment of whites reflects ... a theory of justice that leans on pre-Hobbesian notions of intergenerational culpability, collective punishment, eternal sin and retributive justice.” The fact that the progressive storyline of unique guilt does not stand up to the most cursory historical examination is no bar to its triumphal progression through academe and left-liberal circles. Leaving aside the more obvious examples such as the West’s repentance over slavery, something which de facto still exists among some of the West’s strongest critics, Kaufmann quotes a Christian clergyman from the YMCA in the 1920s. This pastor pointed out that missionaries had abandoned the ”view that... in Christianity we have a final and complete revelation of moral and spiritual truth” and that its ”values are so completely satisfying that it possesses the obvious and inherent right to displace all other religions.” That is now a mainstream, conciliatory, Christian view, but it is the exact opposite of Islam’s messianic claims, latent even in non-jihadist Islam, whereby Conservative Islamic scholars have produced persuasive narratives of world domination. The founder of the immensely influential Muslim Brotherhood Hassan al-Banna (1906-1949) laid out the promised  extension of Islam (which does not distinguish between religious and secular rule) beyond the territories lost to it during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Eventually the entire world will be under its tutelage, which he parses as liberation. ”Do you not hear the words of God (Blessed and Almighty is He!) ’Fight them until there is no more persecution, and worship is devoted to God?’” One notes the use of the concept of victimhood (”persecution”) in what is fundamentally a declaration of intent to persecute others until they conform, a verbal sleight of hand much used by militant Islamic groups in western societies. No doubt if the Islamists  approved of Herbert Marcuse (which of course they do not) they would be referring to ”repressive tolerance.”

A successor Brotherhood scholar, Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966), was even more explicit about Islam’s mission as a universal system which needed to overthrow with violence as necessary all other forms of governance and loyalty and replace them with a literal and global implementation of the Quran.[11] Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of Iran’s theocratic revolution, has expressed similar views and famously tried to extend Islam’s writ to a non-Islamic country with his fatwa authorising the killing of the Anglo-Indian author Salman Rushdie in 1989 for alleged blasphemy. Mass immigration of Muslims (Kaufmann tells us (P.223) that fifty-per-cent of non-European minorities in Western Europe are Muslim) cannot be viewed in isolation from the irredentist, expansionist and messianic claims of their faith, even if many Muslims are not active in promoting them.

National Populism Challenges The Attack On White Majority Identity

The less prosperous of the white majorities in Europe and the Anglosphere have been caught in a pincer over several decades as the globalised elite has got ever richer while the middle and lower income groups in western societies have seen stagnation or relative decline in their share of the nations’ wealth. They have seen how the elites through greed, incompetence and criminality caused the greatest economic crash since 1929, yet the bill for this malfeasance was almost entirely paid for by its victims. Naturally this has fuelled disgust with a complicit political system and led to the rise of ”antipolitical” movements which are presently eroding traditional party allegiances. However both Eatwell and Goodwin in their profound book on
National Populism,[12] and Kaufmann in White Shift, stress that the sort of utilitarianism which assumes only a fundamental materialist motivation in the dissidence of non-liberal whites leaves out the more important half of the story. Actually this view is a conceit of the liberal techno-democratic hegemony which is more comfortable showering recalcitrant parts of the electorate with dubious bribes than addressing a cultural unease that can no longer simply be dismissed as ”racism,” and which now features in the expanded parameters of the Overton Window as defined above.

One catches a glimpse of this in the complete failure of the Remain establishment to comprehend during the referendum on Brexit that people might even be prepared to suffer some economic disadvantage for the sake of ”taking back control.” ”Taking back control” is anyway dismissed as fantasy among an elite insulated from the adverse effects of globalism or transnational governance.  Hence the massive and unsuccessful attempt to pre-empt the issue with scaremongering about the economy. Hence also the incomprehension that ”educated” people voted for Trump and Brexit and the concomitant attempt by anti-Trump and anti-Brexit media to misrepresent all Trump/Brexit voters as a rabble of hicks, rednecks, xenophobes, racists, ”angry old white men” and so forth ad infinitum. The reality was of course rather different. ”Brexit was endorsed by one in four British graduates (write Eatwell and Goodwin), one in two women, one in two from urban areas, around two-fifths of those aged between eighteen and thirty-four and half of those aged between thirty-five and forty-five, ... and one in three black and ethnic-minority voters... the average age of Leavers at the Brexit referendum was fifty-two – hardly people who are about to kick the bucket!”[13] Similarly Kaufmann cites US electoral analysis which shows that whites without degrees indeed broke 67-28 for Trump; nevertheless white degree holders still favoured him 49-45 and white women came out 52-44 for Trump over Clinton, while whites under the age of thirty backed him 47-43.[14]

While white majorities were caught in the economic and demographic pincer movement I described above, liberal and leftist democracy has also been caught out in ways it does not seem to have anticipated. It seriously undermined its own base by favouring niche victimhood causes, some creditable, some less so, thus creating the image of an uncaring, well-heeled urban elite that was more interested in virtue-signalling or moral posturing than looking after its previously core vote. ”The left,” writes Francis Fukuyama in his book on identity, ”has focused less on broad economic equality and more on promoting the interests of a wide variety of groups perceived as being marginalised – blacks, immigrants, women, Hispanics, the LGBT community, refugees and the like. The right, meanwhile, is redefining itself as patriots who seek to protect traditional national identity, an identity that is often explicitly connected to race, ethnicity or religion.” [15] The astonishing decline in once all-powerful Social Democracy in Europe is one sign of this shift, the rise of anti-immigration parties another.

Not only did the liberal-left neglect its traditional clients, it added insult to injury by lecturing them at every turn on their multicultural obligations and implying that they were bigoted, unenlightened throwbacks who must wake up and smell the coffee of the diversity dawn. Many ”ordinary” white people began to gain the impression that they were becoming second-class citizens in their own country and that every minority (whether ethnic, sexual or health-conditioned) was to be privileged over them. More and more voters decided to show two fingers to the homilies of the liberal left establishment, particularly where voters felt they were being taken for granted. For example, loss of support for mainstream Labour in the UK brought the Scottish Nationalists to power in Scotland and 70 per cent of Labour constituencies voted for Brexit, mostly in defiance of their MPs. This has produced a split between the majority of moderates in the Parliamentary Labour Party and many of its traditional supporters, which almost mirrors a similar split between party and base in the Conservative Party. In Germany the two main parties scored their lowest share of the votes since the re-establishment of democracy after World War II. As stated above, the German Christian Democrats have had to move towards so-called ”populist” demands, but the Socialists are more or less stuck with their arrogant left-liberal ideology. Other European examples of voter rebellion abound – in Sweden, in Italy, in Holland, in Austria and in France. In Austria there had in fact been a plurality of votes for right of centre parties for many years, but it took the immigration crisis of 2015 and an internal coup in the sluggish Volkspartei to establish a legitimated right-wing coalition under a charismatic young Chancellor.  A previous such coalition (2000-2007) had actually been ostracised by the EU at its inception, despite being brought to power in a free election. This illegal application of ”transnational” power hardly improved the image of the EU in Austria. It also showed that the Austrian Socialists (who were partly behind it) were prepared to resort to antidemocratic means to retain their (by then) traditional grip on power.

Patriotism, Nationalism and the Nation State

Liberal and leftist academics and politicians have generally become hostile to the nation state, which they see as outmoded in a globalised environment where, according to them, the march of history is towards the submersion of national autonomies in benevolent utopias such as a European Federal State. Obviously nationalism is opposed to this way of thinking and invariably derided as ”populism,” while patriotism is also suspect and often elided with nationalism in the minds of the
bien pensants. Of course, if need be, liberals are not above descending into ”populism” if winning an election requires it. The most startling example recently was seen in the Dutch election when Mark Rutte, one of Europe’s more sanctimonious leaders, looked to be losing to Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration party; whereupon he published an open letter to the electorate warning of social breakdown due to the misbehaviour of Muslim immigrants. He complained of people who ”harrassed gays, howl at women in short skirts or accuse ordinary Dutch of being racists... If you reject our country in such a fundamental manner, I’d rather see you leave.”[16] This had the desired effect of enabling his party to leapfrog Wilders’ PVV and secure the election. And this was the party (Rutte’s) that abandoned Ayan Hirsi Ali when she was the subject of Muslim death threats and generally poses as ”Liberal”! In Britain there was a watered down version of the same tactic when the Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown started talking about ”British jobs for British workers”, before reverting to Hampstead-style pharisaism when caught describing as a ”bigot” a woman who complained to him about excessive immigration.

However it is the attitude towards patriotism that has engendered the worst double standards amongst the left-liberal fraternity. In an interview with the Financial Times promoting his latest novel, the Austrian writer Robert Menasse remarks, apropos of nothing in particular, that ”Margaret Thatcher started the Falklands  war just to win an election.”[17] Firstly, no election was due at the time the war started: Mrs Thatcher and her advisers knew they were embarking on an immensely high risk strategy, and that if anything went wrong, she would be out of office in weeks, if not days. Secondly, Mrs Thatcher did not ”start the Falklands war;” she responded to an illegal occupation of territory by the Argentinians and fulfilled Britain’s duty of care to Falklanders, not a single one of whom wished to live under oppressive Argentinian rule. Thirdly, and most revealingly, Menasse has airbrushed out the knock-on effect of the British victory, which was the collapse of a particularly nasty Fascist dictatorship in Argentina. Normally that would be a matter for rejoicing amongst liberals concerned with human rights, but in this case no celebration is forthcoming simply because this happy result was brought about by a Conservative leader. One notes that Menasse does not seem at all concerned about the human rights of the Falklanders. Evidently their plight does not qualify for the selective indignation of the left, perhaps because they are white and the descendants of settlers.

More significant than hypocrisy of this kind is the vulnerability of the nation state to incremental ”transnational” or ”global” governance which has made great strides in recent years. To cite Menasse again, in a speech before the European Parliament celebrating sixty years since the Treaty of Rome, he passionately and ably advocates what Walter Hallstein called a”postnational” Europe. ”It is a question of the sovereignty of European citizens, not of the sovereignty of nations” is the mantra. Anything else is nationalism, which brought Europe to disaster in the 20th century, and in any case all significant problems facing us today can only be solved by transnational means. By implication, all national populist governments are nothing but a malignant shadow of the past and their leaders are charlatans who deliberately deceive their voters about the merits of a nation state, or even its survival in a globalised environment.[18]

Menasse on this occasion was charismatic, eloquent and spectacularly wrong. The idea that nation states cannot survive unless they have been completely absorbed into a ”postnational” (and indeed ”postdemocratic”) bloc is challenged by the fact that  Switzerland and Norway are amongst the top three largest per capita GDPs of Europe, despite being outside the EU (top comes Luxembourg, which is really just one large finance sector set up by Jean Claude Juncker to help international companies avoid tax.) Despite a fifth column of EU devotees, the voters of Switzerland and Norway have robustly rejected attempts to muscle them into the EU because they value their democratic arrangements. Certainly they have close relationships with the EU, but it is evident that the main reason the latter wishes to lassoo them is because they are so successful, not because the lives or democracy of the inhabitants would be improved thereby.

The EU considers itself something of a model for world governance and transnationalism. John Fonte succinctly summarises the undesirable implications of this when he writes that ”the ideology of world governance challenges the major premises of liberal democracy: individual over group rights, free speech, majority rule, democratic accountability, national identity, the primacy of the nation-state.”[19] The National Populist governments that have been voted into power recently are not just the xenophobes and racists of liberal hate speech. They have realised that their autonomy as nation-states is steadily being chipped away by the transnational advance led by international lawyers, NGOs, bureaucrats in international bodies and other non-elected persons or bodies. Generally speaking, not only countries that have elected right-of centre populists (Austria, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Italy and the USA) but also very large numbers of Dutch, British, Swedes, Danes, French and now finally Germans have decided to call a halt to the erosion of their nation-states’ autonomy.

Immigration was perhaps the neuralgic issue that most provoked this shift,  but also the reckless and criminal behaviour of out-of-control global entities in the financial sector has deflated the notion that we have no choice but to submit to globalisation whatever form it takes, and even if it has been hijacked by the Mafia banks. At the same time the claims of transnational governance by legalistic bodies claiming unlegitimated priority (especially in the ever-burgeoning field of human rights and politically motivated ”lawfare”) is increasingly seen for the illegitimate power grab that it is. This is especially so when undemocratic countries, that have not the slightest intention of conforming to human rights themselves, sign up to international protocols that can then be used to harrass democratic nation-states (chiefly the USA and Israel.) That holds for the UNO Council on Human Rights (one of a dazzling array of UNO bodies concerned with this topic) which, since its inception in 2006 has passed 78 resolutions condemning Israel – more than for the rest of the world combined. Whatever your view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this is obviously wildly biased, just as the Council’s Special Rapporteur on the conflict (appointed 2008, now deceased) cannot possibly have been regarded as objective after comparing Israelis to the Nazis (did you know that the Nazis ran a democratic state and telephoned, or dropped leaflets on, civilians in the lands of their opponents warning that an aerial attack was imminent? Me neither.)[20]

The Rights of Migrants and the Opposing Cultural Claims of Host Countries

Eric Kaufmann observes that ”
the West cannot simultaneously accept large inflows [of immigrants] and maintain culturally neutral immigration policies.” He adds that ”cultural tradition, not genes, tells us which markers matter and which don’t.”[21] By the same token he points out that the utilitarian assumptions about ”economic man” can be dangerously misleading, since it is ”ethno-cultural” factors that are a main driver of resistance to immigration (but also and conversely, he might have added, they partly drive positive liberalism’s support of mass migration and multiculturalism.) ”Elites,” he writes, ”who use national and supranational institutions to advance a cosmopolitan vision are eroding conservatives’ trust in liberal institutions.”[22]

 The Kulturkampf between those who are anxious to preserve a white majority culture with its basic institutions intact and those who believe in increasing immigration and, where necessary, bending insitutions to accommodate them, need not (Kaufmann implies) be a ”zero sum” game. Obviously at the jihadist and white supremacist margins it is that, and naturally the press and indeed politicians devote much attention to the suicide bombers or the atrocities of Anders Breivik in Norway and Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand. The huge coverage that such acts understandably generate rather distracts from the debate between reasonable people about how migration should proceed and under what conditions, which cannot be entirely on the migrants’ terms. A Gallup World Poll has estimated that 700 million people would migrate if they could, including 31 per cent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa.[23]

One of the issues usually glossed over by the ideologues of migration is the arguably terminal damage done to countries  that lose both much of their wealth and their most skilled people to migration. Ironically, a positive aspect of globalisation has been the rise in available wealth in some parts of Africa that has caused those with a few assets to finance their departure. ”Money, not need, largely determines who comes to the West”remarks Kaufmann in a mordant aside (P.231). As Paul Collier puts it with characteristic bluntness: ”The private response of people living in societies that are poor and stagnant is to get their money out if they are rich and emigrate if they are educated... Africa loses $200 billion of capital flight each year; Haiti loses 85 per cent of its young educated workers. Framing these behaviours as a ”human right” belittles the obligations they breach.”[24] The economists’ lobby that advocates migration claims that it always creates a win-win situation, by which they presumably mean that it offers cheap labour to the capitalist and a higher standard of living for the migrant. However Collier notes that the host population has mysteriously been left out of this equation and gives the example of Norway (admitting, however, that it is an extreme example.) Norway has a sovereign wealth fund worth $200,000 per person. An immigrant family of five from a poor country that settles in Norway gains an entitlement to a pro rata share of assets worth $1 million over and above the family’s earnings. Naturally the family’s homeland cannot counter such an incentive to leave. ”However,” writes Collier, ”two groups of people have a much better claim to that $1 million: the Norwegians who saved the money, and the thousands of poor people among whom it could be shared.”[25]

This observation is about as politically incorrect as it gets, but it raises an important issue of entitlement which is also a subtext of Eric Kaufmann’s book (though I doubt he would agree with Collier’s analysis above.) The UN brokered  Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (signed in New York, 18th December, 2018) has met resistance from National Populist governments because they believe it fails to distinguish sufficiently between legal and illegal migration. In fact the Compact (which can be read on the web) claims to respect national sovereignty and stresses that it is not legally binding. Its verbose thirty-one pages contain dozens of initiatives that states should pursue, among them many sensible suggestions. However three of the largest democracies in the world (the USA, India and Australia) have refused to sign it, together with the ”usual suspects” in Central Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Poland and Austria). This is probably because they are suspicious about the ”non-legally binding” pledge, but also because they regard it as a document written almost exclusively from the migrants’ point of view. ”Global” initiatives of this kind sometimes begin as recommendation (or ”soft law” as one jurist put it) and end up (after the international lawyers have got to work on it) as hard law. Some pressure groups are already advocating that it should be legally binding. In any case one is bound to ask what is the point of compiling such lengthy and detailed prescriptions if it is not envisaged that they should be, or become, legally binding? 

The reality is that sentiment has changed, and not only in the refusenik countries. The voters do not believe that migration issues should be decided over their heads, do not trust the vested interests that have tended to prevail in policy making, and above all want to make immigration more difficult rather than easier. There is a feeling that immigration should not be presented, as it tends to be on the liberal left, as a matter simply of rights for the migrants and obligations for the host countries. The development of such sentiment over the last two or three decades, and the reasons for it, can best be understood by reading Kaufmann’s judicious and perceptive book. After reading it, you will see why the phrase ”Global Compact” no longer has quite the apodictic heft its compilers would wish. Of course 2019 may represent the high tide of National Populism if its representatives fail to deliver on their promises or otherwise fall prey to misgovernment and corruption. On the other hand the liberal establishments, and hopefully the EU, will realise that much of the resistance to their high-handed ways is unlikely to go away and demonisation of such resistance is counter-productive. Despite much pretence of future friendship and mutual respect, Monsieur Barnier showed that the EU was not impressed by Britain’s democratically legitimated and legal decision to leave the EU. His mission, he said, was to impose a settlement on Britain that would make it regret it ever decided to leave. Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU President, went further, deliberately choosing to describe the post-Brexit British as ”deserters,” a phrase tradionally reserved for those who were subjected to a court martial and shot. As Dr. Alice Weidel of the AfD commented in a characteristically satirical speech to the Bundestag ”With friends like that, who needs enemies?” The EU has won the negotiations and inflicted its punishment on a state that aspired to freedom from transnational rule, demonstrating that it is almost as difficult to leave the EU as it was for a satellite country to escape from the embrace of the Soviet Union. On the other hand the manner of its victory reminded Brexiteers, and perhaps many others in Europe itself, of why anyone might want to leave it....




[1] Adam Smith: The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Part VI. Quoted in Jesse Norman: Adam Smith: What He Thought And Why It Matters (Allen Lane, 2018, P.132.)

[2] Eric Kaufmann: White Shift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities (Allen Lane, 2018, P.482.) Hereafter Kaufmann op cit.

[3] Kaufmann op cit. P.31.

[4] Kaufmann op cit. Pp. 327-8.

[5] Kaufmann op cit. Pp. 310, 352.

[6] Kaufmann op cit. P.280.

[7] Jordan B. Peterson: 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Allen Lane 2018, P. xxxii).

[8] Kaufmann op cit. P.22.

[9] Kaufmann op cit. P.3.

[10] Kaufmann op cit. P.1.

[11] See Henry Kissinger: World Order (Penguin, 2014), Pp.118-122.

[12] Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin: National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy (Pelican Books, 2018).

[13] Eatwell and Goodwin op cit. Pp. 11-13.

[14] Kaufmann op cit. P. 120.

[15] Francis Fukuyama: Identity: Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition (Profile Books, 2018) Pp.6-7.

[16] Eatwell and Goodwin op cit. Pp.285-6. Kaufmann op cit. P.256.

[17]The pioneer of Eurolit.” FTWeekend, 23 /24 February 2019.

[18] See: Robert Menasse: Rede im Europäischen Parlament anlässlich der Feier “60 Jahre Rőmische Vertrage” retrievable from the internet from www.progressives-zentrum.org/up.../06/DoE.

[19] John Fonte: Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans rule themselves or be ruled by others? (Encounter Books, NY/London, 2011), P.185.

[20] Richard Falk, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as special rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” In a June 2007 article, "Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust,” he drew a parallel with Israel and the Nazis and defended it again in 2008. There is a full account of his views in the extensive entry on him in Wikipedia. It should be pointed out that he was himself Jewish.

[21] Kaufmann op cit. Pp. 27-28.

[22] Kaufmann op cit. P.28.

[23] Gallup News 8 June 2017, Kaufmann op cit. P.231.

[24] Paul Collier: The Future of Capitalism: Facing New Anxieties (Allen Lane, 2018) P.208.

[25] Collier op cit. Pp. 208-209.

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