Friday, August 28, 2015

Changing demography

New York City, where I have lived most of my life, seems to be a multicultural city that works. The borough of Queens boasts more than 200 nationalities. The excellent staff of my building is made up of Dominicans, African Americans, a Filipino, and a Russian.
Sometimes I wish that people in Europe, who are not doing so well with the challenge of integration, could learn from our example. (Well, there are plenty of people in the US who could learn too.)
Yet what is the outlook twenty or so years down the road, when we are told that we will become a minority-majority country? I am not so much concerned about the people themselves - we have proved that they can do all right - but about politicians who find it hard to resist herding individuals into ethnic blocs. While I have no respect whatever for Republicans these days, the Democrats seem to be looking forward to an era in which we will in fact be divided into ethnic blocs, our disputes brokered by politicians. Maybe this will not happen - but the possibility needs to be reckoned with.
This leads to another question: at what point have we in Western societies decided to change our demographic configuration through immigration?  
Without endorsing Trump's nativist extremism, it seems that there is a real problem here.  Of course big business wants lots of immigration, legal or illegal, in order to provide docile workers.  With typical shortsightedness these moguls care nothing about the longterm consequences.  The problem is less serious in the US, where we have long deal with these issues, than in Western Europe.  The Europeans must also deal with the fact that many of the new immigrants are Muslim, with a large continent included therein that is hostile to Western pluralism and freedom of expression.


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