“Torching Utopia”

This would have less resonance if it were the first time I’d heard about such unrest, but  it seems to be a growing trend.

From National Review Online:

So why has Sweden failed to integrate immigrants despite extraordinary tolerance and generosity? I suspect that the answer is lies in unconditional tolerance itself.

Immigrants who have recently arrived lack country-specific human capital. This includes language skills, labor-market experience, and cultural knowledge. In the United States, recent immigrants typically earn less than natives do, but they experience faster wage growth as they accumulate work experience and skills. Immigrants eventually tend to catch up….

…Immigrants who do not enter the labor market remain isolated from Swedish society. Integration is not only a question of work. It is also about getting to know the natives and learning their customs. This is difficult for unemployed immigrants, who tend to live in segregated areas and often have not once set foot in the home of a native Swede. The generosity of Swedish welfare thus paradoxically traps many immigrants in permanent exclusion from the labor market and, by extension, from society…

…Economic factors tell only half the story, however. Multiculturalism itself is an even bigger impediment to integration. Multiculturalism teaches that natives have no moral right to impose their culture on immigrants. Instead, immigrants are encouraged to cling to the culture of their home country. This approach impedes integration into both the Swedish way of life and the Swedish economy. The Swedish establishment has embraced multiculturalism perhaps more wholeheartedly than any other country has.

Multiculturalism may be well-intentioned, but it has disastrous consequences. It is simply not true that Afghan culture equips one for success in the West as much as Swedish culture does. Some integration naturally occurs despite multiculturalism, but the overall failure is hard to deny. Even second-generation immigrants do not fully integrate, if we measure in terms of fundamental cultural traits such as interpersonal trust.


NRO goes on to a second, interrelated problem: the “white man’s” culture of shame (I have seen this phenomenon firsthand among underachieving groups in urban American schools):

Making matters worse, multiculturalism morally privileges Third World cultures over Western culture. It preaches a modern version of original sin, damning Western civilization for historical crimes such as colonialism and racism. Much of public discourse today is devoted to endlessly reciting the historic crimes of the West. The problem with this discourse is not that the West is innocent of these crimes; it is not. …

…Resentment toward the West makes integration harder. Immigrants learn — and make use of — the message of victimhood, which fosters hostility toward their host society. And claiming victim status is appealing from a psychological perspective, as it confers moral superiority. Immigrants who wish to integrate and adopt a Swedish identity are accused of “acting white” or being “an Uncle Tom.” The latter is not a translation from Swedish; the American phrase “Uncle Tom” is the actual term of abuse.

In the face of this litany of crimes, Swedes have developed a deep sense of collective guilt and consequently lack the cultural self-confidence to integrate immigrants. The former leader of the Social Democratic opposition famously stated: “I believe that this is why Swedes are jealous of immigrants. You have a culture, an identity, a history, something that binds you together. What do we have? We have Midsummer’s Eve and other lame things.”