Much has been discussed about changing demographics in Western countries with the expression ‘Great Replacement’ created by French writer Renaud Camus in 2011 to describe the process. Some see this as an extreme right racist conspiracy theory where black people replace white, but this debate has nothing to do with skin colour. It is about whether historic Western and in particular European populations are being replaced by others from elsewhere. In Western Europe it is absurd to pretend that the same population exists as 40 years ago and in respect of total numbers, it has changed in the last 20 years. (The UK population has increased by 10 million since 2001.)
All available statistics prove that demographic profiles have changed radically and anyone unconvinced can look at street scenes in films or videos from the 1980s and then walk around the same places today. It’s not a complicated process and as examples to prove the point, being white and English is now a minority of the London population and there are more mosques than churches in the Seine St. Denis department north of Paris. If the ‘great replacement’ is an unacceptable phrase, then ‘major demographic modification’ or some other euphemism might be more politically correct, but the facts remain. Over 60% of French people now believe that the great replacement is plausible and the President Macron’s ideas about resettling (legal and illegal) immigrants in French villages adds weight to the theory since the justification is that the reducing local population is replaced precisely by others.
The official figures in France prove the point. According to INSEE (national statistical office) statistics, only 3,1% of immigrants aged 80+ have an extra European origin (themselves, their parents or grandparents) compared to 29,6% of those aged 0-4. The figures between the very old and very young logically vary, but the trend is obvious. (There are also another 10% of European origin immigrants, but this figure is stable and in fact slightly declining as 12,8% of those 80+ are in this situation. The explanation for the small decline or stability in European immigration is related to economic development in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland etc as most of these immigrants came to France for work.) Those still denying the radically changing demographics might as well stop reading here, but for the rest of us there are several issues:
Is this a deliberate plan by the new population to replace the original?
Some Muslim political/religious leaders state openly that their objective is that the infidel West should decline compared to Islam, an objective to be achieved long-term with Muslim immigration and their higher birth-rates than non-Muslims. This does this not mean that all Muslims think this way nor want this to happen. However, a fundamental idea of Islamic faith is that the world is divided into 2 types of territories: 1) Dar-al-Islam or ‘house of Islam’ where Islam is the recognized religion and 2) Dar-al Harb, literally the ‘house of war’ where (theoretically) Muslims cannot practice their religion. The objective is that the whole world becomes Dar-al-Islam by ‘jihad’ (best translated as a ‘struggle’ which might or might not be violent) accompanied if necessary by ‘taqiya’ or the dissimulation of Islamic practices. This is very well-known and all proselytizing religions including Christianity require its followers to spread the word. Indeed historically, Christianity itself spread by various methods, often violently, but without the formal separation of territories as in Islam.
If the objective is to replace the local population, it is untrue in other contexts. Immigration from China or Vietnam is usually a matter of escaping the regime at home and recent Ukrainian immigration is the result of the war. Other examples concern economic immigration by those offering specific skills in new technology or when recruiting foreign medical staff. None of these immigrants arrive with any idea of replacing local populations.
Is this change desired by Western political leaders?
Politicians have been (unsurprisingly) ambiguous with some considering mass immigration as a chance for society. Others welcome immigration without really believing in it, but look for votes among those arriving even suggesting that foreigners should vote in local elections without reciprocal arrangements with countries of origin. Other politicians are indifferent or pretend to be and avoid the discussion to avoid this controversial subject. Finally, some politicians are against immigration so immediately described as racist by virtue signaling media on social networks and elsewhere without any consideration of the issues.
Justifications for immigration
- to do jobs that the native population avoids or because of staff shortages in various low paid sectors. The problem is that the proportion of recent immigrants working is less than the average of the whole population and perhaps better working conditions and salaries might be more appropriate. As mentioned, a small minority of immigrants do have specific skills, for example where a shortage of medical staff lead to African, Romanian or Indian replacements. Whether this is morally justified is questionable in view of the medical conditions in the countries of origin.
- wanting to help those in less fortunate situations, an idea common to all monotheistic religions and something that in principle should be encouraged. However, some of those helped are not in particularly bad situations arriving with the latest smartphones and designer label streetwear. Since Western countries are usually richer than the others, simply opening the borders for everyone turns countries into geographical spaces like international airports with uncontrolled immigration and a complete change in society.
- helping real refugees fearing for their lives where almost everyone agrees that it is desirable to help. Apart from the recent arrival of Ukrainians, this is a small minority of those arriving and even there is still an obligation for those concerned to attempt to integrate and some say assimilate. Genuine refugees do precisely make this attempt, others do not, pretending to be minors or falsely claiming to under imminent danger at home. Also families join immigrants, legally or not, sometime including multiple wives. Bringing families together is another nice idea, but has led to immigration far in excess of what was anticipated when this measure was first introduced in France in the 1970s.
- self-hatred, an underestimated and rather taboo behaviour bordering on mental illness where certain politicians consider themselves unhappy with locally born white people in Europe. These politicians consider that Western society is responsible for all the world’s problems and should be destroyed or at least changed radically by cultural Marxist ideas as seen in the news every day by attacking traditional families, sexes, history of a country, its education system and so on.
- reduced birth-rates and increased life expectancy meaning fewer people working as a proportion of the total population with immigrants needed to work, pay tax and thereby maintain the social and economic system. An alternative is to work longer, a politically explosive idea in France, but not elsewhere in Europe where every country has pushed back the official retirement age. Another choice is to reduce social benefits, unpopular everywhere. Finally an attempt can be made to encourage birth rates among the native populations by better crèche facilities etc; not only is this expensive, but for many social reasons is unlikely.
Integration issues – scenarios when immigrants arrive
- they become ‘more royalist than the king’ and copy local culture to the point of denying their own. This happened especially, but not exclusively with Jewish immigration in an attempt to gain acceptance and avoid antisemitism. (The results were unsuccessful mostly as European history shows.) In any case, there is no reason for immigrants deny their own culture whatever it might be, unless it be absolutely incompatible with local customs such as forced marriages or killing those who change religion.
- they accept the French assimilation model where religious and cultural behaviour are to be kept private and the public space kept neutral in the general interest of equality by public uniformity. This model is often rejected today, a spectacular example among many being the burkini issue in municipal swimming pools. Some common sense is required; assimilation is still perfectly possible if Chinese immigrants in France prefer Chinese and not French cuisine or that Jews and Muslims do not eat pork nor celebrate Christmas.
- they keep their own customs, sometimes making attempts to live like the native population, but with no attempt to create public space neutrality. Many in the Anglo world would say that this is a necessary compromise and it is unrealistic for this to change in countries where it already exists. Even in the French assimilation model, some public display of cultural differences exists like Chinatown festivals in Paris. Politicians send good wishes to religious groups for their different holy days, but ‘curiously’ not always for the majority Christian population…(see above, rejection of Western culture)
- they pay lip service to the culture of the native population, but make no attempt to be part of it spending almost all of their time with those thinking the same. This view exists among some minuscule minorities like orthodox Jews, Romany gypsies and Christians living in monasteries. In view of the size of these groups mentioned, this might or might not be desirable, but has little consequence on public life for the vast majority. However, this idea also exists in many Muslim communities in European cities…
- they can openly reject the majority culture or even hate it accompanied or not with proselytizing others. This is political Islam with its rejection of general legal rules applying to everyone since they consider their own culture and Koranic law as superior. These Islamist ideas have become widespread although it is not suggested that every Muslim living in Europe shares this approach. However, some do and make no longer make any attempt to hide their opinions. The bad news is that younger Muslims in Europe hold these views more than than their grandparents.
What happens next?
With international travel and some countries having more or less open borders, immigration is not going to stop. A return to controlled and chosen immigration is possible, something that was the historical situation everywhere until recently since traditionally, national governments made their own policies for their own countries, something considered absolutely democratic and logical. (Immigration agreements can exist between countries where their interests converge so in the European Union, national immigration policy has been replaced by, theoretically, the same policy in 27 Member States. In reality, many Central and East European countries apply their own rules and it is not certain that the European public appreciates this policy which became a fundamental reason for Brexit.) The United Nations passes resolutions about immigration being a Human Right, but their opinions are not legally binding under international law. Climate campaigners considering that the world will end soon suggest that millions of climate refugees will arrive in the West because of rising sea levels even if there is not the slightest scientific evidence of this happening.
Social tensions are high in many Western countries with some politicians warning about civil disturbances, societal breakdown or even the risk of civil war. 2 scenarios are possible: either politicians continue with their ostrich policies or they react following public opinion. The recent election victories in Sweden and Italy of national populists as well as in Poland and Hungary for many years is leading to changing attitudes to uncontrolled and often illegal immigration. In Denmark the political left in the government has strict rules about this so the issue is no longer simply for what is described by much of the left as the ‘extreme’ right. Also they are few doubts today about the link between illegal immigration, frequently of children under 18 and criminality.
Diversity is a nice idea, often unconnected to reality and in many cases is not a strength, but a serious weakness leading to division if the different groups disagree on civilizational bases. It is perhaps regrettable, but there it is and there are relatively few examples where people of radically different cultures live happily together. Also, diversity cannot just apply to Western cultures since if it is such a good idea, then logically the Chinese should encourage African or Arab immigration and the Africans and Arabs encourage European immigration etc. Pretending that population replacement or (major demographic modification) is not happening in some Western countries simply proves the saying about none so blind as those don’t want to see. Pretending that there is nothing to discuss and societal problems will disappear is a political ostrich policy.