In Australia I'd studied the great German sociologist Max Weber, who had worked for a time in Munich. I was taught about German organisational style at Sydney University. Now I could see with my own eyes how Germans emphasised thoroughness compared to the Australian and American emphasis on efficiency. Both have their virtues but it was interesting to observe the national character.
There were also problems. The guest workers brought from Mediterranean countries, mainly Turkey, during the 1950s, provided needed labour. But socially they have been a chronic burden. The large Turkish community, about 3.6 per cent of the German population before the 2015 crisis, never fully integrated. Language problems continue even now. The foreign quarters in cities and cultural separateness foster a parallel society. Sixty years after the Gastarbeiter began arriving, many of their descendants, born in Germany, do not generally identify with the nation. About half still retain Turkish citizenship. Brides are still brought from the home country. An important factor slowing integration is the poor educational performance of Turkish childre
In addition there was a steady trickle of non-Western immigration, so that ethnic diversity was increasing before the 2015 crisis. As elsewhere in the West, this policy was never put to the German people in an election or referendum. The political class was already showing its indifference to German identity. By 2015 Muslims accounted for at least 5 per cent of the German population, though as early as 2005 they accounted for 9 per cent of newborns in Germany. The proportion of non-Westerners was larger.
At the same time Germans were afflicted by the ongoing culture wars as were other Westerners. There was the usual debate over identity and immigration, skewed by anti-national ideology's domination of the media and universities. Germans were told by the political left that difficulties integrating Turks were the fault of discrimination, and that Germany was an immigrant society. Multiculturalist ideology was powerful and could punish dissenters. But in 2010 even Angela Merkel was moved to declare that multiculturalism had "utterly failed".
Another division affecting the nation was the difficult integration of communist East Germany, which been costly in monetary and social terms.
No wonder the recent opening of Germany to massive immigration from the Near and Middle East, and Africa, has provoked debate. But the argument seems to be based on ideology and emotions, not very much on scholarship. There is little evidence of sincere discussion among German political leaders; little sign that they grasp established facts about the universals of ethnic behaviour.
It is this ignorance that I shall try to correct here.
My conclusion will be that the open door policy towards immigrants is certain to grievously wound German society and Europe as a whole. I begin by briefly reporting the optimistic
predictions about the open door policy made by Chancellor Angela Merkel and her supporters. I then report the negative predictions made by many commentators, mainly overseas. Then I get to the main message, a review of research into ethnic diversity around the world. This strongly supports the negative prognosis. I conclude by considering the moral dimension of the debate.
1 Max Planck Forschungsstelle fuer Humanethologie, Andechs. Chef: Prof. Dr. Irenaeus Eibl-Eibesfeldt.
2 Salter, F. K. (2001/1998). Indoctrination as institutionalized persuasion: Its limited variability and cross-cultural evolution. Ethnic conflict and indoctrination: Altruism and identity in evolutionary perspective. I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt and F. K. Salter (eds.). Oxford and New York, Berghahn: 421-452.
3 Salter, F. K. (2007). Ethnic nepotism as heuristic: Risky transactions and public altruism. Handbook of evolutionary psychology. R. I. M. Dunbar and L. Barrett (eds.). Oxford, Oxford University Press: 541-551.
4 Salter, F. K. (2008). “Evolutionary analyses of ethnic solidarity: An overview.” People and Place 16(2): 15-25. Salter, F. K. (2002). Ethnic nepotism as a two-edged sword: The risk-mitigating role of ethnicity among mafiosi, nationalist fighters, middleman, and dissidents. Risky transactions. Kinship, ethnicity, and trust. F. K. Salter (ed.). Oxford and New York, Berghahn: 243-289. Salter, F. K. (2008). Ethnicity and indoctrination for violence: The efficiency of producing terrorists. Values and violence: Intangible aspects of terrorism. I. A. Karawan, W. McCormack and S. E. Reynolds (eds.). New York, Springer: 63-79.
5 Salter, F. K. (2004). Ethnic diversity, foreign aid, economic growth, social stability, and population policy: A perspective on W. Masters and M. McMillan’s findings. Welfare, ethnicity, and altruism. New data and evolutionary theory. F. K. Salter (ed.). London, Frank Cass: 148-171.
6 Salter, F. K. (2008). “Westermarck's altruism: Charity releasers, moral emotions, and the welfare ethic.” Politics and the Life Sciences 27(2): 28-46.Frank Gesemann (2005). Die Integration junger Muslime in Deutschland”, Islam und Gesellschaft 5, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.