A New Conservatism

Death of German Multiculturalism

Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared the death of multiculturalism in Germany, saying that it had "failed utterly" , in what has been interpreted as a startling shift from her previous views. The German leader said it had been an illusion to think that Germans and foreign workers could "live happily side by side.

"We kidded ourselves for a while that they wouldn't stay, but that's not the reality," she said at a conference of the youth wing of her Christian Democratic Union party at the weekend, referring to the gastarbeiters, or guest workers, who arrived in Germany to fill a labour shortage during the economic boom of the 1960s.

While she stressed in the same speech that immigrants were welcome in Germany and that Islam was a part of the nation's modern-day culture, her remarks positioned her closer to Klaus Seehofer, the Bavarian state premier of the Christian Social Union, who last week called for an end to immigration from Turkey and Arab countries.

Merkel faces pressure to take a tougher line on immigration, particularly on so-called "integrationsverweigerer" or those immigrants who show a lack of willingness to adapt to the majority culture, by, for example, refusing to attend German language classes.

Last week a study by the Friedrich Ebert foundation found more than 30% of people questioned agreed that Germany was "overrun by foreigners", while a similar number said they believed that some immigrants had only come to German to take advantage of its social welfare, and "should be sent home when jobs are scarce".


Economic stresses in Germany are beginning to cause angst over the immigration policies that have been in place since the 1960s. A low birth rate of ethnic Germans prompted immigration in the first place, and now, after several decades the unintended consequences are becoming apparent.  Many foreigners have no intention of adapting to German values or culture.  Some of the recent immigrants are insular and quite resistant to fitting into mainstream German society.

The ugly truth of multiculturalism is now evident.  It is central planning at its finest.
Forcing people to live together who have different values and world views.
We know from history (Yugoslavia's civil war) that communism often resettled people of different ethnic backgrounds, languages, and religious beliefs, forcing them to live in close proximity.  The communist, atheistic state ideal did not turn out well as the 1992 to 1995 civil war demonstrated.  Various groups are tolerant during good economic times, but tensions arise when financial difficulties become widespread.

Today we see similar tensions rising in many western countries.  Recent immigrants from parts of the Middle East are determined to not become part of mainstream western society.  A recent article in The Globe and Mail addresses this issue.  When Multiculturalism doesn't work
We have seen extreme sentiment in society adapting to immigrants over the past 40 years.  Now we are starting to notice that "political correctness" is losing its persuasion.  Hopefully we can achieve a balance, a reconciliation of differences, rather than swing to the insular opposite extreme.