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Reply to Ray Exley

Reader comment on item: Europe is Finished, Predicts Mark Steyn
in response to reader comment: Out of touch with reality

Submitted by KW (Denmark), Nov 18, 2006 at 01:31

A great deal of your comment is merely personal attacks, which do not merit a reply, but I'll comment on the issues of substance you've included:

1. 'Le Monde diplomatique'

'Le Monde diplomatique' is a privately owned opinion magazine, well know for its radical-left perspective. It is a perfect example of the way in which private media tend to reflect particular 'party lines', and hence of why there is value in neutral state media. You may not realise it, but you have actually added weight to my argument (in favour of state media), rather than to your own.

As an aside, when you claim 'Le Monde diplomatique' is 'the lead new outlet in France' (sic), I must assume you're confusing it with the newspaper 'Le Monde' (also privately owned, but with a centre-left perspective). These are actually two different publications, and as a self-proclaimed reader of one of them, I'm rather surprised you apparently don't know this.

2. Guest workers of the past versus Muslim immigrants today

In my earlier comment, I distinguished between the mistake of importing guest workers from Turkey in the 1950s/60s (yes, even some of those who implemented this policy have admitted it was a mistake), and immigration to Europe today. It is immigration today that is swamping the continent with Muslims, and not the immigration of more than a generation ago. Moreover, it is widely documented that (a) the reason for importing guest workers was labour shortages, and (b) they were expected to go home once their work was finished.

4. Foreign workers

The idea that importing foreign workers is something peculiar to Europe is quite wrong. The USA has imported far more workers, proportionally, than Europe (you're just lucky that most have been non-Muslims, rather than Muslims). Moreover, American politicians are at least as enthusiastic about expressing why immigrants are 'needed' as any in Europe. How do you explain this, if you believe European welfare states produce some peculiar 'need' for imported workers, which is not found in other industrial societies?

The 'need' for imported workers is based on ageing populations, not the welfare state. As I pointed out before, the issue is the ratio of workers to pensioners, and it doesn't matter a jot whether pensioners are supported by the public sector or the private sector. If you need an example to make this clear, look no further than the large American car firms, GM and Ford, both of which are headed towards insolvency, because of medical and pension obligations to their former workers. In this context, let me ask you which you believe is worse, a tax rise to pay for state pensions or the collapse of major industrial firms?

The reality is that increasing lifespans means we (those of my generation) shall have to work until a later age than those of earlier generations. All of these claims that bringing in immigrants or dismantling the welfare state can somehow prevent this are nonsense, insofar as immigrants will age too, and if pensioners are supported by the private sector rather than the public, it will simply mean that it is the private sector that will face the crisis. The only reason most politicians won't admit this is political cowardice: they don't want to lose the votes of those approaching the pensionable age.

6. The invasion of Iraq

Did you know that many governments in Europe supported the invasion of Iraq, and sent troops to the country, either during or after it? Most have now withdrawn, as the fraudulent nature of the war has been exposed, but contrary to the strange ideas of some Americans, Germany and France are not the only countries in Europe. In retrospect, however, the French and German governments were right on this issue, and those that supported the invasion were wrong.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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