Thursday, December 14, 2006

Third-world immigration and multiculturalism

Some cultures are better and some are worse. This is indeed rather obvious from observing different countries. The worse cultures might have some particular isolated advantages over the better cultures, some cultures are in trouble due to some acute geopolitical issues through no fault of their own, and a lot of cultures are ranked so close together that you can't easily measure which one is better. Nevertheless often you can measure the relative level of the cultures by immigration and attempts to immigrate: if every year 1000 people move from place A to place B and 5000 people are trying to do so unsuccessfully, whereas 10 people move from B to A and there is no 11th person standing in line, then place B is nicer that place A. Regardless of whether or not all those 1000 immigrants keep complaining how Everything Was Better Back Home.

(Immigration as a measure of niceness of a place is somewhat affected by the fact that some places have stricter immigration criteria than others, but you get the idea.)

For example, Finland is a much nicer place than Somalia, as evidenced by the fact that a lot of Somalis want to move to Finland and very few Finns want to move to Somalia.

And let's face it: the reason why we can't let all the Somalis move to Finland and live happily ever after is that Finland is a nice place because it is inhabited by the Finns, and Somalia is a bad place because it is inhabited by the Somalis. If all the population of Somalia comes to Finland and brings the Somali culture with them, Finland will become a worse place. Inevitably.

While Finns' good life is the natural product of their culture and Somalis' bad life is the natural product of theirs, and both cultures are currently more or less enjoying the rightful fruits of their labors, individual people obviously do not choose to be born in Finland or Somalia. Sorry for the cliche, but being born in a first-world nation is a lucky lottery ticket, and it is quite understandable that a lot of people want to share it with the less fortunate. Having been one of those less fortunate I certainly have no objection to the idea, in fact I am quite grateful for it. However - both having experienced the life outside the West and living in the West now - I have an interest in the preservation of the West in general and the USA and Finland in particular as a nice place to live. And so do you. And this means limiting the penetration of other cultures in some ways.

Every immigrant whom you let into the country (including me) changes it. The same is true for every Finn born here, but the extent of change is a lot smaller since Finns are much closer to the mainstream of the Finnish life than foreigners. Most people would bring both positive and negative changes. Some people bring a lot more negative than positive changes. Every time a fairly large group of people from the same culture or similar cultures comes in, the changes will be substantial. Any immigration policy with a common sense, especially one that hopes or expects to admit more immigrants than now, should take this into account.

In general, bringing in a lot of people from country X will make your country a bit more like X. This is not quite the case when the sample you are bringing is not representative of the general population of X: for example, if you bring in a large group of Iranian Baha'i, you are not making your country a bit more like Iran, you are making it a bit more like Iranian Baha'i.

Most cultures have at least something nice in the way of food and entertainment, but generally speaking you don't want to bring most of the things that constitute third-world cultures.

If you want to take a fair lot of immigrants and still want the West to remain the West, as opposed to becoming more similar to the third-world cultures, you have to favor the immigrants that are more Western-minded, as opposed to the ones who are less so. You'd also have to tell them that the West is a place where people live and interact with each other in the Western ways, and enforce it.

This does not mean that they should all raise their hands and swear on the Finnish-language edition of the Bible that Fazerin Sininen is the best milk chocolate in the world, but it does mean that they should eventually be able to say so (or otherwise) in Finnish or Swedish (assuming they live in Finland), it does mean that they should not beat their sister over the head with an iron bar for failing to marry whoever their parents tell her to, and it does mean that they should not want to install Sharia here, or, say, want Finland to become a part of Russia. The latter is quite important: even if a group of people is planning to behave according to all your laws, you don't want to let in a large group of people whose political goals are so far away from yours.

Sorry for boring everyone with this topic at a time when Finland has so few immigrants and officially wants to have more, but, as we say in the old country, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Besides, the integration here does not seem to go very well, and most other Western countries seem to have integration problems as well. These things should preferably be talked about before you have burning cars and neighborhoods that the police are afraid to visit, rather than after.

(See? See? I've only lived here for 12 years and am already giving the locals advice of how to conduct their immigration policy. Told ya!)

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