Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Mothers of all Problems

Our Dutch correspondent Michiel Mans recently us the essay below, a meditation on bureaucracy and multiculturalism.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

The Mothers of all Problems
by Michiel Mans

Actually, in practice, the Mothers usually are Fathers. Fjordman gives an explanation for Swedish behaviour in his essay. I think the picture is broader and applicable to the whole Western world. Part of the problem is even applicable to all large organizations, including governments and civil service bodies. It is what I call the ‘Yes Minister’ effect. This splendid BBC comedy series showed, in typical British fashion, the intricate functioning of bureaucracy with its stupidity, its hollow swollen language, the emptiness of words and promises, and the sometimes narcissistic self-interest apparent in many. Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Permanent Secretary of the (fictional) Ministry of Administrative affairs, was the recognizable epitome of all bureaucratic evil. Jim Hacker, his Minister, personified all evil in weak politicians.

Even in ancient Egyptian times there were complaints about bureaucracy, so it seems to be a natural law. Within a large organization, things tend to deteriorate from pragmatic efficiency into senseless complexity, halting progress and stalling any necessary reorganization. If you cannot see the whole of an organization, you cannot see or imagine what effects your actions and activities have on the organization. In such cases one tends to think about, and mind, only one’s own shop. You are but a tiny cog on a gear in the works. That gear is your world. Little exists outside of it. This is not how civil servants think, it is how people think. And, over time this way of thinking often destroys the whole.

Because of the layered hierarchy of the organization, those in higher places lose contact with the many sub-worlds below them. Those living there, often see the brass as the enemy. It takes certain skills and character traits to function in such large organizations and rise through the ranks. Nowadays “managers” are inserted sideways or straight into the top, never seeing the floor. In these large structures certain back-end products tend to float to the top. The Sir Humphrey and Jim Hacker personalities thrive. They collect and promote people with similar character treats and skills. They tend to collect many anyway. Most of them usually have Alpha minds, often of the watery kind. That is one reason why civilisations, or big corporations, can go down the drain.

The chance of collapse arises when longer periods of rest and stability prevail. Routine sets in and there is insufficient stimulation to adapt, reorganise, or modernise in order to stay ahead of problems. The Western world has had an unprecedented period of more than sixty years of peace and prosperity, at least on their own territory — some countries still went to war, usually in faraway places.

The last two big wars, the First and Second World Wars, are important factors in the present “line of thinking”, or lack of, within — in particular — our ruling European elites. These events of mass slaughter and the loss of liberty many suffered for some years, gave the already existing processes or thoughts of freeing the whole world new impetus. Everybody must be free, and everybody must be seen as equal. Hence the decolonisation, the abolishment of apartheid in the US. The elite, the intellectuals and politicians looked with horror and dismay at their recent history of oppression, slavery and colonisation, seeing Hitler — never again — as the worst example of all that Western society could produce.

And herein lies the problem. We analysed only our own sins. They were without a doubt horrible sins. “Never again” was a correct conclusion. However, other conclusions were wrong or one-sided. The West was not the fountain of all evil, it was at times, the best in all evil. Our technological supremacy made our guns the most destructive, our ships could transport more slaves and our superior organizational skills could control larger territories efficiently for our purposes. The elites forgot that non-Western nations colonised, enslaved and oppressed as much and sometimes even worse than we did. The Ottoman Empire enslaved more Africans and Arabs for a longer period than the West did. Traditional slavery existed even longer in (former) Ottoman and Arab territories. Saudi Arabia and Yemen abolished slavery in 1962, Mauritania in 1980. In parts of Africa traditional slavery still exists today. Arabs and Africans are still into trades, practices, and methods long abolished elsewhere. Only in Asia, e.g. Pakistan, can you find similarities on a comparable scale.
- - - - - - - - - -
The past year I saw several documentaries made by courageous journalists, who traveled with illegal African migrants. In one case, a journalist traveled with people who tried to reach the Spanish territories in the Atlantic off the African coast. The smugglers were a sadistic bunch of thugs who had crammed people in barely floating boats, in a fashion recognizable for any Kunta Kinte. The smugglers were Africans. In North and East Africa smuggling practices are similar and the syndicates are run by Africans and Arabs. It is slavery in all but name, and thousands die. The smugglers ship people who, strange as it may seem, volunteer to be “slaves”. Since those who migrate and endure are usually the bravest and most entrepreneurial of their societies, fewer capable or willing people remain to improve the situation which the migrants try to escape. The migrants, those who survive, enter a continent with overcrowded nations, where people speak different languages, are educated, and are not really pleased to see them. Yet, the elites let it happen, so they keep coming. The elites insist we must be “culturally enriched” and pleased to see them. It is not the migrant who is to be blamed, or hated — those who facilitate this process are to be blamed.

Our elite thinks that all cultures are equal and because we have changed some of our evil ways, all people have, or at least endeavour to do so. Alas, cultures are not equal. Even people are not equal. People are born man or woman, rich or poor, black or white, smart or dumb and growing into short or tall people. As a consequence, to some degree partly depending on culture, people have more or less opportunities to develop and prosper. Some cultures, by their nature, create more opportunities for individuals than others. In some cultures, minorities or disabled people, are protected and supported. In others they are outcasts. One only has to look at the attitude towards HIV patients within various cultures to see this inequality.

The above, I hope, shows the lunacy of the belief in multiculturalism as an enrichment of society. It is possible but depends, for example, on the level of development of the imported culture. People all over the world want to live in a prosperous and peaceful society. People also want to live in societies with people whom they may not all want to befriend, but at least can identify with. In Europe the elites accept and understand the wishes and whims of immigrants, the Muslims in particular, yet ignore or even criticize the natives who express similar wishes. These natives are xenophobic racists. The elites and the migrants are oblivious or blind to the fact that when Europeans “flooded” them, calling it their colonies, the natives were not very thrilled to see them coming with all their demands and wishes. A few settlers with a few wishes usually worked, many settlers with many wishes didn’t. Only force could make it work. At least, for the Europeans. In many ways the reverse is happening now. And the natives, surprise, surprise, are not particularly pleased to see them. As ever…

Migration is like cooking. “You cannot mix large amounts of ingredients too quickly. Some ingredients should be used with caution and in moderation.”

Perhaps next time, “the Fathers of all Solutions”. Or probably mum.