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the migrant crisis
Anti-Immigration Party to Score Record Win in Switzerland

Another week, another victory for an anti-immigration party in Europe. Politico Europe reports:

The populist, anti-immigrant Swiss People’s Party (SVP) is on course for a record win in a parliamentary election held Sunday, with media reports suggesting it could win a third of the seats.

Already the country’s largest party, the SVP won 28 percent of the vote, according to the broadcaster SRF, a rise in support of 1.5 percentage points since the last election, in 2011. That would give the party 65 seats in the 200-seat parliament. The ATS news agency says the SVP will win 64 seats.[..]

The Swiss electoral system is complicated. The largest party does not form a government. Instead, the parliament will elect a seven-person government on December 9, with the make-up determined on the basis of proportionality and strategic deals struck between parties.

Migration was the key topic in the election campaign, with Europe’s refugee crisis playing into the hands of the SVP. A poll in August found that 50 percent of Swiss voters wanted to close the country’s borders to keep out migrants.

Meanwhile, in France, a new poll shows the incumbent Socialist party falling to third place behind Les Républicains and the Front National. And in Sweden, Austria, and the Netherlands, as we wrote last week, there have also been gains, either in polling or in elections, for the far right lately.

But there’s at least one place where the “populists” have not been surging: Britain. There, the Conservatives largely co-opted UKIP’s rhetoric, and some of its policies, in the run-up to the last election. This wasn’t just good for the (victorious) Conservatives; it was good for Britain. There are distinct advantages to having the immigration issue be handled by mainstream parties, not least that they have more experience governing. When center-right parties have voiced concerns about immigration, it has generally been less radicalized and less racialized than when far-right parties have owned the issue. And at a time when distrust of establishment parties has been fraying politics across much of Europe, mainstream interest in the issue also lets citizens know that their elites aren’t ignoring their concerns. Finally, of course, there are electoral rewards to be reaped by the mainstream parties that can successfully address immigration, assuming they can avoid putting off other demographics in the process.

Unfortunately, the UK is an outlier here. Across much of Europe, elites have been unable to embrace tough-on-immigration policies or unable to convince their electorates that they’re serious about maintaining these policies once in office. As a result, the radical fringes continue to prosper, in Switzerland and elsewhere.

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  • Andrew Allison

    A 1.5% increase in support for SVP seems a rather thin reed upon which to hang this post. The swings in the rest of Europe are much greater.

    • Jim__L

      The fact that it only got a 1.5pct bump even in the midst of the current crisis may indicate that it’s hit a plateau.

      That said, I am happy that the elites of any part of Europe are showing themselves responsive to their voters.

      Although I am still pretty convinced that Europe isn’t going to solve its problems with immigrants until Europeans can figure out how to make babies again. Maybe there actually IS a difference between the sexes, a role for traditional religious beliefs to play in society, etc…

      • f1b0nacc1

        The problem is that babies can be made by unskilled labor that enjoys its work. Sadly for the EUnicks, they haven’t found a way to restrict this to the elites (yet)….

        • Andrew Allison

          Hmmm, I thought that at most people making babies enjoyed their work, and the more skill the better [grin]. More seriously, you raise an important point. Fecundity is inversely proportional to education and economic well-being, and the EU has, by and large, failed to either educate or provide economic opportunity for Muslim immigrants. The outcome will not be pretty.

          • Jim__L

            The culture that discovers how to break the inverse proportion you mentioned will own the future.

            I read a line somewhere once referring to family and surroundings — “All true wealth is biological”. If you can’t afford to have a family, you do not have economic well-being. If your education keeps you from having a family, you should question its underlying assumptions until you find a different basis for your education.

          • Andrew Allison

            The first proposition is flawed. In practice it’s people who lack economic well-being who procreate in the forlorn hope of changing it. The second is questionable. Does education lead to economic well being and that in turn to reduced reproduction? I don’t know, but there’s plentiful evidence that education of women reduces fecundity, and that so-called “developed nations” lack it.

          • Jim__L

            People who have kids are typically pursuing *non-economic* well-being. (And, deliberately or incidentally, societal good). Limiting any definition of well-being to economics may help modelers calibrate their rational systems, but that leaves their systems deeply flawed by sweeping huge and powerful types of human aspiration into the category of “externality”.

            Economic models are only useful insofar as they avoid being compromised by externalities.

            I repeat… the culture that discovers how to break the inverse proportion between education/prosperity and birthrate will own the future.

            Always nice to have a polite discussion, even when our disagreements seem to be so durable. =) (Please feel free to remind me of my better nature here, if I start to slide.)

          • Andrew Allison

            Likewise.

          • f1b0nacc1

            If you have never seen Idiocracy, do so….

          • Jim__L

            But at least the plants of the EU will get the electrolytes they crave!

          • f1b0nacc1

            That movie is based upon a very grim short story (The Marching Morons) which was written by a very close friend of my father. If you haven’t read the story, I strongly advise you to do so….

          • Jim__L

            Fortunately, regression to the mean will prevent most off the harm depicted in those stories. “Good breeding” is a myth. But it would be a dmnd shame if some aspects of European culture are lost from one generation to the next because family ties no longer transmit them.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Perhaps, but this isn’t a question of genetics, but of culture. Poorly educated individuals INCLUDE poorly educated teachers, and that means that the next generation will be more ignorant still…

          • Andrew Allison

            Been there, done that, and gave it 5 stars. There’s a philosophical question or two here. I agree with de Tocqueville and others that, due to self-interest, democracy carries the seeds of its own destruction . The demographic problem is somewhat different but, I suspect, has the same root cause. Thus, not so much a question of getting dumber, but of short term thinking perhaps?

          • f1b0nacc1

            Likely so….as usual, we find ourselves in violent agreement (grin)…

        • Jim__L

          In Silicon Valley they do it by driving home prices through the roof and “densifying”, to make sure that only the most prosperous can afford to have children, and no one at all has the space (or time) for them.

          On the other hand, there’s a cultural meme among elites in Silicon Valley that it is the height of cosmopolitan wisdom to just not have kids, because the world has too many people already. I always have to shake my head when I consider that these fanatically proselytizing and ideologically committed Darwinists have so few children. Might as well brand an “L” on your own forehead.

          Germany has a 1.3 birthrate, yet a climbing population. In 50 years (starting a few decades ago) natives will stop being a majority. In 100 years they will stop being a significant minority. In 150 years they will be a demographic footnote, and in 200 they will vanish entirely.

          Now, if integration and assimilation works, no problem, you simply get a situation where blue eyes pop up on the (previously) unlikeliest faces. Happily, families of all backgrounds will continue on. If integration and assimilation don’t work — and there’s reason to believe they aren’t working — you have a true loss of biodiversity, as Westerners go extinct.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Sadly, all true…
            On the other hand, as the libs fail to breed, the rest haven’t given up. I live in the Kansas City area (the reddest of the reds), and it is family central…

          • Jim__L

            The problem is, the Left owns the educational system in most of the country, and so parasitically takes the children of people who bother to have them. It’s sick.

          • f1b0nacc1

            How I wish that I could disagree, but sadly you are right. On the other hand, I do see exceptions (I do some volunteer work with a group of teenage robot builders that give me a glimmer of hope), so perhaps not all is lost.

          • Andrew Allison

            Where to begin? Perhaps with the fact that home prices (like those every other commodity) reflect demand. Gentrification is not a new phenomenon: 25 years ago, when I lived in Silicon Valley, people were commuting from the Central Valley because local housing was unaffordable — plus ça change. Further, I don’t think for a minute that there’s a cultural meme there not to have kids. The self-absorption which has reduced birth rates throughout the developed world is by no means restricted to Silicon Valley. In fact, as you point out vis a vis Germany, it is rampant in the developed world. I also think that you are mistaken about integration and assimilation: the history of the USA demonstrates that immigrants can do both without intermarriage, which I would suggest has to be largely a post-assimilation phenomenon. Finally, I’d like to suggest that there is today more inter-racial mingling in the US than in Europe, and that it’s a good thing. It’s not Westerners who are in danger of going extinct but the rule of law passed down to us by, to quote a recent post, the Magna Carta Libertatum.

          • Jim__L

            We’re largely in agreement here… It’s an exaggeration to say that housing prices are a result of plans to drive families out — but the fact that politicians here are far more concerned with pulling in and supporting H1Bs than local children means there’s little pushback against the outrageous housing price issue.

            “Further, I don’t think for a minute that there’s a cultural meme there [in Silicon Valley] not to have kids.” Here I’m afraid we have to part ways.

            I’m in Silicon Valley now. Just in the last year, a couple of women I know who work at Ames Research Center positively advanced “self-extinction” (i.e., not having kids) as a good thing for Gaia. A technical project manager at Google I know, when his wife kept repeating a longing to have another child, replied that “well, we probably won’t be able to afford it, and if not that’s perfectly fine because more people are bad for the environment anyway.” (I can’t help but wonder how long that marriage is likely to last, and I pity their little 4-year-old son. I can’t see his father coming around… he’s always the smartest guy in the room. Works at Google, you know.)

            Others I know who want to have children are struggling — another couple, Ames researchers and prosperous as anything, got married to have kids but aren’t having much luck for whatever reason (possibly her career is still taking priority). Another woman of my acquaintance is feeling her biological clock ticking, but isn’t finding the culture conducive to finding a guy to settle down with. A guy of my acquaintance has had his eyes open for quite some time, but is into the poly scene; somehow his relationships never last.

            The people I know who have more than one small child typically live way down 101 in Gilroy or even Hollister, or East Bay (if they can afford it). At least an hour commute every day each way, sometimes 2 or 3. And that takes a toll on marriages. Brutal all around.

        • Joni

          One group had a pretty good go at restricting breeding to an elite in Europe in the 1930’s and 40’s, but they got a bit carried away with the idea. Sadly my ethnicity (and that of a number of TAI columnists) was not deemed ‘elite’ at the time. Add ‘ge’ to EUnicks and you at least have it phonetically correct.

          • f1b0nacc1

            The Nazis got about 95% of my family, in fairness I rather doubt that today’s political class is in the same league.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    It is the right and obligation of any nation’s Citizens to protect their National Inheritance and Culture from being degraded by immigrants who in most cases are bringing an inferior Culture with them. Most immigrants don’t become fully assimilated, as full assimilation doesn’t occur until the 2nd or 3rd generation.

    • Joni

      Scotch-Irish culture and Old Hickory himself (1st gen.) were lucky exceptions to the inferiority rule I guess.

      • Andrew Allison

        Scotch is a beverage, not a nationality, and the Scots-Irish (not to mention the Founding Fathers) are probably why JR wrote ” . . .in most cases . . .” What he’s referring to, of course is the Muslim invasion of Europe. The relatively rapid assimilation of the waves of immigration to the USA is the exception rather than the rule, and is being weakened by the encouragement of tribalism disguised as multiculturalism.

  • Tom

    If TAI wishes to know why mainstream parties have not engaged with the immigration issue, it needs only to look at its reporting on the issue before the refugee crisis.

  • lhfry

    It would be fitting if the left’s push for open borders resulted in fascist governments all across Europe. We are only at the beginning of this crisis, remember, and as more and more migrants head north the vast majority of centrists will sit on their hands and watch the fireworks. It is important to remember that Hitler never got more than 1/3 of votes cast in any election.

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