DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) – As the world’s financial and political elites convene here in the Swiss Alps for the World Economic Forum, their vision of ever-closer commercial and political ties is under attack – and the economic outlook is darkening.
“New York, Geneva and Strasbourg are the only cities in the world which are home to international institutions without being national capitals”, an official page of the French city proudly proclaims. “The choice of Strasbourg as the European capital following the Second World War is no accident. The city stands as a shining symbol of reconciliation between peoples and of the future of Europe”.
Last December, however, Strasbourg was shocked by a new terrorist attack. Cherif Chekatt, shouting “Allahu Akbar”, murdered five people, before being neutralized in a two-day manhunt. Among Chekatt’s victims were Italian, Polish and French citizens. Unfortunately, Strasbourg has become one of Europe’s hotbeds of jihadism, an ideology seemingly aimed at destroying Europe’s people, not conciliating with them.
He is idolised as France’s biggest literary export, a controversial poet-provocateur who holds up a mirror to the grim truths of contemporary France.
So when Michel Houellebecq’s long-awaited novel, Serotonin, hit French bookstores on Friday morning with a massive print run of 320,000 copies, translations in several countries, and the author for the first time staying silent and refusing any interviews or media promotion, it was proclaimed a national event.
The novel’s release was accompanied by the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest national honour, being bestowed on the 62-year-old enfant terrible for his services to French literature by the president, Emmanuel Macron.
Serotonin, the story of a lovesick agricultural engineer who writes trade reports for the French agriculture ministry and loathes the EU, has been hailed by the French media as scathing and visionary. The novel rails against politicians who “do not fight for the interests of their people but are ready to die to defend free trade”.
…The idea that so-called “nativism” or hostility towards immigration is confined to white Westerners is a fallacy; it is a global phenomenon that is often stronger in non-Western countries. Of course, I wouldn’t hold my breath for a spate of articles in international media on the worrying trend of “nativism” in India or condemnations of Kenyans for wanting fewer immigrants in their country. The moral outrage of many white progressives and most intellectuals of color in the West on this subject is solely reserved for white societies; if black or brown people share exactly the same sentiments that white people are being lambasted for, it will either be greeted with silence or with all sorts of justificatory rationalizations.
Why Should People Respect the Social Contract when Politicians Do Not?
It is a strange time to be a citizen in a Western democracy. Our society is based on exchange — we transact in the free market, we share ideas online, and most significantly we give up some of our natural liberty in exchange for a civil society and a vote.
But increasingly, the freedoms supposed to be protected by civil society are being eroded away. At the level of the individual, our freedom of speech is under attack. Criticism of migration is apparently about to become “hate speech” and a prosecutable offence.
When the authority of the nation state is ceded to a supra-national body, such as the United Nations, our power as citizens is diluted.
A riot is an ugly thing.
The anarchical mayhem in the streets of Paris in recent days paint a picture of a fractured society with deep-seated problems—a breakdown of the fragile yet essential rule of law.
What do you do if you’re a supranational behemoth with a multi-billion dollar budget coupled with a vast number of subsidiary entities that focus on migration?
If you’re the U.N., you publish the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and seek to set up more supranational government entities to duplicate the work you’re already doing, at a gargantuan cost to (mostly Western) taxpayers.
The report — a subject of consternation around the world, and wisely nixed by President Trump in 2017 — is due to be signed in Marrakech on December 11.
But if the latest nations to object — Italy, Austria, Hungary and Poland — have anything to say about it, the document may end up in the shredders of the U.N.’s headquarters in New York.
…Second, is all growth of equal value? An aggregate measure of GDP or productivity obscures the question of who is producing or becoming more productive. If the least productive 20 percent of a nation’s workers drop out of the labor force entirely, but the most productive 20 percent double their productivity, GDP will be higher. Is the nation better off? I would say no. Do my critics disagree?
Regarding globalization, Strain and Pethokoukis take particular issue with my suggestion that trade and immigration may not be always beneficial. My view is that they can be beneficial, but balance matters. An international market in which America imports $50 billion of cars from Japan and sends back $50 billion of airplanes is healthy. But if we send back $50 billion of IOUs (i.e., Treasury bonds) instead, American workers lose and the American economy suffers. Do my critics see these transactions as comparable, and voice no preference between them? Likewise, immigrants bring many positive assets to America, but adding unskilled workers to a labor market struggling to accommodate those already here is a mistake. Do Strain and Pethokoukis believe high levels of unskilled immigration have been and will continue to be superior to a skills-based system, either for American workers, or our long-run economic growth?
Good read, especially in light of Trudeau’s open borders folly.
Liberal commentators try to equate all criticism of the international order with the anti-Semitism that motivated the synagogue murderer.
The massacre of 11 worshippers during Sabbath services at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday was indisputably an act of anti-Semitic terror, and the most savage attack against American Jewry in its history. The killer, Robert Bowers, made clear on social media his belief that Jews are in control of the United States and are intent on destroying it by importing millions of Muslim immigrants. “There is no #MAGA,” posted Bowers, “as long as there is a kike infestation.” Curiously, Bowers’s insect metaphor echoed Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s recent comment that he is not in fact an anti-Semite, but an “anti-termite.” Though Bowers and Farrakhan probably don’t agree on much else, anti-Semites have a long history of representing the Jewish people as vermin and as underminers of cultural and national supports.
What is happening in the Western world is scary and upsetting to many but exciting and full of promise to others. It might seem a banality to say the world is changing, but the world is changing — rapidly, inevitably, sometimes unpredictably and painfully. Those who don’t realize it, acknowledge it and adapt risk being overtaken by history.
In Europe and America we have seen a complete rejection of the old way of doing things. Populists (justly called “the forgotten”) are emerging everywhere as a force to be reckoned with.
The city of Danville, Virginia sits in the bellybutton of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a hat-toss over the North Carolina border and about 85 miles northwest of Raleigh. It’s low hill country and Danville straddles the frothy, chocolate-milk waters of the Dan River. Downtown, once a booming trade district, today is a decomposed industrial husk, a tidy cluster of silent rectangles ensnared by broad, ghostly thoroughfares built for a time in the not-so-distant past when people and goods poured in and out of town.
Those days are gone, perhaps never to return.
“Without much real public debate or even discussion, the elite left has reached a conclusion on the question [of immigration],” The Daily Caller founder said on his Friday night show. “It is that America needs more immigration. Much more. Immigration without limit. We shouldn’t worry about whether the people coming here have skills that we need. Whether they are educated. Whether they can speak English even or even whether they are violent criminals. In fact we shouldn’t even try to accurately count how many are coming here or how many live within our borders. Do you disagree with that? Well, then in the words of an MSNBC commentator, you’re pure evil.”
Some supporters are admitting they knew it was a con all along
For some, 2018 has been a year of disappointing clarity. Speaking from his hotel suite by Lake Zurich, billionaire patron of liberal causes George Soros lamented the fate of the globalized world. “Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong,” he said
It is often said that “other-izing” people overall can be dangerous and other-izing your enemies specifically can be tactically detrimental. For one, it can lead to a false sense of superiority over those people as you assert some kind of imagined genetic advantage. It can also lead to dangerous generalizations of vast groups as you categorize and pigeonhole millions as being exactly the same when this is rationally impossible. However, other-izing is perhaps the only option when faced with a very particular type of person embracing a very particular brand of ideology; other-izing can become a matter of survival.
I am of course talking about globalists.
Every now and then, some article from two or three or ten years ago makes the rounds on social media, and sometimes you don’t notice that it’s old news until after you’ve read it and gotten all worked up about it. Such was my experience the other day when somebody on my Facebook feed posted a piece from the Atlantic called “The Case for Getting Rid of Borders—Completely.” I was about to bang out a response to this ridiculous screed, written by one Alex Tabarrok, when I noticed that it was dated October 10, 2015.
Nonetheless, I couldn’t get the thing out of my mind. How could I? It was bonkers.