Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab (Germany abolishes itself) is the name of a gloomy state-of-the- homeland analysis by former banker and politician Thilo Sarrazin. His main argument was that mass immigration has brought few or no benefits to Germany, and will probably lead to the extinction of the German identity. Nowadays, this is widely seen as likely, but eight years ago, when the book was first published, it was shocking. Remember, the million-man invasion of 2015 had not happened then. But the book was at the same time a critique of the German welfare state, which is every bit as wasteful and destructive as ours, and of the loss of traditional values.
Everything Sarrazin says is objectively stated and scrupulously researched—he was after all a high-level bureaucrat, and was paid to get stuff right. I’m not surprised the book has never been translated into English. It’s too hard-hitting and meaningful for most UK publishers to want to spread his message. But it is one of the most important books published in Europe over the past decade.
I don’t want to analyse Sarrazin. I just want to give English-speakers a little exposure to his ideas and observations. So this series of articles is basically a string of representative quotes from the book, sellotaped together by theme. Any use of the quotes—all text in italics is Sarrazin—is at the reader’s risk. Consult the original if in doubt: Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 2015 edition.
In this section, we follow Sarrazin through specific immigration issues, starting with education, and the problems of certain migrant groups at school.
The three migrant groups with the greatest educational deficits and the highest social costs are also those which are reproducing themselves most. People with a migration background in Yugoslavia, Turkey, the Near and Middle East and Africa, comprise 6% of the population of Germany, but account for 11% of all under-15-year-olds and a significantly higher proportion of births. The groups with the highest population dynamic have the lowest education and show also the lowest educational growth in the generations born in Germany. Page 64
Migrants from the former Yugoslavia have significant integration problems in education even in the second-generation: 14% of them remain without school or professional qualifications, and the proportion of those who complete their Abitur (higher-education entrance exam) or do further studies is only half as high as with Germans. Pages 62-63
Migrants from Africa have not completed education in 25% of cases. .. There is no sign that the integration of the second generation is improving, and in parts it is getting worse. But in this group, 35% of marriages are bicultural (usually African men with German women) and their integration values are somewhat better.
The population of Turkish origin represents the largest proportion of students without completion of education in the education system (30%) and the lowest with qualifications for university entrance [Hochschulberechtigung] (14%) and furthermore shows the least sign of progress among the generations born in Germany.
He discusses in detail the consequences of this educational deficit:
Not least because of this bad performance, the aggressive potential of many young Turks and Arabs is exacerbated. Aggression and violence are often the only way out of the dilemma, that the emphasis on masculine roles which are imposed by their stereotypes of gender of their countries of origin does not promote the attitude of the studious student. Page 236
In many families, broadcasts from the distant homeland are relayed almost non-stop. This makes it difficult to create any sense of distance from the homeland country, which is essential for integration. Above all, though, the incentive to learn German dwindles. In closed settlements, where you can receive television from the homeland round the clock through satellite dishes, there is basically no necessity to learn the official language … The daughters do not need to learn because they marry and have children, and the sons are given a masculine image within an authoritarian structure which has just as negative an affect on learning as the masculine ghetto culture of blacks in America.
Throughout the book, it is clear that Sarrazin has particular concerns about Muslim immigration.
Around 1950, there were hardly any Muslims living in Western Europe. In 1970, the number was around 2 million, mainly Algerians in France, Pakistanis in England and Turks in Germany. Today, the number is 15 to 20 million, and this continues to grow fast. This growth applies everywhere in Europe against background of ageing and dwindling indigenous populations. Page 263
(Due to poor data quality, notably the understating of number of newborns) .. “the total of Muslim migrants in Germany could be 6-7 million. The mean age of Muslim migrants is under 30, while the mean age of the indigenous German population is around 45. The proportion of Muslims in the population under 15 is already at 10%, and their proportion of births is even higher.
Among Muslim migrants in Germany, the productive element within society is below average. Only 33.9% draw the majority of their livelihood from professional and productive activities [Berufs und Erwerbstätigkeit]. The figure for the population without migration background is 43%. The difference would be still more dramatic if the data allowed us to take account of age difference; for the German population in retirement is proportionately much higher.
The situation with migrants from the EU states is quite different. Their ratio of productive employment is 42%, higher than the figure for indigenous Germans. Page 283
In all concerned countries—Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Norway—the same observations are made of Muslim migrants, namely:
- Below average integration in the labour market
- Greater-than-average dependency on social benefits
- Lower-than-average participation in schooling
- Greater-than-average fertility
- Spatial segregation with the tendency to formation of parallel societies
- Greater-than-average religiosity with a growing tendency to traditional or fundamental currents
- Higher-than-average criminality, from the simple street violence to participation in terrorism.
He goes on:
- No other religion in Europe is so demanding.
- No other immigration is as strongly connected with demands on the social services and with criminality as Muslim immigration.
- No group emphasises so much its otherness in public, in particular through the attire of women.
- In no other religion is the transition to violence dictatorship and terrorism so fluid.
Everywhere in Europe the assumption was, and in retrospect it seems naive, that these migrants would share the Occidental world’s system of democracy, religious freedom, individuals striving for prosperity, and self-realization, and that the differences would disappear in two or at most three generations. That did not happen.
By contrast, among Muslim immigrants and their descendants, we saw an increase in self-isolation in cultural and spatial terms. European social security systems hindered integration into the labour market and made it easier for them to remain among themselves—at the cost of the European public coffers.
Joe Slater 2018