Saturday, March 12, 2011

Multiculturalism never works, says Marine Le Pen

A very influential lady in France

The leader of the French National Front, Marine Le Pen, has ridiculed talk of the US and Australia as "multicultural", insisting that both nations demand submission to a single set of values.

In an interview with The Saturday Age in Paris, Ms Le Pen - who has eclipsed French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the popularity stakes - argues that where true multiculturalism has existed, it ends in war.

"The only places where real multiculturalism existed … the Balkans, Lebanon … it ended up in conflict," she says.

"The United States is not a multicultural nation or a multicultural society. In reality, it is unicultural - it has one culture, it is a culture in which each citizen has a unique relationship with the American nation. Isn't it the same in Australia? This is expressed directly and also requires the submission by the individual of a series of values which must be accepted by everybody."

Ms Le Pen, a 42-year-old criminal lawyer, argues that multiculturalist policies were created by Anglo-Saxon politicians to help them define - and capture - ethnic communities in voting blocs. She says this approach, which she described in French as "communautarisme", has benefited only the political class and its adoption in France is partly to blame for its economic and social woes.

"This model of multiculturalism is one which other countries, including the Anglo-Saxon nations, are now moving away from. Look at what [British Prime Minister] David Cameron has said recently, see what Mrs Merkel in Germany says."

Harnessing post-credit-crunch insecurity, Ms Le Pen has forced Mr Sarkozy so far to the right on immigration and law and order that he has alienated his own centre-right supporters.

She says Australia appears to have avoided the immigration pitfalls faced by France, Italy and other European nations by carefully safeguarding immigration numbers.

She laments the erosion of the "long and noble" tradition of post-colonial assimilation, which ''feeble, slack" French governments allowed to be watered down into an "Anglo-Saxon model" of integration.

Ms Le Pen also rails against being branded a racist. ''It is time that we question the politician's rhetoric that if you question immigration it means you are a racist. This is not true. Immigration is a worldwide problem, it is a phenomenon that transcends nations.''


Immigration and U.S. population growth

As the results of the 2010 census are gradually rolled out, we are getting a clearer picture of how the U.S. population has changed over the past decade. But how is the U.S. population going to look in the future, say in 2050? The Pew Research Center released a study back in 2008 which deserves more attention than it got at the time.

The Pew study started with the official baseline population estimate for 2005 of 296 million, and noted that figure included 36 million foreign-born. If we accept the conventional wisdom of the time that there were 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S., that would be one-third of the foreign-born population.

The study projected that by 2050 the U.S. population would grow to 438 million if we simply do nothing and allow present trends to continue. That would be an increase of 142 million over the baseline 2005 population of 296 million, a 48% increase over 45 years.

Reasonable people can differ on whether this level of population growth is too little, too much, or about right. More people means more consumers buying things, more available workers, and more taxpayers. But more people will also require us find more jobs for workers, more educational opportunities for children, and more highways and parking lots for people to drive and park their automobiles.

We will have to import more millions of barrels of petroleum from the Middle East, and drill more wells in the deep ocean floor, to try to meet the demand for gasoline. We will have to burn additional tons of coal to provide electricity to the homes and electronic devices of our additional population. And we will have to bear the environmental impact of the additional population in pollution, greenhouse gases and climate change, and waste disposal.

But here's the punch line of the Pew study: 82% of the projected population growth of 142 million over 45 years is attributable to post-2005 immigration. Only 18% of the growth is attributable to the natural growth of the baseline 2005 population. And if nothing changes, fully one-third of the immigration will continue to be illegal entrants or visa overstayers.

So if we want either more or less population growth, the easiest way to get there is through adjusting our immigration laws and policies. That is the context in which the national debate over immigration is continuing.


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