It is hard to keep up with the news these days. I recall the remark attributed to Lenin: There are decades when nothing happens, and weeks when decades happen.
Under the direction of Chancellor Merkel, Germany made the decision to admit over one million refugees. They were described as Syrian refugees, but like everything else in this story, this is probably factually incorrect. The entrants were not all of them or most of them Syrians, and they were not all of them or most of them refugees. According to journalists who looked at the passports being dumped at the border, many of the entrants were from Pakistan, a country not currently at war, other than endemically with itself. They had one thing in common: they wanted to go to Germany, and the German Chancellor had invited them. Many Germans welcomed them.
In this account I will do my best to keep up with recent events, and keep up with the varying accounts given of the perpetrators and their motives.
On 18 July we had an axe and knife rampage by what was described as an Afghan teenager shouting Allahu Akbar, who left several train passengers with severe wounds, and after running from the train later attacked two old ladies walking their dogs, injuring one of them. His obligatory YouTube testament revealed him to be a rather large and well-built young man, and his accent was said to be Pakistani.
On 22 July an Iranian teenager born in Germany went on shooting rampage in Munich, killing nine people, many of them migrants, before shooting himself. Witnesses reported that during his rampage he said “I am German”. The first accounts were of a depressed boy, complaining of being bullied, and said to have been obsessed with school shootings. Early reports said he was linked to the right-wing Norwegian Breivik, but now the Police say no manifesto from that murderer has been found in his room. Why the specific reference was made is unclear. Another boy who spoke to his before his rampage and knew he had a gun has now been arrested.
On 24 July what was described as a Syrian asylum seeker was arrested in the town of Reutlingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg, after killing a Polish woman with a machete or meat cleaver and injuring two other people before a driver knocked him down with his car, probably thus avoiding a far greater number of casualties. Police have come up with the preliminary hypothesis that it was a crime of passion, because the Polish woman was pregnant, and was known to the asylum seeker. Unlike others, I make no claim that the perpetrator was Syrian and an asylum seeker, nor that he was in a reciprocated passionate relationship. He committed his murder and other attempted murders yesterday, so we haven’t yet seen his Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and YouTube declarations. He has a swarthy complexion and a beard, but I cannot judge from that whether he is in possession of a German passport.
On 24 July, what is described as a failed Syrian asylum seeker blows himself up in the small Bavarian town of Ansbach, injuring 12 other people, 3 very seriously. He had been turned away from a music festival because he did not have a ticket, so strolled down to a local bar. If he is a failed asylum seeker it seems that failing to get asylum (apparently he was turned down a year ago) is no bar to living in Germany and murdering its citizens, so I cannot currently attach much significance to him being a “failed” asylum seeker. Equally, I cannot vouch for him being Syrian. Anyway, something irritated him, so at least 12 have been injured by a bomb in a backpack with metal shavings packed round it. The assailant, named locally as Mohammed Daleel, was already known to police for possession of drugs and had also spent time in a psychiatric facility having attempted suicide on two occasions in the past. Residents at the man's asylum shelter described him as a 'lying attention seeker'. I cannot vouch for any of these descriptions.
As discussed in previous posts, there are distal and proximal explanations for human behaviours, but some patterns in these events can be detected if you know how to look: so far, none of these crimes have been committed by Germans, that is Germans with German parents and German grand-parents and German great-grand-parents. So far, those sorts of Germans have not being rampaging and saying that their god is the greatest. Not so far, though in the first half of the 20th Century they had a tendency to stray over other people’s borders.
The oxygen of publicity is drawing in larger numbers. A dangerous Jihadist meme has generalised and gained traction among the disaffected, who now feel validated in taking others to their deaths, for 15 seconds of fame.
At times like these there is a natural tendency to stay in one’s study and read improving literature. Rather than rush out into the street screaming or waving a bladed implement, I have been re-reading an opinion piece written last year by my colleague Prof Heiner Rindermann, which I reproduce in rough translation below:
Rindermann, H. (2015). Engineers to secondary school level. The standard of education of most immigrants from Western Asia and Africa is low, their capabilities are limited. The consequences will be bitter. Focus, 23 (43), 42-44.
In 1685, the Elector Friedrich Wilhelm gave asylum to the Huguenots persecuted by Prussia, a wise decision: For centuries the positive influence of the Protestant refugees has been recognized. Thus, the Humboldt brothers were instrumental in the development of local science. In cities, the economic productivity was higher, the more Huguenots lived in them. The achievement of the de Maizière family, for example, shows the wise decision made 300 years ago.
The Huguenots brought with them skills and attitudes and they reproduced through generations. The human capital approach applies this perspective to all countries: The better the human capital, the more prosperity and freedom, democracy and the rule of law, innovation, equality and social peace are there in those countries. In this context, how should we assess recent German immigration policy?
For years, and in recent months increasingly, there are many immigrants coming from South-East Europe, Middle East and Africa. The majority of them do not have high qualifications: In international university studies, the average results of these countries are at 400 points, which is more than 110 points less than in the US or Germany, which corresponds to approximately three years of schooling competence difference. Even greater is the gap with Africa with four and a half years gap in some schools. Student assessment studies in Europe show for immigrant children compared with their countries of origin somewhat more favourable results. However, the difference is still several years of school.
Even in an elite group, engineering students from the Gulf states, a great difference can be seen: Their skills are two to four school years behind those of German engineering students. This pattern of results underpinned a recent study
in Chemnitz: asylum seekers with university studies presented in mathematical and figural tasks an average IQ of 93 equivalent to the skill level of local elementary and secondary students.
Of course, migrants have opportunities for development, but the experience with recent generations of students of foreign students shows that these opportunities are limited. The often mentioned problem of language is only secondary, the much more serious and momentous problems are basic skills weaknesses.
In school, these migrants will show weaker performance on average and rarely achieve high qualifications. The problem is exacerbated by the practice (frequent in Muslim communities and in Africa) of cousin marriage with corresponding impairments.
The unemployment rate will be higher, and requests for social assistance more frequent. These people will cope with the technological and cultural complexity of a modern country less
successfully. Cognitive errors in daily life, such as in traffic or in professional and financial decisions are more common, with consequences for others.
Migrant groups will interpret their experiences as discriminatory. In order to overlook such differences some companies may accept lower standards without admitting it, and may avoid the use of objective performance tests. Some financial businesses may be pressured to award more favourable loans and insurance premiums than objective measures would warrant. One way to deal with the lower scholastic ability of immigrant communities, a cause of frustration to them, it to seek alternative activities, such as sports or music. However, there are also dysfunctional issues leading to crime.
Internal factors, such as found in the culture and the practice of Islam in the country of origin, also play an important role. A variety of reports on violence within immigrant families, compared to other migrants,women, locals, political opponents and dissenters, in refugee camps, including sexual assault, sometimes in the form of eruptive violence of whole neighbourhoods, suggest significantly higher aggressiveness in these immigrant groups.
According to official reports Muslims, although they represent only 12 percent of the population of France account for 60 percent of all prison inmates. In Belgium, Muslims are represented eight times more commonly, in the Netherlands and Great Britain four times. In England more than 1,000
British girls were sexually abused by migrants from Pakistan. In Berlin immigrants are over-represented more than three times of violent crimes, in rape cases more than sevenfold.
Of course, people who violate the law within the migrant communities constitute a minority, and every offender behaves for the vast period of his life in a generally compliant manner!
But even rare exceptions cause extreme stress for others. To monitor a single Islamist 20 to 30 police officers are necessary. A murder, expressed in monetary units which are certainly insufficient, causes a loss of several million, a rape of several hundred thousand and a theft of several thousand euros.
Through migration, often positively evaluated as a good thing, diversity increases. But on a societal level, higher diversity is associated with more income inequality, state fragility, higher crime rates and with less social trust.
For many people these effects of migration policy might be surprising or even disturbing. The reason is that politicians, the media and even science frequently present occurrences dealing with migrants and migration in a biased way. Decisions such as the policy of open doors of Angela Merkel may lead to unintended consequences for society. As the benefits and risks of open doors are distributed among different people and long periods of time, some reap the benefits of political reputational gain immediately, while the cost will be borne by others for decades to centuries, in particular the relatively poorer classes including many less recent immigrants. The freedom and the everyday level of women will be more limited. The same applies to Jews, homosexuals, cartoonists or critical intellectuals like Salman Rushdie or Ayaan Hirsi Ali.The professional life of police officers, judicial officials and staff in employment offices, even the firemen, teachers, doctors and paramedics, will be more difficult and risky.
The effects of letting in the Huguenots can be seen as a wise decision 300 years later. Merkel’s less wise decision will also have visible effects in 300 years time.
Heiner’s university colleagues sought to haul him up before the University authorities to face the usual charges, but he answered them by suggesting a debate in which his critics pointed out any factually incorrect statement he had made in his opinion piece. They have not taken up the challenge.
Seen in the light of recent events his prognostications seem to be on the mild side.