"Are 'Safe Zones For Women' Europe's Future?"

Swedish columnist Paulina Neuding bluntly states some uncomfortable truths: 

Indeed, the refugee crisis in Europe is more a matter of culture than of numbers. And cultural clashes are much harder to address than logistics – especially once they leave the regulated confines of the asylum center, which can mitigate potential conflicts with surveillance and design. How will individuals who cannot share a shelter with gays and Christians without harassing them be able to integrate into liberal European societies?

The German and Swedish governments have not placed a high priority on addressing this question. In fact, both have failed to take seriously the cultural differences – on issues like women’s rights, minority rights, family honor, and individual liberties – between asylum-seekers, mainly from the Middle East and North Africa, and the European societies where they hope to live. In Sweden, in particular, a strong commitment to political correctness has severely limited public debate.

In ignoring these differences, the political elites in both Germany and Sweden are risking some of their countries’ most valuable social assets, including security, stability, equality, tolerance, and individual freedom. Yet they fail to note these risks. They act like their hard-won social advantages are inexhaustible natural resources, rather than the product of centuries of development – a product that is far more fragile than is widely assumed.

Perhaps the most obvious example of the threat European societies faces occurred in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve, when more than 600 women were sexually assaulted – and in some cases also robbed – by large gangs of men, most of whom were illegal immigrants or asylum-seekers. Only four of the 153 suspects detained were German nationals.

Though mass sexual abuse is not unheard of in Europe, it has historically occurred only during conflicts – for example, during the Balkan wars of the 1990s and in the areas occupied by the Soviet Red Army at the end of World War II. What happened in Cologne last December has no equivalent in peacetime Western Europe.

Nor was it a one-off event. Shortly after the news of the Cologne attacks broke, it was revealed that similar attacks had taken place at the We Are Stockholm youth festival in the Swedish capital two years in a row, with young refugee men encircling and sexually assaulting teenage girls. Police had to escort 200 male attendees from the festival area last year....

In response to the mounting anecdotal evidence of sexual abuse, Swedish police undertook an analysis of all harassment that has been occurring in public spaces. Their findings confirm that there is a problem with immigrants acting in groups to attack women and girls.

In response to this so-called “culture clash,” Sweden has launched an initiative to educate young asylum-seekers about gender equality. Likewise, Germany created an informational website, offering advice on sex and sexuality, among other topics. Whether or not such initiatives ultimately have an impact, there is no denying that in Germany and Sweden – two of the world’s most open, tolerant, and equitable societies – women and girls now face a new reality....

Large numbers of police, together with safe zones for women, helped to protect against mass sexual assaults at the carnival festivities in Cologne in February. But, as the debate over refugees rages on, one must ask: Are “safe zones for women” Europe’s future?


Immigration Policy Should Exclude Crackpots and Fanatics

The father of the Orlando shooter, an Afghan immigrant who came to the USA sometime in the 1980s, hates homosexuals just as much as his son did, but thinks we should leave it to God to punish them. Plus, he makes long, rambling, controversial YouTube videos about obscure ethnic conflicts which have nothing to do with the US. This case raises the same questions as the Tsarnaev case: Why is the US welcoming and granting citizenship to crackpots with medieval views from the most unstable parts of the world? The question is also obviously relevant to contemporary Germany.

Being permitted to live in another country is not a right, it's a privilege -- I should know, I'm doing it now. A country's constitutional guarantees only apply with full force to nationals of that country who are within its borders. The USA, like any other country, is permitted to discriminate on any basis it chooses when it comes to deciding who should be permitted to relocate permanently to within its borders. This is why Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslim immigration is quite possibly constitutional, as long as it's not applied to US citizens. It may be a bad idea, it may be bigoted, but it's not against the law.
 
Many people have some vague idea that countries are not allowed to engage in ethnic and religious discrimination when it comes to immigrants. There must be some international treaty or something that says this is not allowed, right? The answer is no: There never has been, and there never will be. Countries may voluntarily bind themselves to non-discrimination in immigration, but no international law can force them to do so. It's the privilege of any nation to choose whom it wishes to let in and keep out. Germany grants privileged access to Russian-Germans and Jews over all other ethnic groups, and this was and is legal and proper under international law.
 
This means that people from culturally remote, conflict-torn regions where backward views and noxious superstitions are commonplace (such as Afghanistan) can and should have to face high hurdles and extensive, days-long background questioning. Sure, we'll let Afghans in, but only if they have worldly, tolerant views comparable to the mainstream of the developed Western country they wish to relocate to (let's say the US). 
 
Allah hates gays? Permanent blacklist. Wife-beating's alright? Permanent blacklist. Any trace, no matter how remote, of sympathy for extremists? Permanent blacklist. Anything but 100%, full-throated, unequivocal support for Western-style representative democracy, with all its attendant flaws? Permanent blacklist. As a practical matter, this will mean the majority of Afghans who are given the right to permanently resettle in the US will be members of the educated urban elite.
 
This is a feature, not a bug.
 
In the next line over, Norwegians of Norwegian ancestry who want to enter the USA are whisked through with just a few superficial questions. Why? Because it's statistically likely that the majority of Norwegians hold views which will enable them to successfully adapt to American society. The chances of finding a Norwegian who prefers God's law to democracy or passionately hates homosexuals is so small, it can be ignored as a heuristic matter. 
 
A typical counter-argument is that there are plenty of American crackpots with extremist views, so why should America get to exclude Afghan crackpots? The answer is: Because they're our crackpots. They are our problem. The fact that we have problems in our society doesn't mean we should import additional problems from other societies. Especially societies we don't understand, whose problems mean nothing to us.
 
And even if this argument doesn't strike you as rational, it doesn't have to. If you are allowed to discriminate, that means you can discriminate for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reasons at all. If Germany wanted to, it could pass a law saying that only people with green eyes can immigrate to Germany. If some international tribunal asked Germany why, Germany would not even have to give an answer. 
 
Countries like the USA and Germany have enormous leverage: they are (comparatively) safe, prosperous, well-run societies to which millions of people would like to relocate. They should leverage their desirability to attract only the most adaptable and talented immigrants. Anything less is a disservice to their people.
 
Why so many mainstream German (and some American) politicians cannot seem to grasp these obvious principles has the world scratching its head.

Intercept and Return is the Only Workable Policy for African Boat Migrants

As I have been pointing out for some time now, there's only one workable answer to the coming African migration 'crisis': Europe must intercept all migrant boats in the Mediterranean and immediately return them to their place of origin. No exceptions. This is the Australian policy. Austria's foreign minister, Sebastian Kurz, broke the taboo two days ago (g) and said boats must be intercepted and people returned (after a brief on-the-spot asylum hearing). Other European politicians are still in denial about this fact, wasting time in virtue-signaling, but they will eventually have to buckle under and accept reality.

Typically, what happens now is smugglers pack a boat full of all the migrants that fit. Then they add 20% more, and send it off. The boats don't even have a destination. The migrants wait until they are in international waters, and then send an SOS signal. At that point, they are intercepted by European ships and brought to European territory to file asylum claims. This foolish policy is a pull-factor that has encouraged millions of Africans to pack their bags and bribe smugglers. There are now something like 800,000 migrant waiting in North Africa to board rickety boats.

If they are all brought ashore in Italy, this will be a crisis of unimaginable proportions. Italy is already a country with massive problems, and is already dealing with hundreds of thousands of African migrants sleeping rough, working illegally, committing petty crimes, and dealing drugs. Adding 800,000 new unskilled illegal migrants might well push Italy over the brink into -- well, it's hard to say, but it will be ugly. And trust me, those 800,000 migrants are all going to stay in Italy. No other European country will take them, except perhaps a token contingent for Germany. Austria has already announced it will monitor its border with Italy to prevent passage north. Italy and the EU have been locked in fruitless negotiations for months about what to do with the migrants.

Italy's other plan is to address the so-called 'root causes' of migration (g) by helping African governments better protect their borders and intercept migrants on the way north. In return, Europe will establish asylum processing centers in Africa and open up legal means of immigration to Europe. This is as far as the center-left Renzi government can go. But like the EU's agreement with Turkey, this silly plan outsources Europe's immigration policies to repressive, corrupt, and/or ineffectual states. The whole world asks why Europe should do this instead of simply securing its own borders effectively.

Other countries have long since grasped the nettle. Not only do they reject all illegal boat migrants, they openly announce that they are doing so, and explain why:

As the United States' primary maritime law enforcement agency, the Coast Guard is tasked with enforcing immigration law at sea. The Coast Guard conducts patrols and coordinates with other federal agencies and foreign countries to interdict undocumented migrants at sea, denying them entry via maritime routes to the United States, its territories and possessions.  Thousands of people try to enter this country illegally every year using maritime routes, many via smuggling operations.  Interdicting migrants at sea means they can be quickly returned to their countries of origin without the costly processes required if they successfully enter the United States.

When successful, illegal immigration can potentially cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year in social services. In addition to relieving this financial burden on our citizens, the Coast Guard's efforts help to support legal migration systems. Primarily, the Coast Guard maintains its humanitarian responsibility to prevent the loss of life at sea, since the majority of migrant vessels are dangerously overloaded, unseaworthy or otherwise unsafe.

The US, like Australia, unapologetically protects its own interests, and defends its policy as more humane than any alternative. 

But then, of course, the United States is notoriously hostile to refugees. Right?

Wrong. UN Dispatch places the US in the top four countries worldwide for refugee resettlement:

The United States. Influenced by its political and military position regarding conflict in Syria, the U.S. has not favorably made the news on the current refugee crisis, offering to resettle only approximately 10,000 Syrian refugees. Yet looking holistically at its system reveals a sunnier picture of U.S. refugee policy. The United States permanently resettles more refugees than any other country in the world, historically taking half of all applications received via the UN Refugee Agency. Last year, this amounted to about 70,000 refugees worldwide who, for the most part, were living in limbo in the country to which they fled.  The USA may not be a viable option for Syrian refugees, but large numbers of refugees from elsewhere are routinely resettled in the USA.

It's simple: if you bribe a smuggler, cram yourselves into boats, and try to sneak into the country illegally, you will be summarily rejected (except for Cubans, but that's changing as we speak). If you comply with the law, cooperate with international organizations, and can actually prove you as an individual face severe persecution, we will resettle you.

It's called setting the right incentives. And it's not only a reasonable policy choice, but by far the best one. All you have to do is give up a few sentimental illusions. But boy, do Europeans love those.


Europe Doesn't Have Private Charities for Refugees

 
Non-Europeans can't understand the immigration debate in Europe without recognizing a key fact: Every single migrant who enters a (Northern) European country and files an asylum claim is immediately entitled to state-funded housing, healthcare, and education, plus a monthly cash stipend and child benefit. And is automatically legally entitled to all these things indefinitely, no matter what.
 
If they eventually get to the point where they are employable and then turn down suitable jobs, the benefits may be reduced. But never eliminated. Since the vast majority of migrants arrive not speaking the native language, and a large percentage never learn it to proficiency, all immigrants will be welfare cases for at least 10-15 years, and many will never stop being welfare cases.
 
In many Western countries, including the U.S. refugees are sponsored and funded by a public-private mix of government (which does the screening), and private charities, often religious in nature, who find housing and aid in integration. This doesn't happen to anywhere near the same extent in Europe. In Europe, private charities operate on a much smaller scale, since they have essentially been frozen out by state welfare. Religious charities run by the major established churches usually have significant government involvement. As the chart above shows, Germany has a comparatively small private charity sector. It's about the OECD average, but it's worth remembering that the OECD includes a lot of countries much poorer than Germany. 
 
So every migrant let into the country who possesses no job skills immediately begins costing the state money. And lots of migrants cost lots of money. Germany is now spending an amount on refugee welfare that exceeds its annual federal education budget. It is spending almost €3 billion per year (g) just caring for 65,000 unaccompanied minor migrants.
 
Denmark has similar policies to Germany's. Which brings us to Daham Al Hasan, his three wives, and his twenty children: 
In Denmark these days, Daham Al Hasan is making headlines. He has twenty children with three wives, but two years ago fled alone from Syria to Denmark, and left his wives and children behind. Recently, under the Danish rules of family unification, one of his wives and eight of his children have joined him in Denmark. But Al Hasan wants all his children with him, as well as all his wives. He has been granted permission for nine additional children to join him, but as Denmark does not allow polygamy, the two remaining wives, under the same rules of family unification, are not permitted to join him. Lawyers, however, estimate that the remaining wives will also be able independently to join their children in Denmark, once they are there.
The case has caused rather a shock in Denmark, not only because of the extraordinary size of the family, and what it will cost the Danish state just in child allowance, but because Al Hassan claims that he is too ill to work or even to learn Danish. "I don't only have mental problems, but also physical problems", he says by way of explanation, "My back and my legs hurt." He has admitted that his "mental illness" consists of missing the children he voluntarily left behind. This means that he and his family live exclusively off the Danish taxpayers' money.

Putin to Europe: Take Our Chechens -- Please!

The number of asylum-seekers in Germany from Chechnya is on the increase (g). Chechens are notorious in Russian novels for being the most violent and fractious minority in the empire. The list of terrorist attacks carried out by Chechen Muslim terrorists is rather long (including the Boston Marathon bombing and several attacks at Domodevovo Airport). And this just in, fresh from today's headlines: "CHECHEN jihadists posing as Russian football supporters are plotting to attack English and Welsh fans at the Euro 2016 championships, security chiefs fear":
One of the big fears the French have is the threat posed by Islamic State terrorists from Chechnya and the Caucasus region. They are apparently planning to travel to France among Russian fans. 

“They will almost certainly avoid any stadiums because of the massive security and instead will look to shoot supporters drinking in bars or restaurants. “Their main target is most likely Russians but they will want to kill British fans as well as local French people because in their eyes they’re all enemies of IS.”

Mr Moniquet said large Chechen populations live in Germany and Belgium. Belgian police carried out investigations into extremists on the northern coast and in the city of Leuven last year.

More than 400 Chechen jihadists are fighting in Iraq and Syria while terrorist group Caucasus Emirate, which has as many as 15,000 fighters, pledged allegiance to IS last summer.

A young Chechen man whose family lives in Austria was recently asked during a TV interview what he would do if his sister left the house without a headscarf: "Then I'd kill her."
 
Young Chechen males are notorious in Germany now for being unusually likely to cause problems in migrant shelters. Many are Salafists who insult and attack fellow shelter residents for homosexuality, insufficient Islamic zeal, or apostasy. Just a week ago, there was a mass riot (g) between Chechens and Yezidis in Bielefeld, Germany. Dozens of people from both groups rioted, attacking each other with clubs and knives. Five people had to be hospitalized, some of them with serious injuries. A spokesman for the Yezidis reported that the hostilities started when Chechens attacked the (non-Islamic) Yezidis, calling them infidels. There are dozens of other reports of militant, violence-prone Chechens attacking non-Muslims and minorities in German migrant shelters.
 
Chechen migrants have formed criminal gangs in Austria, and are engaged in gang wars (g) with Afghans to control various rackets, giving them a "disastrous" reputation. A recent newspaper report from Austria, where many Chechen migrants have settled, concluded (g): 
The biggest problem for law enforcement is the Chechens. They are listed as Russian nationals in the statistics. There were 1528 suspected criminals in this group, which was 49.2% of all the suspected criminals among asylum seekers and illegal immigrants in 2014. In the first six months of 2015, 673 Chechens were registered as criminal suspects.
Russia, according to sources cited by the first link above, is intentionally funneling large numbers of Chechens into Germany to further destabilize the country. And, of course, to further re-stabilize Russia by dumping extremists and career criminals onto gullible Western European nations. And no, Germany's getting the criminals, not the persecuted human-rights lawyers. Under 6% of asylum-seekers from Russia get legal recognition.
 
German CDU politicians are now calling for the European Dublin regulations on asylum to be enforced on Chechens. These require asylum-seekers to file asylum claims in the first EU country they set foot in. For Chechens, this is almost always Poland.
 
So Poland would be responsible for housing and feeding thousands of illegal Chechen Muslim immigrants, notorious as the perhaps most violent and unpredictable group among all the various nationalities entering Europe. Plus, all of these people -- largely young males, of course -- will be frustrated that they couldn't make it to Germany. Actually, frustrated isn't the word. Incandescent with rage comes closer. Poland would also have to hire hundreds of new bureaucrats to decide their frivolous asylum claims. And somehow force them into planes for deportation.
 
Can you imagine how Poles will react to their rich neighbor Germany trying to dump this problem from hell onto them?
 
Vladimir Putin certainly can, which is why he may well be urging Chechens to set out for Germany -- the more, the merrier!
 
Once again, Europe is being effortlessly manipulated by politicians who have no illusions about human nature or culture, and who are unabashedly putting the interests of their own people first.

Random Crime by Migrants and Trust in Strangers

Anyone who grew up in the US during the crime wave of the 1970s-1990s learned never to open the door to strangers. If a stranger knocked at your front door claiming to need help, you were supposed to communicate with them through the door, and offer to call help. That's all. Criminals often faked accidents to gain access to homes, then robbed, raped, and/or murdered the occupants. As in this case. Of course these incidents were rare. Certainly 99% of the time, the people knocking at your door genuinely needed help.

But what if you opened the door to the 1%? Humans make decisions based on rare, spectacular, and recent risks. One random crime by a stranger has more effect on society than a thousands crimes committed by people who know each other.

Which brings us to the latest random murder committed by a recent migrant in Germany. The suspect is a Pakistani man who has been in Germany for 3 years. So far, there is no information about why he was allowed to stay that long. He has already compiled a criminal record. A week ago, he gained access to the home of a 70-year-old woman who lived near his migrant shelter in Bad Friedrichshall. He then beat her to death (g), stole property from the home, and left messages in English and Arabic in the home. Police say there is no evidence of any connection between the suspect and victim. DNA evidence ties him to the scene, as well as his possession of property stolen from the home. There were no signs of a break-in, suggesting the woman let him into her house.

Germany who visit the USA are often shocked by how inhospitable Americans are to strangers knocking at their door -- especially when the homeowner shoots at someone he thinks was a threat.

Now that Germany has imported tens of thousands of career criminals and mentally unstable persons from the Middle East and North Africa -- and spread them throughout the country -- Germans are going to have to unlearn their touching trust in strangers. It'll happen slowly, like the proverbial frog in boiling water. But once it's gone, everybody will notice.

Welcome to 1980s America, Germany. You're not going to like it.


Germany's Police and Pols to Women: No Alcohol or High Heels, Stay Home After Dark

Mainstream German politicians are doing something very clever. Slowly and surely, drip-by-drip, they are getting German women used to the fact that they are unsafe in their own country because of violent crime by migrants.

Of course they don't mention the last part. 

They have begun to issue new warnings informing German females about things they are no longer able to do in their own country. One example is the police in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Responding to attacks in which groups of 15-20 young Arab, Turkish and Afghan males surround women and then beat, grope, rob, and/or rape them, police gave advice to women such as scream loudly, take detours around groups of men, tell others to call the police if you're attacked. An article about the police instructions added the following list of behavior guidelines (g) (not from the police).

To women, mind you, not to criminals:

  • Always travel in groups of at least two or three.
  • Wear sneakers instead of high heels, so you can run away.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Drink out of bottles and open them yourselves.
  • Don't just stare at your cellphone, be aware of your environment.
  • In case of attack, don't act like a victim, act like an opponent: choose genitals, joints, eyes, nose and ears as defensive goals, because pain is greatest here.

The CDU Mayor of the Bad Godesberg neighborhood of Bonn, where a 17-year-old boy named Niklas P. was recently randomly murdered by a 20-year-old man of Moroccan extraction who had a criminal record, said casually (g) during a recent neighborhood meeting: "In any case, women should stay out of parks after dark." One of her political opponents immediately spoke up to say: "Bad Godesberg should be safe for everybody at all times."

The mayor of Bad Godesberg, Simone Stein-Lücke, is a woman from the purportedly conservative party in Germany. Yet faced with increases in violent crimes which are directly affecting the lives of her constituents, she decides to impose behavior limitations on the victims. Not the criminals.

Are you beginning to see why more and more Germans are voting for right-wing populist parties?


Crimes in the Times

Whenever I blog about crimes by migrants, most of my German readers shift uncomfortably in their seats. They maintain utter silence about the issue, never commenting one way or the other, and privately wonder if I've finally drunk das Kool-Aid of neo-Nazism. The reason for this is a simple cultural misunderstanding: most educated Germans perceive a strong taboo against discussing migrant crime, but I don't.

Nor does the New York Times. An article about the influence of violent crimes on today's election in Austria begins with this picture of the bruises inflicted on a grandmother when she was raped by a young Afghan male:

AUSTRIA1-master768

By any measure, the string of crimes has been terrible. A grandmother of three, walking her dog, raped along a riverbank. A 10-year-old boy sexually assaulted at a public swimming pool. A 21-year-old student gang raped near the giant Ferris wheel at Vienna’s famed Prater park. A 54-year-old woman beaten to death on the street.

The fact that the crimes were committed by recent migrants from war zones and an immigrant who had lived illegally in the country for years added an especially volatile element to the political climate ahead of the presidential election on Sunday, when Austria could become the first European country to elect a far-right candidate as head of state since the end of Nazism.

...

Ms. Bubits is also the daughter of the woman, now 72, who was raped while walking her dog on Sept. 1. Since the attack, Ms. Bubits said, her mother has gone from being healthy to ridden with anxiety and requiring close attention.

“It goes up and down,” Ms. Bubits said, but “it’s basically as if she was suddenly 90.”

On a visit to her home on Friday, her mother could barely shuffle a few steps without assistance. Ms. Bubits said she and her mother wanted to speak out about what had happened to emphasize that despite the problems many Austrians want to help refugees and make a place for them in their country.

According to court documents, her mother was walking her 13-year-old dog by the Schwechat, a river where refugees and residents often bathe. A young man helped her up a slope, but then, the documents said, “exploited her physical weakness,” threw her to the ground, “held her mouth shut, ripped her clothes and forced her to engage” in sex.

...

“It is all getting whipped up politically,” said Martin Mahrer, a lawyer who is defending one of three young Afghans who have confessed to raping a female Turkish student in a park on April 22. “People now want offenders to be really severely punished.”

Mr. Mahrer said some of these young migrants had arrived from war zones, with completely un-Western views about women.

“They do not respect the same things we do,” Mr. Mahrer said. But, he asked, are foreign offenders less equal before the law than Austrians?

If this article had appeared in German newspapers which consider themselves comparable to the New York Times -- well, actually, it wouldn't have in the first place. Respectable broadsheets don't publish photos of bruises caused by vicious rapists. Only tabloids would stoop so low. Respectable broadsheets don't let victims of crimes by ethnic minorities tell their stories -- that privilege is reserved for victims of right-wing attacks. If respectable broadsheets mention violent crime at all, it is only to tell their readers what things are permissible to think and say about the issue. 

In other words, respectable broadsheets are ignoring a problem that's obvious to everyone living in Western Europe. Serious crime by migrants is a vitally important public-policy issue in Europe today. It is literally changing the political face of Western Europe. Statistics are one thing, but anyone who underestimates the potential explosive impact of random violence against strangers in public places is a fool. And respectable broadsheets are full of these fools, which is why they are so surprised by the rightward lurch in European national politics.


Böhmermann is Guilty

There's only one way in which I care about the Erdogan thingy -- as a pretty interesting legal puzzle. As for all the self-righteous German bloviation about Freedom of Speech, The Whims of a Despot, etc. -- that's all a bunch of hooey nobody except a tiny journalistic elite cares about.

From a purely legal perspective, there's a good case Böhmi should be found guilty and fined. Just so nobody don't get the wrong idea, let me explain that I find the 'insulting foreign leaders' law silly, and believe Germany should have got rid of it a long time ago. I also have doubts about whether a modern legal order needs the category of 'abusive criticism' (Schmähkritik). I am talking here descriptively about German law as it is, not as I might wish it to be.

And under these laws, Böhmi's guilty. The 'insulting foreign leaders' law will obviously be interpreted in light of artistic and political freedom guaranteed by the German Basic Law. But here's the thing: artistic freedom, satire, etc. have limits. German magazines can be and have been punished for satire that 'goes too far' (I'm lookin' at you with admiration, Titanic). The key distinction is whether there is a 'Sachbezug' -- roughly, some relationship to a recognized political or social issue. It's a weighing test: the severity of the insults against the strength of the relationship to a legitimate subject of debate.

Böhmi's 'poem' fails. It wasn't a puppet-show, or a song, or a sketch, or even a straightforward political commentary. It is nothing more than a collection of racist insults that go far beyond what German law permits in any case. Goat-fucker, kiddie-porn devotee, carrier of gang-bang related sexual diseases, etc. All of these insults are illegal in Germany, even when used sarcastically and even when nobody could be expected to believe there was truth in them. That's how German law works. If Böhmi had said these things about a private persons on national television, it is 100% absolutely ironclad certain he would be convicted. There are literally hundreds of cases on exactly this subject. There was only a brief mention of political issues in the 'poem'. Böhmermann himself, as he read the poem, said that it was illegal. He even entitled it 'Schmähkritik' (abusive criticism). Böhmi consciously, knowingly, by his own admission engaged in conduct that is against the law in Germany. 

And if this argument doesn't convince you, let's do a Gedankenexperiment: Böhmi reads a poem about the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin calling him a 'dirty Jew', 'child-murderer', a 'racist warmonger', and a 'fat, malodorous pig'. That is the level of rhetoric directed at Erdogan. Would German politicos and journos be whining about freedom of expression and kowtowing to foreigners? Of course not. Any judge worth his salt, however, will see that these two cases must be treated equally, if the idea of a principle-driven legal system is to have any meaning at all. The issue isn't which foreign leader was targeted, it's what was said.

So he should be found guilty, and I think he will. This is not a case about freedom of expression. This is a case about whether a person who publicly announces he is going to break the law and then does so should be punished. The answer is, and should be 'yes'. The best analogy here is to Joseph Gibbons:

Artist and former MIT professor Joseph Gibbons learned this week that robbing banks, even in the name of art, will still land you in jail. He pleaded guilty to burglary in the third degree this week in a Manhattan court.

Gibbons was arrested in January for a heist staged on December 31 at a Capital One bank in New York's Chinatown. According to court documents, he made his demands for cash in the form of a polite note asking the teller for a donation for his church, and then took $1,000 (see Artist and Former MIT Professor Robs Banks Claiming It's His Art).

In November, Gibbons held up a bank in Rhode Island using the same method, and made off with $3,000.

Both times, Gibbons videotaped the theft. “He was doing research for a film," his cell-mate, Kaylan Sherrard, told the New York Post. “It's not a crime; it's artwork…He's an intellectual."

Gibbons went to jail because freedom of expression does not cover illegal activity. That's just as true in Germany as it is in the U.S. Whether you agree with Germany's restrictive freedom-of-expression laws or not, Böhmi broke them.

 


A Course in Reality for Germans, Vol. IX: Educated People Commit Less Crime

Hey look, it's a new post on this blog!

As most of you now know, Facebook is now the center of my online world. But it turns out that for longer formats with more citations, a blog can still be a useful outlet. So I will be still posting a few things here once in a while.

And now to today's topic: The belligerent naivete of some left-leaning Germans. Specifically, the link between education level and violent crime. I posted on Facebook the following summary of an article (g) about an upcoming rape trial:

A Senegalese asylum-seeker accosts a 19-year-old woman in the small Bavarian town of Mühldorf, Germany (pop. 18,000), steals her smartphone, asks her to kiss him, and calls her a 'racist' when she refuses. He then drags her into the bushes and brutally rapes her four times, leaving her bruised and bleeding. Her DNA was found on his penis, his under her fingernails. He kept her smartphone, the police found him with it. The rape made headlines all over the part of rural Bavaria where it took place.

This is yet another in an ever-growing list of serious sexual assaults committed by asylum-seekers. I posted this because I consider these assaults to be a security issue which should be openly discussed in Germany. Many Germans, however, are still deathly afraid to even mention the issue, lest they be accused of being not nice.

Of course, I was immediately engaged in a debate. I pointed out that Senegal is a stable, democratic country at peace, considered one of the best-governed in Africa. Therefore that this asylum-seeker was almost certainly an economic migrant who should never have been let into Germany. And that if he had been properly excluded, this vicious, life-altering crime would never have taken place.

One of the arguments put forward by left-leaning Germans in the lively, interesting comments thread was: how do I know the rapist wasn't a legitimate asylum-seeker? I then pointed out that the typical profile of a successful asylum-seeker from a place like Senegal would be an artist, writer, activist, professor, or perhaps human-rights lawyer who had angered the regime. And then came the surprising reply: Well, who's to say those people don't commit rapes? I answered, patiently, that of course it's remotely possible, but statistically, violent sexual assaults of strangers are typically committed by people with low cognitive ability, little education, and poor impulse control. 

At this I was accused of spewing hateful, harmful generalizations. As if educated people are more law-abiding than uneducated people! What snobbery!

At this point, you always have to ask yourself whether your interlocutor is serious. Can anyone really doubt that educated people commit fewer violent crimes? But they apparently really meant what they were saying. They had their rigid, ideologically-determined views about human nature, and they were sticking to them, like a creationist stubbornly insisting that mankind lived alongside dinosaurs.

But belligerently naive Germans go beyond creationists: not only did they insist on their ludicrous views, they denounce anyone who doesn't share them as a snob, racist, or both. One of the Germans on the thread actually declared that my views 'made her sick'! 

So I here provide just a few random hits from the 411,000 Google results for the search "crime rate educational attainment." First, a handy summary

A few recent statistics from Europe and the United States highlight the strong connection between education and crime. In 1997, 75 percent of state and 59 percent of federal prison inmates in the US did not have a high school diploma (Harlow 2003).1 In 2001, more than 75 percent of convicted persons in Italy had not completed high school (Buonanno and Leonida 2006), while incarceration rates among men ages 21-25 in the United Kingdom were more than eight times higher for those without an education qualification (i.e. dropouts) relative to those with a qualification (Machin, Marie and Vujic 2011). Finally, among Swedes born between 1943 and 1955, men with at least one criminal conviction had completed 0.7 years less schooling, on average, than men without a conviction; the difference for women was roughly half this size (Hjalmarsson, Holmlund and Lindquist 2011).

Now, a handy chart:

SJI_chart_1a_feb2012 (2)I could go on, and on, and on. But I imagine the readers of this blog hardly need more proof of this obvious constant of human societies.

Only certain Germans do.