Bill Black: The EU Center-Right and Ultra-Right’s Continuing War on the People of the EU

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives

The New York Times has provided us with an invaluable column about the interactions of the EU’s rightist and ultra-rightest parties. It is invaluable because it is (unintentionally) so revealing about the EU’s right and ultra-right parties and the NYT’s inability to understand either the EU economic or political crises. The NYT article illustrates its points by presenting a tale entitled “A German Voice, Hans-Olaf Henkel, Calls for Euro’s Abolition.”

Mr. Henkel wants to abolish the euro.

His country, he contends, would be better off returning to the deutsche mark, rather than letting hard-working, disciplined Germans continue spending their taxes propping up laggards in Greece, Italy and other euro zone countries that he says have squandered the common currency’s birthright. And last month he won a seat in the European Parliament that will give him a platform to try to unwind the currency union.

I will return to the euro controversy at the end of my article, but for now we will follow how the NYT and the EU view Henkel.

Mr. Henkel is a rarity in Germany, where there is almost no tradition of business leaders entering politics.

He financed his own successful run for office, in the mode of many American politicians. Mr. Henkel contributed 1 million euros, or $1.36 million, to his party, the Alternative for Germany, which proved crucial to its winning 7 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections last month and seven seats in the European Parliament.

Americans, of course, have a long tradition of rich people using their wealth to fund runs for public office. Here is how Henkel became so wealthy:

Mr. Henkel went on to become head of IBM’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, but left in 1995. He then became the unpaid president of the Federation of German Industries.

After leaving the federation in 2000, Mr. Henkel emerged as something of a professional contrarian, appearing often on talk shows as an advocate of rolling back Germany’s social welfare system.

Later, he was a board member of mainstream companies like Bayer, the German drug and chemical maker, and an adviser to Bank of America. He resigned from those posts before entering politics.

I return to his resignation from B of A below. The NYT and the EU’s Right assume conclusively that Henkel’s employment background means that he has an impeccable reputation. Indeed, I have to quote extensively from the NYT to demonstrate that this is the central theme of the article.

With his blue-chip business résumé and name recognition earned from years on the German television talk show circuit, Mr. Henkel symbolizes how the anti-euro movement is becoming more socially acceptable — and more difficult for the centrist, pro-euro parties to ignore.

At the same time, though, his particular variety of Brussels bashing is a reminder of how difficult it will be for the euro-skeptic parties to reconcile their eclectic platforms. Although many of the groups share a hostility toward the European Union, they also often foster distinct elements of nationalism and xenophobia, making it a challenge to find common cause on any issue of substance.

Mr. Henkel, a longtime member of the human rights group Amnesty International, strenuously denies that the Alternative for Germany party, known as the AfD in Germany, is a haven for the extreme right. He says such labels come from journalists who “would rather paint us into an anti-immigration corner or a rightist corner so they can ignore us.”

He ruled out cooperating with far-right, anti-immigration groups like the Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France or the U.K. Independence Party, led by Nigel Farage.

Instead, the AfD joined the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, or E.C.R. The E.C.R. also includes members of the British Conservative Party, whose decision to welcome the AfD last week strained already uneasy relations between Ms. Merkel and Mr. Cameron, the Conservative leader. (Britain, of course, has long opposed the euro union, having opted to stick with the pound sterling.)

But membership in the E.C.R. is not likely to quiet criticism that the AfD, led by Bernd Lucke, an economics professor at the University of Hamburg, is a Trojan horse for Germany’s extreme right. The E.C.R. also includes right-wing populist parties like the True Finns of Finland and the Danish People’s Party.

Still, Mr. Henkel may make it harder to stereotype anti-euro forces in the European Parliament as a collection of right-wing cranks.

“It’s a good thing to have a political party from Germany composed of people with reputations like Mr. Henkel,” jan Zahradil, a Czech member of the European Parliament who is first vice chairman of the E.C.R., said by telephone after the group voted to include the AfD. “He really is an asset.”

The NYT is relentless on the subject of where Henkel stands: he is a “contrarian” (the article uses that term twice to describe his views). He has “a blue-chip business resume,” whose support makes parties who support his positions “more socially acceptable.” Other members of his Party may be “xenophobic,” but Henkel is a member of Amnesty International who opposes “anti-immigrant” policies and he “ruled out” cooperating with UKIP (the rabidly anti-immigrant party of the United Kingdom). Henkel is so obviously opposed to such xenophobic views that he “make[s] it harder to stereotype anti-euro forces in the European Parliament as a collection of right-wing cranks.” Indeed, Henkel is so respectable that a leader of the ECR labels him “a real asset” not simply to Henkel’s party (the German AfD), but to the ECR. As a result, the ECR recently voted to allow the AfD to become part of its bloc.

A little background is required about the ECR.  David Cameron, the UK’s extremely conservative Prime Minister, led a split from the main center-right group, the EPP-ED group. Cameron is eager to expand the ECR’s membership in order to have more power relative to its more powerful rival on the right, the EPP-ED.

The article notes that the ECR “also includes right-wing populist parties like the True Finns of Finland and the Danish People’s Party,” but fails to explain why the significance of a self-described “center right” group including these three parties. The so-called EU center-right (dominated by the EPP-ED), on economic issues, already champions ultra-right policies that only a small subset of economists support. As I have explained many times and will briefly reprise when I return at the end to discussing the euro, those policies have proven catastrophic – and the EU Rights’ response has been to double-down on the policies and go into deep denial. The formation of the ECR pushed the EU right much farther to the right than the already catastrophic EPP-ED economic policies. Willingly adding the AfD, The Finns (as they prefer to be called in English) and the Danish People’s Party to this already hard right bloc means that the “center” of the EU’s right is a misnomer and is moving rapidly to make it impossible for the ECR to even see the center without the aid of high power binoculars.

The Finns had the third-highest vote total in Finland, the Danish People’s Party and UKIP were the top vote getters in their countries, and the AfD had the fifth-highest vote total in the recent European Parliament elections. The AfD’s success was greater than may be apparent because the Party was formed only the year before the election. The ECR courted The Finns and the Danish People’s Party – convincing them to leave the euro-skeptic bloc in the European Parliament. All three of the Eurosceptic parties that the ECR has sought to recruit are virulently anti-immigrant.

In the U.S., the term “anti-immigrant” typically means “anti-illegal immigrant.” That is not the case in the EU’s anti-immigrant parties. These parties also oppose legal immigrants, including legal immigrants from one EU Nation to another. Legal immigration is the cause célèbre for the anti-immigrant parties of Denmark, Finland, and Germany.

The Finn’s eventually had to kick a Finnish MP out of the Party who was too candid about his free-flowing hate for the “other.”

The Danish People’s Party is avidly anti-immigrant.

The AfD and UKIP

Henkel may say he doesn’t want to ally with UKIP, but the AfD’s youth wing is an active collaborator with UKIP.

Members of the Young Alternative, the youth wing of [the AfD], recently held a joint event with the heads of UKIP in Cologne.

When Did “Contrarian” Become Code for “Racist?”

Reporters use the term “populist” to describe EU parties that use bigotry as a major part of their appeal. When Europeans use the term “liberal” they mean what Americans would consider anti-liberal and when they use the term “populist” they mean what Americans would consider anti-populist. U.S. populist movements are often intended to aid minorities that suffer discrimination.

Henkel is an old-fashioned bigot, as I have explained in detail on several occasions.

Henkel’s Racism

Henkel claims that the global crisis occurred because the U.S. banned “redlining” by banks.   Redlining refers to the practice of home lenders circling communities in red on a map based on where blacks live. The lenders would refuse to lend for home purchases in those communities. The context is that Henkel was debating with James Galbraith the causes of the crisis. Henkel made this argument in writing. He did not make some spontaneous error in an oral debate.

Mr. Galbraith should familiarize himself Jimmy Carter’s “Housing and Community Development Act” where in Section VIII Banks were prohibited the practice of “red lining” which until then enabled them to distinguish “better living quarters” and “slums.”

This is a common meme among ultra-right-wing Europeans in finance. The head of the oldest private bank in Switzerland, Dr. Hummler (he has a Ph. D in economics from U. Rochester) infamously claimed that:

 It is said that the vast majority of insolvent home-owners belong to ethnic minorities.

Hummler then claimed that this explained why Obama was bailing out homeowners.

If the dishonesty and filth of these claims is not obvious you should read the link immediately above and these links (here and here) about Henkel’s ode to racist lending denials.

There is something particularly wonderful about Bank of America’s top European advisor praising racism in lending – and telling an American academic he needs to read up on how wonderful racism was for America.

Henkel’s Ode to German Bigotry

Consider the policy advice that Mr. Henkel gives in the German context. By way of background the reader needs to know that at the time of these events (2009), Dr. Thilo Sarrazin was one of German’s most senior central bankers. Like so many of the ultra-right economists who inflicted austerity on the eurozone, Sarrazin is also ultra-right-wing in his politics.

“Dr Thilo Sarrazin, a member of the executive board and head of the bank’s risk control operations, told Europe’s culture magazine Lettre International that Turks with low IQs and poor child-rearing practices were ‘conquering Germany’ by breeding two or three times as fast.

‘A large number of Arabs and Turks in this city, whose number has grown through bad policies, have no productive function other than as fruit and vegetable vendors,’ he said.

‘Forty per cent of all births occur in the underclasses. Our educated population is becoming stupider from generation to generation. What’s more, they cultivate an aggressive and atavistic mentality. It’s a scandal that Turkish boys won’t listen to female teachers because that is what their culture tells them’, he said.

“I’d rather have East European Jews with an IQ that is 15pc higher than the German population,” he said.

Yes, he actually said that things had gotten so bad that he’d prefer to have Jews, rather than Arabs and Turks, move to Germany. (Because, as we all know, Jews are 15 percent smarter.) How did Henkel, Bank of America’s senior advisor, respond to this delusional hate speech (made public in early October 2009)? He began an immediate media crusade in support of Mr. Sarrazin’s bigotry. He gave video interviews and sent (and published widely on the web) an open letter to “Lieber Herr Sarrazin” to express his unqualified support for Mr. Sarrazin’s bigoted statements. He entitled it: “Ich unterstütze Sarrazin ohne Wenn und Aber” (I support Sarrazin without any “if” or “but.”)

German speaking rightists love this rhetorical formulation. There is a Swiss scholar who urges tax competition as a means of depriving governments of revenue so that they cannot fund social programs. He loves bank secrecy in Switzerland as a device to encourage tax fraud by foreigners. His version is: “Der Schutz der Privatsphäre geht vor, ohne Wenn und Aber.“   The right of privacy (in the form of bank secrecy) comes before everything without any “if” or “but.”

The reality, as even the NYT admitted is that the AfD’s support comes overwhelmingly from the German regions in which the ultra-rightists are most common.

Güllner, head of the Forsa polling firm in Berlin, pointed out that in the May elections for the European Parliament, the AfD did especially well in voting districts seen as bastions of far-right sympathy, such as a region in southeastern Germany known as Saxon Switzerland. While Mr. Henkel helps lend the party an air of respectability, Mr. Güllner said, ‘in my eyes it’s almost an extreme-right party.’

If the AfD has to rely on Henkel and his ilk for “an air of respectability” it is not “almost an extreme-right party,” it is an ultra-right party.

The AfD’s Gain is Bank of America’s Gain

Bank of America chose Henkel as its senior advisor in 2006. I wrote an open letter to B of A’s Chairman of the Board of Directors explaining his racism and bigotry. Naturally, I never got a response. The good news is that Henkel’s decision to run for the European Parliament led to him finally resigning from B of A. Unfortunately, he picked B of A’s team of European advisors, so the B of A’s rot continues.

Bank of America has Forgotten its Roots, but American Must Not do So

June Carbone (my spouse) and I lived in the San Francisco area for 20 years. We are steeped in the proud history of the origins of the Bank of America. Mr. Giannini’s Bank of Italy was proud to lend to “fruit and vegetable owners.” Many of these small entrepreneurs were recent immigrants from Italy. Like the “fruit and vegetable” entrepreneurs that Mr. Sarrazin and Mr. Henkel despise, they often faced deep suspicion because of their accents, their national origins, and their religion (Catholicism). This was the era of “scientific racism” and educated people “knew” that immigrants from Southern Europe, and Italy in particular, were inferior.

B of A is no longer B of A. It’s a North Carolina bank that acquired B of A and decided that the name “Bank of America” was a superior marketing tool. Today’s senior management at B of A sought out Henkel to be their face in Europe and never publicly criticized his odes to U.S. racism or German bigotry.

The NYT and the Struggle Against Stereotypes

The NYT can’t even be bothered to use a search engine before it canonizes Henkel as the exemplar of the ultra-rightist free from any tint of bigotry. The NYT’s talent for unintentional self-parody grows by the day. Recall that part of its ode to Henkel is his ability, due to his stellar reputation, to prevent the AfD, The Finns, and the Danish People’s Party from being “stereotype[d]” as “right-wing cranks.”

Still, Mr. Henkel may make it harder to stereotype anti-euro forces in the European Parliament as a collection of right-wing cranks.

We certainly wouldn’t want to “stereotype” “populists” and “contrarians” whose standard operating procedure is stereotyping blacks, immigrants, Muslims, Italians, and Greeks. When Henkel says that the global crisis was caused by banks lending to blacks and agrees (“ohne Wenn und Aber”) that “Arabs and Turks” are worthless for any task beyond being a fruit and vegetable vendor, are debasing German IQs, and outbreeding native Germans while Jews are vastly smarter we know that we can with confidence denounce anyone that would stereotype the eurozone’s ultra-right.

The Right and the Ultra-Right’s War on the People of Europe

Henkel, Sarrazin, Hummler, and Bernd Lucke (a macroeconomist formerly employed by the German central bank, the founder and leader of the AfD).are representative of the Germanic economic consensus in favor of the self-destructive austerity regime that thrust the eurozone back into a gratuitous second recession and Spain, Greece, and Italy – with one third of the total population of the eurozone – into Great Depression levels of unemployment. The NYT sees none of this.

“The introduction of the euro was and remains the right thing,” said Ulrich Grillo, president of the Federation of German Industries, a group that Mr. Henkel led from 1995 to 2000. “Especially for Germany and its export economy,” Mr. Grillo said in an email exchange, “the common currency is the foundation of prosperity and employment.”

The euro is not “the foundation of prosperity and employment.” For the periphery of Europe, the euro is the foundation of massive unemployment and the loss of their children through emigration as soon as they graduate from the university. By giving up a sovereign currency the nations of the eurozone have given up an essential requisite of national sovereignty. They have ceded monetary and fiscal policy to Berlin (which is addicted to austerity) and eliminated their ability to devalue their currency to respond to a severe financial crisis. Angela Merkel’s monstrous lie – “there is no alternative” (TINA) to austerity – is the result of an insane system that systematically removes the normal, highly effective, alternatives to her quack cure that calls for bleeding the patient to make him recover. The IMF agrees that stimulus programs proved even more effective than economists had anticipated. (The great majority of economists in the United States believe that austerity in response to a recession is self-destructive.

The NYT remains blind to the crushing damage that the austerity regime has inflicted. The suffering of the peoples of the eurozone disappears from the NYT narrative.

The [AfD’s] delegation is tiny in an assembly with 751 members. But Mr. Henkel was part of a wave of discontent that delivered unprecedented power to euro-skeptic parties in Brussels, posing a political threat to the currency union even as euro zone leaders were dealing with financial and economic threats that nearly destroyed it.

As self-destructive as the euro and Berlin’s austerity provisions have been, Henkel and Lucke’s goal is to make things even worse.

“With echoes of the Tea Party in the United States, Mr. Henkel and a small army of other newly elected members want to curtail what they see as the overarching power of the European Union and abolish the euro, or at least expel members like Greece and Italy, which they regard as chronically irresponsible.”

I personally think that Greece and Italy would gain in the long run if they left the euro, but leaving the euro would cause great suffering in the short term and being expelled from the euro with no chance for preparation would greatly magnify those harms. But Henkel does not want to help Greece and Italy – he wants to punish them. Henkel and Lucke do not simply lack sympathy for the people of the periphery, they repeatedly attack them.

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  1. The Dork of Cork

    If you object to the banks (successfull) efforts to destroy resident cultures and peoples via the creation of flux in both the monetary and physical realm are you a racist ?
    I have always found it strange that Leftists such as George Galloway objected to the previous irish planatation yet are perfectly happy with the current efforts on behalf of the banking system to maintain its will to power by whatever means at its disposal.

    It was the liberal progressives which did the damage in Ireland
    Read Desmond Fennells epic series of essays on what was really going on in the Ireland of the 1980s.

    The liberal group centered in the Pale merely replaced one priesthood with another.
    We currently live (suffer) under its now highly developed doctrine of faith

    1. Moneta

      Over the last few decades, the liberal progressives were gifted a Trojan horse full of bankers and they happily embraced it.

      So ironically for the last 20 years, bankers have appeared as the most liberal creatures on earth and the only discriminating color was green.

      Loads of liberal goodies were distributed and progressives actually believed world peace was finally in reach. Many never noticed that the bankers were still keeping a ledger. There is more to life than money for a progressive. And the bankers used the progressives’ financial innumeracy to shake them dry.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I don’t know what “liberal progressives” you are referring to. Even Bill Clinton, who is hardly a progressive, complained about the compromises he was making to financiers early in his presidency before he recognized the personal and political advantages of selling out. He said something along the lines of “I’m having to implement policies to the right of Eisenhower. That’s not why I ran for President.”

        The fact is that Bob Rubin engineered a stealth takeover of the Democratic party.

        1. The Dork of Cork

          Again yee guys have tried (succesfully) to foster a second American materialist revolution.
          One of the mechanisms is social policy.
          Liberal progressives goal was to crack open the marrow of society.
          This makes it more vulnerable to further monetization and thus increased dependence on whoever produces the money.
          Again the Irish Petri dish was late to this game given our decision to opt out of the war scam during the second round.
          A look of current Irish liberal reality on the ground such as the divorce courts rather then persisting with a old irish loveless marraige gives us a true reality of what is happening on the ground.

          The lack of logical humanist thinking from either false direction is of course very very striking.
          The reason …………yee guys are all fake.

  2. The Dork of Cork

    These people are all fake
    To be grossly materialist in the above manner is not radical in todays world !!!!
    To create another Europe in the US of A manner of where people are defined by purchasing power and “success” in the narrow terms as defined by our overlords the banks is neither right nor left up or down
    Desmond Fennell
    “The German philospher Kant knew a lot about enlightenment.
    He lived in a time which is called the Age of Enlightenment and he was very much in favour of the thing.
    So I was interested to see ,at a recent exhibition (mid 1980s) about Kant in Galway,what exactly he had said about it,
    He said ,so a large placard told me in large letters, that enlightment meant passing from a state of tutelage , when ones view of life is derived from others , to a state of thinking one owns view”
    Note that he did not say that being enlightened meant holding a particular set of opinions which he or others consider to be enlightened .
    He would be amazed at such vendors of enlightenment in our own day who press packaged orthodoxies on men and women and tell them that , if they fit out their minds with this particular set of opinions , attitudes and prejudices , they wil become , hey presto , enlightened people”

  3. hunkerdown

    When did contrarian become code for racist?

    When the elites wanted to encourage conformity, perhaps?

    Interesting about the Atlantic inversion over “liberal” and “populist”. I suggest that in the USA, these terms have taken a Sartrian turn, shedding their respective ideologies in favor of symbolizing their most tranquil and hopeful possible outcomes. Thus liberalism has been redefined in the West as a loose principle of social democracy, and populism has been thus redefined as the belief that citizens should have the final say on any policy outcome. I presume Europeans still use the terms to respectively describe Mill’s property maximalism, and “populations” in the blood-and-soil sense?

  4. Moneta

    When resources get scarcer, discrimination soars… and discrimination usually comes from the right…

    To get the breakup of the Euro block, we’ll need nationalism… the writing is on the wall.

  5. Jim Haygood

    ‘I personally think that Greece and Italy would gain in the long run if they left the euro, but leaving the euro would cause great suffering in the short term.’

    Bill Black, comrades: you may not always agree with him, but you always know where he stands.

  6. John

    Henkel’s bigotry is not alone. Many prominent European voices said the same thing about the causes of the American housing crises. Those AAA ratings on mortgage backed securities which many European banks bought caused a lot of angst when they were found out to be crap. Who to blame? Not bankers or service providers but ‘black Americans.’

    The rise of the Right always rears its head when there is general malaise within the population. What was clear from watching these folks during the campaign was their messages were chauvinistic, anti-immigrant and establishment skepticism. Capitalism has not worked out for a lot of people and they want change. Righties simply rose to the occasion where their neutered lefties could not build on any progressive theme.

    Here’s the deal. The euro, which has caused much devastation, will continue to be questionable until there is a political union. That would mean shared laws, common budgets and common tax and spend strategy. That would also mean German taxpayers stepping up to the plate and providing unemployment insurance to Spaniards. Not likely.

    Don’t count on much improvement for Team Europe in the near future.

  7. Working Class Nero

    This is a very sad piece. The first major flaw is attempting to flog the dead Left/Right horse one more time. David Cameron is “extremely conservative” and so are we invited to believe things would be even the slightest bit different under Labour? Surely the performance of the “extremely socialist” Francois Hollande has at last sent the Oligarch’s Left/Right partisan stallion to the glue factory in the eyes of any critical European.

    The dichotomy that actually is important is globalist / nationalist. Using this metric, and considering Hans-Olaf Henke’s associations with huge transnational banks and corporations we can safely assume he is a committed globalist and therefore part of the problem and not the solution.

    The next huge flaw is that Mr. Black basically throws the native working classes under the oligarchs bus by declaring by diktat that mass low-skill immigration is good and anyone who dares voice a contrary opinion is a dirty racist.

    Mr. Black places himself firmly on the side of the oligarchs here. What do the Koch Brothaz, George Soros, Carlos Slim, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, Sheldon Adelson (for the US but not for Israel), Michael Bloomberg, and Warren Buffet all have in common? Why they all agree with the following statement for Europe and the US:

    The EU should “do its best to undermine” the “homogeneity” of its member states, the UN’s special representative for migration has said.

    Peter Sutherland told peers the future prosperity of many EU states depended on them becoming multicultural.

    He also suggested the UK government’s immigration policy had no basis in international law.
    He was being quizzed by the Lords EU home affairs sub-committee which is investigating global migration.
    Mr Sutherland, who is non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International and a former chairman of oil giant BP, heads the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which brings together representatives of 160 nations to share policy ideas.

    He told the House of Lords committee migration was a “crucial dynamic for economic growth” in some EU nations “however difficult it may be to explain this to the citizens of those states”.


    Mr Sutherland, who has attended meetings of The Bilderberg Group, a top level international networking organisation often criticised for its alleged secrecy, called on EU states to stop targeting “highly skilled” migrants, arguing that “at the most basic level individuals should have a freedom of choice” about whether to come and study or work in another country.

    In other words, resisting Goldman Sachs and Oligarchs United gets you branded as a racist in Bill Black’s world. Bill Black is a smart guy is does a lot of good work in other areas so I would be interested in his arguments on the subject, but does he ever lower himself to making even the slightest argument in favor of more mass low-skill immigration in Europe? Does he tell us at what level enough would be enough? Does he explain how the laws of supply and demand are somehow suspended when it comes to low-skill labor? Does he explain that this is obviously a strategy to undermine and destroy Europe’s welfare states?

    No, all he does is sadly equate anti-immigration with racism. That’s it, that’s his argument. There is clearly no room for discussion; you are either for more immigration or you are a racist. George W Bush should sue for royalties because I am pretty sure it was he that invented and copyrighted this “you’re either with us or against us” black and white framing.

    It is at this point Black yanks out his huge dripping racist paint brush he then starts flinging his stains anywhere and everywhere there is the slightest resistance to the oligarchs. In fact, UKIP are pretty useless, not because they are supposed racists, but because they are committed globalist who would not do one thing to stop globalization if they ever got anywhere near power. And Bill Black stoops to the facile tactic of using one bad apple to taint an entire group. Stupid me, I always thought that was a right wing tactic.

    Then Mr. Black descends into the ugly pit of Liberal Creationism with his snide comment: “ Because, as we all know, Jews are 15 percent smarter.” Well yes, Mr. Black in fact we do know that in the US Ashkenazi Jays (comment moderation avoidance) score around 115 on IQ tests while Asians are at 105 and gentile whites 100. Of course these are averages for large population numbers and tell us nothing about individuals. But there is little debate about these results — where there many heated and frankly stupid discussion about whether the cause is environmental or genetic (as if these were opposing categories and anyone is every going to be able to pin down a correct percentage to each). This puts US liberals in a bind because evidence of Jayish (and Asian) over-achievement is everywhere. The US liberal dilemma is, if Jays were not 15% smarter, then the only other explanation for their disproportional success would be some sort of conspiracy (which is why Bill Black did not outright deny the fact, only mocks it and then cynically uses it as evidence of racism). So just as oil industry flacks close their eyes to the overwhelming evidence about global warming, the only way out of this trap is for US liberals to shut down any sort of discussion about average population differences in order to avoid explaining these uncomfortable facts that put their whole white privilege theory out to pasture.

    So it with some considerable chutzpah that Bill Black goes full US cultural imperialist by trying to impose, by every shaming tactic he can muster, his own US liberal obsessions on European thinkers. But what he is really doing, just as Goldman Sachs’ spokesmen did above, is try to shut down any native attempts to limit low-skill immigration.

    For as immigration economist George J. Borjas (of Harvard no less) says, mass low-skill immigration is good for the rich and bad for the poor. And amazingly enough the reverse is also generally true; high-skill immigration is bad for the rich and good for the poor. Could this by why the rich and their eager spokespeople tirelessly push the canard that working class people looking out for their economic interests are evil?

    1. Moneta

      In other words, resisting Goldman Sachs and Oligarchs United gets you branded as a racist in Bill Black’s world.
      Well, they are right. Nationalism is a form of discrimination, especially when we know that nature’s bounty was not distributed evenly across the globe. True progressivism knows no boundaries.

      However, the human brain is made to live in small groups. So it’s going to take a miracle to rid ourselves of discrimination in hard times.

      1. Working Class Nero

        Nationalism certainly is a form of discrimination in the same way that when I am feeding, clothing and housing my children I am discriminating against all the other children in the world who I am not providing these services for. Or by being monogamous with my wife, I am discriminating against all those other women dying to have sex with me. But discrimination is not necessarily racism. For example in the Miss America contest they discriminate against ugly people. In spelling bees they discriminate against children who are lousy spellers. But this is not racism and it is wrong to equate discrimination with racism.

        1. John Mc

          It is almost like you have not read the Black piece.

          There are direct quotes the drip racism from Henkel. The cited places discussing redlining for one. Second, the comparison of IQ’s using ethnicity as a guide?

          It is pretty standard, now that we have DNA analysis capacities, to acknowledge that phenotype is a poor predictor of genotype since we know there is more in-group diversity than across group. The definition of fascism is the merger between the corporate sector and the state to seize the mechanisms of power. This has already been done, for the most part, in the US and now this model, is going back home using bold racist language. Dr. Black is calling this out. No more, no less.

          1. Working Class Nero

            The problem is there actually was a link between the housing crisis and the desire to get rid of red-lining (and replacing it with toxic loans). For the NYTimes in 2008:

            From his earliest days in office, Mr. Bush paired his belief that Americans do best when they own their own home with his conviction that markets do best when let alone.

            He pushed hard to expand homeownership, especially among minorities, an initiative that dovetailed with his ambition to expand the Republican tent — and with the business interests of some of his biggest donors. But his housing policies and hands-off approach to regulation encouraged lax lending standards.

            Here is a press release from CountryWide from 2005:

            Countrywide Home Loans today announced an expansion of its We House America initiative to fund $1 trillion in home loans to minorities and lower-income borrowers and communities through 2010.

            “The $1 Trillion We House America Challenge, expanded from $600 billion announced in 2003, embodies Countrywide’s long-standing commitment to lead the mortgage industry in closing the home-ownership gap for minority and lower-income families and communities,” said Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide Financial Corp. chairman and CEO, who announced the initiative at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando.

            “For several years now, Countrywide has been a leading lender to minorities and lower-income households,” Mozilo said. “I am proud of our lending record and pleased to announce the expansion of our lending commitment to $1 trillion.” The We House America program has already placed 2.4 million families into homes, Mozilo said that number should nearly triple by 2010.

            And in fact Hispanics and Blacks defaulted at much higher rates than whites (although Obama certainly never bailed them out). So I am not sure how it is racist to discuss all this. Just like with immigration, the oligarchs hide behind feel-good liberal policies to rape and steal from the people (especially the very minorities they were supposedly helping) and then afterwards the goody-two-shoes liberals label as racism any discussion of this crime.

            In my original comment I addressed the IQ and ethnicity issue — there is clear evidence that there are differences, the only question is why?

            1. YankeeFrank

              Wow, you are actually dragging out the CRA dodge on NakedCapitalism? Seriously? And your “point” that minorities defaulted at higher rates than whites has nothing to do with the removal of redlining or expansion of lending to minorities. Instead it is due to the new form of redlining which is not based on place but directly on race. Predatory mortgage lending was implemented heavily such that minorities who qualified for prime mortgages were given sub-prime, balloon and other types of garbage mortgages in bait and switch tactics that left them little choice but default when rates reset, balloon payments came due, etc. The traps were set and people fell into them because they trusted brokers and lenders to give them the mortgage they were entitled to. Instead they were betrayed, bait and switched, and outright lied to in every way imaginable to sucker them into mortgages they wouldn’t be able to pay. And now you come along with the rest of the right wing sleaze to affirm this criminal behavior as proof that minority lending caused the crash. Unbelievable.

              And bashing and categorizing vast swathes of humanity based on the results of silly tests like “IQ”, which test nothing much that’s relevant to life success, as more of your type of “proof” that we cannot ignore “racial” (an invented concept if ever there was one) differences when discussing immigration is just more priceless garbage in garbage out “Working Class” Nero. Nero? For chrissakes man! Nero? Seriously?

              And yes, focusing on immigration as the problem when the real problem lies with the leadership that has laid down austerity as the one and only true religion is not just misguided and wrong (and largely stupidly racist), but also pits working class people against each other, which working class people should never look to each other as the enemy because THAT is the way the powerful divide and conquer. Wake up.

              Working Class Nero is a contradiction in terms. Its nonsense. Just like your posts.

              1. skippy

                Well said YankeeFrank,

                I’m still scratching my head as to how anyone could deem Milton, Chicago school neolibertarianism, neoclassical synergy – anything – liberal or otherwise.

              2. Working Class Nero

                On redlining I summed it up by saying, “there actually was a link between the housing crisis and the desire to get rid of red-lining (and replacing it with toxic loans)” and then you spend a whole paragraph fleshing out my summary with details in a bid to prove me wrong? Really? My point was that the banksters used feel-good racial ideas that were beyond criticism (increase minority home-ownership) and to shut down any discussion of this as racist, is only serving the oligarchs.

                There is such an amazing correlation between a 19th century Victorian’s prudish attitude towards anything sexual (unless they were accusing someone of perversion) and the modern US liberal’s aversion to anything racial (unless they are accusing someone of racism).

                There are absolutely clear patterns about which groups of people will tend towards which areas of achievement. Countries like Canada and Australian who tend to be more picky about immigrants have much better success (on the PISA tests they are the only two countries which recently had immigrants performing better than non-immigrants). But guess what, these immigrants end up tending towards high-skill jobs which means more competition for upper middle class people and their children. So it seems natural that upper-middle class people in other countries would to enforce a Victorian prudishness on this subject since their class interests are at stake and therefore they demand silence on these matters from those they see beneath them.

                1. skippy

                  Your Ire should be placed with the ideological well springs, that enabled such transgressions, that you focus on other things is a huge tell….

                  1. Working Class Nero

                    Skippy – over the years I have repeatedly given a very clear and precise diagnostic of the current problems facing the US and Europe. So here it is again in two paragraphs:

                    In the 70’s the elites of wealthy countries started to emancipate themselves from their local populations and the nation state through the process of globalization which weakens national borders and allows the off-shoring of well-paid working class jobs and capital to the third world as well as the in-shoring of cheap third world labor. The inevitable consequence of globalization is that while roughly the top 20% of the population benefit the bottom 80% suffer (one could debate the actual percentages) and the nation’s standard of living begins to decline and deflationary pressures, caused by destruction of labor’s bargaining power, set in. In order to offset these negative impacts, the financial sector balloons and the oligarchs blow up bubbles (whether in housing in the US or sovereign debt in Europe) to temporarily offset the adverse impacts of globalization. So if we use a medical analogy, the patient (the bottom 80%) is suffering from the disease of globalization but the most obvious symptom is financialization. The oligarchs are pumping credit methamphetamines into the patient in order to keep him consuming long enough to allow a large enough middle class in the third world to develope at which time the patient will be weaned from life support. Now sure, sometimes it is important to first attack a symptom, but the key is to never lose sight of the root cause of the disease, and for me this is clearly globalization. And the solution to the current problems is to move back along the nationalist / globalist scale towards the nationalist direction by reinforcing the nation state and its borders to where the first world nations were in the 50’s and 60’s.

                    And while it is obvious why the right would do so, what could possibly motivate the left to support globalization? Aren’t they supposed to be on the side of the bottom half of the social economic spectrum? The oligarchs assure left wing support for globalization through appeals to racial justice. For example, it is racially just to send majority white working class jobs to people of color in the third world. Racial diversity is increased by bringing in cheap third world labor. Toxic loans are good when given to people of color to fight the evil of redlining; private takeover of public schools is required to fight the racial “Achievement Gap”, etc. So we go from 1969 when a working class left of Cesar Chavez, Ralph Abernathy, and Walter Mondale marched at the Mexican border against illegal aliens lowering working class pay to 2014 when any working class objection to mass third world immigration is labeled as racist by the do-gooder left. So part of the fight against globalization is raising liberal awareness of how their prudish neo-Victorian attitudes towards race are only helping to prop the power and not fight it.

                    So there it is Skippy, that’s my book. Quit with the innuendos and instead please just attack it directly and explain where I am wrong.

                    1. YankeeFrank

                      It has nothing to do with prudishness, and everything to do with blaming the victim. The low-skill Mexicans coming across the border are victims of the same neoliberal system we are. There is enough for all. Enough shelter, food, everything. Artificial scarcity brought on by those who wish to profit from it. That’s why your argument is bogus, not due to some fake prudish Victorianism.

    2. John Mc


      I think you attributing pieces to Dr. Black’s work that reveals more about your thinking than his. For example,
      you this belief about Dr. Black: ” is try to shut down any native attempts to limit low-skill immigration” is clearly an exaggeration.

      I would argue, especially after reading about next Climate Change report from the likes of Cargill execs and Hank Paulson, that we are going to see a massive increase in migration all over the world during the next 5 or 6 decades due to severe weather, climate change, and rising sea levels. In addition, we have witnessed the aggregation of powerful institutions and resources to such levels as to create massive income-wealth inequality and pay-to-play system designed to exploit low-skill and middle-skill workers for as long as they will take being exploited. In my view, Black is deconstructing the fascist rise of an oligarch, which signals a change that we need to be aware of (the rest of Europe is trying to emulate the United States).

      In terms of your fear over immigration (and research about who benefits), it is obvious we need a better system to deal with the influx of migration that is and will continue to poor out of countries with large populations and little future. Your blustery response to this seems woefully uninformed and the conclusions developed are on the outskirts of common sense.

      1. Working Class Nero

        OK, at least you present the outline of an argument in favor of immigration — which is basically because of global warming, the people in poor countries who produce few greenhouse gasses are going to have to move to the rich countries and of course then these rich countries will create even more greenhouse gasses which will cause even more migrations and more greenhouse gasses. And so the rich countries need to find a nice way to accommodate all these newcomers and get this cycle started.

        Do you see a wee problem here? Do you see just the tiniest space here for a non-racist to humbly suggest just maybe these migrations might not really be that good of an idea?

        My problem with Bill Black is that he leaves not even the hint of a space for working class people to object to mass low-skill immigration. And just to be clear, many of the anti-immigration parties are phonies (UKIP) or indeed fascist (Golden Dawn) but others such as the Front National are promoting just the kind of policies that global oligarchs fear most.

        1. F. Beard

          My problem with Bill Black is that he leaves not even the hint of a space for working class people to object to mass low-skill immigration.wcn

          As a citizen of the rich West, working should be pretty much optional for you. The reason it isn’t is government backing for the banking cartel has unjustly concentrated wealth and power.

          So lay off poor immigrants, I suggest, and focus your ire on the banking cartel and those who support it.

          1. Working Class Nero

            So your argument is working class people shouldn’t have to work because their countries are rich. OK, that’s interesting. Can you give me one example of a society in human history where no one had to work?

            If I go back 40 years when America was creating all the wealth she now is destroying I see working class people used to indeed work (that’s kind of where their name comes from). The only remotely similar example is Saudi Arabia where their extreme oil wealth means Saudi citizens indeed don’t do much work. Of course they end up importing slave labor to do all those unpleasant tasks that get your hands dirty. In some ways this is the direction rich countries are heading. I suppose the difference between us is that I see this as a real bad trend while you see the opposite.

            And so I suppose working class people could just sit back and learn to love unemployment and just take the meager benefits thrown their way and ignore all the newcomers hopping the border to do the work the citizens just won’t do. But something tells me this story has a real ugly ending.

            1. Working Class Nero

              And as the Saudi examples hints, there are indeed plenty of examples of societies where a segment of the population didn’t work — Classical Athens, Rome, pre-Civil War US South — but of course all these societies used slavery to take up the labor slack.

      2. Tom W Harris

        “he influx of migration that is and will continue to poor out of countries with large populations and little future.”

        I’m with Nancy Reagan on this one. Just say no. And enforce it.

        1. HotFlash

          to recapitulate my comment from another thread, “Totally agree w/ Ishmael here. The First Nations peoples should just kick us all back to where we came from.”

    3. Publius Democritus

      You got it exactly right, Mr. Nero.
      I can’t wait to read the squealing responses from your “progressive” critics, who can’t stand the idea that a people, culture, and nation have the right to exist. No, your ship must sink so that others may live for a few more minutes.

      The fact is that in light of peak oil and climate change and overpopulation, Europe and the USA are already past full. Any sane ecologist will tell you this. Read anything by William Catton, such as:
      Bottleneck: Humanity’s Impending Impasse

      Unfortunately, despite the absurd idea that “Nationalism is a form of discrimination,” etc., as the human population attempts to squeeze through the bottleneck, a lot of people are going to “disappear.” Concepts such as social justice will become completely irrelevant, except inside a nation state that defends its borders with law and force, mercilessly. Just as Nero starts to get at with another reply, your first duty is to your family, neighbors, and nation. Any idea that we “owe” the coming flood of desperate immigrants a place in our communities is a mental invention out of Kant’s febrile brain. It won’t survive the harsh light of reality. As Nietzsche wrote:
      “A word now against Kant as a moralist. A virtue must be our invention; it must spring out of our personal need and defense. In every other case it is a source of danger. That which does not belong to our life menaces it; a virtue which has its roots in mere respect for the concept of “virtue,” as Kant would have it, is pernicious. “Virtue,” “duty,” “good for its own sake,” goodness grounded upon impersonality or a notion of universal validity — these are all chimeras…”
      Of course, everything I just said in this reply proves that I’m an evil racist. :)

      1. Moneta

        I guess we all deal differently with the dissonance. You convince yourself that your discrimination is not discrimination and I accept that it’s discrimination but I don’t have a choice if I want my family to survive.

      2. HotFlash

        Bingo! And smash them on the knuckles as they try to climb into Your Very Own Lifeboat. Oh, and what did you ever do to deserve that lifeboat? I forget…

    4. washunate

      Personally, I favor freer trade rather than more restrictions. But I do agree it is a legitimate point of contention. It is not racist to want to close your borders at a national level any more than it is racist to close your borders at the property line of your house. Or rather, if that is the definition of racism, then everybody is racist. Affluent, educated American liberals spend most of their waking lives not feeding and sheltering Other People’s Kids.

      However, IMO, you push this point too far when you say: “No, all he does is sadly equate anti-immigration with racism.”

      That’s not the only point Black is making. He also talks about the obfuscation around housing finance, which is a separate issue that is largely used to distract from the real issues, which is that Western governance is basically organized crime. Criminals, ironically, are some of the most colorblind members of our society.

      They’ll prey on anybody.

      1. Moneta

        What is the big deal about racism in particular? It’s just one subgroup in the big world of discrimination and all discrimination can be argued deplorable.

        However, discrimination recedes when resources are plentiful and reemerges when resources are scarce or badly distributed.

        Good luck, we’re seeing the tip of the iceberg.

        1. washunate

          Eh, I’m not an expert on race relations. There is a wonderful kernel of truth in Stephen Colbert’s comedy routine about not seeing race.

          My two cents: I think what you describe is the big deal. The particular American social combo of skin color and national origin is one significant component of discrimination. It is good to work on identifying discrimination, because you have to understand a problem in order to address it. Also, because racial discrimination is a very important topic to some people who have been on the receiving end of said discrimination. And those are precisely the kinds of voices that tend to be drowned out.

      2. Moneta

        The thing is that when you suffer from cognitive dissonance, you must convince yourself that you are not a bad person. Just like when one decides to divorce a spouse, one will list every single thing that is wrong with one’s spouse and downplay anything positive to get full closure. One will repeat this thought process until one has convinced oneself that one’s spouse is a monster.

        Racism and jingoism work in the same way.

    5. Seamus Padraig

      “…high-skill immigration is bad for the rich and good for the poor.”

      Not too sure about that one either, Working Class Nero. After all, if a country’s policy is simply to brain-drain away high-skilled labor educated elsewhere at their native country’s expense, this just disincentivizes the government of the destination country from ever investing in educating their own kids.

      But your basic point that being opposed to immigration is not necessarily the same thing as racism or xenophobia I agree with. There is an economic dimension to immigration (as there is with most social policies) that so many otherwise left-of-center people stubbornly refuse to acknowledge.

      1. Working Class Nero

        I wasn’t clear there. What I meant was that high-skill immigration is generally bad for the rich and good for the poor of the destination country. The theory being that high-skill people increase the demand for low-skill workers which means salaries should go up but only if low-skill labor supply remains constant though low-skill immigration restrictions.

        From the point of view of the departure country, it probably is a real bad thing to heavily invest in people’s education only to have them run off to rich countries. On the other hand the local elites may be happy to have a pressure release valve to get rid of potential troublemakers and rivals for power.

      1. Working Class Nero

        Native just means born in a geographic location. I know in the US it has other meanings (as in the label for the indigenous peoples of the Americas before European colonization) but for a European context it seems appropriate. The other choice would be the world “citizen” in order to distinguish them from non-citizens. Citizen has the added benefit of being less “blood and soil” sounding…

    6. hunkerdown

      I learned long ago from an episode of Diff’rent Strokes that IQ tests are culture tests; a perfect match to the standard corresponds to perfect acculturation. Taken as such, one could reasonably hypothesize from the 15% result that Ashkenazi a) culture might be very similar to the baseline b) people might more readily assimilate to other cultures c) culture might be well-represented in the baseline culture, or over-represented in the baseline IQ standard.

      In that light, it’s interesting to note that USian law and culture work the principles of the Old Testament far more strenuously than of the NT, except for the “This is what happens to people who challenge authority” part.

      1. Working Class Nero

        Surely there is a cultural element to IQ tests; how could there not be? Let’s do a little thought experiment and reverse things. Let’s suppose some very bright English school kids were sent to pre-colonial Africa to live with a local tribe to perform some menial role. This African tribe would have their own versions of an intelligence test that would undoubtedly include tracking and hunting abilities, knowledge of local plants, ability with social queues, language ability, etc; all the skills necessary to survive and reproduce in their specific environment. Now let’s suppose they tested these bright English school kid’s “intelligence”, it’s clear they would pretty quickly come to the conclusion that they were total retards; because the newcomers would be a complete failure in the new culture and would quickly become a burden if their menial roles, which kept them separate from the main tribe, were ever not required anymore. Now since these English school kids have a strikingly different appearance; many in this African tribe might associate these phenotypic traits with cultural failures. And indeed, if the English kids mated almost exclusively with each other, and they developed a separate culture, and survived only through filling their menial niches, then this cultural retardation would continue over the generations and there would be a huge “IQ” and achievement gap. Although a few of the English descendants would intermarry and/or adapt and master the local culture, due to the separate and unequal nature of their new hybrid culture, due to their anger at their menial position in society, due to hatred from the locals, they would continuously lag behind the native members of the tribe.

        And a little later let’s suppose another group of newcomers arrive, let’s call them the Ashkenazis. When these people arrived the local tribes tried to shuffle them into menial positions and soon noticed the same initial cultural retardation they saw in the English. But then fairly quickly, for whatever reason, the Africans were astounded to see that these new Ashkenazis were not only strongly adapting to their culture, but were disproportionately joining the ranks of the elite hunters, not only mastered the local biology but were even finding new sources edible plants, were becoming master storytellers in the local language, and were even gifted keeping the tribal finances in the black. In fact, this high level of achievement may even result in some ugly backlashes against these Ashkenazis as local elites see their own cushy positions threaten by the high achieving newcomers. Indeed if the local tribes measured the Ashkenazi cultural “IQ” they would pretty quickly see that it was even higher than the indigenous tribes’ intelligence levels.

        So it would seem somewhat natural, in this scenario, that if this local African tribe were having a debate about which newcomers were to be invited, that the past performances of the different newcomer groups, along with the varying interests of the various tribal factions, would be open to discussion. And a key part of this discussion would be the danger of allowing in too many newcomers at rates that would not be conducive to them mastering the local culture — unless of course some tribal faction had an economic interest in having this occur.

        And the question as to why various groups differ in their ability to adapt to local culture will be debated endlessly. Maybe it is that people from a similar culture have an easier time adapting than those from a more divergent culture and certainly if a group is actively banned or discouraged from adapting to the local culture then trouble is likely to follow.

  8. jfleni

    There is nothing new about obscenely rich Germans swilling beer and dressing up in Lederhosen, while they dump on French, Italians, and other Europeans in general; change the Lederhosen to golf slacks and beer to whiskey, and they could easily be certain Americans.

    It just proves that morons and opinionated dimwits never go away; they are always with us.

  9. Publius Democritus

    This is not a well-reasoned piece.
    The author insinuates that wanting to protect one’s culture from being destroyed by immigration is racist.
    Not true.
    Why, Mr. Black, is it OK to support unfettered immigration that will eventually, without a doubt, destroy a national culture? Culture always stems from the soil and ethnicity.
    Many of the anti-EU and anti-immigration parties also oppose the Euro. You ignore this, or downplay it. Shame on you.

    Furthermore, the anti “illegal immigration” parties in the US are also perfectly legitimate. It’s an Orwellian world now, where the NY Times can peddle essays referring to “undocumented” immigrants, and their plights, while ignoring the fact that our American working class is being demolished by cheap immigrant labor.

    I was recently in Scandinavia, and I saw happy, healthy, well-paid citizens working in restaurants and grocery stores. Why? They receive a high minimum wage, and they receive good social benefits. This system is being threatened by the EU and immigration (legal and illegal) as we speak.
    In Denmark and Norway, my friends and relatives are suddenly being raided by roving bands of thieves from Eastern Europe. Unlike in the USA, they don’t have the right to defend their homes with force.
    Is it any wonder that every single person I talked to about politics had voted for an anti-EU, anti-immigrant candidate?

    The economics of some of these anti-EU parties may be suspect, but the people know that the real struggle will be the struggle for the actual survival of their cultures and languages. They are voting accordingly.

    1. Jim

      Publius Democritus states that ..”culture always stems from the soil and ethnicity.”

      Could you amplify that idea and distinguish it from your understanding of the nature of nationalism.

      I’m partial to the idea that culture stems from the mind/brain–that it is a mental process–a symbolic transmission of human ways of life that happens in the mind–a kind of culture through mind.

    2. YankeeFrank

      Where you go wrong is in thinking that its the immigrants who bring wages down. Its the capitalists that bring wages down. Using immigrants is just one tactic in their arsenal. Until the non-rich of the world start seeing each other as comrades the rich will always be able to divide and conquer. If we didn’t have immigrants it would be those lousy _______ taking our jobs. As they say on South Park: they took our jobs! They took er jerbs! They tookar jabs!!!

      The tiredness of this thread is really getting to me. Its the same old garbage being case once again as “insight”.

    3. HotFlash

      And as we all know, culture and languages are the Most Important Things Ever! Way better than kuffar lives.

      1. hunkerdown

        He’s right, you know. Without hallucinogenic plants, a good case can be made that human culture might never have formed.

  10. washunate

    Of course the NYT is off base. It’s the NYT. But, I think the first lesson we Americans ought to head is to stop meddling so much in other countries, near and far. Our strength is being a role model; we are terrible lecturers.


    The US and Europe just aren’t analogous entities. To think of someone as being a citizen of the EU is to think like an American. Europeans are not European. They are German or French or Italian or British or Belgian or whatever.

    And of course, even that is thinking like an American. Countries like Italy, Belgium, Spain, and the UK are scarcely countries in the American meaning of the word. The current borders of many European nations were set in the 20th century. Americans joke about letting Texas be its own country, but many European nations actually have quite legitimate interests in being less, shall we say, national. Let alone continental. The UK doesn’t even use the Euro. The most important military alliance in the region is NATO, an entity that has nothing to do with the EU.

    As far as racism, we Americans have every right to be proud of having one of the most diverse, inclusive, immigrant friendly cultures on the planet. After our various endeavors of colonization, indentured servitude, plantation slavery, child labor, factories, eugenics, and so forth, we have created essentially the only large, diverse society in the world. Nevermind rightist politicians in Germany, the entire country of Germany is over 80% German. In contrast, the single largest national origin in the US, German, only accounts for 15% of US population. The next highest, Irish, is only 10%. All European ancestry combined only accounts for about 64%.

    But that’s all at an individual level. In terms of institutionalized, systemic oppression of the powerless and disadvantaged, the USA is Number One in inflicting oppression and injustice. We can talk about racism in other countries after we end the drug war, the terror war, the two-tiered justice system, the national security state…

  11. bluntobj

    It is amusing to me that an opinion article about economics and the future of the euro rests on racism.

    Progressives, that slur has no power in Europe, which is facing a demographic crunch such that in France and several other core EU member states the population will be 40% immigrant or non-assimilated first generation immigrant, the majority of which are islamist by 2020. Traditional ethnic Eurpoean populations such as French, German, Dutch, etc. will have the majority of their population over 45+ in the same period.

    The TL;DR version is that Europe will be majority non-native European by 2030, and in that time there will be enough power to shift the EU, if it still exists, to a political and legal environment that favors non-native populations.

    Two further points:

    It is a central principle of progressivism, multiculturalism, and equalism that all cultures are equal. The principal legal and religious systems of the immigrant populations of Europe are held to be of equal worth with all European culture. These systems will be adopted, and then will be enforced with the will of God being paramount, because equality.

    Nationalism, racial identity, and other divisions that serve to maintain cultures will return with a vengeance. It is proven by !!SCIENCE!! that as the diversity of a community increases, the connectedness and cohesion of that society dissolves. Voluntary separation from diversity becomes the norm, such that balkanization occurs informally. The corollary is that as diversity increases, so does conflict. These effects are seen in a multitude of places in the world today, especially here in the US and in Europe. Expect large scale conflict.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Oh boy, race war!! Idiot. So many of you still don’t get it. The capitalists are in charge here. They use constructs such as “race” and “culture” as ways to divide and conquer. I have more in common with some of the fellows immigrating from India to the US than I do with many Americans. What does that say about your precious culture? Give me a break. Capitalists use immigration to break the backs of labor (its one of their many tactics), but you are confusing the symptom for the disease just as they wish. How does it feel to be a marionette? Its not the immigrants who are to blame, its the horrendously unequal society, where the rich control everything, have access to infinite quantities of money and power, while we squabble for crumbs between ourselves and recent immigrants. Direct your ire where it belongs. All of a sudden it feels like NC has become a danged tea party convention. For chrissakes, don’t you realize that the biggest cultural change in the US from 1970 to today is the “greed is good” mass selfishness that has been foisted upon us; not by immigration or that insidious “foreign influence”, but by our noble leaders and capitalists. What’s it going to take before people wake up to who is truly screwing them? Hint: its not Hasim or Ngoday, its not Vladimir or Siddhartha. Its the Koch brothers. Its Dick Cheney. Its Barack Obama and his banker uber-alles trade policy. Ugh. I’m gonna have to stop reading the comment section here. If we didn’t have immigrants people like you would be railing against “darkies” or “too-whiteys” or whatever group you would then consider the “out” group. I wonder if people like you will ever actually get it.

      1. Moneta

        Ultimately, nationalism gives a nation the right to kill people in other countries and racism gives it the right to kill people inside its own borders. You will notice that a rise in both is always related to scarcity or a bad distribution of resources.

        At the end of the day, if all you have is a crumb to share with your family, cognitive dissonance will most probably lead you to determine that your family is more worthy than the one next door.

        1. skippy

          Ignorance is what gives license to kill imo, whomever concocts that condition is ultimately responsible.

          David J. Blacker, The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame

          The current neoliberal mutation of capitalism has evolved beyond the days when the wholesale exploitation of labor underwrote the world system’s expansion. While “normal” business profits plummet and theft-by-finance rises, capitalism now shifts into a mode of elimination that targets most of us—along with our environment—as waste products awaiting managed disposal. The education system is caught in the throes of this eliminationism across a number of fronts: crushing student debt, impatience with student expression, the looting of vestigial public institutions and, finally, as coup de grâce, an abandonment of the historic ideal of universal education. “Education reform” is powerless against eliminationism and is at best a mirage that diverts oppositional energies. The very idea of education activism becomes a comforting fiction. Educational institutions are strapped into the eliminationist project—the neoliberal endgame—in a way that admits no escape, even despite the heroic gestures of a few. The school systems that capitalism has built and directed over the last two centuries are fated to go down with the ship. It is rational therefore for educators to cultivate a certain pessimism. Should we despair? Why, yes, we should—but cheerfully, as confronting elimination, mortality, is after all our common fate. There is nothing and everything to do in order to prepare.

          “Professor Black alerts us to the neoliberal endgame which, in his estimation, seems bent on the elimination of public institutions and unwanted, unproductive people. Since public education is a product of capitalism, Professor Black believes it would be far more productive for reformers to direct their attentions on the malignant, external forces that threaten the system rather than attempt to reform public education from within. Although people of good will should always do their best, Professor Black thinks we should mentally prepare ourselves for a tomorrow that might be far worse than today. As neoliberalism systematically degrades the planet, we should not be surprised if widespread food, water and energy scarcity occurs much sooner than expected. In these dismal conditions, Professor Black believes that public education might completely collapse. Notwithstanding the possibility of some unforeseen circumstances that might alter the course of history, the author contends that we must begin to accept our fate with a dose of stoicism and find the courage to challenge the 1 percent’s cruel politics of eliminationism.” – review comment

          skippy… Moneta currently the Market trumps Nationalism, hence the global kindling of nationalism, too stave off free market neoliberal malfeasance. IMO doubling down on a failed ideology is a key indicator to cog dis burn….

          1. Moneta

            Economies of scale have led to specialization which itself has led to a new special kind of ignorance. How many generalists are admired today? Ignorance is at the core but I don’t know if we humans will ever be enlightened.

            I agree that doubling down on a failed ideology will not help but I have come to believe that this is just part of the unavoidable cycle of life…. when I was younger, I wanted to believe that we could all work together and control our fate but over time I have come to accept that we are animals, maybe the most intelligent but just animals nonetheless. Populations rise and populations fall. And I believe the rules of nature will ultimately determine our fate.

            1. skippy

              “unavoidable cycle of life” “rules of nature” – Moneta

              Sorry I don’t do religious fatalism or bourgeoisies survivalism Moneta, but, as you march to the beat of a drum… be careful of the conga line… hard to see ahead… save the back of someone else head.

              1. Moneta

                When the farmer sprays his fields, some bugs survive. It’s not necessarily because they are the fittest but maybe because they are the stragglers, the runt of the litter who just could not keep up with the pack. At the right place, at the right time so to speak.

                Nature works in wonderful ways. I march to my own drum. There is a difference between fatalism and determinism. With fatalism, one thinks the future is set and all action is futile. As for determinism, one thinks the future is already determined but has no idea what it is and where one fits in it and one still believes one has a job to do. I believe in the latter.

            2. hunkerdown

              It would seem that the more hostile a discipline is to interworking with others, the less relevant it is to a world trying to get over itself. When you hear the Scientist kids start to say “interdisciplinary” in a spooky, mocking tone, we’re doomed.

        2. Publius Democritus

          “At the end of the day, if all you have is a crumb to share with your family, cognitive dissonance will most probably lead you to determine that your family is more worthy than the one next door.”

          Aristotle called this “justice,” not “cognitive dissonance.” Only someone living in a made-up world of Platonic ideals or Kantian nonsense about the universality of a categorical imperative could believe that NOT preferring your family to strangers or non-family in a critical life-threatening crisis is justice. It’s so absurd that only a small minority of college-educated Westerners believe it.

      2. Moneta

        And if you believe the pie is growing you will share more than if you believe the pie is contracting.

      3. Calgacus

        Yes, YankeeFrank. Thanks for being a voice of reason. So many allow the capitalists, the con-men, to divide them and conquer them, to deceive them that globalization, that immigration is The Real Problem. That anything but the belief that we must dance to the con men’s tune in order to make a living is the problem. That there is no alternative – when there very obviously is.

      4. HotFlash

        Ding! Classic divide and conquer, from our global masters. We mere nations can be set against one another by virtue of a line drawn not even in the sand, but just on a piece of paper. Jay Gould, these guys are *way* better than you, and do it cheaper. Working splendidly.

        1. hunkerdown

          Beware the seductive but insidious size war. If Gould were to have moved on it, you could bet Edward Bernays himself would take at least a consulting role.

      5. HotFlash

        Moneta! thanks to you, another piece of the puzzle just slipped into place. I am in TO, any chane we can meetup?

          1. Moneta

            I’m in Ottawa… not planning a trip to TO in the near future. Do you visit Ottawa or Montreal?

      6. Ben Johannson

        What laughably passes as “the left” in the United States is the equivalent of a person so battered and abused they have internalized the thinking of their oppressors. Racism, white supremacy and beating up the poor become their stock in trade. You’re correct they would fit right in with the Tea Party.

  12. Susan the other

    Immigration should be assimilated from the center out. If immigrants can be absorbed at the center, say Bankster Central, assuming Bankster Central serves all classes of people equally, then immigration can move to the outer rings of the population incrementally without disruption. If it happens in the opposite direction, say migrant workers, it causes devastation and havoc to the very people society can ill afford to do in. All this blabber about immigration and nationalism backlash is unimportant. It isn’t what you do; it’s how you do it.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Yes, but who decides “how we do it” Susan? Take a wild guess. Hint: its the same group that keeps 80% of the country in poverty or near poverty.

      1. YankeeFrank

        Its only no wonder because the tired memes you keep spouting are effective, not because of some deterministic garbage.

  13. flora

    well,… not to get too Machiavellian about this… but
    if it’s the right and far right political parties pushing austerity, and,
    if the increased poverty and desperation of the voters is driving many to the right and far right, then
    politically it’s working out nicely for the right and far right parties…..
    for the moment.

    1. hunkerdown

      You’re not getting Machiavellian enough — you’re assuming that the competition being seen performed is the actual competition. Politically, it works out well for the reluctant “left” and “center” too, in providing bad-cop cover to adopt far-right economic policies (see also UK Lib Dems, German Greens, French and many other European Socialist parties). It was never left vs. right, and always top vs. bottom.

  14. Synopticist

    Europe, unlike America, is not a continent created by immigration.

    I have young friends who work in construction who make exactly the same hourly rate I was making 15 years ago for the same job. That is directly because bosses can now hire cheap eastern European labourers and pay them peanuts, and my mates need to compete on that playing field. It’s not anti-progressive to oppose mass immigration. The “blame the oligarchs” argument may be valid in the broader, long term sense, but it doesn’t help raise wages, which is what we most need right now.

    1. HotFlash

      Why blame the immigrants? They are just coming from here/there/everywhere to feed their families, same as you; avoid annihilation, same as you, or get ahead, same as you, escape official persecution — eg, Roma, poor Greeks, Greek recent uni graduates, Spaniards or ‘wogs’ (floating definition, but generally, “brown people we are exploiting” ) most likely, same as you. But didn’t have to be brown. Irish when potatoes failed (and the story of that is a lesson in govt annhilation of targetted races). Could be Turks, too — the list could go on forever.or maybe the *problem* is not, and the *blame* is not to the victims, but should be to the organizers of this scenario.

      Hutus snd Tutsis, barely indistinguishable, Northern vs Southern Irish — please, can’t hardly get more ethnically homogeneous than that, except Israelis and Palestinians (falafel, anyone?) Even the Japanese in WWII (see, I didn’t say Hitler) had trouble telling their own soldiers from foes (eg, Korean, see So Far From the Bamboo Grove, Spaniards, maybe Turks, too — the list could go on forever. But why bother? I suggest that the point is made and now the action is to fix. We are all in the same boat/planet.

      1. hunkerdown

        So why is an across-the-board no-immigration policy racist? Because it allows workers to establish for themselves a group identity and shared culture with less friction? I see children throwing tantrums because we can’t afford to paint the bikeshed tutti-frutti while siding is falling off the house.

        Forget the Holy Beigeois Aesthetic. It’s gaudy, it’s juvenile, it’s abusive, and it’s crap, and we need to see it for the sickness it is. As a society, if we don’t start recapitulating Maslow, perforce we’ll recapitulate Etsy.

        1. hunkerdown

          May I suggest let’s connect US tax laws for emigrants, like FATCA and the exit tax, to this debate, and talk about whose interests are being served by open immigration with caste-restricted emigration…

      2. Publius Democritus

        He’s not blaming immigrants, he’s blaming immigration.
        We all understand why they want to immigrate. That doesn’t give them the “right” to immigrate. There are no rights, other than those conferred by the nation state. There is a sort of natural law that everyone understands intuitively if they are not sociopaths, but that simply demands that we not harm others, and that we help others if we can without hurting ourselves too much.
        Unchecked immigration, in a world of peak oil, peak resources, and impending ecologically-driven human die-off will destroy Europe and North America.

    2. skippy

      Wage arb goes on with or with out immigration. The increase in productivity vs. wages since the mid 70s dovetails nicely with the advent of neoliberal economic agency becoming the dominate social head shrinking tool.

    3. Lambert Strether

      “Europe, unlike America, is not a continent created by immigration.” Which would be why England and Ireland are completely without people, to this very day. Oh, wait…

    4. John Yard

      In 1979 I left a job in a grocery warehouse. It paid well for hard brutal work. A few years ago I ran into a guy who still worked at the warehouse. After 35 years he makes 40% less. Another victory for unlimited immigration and globalization.

  15. Abe, NYC

    I haven’t been following AfD for a while. It is disappointing to see a nutcase like Henkel take a leading role in the party. A couple of years ago I read Bernd Lucke’s interview which made a lot of sense:

    We think that the euro currently splits the European Union into two parts – a segment of an economically unsuccessful southern part, and a more northern, or more central, European part, which currently seems to benefit from the misery of the southern European countries, because all of the capital flows back from southern Europe to Germany, and the Netherlands, and other stable countries, where it helps us to do cheap investment, but which is at the expense of those southern European countries, and which certainly is the cause for envious sentiment and angry sentiment in the southern European countries, so that the political tensions within the European Union actually rise.

    There is the imminent danger of the disintegration of the European Union and of the common market, possibly even with a return to, say, impediments to trade, like a reintroduction of customs duties if those southern European countries are not able to balance their trade by any other means – in particular, not able to balance their trade by a devaluation of their own currency.

    Lucke is openly condescending to the Southern Europe, although he implicitly acknowledges that they owe their economic woes to the currency union with the “successful” North. But his point on devaluation is pretty hard to argue with.

    I know, Yannis Varoufakis et al have a proposal to fix Greece’s economy while keeping it in the Eurozone. But does it really have any chance of being implemented? It’s not up to Greece to make that decision in the end. Barring that, a Euro-breakup is much better than the slow torture and devastation to which Greece, Spain, and Italy are subjecting themselves.

    To sum up, while the leader of AfD is far from a progressive icon, his proposal for a breakup of the Euro in order to save Europe makes a lot of sense. That’s why I am disappointed to see obvious psychopaths like Henkel in the party.

  16. masterslave

    John Mc : “” we know there is more in-group diversity than across group “”

    That would indicate that your group identifiers are messed up .

    1. John Mc


      We know that the genetic diversity among groups of the same phenotype or same cultural appearance vary much more greatly than those traits across groups. There is a decent film which chronicles this called Race: The Power of an Illusion (as we learn more about the human genome, we more important patterns than phenotype to explain cultural or group differences — migration, mobility, and cultural integration).

      But do not take my word, feel free to watch the videos and read the content (as it is from a joint effort by California News Reel and PBS). Here is the wiki page: and the link to the film which breaks down many of the white supremacist myths around the biological origins of race (and inferiority):

      So, nothing is messed up, except ignorance may be disrupted temporarily.

  17. masterslave

    bluntobj : “” The principal legal and religious systems of the immigrant populations of Europe are held to be of equal worth with all European culture.””

    Since ” worth ” is a subjective evaluation unless it has been quantified and well established in terms of price , the obvious question is to whom are immigrant cultures and native cultures of equal worth ? The imposition of the will of rulers over and against the will of their subjects has been the bane of mankind from the beginning of history . In the Islamic religion / ideology , Islamic culture and Islamic religion are inextricable ; and the Islamic god Allah says in the Koran that Islam is ” above all other religions “. Clearly , Allah does not hold all cultures to be of equal worth . Many native Europeans will be in for a shock when Allah reveals the truth to them about ” equal worth ” of cultures . The rulers will also be subjected to backlash for their impertinence to the basic intelligence and consent of the natives . Allah will render the ruler’s carefully made exit plans useless . There will be no plea bargains .

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