randombio.com | political commentary
Tuesday, Dec. 01, 2015

On Building Fences

Predator naiveté is the best explanation for Europe's failure

I f you have a limited resource that somebody else wants—whether it's food, territory, or a prized collection of nonfunctional Sony Beta video recorders—sooner or later you realize you need a fence. This was driven home to me when I moved to the country and discovered that there's only one way to keep wild animals and birds from moving in with you, and that is to put up a barrier so they can't do it. Those birds may look cute, but sometimes their dinosaur heritage shows through. And you would not believe what squirrels do to videotape.

The nation-state system has become universal because defended borders act like fences. But sometimes you need a literal fence. Years ago, when Palestinians were walking into Israel and murdering dozens of innocents every year, I asked my Israeli friends why they never put one up. They only shrugged. Israel finally stopped shrugging and built a fence. The Europeans castigated them for it, but the murders dropped to a handful.

On the Internet there is now a photo of some European girls welcoming a trainload of Muslim “refugees,” mostly young males. According to the UNHCR, 49.7% of the over 4.2 million registered Syrian refugees are male and 16% are headed to Europe. The UN claims 681,713 of them have applied to Europe for asylum. The most popular destinations are Serbia and Kosovo (205,578), Germany (154,655), and Sweden (93,268). Since those statistics were compiled, the numbers have increased dramatically.

Refugee Statistics
 Source        Period        % Male        Number to Europe        % From Syria      
UNHCR Apr 2011–Oct 2015 49.7 681,713
Eurostat 2014 75 20

However, the UN statistics cover a four-year period. More focused statistics (data for 2014 only instead of 2011–2015) from Eurostat show that only about 20% of these refugees were from Syria. Eurostat says “there was a greater degree of gender inequality for asylum applicants aged 14–17 or 18–34, where around three quarters of the applicants in 2014 were male.” This is a big difference. Yet for some reason our American news media prefer the UNHCR statistics. Clearly as the issue becomes more politicized, it will become harder to get accurate figures.


Whatever the composition of the migrant population, they have created chaos in Europe, and the massacre of young concert-goers by unassimilated Muslims in France has proved that the danger is far from imaginary.

In the photo the girls are taking pictures with their cell phones, while one of the “guys” is flashing the V sign with the back of the hand facing the observer. In Europe (especially the UK) this is an offensive gesture that means defiance and contempt. In many ways this symbolizes the nature of the interaction between the Europeans and the refugees.

Many, if not most, of the refugees are ordinary economic migrants. But it is no secret that many are committed Muslims who have no intention of being “assimilated” and despise their hosts for their suicidal generosity. Yet the Eloi class in Europe, basking in the glow of their own virtue, seems not to notice, even though big parts of many European cities are already effectively sharia zones.

One article by Swedish journalists Ingrid Carlqvist and Lars Hedegaard of Dispatch International cites a Swedish survey showing that in the forty years since Sweden adopted multiculturalism as an official policy, rapes have increased by a factor of 14.72 and violent crime has increased by a factor of 3.0, turning my beloved family homeland into the country with the second highest rate of rape in the world, surpassed only by Lesotho in southern Africa. A United Nations study found that rape in Sweden is 47.5 times that in Canada, 2.5 times that of the United States, and nearly twice as high as Jamaica. The Swedish people are not permitted to complain; mentioning the reason for the rapes is considered denigration of ethnic groups, which is a serious crime in Sweden.

In today's Internet culture, we find these statistics unbelievable. Yet this has been the case throughout history. Anthropologists tell us that in the 16th century Polynesians felt the same way toward the Spaniards—until they discovered the Spaniards and Portuguese had come to colonize them and take their mineral wealth. Many fed the colonizers who, in the end, destroyed their culture. Others, it turned out, were just fattening the Europeans up. But their fence—a vast ocean—had been breached.

European countries cannot seriously call themselves democracies when their citizens have so little freedom of speech they can't discuss problems without risking arrest. It's a well understood phenomenon in biology: isolated species protected by natural barriers are not exposed to predators. Biologically costly anti-predator behavior is selected against and anti-predator vigilance is reduced, a phenomenon known as predator naiveté. When predators arrive, the native species get wiped out, often becoming extinct. It is reasonable to suppose that a similar phenomenon occurs within cultures: vigilance is costly in many ways within a culture, so when it is not needed it is dispensed with.

Of course, the Europeans are not totally unfamiliar with predatory behavior themselves. But they've become one of the most peaceful areas in the planet (which, granted, may be damning with faint praise). They have been protected by America and by natural barriers.

Thus, their confusion about what to do is easy to explain. There is no need to invoke r/K theory or psychological theories of national guilt. It can be explained by understanding that defense against predators takes energy and resources that are costly, and that therefore pressure to expend those resources will encounter resistance. It would throw a wet blanket not only on Schengen, but the entire European project. It would mean the Europeans would have to admit that the image of themselves as a soft power leading by example is unsustainable in the face of the reality of power and the costs of weakness.

There are other costs as well.

If we were to try to warn those young people about the danger that they are courting, not only would they not believe us, they would call us racist. Perhaps they believe our civilization and our economy are indestructible, so they can afford to make expensive, meaningless gestures to make themselves feel more noble. Or perhaps they have been taught it's racist to care about the survival one's own ethnic group. Or perhaps they, like all young people, have not yet acquired an understanding of history. Changing these beliefs will incur significant costs in terms of social adjustment and effort.

Their leaders derive a political benefit from waiting until their inaction causes a calamity, then accusing those who warned against it for having caused it. This imposes the additional cost of replacing these leaders and arguing with their supporters in the media.

Not least will be the political cost of permitting freedom of speech and repealing the hate-speech laws that led to atrocities like Rotherham. The European Left loves these laws and will fight tooth and nail to keep them. European countries cannot seriously call themselves democracies when their citizens have so little freedom of speech they can't mention serious social problems without risking arrest.

The fact is that most of the resistance we've seen so far is an excuse to avoid the costs of re-imposing antipredator vigilance. Islam can be peaceful, but history (especially in India and Europe) has shown that it can also be a highly predatory culture. So perhaps we must remain silent, knowing our warnings would only be ignored, and wait for either the Europeans to ante up or nature to take its course, and deal as best we can with the victors.

In our culture, we used to believe the strong should protect the weak. But it is to the advantage of modern Western governments to keep everyone weak, thereby creating a power vacuum that allows the government to become stronger. Our news media and universities have been captured by the promise of sharing in that power. As far as survival costs go, putting up a fence is cheap. But the real changes have to occur in Europe. As the cost of not making them rises, those changes, as painful as they may be, will get easier to make.

dec 01, 2015; table added dec 03, 2015

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