Re: crime in big cities and Europe

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Wed Jun 21 2000 - 01:02:43 MDT

On Tue, Jun 20, 2000 at 10:47:34PM -0400, Chimera wrote:
> The huge, dissatisfied underclass of poor immigrants would be an easy target
> for opportunistic agitators, and the already decimated, weak and decadent
> (predominantly white) ruling class would eventually be forced to hand over
> power -one way or another- to various "local" dictators/war lords. The last
> vestiges of civilization would then fall prey to ransacking, wanton
> destruction or simply neglect, and the US would be turned into 3rd world
> country.
Y'know, I seem to recall exactly this argument having been a political
football for the USA back in the ninteen-teens, with respect to emigrants
from eastern Europe. Funnily enough, it didn't happen that way ...

> Poor countries usually are the way they are because the people there don't
> have what it takes to create a prosperous, civilized society. You can blame it
> on their big bad governments, but let's not forget that those governments are
> just as much an expression of local culture as anything else.

"Ah, the poor uncivilized inferior peoples canot be trusted to govern
themselves!" was always the rallying cry of the imperialist. A lot of
those countries you're complaining about are the way they are because
until relatively recently (20-60 years ago) they were run as imperial
dominions by one European colonial power or another -- or the US. Direct
imperial rule went out of fashion after 1945, but was largely replaced
by hands- off remote economic control; former colonial governments
that didn't play by the rules laid down by the colonial power tended to
undergo revolutions. Do you know what happened in Iran in 1956? Or in
Vietnam in 1949? A lot of your own country's history is tied up in those
dark colonial-era deeds ...

Now you -- a citizen of one of those rich colonial powers -- have the
sheer effrontery to say that it's essential to keep out _precisely_ those
natives of poor countries who are trying to improve their personal lot,
and to insist that collectivism (stay at home! stay at home!) is the
solution to their problems! I find that really ugly. (I find it also
bespeaks a streak of racism that runs very close to the surface, but
that's another matter.) The vast majority of these people are trying to
emigrate *because they want to better themselves*. That comes with a
willingness to work for a pittance at jobs that no privileged citizen of
a developed nation would touch, because that's the way to guarantee a
better future.

Your country was *built* by people like that. That you have the gall to
want to shut them out says more about your own inadequacy than anything
else I could write.

-- Charlie (third-generation emigrant -- to the UK)

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