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Post-communist Europe has no reason for gratitude for Cold War emigration

Days after the Nobel peace prize winner Barack Obama has flattened the Afghani hospital of a fellow Nobel peace prize winner, Doctors Without Borders, the prospective Nobel peace prize winner Angela Merkel has made some new insane statements meant to increase her chances to beat Tunisia's National Dialog Quartet (unlikely!) and win the 2015 Nobel peace prize for having caused the worst migration wave in Europe since the end of the Second World War.

The Telegraph has reported her offensive claims in the article

Angela Merkel attacks east European leaders for ignoring their past over refugees
Before I get to her explicit statements, I want to dedicate a few paragraphs to a meme that has been mentioned on this blog but as far as I remember, it was never a major topic of a blog entry. Some people say that the post-communist countries should support the immigration from the Muslim world because the citizens of these countries have been allowed to emigrate to the West during the Cold War years and these Eastern countries should therefore repay the debt.

This suggestion is insane. The countries have nothing to be grateful for. On the contrary. The emigration has stripped our homelands of some gold in the human capital.




Both uncles of mine emigrated during communism. My mother's brother emigrated to Melbourne, Australia months after the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion to Czechoslovakia. He's been a mathematics professor for decades. My father's brother and his family emigrated to Nuremberg, West Germany in 1980 or 1981, and the uncle himself was running restaurants over there. In total, 300,000 people fled Czechoslovakia between 1948, the beginning of Stalinism in our country, and the Velvet Revolution in 1989. That represents 2% of the population of Czechoslovakia in 1989, about 15 million.

Most of the emigrants left in two waves, after 1948 and after 1968, but a weaker stream was pretty much uninterrupted. Those 300,000 people were obviously much fewer than the 3 million ethnic Germans who had to be expelled from Czechoslovakia after the war – and this expulsion meant a weakening of the human capital as well – but this loss was still highly significant because it was very selective.




Were these people random and representative of the Czechoslovak (or Czech and Slovak) nation? Partly but not quite. In average, they surely hated communism more than the average Czechoslovaks did. But you know, it's mostly the smarter, more creative, and/or more courageous people who hate communism while those whose biggest achievement is their pride about being a part of the working class and similar people were some of the canonical supporters of communism.

I believe that in those 2% of the Czechoslovak population that fled, one-half i.e. 1% were people who belonged to the top 5% of the Czechoslovaks (in one sensible sorting or another). All these numbers are just order-of-magnitude estimates. So about 1/5 of the top 5% elite has been lost. It's especially the courage, creativity, and audacity that has been lost. The percentage of the lost "super-elite" (smaller than 5%) may have been even higher. The fact that we continue to have significantly lower average wages than the Western Europeans may certainly be partly blamed on the "robbed human capital" because of the Cold War emigration.

Czechoslovakia as a country – and its successor states – has lost people like Tomáš Baťa, Ivan Lendl, Martina Navrátilová, Milan Kundera, Miloš Forman, and I could add a few names of the same caliber and many more people of the following caliber. The emigration was a move that primarily affects three parties: the country from which they escape, the emigrants themselves, and the target country.

For the emigrants themselves, it was mostly a big improvement (that's why they did it – and be sure that their naturalization was vastly more rigorous and difficult than the Arabs' journey to Germany in 2015) although there existed emigrants who became poorer or less happy than they had been at home. For the target country, the emigrants were probably mostly a plus and I believe that it's the reason why they were admitted. Maybe some citizens in the West viewed it differently – they have the indisputable right for their viewpoint. But a big part of the emigrants were an elite of countries that could otherwise be very similar and that's the kind of migrants countries generally want. At any rate, the Western nations have elected politicians who have allowed this immigration which is a reason so think that most Western Europeans wanted these immigrants.

However, for Czechoslovakia itself (and for countries in a similar situation), the emigration was a big loss. The emigrants were terrible news for the communist ideology – sort of proofs that capitalism was more attractive than socialism. That was the main reason why the communists tried to fight against emigration as much as they could. But it was a loss for the rest of the countries – if defined territorially – because the countries became weaker when it comes to creativity, courage, and probably even talent and other positive things.

So I am just left speechless when someone suggests that the Eastern European countries should be grateful for the emigration that was "generously" allowed. It was really a theft. We may even demand to be compensated for that, one that may help to keep our countries relatively underdeveloped for centuries to come!

Quite generally, people had different attitudes to communism. Some people really liked it – let's say it was 20% of the population. Additional 60% didn't like it but they were compatible with it and just complained in their living rooms – they found it obvious that they want to live in their homeland despite the problems. Most of the remaining 20% have opposed communism in very light ways and they faced minor problems because of that. 2% of the population emigrated and a much smaller fraction were full-fledged dissidents. Charter 77 had just a few thousand signatories, for example. The numbers are somewhat arbitrary because the boundaries are fuzzy and ill-defined, of course.

Since the Velvet Revolution, we have had quite some public discussion about what was the right attitude. Should you emigrate from a country you may love – or, in other cases, not so much – when it gets spoiled by something so dirty as a left-wing totalitarian ideology? Many people who have stayed liked to say that it was much more helpful and courageous to stay and contribute to a better evolution from within. Dissidents such as Václav Havel typically championed their courage and lifestyle. More "minor" opponents of the regime such as Václav Klaus often display a lower degree of respect towards the dissidents and they like to say that the normal life and minor everyday acts were more beneficial for the country.

At any rate, you won't find almost anyone who would say that the nation – the set of people with the citizenship who live on our territory – should be grateful for something related to the exile.

How does the counting change in the case of immigration from the Middle East? The migrants are going from more or less dysfunctional countries (in average, more dysfunctional than the socialist countries have ever been) to countries that more or less work very well so the migration is surely good for them. The migration is very bad for the target countries – although there are lots of PC people who are willing to say the opposite. But what's important for this blog post is that the emigration is very bad for the Middle East countries themselves. They are losing people who could be the most productive ones. Their demographics gets distorted in very pathological ways. They may lose a big part of the elite, too. Many of the migrants are among the richest people in the Middle East who make an investment in order to become even richer. They can pay for taxis from one side of Hungary to another, they use iPhones all the time, and so on.

If someone thinks that the country of Syria will thank Europe for Europe's opportunity to steal a million or millions of the Syrians in 2015, then she or he hasn't really used her or his brain too much.

Merkel has previously made similar weird claims but I want to react to the actual quotes in the new article in The Telegraph:
...Mrs Merkel criticised leaders including Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian prime minister, for building new fences in Europe despite having escaped their own isolation at the end of the Cold War.
These words may sound logical but if you think about the nuances, the claims are demagogic. First of all, the Iron Curtain and the new Hungarian fence are motivated by different, and in some sense opposite, motives. The Iron Curtain was mostly built by the communist countries to defend their populations against leaving. The Hungarian fence is built to protect the territory from an invasion of illegal immigrants. The motion goes in the opposite direction! So there is no repetition of the history here, there is no lesson that Orbán has failed to learn.

Second, "our own isolation" is a loaded phrase. The capitalist world was generally more attractive than the socialist world which is a source of an asymmetry. But it's the only source of an asymmetry. Otherwise, the Iron Curtain isolated the East from the West just like it isolated the West from the East. If you avoid judgments about "which social system was better", it is simple nonsensical to say that the socialist countries were "more isolated" than the capitalist countries. Perhaps, the Westerners could travel here – except that almost no one did. The isolation of the blocs was going in both ways, it was mutual or relative, if you wish.
“We eastern Europeans – I'm counting myself as an eastern European – have seen that isolation doesn't help,” the German chancellor told MEPs at a meeting on Wednesday.
Frau Merkel may have been an Eastern European in the past but it was already some time ago when she has adopted almost all the cheesy politically correct attitudes that are so widespread in the contemporary West so she has almost "none of the good things" that one could associate with being the Eastern European today. She is clearly defining herself as an Eastern European to make it easier to declare herself as the emperor of Eastern Europe as well – except that almost no one would actually endorse her views in this part of the continent.

She is unmasking the absence of the common sense in this very sentence, too. The original reason of the problems in the socialist world was an ineffective and sometimes largely dysfunctional societal and economic system, not "isolation". Isolation was a consequence of the bad system. Assuming that communism survives, isolation was a necessary condition for those nations not to lose the bulk of their population and – especially – a big portion of their elite.

In the very same way, countries in the Middle East (or elsewhere) that become unattractive even for their citizens should protect their populations against emigration. Some of the countries are so dysfunctional that they don't even try to regulate these basic things. But again, there's a good reason for countries on both sides to fight against the migration. When people emigrate from the Middle East to Europe, the average IQ decreases both in the Middle East and Europe. It's been often said as a joke but it is a true and vital fact: both regions worsen because the migrants are more likely to be the elite in their old homelands but they're still likely to be well below the average in their new homelands.

Isolation is always a good thing for the country that "loses" when migration is taking place. And when the differences between the source country and the target country are too large, migration is bad for both countries!
“The refugees won't be stopped if we just build fences, and I've lived behind a fence for long enough,” Mrs Merkel said.
Maybe the Iron Curtain – and fences – didn't quite stop the migration but it has heavily reduced it (and they are heavily reducing it today) and that's a good enough result.
“Those who can consider themselves lucky that they have lived to see the end of the Cold War now think that one can completely stay out of certain developments of globalisation. It just strikes me as somehow very weird,” Mrs Merkel went on to say, according to Politico.
I am grateful to God or Nature or fellow teenage dissidents and other things that I could have seen the fall of communism in 1989 when I was 16. ;-) But the happiness about the fall of communism doesn't mean that I have to be enthusiastic about every dirty or sick fad that becomes fashionable somewhere in the world, whether it's the West, the Middle East, or another place.

Also, what is weird is the suggestion that the mass migration from the Muslim world to Europe is an example of "globalization". Sorry but according to conventional definitions, Islamization – or any migration – isn't an example of globalization. Globalization is the homogenization of the world due to the (voluntary but increasingly easy) exchange of products, world views, ideas, and culture. You won't find a dictionary where "globalization" would include any migration of the people, let alone Islamization – which is not even voluntary. And the concentration of all the world population to the wealthiest "hot spots" is pretty much the opposite of the globalization because the production of products and ideas get concentrated in a few hotspots instead of being homogenized across the globe. Globalization is connected with outsourcing – jobs are spreading across the world which allows the people to stay where they are!

So Merkel's definitions and interpretations of all these terms seem to be upside down and downright illogical. There is nothing weird about rejecting mass immigration in a world that is getting globalized. In fact, nations have the right to reject more than just mass immigration. If they don't like it, they may choose to shield themselves against globalization, too. Or at least try to do so. Globalization is in no way a "new duty for every human being on Earth". Globalization is a term describing a process that just happens to be occurring in most of the world. But if it stops taking place, it stops taking place. Globalization is no right and no duty. It's an approximate description of some emergent process that became more widespread in a world that became smaller due to the faster and accelerating transportation and especially communication.
“It's not acceptable that we have free movement of goods and of people, but that some countries say 'This we can't do, and that we can't, and we can't take in Syrians, because we're not ready yet'”.
It is totally acceptable and it's unacceptable for a politician to try to outlaw anything about it. In free countries, people have the freedom of speech and politicians are supposed to represent and defend the opinions of their voters. A sovereign nation is collectively allowed to build fences on its territory. It is allowed to attach the comment "don't ever jump over the fence" and it may order its cops to shoot the people who do jump.

However, the comment that "we don't like migration because we're not ready yet" is just an euphemism that some politicians are forced to say by an extreme politically correct group think or intimidation. The actual reason why we don't want to admit migrants (especially some migrants) – for example, according to a new poll, most Czechs don't want to admit migrants even temporarily, and not even those from Syria – is that people want to do things that are right, that improve aspects of the world they consider important.

And Eastern Europeans just don't think it is a good idea to mix lifestyles and religions or to build new big groups of Muslims near their homes. It is not good for the countries in the Middle East. Sometimes it's not even good for the migrants themselves. But most importantly, it's not good for us – the individuals in our nations, the nations and countries as wholes, their budgets, their safety, and the civilization where they belong. And we have the right to consider the interests of ourselves, our families, our communities, our corporations, our nations, and our civilization to be the top priority. Well, call it a "right" or not – it's how the world has worked since the birth of life billions of years ago.

The Eastern Europeans think that it's very bad to welcome lots of Muslims because they have been educated according to the Islamic ideology and the Islamic ideology is just a totally fůcked-up one, politely speaking. It's more counterproductive, more inhuman, more regressive, and more pathological than communism was. We didn't wait for the fall of communism (and we didn't work to bring it closer) in order to promote something even worse than that, the Islamism. All Muslim people who are over 15 years of age or so have already been brainwashed to believe hundreds of the myths that help to make all their countries so troubled and the adults are unlikely to be reshaped easily (and their children will probably be educated according to the Muslim habits, too).

And we just don't want to have a new chunk of population that defends political and social opinions that we find more unacceptable than the average opinions from the other side of the left-right divide! And we don't want to have new large chunks of population with a 75% unemployment rate – because it's a problem and it's expensive. Maybe, in Berlin, it's politically incorrect to point out that Islamism is an utterly fůcked-up social system but in post-socialist Europe, it's largely indefensible for someone to defend this fůcked-up system and Frau Merkel should notice that since May 1945 or so, the apparatchiks in Berlin haven't controlled nations of Central and Eastern Europe. Hitler has considered Islam to be the only religion he could respect but this guy is no longer our Überboss.

So her pro-Islamist opinions are the same kind of irrelevant trash in Central and Eastern Europe as any other irrelevant trash that happens to have a nearly 0% support. Get used to it, Frau Merkel, and if you can't adapt to this reality, you may always choose the same solution as your predecessor in April 1945. BTW yesterday, Nigel Farage had a nice rant in the EU Parliament about the EU as the new tool to spread the German hegemony over the continent. Hollande and even Merkel had to listen carefully.
“When someone says ‘This is not my Europe, I won't accept Muslims,' I have to say, this is not negotiable,” Mrs Merkel said.
The reason why we won't accept Muslims is exactly the opposite one. We won't accept Muslims because it is our (European) country, not because it is not our Europe. Czechia belongs to its citizens (only 0.1% of whom are Muslims); it doesn't belong to the Muslims. I agree it is not negotiable. The citizens don't even want to negotiate about it. We are a sovereign nation and we won't accept Muslims. Period. If Slovakia's threat to exit the EU isn't enough and Frau Merkel needs Berlin to be flattened once again for her to understand this very simple point, well, we will have to ask someone to do it – probably someone who is using the ISIS targets as a training playground right now.
“Who are we to defend Christians around the world if we say we won't accept a Muslim or a mosque in our country? That won't do,” Mrs Merkel said.
Who are we? We are nations largely composed of Christians of diverse denominations and atheists who have learned to constructively co-exist on a certain territory. It has taken a very long time. We are descendants of many people who have sacrificed their lives in the fight against the Muslim invasions to Europe. We are sovereign nations composed of people who believe that Islam is a fůcked-up social system and who have vigorously defended our right to express these political views at least for 200 years. If Berliners have become unable to point out that Islam is a fůcked-up system, then – despite all the appearances – Berlin has left the Western civilization.

We are people who don't need to treat Islam and Christianity in exactly the same way because they aren't the same. The religions have different relationships to the defining values of our civilization. In particular, Islam – if interpreted, like in most of the Middle East, as a religion as well as a prescription how to live and how a governments and courts work – is a form of fascism and it makes a perfect sense to outlaw it just like other forms of fascism.
“We cannot close the borders,” Mrs Merkel said, insisting that the refugee crisis is a political reality Europe is powerless to prevent.
Maybe you cannot close the borders because you have a dysfunctional or deluded government but we surely can close the borders if necessary – and Hungary only needed days to build the fence around its border. Needless to say, Merkel's claim that Germany can't close the borders is ludicrous and ironic because Germany was the first Schengen country that actually reintroduced the border checks recently!
“If we build a fence, people will find another way in,” she said. “There is no stopping the arrivals.”
Excellent. But if they have to dig holes under the borders, it will be harder and a much smaller number of illegal migrants will make it to our countries. And a smaller number of illegal migrants means a smaller burden or smaller problem, one that we may very well be able to deal with.
In an extended interview on the Anne Will political talk show, Mrs Merkel insisted she would not back down from a refugee policy that has made her favourite to win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, but seen her support plummet in German opinion polls in recent days.
This policy is clearly unsustainable. She's on the losing side of the history. It's obvious that every day, new and new Germans realize that this welcoming policy must either stop or lead to a catastrophe. The Bavarian prime minister and the boss of CSU, CDU's partner in the "greater party", was the latest one who adopted the Hungarian attitude to these problems.
“It is not in our power how many refugees come to Germany,” Mrs Merkel said, adding that refugees are “not people who have recklessly decided to leave their homes” but “people who are running for their lives”.
Every state that is not failed must be able to regulate the number of immigrants. Most of the migrants are not refugees at all – although at least 1/3 of the self-described Syrians use fake identities. And even the people who are refugees are people who have mostly recklessly decided to leave their homes, strip their nation and women and children and elderly of the strength to defend and the potential to produce. They are people who are not saving their lives – which they could do in the first safe country on their world line – but who want to maximize their profit (usually in the form of welfare) which is why they mostly want to Germany.

Everyone who thinks that most of these people are primarily saving their lives is completely deluded – unable to evaluate even the most obvious empirical facts.
She refused to be drawn on speculation she will be named as winner of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. “That debate almost depresses me,” she said.
I am sure she will have no problem to join the "giants" such as Arafat, Gore, and Obama.
“At the moment it’s not possible to talk of numbers, but that doesn’t matter,” she said. “There are many, many.”
Not being able to talk about the numbers that will be admitted to the country means to lose the control over the situation. There are indeed "many, many" – which is a reason for a rational person to realize that almost all of them have to be rejected and rejected as soon as possible.
“I am proud we receive refugees warmly. I’m not interested in getting into a contest to see who is the most unfriendly in Europe,” she said to applause from the studio audience.
It's not hard for her and the German government to receive the "friendly" migrants "warmly" because this theater is being paid for not from Angela's wallet but from the money taken from the taxpayers who mostly realize that the policy is a very bad idea much more than the government does. But it is certainly not friendly towards hundreds of millions of Europeans – for example almost all the people in the post-socialist Europe – who want to defend their sovereignty, freedom of speech, democracy, control over immigration policies, lifestyle, heritage, and identity.

A German chancellor who believes that 500 million Europeans are obliged to behave according to his or her ideas is approximately as friendly as Adolf Hitler who had the same opinions about his importance.
A new poll for RTL television published this week found support for Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrat party and its Bavarian CSU ally has fallen to 39 per cent.

Only 47 per cent of those polled said they would vote for Mrs Merkel if there was a direct election for the chancellorship – down from 49 per cent a week ago.

The only party to rise in the polls was the Eurosceptic Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has come out strongly against Mrs Merkel’s refugee policy. Support for the party was up 2 points from last week, on 9 per cent.

Some 8,000 people took part in protests called by the AfD against the refugee policy in the east German city of Erfurt on Wednesday.
Maybe if Frau Merkel declares herself the Führerin, she won't need to care about the fact that most Germans – just like almost all Eastern Europeans – consider her policies to be a serious blunder.

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