Exclusion and silence becomes the norm. Take the overpopulation theory. It is possible to have a reasonable conversation about this, but a number of people do not want to. That is why they claim that adherents of this theory believe in a conspiracy to promote immigration with the aim of replacing Western culture in Europe with a non-Western culture, in this case a culture concerned with Islam.
This raises two questions. One: Who are the powerful conspiracy theorists who would and could do such a thing? Two: Who is crazy enough to believe in their existence? The decision is clear. People who believe in such a thing are crazier than a crooked back door. You can not talk to them.
Population – this phenomenon has been around for a long time – simply means replacing the culture of the indigenous people with the culture of immigrants, rulers or settlers. Today, the term refers to the potential cultural consequences of mass migration.
A number of people use resettlement theory to create resistance to immigration. Sometimes this actually happens with the vague suggestion that it’s a conspiracy. Its electoral appeal is exaggerated. In the French presidential election, Eric Zemmour made population reduction his trademark, while Marine Le Pen noted as early as 2014: “I don’t share this conspiracy theory. More realistically, I think major financial groups are using immigration to cut wages for thirty years.” In the first round of the presidential election, Le Pen won 23 percent of the vote and Zemmour won 7 percent. In the first round of the parliamentary elections, the latter’s party received 4 percent of the electorate. Resettlement theory does not guarantee electoral success.
Despite Turkish President Erdogan’s call for Muslim women in Europe to have at least five children, Islamization due to different fertility is highly unlikely. The most plausible population reduction scenarios revolve around two other developments, on the one hand the strong concentration of Muslims in the cities and on the other the failure of integration. Most proponents of the resettlement theory I’ve read fear that this will lead to a counter-assimilation: that indigenous peoples, through opportunistic (political) elites, assimilate into the culture of the newcomers, not the other way around.
We’ve recently seen some examples of this. A member of the Social Democratic Party opposed stunned slaughter because God, as it were, does not allow animals to be harmed when slaughtered without electrocution. Our secular political system presupposes that in public debate there are no valid arguments or understandable only to persons of a particular faith. One can claim this conviction privately, and use it as a source of inspiration for general performance, but general knowledge is scientific knowledge to us. If this consciousness is lost, also among the representatives of the people, then we are dealing with resettlement. The fact that the environment committee of the Brussels Parliament rejected the ban on lightning-free slaughter is another example of this. An increased sensitivity to animal suffering is a long-term development of our culture. This is why the proposed ban has wide support today. This ban was rejected due to the (alleged) opinions of a minority concentrated in Brussels.
So it is not difficult to see how resettlement works and how immigration affects thinking, political arguments and decision-making. The question is how does that end. Personally, I am optimistic. In the year 2050 I see Muslims as a predominantly morally conservative political force that will work for SME politics and in cities where people work and do business, in short Flemish hard-working people with rather difficult names. The problem with resettlement theory is that it conceals the real conflict and points to the wrong opponent.
Our society is deeply divided over what a society is. This division provokes more intense passions than disagreements about the amount of wages, the length of the work week or the retirement age. On the other hand, people who like to imagine the world flat, without comfort or boundaries, inhabiting unique, but also universally united individuals who gather in new communities without any problems in different groups. On the other side are the proponents of a world with boundaries that define different peculiarities and societies, where individuals are carriers and creators of their culture and can pass it on to their children and newcomers.
The position of the first is usually inconsistent. He often ignores, as the decision of the Brussels Environment Committee makes clear, the original individuality – in this case the heightened sensitivity to animal suffering, in order to prioritize the individuality of vulnerable, assimilated newcomers.
This conflict will divide us deeply for a long time to come. So we had better cherish the means by which we can settle disputes peacefully: democracy and respect for the majority. The Brussels Parliament decided, on Friday, to reject the ban on slaughter without electrocution. Let’s hope the fusion has already worked enough that many Muslims will also say: Cut the throats of animals without anesthesia, is it still ok?