Taking away Islam won’t make them less predatory

Peter Frost writes regarding the Rotherham atrocities:

Many disillusioned antiracists will likely end up seeing Islam, and not racism, as the problem. The solution will therefore be to secularize Muslim culture and replace it with an assimilated, Westernized version, like modern Christianity…

But will it work? Let’s assume anti-Islamists are not sidetracked into cheerleading a new round of foreign interventions “to get to the root of the problem.” Let’s also assume the focus is on assimilating Muslims living in Britain. Unfortunately, not only will this approach fail to solve the problem, it will actually make things worse.

In a Western context, assimilation does not mean giving up the restraints of one culture and taking on those of another. It means the first but not the second. Immigrants leave an environment where behavior is restrained mainly by external controls (shaming, family discipline, community surveillance) and they enter one where behavior is restrained mainly by internal controls (guilt, empathy). To the extent that assimilation happens, external social controls will weaken and may even disappear, but they will not be replaced by internal mental controls. There is no known way to give people a greater capacity for guilt and empathy than what they already have. No such psychotherapy exists. This is true even if we assume that population differences in these two traits are due solely to cultural conditioning, and not to inborn tendencies.

Assimilation is already making things worse by dissolving traditional restraints on behavior and leaving nothing in their place. Keep in mind that grooming is largely absent from the 1st generation of Britain’s Pakistani community. It’s much more present among young men of the 2nd and 3rd generations. They are very much into contemporary Western culture and are freely borrowing those elements that appeal to them the most:

Taj refers to ‘. . . the growing popularity of the “gangsta” fashion affected by local youths as they adopt the clothing and elements of the attitudes of disenchanted urban American youth gangs’ (1996, p.4). Khan describes ‘This new youth Pakistani “street culture” [as] male dominated and highly macho’ (1997, p.18), linking drug dependency among young Pakistani men with their involvement in violent crime, including prostitution. (Macey, 1999)

Accusations of “racism” likewise reflect an insider’s view of Western society and its weak points:

When I asked about racial harassment by the police, the women reacted with amusement. One of them said: ‘Well, they would, wouldn’t they? After all, they know it’s these lads who’re doing the dealing’. Another stated that ‘the lads’ had planned to accuse the police of racism because they had found this an effective weapon against authority in the past. In sum, while it seems unlikely that the Bradford police force contains no racists in its ranks, to ‘explain’ Pakistani male violence solely, or even mainly, as a reaction to police racism might well be over-simplified. (Macey, 1999)

I’m not convinced that there really are “shame cultures”.  It’s very easy to imagine that alien peoples don’t have consciences like we do, especially when we’re talking specifically about their misbehaving elements.  However, that’s not really crucial to the above argument, which is that there’s no reason to expect improved behavior from removing a religion that provides some ethical guidelines and replacing it with utter nihilism (or, even worse, Britain’s new official religion of race grievance).  Frost makes the very good point that the troublemaking generations of Pakistanis by-and-large are the ones that have assimilated.

7 Responses

  1. All of the above article can probably be summarized as follows: a large and hasty program of assimilating people into local culture, will proceed to assimilate them into the lowest common denominator of local culture, which will be a disaster if the lowest common denominator of local culture happens to consist of gangsta stuff which is much worse than the society these people come from.

  2. I agree that anthropologists exaggerate the difference between shame and guilt as psychological experiences, since both are essentially feelings of degradation and dishonor. If one is primarily afraid of loosing one’s reputation, I suppose we can call that “shame,” but it is not altogether different from fear of loosing one’s self-esteem.

    I’d say that what we see in the young hooligans that Frost describes is a combination of anomie and particularist morality. The moral constraints of Pakistani culture did not survive in the English milieu, but the ethnic chauvinism did. The result is ruthless predation.

  3. That’s well stated. It seems that particularist vs. universal was more important than shame vs. guilt.

    Regarding “shame cultures”, I can imagine anthropologists easily being led astray by the different ways peoples articulate guilt. “I have brought shame on myself” might not be a substitute for guilt anymore than “I have offended God” necessarily means one has no conscience but only fears divine punishment.

    I remember once reading a commenter at some blog accuse Catholics of having a shame culture (compared to the morally superior Protestants), and I was amused, having always been told that we are obsessed with guilt.

  4. A couple of factors add together to make these Pakistanis pernicious in British society, not in any particular order:

    1) Low IQ: A good number are sourced from the dregs of Pakistani society. For example, a large number of Pakistani immigrants originate from ONE Pakistani (Kashmiri to be precise) town called Mirpur. This is to the extent that the place is referred to as Little England. It is also one factor in the exceptional endogamy practiced by Pakistanis in Britain, they marry their own. The Indian subcontinent has for thousands of years had an extremely stratified and caste based polity. Even when the populations converted to Islam they maintained their own version of a caste system. This is also the case for Sikhism. Muslims and Sikhs derived from Brahmin populations will not have the same temperament as those derived from say, formerly Untouchable castes.

    2) Total loss of values: Some second generation onwards British Pakistanis are westernized (but not western) in such a way that they lose (but do not reject) the values of their parents and gain (but may profess to reject) modern values. Some first generation immigrants will be culture-shocked into a similar state.

    Both of the above tie into:

    3) Tribalism: Endogamy results in more tribal behaviour. Westerners are on the other hand very open to those not of their own (arguably pathologically). This tribalism may lead British Pakistanis into considering the host population as hostile and dehumanizing them. I dont see Pakistani men preying on many young women of their own origins.

    Therefore I agree with the title of this post, with the caveat that religious issues can exacerbate the above. Seeing the West as an oppressor of Muslims only worsens us vs. them behaviour. Remember that, while likely not true anymore, Muslims see the West as Christian nations, or even an encompassing Christian nation.

    From my perspective (Pakistani Muslim currently residing in England) the current situation can only end in disaster if not rapidly dealt with, which isnt going to happen. Either there will be a massive (Kristallnacht level) reaction against Muslims in particular and immigrants generally or the country will submit and kill itself. Unfortunately, there are barely any realistic appraisals of the situation. The response generally veers between a reactionary extremity and total denial/support of destructive elements. The reasonable majority tend to keep silent.

  5. This may be a little off topic but I’ve noticed a weird combination of dress among Muslim girls in the U.S. They combine the traditional head covering with immodest modern clothing e.g. skin-tight jeans. I can’t see the point since the clothes destroy any impression of modesty. I assume at this point, the head-covering is just an ethnic identifier.

  6. Does not compute – if Westerners have internal controls, that is a result of upbringing, not biology or race. Assimilation = Western upbringing. Hence assimilation = internal controls.

    In reality, though, what actually happens is that significant chunks of Western society have no internal controls either, and this is the chunk these migrants assimilate to.

    What these chunks of Western society have instead is a set of habitual inhibitions, that, for example say that bloody bar brawls, glassings and violent fits of jealousy are all-OK (checks Theodore Dalrymple) but beheading people goes just a bit too far.

    Internal controls ought to be more or less conscious, habitual inhibitions are more like subconscious things, so they do not get transmitted.

  7. The degree to which an individual can inhibit impulses has a biological basis grounded in the development of the prefrontal cortex, and the power of those impulses has a biological basis grounded in hormone levels (mainly testosterone). The evidence suggests that there are significant racial differences in the average levels of self-control and impulsiveness, although the range that is found among individuals within each race is, of course, larger. Cultural factors can curb impulsiveness and enhance inhibition, or to liberate impulsiveness and remove “hang ups,” but the baseline from which they start is always set by the biological character of the individual and group.

    In ideal circumstances, I’d say that habitual inhibitions are the most effective, since in articulating the reasons why something is “not done” I am half way to rationalizing those “special cases” when it can be done. But this only works in situations where the proscribed act is, in fact, not done. Moral prejudice works best, but it requires moral consensus. The moral dissensus in which we find ourselves forces us, in the moral education of our children, to explain why certain acts are “not done” because the truth of the matter is that they are done all the time.

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