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Memo to the Washington Post: In Europe, Criticism of Multiculturalism Is Mainstream

German Chancellor Angela before the start of session at the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, September 12, 2018. (Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

In response to The McCarthyite Attack on Ron DeSantis

Thank you, Rich for alerting me to the latest activities at the Washington Post. If it hadn’t had been for NR’s editor, I wouldn’t have noticed that the Washington Post tried to take me out as collateral in the truck they’re trying to drive at Ron DeSantis. I wouldn’t have noticed, not only because, like most people, I don’t read the Washington Post, but because the paper didn’t even have the guts to name me as they tried to run me over on their way towards the GOP’s candidate for governor of Florida.

One of DeSantis’s crimes is apparently that he once spoke at a conference in Florida which also featured: “a critic of multiculturalism who has written that ‘Europe is committing suicide’ by welcoming large numbers of refugees and immigrants.”

The link in the article makes clear that they are talking about me. And what amazing detective work on the part of the Post. How did they discover my views? When I published my book The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, I hoped that it would slip by unnoticed. I had planned that nobody would read it or discover what I thought of the migration crisis of 2015. To my chagrin, the work became an instant bestseller in the U.K. and across Europe and was sold by the ton in the U.S. as well. It has been praised by politicians across the political spectrum, and, by the end of this year, it will have been translated into more than 20 different languages.

So I’m glad the Post’s sleuths are on to my secretive and clandestine work. Although it’s clear from their descriptor that the paper’s correspondents haven’t read the book themselves. Just another demonstration of a problem that papers like the Washington Post now have — which is that their readers too often appear to know more than their writers.

In any case — it might be worth making a response to the Post’s idea of investigative journalism. There are many odd presumptions in Beth Reinhard and Emma Brown’s article. One is that the authors think that speaking at a conference that has also hosted James Damore or Ben Shapiro is somehow embarrassing or way-out-there. Another is that the school of journalism known as “I’ve danced with a man who’s danced with a girl who’s danced with the Prince of Wales” is a devastating journalistic tactic, rather than a signifier of an ultra-partisan hit-job in which the facts have been found to fit the politics of the authors.

But let me make the more substantial point, which is an invitation to the Washington Post’s investigative brains to spend any time at all outside their small-town bubble. Because in their intense, untraveled parochialism, Reinhard and Brown appear to think that there is something odd or out there about being “a critic of multiculturalism.” Allow me to let them into a secret: In Europe today, absolutely everyone is a critic of multiculturalism — prime ministers, presidents, even the chancellor of Germany is a critic of multiculturalism. Eight years ago Chancellor Merkel said it had been a failure and three years ago she described it as a “sham.” This was even reported in the Washington Post, which wrote up the 2015 speech in which the German chancellor also said, “We want and we will reduce the number of refugees noticeably.” What a far-right nutter the chancellor must seem in the eyes of Reinhard and Brown. I hope there are no plans for her to meet any American politicians in the future. They should no-platform her for sure.

If the Washington Post thinks that being a critic of multiculturalism or suggesting that Europe can’t sustain the migration flows of recent years is such a kooky, whacko, out-there theory, then they’re going to find it mighty hard to locate any Europeans any American could speak to. And not just among politicians, but among the general public. As recent elections in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Sweden have shown — the public in Europe are now some way out to my side on these matters.

Consider the final leaders debate before Sunday’s election in Sweden. At one point in the debate the head of the Moderate party (the Moderate party) attacked the prime minister over integration and its purported “successes.” Which successes was he thinking of, asked the head of the Moderate party? What was the prime minister happiest with? “The shootings? The unemployment?” He went on to list all the negative consequences of mass immigration that his country is experiencing. Perhaps it would be wisest if Americans especially refuse to engage with Scandinavians in the years ahead.

At the behest of the Washington Post, it would probably be best in the years ahead if no European ever speaks to any American. And safest if they won’t even speak at the same conference as them. For the only way to move forward to a more understanding and connected world will be to completely ignore each other. Only then can the U.S. political class be prevented from encountering an opinion that is not just mainstream, but held by the majority of the public in every nation of Europe.

Douglas Murray — Douglas Murray is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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