A peaceful and productive society can only exist if people can share a spoken and written language. It is the criteria that promotes communication and deepens understanding of a community’s culture and its value system. It is a condition that supports integration into all aspects of life that operate on oral and written agreements. It prevents misunderstandings and isolation of a particular group or persons. A population that can master its language will have far less barriers to achieve productivity, since language is the first step for entering the job market. It brings an independent existence from the state and raises the standards of achievement. Speaking and understanding the language of a country in which one resides is one of the basic foundations for building business and private relationships that are beneficial to one’s own well-being.
It is worthwhile to examine what groups the German population consists of: Native West and East Germans, third generation Turks, Russians, and various other non-native groups from as far as Pakistan, India Sri Lanka and Ghana Burqina Faso.
The deep trench between East and West is still clearly visible even after the collapse of the German "Democrapic Retublic" 17 years ago. The average unemployment of almost 12 percent does not give an accurate picture. In the eastern parts of Germany the average is above 20 percent. In the larger cities it is much worse. Many of these youths, who only experienced poverty and social welfare, have no chance of ever finding employment. Their parents are often unemployed and this is going to become a family tradition.
Political parties, of course, see an opportunity in these situation, especially the more pronouncedly socialist (Nazional- and otherwise) ones. A socialist ideology requires keeping people in denial. It prefers shifting blame to the evil capitalists who move jobs to Poland, Ukraine or Chechnya. It is therefore vital for the survival of the welfare state to continue its rhetoric of equality and social justice. A socialistic government can only thrive for as long as it has reason to scare the populace with the threat of globalization. It can punish those who are profitable by charging high taxes and regulate the labor market. That itself will pay for the "poor and tired masses" to find protection and safety under the eagle wing of the state.
Funny enough, white supremacist groups cash in where these people are on the lowest steps of the pecking order. In Eastern Germany, except for Berlin, Turkish people are much lesser represented, as the former GDR had imported preferably Vietnamese "Guest" laborers. These laborers were in a precarious situation after the Iron Curtain’s downfall. Vietnam is the only country worldwide where its own citizens need to apply for an immigration permit in order to return to their homeland. This was more often than not denied. The post-reunification immigration legislation intended to send immigrants back to Vietnam, but these plans failed. Anyone with the faintest intent to improve their situation left for good. Those who remained were the most disillusioned and uninspired and the worst educated.
The situation is only marginally better in the West. What the unemployment figures hide is revealed by the figures counting those on social welfare. These people neither have an education nor any chance of finding any sort of employment. They also have not ever entered the labor market. Especially in larger cities education is disastrous to say the least. The Grundschule (grammar school from grade one to four) can’t cope with the facts that up to 60 percent of the children don’t speak German as their first language nor do they speak it fluently. Their parents often do not speak any German at all, disregarding the fact that many of them, especially Turks, are second or third generations living in Germany.
Teachers are helpless and being confronted with a motley band of Russian, Turkish, Polish and various other origins. Many of these abused children, who are neglected not only by their parents but deprived of any sort of education by the school system, will never learn to read a complete sentence in German. That alone is an almost certainty to exclude them from the labor market right from the start.
A viable solution to this problem would be to provide teachers who share the native language of these children and teach classes consisting of members of one ethnical group only. Of course, especially the leftists would cry bloody murder, as this would be the end of their way to enforce multiculturalism. There is no lack of appropriate candidates. The basic necessity is to bring these pupils as close to the German language as possible with no or insufficient support of the parents — who more often than not depend on their children when it comes to dealing with German authorities. They have no clue how to decipher the simple task of reading an invoice of a utility company. This solution would be cost-neutral from the very start and would almost instantly turn out young, motivated people who are able to join the work force.
Even schools with a solid majority of native German-speaking pupils can’t cope with the problems as they are being disabled by various "reforms" from "New Math" to a reform of orthography, which replaces grown complications by invented ones, similar to Orwellian newspeak. A commission of bureaucrats had decided, that, of course in order to help the children, several things must be spelt differently. What was a "Stengel" is now a Stängel," a "Ballettänzerin" is now a "Balletttänzerin," "sogenannt" is now spelt "so genannt" no matter if that makes sense or not. The letter "ß" is practically abolished. Some people deliberately ignore this nonsense. Several great newspapers do the same, like the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Others are obedient. The official intention was to help people with an invented mental disorder called "legastheny" to improve their reading and writing skills. Mainly due to lousy teaching, these people now make progress of sorts. They still continue to make spelling mistakes, but these misspellings are different from the previous ones. Wow! The purportedly unintended consequence is that young folks simply can’t understand writings in the traditional orthography.
If books are printed in various older fonts like Fraktur or even Sütterlin, they are completely lost. Each new reform keeps lowering the standard of education a little more than its predecessors. It is not exactly a wonder or miracle that approximately four million Germans are functional analphabets.
Each year German politicians are rallying about job training for youths, as if the power to create jobs comes from the almighty state. Every time they are surprised that tens of thousands of youths will not find their way into the labor market. During the 1960’s a nine-year Volksschule education was sufficient for most apprentice positions. These youths were able to read and write a mostly clear German. They knew the math that they could use for most professions such as it is used in carpentry, retail or technical drawing. Most youths today, especially boys, will flunk miserably. To be a boy with only a ninth grade education is the direct way into social welfare or a criminal’s career. This is less true with girls of the same education, since they can still find their way into the workforce. Regardless of women’s lib or not, they are still expected to work in menial jobs until they marry and start a mother’s career. There are welfare dynasties of third generation whose members never ever have worked a single day for money.
The largest minority in Germany are some two million Turkish people of the third and fourth generation with no intentions of getting naturalized. Only a fraction has assimilated. Many are forming a cultural exclave and keeping to themselves. Often brides are imported from Turkey where they were raised the more traditional way than the girls who have been born and raised in the German Diaspora. The rising strain between the German/Christian and Turkish/Muslim cultures does not exactly help to integrate them. These tensions are being enhanced by political hate-mongers on both sides. Eruptions like the recent riots in France are merely a question of time.
The second largest minority comes from the former Yugoslavia. Many of them are victims of the wars after the collapse of the Yugoslavian state. They are among the most integrated minorities in Germany. It was less difficult to flee Poland or Yugoslavia’s oppressive governments from behind the Iron Curtain during the 1970’s. East Germans trying to escape were dealt harsh treatments after their capture by authorities, if they weren’t shot. People had incentives to reach freedom and wanted to integrate into their new homeland. Many entered professional jobs and were able to speak German well. The rewards were freedom, financial independence and a new support system of friends and co-workers in their communities.
The third-largest minority comes from the former Soviet Union. Most of the elders are more or less of German ethnic origin and had to suffer badly from this fact during the rule of the communists. Some of them even speak a little German. Many of their children only speak Russian and are not at all inclined to integrate, not even to learn the language of their new homeland. There is a vast Russian-speaking minority in Germany, which resists all temptations to open itself to the German society. They have no inclination either to join the labor market. Social welfare is much easier. Entire family clans have moved to Germany after the rust holes have opened in the Iron Curtain with every member being granted an easy u20AC 50,000 loan, which can be repaid through social security payments. The persons over 65 years are entitled to collect without ever having contributed a Pfennig or a Kopeke.
The process to receive asylum status often takes years of bureaucracy. Before being accepted as entitled to receive asylum status, the applicants are "tolerated" living in barracks and are subject to extradition without previous notice. They are barred from all ways to earn their living and are practically without rights. Not until they are granted asylum status are they allowed to live indefinitely in Germany. As long as they "enjoy" asylum status, they strictly live off social welfare and food stamps. Some may even supplement their free income through drug trafficking, car theft and prostitution. Children do copy the behavior of their real parents. Welfare recipients and others benefiting from the state’s re-distribution will act similarly in their behavior — entitlement to freebees through immoral activity. "Vater Staat" has now bred a new wave of immigrants who want to be taken care of rather than be given the freedom to earn their living. A competitive labor market with its division of labors can easily absorb the right people who wish to work for money.
What once was a fine propaganda coup when only a few could collect the benefits has now turned into a boomerang since the borders are open. It has attracted a free-lunch mentality of immigrants. Many Germans are still buying into the protectionism of their federal government’s meddling in many aspects of their lives. This includes the environment, their employment, and education. They are now paying the price for their "unconditional" laws that were to protect their way of life and to prevent a repeat of their past. This newly developed multicultural society of fragmented language skills with a state-regulated labor market is now slowly crumbling an old culture under the burden of their own creation. Moral values and work ethics are gradually being assimilated into a political correct society. It sentences those willing to work to a life of unemployment and rewards those unwilling to work to a life-long welfare check.
People naturally tend to integrate into a society if they are given motivation through rewards. Germans could turn their immigration problem around with less labor regulation allowing more competitiveness on the open market. The types of services that foreigners can offer would reflect a pallet of new flavors ranging from new ethnic grocery stores to restaurants and deli shops. It would offer legitimate businesses that could mirror cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York or even Hong Kong. Self-employed people tend to cater to the local population to better their investment. Language skills would improve out of necessity and parents have a reason for their children to learn and speak the local language. It would attract qualified immigrants whose profits contribute to a higher standard of living rather than destroy it through state-imposed interference with its charitable welfare existence. The common good would not be paid for by the taxpayers but furthered by the earnings of legitimate workers that contribute to their own support. The new generation of Germans can be of different ethnic origin, maintain their religious affiliation and still speak their native language. The source of their success lies within their shared language and their willingness to adopt ethics and values that are universal throughout the civilized world. Integration into society would then be voluntary and not of a mandatory nature that all too often reflects the dark years of Germany’s own history.
Sabine Barnhart [send her mail] moved to the US in 1980 and lives in Fort Worth, TX with her three children. For the past 15 years she has been working for an international service company. Ulrich Biele [send him mail] is a consultant in Munich, Germany.