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Overall I think Judge Posner makes a very interesting argument. However, my concern is that he is seeking to support a broad thesis based on a very limited number of observations (i.e. there have only been a few terrorist attacks perpetrated by Muslims in Europe). Of these London is the only one that I am aware of that was perpetrated by homegrown radicals. Madrid may have been and some of the Paris bombings in the mid-90s may have been, I just don't remember. Even assuming they were that is still a VERY small data set. Moreover, there have been several supposed plots in this country by homegrown extremists (think of the group of Yemenis in upstate New York.) Assuming these folks really were terrorists plotting imagine that some of these folks had succeeded rather than been arrested. In that case we'd have several bombings by homegrown extremists here. Would this support an argument that the American socio-economic model supports terrorism. If not why do the limited number of European attacks support the arguemnt that the European economic model supports terrorism?

That said, I do find the European model of immigration and assimilation quite disturbing. The immigrant ghettos in the Paris suburbs are depressing places. However, this raises a related point. The US certainly has frightening ghettos. However, so far these ghettos ahve not been a breeding ground for terrorists. Steve Leavitt does ahve an itneresting chapter in his book about the increadible risk crack dealers take for what seems like a very small wage. His explanation is that their opportunities are so limited that they take these icnreadible risk in hopes of becoming rich (even though most of them don't). Couldn't the same explanation apply to European Immigrant terrorists (even if we set aside the sample size problems above). Extremely limited opportunity makes engaging in terorism relatively more attractive. However, this would imply that the main reason residents of US ghettos have not yet engaged in terorrism (but rather making sweeping generalizations engaged in crack dealing) is not a function of the superior American economic model, but rather that a terrorist ideology has not yet appeared to appeal to them.

Chris Len

Judge Posner looks at poor Muslims in France behaving in antisocial ways (really? In France? I'd point instead to Spain and UK!) and sees the problem as a result of social policy. Judge Posner looks at our Muslim poplation and sees a productive and integrated class. Also noted is that French Muslims tend to be poor and American Muslims tend to be wealthy.

To me, the better comparison is between French poor and American Poor. Surely Judge Posner would recognize that street crime, especially drug related crime is quite high in the United States, among the urban - and increasingly the rural - poor. If French Muslims are drawn to organized violence against the state instead of ad hoc violence against society I would suggest it is because such an avenue is available.

If you're poor, powerless, and marginalized by your country, you will be more likely to use violence to get where you want to go. Whether or not you get good vacation time when you get there.


Re Krugman's claim (repeated, for example, by David) that France's productivity is higher than American productivity: This difference is likely a statistical artifact arising from French labor market regulations. Labor market regs in France disproportionately reduce the employment of young and less skilled workers thereby raising the average productivity of the workers who remain employed. (Much like dropping the lowest test grade raises one's test average.) If the US adopted policies that reduced its employment-population ratio by 10 percentage points (the difference between U.S. and France) thereby allowing an apples-to-apples comparison, the US would probably have higher output per worker.


This entry is somewhat self-contradictory in that it points to Europe's failure to economically integrate Muslims as the reason for their extremism, and then asserts that it is not poverty but Europe's socialism that is responsible for that extremism. As far as I can tell from Posner's discussion of American Muslims, he's using the terms "assimilated" and "integrated" to mean that they're making lots of money, implying that Europe's Muslims aren't integrated because they're poor. That's a direct contradiction of his last paragraph, in which he asserts that it's not poverty but socialist policies that lead to extremism. It may be true that Europe's social policies lead to Muslim poverty which in turn leads to extremism, but then one must also consider the fact that the Muslim population in these countries is so much larger as a percentage of their overall population. Speaking as a second-generation Asian Indian in America, I can say that a good deal of my "assimilation" stems from the fact that the only other Indians I have regular contact with are the members of my immediate family. Those Indians I know who are more knit into a greater Indian community tend to tilt more socially conservative than I do, since many Indians are somewhat socially conservative (especially when it comes to women's rights). So when I read about huge Muslim ghettos in Europe, it seems pretty clear to me that a lot of the extremism is coming from the tendency of immigrants to build isolated communities -- a tendency which may be fostered by the economics of those countries, to be sure. But I doubt that's the only or even the paramount reason for their extremism.


There are two separate issues that overlap here. The first is, the issue of emigration/immigration and the second a quasi religious "war" that has been declared on the "enemies" of Islam.

Let's deal with the first issue first. In order to clarify this issue a redefinition is in order:

emigration: the exporting of surplus population
immigration: the importing of surplus population

Trying to compare the Euro model and and the North American model is like trying to compare apples and oranges. As for the Euro model, Europe has been a net exporter of surplus population for centuries and as such has no practical experience with immigration. Hence their problems. Whereas, North America was based on immigration from the very begining. (unless of course you happen to be Will Roger's relatives who just happened to meet the boat).
Now there is a comparison between Europe and
N.A. and that lies in rise of the Know-Nothings and Know-nothingism of the early 19th century in N.A. Which is what Europe is experincing at present.

Perhaps an apocryaphal tale will shed light on the N.A. solution to this problem. During the export of Irish and German populations in the 19th century, they were met at dockside when they first got off the boat, by the authorities with question, "What did you do? Go off get drunk and forget to plant the potato crop again? Don't worry, we won't let you have that problem here, ever again!" They really ought to change the words on that plaque at the feet of that statue in New York Harbor to read, "Send us your tired, poor, huddled masses, desirous of being exploited." ;)

As for the "war" which has so recently been declared, the tactic of choice of the enemy is; infiltration, sabotage, assination, murder,etc. and this does spell problems for the larger Islamic community in N.A. in which these agents of mayhem move. Leastways, we haven't shipped the entire community off to internment camps like we did the Japanese in WW 2.


Just to add: aside from the theoretical flaws in Posner's argument, it is wrong on the facts. The London bombers seem to have been well-assimilated individuals with decent jobs and supportive families. They were simply brainwashed by hate-mongering radicals. The argument that they could have been stopped by lower taxes and a more libertarian economic policy is baffling.

As I have argued before, there is no real connection between terrorism and poverty. This is not a war of the "disenfranchised" against the west. It is a war of ideology; specifically, an extremist, violent, religious ideology. Its leaders are well-educated people of means, as are many of its foot soldiers. This war cannot be won simply through economics.

Nor is this war about Iraq. 9/11 predated Iraq and had nothing to do with it. If the U.S. and Britain withdraw from Iraq, the terrorists will not stop. They want to establish a Muslim dictatorship throughout the world, however far fetched and improbable that goal may seem. They are thinking long term and have no delusions that they will succeed *today.*

Fundamentally, this is a "war" of ideology about the future of the world. 21st century versus 14th century. To win, we have to convince the people of the world that our vision is better. I think the west hasn't really come to terms with the fact that much of the world has not accepted the 21st century. Or at least has not accepted that the values of the enlightenment are correct.

While the current administration realizes this to some degree, it has little credibility worldwide, because at heart, it doesn't really believe in the 21st century or the enlightenment. That is the biggest obstacle in the current campaign against "violent extremism." Not issues of economic reform.

Tony Blair has said all the right thinks in the aftermath of 7/7. Hopefully, other world leaders will follow suit. If any good could come out of this tragedy, it might wake up the sleeping European continent: Europe might now realize that this is a war of ideas that the west must do everything to win.

Ari Melber

Not a direct comment to this particular thread, but Judge Posner wrote an interesting essay in the Sunday Times and I haven't seen a section on this blog about it. I do recommend the essay to readers, and I offer my response at this link--- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/ari-melber/the-market-is-the-message_4989.html

-------The Market Is the Message--------- Richard Posner is the only federal judge I can think of with a major blog. Besides his day job over at the Seventh Circuit, he writes all the time - articles, op-eds, book reviews and books of his own. Since last December, he?s been writing a regular blog with economist Gary Becker.

So Posner's unique background makes his views on blogs, politics and the media particularly significant, and he shares his take in a long essay in Sunday?s New York Times. He reviews eight books of media criticism, from Eric "Liberal Media" Alterman to Bernard "CBS Insider" Goldberg, and he finds the mainstream media is disrespected, embattled and rattled.

Posner argues that conservative and liberal media critics agree on more than they realize. They both want a media that educates the public and transcends profit pressures. They resent bias in the newsroom; they lament any polarization that obstructs their agenda; and they like blogs that advance their views. Yet while both crowds have focused on bias and politics, Posner argues economic trends are actually realigning the media. The proliferation of media outlets, cable news and blogs have increased competition, and Posner provides several examples of how that competition has inevitably led to polarization. Thus he concludes the most crippling biases are not pundit-driven, but market-driven:

A market gives people what they want, whether they want the same thing or different things. Challenging areas of social consensus, however dumb or even vicious the consensus, is largely off limits for the media, because it wins no friends among the general public. The mainstream media do not kick sacred cows like religion and patriotism.
This is an important point, and it?s lost on many partisans and journalists alike. If market-driven coverage is designed to avoid offense, we will miss a lot of important news and uncomfortable facts.

Then Posner turns to the blogosphere, where he finds information is efficiently pooled and the "error-correction machinery" is better than the "conventional media." That's high praise from an old-school writer, but he has some sharp criticism too.

"Bloggers are parasitical on the conventional media," he explains, since they copy traditional news and opinion. (Exhibit A: This blog entry about his New York Times essay!) Posner continues, "The degree of parasitism is striking in the case of those blogs that provide their readers with links to newspapers articles," since they can be read "without buying the newspaper." This is a ridiculous claim, since only the newspapers decide whether to offer free content. You can't blame bloggers for a newspaper's distribution decisions. And when newspapers do offer free articles online, the blogs are providing a free promotional service by directing their readers to a paper's website. The biological analogy for that relationship is symbiosis -- not "parasitism."

Posner concludes that blogs have a positive impact on media because they increase competition and lead to a "better matching of supply to demand." He readily admits this means more polarization and sensationalism, but that's okay because the media should just "give the consumer what he or she wants."

In the end, this libertarian faith in the market is the great failing of Posner's essay. We cannot simply reduce all news choices to consumer demand, with different events and realities reported according to consumer preferences. As the late Sen. Pat Moynihan said, ?Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.? If the fractured, market-driven media continues to pander to an increasingly polarized electorate, it will be nearly impossible to attain consensus on any major debate. And if that kind of impasse doesn't worry Posner on its merits, he should at least consider the costs such gridlock might force on the market.


Are we assimilating immigrants today like we did a century ago? I wonder, and I doubt it. As for comparing European and U.S. unemployment rates, we don't know what the U.S. unemployment rate actually is because we don't know how many people no longer seek work. The bottom line, of course, is that there is no free lunch. Two-income households sacrifice family time -- those "family values" the right wing likes to carp about. To be with family, long vacations or not, sacrifices the 50- to 60-hour work week and thus income. You can have a materialistic, consumer-driven economy or you can have emotionally and spirituality healthy families, but the United States has yet to prove that we can have both. Vive la France!


So, Islamic extremism is not inculcated by the US military presence in the gulf or by US support for repressive regimes or by US economic imperialism or US support for Israel, but it is inculcated by European domestic policy led by the French? Okay. Sure.


as an enthusiastic fan of both P's (PK and RP), I'm sorry to have to take sides in a "dispute" between them. but IMO judge P's criticism of prof K's column is unnecessary to his argument and rather unfair to prof K.

some (obvious) points: a blog is significantly different from an op-ed column, the latter being limited to (I believe, and a rough count suggests) about 750 words while the former is limited only by the energy and good judgment of the author, resulting here in a post of roughly 1200 words. this gives the blogger much more latitude to elaborate, go off on tangents, etc. furthermore, the audience is different. despite being the "paper of record" for the "effete eastern intellectual elite", my bet is that the NYT has a readership that is much more diverse and less "elite" than the readership of this blog, which means a columnist must pay more attention to entertaining as well as informing than a blogger (no chance of getting "fired" based on declining readership).

finally, PK's column rather light weight and had a very strong flavor of "it's friday, so what am I going to write about?". judge posner's typically thought provoking post stands on its own without the references to the column, so it's unclear to me why he would bother to apply his formidable capabilites to addressing it at all.

in any event, I find judge posner's jabs strike more straw than meat. specifically:

RP: Krugman's complacency about high unemployment is notable
PK: France's unemployment rate ... is a real problem.

with a severe word limit, there is only so much one can say about something that is somewhat tangential to the main point of the column. he said it's a "real problem" - the absence of a detailed policy discussion in a 750 word column hardly suggests complacency.

RP: they trade material goods for leisure, a trade that Krugman regards as a sign of high civilization
PK: French economic policies ... seem extremely supportive of the family ...

unless one equates "[support] of the family" with "high civilization", this is at best exaggeration. nothing in the piece suggested to me a claim of such a grandiose conclusion, only the possibility of different emphasis.

RP: Krugman argues that without compulsion, workers could not get the amount of leisure they really want
PK: government regulations actually allow people to make a desirable tradeoff . ... It is hard to obtain more vacation for yourself from your employer and even harder, if you do, to coordinate with all your friends to get the same deal and go on vacation together
again, the words in the op-ed piece and the paraphrase just don't align, unless one equates facilitation with compulsion.

RP: Krugman's failure to relate the European model to Europe's Muslim problem is telling.

this seems especially strained. true, PK doesn't mention the muslim problem .... or any other "downside", other than the lower level of income and hence consumerism. but he is specifically addressing the tradeoff between those and leisure time, not suggesting a utopia. (and exactly what is being "told" by the "telling" absence?)

RP: To point to the upside of Europe's social model without mentioning the most serious downside is to provide bad advice to our own policymakers.
PK: Senator Rick Santorum, are you reading this?

one would certainly hope that the clear attempt at a sarcastic jab at "family values" hypocrites wasn't interpreted as intending to provide advice to policymakers. I really doubt that PK envisions being asked to testify before a congressional subcommittee or to participate in a commission based on the "insights" presented.



Meeting demand for news does not imply unbalanced reporting. You are taking an unnecessarily narrow view of demand. There is a world of difference between demand for "news from Iraq" and "news which makes Party X look good", for example. You have not demonstrated that market forces lead to unbalanced reporting.

Jane Theraux

POSNER: "Thus, it is not poverty that breeds extremism; it is social policies intended in part to eradicate poverty that do so, by obstructing exit from minority subcultures. If Muslims in European societies do not feel a part of those societies because public policy does not enable them to compete for the jobs held by non-Muslims--if instead, excluded from identifying with the culture of the nation in which they reside they perforce identify with the worldwide Muslim culture--some of them are bound to adopt the extremist views that are common in that culture."

To generalize Posner's thesis, "Minorities who are discouraged from full assimilation into the dominant culture will be more susceptible to engage in antisocial and criminal behavior." Social scientists have long used growth in intermarriage rates as a benchmark for true assimiliation under the theory that those with whom you break bread, befriend, work beside, bed down, and marry are likelier to have a fair shot in political association and allocation of collective resources, or coalition-building and deal-brokering. (Just for example, the intermarriage rates between Jews and non-Jews has skyrocketed since the 1950s.) Thus, to determine if Muslims are truly assimilating, we would need to see if they began to intermarry with other groups already fully assimilated as 'legitimate Americans'.

Given that, one wonders why no one looks to the United States to ascertain that Posner's thesis is almost axiomatic. It would be a rather easy argument to make that African-Americans, in rates disproportionate to their population, engage in antisocial and criminal behavior because they are not fully assimilated into the dominant society. Indeed, African-Americans, unlike other ethnicities (if there is a coherent African-American ethnicity or culture, which many convincingly dispute), are often set aside as part of a different culture or community other than the national one. (I have no idea what it means, precisely, but I have often seen the term "the black community" used, as if all black people live in one large town called, "Blackville.") It is also probably the case that rates of intermarriage between blacks and whites is lower than intermarriage between whites and any other ethnicity, which is pretty indicative of their relative status on the racial totem pole and comparative degree of assimilation. Why Posner did not carry his argument through to its natural and probable conclusion, and use African-American antisocial and criminal behavior as a perfect paradigm of what happens when full assimilation is denied a socially defined group, is bizarre. Especially because he, as he said last week, is willing to analogize blacks to homosexuals over the objection of indignant blacks who feel defamed by the comparison.

That being said, I agree with the thesis, but dispute its ramifications.

One plausible problem with rising intermarriage rates between Muslims and non-Muslims is that it may lead to liberalization of the overall Muslim population, and in backlash a radicalization of conservatism amongst those Muslims who refuse to intermarry. One can see a similar trend amongst Jewish-Americans. As many more Jews are born into mixed marriages and Jews overall become more liberal (Non-practicing, Reform and Reconstructionist instead of Conservative and Orthodox), enclaves of radicalized Orthodox Jews begin to form. Indeed, many of the violent Jewish settlers in the West Bank who Palestinians resent and clash with were not born in Israel, but in places like Brooklyn. The assassin who shot Yitzhak Rabin was not Isaraeli-born, but an American Othrodox Jew who had warped into an extremist by associating with other Jewish radicals. For that reason, I am uncertain whether Posner is correct. It may be that the ever expanding assimilation of the Muslim population as a whole causes a very small segement of Muslims to become more radical, as they are displeased with the decadence and affluence of their fellow Muslims. Hapless politically to change the libertarian impulses of others, they strike back with violence against the society that spawned the corrupting decadence. In that respect, they are little different than the Klu Klux Klan burning crosses and lynching blacks from tree limbs across the countryside to prevent what they feared most from becoming commonplace in the wake of widespread black liberty: interracial marriage.

John V

MTW: "Extremely limited opportunity makes engaging in terorism relatively more attractive. However, this would imply that the main reason residents of US ghettos have not yet engaged in terorrism (but rather making sweeping generalizations engaged in crack dealing) is not a function of the superior American economic model, but rather that a terrorist ideology has not yet appeared to appeal to them."

True, they have not engaged in terrorism. But they are engaging in antisocial behavior. They are:
1. Dropping out of school
2. Renouncing middle-class values
3. Refusing to vote
4. Refusing to pay taxes
5. Committing felonies
6. Carrying "hot" guns
7. Shooting and killing others
8. Often using drugs
9. Having nonmarital sex that produces children likely to become criminals and a drain on taxpayer resources in other ways (i.e., welfare)

They are not:
1. Going to college
2. Getting a job
3. Starting up a business
4. Running for city council
5. Marrying a woman they love
6. Raising socially productive children
7. Owning a home
8. Paying taxes
9. Voting

Crack-dealing may not be terrorism to you, but it certainly ruins the communities in which it occurs.


John Kelsey,

A fuller explanation of the study can be found here:


I don't understand what you feel was misleading about my post. My point was that Posner's characterization that much of the Muslim world is radicalized (by Western standards) is unfortunately true. Corey disputed this, and apparently 60% support for bin Laden isn't high enough to qualify as extremist to him. He has yet to concede the point. Posner wrote:

"If Muslims in European societies do not feel a part of those societies because public policy does not enable them to compete for the jobs held by non-Muslims--if instead, excluded from identifying with the culture of the nation in which they reside they perforce identify with the worldwide Muslim culture--some of them are bound to adopt the extremist views that are common in that culture. The resulting danger to Europe and to the world is not offset by long vacations."

Case in point. The percent of Muslims in Jordan who trust Osama bin Laden to do the "right thing" is 60%. In Pakistan it is 51% Indonesia 35% Morroco 26% Turkey 7%, and Lebannon at 2%. Indonesia and Pakistan are the two most populated Muslim countries and in each Osama bin Laden has MAJORITY support.

Bill Korner

So, "assimilation" in the current context also means not living disproportionately in the company of one's co-religionists (or, more likely, language community or ex-nationals). Yes, I do think this will usually be a good thing. But the process of assimilation can be as important as the outcome.

What I mean is that assimilating because you want to get to know America, get a university education, etc. are more appealing reasons than assimilating because you have no access to people from your previous community. Just as economic desparation is not a particularly happy reason to assimilate, neither is abrupt disconnect from one's previous culture. I'm just expressing my opinion here but I expect that many have similar sympathies and would be willing to incur some cost to avoid confronting others with these harsh conditions.

On the other hand...

I do understand that necessity is the mother of self re-invention. That can be a fine thing, but its also a compromise born of struggle and suffering. To the extent we were to "coddle" immigrants would we be "denying" self re-invention or "not putting them through" it? Hard question and different for different people.

If hard knocks eventually make people plenty happier that's another thing, but an unproven (unprovable?) one.

Note: Throughout I've been sticking with a very individualistic frame of reference. This is a community by, if not of, economists, after all.


I see alot of comments made by non-Muslims, Posner included, that purport a certain knowledge of Muslim culture. The comments criticizing Posner for making the assumption that extremism is common in Islam are just as indicative of this tendency, as their references to Orientalism and their denial that Muslims or Arabs share any sort of common identity (Re: Nasser, Syria's Baath, etc.) are just as generalizing.

Amy Waldman has written a great article for the New York Times, based on interviews, in which she tries to answer the question of why the London bombers did what they did. I'm not saying she gives definitive answers, but I think everyone reading this should check it out. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/31/international/europe/31leeds.html.

A few of the things that the article seems to indicate:
--extremism is not just the province of a few, nor is it all-pervasive. It IS a problem, as many in the Muslim community can attest.
--there are a number of Muslims, especially in Europe, who DO share a pan-Muslim sense of identity. Why else are legions of foreign Muslim fighters going into Iraq across the Syrian border?
--as others have suggested, extremism is not dependent solely on employment or the level of assimilation


"The comments criticizing Posner for making the assumption that extremism is common in Islam are just as indicative of this tendency, as their references to Orientalism and their denial that Muslims or Arabs share any sort of common identity (Re: Nasser, Syria's Baath, etc.) are just as generalizing."

Ok, fine, you win, everyone on the planet who isn't a muslim is a stereotyping orientalist, even those who are arguing for understanding and against orientalism. Lets deconstruct everyone! No one shall be spared! Then when everyone is discredited, the world will be grand!

Lets listen to Amy Waldman, a fine Muslim sounding name! She writes for the Times, so of course she knows what she is talking about, no orientalists would be able to work there!

Fight your own battles then, I am not gay, not muslim, and not black, and this is the second discussion in a row where I've been undermined from a standpoint of "I have superior victimhood." Fine, if you think you can do a better job with a link to the Times, have at it.

J Rothwell

I. Employment: Posner and champions of aggressive American capitalism blithely accept the following myth:
1) Americaís economy has lower unemployment rate than Europe (as if it were one country).
2) The Reason for (1) is because of European labor institutions (and laizze-faire in the US)

[From this they also attempt to portray American living standards as better (untrue by the UNís Human Development Index, the Human Poverty Index, and many other measures), mobility as more fluid (untrue from all the research Iíve seen, especially that coming from the University of Michigan)].

Both claims are dubious at best. For a thorough econometric debunking go to http://www.newschool.edu/cepa/publications/workingpapers/index.htm. More simply, if one compares the average unemployment rates for the entire span of 1988-2004, which is about the best the US economy has ever done (except the during the Big Government days of the 1960s) we get the following picture:
U.S. unemployment rate =5.6%.
How many Western European countries have lower unemployment rates than this over the same period despite the chaos of the Soviet collapse? Switzerland 2.9%, Sweden 5.2%, Norway 4.7%, Netherlands 4.8%: =4. And they are arguably the most socialist countries of the lot. What about just 2004? The number goes up to 7 (Luxembourg, UK, and Ireland included). So much for the myth.

Moreover see Paul Krugmanís NYT column 7/18/05 ìThe Dropout Puzzleî or 7/28 Economist article ìItís the Taking Part that Counts;î both are regarding economist Katherine Bradburyís paper written from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Her original can be found at http://www.bos.frb.org/economic/ppb/2005/ppb052.htm.
Basically, if one corrected the US unemployment figures to better reflect a declining labor force participation rate, which is ignored in calculating unemployment levels, the current rate would jump from 5.1% to 6.6% - 8%. Thatís still not last place in Europe, but itís not very good, and well behind the most socialist countries (Finland is an exception for complicated reasons). Smart, well-coordinated reform to encourage job growth shoud not be conflated with the dismantling of healthy and essential institutions.

II. Terrorism/Integration: Poser also makes the leap that foreigners are also better integrated because of Americaís competitive labor market.

Problem 1) I donít know how an economy in which human capital is both essential for a high-paying job and so unevenly distributed is justly called "competitive." Statistics imply that whites have something closer to a monopoly on human capital; according to the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, 72% of whites graduate from college, with 37% college ready; while 51% of blacks and 52% of Latinos graduate with only 20% of blacks and 16% of Latinos deemed ready for college. Many U.S. school districts are still mostly segregated by race, and due to our reliance on local funding discrepancies range from $4,000/student to $13,000/student (see May 2002 Vol. 59 No. 8 publication of Educational Leadership by Bruce Biddle and David Berliner). European penchant for national funding largely eliminates this problem (The Dutch in fact actually give more money to schools in poorer districts with more minorities: the opposite of the US approach). If America is good at integrating its immigrants (a difficult claim), itís not because immigrants are becoming managers and CEOís, but because of civil liberties (installed by activist judges on the left after mass protests). Many immigrants are locked in their cabs (or comparative jobs) all day and all night, desperately trying to break even with 80 hr work weeks. (See the book ìTaxi! Cabs and Capitalism in New York Cityî by Biju Matthew).
Meanwhile, who is looking after their youth, many of whom are growing up with stressed out and absentee fathers? This is related to Krugmanís trenchant point on family values and economic structure, and it relates to terrorism in the opposite way Professor Posner claimed.

Not Corey

"this is the second discussion in a row where I've been undermined from a standpoint of 'I have superior victimhood.'

You are mischaracterizing what happened. In the first discussion, you were called a racist. I don't think the person who called you a racist was claiming to be a victim. S/he was asserting a fact.


An excellent article titled 'Why no Indian Muslims in Al-Qaeda'


In one paragraph, this is why..
"Why are there no Indian Muslims in Al-Qaeda? There are no easy answers. But there are two probable reasons. One is the assurance of a level-playing field for all citizens in India because of the success of the democratic system. The other is the ABSENCE of American influence on Indian policy all through the Cold War years and, to a large extent, even now."


"What I mean is that assimilating because you want to get to know America, get a university education, etc. are more appealing reasons than assimilating because you have no access to people from your previous community."

As a feminist, I can't help but wonder why you'd assume that a Pakistani woman who escaped to the United States because she was raped would prefer a Pakistani husband to an American one. Your analysis also seems little more than a patent excuse for the dearth of transracial or transreligious social integration in Western civilization. But the entire argument that Posner is making, I think, is that Europe's inability to socially integrate its Muslim emigres has led to homegrown terrorists who strike domestically. The solution is social integration. Posner is simply saying, "Make Love, not War".


"In the first discussion, you were called a racist."

I have never been called a racist in my entire life until your post, and I am not setting any stock in personal attacks from someone posting under the pseudonym 'Not Corey'.

Anyone who cares can go back and read that discussion. Some people objected to my analogy of anti-gay-marriage propaganda to anti-interracial-marriage propaganda.

Not Corey

Actually, Corey, according to Jane Thornbough in Becker's comment On Gay Marriage:

"I also find odd that you and people like you, Corey, always retort with comments that suggest you hate black people. If you respect black people so much, why do you always bring them up as rhetorical strawmen in your arguments as objects of contempt? Why do you trivialize their history? And why do you suggest that interracial marriage is repugnant or nasty in the way that most people view sodomy?"

It seems like Jane was calling you a racist to me.

Frank van Wijk

For lower incomes, social mobility is lower in the US than in most European countries (see Alesina and Glaeser, Fighting poverty in the US and Europe). So I am afraid you cannot say that the US has fewer problems with integration of Muslims because social mobility is higher.

I think a more promising approach is Olivier Roy's. He places the radicalization of small groups of western european muslims more in the perspective of violent urban minorities in Europe in the second half of the 20th century like the Red Brigades in Italy and the RAF in Germany. For several reasons (scale, culture) such violent fringe groups do not seem to prosper as much in the USA. The violent racial uprisings in the USA on the other hand do not happen as much in Europe.

So there are differences. However Posner's reasoning that it is mainly a matter of social mobility and labour markets is inadequate and probably not true.


There were a number of useful points here that I found interesting but it skimmed the surface a little too much, and used too great generalization- for example the blanket term Europe and then throwing the UK in with France, i.e. a multi-culturalist liberal economic decentralized country with a high centralized, mon-cultural, planned economy. As a brit living in France I can tell you that there is two very, very different approaches to dealing with the issues surrounding the various Muslim communities in each country, in the policing of minorities, media representations, education systems, so forth and so on- also you completely skim over the issue of empire- France ahs so many muslims because it ruled Algeria and Morrocco- and many of the Muslims of Algerian origins who live in France are from families that fought on the side of France against their fellow countrymen and then were treated with dubious policies by the French- many were left in Algeria to die at the hands of their countrymen. Britian has similar communities from it ex empire, Pakistan, India., Eastern Africa as well as communities from Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Palestine/Isreal- each community has its own issue and relationship with the state and the national culture.

The whole thing is complex and simplistic analysis like yours does no justice to the issue or help move towards any form of solution.

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