Wente Watch

Saturday, December 23, 2006

On holiday

As might be guessed, I'm away on holiday.

But it's also true that the future of Wente Watch is in doubt. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The conservative circle

Wente talks about Islamic schools in the UK. You can see the tension between her different conservative biases. On the one hand, the schools are Muslim and Wente's instinct is to decry their existence as a training school for terrorism. On the other, a good conservative seldom passes up a chance to bash secular, public schools.

So Wente writes a relatively sympathetic article. Too sympathetic. She makes the same mistake most conservative writers make about private schools - because they draw mostly from upper-income families, their outcomes (test scores, university entrance) appear higher than public schools, which must deal with all types of families, or lack thereof. If she were to compare Leicester Academy's performance with that of state schools for children from similar family incomes, would there be as much difference? We don't know, and Wente did not trouble to find out.

And she can't resist her trademark dig:

Mr. Moghal...is a strong believer in the obligation to fit in with the majority culture. He is clean-shaven, and wears an immaculate business suit and tie

As opposed to those other dirty darkies who are unkempt and unclean, no doubt. The quote reveals Wente's biases more than Moghal's. Nonwhites are welcome in her society, if and only if they dress, talk, cook, listen to music, and in all other ways behave exactly as whites do. Not merely integrate, but assimilate - give up all sense of history, identity, and culture in order to ease Wente's instinctive distrust of "other" cultures.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

And then, they shall know that a prophet has been among them

This is starting to get repetitive. It's hardly worth bothering to refute Wente when she essentially writes the same column over and over again. Islamists are taking over Europe, doom and gloom, head for the hills, zzzzzzzz.....

The column says 3-5 percent of German Muslims are radicals. That works out to 0.09-0.15 percent of the total German population. Wente is all antsy about that, but apparently the 7 percent of the vote obtained by neo-Nazis in a recent state election is nothing to worry about.

The problem is that European countries are not immigrant-based societies like North America, and they will always view nonwhites as outsiders. In other words, they think the way Margaret Wente does. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, as staunch a critic of radical Islam as one can find, was threatened with expulsion from the Netherlands for lying on a refugee application years earlier. Bassam Tibi is leaving Germany, stultified not by political correctness, but by the absence of it; he can never be accepted as a German, no matter how he tries.

And, paradoxically, a prime reason for this is conservative ideologues constantly haranguing, as Wente does, that Islam is a sinister, dangerous force worthly only of distrust and suspicion.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Miracles happen. Wente actually took the trouble to find a nonwhite's side of the story, and listened without judgment. In other words, she actually behaved like a journalist.

Of course, it might have been a good idea to do that before writing two columns on the niqab subject.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The patriarchal furriners

Wente's third article in a row bashing Turkish immigrants in Germany.

Most of the practices she describes - honour killings, child marriage - are already illegal in Turkey and have been so for decades. Turkey is perhaps the most aggressively secular country in the Muslim world, where even headscarves are banned.

That, of course, does not fit into Wente's script. If a crime against women is committed by a white person, it does not exist. As many as 40,000 women were trafficked into Germany to serve as sex slaves during the World Cup, but Wente wouldn't be interested in that; the traffickers and their victims were white. Nor, one thinks, would she care that 25 percent of German women have faced physical or sexual violence from their partners.

Just once could Wente talk about the problems women face without dragging race and religion into it?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wente goes downstream

Wente bashes immigrants in Germany again. They don't push their kids, they hate women, they don't value education, their kids are lazy thugs who don't want to fit in. Blah blah blah.

Does Wente even know, or care, what a Hauptschule is? It is, again, a concept virtually unknown in North America. Most schools here have streams for students of different abilities (in my day, in Ontario, they were called "advanced", "general", and "basic"); Germany has entire schools for that purpose; the university-bound Gymnasia, the technical Realschulen, and the no-hoper Hauptschulen, which for all practical purposes educate kids for a lifetime of low-skill jobs and unemployment.

Hauptschulen have a higher number of kids from poorer, disadvantaged backgrounds, and not surprisingly have more problems. Furthermore, schools in the former East Germany have many more problems than those in the West, again caused by the region's high rates of poverty and unemployment.

Wente could have argued, (as some conservative West Germans do) that decades of communism have left easterners poor and lazy. She doesn't, probably not because it is a ridiculous argument, but because they are white, and in her mind beyond reproach. Cherchez le nonwhite.

Of course, the real problem is the ghastly German system of segregated schools, a holdover from the old European class snobbery, something that would be unthinkable in Canada and even in the United States tolerated only by subterfuge. Canadians believe in public education, and they believe in educating rich and poor, white and nonwhite, in the same schools. And by and large, they are succeeding.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The enemy within

Wente thinks Muslims are the enemy within.

The ethnic enclaves have become a breeding ground for the enemy within. Wente is writing this about Germany, a country where such thinking can and has led to horrific results.

We could try to point out facts, like that less than half of foreign residents of Germany are Muslim, or that unemployment in Germany just hit a four-year low, or that Germany has recently tightened its social programs. But such trivialities would surely not faze Wente.

The enemy within comment exposes the ugliness that seldom strays far from the surface of Wente's writing. Ostensibly, she is talking about terrorists. In actuality, that is nonsense - Germany has not had an act of Islamic terrorism on its soil since the 1972 Olympics, and even that was not carried out by immigrants. Wente is really talking about all persons of colour, and the cultures they represent.

Muslims don't have to actually commit terror for Wente to regard them as an enemy within. They merely have to wear a headscarf, or any costume she doesn't like. They merely have to be different, to be someone raised in an upbringing different from Wente's. She regards her culture (American) as superior to all others, and other ethnicities are only deserving of equality if they abandon every sense of their identity, every fibre of who they are, everything they may believe in, to fit into her narrow American mold.

Immigrants in Canada and the United States do integrate better than those in Europe. That is because attitudes like Wente's - that immigrants are a sinister presence worthy only of distrust and contempt - are much more common in Europe than in North America. Europeans are much more likely to believe, as Wente does, that ethnicity determines nationality. Until recently, children born in Germany was not eligible for German citizenship unless they were ethnic Germans, a policy that would spark outrage in North America. And even now, Germany has trouble attracting the skilled, highly-educated immigrants who are enduring long waiting lists for the chance to get into North America. Why should they move to Germany, when citizenship and integration are doors deliberately slammed in their face?

Multiculturalism works. Europe's ethnic tensions are not the result of too much multiculturalism, but too little. And if North Americans listened to our own enemy within - ethnocentrics like Wente - we would share Europe's fate.