Thursday, February 15, 2018

Israel's demographic time bomb didn't go away

(Note: the text size here has randomly shrunk (see below). I can't control it. Please forgive the erratic sizing here)

Can you describe a 'demographic time bomb'?  

One way to define a 'demographic time bomb' is to say that it refers to political consequences that appear ('explode') after one segment of a population has increased far faster than other segments.  

The 'demographic time bomb' idea postulates that a country's political reality will change forever whenever the size of one group grows large enough to have the most important say in running that country. The demographic 'time bomb' is said to explode when that country's rapidly-expanded group suddenly begins to flex its new-found 'muscle'. 

For years, Israel's Left has used this 'time bomb' idea to try to convince Israelis to sign up for a 'two-state' solution with an enemy whose only desire is to destroy us. The Left's argument was, the birth-rate among Israeli Arabs was so much higher than Jews that Jews are destined to become a minority in their own country (Jonathan Spyer, "Israel's  demographic timebomb", guardian, January 14, 2004). 

This argument became a Leftist tradition for Israel. It's intriguing for two reasons. 

First, by calling Arab growth a 'threat' to Israel, the Left undercuts its ideological commitment to do everything it can to help Arabs, not Jews. 

The Left claims it owns exclusive rights to being the one 'not-racist' group in Israel. But anyone who tries to scare Israelis with this Arab demographic time-bomb argument uses an argument that is both xenophobic and racist. If anything, it suggests that Israel's Left is racist and xenophobic.

The second reason this argument is intriguing is that, for Israel, it's false. Over the years, Israeli Arabs have increasingly experienced better living standards in Israel, as measured against Arabs living in Arab-ruled countries. Israeli-Arabs have responded to their increased wealth the same way everyone else in the world responds to increased wealth: their birth-rates dropped. 

As Arab birth rates have fallen, Israel's Jewish birth rate has increased. Today, Israelis and Arabs in Israel have app the same birth rates, and the Arab-Jew population split has remained pretty much at a 75% Jewish/25% Arab proportion for the last several years. 

There is no longer an Arab demographic time-bomb threatening Israel. However, this Arab -Muslim demographic time bomb issue hasn't gone away. 

It's moved. It's gone to Europe.

It's very difficult, if not impossible, to validate how many Muslims live in Europe. For one thing, the recent flood of Muslim immigrants entering Europe has never been counted. No one knows how many have actually crossed into Europe. Second, no one knows how many of these Muslim migrants have actually remained in Europe (Leo Hohmann, "Germany loses track of half its Muslim  migrants", wnd, January 21, 2016).

Worse, as Muslim migrants begin to have an increasingly negative impact on Europe's crime statistics, economy and welfare systems, there appears to be growing evidence that European governments might be doctoring migration numbers to show less Muslims in their countries, not more (Baron Bodissey, "Ten million Muslims in Germany?", gatesofvienna, December 12, 2016).

To understand the Muslim migrant impact on Europe--and how that impact relates to a 'demographic time bomb'--we need to establish first what 'Europe' we're talking about. You see, there appears to be at least five different 'Europes'.

-Western Europe
-The European Union
-A Europe that includes Turkey and Russia
-A Europe that includes Russia but not Turkey

The 'Europe' I'm going to talk about here is a fifth 'Europe'. This fifth 'Europe' is the one you've been reading about. This 'Europe' is made up of the wealthiest nations of Western Europe: Germany, the UK and France. These are the nations where ordinary citizens most commonly report feeling they're being 'overrun' by Muslim migrants.

My numbers below have been extrapolated from a number of sources. They tend to be higher than what you've read. But I believe they're more accurate than mainstream sources, because those sources have developed a reputation for under-counting Muslim migrants. I suspect my sources are more up-to-date and accurate.

For space purposes, I've had to shorten the spelling of 'Germany' and 'population'

Name -total popu-Muslim popu-%Muslim-GDP rank in EU

Grmny--82 million--  6.2 million---   7.5 percent -------  1st                    

UK      65 million     3.5 million       5.4 percent           2nd                   

France 66 million   5.8 million       8.8 percent            3rd                              

Totals --213 million--15.5 million--7.3 percent

Now, the number 7.3 percent isn't a big number. Even if the Muslim population percent number is closer to 8 percent, that, too, isn't a big number. Certainly, if a reader argues that my numbers are too high, and an average of 5.0 percent is closer to the truth, then we are really looking at Muslims representing a pretty small percent of total populations in these three countries. Such percentages--especially 5 percent--shouldn't be worrying, right? 

Are the Western populations of these countries simply being hysterical about Muslims when they report feeling 'overrun'? Are these populations simply racist?

The short answer is, there is a very serious reason for Western citizens in these countries to be worried about such small percentage numbers. In truth--if you can believe this--these percentage number are not small. They are, in fact, enormous. 

Here's why:

Until recently, conventional wisdom said that 10 percent of a population was needed to provoke a revolutionary change in a community. In a more academic way of putting it, "Once 10% of a population is committed to an idea, it’s inevitable that it will eventually become the prevailing opinion of the entire group" (Matthew Phillips, "Minority rules: why 10 percent is all you need", freakonomics, July 11, 2011). But that may be wrong. 

In fact, it has been proposed that the population number necessary to effect a revolutionary change may be as low as 3.5 percent. What's key is not the size of the group. The key to a group's success in provoking revolutionary change in a country is not raw population size, but persistence, commitment and sustainability of effort (Erica Chenoweth, "My Tedtalk at TEDxBoulder: civil resistance  and the 2.5 % rule", rationalinsurgent, November 4, 2013). More important still, at least according to Chenoweth (ibid), a group that's currently just 3.5%-of-total-population has the power to create revolutionary change without having to resort to violence (ibid). 

Chenwoeth claims she's got the research to back up her conclusions (ibid). 

If she's right, the news stories we read about Europeans worrying unnecessarily about their Muslim population are wrong. These stories all say the same thing: local populations in France, Britain, etc are consistently mistaken when they estimate how many Muslims are among them (Ben Kentish, "British people hugely overestimate the number of Muslims in the UK, says new survey", theindependent, December 15, 2016; Charlotte Mason, "France 'worst in the world' at guessing Muslim population",, December 14, 2016); "Germans greatly overestimate number of Muslims living in their country", dw, December 14, 2016).

The suggestion of these articles is that local populations in Europe are over-reacting to Muslims--and are causing themselves undue fear. But if Chenoweth (above) is correct, and less than 5 percent of a population is all that's needed to overturn a community regime, we might suggest that these over-estimations aren't over-reactions to a non-problem. They are, rather, intuitive or instinctive reactions to revolutionary changes building to a break-out point within their communities.

If Chenoweth is correct, Muslim population numbers in these, the wealthiest of EU countries, mean that the life-standards--and cultural norms--these nations have enjoyed for centuries may be about to change. This  Muslim demographic time-bomb may not explode when the percent of Muslims reaches 10 or 20 percent of total population. The percent number needed for a Sharia revolution in Europe may have already been surpassed ("Sharia police: Islamic law hanging over Europe", sputniknews, January 12, 2018). 

The fear of a Muslim demographic time-bomb, once used to try to stampede Israel into a bad peace agreement, has left Israel. But it hasn't disappeared.

It's moved to Europe ("The migrant crisis is a time bomb and will destroy Europe's high living standards", voiceofeurope",  December 20, 2017). Some now say that time bomb is about to explode. 

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