FreshAir: Murder in Amsterdam

Was listening to Terry Gross interviewing Ian Buruma, who authored Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance.

When asked about difference between the US and Europe regarding absorbing immigrant populations, Buruma made an interesting point. He said that ironically enough, one of the reasons that Europe is now falling short in their effectiveness of absorbing immigrants comparing to the US might be: EU being such a welfare state while the US is not. When the US is not a welfare state, the new immigrants are forced to work. By working they had to interact with the US culture/language/people, and as a result become part of it. While in Europe, all the immigrants need to deal with are mainly government officials who distribute the welfare check, it left a humiliation mark on their face, makes them more angry. At the same time they have no need to interact with the host country’s culture/language/people. They stay apart as a result.

That’s the first time I realized the benefit of having such lousy welfare system. Interesting.