[From "Mark Hecht: Ethnic diversity harms a country's social trust, economic well-being, argues professor", in the Vancouver Sun]
A decade ago the fundamental belief among Danes toward Muslim immigrants was that these newcomers would see how wonderful Denmark was and naturally want to become Danish as quickly as possible.
Danes have pushed back. Losing the integrity of their society — one of the best in the world by all measures — was on the line. Requirements to obtain citizenship increased. A new insistence that immigrant children go to Danish public schools instead of religious schools was implemented. Social benefits were rescinded for those who didn’t comply. This was only the beginning. But the Danes are not alone.
Many western nations assumed that increasing ethnic and cultural diversity through immigration would be beneficial. The dogma of diversity, tolerance and inclusion assumed that all members of the society wanted to be included as equal citizens. Yet, instead of diversity being a blessing, many found that they’ve ended up with a lot of arrogant people living in their countries with no intention of letting go of their previous cultures, animosities, preferences, and pretensions.
If a society wants high social trust and the benefits of stability, productivity, and happiness, there are apparently two factors that stand out. According to macrosociology researcher Jan Delhey at Otto von Geuricke University in Magdeburg, Germany — Protestantism and low ethnic diversity — are the top two criteria.
Setting aside the part about Protestantism, low ethnic diversity as a single factor fits Denmark, Japan and Hungary quite well. Social trust is, unsurprisingly, relatively high in all. But not all those countries are Protestant. There are other factors at work.
So, is excluding certain people from one’s society a requirement? The short answer is absolutely. The long and more reasonable answer is if you do let people into your country then make sure they hold similar values — compatibility. Make sure they want to fit into your society fully and completely — cohesion. With these two requirements satisfied, and with a sprinkle of Protestantism, the country will be well on its way to generating high levels of social trust.
Can Canada learn from Denmark? The jury is out. But the minimum requirement is that we say goodbye to diversity, tolerance and inclusion if we wish to be a society that can rebuild the trust we used to have in one another and start accepting a new norm for immigration policy — compatibility, cohesion and social trust.