On Wednesday, Time magazine finally unveiled who most deserved to be its Person of the Year for 2015.
From ISIS warlord Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump to supposed hero Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner, there were a lot of potential choices for the ceremonial, but ultimately meaningless prize.
But the powers that be decided to signal their political values in their choice and selected German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the Person of the Year. Dubbing her the “Chancellor of the Free World,” Time waxed elegiac on Merkel’s signature policy action this year: throwing open Germany’s gates to one million migrants who had crossed illegally into Europe over the summer.
That act alone helped earn her the honor of being named Person of the Year. Time declared it “the most generous, openhearted gesture of recent history” and a “bold, fraught, immensely empathetic act of leadership.”
However, the publication glazed over the growing swell of domestic criticism against Merkel over her refugee embrace and painted the decision as one more ripped straight out of a feel-good, PG-rated historical drama.
Merkel’s open-door policy was built up as the culmination of life-long struggle for equality and justice for the chancellor — a woman who was considered to be quite conservative prior to last summer.
While Time imagined Merkel turning herself into the compassionate mother of Syrian refugees as a story of epic redemption of Germany’s tainted past, her countrymen don’t see it quite that way.
The magazine’s own report on Germany’s reaction to the Person of the Year selection revealed a nation that had grown weary of welcoming refugees.
Deutsche Welle, a state-funded outlet, described the decision as that of a “politically left-intellectual group of high earners in a country that receives virtually no refugees” and doesn’t have to deal with the consequences of the “openhearted gesture.”
And that critical view is reflected in the rest of the population. While the majority of the population initially supported taking in the refugees when Merkel first announced her resettlement plan during the summer, it didn’t take long for that to switch. After the refugees began arriving and settling in, a majority of Germans began turning against the open-door policy in October.
On the same day Time announced Merkel as its most distinguished individual, The (U.K.) Daily Express published a thorough report of how Merkel’s refugee promises have “backfired.”
Support for nationalist parties and organizations has skyrocketed. Fifty-one percent of Germans are now afraid of a million asylum seekers coming to their country. Hundreds of citizens have signed a petition to the nation’s chief prosecutor to charge Merkel with high treason for undermining the republic. Violence against refugees is beginning to rise and so is violence among the refugees themselves.
Many within Merkel’s own political coalition are threatening to revolt against her rule and her commitment to resettling one million migrants in the country.
Besides the souring opinions and growing social instability, there’s also the incredible cost of taking in those claiming refugee status. The conservative estimate for the price of this endeavor is put at over $11 billion dollars. Considering Germany’s already existing social infrastructure woes, the multi-billion dollar price tag is not going to go easily on the country.
There’s also the little question of assimilation. A new study shows that nearly two-thirds of Syrian refugees can neither read nor write, meaning they can’t find work in a high-tech, modern economy like Germany. Throughout Europe, immigrant communities are becoming nations apart from the countries they call home — keeping up the language, culture and values of the old land rather than that of their new home.
More troubling is how many of these communities have become breeding grounds for radical Islam and even terrorism. Just take the Paris attacks, which were committed by at least two men who came with the refugee surge and the rest of whom had lived in France for most of their lives.
From what can be seen so far, there’s little indication that the million refugees will assimilate and a substantial number of them will take up Islamic extremism in response to finding themselves in a land that didn’t live up to their dreams.
Time magazine essentially praised Merkel for laying the foundations of a future catastrophe and going against her own citizens. But, as Deutsche Welle pointed out, Time’s editors don’t have to deal with the consequences of the decisions. To them, it’s simply a glorious example of how political leaders should embrace a post-national, multicultural future with no concern for domestic worries or actual costs.
Merkel’s “compassionate” leadership really isn’t that compassionate — for her own citizens. Instead, it’s just compassion for non-citizens, which places their interests over that of the people the chancellor was elected to serve. Just ask the rural village of 100 that was forced to take in 750 migrants how it felt to have their protests ignored in favor of the interests of the uninvited guests. Or those citizens who had their homes raided by police after criticizing Merkel’s refugee policy online. (RELATED: German Town Of 100 Gets Enriched By 750 Migrants)
But Time seemed to imply that’s what made it brave for the German chancellor to welcome refugees. To go against your people’s voice is apparently a service for the entire world when it involves accepting immigrants. (RELATED: After Paris, Obama And Merkel Bury Their Heads In The Sand)
Liberals on both sides of the Atlantic see the rising influx of migrants as an opportunity to further move their societies to multicultural utopias. The backward and bigoted tendencies of the native culture can be transformed by the new arrivals who are free of the nation’s historical baggage.
Merkel’s complete dedication to the task of refugee resettlement is the kind of leadership left-wing intellectuals want, and is a refutation of the growing national sentiment of the western masses.
As the Person of the Year report made clear, the refugee effort is a chance — in the mind of Merkel and her supporters — to redeem Germany from its sordid Nazi past.
But if it comes at the price of remaining a united nation, is it worth the sacrifice if the only reward is a crummy Time magazine cover?