The Swiss vote to ban the building of minarets is a surprise outcome, and believers in multiculturalism won’t like it, but the Swiss have an admirably democratic system (arguably the best in the world), based on direct democracy, which many so-called liberals fear, because it expresses the will of the people rather than the will of a few arrogant politicians and lobby groups with a superiority complex and a belief that they are the moral custodians of the nation.
The Swiss are a well-informed and politically-engaged people (because they wield real political power). Historically, they have voted responsibly and contrary to what would be considered ‘populist policies’, such as the reintroduction of the death penalty, but clearly, this issue of minarets has struck a nerve with the average Swiss voter.
Contrary to popular belief, Switzerland is actually quite cosmopolitan. Within its own borders, the country has four official languages and ethnic groups (German, French, Italian, and Romansh) and a confederalist approach to everything (i.e. political decisions are made at the lowest possible level, and only issues which are of national significance are made at national level).
I lived in Switzerland for a total of a year over three seasons working in Swiss hotels, got to know the people reasonably well, and took an interest in how a country I came to admire was governed.
The Swiss are not vested with a great sense of humour, but they are objective to the point of obsession (reflected in their neutrality). In spite of political efforts to push towards EU membership, the people have persistently rejected any such moves, preferring to retain bilateral agreements with the EU and opt-in to EU initiatives where it is beneficial, such as the Schengen Agreement on the removal of border checks within EU countries.
They are an insular people (right down to communal level), but I would not describe them as racist. There is a large Gastarbeiter (guest worker) contingency in the Swiss workforce (I was one myself, as were many others in the hotel workforce) and they appreciate the importance of controlled immigration. At the same time, they value their freedom, democracy, and are happy to fly in the face of ‘multiculturalism’.
To this day, the Swiss still keep an eye on their neighbour to the North and possess an almost paranoid view of the likelihood of invasion. There is nuclear bunker space for every Swiss citizen and any new buildings must have bunker provision. They retain their view on a popular army, made up from all male citizens between a certain age range. Roads are built to allow for fighter jet landings, bridges are rigged with explosives, so that they may be destroyed if need be, innocent mountain huts contain control centres, and there are all manner of secret places from which guerilla warfare can be conducted. Hitler seriously considered and drew up plans for the invasion and occupation of Switzerland in World War 2, but decided against it, supposedly because he knew he could not take and keep the whole country, even if marching into the northern industrial heartland would have been relatively easy.
If you live in Switzerland, you do it their way or you are welcome to leave. Yet the Swiss people’s decision to forbid the building of minarets will be decried by many as racist. The multiculturalists and certain political classes are already acting like the bad losers they are and will supposedly appeal to the Swiss Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights over the decision.
That is just disgraceful. Such people do not have a moral monopoly. I am sure that the Swiss people have witnessed how successfully (or otherwise) multiculturalism (with particular reference to Islam) is taking place within neighbouring countries and have decided to send a clear signal that they do not wish to go down that line.
Regardless of anyone’s views on the issue of minarets, at least the Swiss citizens have had the opportunity to decide on this issue, and it is simply arrogance in the extreme to attempt to overturn the decision on the assumption that the people have made the ‘wrong’ decision.
The EU and most national governments could learn a great deal about real democracy and localisation of politics from Switzerland. After all, they do quite well for a land-locked country of four distinct languages, with no natural resources of any significance and a population of under 8 million. Maybe it’s because they have a system of perpetual coalition and direct democracy, so the politicians can get on running the country instead of spending their time fighting each other.