I worked once with a guy who had a project that concerned an "index". The task for the guy was to take raw information, with some degree of prioritization, and funnel into a format which would deliver statistical data and form some logical sense of reason. After this guy had spent weeks on this project and went to his boss.....the boss wasn't happy with the "index" because it didn't confirm his expectations, and thus dropped what amounted to roughly 200 man-hours of work by my associate. The "index"? It ceased to exist.
That's the thing about indexes.....as long as they agree with your desires or expectations....they live on. If they don't agree.....they tend to die off.
Today, I noticed under Deutsche Welle....a new index.
It's called the Refugees Welcome Index.
Now, it might draw your attention for a minute. What's the purpose? Well.....the index asks refugees about how welcome they feel.
So, for example.....on the far end of positive countries....the category is "welcome enough to bring you into their home". Germany is actually listed as the second most favored country welcoming refugees (after China in fact).
There's six other countries, which get listed mostly near "welcomed into the city or village", and these countries are UK, Canada, Spain, Greece, US, and France.
Then you have countries which welcome you into the country but necessarily into the city or into the house.....this is Mexico, Turkey and Nigeria.
Then at the bottom.....where there's just not ANY welcome at all.....you tend to have Russia, Indonesia and Thailand.
By the features of this poll.....they even asked Germans....if they'd accept refugees into their country, and the poll said 96-percent of Germans would accept such guests.
Amnesty International then noted all this means that the vast public readily accepts refugees and we need to move onto real action....real solutions.
The problem with this kind of survey, poll and index creation....is that you really avoid asking indepth questions.
For example.....if you said that one million refugees would be desiring to enter your country over the next twelve months.....then most people would hold up a hand and ask....for how long? Or they'd ask if this is temporary only (meaning no integration classes, no job training, etc)? Or they'd ask where you intend to put the one million. Or they'd ask if this all led onto citizenship requirements. Or they'd ask how much the shelter, food, and care would cost....yearly.
You see....Amnesty International didn't want to go and spoil or screw-up this nifty barometric index. They needed numbers to go in, and come out.....to reach their desired conclusion.
Back in the spring of 2014, I have no doubt that ninety-percent of Germans were kinda open toward helping refugees. By mid-summer, and the high numbers adding up.....with cost being discussed weekly by German states....things changed. By mid-2015, I'd say at best....maybe eighty-percent of Germans were friendly on this business. By mid-January.....it's somewhere between forty and fifty-percent of German adults who lean toward a friendly nature.
Some Germans will tell you that as long as there is no cost to this....fine. Some will say that as long as it doesn't lead to immigration or integration issues....fine. Some will even say that certain religious groups are more accepting than other groups (without saying which one bothers them to some degree).
If you ask 99-percent of McDonalds visitors (regular guests) about their feeling for McDonalds....it's probably 95-percent pro-McDonalds. If you ask people who rarely go.....it's probably a 5-percent pro-McDonalds feeling. That's the problem with statistical data collected and how it gets used.
If you listed the top thirty platform items of the 1932 Nationalists Socialists Party (Nazi Party)....without saying Nazi.....most Germans (my humble bet of seventy-five percent) would say they readily approve of the platforms of such a political party. Once you mention it's all Nazi platform positions.....well.....they get all jerky and upset.
So, when you sit down at the pub in the next week, with a German or two.....bring up the index, and let the Germans know (with a big hug) that you really think it's nice of them to be regarded as such a welcoming society for refugees (made number two in the world). Maybe you'd even buy them a beer for so nice.
After a minute or two, while this German probably simmers with some frustrating words and comments....they'd respond that they try to be nice, but this always ends up with the Germans looking like idiots or spending untold amounts of money that simply doesn't exist. Then you, as the American, would pat them on the back and state that it's fine that Germany beats America once again.....really fine in fact. Then you respond that you kinda hope that refugees get this index information to help them decide on the best country to move into.
The German gets a bit worried then......asking if the index would ONLY MAKE more refugees seek to move to Germany. You'd say.....ABSOLUTELY. Then they'd grumble even more.
Whether intentional or by accident......Amnesty International has done Germany an enormous negative 'gift'. People evaluating where to go as a refugee.....will pick Germany over all other competitors.