According to a new report from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office, migrants were responsible for 142,500 crimes in the first six months of 2016. In relating the news in the MailOnline, journalist Julian Robinson broke that figure down to its depressing core: “This was the equivalent of 780 crimes a day – an increase of nearly 40 percent over 2015.”

The figures have once again put the spotlight on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose permissive immigration policies have thrust the country into a crisis. Under her direction, more than 900,000 immigrants have been allowed into Germany over the past year. Many of them are from Muslim countries, and they bring with them cultural differences that have clashed – violently – with the Western values Germany has fought hard to cultivate.

Predictably, Merkel’s leftist immigration policies have led to a rise in opposition parties such as Alternative for Germany (AfD), sparking fears among those who remember what happened the last time hardline nationalism grew popular in the country.

Germany, though, is only one of many Western countries struggling to find the right balance between humanitarian outreach and the preservation of their national culture – to say nothing of their security. Similar situations can be found in Belgium, France, and the UK. In all cases, concerns go beyond cultural assimilation and everyday crime. The unthinkable terrorist attacks in Paris, Nice, and Brussels have even the bleeding-heart liberals wondering  when compassion becomes stupidity.

And of course, we can see the beginnings of that struggle here at home. Our relative isolation has protected us from the cultural overhaul our European allies are facing, but we have proven to be just as susceptible to terrorist attacks. And the debate over whether or not we should be resettling hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees is not likely to go away anytime soon.

For as many differences as there are between the situation in the U.S. and the situation in Germany, there is one undeniable link: In both countries, the chains of political correctness are threatening to choke out legitimate dissent. Demonstrating an unbelievable degree of historical ignorance, leaders such as Merkel and Obama seem to think that censoring speech will somehow extinguish opposition.

That’s not the way it works, unfortunately. When you don’t allow room for your political opponents to make their case with words, they turn to other means to get their message across.

By trying to quell extremism, you create it.