Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Becoming American

Ken Masugi reviews Victor Davis Hanson’s Mexifornia: A State of Becoming. It is a review very much worth reading (as is the book). It so happens that in his last paragraph Ken mentions my father’s pithy comment about what an American is. I’m honored.

"If, in theory, Hanson seems to be of divided mind, he simply reflects the paradox in the Declaration of Independence: We are a distinct nation with a distinct political identity—not only separate from Britain but from all other hitherto existing regimes. But we are also a nation distinct by virtue of our founding principle—all men are created equal. That principle means that any human being at any time in history has the essential quality to be an American. My friend Peter Schramm recounts the wonderful story of his Hungarian father explaining why they were leaving home and going, in late 1956, to America: ’We were born Americans, but in the wrong place.’ In Mexifornia Victor Davis Hanson, a real American, portrays how sophisticated intellectuals, cynical growers, craven political leaders, and ambitious Mexicans have brought about a crisis in which neither immigrant nor native-born show interest in thinking and acting like Americans."

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