Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Mexifornia now

Victor Davis Hanson, writing for the City Journal considers his thesis five years later. He was too optimistic, things are worse than he thought, the data now proves it.  

Discussions - 33 Comments

These accursed paleocon Malthusian's seem to be popping up everywhere you look.

I've gotta tell you, this stuff is even starting to bother me.

Paleos in unison: "We hate to say we told you so, but we told you so."



The War: Paleos 1 Neos 0



Immigration: Paleos 1 Neos 0



Total: Paleos 2 Neos 0



:-)

Dan Phillips

As my tounge-in-cheek comment was intended to remind people, it is not merely "paleocons" objecting to our immigration insanity. Not unless the word has been broadened to include people like VDH and Thomas Sowell.

By several accounts immigration is the biggest issue voters are confronting the candidates of both parties with as they campaign. Read here. You'd never know this from the covererage in the media, or even the blogs.

Yes, immigration should be a big issue, but is it? Tancredo sure isn't gaining any traction...whadda we gotta do to make this important to people? And why can't they see it for themselves?

The third-world invasion is the worst threat ever facing the West. As Jean Raspail says in Camp of the Saints, the best conservative novel of all time, we can fight back these third-world hordes and expel them from our lands, or we can watch ourselves be overtaken and eventually exterminated. Stop the invasion!!!

"We've got to eliminate the gringo, and what I mean by that, if the worst comes to the worst, we've got to kill him." - Professor Jose Angel Gutierrez, founder of the Mexican terrorist organization La Raza.

Dain asks: Yes, immigration should be a big issue, but is it? Tancredo sure isn't gaining any traction...whadda we gotta do to make this important to people? And why can't they see it for themselves?

Short Answer: Get a better spokesman.

Explanation: It's time to stop talking about Paleos and Neos and, instead, start talking like Americans. Tancredo gets no traction because his rhetoric is over-the-top and his thinking suffers from a flaw at its core. His arguments do not elevate or offer an uplifting alternative vision of America as a refuge for the oppressed and the land of immigrants (which it is and must always be seen to be). Even those of you who are committed Paleos must see that your arguments centered in tradition and ancestry don't persuade enough people to do anything but entrench the other side. Why not support your fellow travelers (like VDH, Thomas Sowell, and even the work of The Claremont Institute--which, by the way, has been way out in front on this issue for at least as long as my memory extends and likely longer than that) who are offering arguments that are and should be persuasive to much greater numbers? Why not support their work and let their arguments carry the day? You will see more in the way of what you want in practice this way than you ever will by beating your old and tired drum. Teach your kids whatever you want to teach them about the Civil War, but concede that you lost it. You have to base your arguments for the things you want today in the sentiment that carried the day. That may be a sad fact for some of you, but it is nonetheless, a fact.

Ms. Ponzi, we all lost the Civil War. The only difference between you and me is that I recognize what we lost in 1865 -- you have yet to make the realization.

As for immigration, this message you say we should endorse, this "alternative vision" -- what is it, exactly? The notion that America is a grand ideological experiment in human freedom? The notion that we are a nation of ideas, not a nation of real people living in real culture? Even if those things were true (and I submit that they are half-truths), they require a bedrock cultural understanding that makes them current and gives them salience. All these millions of illegal Mexicans -- you think they are coming here for HIGH IDEAS? Do you suppose that's why they break our laws and wave the Mexican flag when we complain about it?

Ponzi, go back to sleep. Let's hope someday your understanding surpasses your blinkered dogmatism.

The notion that we are a nation of ideas, not a nation of real people living in real culture?

Dain, I submit that it is you who are playing the part of the dogmatist and refusing to wake up. Why do you suggest that this is an either/or proposition? Your thinking cannot be so limited. I do not deny the reality of real people living in a real culture, but you seem to want to deny the reality of our ideas. Or perhaps you think they are a lot of B.S.? You are correct to say that ideas require an understanding that makes them current and gives them salience. I like that phraseology. I think that's what we are trying to provide. I think that is a good summary of the work of many good people I know.

But what can you offer to any debate if you don't approach it from the standpoint of standards and ideas? Your arguments must always boil down to will. You must always, therefore, find yourself in a fight. I hope you are strong because you will not be able to motivate many to fight with you without an idea of justice and the good.

I find it much wiser (and easier) to rely on the strength of our ideas. But while I believe in their power, I am certainly not blind to the fact that they must be presented forcefully, unrelentingly and eternally. Otherwise, I would only read novels and write bad poetry.

And what are these ideas, Julie? That our borders should be forever open? That regardless of someone's motivations, so long as they want to live in our country they should have that right? That the people who started this country and have maintained it throughout its history have no right to set the standards of "joining the club?" Come on, Julie, that is ridiculous.

Yes, Dain. That fairly sums up my position. I'm glad to see that you are not going to lapse into an emotional attack in this thread and that you carefully weigh the positions of those with whom you disagree. It is wonderful to discuss a topic with someone who takes the time to inform himself so scrupulously about the opinions of his interlocutor. The strength of your ideas is too overwhelming . . . I submit. (My nice way of saying I've got better things to do than bother with someone who does not bother to respond to my actual opinion as opposed to a non-applicable stereotype.)

Alternatively, you don't have a position, I guess. I don't have time for a person who comes in, smacks all us "neo-confederates," and then won't clearly state what she thinks SHOULD be the immigration policy of this country.

His arguments do not elevate or offer an uplifting alternative vision of America as a refuge for the oppressed and the land of immigrants (which it is and must always be seen to be).

Am I to take it that you believe this to be the position of VDH, Thomas Sowell, and even some of the people at Claremont? Because it's not.

Read Sowell here, and here. Hansons piece is already linked.


I find it much wiser (and easier) to rely on the strength of our ideas.

Which ideas are those? I don't believe I've seen them articulated anywhere.

Tancredo gets no traction because his rhetoric is over-the-top and his thinking suffers from a flaw at its core.

I'd be very interested to see you elaborate on this. The Tancredo proposal is basically the same ideas which the joint Congressional panel on immigration reform came up with in 1996. It was chaired by Barbara Jordan, if you want to look it up. Why are the proposals of this panel suddenly so extreme and outrageous that they cannot even be considered?

Explanation: It's time to stop talking about Paleos and Neos and, instead, start talking like Americans.

I heartily agree with you here. Somebody needs to take the "neocons" and the "palecons" and bang their empty little heads together. Perhaps then they will stop obsessing about not giving in to the other "tribe" and start actualy thinking. But you don't seem too anxious to follow your own advice.

Dain, John, etc.: This is not your first rodeo with me and you know fairly well that my position on immigration is not one of "open borders" or one that suggests that we lack the sovereignty to decide who can and who cannot become fellow citizens. I do not want to provide a detailed alternative "Comprehensive Immigration" bill here. I would not favor these guest worker programs offered by the President. But I also think that those who insist on massive deportations are kidding themselves (and I further think that they would be howling like banshees if they ever had to pay for something like that). I think the greatest thing missing from this debate on the national scene has been a discussion of how people should become Americans. Claremont is addressing it here. In fact, as John pointed out, Claremont has been way out in front on this issue for many years--well before Proposition 87. One of the first things I edited when I went there in the early '90s was a paper arguing that citizenship need not extend to children of illegal immigrants. Tom West, Ed Erler and John Eastman have all written persuasively and very well on the founder's view of immigration and the constitutional issues surrounding the current debate.

In the article John cites, Sowell says this: "In the past, people came here to become Americans, not remain foreigners. But between the multicultural craze and the proximity of Mexico, Americanization has an uphill fight and may never become the norm." I might suggest that we can't do much about Mexico's proximity but the rest of it is our fault and that's got everything to do with those ideas we no longer respect. If you think you're going to engender respect for becoming an American by appealing only to culture, language and tradition then you are making the same mistake the multiculturalists make. You're just saying you have one culture among many and you like it best. It's a power argument. You will lose that argument. I say that I not only like it best, it is best. It is not on par with other "cultures" and the reason it is not is because it is not a "culture" simply but a universal idea about the nature of mankind. If you cannot make your arguments about immigration appeal to immigrants you are doomed. Extend the hand of friendship and make them first want to be Americans. Then tell them what that means. For help in that, see this fine essay by Chris Flannery.

Finally, John, you are wrong. I am very anxious to move away from the discussion of paleo v. neo. Since I am not a member of either "tribe" I have no dog in that fight. Like you, I want to knock their heads together--at least for political purposes--and ask why we can't fight on common ground for the things about which we obviously agree. Keep the academic disagreement academic and, in politics, argue from our strongest position.

So, you favor amnesty? Fine, but that will encourage ever more illegal immigration...it's naive. If you want to see what happens, just look at the Simpson-Mazzoli Act back in th 1980s. Oh yea, we were going to grant amnesty, fast-track citizenship, and stem the tide of illegal immigration...yap yap yap. Just got a whole new slew of quasi-Americans, a whole new immigrant network encouraging chain migration, and a bigger overall mess. No thank you, church lady, your scheme has been tried, and it failed.

And I'm sorry you don't like "power" arguments, but that's because of your shallow thinking. All arguments about immigration and citizenship are essentially arbitrary and involve a sense of cultural dominance. Some people, like the Japanese and Koreans, are up-front about it -- they want to remain Japanese and Korean. Your way of admitting citizens (i.e., learn a little history, hold your hand high, and swear to be a good citizen) is oh-so-gradually leading to social breakup.

Let me repeat my challenge: Name me a large, successful country that has a long-established multiculturalism and no regional/cultural tension. Canada? Don't make me laugh...it's falling apart as we speak...a slow motion crackup. USSR -- their "high ideals" (i.e., communism) failed, and they shattered. Austro-Hungarian Empire...nope. British Empire...nope. Southern cone of South America...who'd want the problems or Argentina and Chile? Even the Aussies are having some of our troubles.

People like me are tired of delusional spin, and we simply don't trust folks like you to solve the problems. Our ancestors did not come here to set the banquet table for the rest of the world, nor to be the world's cop, nor to spread truth, justice and the American way. We came here for better, more independent lives, and we created rules to that end...period. Stop trying to hijack what the Founders intended.

Your real problem, Ponzi, and most of your Ashland/Claremont friends, is that you've got a very bad case of the Yankee disease...that "city on the hill" Puritan garbage. Living for Jesus should be enough for you...it is not your job to save the world, and it is certainly not your job to force me and mine to save the world.

You're just saying you have one culture among many and you like it best. It's a power argument. You will lose that argument. I say that I not only like it best, it is best.

Julie, this strikes me as a sematic difference. If you say that our culture IS best, rather than that it is best for us, that is just as much a power argument. In fact, it is probably more of a power argument. Your position tells the rest of the world that they are inferior. Why would they accept that? What do we gain from your formulation?

It is not on par with other "cultures" and the reason it is not is because it is not a "culture" simply but a universal idea about the nature of mankind.

Your idea of America may be based on it being a universal idea about the nature of mankind. As I said on another thread, this idea strikes me as a form of Christian heresy. If mankind has a universal nature then it has gone undetected until now. Can you describe this nature? If mankind has a universal nature, then nation states must be some sort of aberation, which we should eliminate. Right? No matter. If it will get you to agree that we need to get control of our borders I'll agree that human nature is whatever you want.

Extend the hand of friendship and make them first want to be Americans.

I'm pretty sure that telling them they are joining something akin to a cult is not going to win them over. What exactly was wrong with the old civic virtues we used to instill in people until the sixties? Moser wrote a sentimental piece about earlier immigrants. His ancestors, I suspect. But we did not tell those people they were entering a cultural vacuum where they could be whatever they wanted. We told them they were joining a country on Planet Earth, not entering into the antechamber to Heaven.

Since I am not a member of either "tribe" I have no dog in that fight.

I can't help noticing that the paleo tribe all have names like Williams and Philips, while the neo tribe have names like Ponzi, Moser, and Kippenberg. I'd bet that dain is of English or Scots-Irish descent. This is precisely a fight between two tribes, each of which venerates their ancestors and denigrates those of the other tribe.

I skimmed the Flannery article, which was pretty long. Looks like a pretty good debunking of multiculturalism. I don't see the relevence to the current topic though. To the extent that any group here is in favor of multiculturalism, it would seem to be the Ashbrook side. I suspect we have not even understood each others positions enough to disagree properly.:)

But I also think that those who insist on massive deportations are kidding themselves (and I further think that they would be howling like banshees if they ever had to pay for something like that).

I'd just like to say that I'm unaware of anyone insisting on "massive deportations". And I doubt if Julie knows of anyone either. These kind of statements obscure rather than enlighten.

John and Dain don't seem to think that anyone can become an American--unless, presumably--they have the right last name. Never mind that I married mine--I suppose I would have to go get my DAR papers to prove worthy enough for them. If that is your standard, gentlemen, I take back what I said. You are not losing the argument; you lost it before you began. I honestly don't know, John, why you bothered to cite the Sowell piece.

Now who's putting words into an adversary's mouth? Should I now berate you for using emotion instead of intellect, Julie?

I don't feel that way at all...I think America could accommodate any nationality so long as the numbers are 1) small, and 2) we insist that they NOT form subnational communities (i.e., that they become Americans first and foremost). The points I've always made, however, are that such assimilation is much easier for groups that are pretty similar to the folks already here, and that the current tidal wave of ultra-diverse immigration is NOT sustainable. What's so hard to understand about that? This is Tancredo's point of view, but you have smeared him (and me) as bigots for pointing out what should be obvious.

You asked for this argument when you posted #8. You have a habit of this, I'm afraid.

John and Dain don't seem to think that anyone can become an American--unless, presumably--they have the right last name.

It's a mystery to me how someone who says things like this can be employed in an academic capacity. I don't believe dain has said anything like this. I certainly have not. Is the inability to comprehend simple written English a requirement for employment here?

Am I asking too much in hoping that the people at Ashbrook will come up with more sophisticated lines of argument than calling anyone who disagrees with them Nazis and bigots? I have a bad feeling that the answer is Yes.


I honestly don't know, John, why you bothered to cite the Sowell piece.

I honestly don't know, Julie, why you bother to read these comments when you seem so unwilling to make the slightest effort to understand what they say. I also don't understand why you bothered to link to the Flannery piece. Can you explain its relevance to the immigration question?

I'm still waiting for you to list those people favoring "massive deportations", or to respond to my comments about your misunderstanding of Christian thought.

To make myself clear, I do not favor amnesty in any form. That doesn't mean that "massive deportations" would become necessary, at least not in terms of governmental action. Really, all that's needed is a series of high-profile raids across the country, and actually throwing employers into jail. A few hundred thousand illegal immigrants sent back home, and a few hundred conspicous CEO's sent to Sing-Sing, and the costs of hiring illegals becomes just too great. These people will deport themselves, as they should.

Didn't Reagan also call America a shining city on a hill? Hmm, I never realized the SOB was a neocon . . .

Yea, it's true, Reagan was very long on idealism...it was tolerable because he was also a realist in most ways. Indeed, his administration's strategy for undermining the USSR was pretty brilliant.

What you will notice, however, is that he used the military very sparingly. He also forced the Japanese to build factories here, and a number of other things that neocons would NEVER have done. Remember, Pat Buchanan worked for (and loved) the man. He was a near perfect blend of all the elements of the conservative/libertarian alliance...that's why there's been no one like him since.

I cannot answer all of these questions (or are they charges?) as fully as I would like right now. I have already spent far too much time on this thread but I think we are getting some clarity so I'll press on.

I will say this about Tancredo: I might have really liked the guy and, in fact, I do support most--if not all--of the substance in many of his proposals. Most of the practical things you guys discuss above are things that I might support under the right conditions. In any event, I don't find the suggestion of them to be completely crazy or out of line. They are action items worthy of discussion. Butthis link is to Tancredo's presidential bid website will take you to a place where he or one of his minions is bragging about his influence over a couple of radio opportunists out here in LA who run a mildly entertaining, but way over-the-top afternoon-drive show. I used to listen to regularly back in my pre-kid/pre-iPod days when I was commuting and when there was nothing else more edifying on the dial. I know their mode. They are like the "Current Affair" of the radio, but they beat pop music. These guys are using Tom for their own ratings and he seems oblivious to it. He seems to think it is doing him some good. The show is meant to stir people up and make people angry. People call in to vent, say the most outrageous things, and then the hosts propose ridiculous solutions and even stage lame events and stunts to support their "efforts." One time they stood outside an immigration office with bullhorns and screamed insults at the people going in and out. I remember another time that they hosted something called "Fry the Menendi" during the Menendez brothers trial (the two who killed their parents back in the '90s). I'm not above laughing with it at times (I actually was pretty amused with much of their coverage of the Clinton scandals), but it's not really anything other than tabloid entertainment--which is fine. It is what it is. But Tancredo regularly appears on that show as if it were serious and as if these two knuckleheads knew anything about politics. I do not believe that the cause he supports has been helped in any meaningful way by his appearances on that show. I think it has only served to inflame some less savory elements in the debate. Listen to that show on any given day when he appears and you will hear an abundance of "pack 'em up and send 'em all back" rhetoric and you won't hear it put down by Tancredo or even seriously questioned. So above all things, I question this man's judgment--which is the thing I think a president needs above all things.

As for John's questioning of my comprehension, I do believe you posted this: I can't help noticing that the paleo tribe all have names like Williams and Philips, while the neo tribe have names like Ponzi, Moser, and Kippenberg. I'd bet that dain is of English or Scots-Irish descent. This is precisely a fight between two tribes, each of which venerates their ancestors and denigrates those of the other tribe.

What can you mean by that other than what I suggested? You seem to be saying that your last names or "tribe" as you wish to call it gives you some precedence in defining what it is to be American--which, I can only guess from what you say--has largely to do with ancestry and other conditions of birth. Ponzis and Mosers and Knippenbergs, you suggest, must engage in mythology or join cults in order to feel a part of it. It appears that we are not "blood of the blood" or "flesh of the flesh" in your view and nothing can ever so qualify us.

Flannery's multiculturalism essay is of vast importance to the question of immigration. The blind acceptance of multiculturalism is exactly the thing (along with, as you rightly point out--the overwhelming numbers of immigrants from one or another country) that has made the task of assimilating them so darn difficult. Sowell made the same point in the essay you linked. Flannery elaborated the point. My other point in posting it was by way of gentle suggestion. But because my gentle suggestion was not understood I will remove my glove. I believe the flaw in the thinking of multiculturalists is very similar to the flaw of those who argue for the supremacy of culture over reason. You keep suggesting that I see no relevance in culture and that I am some kind of pie in the sky idealist wishing to change the world. I am no such thing and I wish no such thing. I would, of course, like to live to see the world change and point more obviously in the direction of reason. But only God could make that happen. It is not given to me or even to our fine country to make that happen. I am under no illusions about the global prospects. Culture matters. It explains why most places in this world are not fit for human habitation. It is one of those stubborn facts that must be taken into account in any rough approximation toward an idea of what is good. But culture is very, very far from being destiny. You guys were right (but so was Angelo Codevilla in the CRB) to point out the folly of expecting the Iraqis so long accustomed to despotism to willingly and totally embrace freedom. I never liked the idea of calling our mission in Iraq "Iraqi Freedom"--I always thought it should be about securing our freedom. On the other hand, I see no reason why an Iraqi who is sufficiently unencumbered by the relics of his past cannot embrace the principles of our republic and become a good--or even better--American than those of us who happen to be born here (with or without DAR papers). But I also have no problem with setting reasonable limitations on the numbers or quality of those we admit to our country to try it.

But our common human nature is primary and more instructive about what is good for us. Our cultural differences are perhaps very interesting and they are certainly important reminders of the limitations we set upon ourselves in the pursuit of that good.

With gloves off, let me say finally that your reflexive embrace of culture is not too dissimilar from that of the multi-culturalists. You differ with them, of course, because you do not embrace all cultures but rather promote yours over all. But you seem to agree with them about the primacy and importance of culture. My problem with multiculturalism, like yours, is that I see the folly in suggesting that all cultures should be held in equal esteem. You point out that it is folly because people will not embrace all cultures in any meaningful way and every "tribe" will necessarily favor his own. That is true as far as it goes (and I know that it goes very far), but it still doesn't go far enough. I say people should not embrace all cultures and, further, that they should question their own. As I said above (when I prompted you to call me a Kumbaya-singing-universalist and idealist) I think it is folly because not every tribe's culture deserves to be held in equal esteem. Some cultures are pretty bad. Some are downright horrific. Even the best of them are hugely imperfect. Cultures (and may I say that I don't really like that word--shouldn't culture imply something higher like the attainment of music and art?) should be acknowledged and, where appropriate, celebrated. But it is slavish and beneath the dignity of a human being to bind oneself to the limitations and necessary ignorance that permeates all cultures. A culture should be judged against some standard. What I like in America is the standard. That, more than our culture, has made us great. That standard has, in fact, shaped our culture and made it preferable to all the others in most respects. But our culture is also comprised of our weaknesses, our limitations, and our foibles. It is not, in itself, a fair assessment of that standard. I could quote someone who said it better . . . but I won't go there!

Julie - Well done.

Well [sniff, sniff], I guess you put me in my place! I'm the knuckle-dragging ethnocentric barbarian, joined at the hip to the multiculturalist crazies. I need to evolve, I suppose.

OK, Ponzi, let's really take the gloves off. You say you like America because it offers some "standard" to judge culture by. What are these standards you refer to? Human rights? Belief in democracy? Gender equality...what? Whatever they are, THEY ARE A PRODUCT OF WESTERN CULTURE, and some quite specific to NW European "culture" (which isn't just music, etc. -- it involves a worldview and template for social life...geez). Would you preserve this or not? Your assumption that these cultural standards of ours are universalist --nonsense. But, oh, that's right, you really aren't a "pie-in-the-sky idealist." Chortle.

You are correct that we have something in common with the multiculturalists. What that movement is REALLY about is gaining power for certain groups by leveraging "white guilt" into some really suicidal policies for the majority group). Your defense against this assault (i.e., insisting that we have a system that stands ABOVE culture, and that everything should be culture-blind) is both specious and ineffective. It denies the enormous staying power of ethnic bonds (see below), and it lulls otherwise good Americans into a state of complacent decadence. If we have a link to the multiculturalists, YOU have a link to Robspierre and the Leftists (i.e., that ideology can and should overcome primordial solidarities). I submit that both stances have led to a goodly amount of "ugliness."

You see, Julie, your claim that we have a common human nature that transcends culture is highly ironic. It is our nature to divide ourselves into tribes...this is undeniable. Ironically, if some humans were less "human" that others, your ideological "fix" would stand a better chance. Unfortunately, out-grouping etc. is HARDWIRED, and from very early in our evolutionary history.

To make my point, our ancestral country is Great Britain, but even there being "British" as an identity is
dying. And what are people substituting? Some Pan-Euro identity perhaps? Nope...they are becoming Englishman again, Welshman again, Scotsman again. Now, maybe America will escape this kind of collapse, but I doubt it. We have our Italian Pride Days, or St. Patty's Days, our Cinco de Mayo, our Martin Luther King Day, etc. Yea, sure, innocent celebration of culture...don't fool yourself. These are IMPORTANT secondary identities which, with just a little sociological shift, can reassert themselves as primary identities. Such diversity is not strength...it is like a controlled nuclear reaction. Powerful, yes, and useful at times, but also prone to blow up in your face.

What people like me are asking for is NOT some kind of ethnic cleansing. All we want is people like you to understand that ethnicity cannot easily to "disappeared," and that it needs to be an explicit part of our immigration policies. Without guilt or shame, we should severely restrict immigration, with bias towards those who will NOT add to our "diversity." It's a simple idea, and it's a practical idea, and before 1965 it was the policy of this country.

OK, trolls and mobys, come on out of the woodwork and call me your names. Makes me no nevermind.

dain - The issue is well joined, without your sense of victimhood. No need to expect name-calling. Your point is clear (for you, a limitation in numbers is insufficient), and I look forward to Julie's next installment.

My "victimhood" on this blog is a real phenomenon, Steve. Also, the troll meter is active on the blogs today (several threads have been soiled). Just trying to preempt the process if possible.

There are some very odd understandings of what "culture" means running around here.

From the Merriam-Webster dictionary;

the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations b : the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also : the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time c : the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization d : the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic

There is no such thing as being "beyond culture". If you have a certain set of attitudes, beliefs, and traits which you share with other people, then you have a culture. Julie has a culture. She does in fact believe in the primacy and importance of her culture, her ideas, just as eveyone else does. For some reason she imagines here culture to be qualitatively different from and superior to all others. Who does that remind me of?

I do believe you posted this: I can't help noticing that the paleo tribe all have names like Williams and Philips, while the neo tribe have names like Ponzi, Moser, and Kippenberg. I'd bet that dain is of English or Scots-Irish descent. This is precisely a fight between two tribes, each of which venerates their ancestors and denigrates those of the other tribe.

What can you mean by that other than what I suggested? You seem to be saying that your last names or "tribe" as you wish to call it gives you some precedence in defining what it is to be American--which, I can only guess from what you say--has largely to do with ancestry and other conditions of birth. Ponzis and Mosers and Knippenbergs, you suggest, must engage in mythology or join cults in order to feel a part of it. It appears that we are not "blood of the blood" or "flesh of the flesh" in your view and nothing can ever so qualify us.

You really need to work on that paranoia thing. You seem to be saying that your last names or "tribe" as you wish to call it gives you some precedence in defining what it is to be American. I have not told you my last name, or my tribe. I observed that the "paleos" seem to be mostly of English and Scots-Irish descent, and the "neos" of Southern European and Jewish descent. I observed that you detest each other, each considering the other "not really American". Your own comments on this thread (and others) make it pretty clear that this IS how you yourself feel.

Although you don't seem to realise it, the fact that you feel the way you do undermines your theory. People of different cultures DO tend to dislike each other.

Tancredo - DJ's.

Politicians regularly appear on radio and TV shows. It is how they communicate with the people in our mass media age. Dick Cheney appearing on CBS does not mean he thinks Bush was AWOL from TANG. All sorts of prominent people appeared on Imus over the years. It does not mean they think the Rutgers women are "nappy headed ho's".

I should not have to explain this.

I've gone through the Flannery piece more carefully, looking for anything that seems to contradict my own position, which Julie seems to think is there.

What I find instead is pretty solid agreement with what I believe, and a refutation of what Steve Thomas and some others here think. Most notably;

The more tepid multiculturalists say that teaching "American culture" is fine and proper, adding merely that American culture is defined by unqualified openness to all cultures. These are the ones who chant that it is "Diversity" that unifies us; and in a meeting of professional "educators" no one laughs or raises a puzzled eyebrow. The more ardent multiculturalists not only denounce the emphasis on Western civilization as bad but denounce Western civilization and its American variety as uniquely evil in themselves.

The view being mocked here is not one I hold, but I've seen Steve make exactly this argument in exactly these "unity in diversity" words. But let me find something to object to in what Flannery writes.

Inherent in the idea of cultural relativism is the idea that culture, race, or ancestry (feminist multiculturalists throw in gender) determines our ideas. Our minds, that is, are locked inside our skins, and the gulf between races or cultures is unbridgeable. There is no such thing as human reason capable of grasping any part of objective moral truth (which also doesn't exist)

Flannery here makes the same mistake Julie does. Culture does no lock our minds inside our skin. Culture simply means those ideas which a group of people share in common. Up until the age of mass communication shared ideas were held by people in close physical proximity with each other, hence the close coupling of race, ancestry, and culture. In the age of public education, radio, TV and the Internet that connection has been weakened, leading to greater intermixing of different cultures.

America began with a ringing affirmation of a fundamental moral and political truth: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights." Certainly, here was no appeal to skin color or ethnicity.

True, this is not an appeal to a particular skin color or ethnicity. But it is an appeal to a particular set of beliefs and ideas, to a particular culture. The idea that all men are created equal is not true in any scientific sense. It is not accepted by most people in the world, and perhaps not by most people in America. The "certain inalienable rights" which Americans possess are an artifact of their own distinct culture.

Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln ...believed themselves to have the high honor of securing and transmitting imperfectly and in one small place a universal inheritance, the birthright of all humanity.

Lincoln seems to have believed this. It's a stretch to say that Washington or Jefferson did. Assuming they did believe it, these three men did not found America. I can quote Founders who scoffed at the idea that all men are created equal. And even assuming that every single Founder thought this way, the employment of our reason (which Flannery speaks highly of) would indicate that we should not agree with them.

The besetting fault of Enlightenment liberal thought was and is the notion that "human nature" can be discerned by observing the customs and beliefs of a particular group of people at a particular place and time - namely Christian and neo-Christian Western Europeans of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The ideas and beliefs of that set of people were never shared by humanity at large. To an increasing extent, they are not even shared by modern Westerners.

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