Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Did Someone Say "Citizenship"? They Should Check in With Our Fearless Leader Peter

Oddly missing for the most part from the whole immigration debate raging in Congress has been any serious talk of the civic nature of immigrants becoming citizens (or "assimilation" if you like). Sure, there have been one or two half-hearted amendments to recognize English as our official language (after which perhaps Congress will pass a resolution recognizing the law of gravity and observing that water runs downhill), but note that when Newt Gingrich stumbled over this he quickly apologized. In Spanish. Aside from a few good pieces from the Heritage Foundationl, there has been little attention paid to this.

The Senate ought to puase long enough to ponder Peter’s meditation in The Weekly Standard Online today, on "what it means to be an American by choice." Congratulations, by the way: Peter is receiving an award for this. Even if it is from the fedderal gummint, still a nice honor.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Kudos to Peter! A wonderful meditation and a great honor.

Illegality is a major issue, but the total amount of immigration, illegal and legal is an equally big issue. We have massive numbers of economically motivated immigrants, all at the same time, many of them barely literate in their own language, from a neighboring country where there is widespread tendency to detest the United States and to consider Mexico the rightful owner of the Southwest. This makes assimilation extremely difficult, and would even if we had intellectual clarity on the issue among our political leadership and other elites, and the right policies that would result therefrom. Those of us who are seriously concerned with assimilation must, ipso facto, concern ourselves seriously with reducing the numbers of immigrants, especially from Mexico.

Real conservative- I am not sure what you are trying to conserve. It certainly is not the American Revolution. While it is true the founders saw themselves as Englishmen fighting for their traditional English Rights, one cannot read the Declaration Of Independence as a proclaiming rights based on tradition or kith, kin, soil, and blood. It proclaims universal natural rights self-evident to all men no matter their race, creed, or ethnicity. True some races and creeds had more experience with the institutions necessary for self-government, but that does not mean that self-government is grounded in those things alone. When Hamilton began the great defense of the Constitution in Federalist 1, He says, if Americans failed at self-government, it would be to the general misfortune of mankind not just white Englishmen.

I understand your frustration with the utopian fantasies many people justify based on universal rights, but you misunderstand the founders when you speak of a nation founded on "kith, kin, blood, and soil."

That is simply an un-American idea.

Jamie and "Real Conservative," there is a middle way between the "proposition nation" thesis and the blood-and-soil nationalism that is a temptation among paleocons. See Russell Kirk's intelligent (though too-short) book, "America's British Culture."

Congratulations, Dr. Schramm! A very good article, and the award is well deserved.

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