Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Jonah Goldberg’s seismic (?) shift on immigration and the American identity

Our friendly neighborhood paleocon (and I do mean friendly) wonders whether the neocon Trotskyite internationalist lapdog (have I left any terms of opprobrium out?) Jonah Goldberg is beginning to see paleo reason.

Jonah can, of course, speak for himself. My own view is that a nation that defines itself in terms of the Declaration of Independence and celebrates a conscious act of founding (as we will tomorrow) can’t simply be a "normal" country. (Given its revolutionary heritage--at odds with certain of its other elements--I’m not sure France can be either.) There is no American ethnos, no sense of American autochthony. There are American principles (to which our most cosmopolitan fellow citizens--if we can still call them that--no longer subscribe) that we say are accessible to anyone anywhere. (I hasten to add that that doesn’t mean that we should impose them by force anywhere or that anyone anywhere will inevitably and/or immediately embrace them.) Anyone can become an American. Not just Europeans like my dad and mom, or my friend Peter Schramm, but also the Asian kids adopted into families I know and the myriad patriotic Japanese- and Chinese-Americans with whom I’m acquainted. And Dikembe Mutombo too. I don’t have to offer an exhaustive list for you to get my drift.

This is not to say that America doesn’t have a regime (in the Aristotelian sense) and that there doesn’t have to be an effort at civic education.

And, above all, that current conditions make educating citizens challenging. Let me just mention a few points in this connection. First, there’s much more mobility now--more traveling back and forth to the old country--than there was even a generation ago. People used to kiss their homes goodbye, to return maybe once or twice after many years in America. Now they are constantly returning, which makes it easier to keep up old habits and old allegiances, harder and less necessary to pick up new ones. Second, our elites have less confidence in America and the American way (the "habits of the heart" about which many have written) and hence they’re more reluctant to promote them. The only American principle they’ll admit is toleration of differences, upon which they have a hard time insisting in the face of the obdurate differences they say they respect and tolerate. (Well, that’s not entirely true: they’d be happy to marginalize religious conservatives, if only they could. But I digress.)

Finally, to the degree that we’re in a post-literate society with a diversity of non-verbal sources of information and "cultural niches" in which people can immerse themselves, it’s hard to inculcate anyone, whether native-born or immigrant. (Not impossible: every schoolchild appears to know lots about Martin Luther King, Jr. But, again, I digress.)

I propose this as the beginning of a list of differences between our current circumstances and, let’s say, the circumstances a century ago. What think and say you, gentle and not-so-gentle readers?

Update: On education and American identity, we could do much worse than to read this by Bill Bennett and this by Richard Reeb.

Discussions - 33 Comments

Joe: You forgot Jacobin.

I can't speak for Jonah either, of course, but I question the notion that those who subscribe to America's founding principles as articulated in the Declaration must, thereby, reject the common sense that is manifest in a good number of the "paleo" arguments. I think there is room for much overlap. Not everything they say is wrong; indeed, much of it is very good and sensible on its face. You just can't scratch its surface too hard or force it to defend its first principles before the bar of reason. It's also not going to win any rhetorical or popularity contests in the near future. Whether they like it or not, the paleos need us (now more than ever) if they want to see any kind of serious rejection of creeping socialism and cultural decay. Paleos will never get what they believe to be a "normal" country but they may find that they'll have a much better country if they hitch a ride with us and simply agree to disagree (discreetly) about the Declaration and the Civil War (if they must). It would be better for them if they could be persuaded--if not on the basis of the principles--at least from the point of view of utility. It seems to confound some paleos to see those of us who embrace the Declaration or the "propositions" in it also embracing an understanding of community that is not pure "idea" but grounded in an understanding of and sympathy for the facts (and even, sometimes, the prejudices) on the ground. I think, perhaps, they are forgetting the question of role of prudence and statesmanship in politics.

Julie, who says it has to be defended before the bar of reason? It certainly can be, but that idea is part of the problem. Perhaps there is a "better guide."



Dr. K., Goldberg deserves credit for saying the obvious, but that allegedly can't be said. I really do think this is a significant concession. One that Frum has borderline made, and the boys at Front Page have been making for a long time. (Primarily for their own reason of wishing to exclude Muslims.)



I have maintained all along that the opposition to the immigration bill was as heated as it was because of the underlying issue of demographic transformation. You can't get Americans excited about much of anything except jailed celebrities, but the calls, faxes, and e-mails were flying in on this issue like no other. I never believed that the primary issue was law and order (legal vs. illegal), security or economics and when people would bring up issue like TB I would just laugh. In fact the denials that it was about demographics were good evidence that it was. As they say in my business, "Beware of the unsolicited denial." Not that people were being disingenuous, they have just learned consciously and unconsciously to play the game.



All this was talking around the issue. A huge demographic transformation, from 90% white in 1960 to possibly less than 50% in the next 50 years can not be an incidental and inconsequential issue.



Julie, non-paleos (neo and otherwise mainstream) can help us (and the Country) by providing ground cover, and not getting hysterical when the issue of demographics is brought up. Even if we ultimately place different weights on the principle vs. particularist arguments, it has never been helpful for mainstreamers to carry water for the PC/multicult crowd. (As Goldberg himself did in the past.) You can not wish the particularist stuff away. It amounts to colossal (and dangerous) wishful thinking.



Dr. K., America can never be entirely "normal" in that we are a colonial nation planted here. (Like Australia and New Zealand can never be "normal.") But we have never been as exceptional as some people would like to believe. America does (or did?) have an ethnos. We are a British colonial nation, and primarily a Protestant one. (The old liberal Huntington concedes that.) There is a lot of evidence that the Founding Fathers and the Founding Stock were highly self conscious of their heritage, and virtually no evidence that they were even mild multicultists in the modern sense.



More later.

My own view is that a nation that defines itself in terms of the Declaration of Independence and celebrates a conscious act of founding (as we will tomorrow) can’t simply be a "normal" country.

A great many countries celebrate a "conscious act of founding". In fact I'd say that those that do not are in a minority.

There is no American ethnos, no sense of American autochthony.

The Founders and de Tocqueville thought differently.

There are American principles (to which our most cosmopolitan fellow citizens--if we can still call them that--no longer subscribe) that we say are accessible to anyone anywhere.

We don't say that. You do. The logical outcome of your chosen way of looking at the world is that many people who just happen to have been born in AMerica are not "really" American, while many people who have never set foot in America really are American. As I've pointed out before, this is a quasi-religious view-point on your part, and not one which can ever lead to a happy outcome, for anyone.

Anyone can become an American.

Word games and sematics. You expend a good deal of effort in devising a definition of "American" which will allow anyone in the world to call themselves American, then announce your starting axiom as your conclusion.

And, above all, that current conditions make educating citizens challenging.

After expending all that energy in claiming that Americans are born American, just sometimes in the the wrong country, you now wish to argue that citizens are "made" in some fashion, just like everywhere else in the world?

John Jay.

It has often given me pleasure to observe that independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected, fertile, widespreading country was the portion of our western sons of liberty. Providence has in a particular manner blessed it with a variety of soils and productions, and watered it with innumerable streams, for the delight and accommodation of its inhabitants. A succession of navigable waters forms a kind of chain round its borders, as if to bind it together; while the most noble rivers in the world, running at convenient distances, present them with highways for the easy communication of friendly aids, and the mutual transportation and exchange of their various commodities.

With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people -- a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.

This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.

Try as you might, you will look long and hard outside the writings of Harry Jaffa for any evidence that this country was founded on the ideas which you espouse.

How about a nation "conceived in liberty" and "dedicated to a proposition"? How about Bill Bennett's story about Washington's toleration of Catholics, not to mention his embrace of Jews?

I'll see your John Jay and raise you a bunch of George Washingtons. Consider, for example, this

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

Toleration is not the issue, is it? In fact, you could argue that a self confident majority in a self consciously majority society is more able to be tolerant. For Washington for example, who lived in an obviously British, Protestant society, there is no threat in tolerating Catholics and Jews. (Toleration being used in the original sense, not the PC sense).It is when that self confident majority starts to either fear for or be ashamed of its status that different religions and ethnicities become a perceived threat. That Washington or anyone else is tolerant of others is entirely commendable. But that is not the same thing as saying that America wouldn't fundamentally change if it became significantly less of what it is, white/Christian/etc.



Personally, I think it is less inflammatory to speak in terms of what America is (was?) instead of what an American is. Then you avoid the "Are you saying that person X isn't/can't be a good American" issue. That is very much at the micro level.



America was a British colonial nation, primarily Protestant, had a frontier, had abundant natural resources, was separated by two vast oceans, etc. I do not think you can separate what America was from all those factors. Indeed, why would anyone even feel the need to?



The default should be to assume that America is normal, and there should be a rather substantial burden of proof to prove it is exceptional. Especially to prove that it is that exceptional. "Alone in the history of the world" type thing.



I don't think that can just be asserted, and it can't just be hung on a few words of flowery rhetoric.

"How about a nation 'conceived in liberty' and 'dedicated to a proposition'? How about Bill Bennett's story about Washington's toleration of Catholics, not to mention his embrace of Jews?" - Joe

How 'bout "We the people, in order to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity," with extra emphasis on "our posterity"?

How about the countless other quotes and actions by numerous founding fathers, including undeniably the most visionary - Franklin, Jefferson - had regarding mass immigration and assimilation?

A nation "conceived in liberty" and "dedicated to a proposition" is not incompatible with a nation that does not support mass immigration, especially of those who do not/cannot assimilate. If a nation has a dogmatic basis, does that give you the right to excommunicate those who do not tow the line? And if you can't dismiss the heretics, what reasonable claim can you make to having a nation based on an idea?

"How about a nation 'conceived in liberty' and 'dedicated to a proposition'? How about Bill Bennett's story about Washington's toleration of Catholics, not to mention his embrace of Jews?" - Joe

How 'bout We the people, in order to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, with extra emphasis on our posterity? How about the countless other quotes and actions by numerous founding fathers, including undeniably the most visionary - Franklin, Jefferson - made regarding mass immigration and assimilation?

A nation "conceived in liberty" and "dedicated to a proposition" is not incompatible with a nation that does not support mass immigration, especially of those who do not/cannot assimilate. If a nation has a dogmatic basis, does that give you the right to excommunicate those who do not tow the line? And if you can't dismiss the heretics, what reasonable claim can you make to having a nation based on an idea?

All this was talking around the issue. A huge demographic transformation, from 90% white in 1960 to possibly less than 50% in the next 50 years can not be an incidental and inconsequential issue. - Dan Phillips

A demographic transformation unprecedented in history, and happening not only in the United States but in Canada, Australia, Great Britain, and nearly every other nation of the white Western world. A demographic transformation that is irreversible. A demographic transormation not being undertaken by any other nation that is not ethnically European.

I have often wondered: "How would a person from India or Mexico or Korea or China respond if their country were undergoing such a change?" If you hooked them up to a polygraph and asked them how they'd feel, what would be the result?

Korea, India, Israel and Japan, at least, all have immigration policies that are very restrictive towards those who aren't "one of us."

Craig,

If you spent any time on this site, you'd know that I favor a restrictive immigration policy, on both national security and civic education grounds. I don't care where my fellow Americans are from, so long as they are here legally and they have been inculcated in citizenship.

I don't regard any of the countries you mentioned as models for a multiethnic liberal democracy, or even a liberal democracy simply, though India comes closest.

Craig, If you spent any time on this site, you'd know that I favor a restrictive immigration policy, on both national security and civic education grounds. - Joe

Yes, I am a newcomer. Call me an "immigrant."

I don't care where my fellow Americans are from, so long as they are here legally and they have been inculcated in citizenship.

It's nice to say you don't care where they're from, but reality does intrude. Terrorism does seem to be more common in one group than in others. Since we can't do a brain scan at entry to weed out all potential terrorists, is a blanket ban acceptable there? Leftists will protest, but I find discrimination against potential immigrants more desirable than the police state/prison camp reality we've selected by default.

And ignore terrorism. Focus on politics instead. It is likely that our present rate of immigration will change our political course in the decades to come. Allowing in 10 million Hispanics, who typically vote 2-1 Democrat, will alter our political policies, in some ways substantially. Am I allowed to deny entry to those whose presence may result in policy choices I don't like? Am I allowed to prefer an immigrant demographic which votes 60-40 Republican over one that votes 70-30 Democrat?

You can ignore the consequences of that kind of idealism - but the consequences won't ignore you.

How about a nation "conceived in liberty" and "dedicated to a proposition"?

I think that this sort of extremely selective use of snippets of longer sentences is part of the problem.

Lets look at the famous "all men are created equal" phrase. Set aside for the moment that this is extracted from a much longer compound sentence of which it is only a small part. In the context of the time and place in which it was written, it was a repudiation of the ideas of inherited class and of monarchy. That is all it was. Fast forward to the present and we see this phrase being used to advance a very different idea - that all men are equally admissible into the Sacred Cult that is America, if they will only accept its equivelant of The Confiteor.


I've read the Washington quote you offer a few times and don't see how it says what you want it to say. It certainly does not show him claiming that all that is neccessary to be an American is assert ones adherence to some nebulous concepts.

Here is Alexander Hamilton on the dangers of immigration.

The United States have already felt the evils of incorporating a large number of foreigners into their national mass; by promoting in different classes different predilections in favor of particular foreign nations, and antipathies against others, it has served very much to divide the community and to distract our councils. It has been often likely to compromise the interests of our own country in favor of another. The permanent effect of such a policy will be, that in times of great public danger there will be always a numerous body of men, of whom there may be just grounds of distrust; the suspicion alone will weaken the strength of the nation, but their force may be actually employed in assisting an invader.

John,

Does not the Washington quote mean that there is not a "religious test" for citizenship, as there is not for office-holding? That isn't to say that there are not some understandings of religion in accordance with which one could not in "good conscience" be an American citizen.

Craig,

While I'm willing to take national security into account when I "make" immigration policy, it is, I submit, "un-American" to take expected partisanship into account. I'd also argue that it's folly to do so, especially since, er, people change. If you had to go by current adherents of the two big "founding denominations"--Anglicans/Episcopalians and Congregationalists--you'd find that they vote in increasing proportions for Democratic candidates. The biggest change has occurred among those consarned Catholics, who have gone from overwhelmingly supporting Democrats to being the quintessential swing voters and to providing a good bit of the intellectual heft behind some versions of conservatism (though these are versions I expect you don't like). And one last thing on that: the upholders of traditional Anglicanism are much more likely to be found in Africa than in the U.S.

John



"In the context of the time and place in which it was written, it was a repudiation of the ideas of inherited class and of monarchy. That is all it was."



I am not even sure it was that. Monarchy probably. Inherited, titled Aristocracy probably. But not class. But in the context what Jefferson was likely asserting was the political equality of Colonists to British Islanders.

Excellent points, Craig and Dan.

While I'm willing to take national security into account when I "make" immigration policy, it is, I submit, "un-American" to take expected partisanship into account. I'd also argue that it's folly to do so, especially since, er, people change.

So long as the state has a right to pick our pockets as much as it wants, it is perfectly acceptable (and smart) to consider the political inclinations of potential citizens.

True, it is difficult to do so, but that doesn't free you of the obligation to make your best effort. Immigration is akin to marriage: we are, almost literally, marrying our descendants to the descendants of the new immigrants.

"I don't regard any of the countries you mentioned as models for a multiethnic liberal democracy, or even a liberal democracy simply, though India comes closest."



Here is where we bump up against that liberal conservative/conservative liberal impasse. I am not sure I want to be a model of a multiethnic liberal democracy, and I am not sure why I should want to be. I don't think that was ever the intent of the FFs. A certain underlying homogeneity was, I believe, understood and often stated. I would say I am for an illiberal limited democracy.



I think the "founding" is a bit of a Rorschach test. People on all sides see in it what they want.

Dan,

Do my Jewish and Catholic friends not belong in America? Do my non-Anglo-Saxon (and at least culturally Catholic) parents not belong in America? (For what it's worth, my dad served 20 years in the Army, including a tour in Vietnam.) Does Clarence Thomas not belong in America? How about my Asian-American friends, some of whom are card-carrying conservatives? How about Dinesh D'Souza? What about my former student Adam Ruiz, once an Army Ranger and now a prosecutor in South Florida?

Do my Jewish and Catholic friends not belong in America? Do my non-Anglo-Saxon parents not belong in America?...Does Clarence Thomas not belong in America? How about my Asian-American friends, some of whom are card-carrying conservatives? How about Dinesh D'Souza? What about my former student Adam Ruiz, once an Army Ranger and now a prosecutor in South Florida?

Joe,

Of course they belong here. I don't think Dan was suggesting that. Among other things, the question is one of numbers and rates. To see the way that America has been transformed in such an amazingly short period of time is mindboggling.

It is entirely un-PC to say, but you cannot ignore the fact that some groups assimilate better than others. People ARE different. Blacks have been free for 140 years, and yet there is still a vast cultural, political and educational gap between them and whites.

You're also trying to sneak by the moral superiority argument. Adam Ruiz, Dinesh D'Souza, Clarence Thomas, and so on are the best examples of how people assimilate. What about the worst? Why not cite Cho Seung Hui or John Lee Malvo or Mohammed Atta?

As I pointed out above, it says something that should worry us that the same countries that are the source of so much immigration TO the West have often gone to great pains to ban immigration FROM the West. India has an Indians-only policy, for example, despite being one of the largest sources of immigration to the West.

And what of these ethnocentric political and economic organizations by so many Asian and Hispanic groups in the US - groups that have never suffered any real oppression in the US?

I think we can't ignore the importance of Jonah Goldberg's column. It was, in a sense, a "Dan Quayle is Right" moment, published in the most mainstream and least offensive (to liberals) of newspapers: USA Today.

Suddenly the respectable elites are acknowledging arguments that hoi polloi have been making for a very long time. I've been reading Jonah for years, and he's never gone anywhere near this far in admitting there's an immigration problem. He acknowledges that cultural issues matter. He even implicitly makes the argument that maybe there's just too much immigration, period. Wow.

This could easily mark the turning point in the debate over illegal AND legal immigration.

Professor Knippenberg -- So, it's un-American to defend our liberty by means of immigration restriction, even if a good case can be made that mass immigration is making the Democratic party irreversibly predominant? In short: Let America go, because to defend it would be un-American? Is this logical?

19: Craig, you are right to point out the absurdity of arguing from individual examples. Likewise, supporters of mass immigration will cite the Einsteins, etc., as if this proves anything at all.

Let's not confuse the argument for "underlying homogeneity" with an argument against Jews and Catholics, let alone an argument against one's "Jewish and Catholic friends." This is unworthy of NLT. Let the MSM and the lefties have this kind of thing. It's their stock in trade, and shouldn't be ours.

Craig, you are right to point out the absurdity of arguing from individual examples. Likewise, supporters of mass immigration will cite the Einsteins, etc., as if this proves anything at all. - David

It demonstrates the double standard of the open borders advocates: you can claim that immigrants are morally superior to Americans, but don't cite any data whatsoever that might prove otherwise, or you'll be called a racist.

But data on higher rates of crime or illegitimacy are irrelevant to me. Two things matter most: 1) numbers of immigrants; and 2) assimilability.

Unless they have some better political tradition to impart to us, immigrants need to assimilate to America's political tradition. When immigration heavily favors one party over another, you know we've got problems. When Chinese immigrants in British Columbia are trying to form their own political party, you know we've got problems. That doesn't even get into organizations like La Raza, MALDEF, or whatever.

The other part is numbers. 1.6 million immigrants a year is too many, no matter where they're coming from. How long can such levels be sustained without serious damage to our quality of life or to our political institutions? Would you be comfortable with that level of immigration for 100 years, or even 50? Well, we've already had it for at least 30.

Not long ago I was flipping through my trusty World Almanac, and came upon a section listing notable inventions, their inventors, and the inventors' nationality. It was interesting the number of important inventions that Americans - non-immigrant Americans - had made. Immigrants may add alot to American competitiveness, but still we were doing quite well even before the Great Wave of the late 1800s.

As another example, it's often claimed (or implied: see Adam Ruiz, above) that Hispanics join the military out of all proportion to their numbers. However in the 1980s, before the latest wave of Latin immigration, the USA had no problem manning an Army of 750,000. Today, 60 million people later, we're struggling to keep less than 530,000 men in the Army (and that's after lowering the standards and raising the pay). Where are all the patriotic Hispanics?

Is Craig suggesting in #19 that the worst problem Cho Seung Hui, John Lee Malvo and Mohammed Atta had was that they were poster boys of non-assimilation? Craig, are you suggesting that their killing comes from their refusal to assimilate? If you are, I think they are laughing at you from hell. You can't have it both ways. If assimilation won't solve all the problems you have with immigration, then you can't also blame non-assimilation for the problems you have with particularly heinous immigrants. And what is the cause of all the murderous acts committed by native born and even ANGLO SAXON Americans? Are these folks also not properly assimilated? Or are they just good old-fashion evil bastards?

As for your legitimate points made in your last post; we do have a problem when so many immigrants tend to favor only one political party or seem to want to insert some kind of exclusive culturally-based political party into our system. That is explained quite easily however. We have taught them to do this. We reward it. Whatever may be lacking in terms of manly democratic spirit among the new waves of immigrants cannot be fortified by the pabulum we Americans offer in our schools or in the majority of what passes today for political discourse. If you want to know who or what is killing American culture and community, I will tell you: it is we Americans. If we weren't doing such a bang-up job of wrecking America's legacy on our own, I doubt very much that we'd have had the kind of revolt against immigration that we've seen in the last few months.

Yes. These numbers would be a problem from anywhere.

I've been on the road (to S.C.) and so have been unable to respond. I'm not arguing in favor of unlimited immigration. Indeed, I think the difficulties of effective civic education (as Julie points out) are such that we absolutely have to get a handle on the numbers. But I don't think that ethnicity or religion are simply the bases of "Americanism"; the issue isn't race or religion, it's how we educate people to the self-evident truths.

It goes without saying, however, that we must be especially careful about admitting folks from parts of the world where some wish to destroy us.

It would appear that our paleocon friends want things both ways. Either to be American is a matter of volk (race, ethnicity, etc.), or it's a matter of affirming self-evident truths. If it's the former, then D'Souza, Thomas, the Knippenbergs, or the baby daughter my wife and I are adopting from China can never be Americans. If it's the latter, they can.

And, as others have noted above, it's disingenuous to portray any of us as "open borders advocates." All of us at NLT have, to my knowledge, gone on record as supporting border security, and opposing the recent immigration bill.

Joe Kippenberg

Do my Jewish and Catholic friends not belong in America?

I thinks its pretty plain that their Jewishness and Catholicism ranks higher for you than their Americanism. And in fact that "Americanism" for you is a term largely devoid of any concrete meaning.

Since the rather dimwitted John Moser no doubt thinks that I am a "paleocon", let me inform you that I do not regard being American as being tied to "volk", race, or ethnicity. It is tied to culture though.

Is Craig suggesting in #19 that the worst problem Cho Seung Hui, John Lee Malvo and Mohammed Atta had was that they were poster boys of non-assimilation?

Ms. Ponzi, please. We can be civil. I am not suggesting that. I am suggesting that it's no more fair to use D'Souza or Ruiz as examples of the average "immigrant" than it is to use Malvo, Atta, et al.

As for your legitimate points made in your last post; we do have a problem when so many immigrants tend to favor only one political party or seem to want to insert some kind of exclusive culturally-based political party into our system. That is explained quite easily however. We have taught them to do this. We reward it.

You know that for a fact? You know that's the only reason - that "we reward it"? Would you wager your country's future on that explanation? Because that's exactly what you're doing.

But what if you're wrong?

Ethnocentric behavior has a long and distinguished career. Some suggest it even has a basis in biology. Democracy does not.

I wholly agree that we are not teaching today's schoolchildren a proper appreciation of American traditions. How do you expect to change that with more elected Democrats - which is the immediate result of the immigration of more Democrats?

By Mr. Knippenberg's own admittance, we are not even allowed to take such patterns into consideration, even if we migth suspect, with high certainty, that allowing in 20 million more immigrants from country X would lead to the immediate establishment of the worker's paradise.

Before we rush headlong into an untried, irreversible experiment, I suggest we discover if our hypothesis is true. Do all people assimilate equally to an acceptable understanding of America as a nation? Or will ethnic tensions, usually with an economic impetus, lead to ethnic conflict? It might be nice to know.

It goes without saying, however, that we must be especially careful about admitting folks from parts of the world where some wish to destroy us.

No - it goes with saying. Some of your American counterparts would have you beheaded for suggesting such a thing - or fired anyway. Even President Bush would disagree.

I'm not arguing in favor of unlimited immigration.

I know, understand, and appreciate that. It's just a discussion on the finer points of immigration policy.

John,

First and foremost, I'll thank you not to hurl insults at colleagues. I can disagree with you without insulting your intelligence, and I expect you to return the favor. (That, by the way, is one of the requisites of republican citizenship.)

Second, I wasn't the one who identified Americanism with Protestantism. My argument is that "Americanism" isn't tied to a race or religion. That it's available to anyone doesn't mean that we have to let everyone in. Rather, we have to ask what our country can effectively absorb.

And, finally, if the logic of immigration is tied to plausible predictions of immediate voting behavior, then it's not clear we can let anyone in. Well, maybe Margaret Thatcher and John Howard, as well as a few Albertans. Oops, that's too Anglospheric. There are probably a few Israelis who'd also fairly reliably vote Republican.

if the logic of immigration is tied to plausible predictions of immediate voting behavior, then it's not clear we can let anyone in. Well, maybe Margaret Thatcher and John Howard, as well as a few Albertans. Oops, that's too Anglospheric. There are probably a few Israelis who'd also fairly reliably vote Republican.

I think it demonstrates that we need a more balanced supply of immigrants. But, immediately, we need to dramatically stanch the flow from wherever. America needs time to absorb the last 42 years of immigration. We need time to consider its effect on our politics, economics, culture, environment, and quality of life.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field
 

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: http://nlt.ashbrook.org/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/10787