Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Kotkin on the multiculturalism of the streets

Basing his argument in part on the past successes of the marketplace in assimilating and "Americanizing" immigrants, Joel Kotkin is sanguine about our multicultural future. I’m encouraged, but wish that he had addressed the big difference between 19th and 20th century immigration, on the one hand, and the 21st century version, on the other. What happens when it’s easy to move back and forth between the old country and the new one. When my dad moved to California from the Netherlands in 1950, he knew that getting back home would be a rare event (though, thanks to the U.S. Army, it happened sooner than he anticipated). Now, there’s much more travel and communication, which makes for a somewhat weaker incentive to give oneself wholly to one’s new home.

Discussions - 2 Comments

The world of 2006 is too different from the world of 1906 to make easy comparisons re: immigration. Those who say our huge immigration 100 years ago turned out fine must take into account not only the difficulty of coming to America and of going back home in 1906, but much else that existed then and has badly attenuated since. Especially the assimilationist pressures exerted by a self-confident mainstream culture. There is really nothing comparable in the U.S. today.

I agree...optimism in this instance is simply a fig leaf that Libertarians use to avoid the issue. We really must not listen to market-worshippers...they are as radical and the hard Left, and will destroy our society about as fast.

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