Saturday, August 15, 2009

Europe: our past and our future

Mark Steyn discusses a new book by Chris Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West. Their words, while pertaining to Europe, speak to our situation in the US.
[D]ecades of multiculti squeamishness have stripped us even of a language with which to discuss the subject. What benefit is it to France or French taxpayers to fund Islamic welfare imams? To pose the question is to miss the point. If you believe in mass immigration, you do so because it’s a talisman of your own moral virtue. [Emphasis mine -- PHG] If the economic argument for immigration is reductive even when it’s not plain deluded, the psychological one is not to be disdained. On the one hand, mass immigration is the price posterity levies on old-school imperialists: “They are here because we were there,” as they say in the Netherlands. But, if like Sweden you never had an imperialist bone in your body, they’re still here: “They are poor because we are rich.” And, if you’re a small urbanized nation like the Netherlands, the “challenge” of immigration is just the usual frictions that occur when people from the countryside—in this case, the Moroccan countryside—move to the cities.

So it’s the consequence of your urban planning, or your colonialism, or your wealth, or just plain you. We’ll blame anything rather than confront the central truth—that when an old, relatively unicultural society admits in a short space of time a large, young, fecund population from somewhere else, you are setting in motion a process of transformation. Caldwell asks the obvious question—“Can you have the same Europe with different people?” and gives the obvious answer: no. “Europe is not welcoming its newest residents but making way for them.”

"If you believe in mass immigration, you do so because it's a talisman of your own moral virtue."

Hauntingly true words, those.

They remind me of a discussion I had with two friends a while back about this issue. Both of them are dyed-in-the-wool Liberals and, as is often the case with such folks, pretty strong America haters. We were talking about the issue of immigration, and I was making the case that the US has no obligation to let anyone in at all. They disagreed, citing America's long history of growth through immigration. I asked them, point blank, if they thought America has the right to control its own borders -- like literally every other country in the world does. Neither of them hesitated in telling me "No."

America as a nation is unique in world history. It's a country unified in part by a set of principles and ideals, not just on a culture. But it has a culture, and before the '60s Americans expected all visitors to acclimate themselves to that culture. That stopped being the case in 1964, however, and since then the massive waves of immigration have lacked the raison d'etre of previous waves. Instead of people coming to America to become Americans, as in the past, we have people coming to America to be Mexicans or Dominicans or Haitians. America the country is disintegrating. To people like my friends, however -- who view massive immigration as an end in itself that requires no justification -- this state of affairs is positive.

In Europe, we see the results of such thinking that are much further along than they are here. We are being warned. Will we heed the warning?

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