Monday, September 06, 2010
Muslims and Hispanic illegals: Can we judge the present by the past?
I originally wrote the comments below for my IMMIGRATION WATCH blog but I think they have a place here too -- JR
It is generally true that the past is the best guide to the future that we have but that is not to say that it is always a good guide. Does anybody seriously think that (say) America of 100 years ago is the same as the America of today?
Yet by far the commonest argument coming from the Left about immigration in general and about Muslim immigrants in particular is precisely that America of today IS just like the America of 100 years ago. You can read the latest such article in the NYT (by Kristof). It is an argument so hackneyed by now that he could almost have written it in his sleep. Maybe he did.
The argument is that the Irish, Italians and others who came to America in the 19th century were viewed with grave suspicion by many and suffered from discrimination but in the end blended in seamlessly with Americans of other ancestries: The melting pot.
From that Kristoff and others conclude that Muslims will eventually "melt" into a homogeneous American population also. And perhaps many will. But there are two crucial difference that will at least greatly hinder full integration:
1). In the 19th and most of the 20th century, immigrants were EXPECTED to assimilate whereas these days multiculturalism reigns and the very word "assimilate" is almost an obscenity to the Left.
2). The Italians, Irish and Poles came from CHRISTIAN backgrounds so had a considerable degree of common culture with Americans originating from earlier waves of immigration. More to the point they did not come from a culture that DESPISES Christian and post-Christian civilization, whereas Muslims do.
It is a basic imperative of Islam to attack and if possible conquer other civilizations -- and they have been doing it more or less continuously ever since the conquests led by Mohammed himself. They were even attacking Christian targets at the time of America's War of Independence and President Jefferson sent warships to combat them.
So the wave of Muslim immigrants is a wave of people whose basic teachings are hostile to America. That has never happened before and therefore makes comparisons with previous immigrant waves invalid.
The controversy over the "Ground Zero" mosque in NYC has of course brought to the fore the question of how Americans should react to Muslims in their midst. I myself, as an Australian living in the happy obscurity of a small Australian city most people have never even heard of, have no dog in that fight. I think the response to the mosque proposal is for New Yorkers and New Yorkers alone to judge. But I don't think it is unreasonable for New Yorkers to be hostile to anything Muslim given the hostility of Islam to the West.
But Muslims are still a very small immigrant group in America and the long-standing argument about immigration to America is about Latino illegals, not Muslims. And here we see the same argument from the Left: People who arrived legally from Europe a century or so ago eventually assimilated so people who arrive illegally from Mexico (etc.) will also eventually assimilate. And no doubt many will and in fact many have already done so.
But arriving legally and arriving illegally are two very different things and Europe is also very different from Latin America. Europe is the fountainhead of modern civilization whereas Latin America is a civilizational backwater (to put it kindly). So once again there are large differences between earlier arrivals and recent ones that create considerable potential for outcomes different from what we have seen in the past.
And the omens for Hispanic illegals assimilating are not good. The children of Irish, Polish, Italian (etc.) legal immigrants became indistinguishable from other Americans but that is not so with the Hispanics. That Hispanics have a notably higher crime-rate than non-Hispanic whites is concern enough but their children are even worse, even more prone to criminality. As well as black gang-bangers America now has a proliferation of Hispanic gang bangers. Far from assimilating into the mainstream, the children of the illegals have moved even further away from it.
So once again the complexities of reality upset the simplistic theories of the Left. Neither in the case of Muslims nor in the case of Hispanic illegals can we expect the universal assimilation of the past. Permanently hostile subgroups are instead to be expected. Americans are right to be concerned about that.
More democracy needed
Yes, a divide exists. There are two Americas. Those who believe in the “wisdom of crowds” and those who believe in the wisdom of Washington elites. It is a much more meaningful dichotomy to examine than the two parties.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen seems to understand this best. His Rasmussen Reports polling company constantly asks questions the establishment polling outfits don’t. For one, he breaks down his poll respondents into the “Political Class” and “Mainstream Americans.”
Now, I’m not certain the three-question test he uses to separate folks into these groups is the absolute best way to do so, but one doesn’t have to buy into Rasmussen’s specific criteria to see that his general conception is an interesting prism through which to view politics.
Last month, by Rasmussen’s criteria, 67 percent of people in the “Political Class” said the country is headed in the right direction, while 84 percent of so-called Mainstream Americans said we’re headed the wrong way. Other Rasmussen surveys show similar massive chasms between the views of the Political Class and Mainstream Americans.
On Friday, Rasmussen Reports released polling showing that 71 percent of Americans support requiring a national vote to approve any changes in Social Security passed by Congress. When it comes to raising taxes 61 percent of us want a tax hike approved by Congress to go to a national vote to be approved or rejected by the people, with 33 in opposition.
A national vote? Those who believe “representative government” to be a device to get the unwashed masses arms-length or further from deciding any issue of governance will bemoan such a vote as unworkable and dangerous. Those who believe representative government is all about the people actually being represented will have no dilemma with allowing the people to represent themselves at the ballot box.
On the issue of a national vote there is again a stark difference of opinion between the Political Class, who oppose a public vote on changes to Social Security (60%) or on raising taxes (73%), and Mainstream Americans, who support a vote on entitlement changes (78%) and tax increases (72%).
Rasmussen Reports is ahead of the game in another way, too. He’s been tracking the key political question of all: Does our government have the consent of the governed?
The answer in July was that 23 percent of us feel the government has that consent; 62 percent believe it does not. That’s actually an improvement from February, when only 21 percent felt the government possessed public consent.
Obviously, we don’t trust our government. Just as obviously, we shouldn’t. Our government must earn our trust. Politicians can start this process by trusting the wisdom and common sense of the people.
Last January, I suggested a three-issue commitment all candidates worthy of support should have no difficulty embracing: support for term limits, ballot initiative and referendum, and transparency. Political leaders capable of representing Mainstream Americans must (1) agree to hold power only temporarily, with a departure date certain, (2) serve us by establishing a process where “We the People” get to vote and trump the political elite, and (3) provide the public the information necessary to judge the decisions made by government.
We want our rulers to become our servants. It’s history’s rarest achievement.
The developing Obama depression
This week President Obama took to the White House press corps and by extension to the nation to claim that the nation saw job growth of 67,000 jobs in August. Even if this number was real it would be a pitifully tiny percent of the 14,885,000 who are both on unemployment (1 in 10 Americans) as well as those 23,768,000 who are underemployed (working but not earning enough for basic needs - 1 in 5 families).
The bigger problem for the president however is that the number isn't real. The fact is the nation saw 114,000 people added to the unemployment lines in August and the net jobs lost for the month sat at 54,000. In all the "summer of recovery"--as both President Obama and Vice President Biden pronounced it--saw 238,000 more jobs disappear.
Telling the nation that his plans have taken the economy in the right direction, and implying that the nation is seeing a recovery in the area of employment is either willfully dishonest, or painfully, even treacherously naive. At the rate of this "recovery" another 317,333 workers could be sitting on the sidelines before the end of the year.
Additionally we are now on track to see the single largest collection of tax increases ever proposed take the Obama economy even further into the tank. In less than 120 days President Obama's plan to add a collective 18.6% to the federal tax burden will continue the economic downward spiral into record breaking depression-era territory. And remember he repeatedly said--on the campaign trail--that he should be elected expressly to prevent the nation's economy from complete deterioration.
Instead unemployment that was growing in the transition from Bush to Obama has exploded to double what it was under Bush. Even worse this means that while 14,885,000 Americans are claiming unemployment assistance, some 23,768,000 families are presently struggling through work that they have but are unable to meet their basic needs.
And about the time we are belting out Auld Lang Syne this holiday season, President Obama will raise all five income levels of tax categories between 3-5%.
Ironically the President will be raising the rate on the category that is home to seventy-five percent of all small businesses in America by the largest increase. I call it ironic because it is the small business community in America that hires 2 out of every 3 new workers in America. Eventually it all adds up.
The president is not pushed on this issue by the press. The president's team pretends that these realities do not exist. The president himself is willing to perpetuate the false notion that the stimulus package set up a "recovery summer" that in truth ended up in greater pain than it began with.
None of this takes into effect the additional costs that will be incurred by taxpayers when the full implementation of President Obama's control of one-sixth of the economy through the manipulation of how we receive health care benefits kicks in. And not that it has great likelihood of passing this year, but if by some miracle it did, the Obama tax penalties that would be incurred by every citizen in the nation under the proposed "Cap & Trade" legislation would add even greater misery to the growing pile.
All of these pending tax increases will be put into effect against well more than 95% of American tax-payers. Speaking of which that certainly contradicts his most famous campaign line.
In 1929 Irving Fisher observed that a number of trends led to the worst depression of our nation's history. How many of these fit in today's scenario:
Debt liquidation and distress selling; Contraction of the money supply as bank loans are paid off; A fall in the level of asset prices; A still greater fall in the net worths of business, precipitating bankruptcies; A fall in profits; A reduction in output, in trade and in employment; Pessimism and loss of confidence; Hoarding of money; A fall in nominal interest rates and a rise in deflation adjusted interest rates.
President Obama is ignoring and misrepresenting the rate of growth (or lack thereof) in the job numbers, and his economic team has laid the groundwork for the harshest attack on small businesses and every family in America that pays taxes effective January 1, 2011.
By every indicator this pundit can see, we are poised for tragedy
The Modern Left and Islam are both forms of political nihilism
It is the thesis of this commentary that both socialism and Islam are forms of political nihilism, and that both contend that the life of the individual has no intrinsic meaning or value outside of their systems. One ascribes meaning to the individual as a unit of society and its servant, and no more than that. The other ascribes meaning to the individual as a debtor to and servant of a supreme being, and no more than that.
What are the commonalities of secular statism (or socialism) and Islam? What premises do they share? What are their shared ends? Are those ends similar or dissimilar or radically divergent? The ends are demonstrably dissimilar and divergent. What unites them?
The chief commonality between socialism and Islam is the deep-seated hatred -- and I would say is the fundamental motive of both socialism and Islam, its desiderative essence -- of the West, specifically of capitalism, of individual rights, and of freedom of speech. And particularly of America.
What is it about those three hallmarks of Western culture that arouses the shared animosity? They are the requirements of an independent, unobstructed, free-to-act, selfish, value-driven, and life-affirming man. They are the descriptive attributes that cannot be permitted in a totalitarian society. They are diametrically opposite of what secular statism and Islam require to function. They are the unified, integrated nemesis of collectivism. They do not describe the “ideal” man in either ideology. Such a man must be eradicated, destroyed. And once destroyed, such a man in either system cannot be permitted to come into existence.
Much more HERE
There is a big new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 10:33 PM