The first Independence Day of the new century—maybe the last century of the American nation as it has historically existed—was greeted by a hot flash of brain waves from the nation's illuminati. The main burden of their reflections on national independence seemed to be that it's time to call it all off and start over.
How else can one read William Safire's insight that the holiday is now generally called "The Fourth of July" and not "Independence Day," because "the idea of national sovereignty—independence—has become controversial." "We are members of one world, one planetary family, transfixed by the notion that national aspirations and powers should defer to a loose, global government driven by the power of world opinion." [Click here to read Chilton Williamson on Safire.]
It's not quite clear if Mr. Safire is speaking for himself or just for lots of others almost as illuminated as he, but one for whom the passage does speak is Wall Street Journal editor Robert Bartley.
Mr. Bartley observed Independence Day, which he dutifully called "The Fourth of July," by rehearsing just about every known cliché and some hitherto undisclosed about the glories of immigration. He repeated his favorite proposed constitutional amendment, "There shall be no borders," and insisted that "North of the border, the solution to the problem of illegal immigration is to make it legal, or at least to normalize the movement of people."
Like virtually all crusaders for open borders and the effective abolition of the United States that would ensue, Mr. Bartley refutes anyone who disagrees by lobbing insults. The "Naysayers who want to limit or abolish immigration look backward," he whines, "to a history they do not even understand." "Anti-immigrant hysteria peaked in 1994," he wrote, with the massive popular vote for California's Proposition 187, to deny welfare to illegal immigrants. It's odd that the editor of the most pro-free enterprise newspaper in the world thinks a popularly adopted ballot measure against welfare represents "hysteria."
"The ability to assimilate," Mr. Bartley asserts, "is the heart of the American genius, precisely the trait that sets the United States off from other nations. Immigration makes the U.S. what it is."
The idea is preposterous on its face. It was neither immigration nor the "the ability to assimilate" that formulated this nation's distinctive social and political institutions, its language and literature, its historic experience, its cultural values of freedom rooted in order, or its unique people. It was precisely the British and, more broadly, the European heritage that Americans received from their ancestors that bred the American genius and allowed it to be born at all.
The assimilation of new immigrants in the last century was possible, not because America possesses some supernatural gift for digesting what is otherwise indigestible, but for two reasons: Most immigrants shared a European identity closely related to the mainly British identity of the original pioneers and were therefore not at all indigestible, and European immigration was cut off in the 1920s, allowing the newcomers time to be digested as part of their new nation.
Neither reason applies to the new immigration that has flooded the country since 1965. As Mr. Bartley acknowledges, "about half of current immigrants are Hispanic," coming from Latin American peoples and cultures radically different from those of modern America and Europe. The refusal of American elites to control either legal or illegal immigration means that there will be no time-out, that new immigrant communities will perpetuate themselves apart from the national mainstream, and that we will wind up assimilating to them, not they to us.
It does not occur to Mr. Bartley that the very capacity of the American nation to assimilate derives from the Anglo-European civilization of which the United States is a part. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that the repopulation of the country by Third Worlders from Latin America, Asia and Africa will allow the European virtues of tolerance, freedom, openness and personal achievement to survive. What have been virtues for our civilization for millennia are often merely vices for others and the peoples who come from them.
Nor does it occur to him or other cosmopolitans that abolishing borders and legalizing illegal immigration would effectively abolish the nation itself. Mr. Bartley's argument winds up in a self-destroying contradiction: If "immigration makes the U.S. what it is," then the extinction of the United States by abolishing the borders that separate it from other nations and peoples should be our goal.
Americans who want to keep both their national sovereignty and the civilization their ancestors created need to know what sages like Mr. Safire and Mr. Bartley have in mind for their future. If they still care about that future, they need to ignore just about everything the sages are trying to tell them.
[Click here for Bob Bartley's real opinion of the American nation-state.]
COPYRIGHT 2001 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
July 09, 2001