An Illinois Reader Says Immigrants Shouldn't Be Expected To Be Loyal To America—But Americans Must
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Re: John Derbyshire Says: Actually, America IS “Anglo-Saxon”—We Just Can’t Say So

A Young Illinois Reader [Email him]

John Derbyshire writes

“The Kikuyu was not Barack Obama Senior's tribe—he was a member of the rival Luo—but I think that our president could be forgiven for taking umbrage at Churchill's observations, on the slight chance that he read about them. A man owes some loyalty to his ancestors, and to the near ethnic kin thereof.”

I think this comment of Derb's illustrates the great irony of nationalism of the stripe. Contrary to the popular portrayal of such views as aggressively supremacist, a measured ethnonationalism is (or at least can be) sympathetic, humane, and non-judgmental.

To recognize the ways that human nature binds us to our own kin, heritage, language, land, etc. is to implicitly accept that individuals of different origins will naturally embrace different tribal affiliations, and that there is nothing wrong with this. To each his own.

Accordingly, this immigration restrictionist finds it hard to summon much disapproval even for unassimilated or illegal aliens.

If a man has the opportunity to make more money in a new land without being required to transfer his loyalties, why wouldn't he? If he can continue to identify with his literal forefathers rather than an abstract set of figurative forefathers, why wouldn't he? If he can continue to regard the old race, language, ethny, etc. as his natural community, why wouldn't he? If he can obtain material benefits from his new country precisely because he retains said affiliations, why wouldn't he?

Why should we expect Mexicans to respect American sovereignty, which doesn't mean any more to them than Congolese sovereignty means to us? Why should we expect their kids to honor James K. Polk or Zachary Taylor (or, God forbid, Mexican War hero Robert E.  Lee) rather than Los Niños Héroes or San Patricios?

The mainstream (including establishment conservative) position on immigration thus demonstrates a kind of arrogance. The American idea is indeed great, but not so great as to hold the laws of human nature in abeyance.

As desirable as full and rapid assimilation is, it's unreasonable to hold immigrants (and perhaps even their descendants) to that standard.

In the generality, human beings will behave in accordance with their nature and their interests, and you can't ask much more than that from any large group of people.

The central problem the West faces regarding  the National Question is not that immigrants behave unreasonably and irresponsibly. The problem is that Westerners apparently do. 

See a previous letter from the same reader.

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