Green Room

The Exception That Tests the Rule

posted at 11:33 pm on January 20, 2010 by

For anyone who still denies either the rightness or existence of “American exceptionalism,” consider this appalling story:

Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders sat in the defendant’s dock Wednesday, nodding his head as prosecutors read aloud a hundred remarks he has made condemning Islam, Muslims and immigrants — notably one comparing the Quran to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”

Wilders’ criminal trial for allegedly inciting hate against Muslims has resonance across Europe: He is one of a dozen right-wing politicians on the continent who are testing the limits of freedom of speech while voicing voters’ concerns at the growth of Islam.

For the tendentious phrasing, “the growth of Islam,” read the more accurate “the growth of Islamism.” If Moslems were coming to the Netherlands and assimilating, as they do for the most part in the United States, I honestly doubt Geert Wilders would have such a problem with them. But because of the liberal socialism of Western Europe, a member of the Dutch parliament is now on trial for properly representing his own constituents.

Here is the philosophical sequence:

  • Liberal socialism (“Stalinism lite”) has infected Western Europe for many decades. (One could make a good argument that Otto Eduard Leopold prince von Bismarck, the “Iron Chancellor” of Prussia, invented it in the latter half of the nineteenth century.) Note, this is not liberal fascism; it’s the internationalist version. Hence the European Union, the first step on the liberal-socialist (lib-soc) road to global government.
  • A primary element of liberal socialism is atheism; lib-soc governments persecute Judeo-Christian religions and to a lesser extent frown upon all other religions: Their religion is “secular humanism” — that is, the First Church of Fundamentalist Materialism, as Robert Anton Wilson used to put it.
  • A secondary effect of official and widespread Fundamentalist Materialism is a dramatic and frightening drop in the regional fertility rate. We can explore the “whys” in more depth another time if folks find the connection puzzling; suffice to say that Western Europe is not replacing its population, hence must import truly staggering levels of immigrant labor.
  • Since Europe must draw from those cultures that have a high fertility rate for their foreign labor pool, they tend to draw disproportionately from Moslem populations in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Turkey, and Morocco. For example, in the Netherlands, six percent of the labor pool are Moslems from the latter two countries. (If the same ratio applied in the United States, we would have 9.25 million Moslem immigrants in the civilian labor pool, or about eight to ten times the level we actually have.)
  • Another primary element of lib-soc is authoritarianism; socialist states are authoritatian by definition.
  • One secondary effect of authoritarianism is that the government not only does not encourage immigrants to assimilate, it typically doesn’t allow them to. Instead, immigrants are shunted into enclaves and ghettos and generally treated as “the help,” rather than as full citizens… even those who were actually born in the “host” country. Generation after generation can be born in some European countries, but none is considered a full citizen.
  • Such “apartness” leads inevitably to a great many immigrants seeing themselves as transients and foreigners in the land of their birth; they often turn against the “host” with a vengeance, rioting and looting, sealing off areas and declaring them “liberated” from the host and instead under the laws — or the imagined laws — of the rioters’ ancestral countries. For the most obvious example, Moslem “immigrants” may seal off the Moslem enclaves and declare them under sharia law, instead of French, Dutch, or Spanish law. (The same dynamic of separation from the rest of society leads to criminal behavior among native-born full citizens.)
  • Yet another aspect of authoritarianism is that, for all their high-minded hectoring of the rest of the world, socialist countries do not actually protect freedom of speech. (This claim should not even be controversial.)
  • Ergo, put everything together, and we have the situation in the Netherlands, which applies in a great many other European countries as well: The country has a real, serious, and growing problem with estranged and disaffected Moslem youths; but hate-speech codes make it a criminal offense to discus the disastrous failure of the government’s social policy, even by members of parliament.

It’s a prescription for catastophe. It could never happen in Ronald Reagan’s or George W. Bush’s America because of individualism, assimilation, and community; I fear it may be all too plausible in Barack H. Obama’s America.

The solution to this terrible dilemma is quite beyond the capacity of any socialist country; but it’s the essence, the very core, of American exceptionalism (or simple Americanism):

  • Allow immigrants to assimilate;
  • Encourage, urge, and demand that they assimilate;
  • Require that they be assimilable before letting them immigrate in the first place;
  • And treat them exactly like every other American citizen when they do assimilate and naturalize themselves.

This is the ideal, however imperfectly it can be applied in the real world. Alas that we have an immigration system biased against assimilation; and we have two prevailing ideologies, neither of which is geared towards assimilation for different reasons: The Left doesn’t want aliens to assimilate because lib-socs tend to dislike America and all it stands for; while the Right doesn’t want aliens to come here at all, by and large, because they understand assimilation is a two-way street.

Like the Borg, when we assimilate an immigrant, we add his cultural “memes” to American culture. That’s one reason we’re such a powerful and irresistable force for social change throughout the world… and it’s a positive characteristic, not a necessary evil.

But I think I fight a lonely war on this issue.

Cross-posted on Big Lizards

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I don’t think conservatives are AGAINST immigration, per se, they just know that you CAN’T survive with completely open borders, no selection or qualification of immigrants, AND a welfare state that (by its nature) attracts the worst kinds of people and discourages the best kinds. This conservative would be for virtually no limit on how many people could immigrate, if the welfare state were dismantled and/or we could pick and choose the most productive, most “assimilable” immigrants to allow in.

But those are difficult political goals that will take a long time to accomplish, so the impulse to oppose all immigration is kind of a fallback, damage-control type of response. We don’t want to stop all immigration permanently, but when you’re in a hole, your instinct should be to stop digging.

joe_doufu on January 21, 2010 at 12:58 AM

* Allow immigrants to assimilate;
* Encourage, urge, and demand that they assimilate;
* Require that they be assimilable before letting them immigrate in the first place;
* And treat them exactly like every other American citizen when they do assimilate and naturalize themselves.

This conservative is fine with immigration, provided we administer it as you have written. The left used the third bullet point to paint conservatives as racists. But then they turn around and treat immigrants as semi-beneficial insects.

Conservatives want immigrants to become fully functioning members of society. If the immigrant doesn’t want to become an American – and that it stands for – then there is no positive reason for them being here.

Ace ODale on January 21, 2010 at 1:23 PM

My wife is Hispanic, and thus I have relatives in norther Mexico. These relatives would like nothing more than either the US or Mexican governments to BUILD A WALL along the border and aggressively clamp down on immigration.

Why would Mexican citizens want the border sealed? Because they partially blame the US for the cartel wars devastating Mexico. They believe if the border were more difficult to cross, then drugs would be more difficult to transport northward and weapons would be more difficult to transport to the south.

They view our lax immigration policies and weak boarder enforcement as adding fuel to the fire.

Ace ODale on January 21, 2010 at 1:30 PM

I find it interesting that Muslims using Sharia law are not “assimilable” while Orthodox Jews (the only religion with its own law code that I know about) are considered “assimilable”. We have our own laws involving food, personal status (such as marriage and divorce), and business contacts, as well as a court system that is maintained parallel to the United States Court system.

One of the reasons for this is that we have a law which can be expressed as

The law of the Country is the Law

This means that if something is forbidden by the secular law, but permitted by the Torah, we are not allowed to do it. If something is permitted by secular law and forbidden by the Torah (such as nonKosher food), we are also not allowed to do it. The only time there would be a conflict would be if something was mandated by secular law and forbidden by the Torah. Since I cannot think of anything for which this is true, I will have to make up a ridiculous answer. If the government passed a law that everyone must eat a cheeseburger from McDonalds, I would be required to not eat it. Similarly, if the government passed a law requiring me to violate the Sabbath, I would not be allowed to do so. While there are those who attempt to redefine circumcision (which is mandated by the Torah for Jews) as “child abuse” or attempt to ban kosher slaughter (though it is among the most humane methods) this country has, so far, recognized the antisemitic motives behind those efforts and refused to allow them to succeed.

As part of Torah law, I am forbidden to attempt to force nonJews to abide by my law. I would absolutely be forbidden to attempt to prevent other citizens of this country from eating nonKosher food, or performing “work” on the Sabbath. The Torah recognizes that nonJews are not subject to Torah law, though they are subject to the rules of their own religions.

Thank G-d, that this country has recognized freedom of religion and that people are allowed to sign individual contracts according to whatever standards that they desire (as long as they do not break the law). I also thank G-d that this country allows mediation panels to be set up independent of the court system that can adjudicate matters as long as both sides agree in advance. The religious court system will first have both parties sign a separate agreement to abide by the final decision, just as they would for any independent arbiter. That contract is then enforceable in court if needed.

On the other hand, the Muslims are attempting to force every one else to abide by Sharia law and raise any dispute to a frightening level. An example would be the Muslim taxi drivers who refuse to carry anyone with liquor (even though that is not forbidden to them) because the passenger would be drinking. Another example might be the female genital mutilation and “honor killings” being carried out by the Islamists.

I think that is why the problem is arising with the Muslims.

There is also the problem of the definition of assimilation. Those who define it as the total abandonment of the original culture and religion, would not accept me and my views at all. Those with a saner definition would understand that my views conform to the ideals that this country was founded on.

sabbahillel on January 21, 2010 at 3:01 PM