Thursday, December 21, 2006

Time's decision

Byron writes to defend Time Magazine's decision to select us all as Person of the Year. His defense can be read on our Feedback page, and, as usual, he makes a good case.

Significant Differences

Those who support open borders and unrestricted immigration like to remind us that we are a nation of immigrants and that we should not deny to others what was not denied to our ancestors. This is a specious argument for a number of reasons, and Pat Buchanan provides us with a few of them in his excellent book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America. Buchanan notes that:

1. We have as many foreign-born people living in the U.S. today as came here in the first 350 years of our history. This is a tidal wave of immigration which is placing enormous stress on the cultural and social fabric of our cities and towns, especially in the southwest.

2. Most of of those who are coming are breaking in. They have no legal right to be here. Six million illegals were caught in 2006. That may only be a fraction of what actually made it past the border police. In 2006 there were as many illegals (12 to 20 million) inside our borders as all the Germans and Italians who ever came to this country.

3. Almost all immigrants, whether legal or illegal, come from cultures whose peoples have never before been assimilated into a First World nation. Most of our ancestors were from the same ethnic and cultural stock as the people who were already here. Many of today's immigrants have no particular sympathy for or loyalty to the European culture which has nurtured and sustained America. The founding documents of this country reflect European thinking and values and many of today's immigrants feel no attachment or allegiance to them.

4. There are strong pressures exerted on immigrants by their own communities and by our cultural elites not to assimilate. Unlike the social expectations which prevailed a century or more ago, today's multiculturalists are hostile to the idea of an American melting pot and disdain the idea, for example, that immigrants should be expected to learn English.

5. Among those arriving now many of them bring with them no desire to become Americans, to be one of us. Many come to work, others to exploit the welfare benefits of living in America, some come to prey upon Americans. When most of our ancestors arrived, on the other hand, they were not entitled to drink at the public trough. There was no public welfare. The immigrant communities themselves provided assistance to those of their number who needed it.

These are not insignificant differences. Immigration today is an almost completely different phenomenon than it was when our ancestors travelled to these shores. Immigration in the first 350 years of our history made us a stronger nation. Today it is threatening to undo us.

Simplistic Reportage

Reports in the media almost always depict the administration as resisting more troops in Iraq and the military leadership as wanting more but reluctant to buck former Secretary Rumsfeld's desire to keep our footprint small and lean. Well, apparently the media reports have once again proven themselves to be a little too simplistic.

It turns out that the administration is enthusiastic about putting more troops into Iraq and the Joint Chiefs are reluctant. The debate is apparently complex, but that's the point. The second guessers and military experts at the New York Times and elsewhere have till now painted the debate as a simple matter of the Bushies being unwilling to listen to their military people on the need for more troops when, in fact, things have been more complicated than that. We might even say that the media has "lacked nuance" in much of their reporting on this matter.

Read the article by Robin Wright and Peter Baker at the link.

Who Would You Pick?

Jason writes regarding the Time Magazine Person of the Year award:

What a lame excuse for a man of the year award. All that happened in 2006, and the editor's at TIME come up with that crock? They should be ashamed. And to think that CNN carried a 1-hr special on who should be picked, only to announce that it is "YOU."

I am curious. Who would the editors of Viewpoint pick for their person(s) of the year?

This is a very interesting question. The obvious answer, of course, is that it's George W. Bush. No one has had a greater influence on world events, for good or for ill, than has President Bush. But if we discount the president of the United States in our deliberation the choice gets more difficult. There are a couple of people that merit consideration, but rather than name them I'd like to survey you our readers and see what you think.

If you have a thought on this please submit your choice for person of the year through our speak up feature. Unlike Time Magazine's editors, though, who consider anyone who has exerted influence on world or national events no matter how pernicious that influence might have been, let's limit our choice to someone that we believe deserves the award because their efforts have advanced civilization and human welfare.

If we get any nominations we'll list them next week.