Saturday, February 12, 2011

Who Is He?

Who is Barack Obama? What does he really believe? What is his vision for the nation? Despite having written two books telling us about his life, most people still see him as an enigma and many are skeptical that he really is the moderate pragmatist he has sought to portray himself as since the November elections.

Perhaps he could do much to allay Americans' concerns about him by answering these two questions:

1. What ten books that you've read in the last ten years have been most influential in your personal and political life, and what is it about them that you found most significant to you?

2. What five persons alive or dead do you admire most and why?

We can learn much about a man by knowing the books which have influenced him and the people he admires. It would be very helpful in understanding Mr. Obama if we could see those two lists.

Oil and Water

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy is the latest in an expanding list of world leaders who are clearly disenchanted with the European multicultural experiment. British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australia's ex-prime minister John Howard and Spanish ex-premier Jose Maria Aznar have also recently acknowledged that attempts to accommodate and integrate large numbers of immigrants have been unsuccessful:
"My answer is clearly yes, it is a failure," Sarkozy admitted in a television interview when asked about the policy which advocates that host societies welcome and foster distinct cultural and religious immigrant groups.

"Of course we must all respect differences, but we do not want... a society where communities coexist side by side.

"If you come to France, you accept to melt into a single community, which is the national community, and if you do not want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in France," the president added.

"The French national community cannot accept a change in its lifestyle, equality between men and women... freedom for little girls to go to school," he said. "We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him."
It has been clear for some time that the left's vision of a nation consisting of a mosaic of identities rather than a melting pot in which all people are loyal citizens of the state to which they emigrant was going to lead to balkanization, resentment and tension between factions. Ethnic groups which wish to maintain their cultural identity by living in their own neighborhoods should certainly be free to do so, but this only works if the members of the group respect and share most of the principles upon which the larger society is founded and are willing to acknowledge the authority of the laws of the state.

A group which rejects the founding principles of a nation and refuses to submit to them, demanding their own laws instead, laws which are often completely contrary to the existing law, is on a collision course with the very people who have taken them in. It is as if you were to accept a guest into your home who then proceeded to impose his own ideas on how to manage your household upon you and gets truculent if you don't go along. This is what's happening in many European nations which have welcomed large numbers of Muslim immigrants to their shores. These and their descendents often refuse to assimilate into the larger culture, and wish rather to establish a state within a state in their host country.

Many Muslims and Westerners alike see Islam and Western culture as fundamentally incompatible, like oil and water, and throwing them together and pretending that the result is a beautiful, harmonious mosaic is an act of self-deception. It's more likely to wind up like Sarajevo. It doesn't have to be that way, of course, but that's the way it's turning out in Europe.

If a potential immigrant to this country is unwilling to submit to the United States Constitution, particularly the freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights, he really should look elsewhere to make his residence. If he finds those freedoms and the emphasis on equality and toleration to be in conflict with his religious beliefs why would he want to come here anyway?