Saturday, July 6, 2013

Nation of Mutts

David Brooks has written a column on immigration titled A Nation of Mutts. The title refers to the demographic changes that will overtake the U.S. as a result of large-scale Hispanic immigration.

Among the things he foresees is this:
Let’s make some educated guesses about what the New America will look like. It will almost certainly be economically dynamic. Immigration boosts economic dynamism, and more immigration would boost it more. There would also be a lot of upward striving. Immigrant groups tend to work harder than native groups. They save more. They start business at higher rates than natives.
I hope Brooks is right about this, but I'm not so sure. I don't understand how the new wave of immigrants is going to bring economic prosperity rather than its opposite. Historically, immigration was much different than what has been the case over the last thirty years in at least two ways: Previous immigrants were often better educated, especially if they came from Europe, and they did not place a burden on the economic resources of the community.

When my paternal grandparents emigrated here in 1910 from Ireland, for example, there were no welfare benefits awaiting them. They were supported by ethnic associations and churches. We're facing a possibility today, though, in which tens of millions of immigrants will be made eligible for all sorts of taxpayer-funded programs and benefits the cost of which will far outweigh whatever the immigrants contribute.

Brooks adds this:
We could also see more ethnic jostling between groups. The most interesting and problematic flashpoint might be between immigrants and African-Americans. We now have this bogus category, “minority,” in which we lump the supposed rainbow coalition of immigrants and blacks. But, in fact, tensions between “minority” groups could soon be more plainly obvious than any solidarity.
Brooks is doubtless correct that we face a future sharply divided along class/culture lines. Educated, industrious people of all races and ethnicities will mix and adapt and do okay, but they'll live in gated fortresses, sealed off and protected from the teeming masses in the cities whose neighborhoods will become like little Sarajevos, in which a Hobbesian war along ethnic lines of everyone against everyone will make life there an exercise in purgatorial suffering. Then, too, there'll be the constant threat of social upheaval in which the underclass will rise up to seize by whatever means they can that which the elites have and they want.

Since the underclass will far out number the educated and hard-working middle and upper classes they'll be able to use the levers of democracy to strip the haves clean. If that doesn't work, or even if it does, they may well augment political extortion with social violence and take wealth by force.

It may be chauvinistic to say it, and it's certainly not politically correct, but we've become the greatest nation in history because our society was built by people steeped in both protestant Christianity and, to a lesser extent, European traditions and ideas. It has been the dominance of that heritage that has made America unique and special. We're still living on the cultural momentum imparted to us by our forebears, but by all appearances that momentum has been petering out now for several decades.

Large-scale Hispanic immigration will accelerate that process, as Brooks avers. No Hispanic culture has ever achieved what Anglo/European cultures have achieved. They have no ethnic memory of the kinds of rights and values that are enshrined in our founding documents. They have no allegiance to the traditions and history of this nation. They bring with them a third world mindset, a desire for whatever benefits they can garner from our government, and historic resentments against the Yanqui for grievances both real and imagined.

It's not a pretty picture, but that'll be the world our children and grandchildren will be living in unless we adopt a sensible immigration policy and be rid of the notion that millions of people can be amicably absorbed overnight into our way of life just by allowing them to live here.