English = assimilation?
0 comment Sunday, August 17, 2014 |
Chapter II in the 'shape up or....?' story begins with Newt Gingrich, who was on Fox News today, selling his dandy new '5-step Assimilation Plan' for immigrants. Now I confess that I didn't have time to catch the whole segment, and I saw only the beginning, where he began with the obligatory disclaimer, you know, the bit where the smarmy politician says 'I'm all in favor of legal immigration...' , so as to ward off the racism charges. Now that phrase usually causes me to reach for the remote, because I know that what follows will be some kind of half-hearted, serpent-tongued denunciation of illegal immigration, while still being immigrant-friendly.
However, I caught enough of Newt to hear him say that he favors legal immigration, and he believes that most immigrants come here because they want to be Americans, but they need to learn English. So we need to have a program for teaching them English, so that they assimilate.
Just as with John Howard's plea for immigrants to Australia to learn English and assimilate, as far as it goes, that idea is fine, but is it enough? Does speaking English guarantee assimilation? Yes, it is a part of assimilating, but does learning the language in and of itself lead inevitably to assimilating, and is it a proof of assimilation?
Learning English is the bare minimum of what we must expect of would-be immigrants. In fact if they are determined to come to this country, common sense would suggest that they ought to know some English even before they make the trip here. American culture is a worldwide thing these days, (to the chagrin of many people); so those who want to learn English can even learn a fair bit from movies or TV programs. Enterprising immigrants of the past have learned English in that fashion. However, as we know, there are many outwardly-acculturated immigrants and even children of immigrants who are not assimilated. Yesterday I mentioned the Lackawanna Six, the terror plotters who had grown up in an American suburb, but who were conspiring towards some act of terror towards 'fellow' Americans. The 7/7 bombers in the UK are another example of outwardly assimilated Moslems who were so full of hatred towards those whose country had nurtured and educated them that they were willing to kill others, strangers, and even themselves for their twisted ideals. Speaking fluent English, using the latest youth slang, made none of these young people part of the countries they lived in. They were in the country but not of it. The 'we' they identified with was not Britain, or the United States, but the Islamic 'we.' Just as many of our Latino immigrants, and even native-born Hispanics, identify with their Raza, their 'gente', and fly the Mexican flag or the Dominican flag or whatever, pledging their allegiance to their blood kin, not to Americans.
So Gingrich is peddling facile, cheap answers, and in doing so, is furthering the multicultural agenda. If he can lull the easily-pleased among us into thinking that we can solve the difficult problems of mass immigration by his '5-step program', then he is part of the problem. He is promoting, by implication, the idea that we are all really the same, and interchangeable, if only we all learn a common language and participate in a common, lowest common denominator mass culture.
Evidently Newt is one of those who believes that everybody is potentially an American, but the evidence of reality and common sense tells us that not everybody is equally assimilable, and further, that maybe some are not assimilable in any real sense at all. But admitting this is denying the liberal presuppositions of egalitarianism, and the core liberal idea that we all self-create, and that the key is to make immigrants want to be American. We just have to get them to want to re-invent themselves as Americans, and the way to do that is to have a 5-step program, or reach out to them, and so on; just the kind of thing the neoconservatives in the GOP have been pushing.
Why are some immigrants seemingly impervious to assimilation, or Americanization, as it used to be called? The real ideologues among us would deny that such is the case. They will continue to insist that everybody is the same, despite surface differences. But history indicates otherwise. In the past, most of our immigrants came from European cultures, and the process of acculturation and assimilation were relatively easy, although some groups have been much slower to assimilate. We might argue that some groups have resisted assimilation, and this is true to the extent that their cultures were dissimilar to the core Anglo-Saxon Protestant American culture. But eventually most European immigrants did assimilate. However with our current predominantly non-Western immigrants, legal and illegal, their cultures are at odds with our own to a considerable extent; their mores, their habits, their ways, are distant from our own. Add to this the fact that most of our immigrants of today come from cultures in which Westerners, especially Americans, are viewed negatively. Americans in particular may be envied by many but they are also greatly resented. Many people in Third World countries view Americans as obscenely rich, and expect handouts from Americans as their due. I learned this first-hand, when my home address was made known in a publication, and I began to receive begging -- and demanding -- letters from strangers in African countries. They assumed that all Americans were fabulously rich and that they need only ask, and receive money or gifts. I suppose the 'Nigerian e-mail scam' had not been thought of yet, but the same phenomenon is at work there. Americans are seen, at best, as rich, gullible, and there for the fleecing. At worst, we are pictured as exploiters, oppressors, usurpers of their territory, in the case of our Latino neighbors. Now what can be expected when we import these attitudes en masse to our country? And can a few English lessons, or even fluency in English hope to counter all of that? In fact, when the immigrants are fluent enough in English to watch American TV and read English-language newspapers, they will simply be exposed to even more anti-American propaganda, as served up by our leftist entertainment media and news media. Our educational system, too, is riddled with disparaging messages about American history and American society.
Assimilation worked, in the past, for several reasons: we were selective about who we admitted to this country. They came from compatible countries, and we limited the numbers. We never admitted immigrants indiscriminately as we are doing now with our de facto open borders. Large numbers of immigrants, and the establishment of immigrant enclaves were never part of the plan.
We were able to assimilate immigrants in part, too, because ours was a confident, assertive culture, and we did not adopt a weak, appeasing attitude to newcomers.
There was no large-scale support for foreign-language communities in old America; they were expected to learn English, and most of them did so willingly. Few or none of our past immigrants came here with a grudge against America for some perceived past wrong or injustice. Few or none came here with the intent of doing harm to Americans or of subverting American society, or reclaiming it in the name of their native country.
Now, we are recklessly opening the doors to people who may well have a subversive agenda, as at least some of our Hispanic immigrants, or they may even desire to actually kill and destroy, as the 9/11 hijackers did.
Another complicating factor in our policies of admitting mostly third-world, minority immigrants is our current, ongoing racial issues. America, since the 1960s especially, has been embroiled in the mainstreaming of black Americans into our society. As a result, the more extreme black leaders perpetuate racial conflict and a whole industry built on the guilt feelings of the American majority. We are still trying to negotiate our way beyond that impasse, and now, into the middle of an already difficult situation, we import millions of non-white immigrants who are now adding their voices to the chorus of grievances against majority America. We now have preferential policies like 'Affirmative Action', supposedly in the name of making restitution for past discrimination (two wrongs apparently do make a right, according to some), and now the newly-arrived minorities, who have absolutely no claim to having been 'historic victims of discrimination' in America, are now entitled to all the benefits of AA, as well as many other social entitlements based on skin color or ethnicity. Now, thanks to mass third-world immigration, majority Americans have millions of new claimants to special considerations, and eligible for benefits. How will this all play out when the American majority is the new minority? How will the descendants of majority Americans, as an outnumbered minority, still be expected to make amends and restitution to an aggrieved collection of former minorities?
None of those who have concocted this present insane immigration policy has ever addressed any of these questions. Instead they pretend that things can go on just as they are, even when the demographics of this country are absolutely turned on their head, with today's majority reduced to a minority. But considerations like this don't enter the minds of the social engineers. And I consider Newt to be as much a part of the problem as any of the rest of the immigration enthusiasts.
Newt, how many is too many? Does this country have a carrying capacity? Or do we just keep on packing them in until we reach India-style population density? And by the way, Mr. Arch-conservative Newt, what about the economic burden all this immigration creates? Aren't conservatives supposed to be the small government guys, the ones who crunch the numbers and see that we aren't living beyond our means? Where's the fiscal responsibility?
On a much smaller scale, I wonder what the costs of Newt's little 'assimilation program' would be? Our government already spends, big-time, on 'Hispanic outreach', interpreters, counselors, special studies of the Hispanic population and their needs, educational programs, subsidized tuition for illegal students, Hispanic health programs, special small-business programs, and so on. We are not even talking about the other costs, such as the bankrupt hospitals, overcrowded jails, overloaded courts, crimes by immigrants and the resultant expenses, lives lost via immigrant crime, costs of monitoring possible Moslem terror activities -- I could go on, but we all know. Yet we have to spend even more money to spoon-feed reluctant immigrants the English language? Just take away all the bilingual documents and teachers, take away Univision and Telemundo and all the rest of the bilingual catering, and they might just have to learn English.
But even if they all learn fluent English, that will not be a solution to the problem, which is that we have too many immigrants, too fast, and at too high a cost to our society in cultural terms as well as financial terms. The levels of immigration we have now are unprecedented in American history, I think the same can be said for many Western countries, like Australia, the UK, France, the Netherlands, and Spain. Something hitherto unknown is being carried out in the West, and nobody, not our politicians or academics or media, none of them know where it it leading us, or what the end result will be. Those of us who are not woolly-minded academics or loopy leftist utopians know that the result will not be a utopia. We do know, based on demographic projections, that we majority Western peoples will be on the outside looking in, dispossessed in our own countries, and with nowhere to go. To believe, as some people are content to say they do, that all the problems will work themselves out, and people will just learn to get along, is highly unrealistic. That kind of faith, at least in human beings, is something I don't have; it's a huge leap in the dark.
The only hope our country has is for a resurgence of real, genuine conservatism, which in true conservative fashion, is willing to take a hard-eyed look at where we are, on the edge of a precipice, and to speak the truth about the situation. From there, we need to try to find a way to step back from the precipice, if we want to preserve our countries as we have known them, and to preserve a way of life which it took our ancestors many generations of toil and blood to achieve. If 'conservatives' are willing to throw all that away, gambling on some bizarre exercise in social engineering on a global scale, then that is proof that they are not conservatives in any real sense at all. Any conservative, falsely so-called, who promotes mass immigration, or unending immigration, is deceived or deceiving us.
At this moment in our history, the primary concern should be preserving our country, our people, our way of life, our heritage. Everything else is a secondary consideration.

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