Assimilationist Immigration

Ever in our history have we treated immigrants with great respect, and with the understanding that they must benefit from the full application of our conception of the rights of man. Never in our history have we tried to abrogate those rights beyond small fringe groups, yet today, that is what we see in the mainstream.

It is a fact that we are deluged with illegal immigrants. Congress argues about it, the press spins about it, and we are left wondering on the one hand if it is possible to enforce our laws, and if not, what, precisely, our absorptive capacity as a nation is on the other. In the midst of the debate, we lose track of a more important question. One of these philosophies abridges the natural rights of man, the other establishes them, and it isn’t what you are probably thinking.

This fundamental debate is more important, in the long run, than the debate between immigration “enforcers” and “amnesty” supporters, because it determines the future makeup of our nation.

Multiculturalism, in it’s true sense, is based on a moral equivalence between different cultures. It assumes that no culture has any greater truth, good, or value than any other. This idea seems to make sense on a small scale; for example, can we really say that somebody who speaks with an Oxford accent and likes boiled cabbage is better or worse than someone who speaks with a Californian accent and likes quiche? We cannot, and it does not make any sense to try.

The problems start when you have cultures much more removed from one another in terms of political, social, and moral development. This is illustrated by the problems Europe has had with immigration.

In some cultures, it is normal to remove parts of the female genitalia; a process called female “circumcision”, but which might better be described as female mutilation. Fifteen years ago, most people would never have imagined that this disgusting and disreputable practice would be a problem in Europe. Few would have predicted that hundreds of known cases of this practice occur every year in Europe and disturb the conscience of it’s citizens, and more go unreported.

This happened because Europe adopted a multicultural model for immigration. Even worse, the judiciaries of Europe have a difficult time enforcing laws against this sort of barbarism because European immigration law is set up in a multicultural framework.

This framework seems to be the one that supports freedom; after all, multiculturalists are perpetually asking; “who are we to say to this or that person that something normal in their culture is wrong?” Multiculturalism allows the “freedom” of immigrants to pursue practices such as female mutilation, and restricts the ability of judges to hand down punishments, if this practice was “normal” where the immigrants came from.

Freedom? Well, what about the woman involved? I am fairly certain that most women, if asked, would not want their genitalia mutilated. What multiculturalism offers is not greater freedoms or human dignity, but the freedom of an oppressive minority to continue their oppression even while inside a state that ostensibly protects universal human rights.

An example of this was a case in Germany a few years back where the evidence was overwhelming in support of a woman’s claims to have been beaten and abused by her husband. Indeed, he admitted as much and claimed that she deserved what she got. Her reports were backed up by medical reports and signed doctor’s statements. It would have been a slam-dunk anywhere, but when dismissing the case, the senior judge on the German court cited multiculturalism. You see, the couple were Muslim, therefore, the husband could be expected to beat a wife who displeased him, and to state that this was wrong would have been an implicit claim by the German government against the cultural norms of “Islamic” culture. To add insult to injury, the judge in the case was a woman.

Multiculturalism claims to support freedom and human rights, but in reality, we have to understand that not all cultures are created equal. Some cultures, themselves, grew up with Judeo-Christian principles and norms such as the concept of the universal rights of man. These cultures are inherently more amenable to the exercise of those universal rights than a culture to which that principle is alien. Our law system as well as our morals, based as they are on this principle of universal equality, are incompatible with a culture that is built on inherent inequality, such as the subjugation of women, or infidels, or what have you.

Compare that case to that of a man in California who sold his 14 year old daughter to another man for a few thousand dollars, meat, and beer. All parties involved in the transaction were immigrants, indeed, all seem to have been illegal immigrants. Nevertheless, the State of California does not apply one standard of conduct to American-born peoples and another to those born outside, as do many courts in Europe and Canada. This man will be charged with involuntary servitude, abetting statutory rape, and a bevy of other charges. He is likely to see the inside of a prison cell for a very long time indeed.

If you believe that the “freedom” to do something that is normal in an oppressive society is more important than the human rights and dignity of that 14 year old girl, you must be an anthropologist. Only someone who is used to looking at other human beings as if they are in test tubes could do so.

Now, we have an immigration debate in the United States because we are hovering between a de-facto open immigration policy, and a policy of controlled immigration that dates back to the early 20th century. Unfortunately, while there is room to debate the virtues and perils of open borders (and I believe that rather than keeping laws on the books but granting “amnesty” from them, we should just change the laws if we want an open immigration policy), this misses the bigger point.

We have had open immigration before. In the early part of the 19th century, the United States placed almost no restriction on immigration. Only a doctor’s check that discovered a highly contagious and dangerous disease could keep anybody from coming to our shores. We had vast centers, Ellis Island in New York and Angel Island in California, that processed millions of people aspiring to a better life. At the time though, we were an absolutely assimilationist society. It never crossed our minds that immigrants would bring their own codes of justice with them when they moved to a new land. We “imposed” our standards of human rights and freedoms, and expected all immigrants to abide by them. It worked. The populations we brought in by the millions in the 19th century are models of integration in the world today. Ask an Italian, Irish, Polish, Jewish, or Chinese American whose family dates to that inflow if assimilation caused them to lose their “identity” as a community. The very question would be seen as absurd in most quarters.

Compare this to the “success” of multiculturalism amongst the Muslim population of the UK. Europe was not an “immigrant nation” as was the United States, and for a time, multicultural ideas coming out of academia seemed like a good idea. The UK established special ways that Muslims needn’t attend “Christian” schools, helped them establish local community centers and mosques, urged them not to adopt British culture, but rather to retain their own distinctiveness, and reaped the whirlwind with numerous terror attacks conducted by ill-adjusted children of Muslim immigrants who never seemed to “fit” into British society, while a similarly sized immigrant population in the United States produced almost no domestically-generated terror recruits to speak of.

Strange that people kept in a virtual multicultural “zoo exhibit” should feel as if they were excluded from British society…

Yet despite the fact that multiculturalism not only manifestly fails to work in successfully integrating immigrant populations, and despite it’s inherent immorality if you believe in universal rights, the United States is caught up in a heated argument over how many people to let in, while inevitably creeping toward a multicultural view of immigration. While all the debate is focused on the issue of immigration itself (surely a straw-man, for who, precisely, is arguing in the greatest immigrant country of all time against all immigration, I ask?), the real argument, between our traditional way of dealing with immigrants, and an academically engendered method that views people as specimens and has utterly failed on the ground elsewhere, is being sidelined.

We impose more multicultural norms and standards each year. We shut up those who question this by calling them racist or nativist, and accusing them of being against any immigration. We fail to teach the children of immigrants English, and wonder why they feel left out. We begin to adopt multiple standards when viewing the same crime.

I would like to state that the real issue is not how many immigrants, how much “amnesty”, or who is illegal, but our fundamental philosophy of bringing new people to this land, for if we bend ourselves to the standards of any culture in the world, no matter how oppressive it is to women, or minorities within it, or anyone else, we will lose the one thing that has made us a haven for men of all races, cultures, and points of origin; our freedoms, based on the concept that all are created equal, and deserve equal protection under the law.


~ by Jubal Biggs on April 17, 2009.

One Response to “Assimilationist Immigration”

  1. “In this country we have no place for hyphenated Americans.” — Teddy Roosevelt

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