The Immigration Fallacy

the_week_11920_27Will Wilkinson of “The Week” uses Toronto, where 47% of the population was born outside of North America, as a wonderful example to counter the fears of Anglo-Saxon’s that dilution of the WASP strain will wreak havoc in all of North America.

In his 2004 book ‘Who Are We?: The Challenges to America’s National Identity,’ the late Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington warned that “the United States of America will suffer the fate of Sparta and Rome,” should its founding Anglo-Protestant culture continue to wane. Commenting sympathetically on Huntington’s argument, conservative writer John O’Sullivan asserts that if traditional patterns of national life are “removed or destroyed, then anomie, despair, and disintegration tend to be among the consequences.” So we must take care to protect our precious cultural patrimony from the acid of “denationalizing” economic and cultural globalization. We must keep outsiders out.

I remember John O’Sullivan from our days contributing to Margaret Thatcher’s speeches, in her successful run for the British Conservative Party leadership in 1975.

Even then, we all recognized that there was an unhappy marriage between the libertarian economists (who included me), who supported Maggie for her desire to get the country’s public purse in good order, and the social conservatives (who included John), who wanted to keep the UK white, God-fearing and firmly rooted in the Victorian Era.

The fact is that, after the rush of immigrants from East Africa and the Caribbean, during the Sixties and Seventies, the focus shifted to the Asian Sub-Continent – Pakistan, India and, most recently, Hong Kong.

All we tend to hear about, on this side of the Atlantic, is how discontented second and third generation radical British Muslims, primarily originating from Pakistan, have become some of the most harmful of the followers of Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Yet overall, the influx of immigrants has added great richness and diversity to Britain’s country. We have descendants from the West Indies running for us in the Olympics; Asian descendants in our Cricket team; successful Asian millionaires grace the benches of the House of Lords; and curry, not fish-and-chips is now the most beloved national dish.

There is nothing wrong with this. Any student of British history will know that there is no singular British racial strain. Over the centuries, we were invaded many times, and forcibly or otherwise, room was always found for the new conquerors – don’t ask me why, but none of ’em ever wanted to go home!

Indeed, the very nomenclature ‘Anglo-Saxon’ is made up of two different groups: the Saxons and the Angles, both invaders; both absorbed into British cultural heritage.

It is, therefore, something of a cruel irony for Brits or Yanks to hold on so desperately to a racial strain which represents the very epitome of foreigner.

America has nothing to fear from new immigration. They want to come here to succeed, not to live on welfare. Our national heritage is more than strong enough to absorb the new cultures of Asia and Central America, and then to grow and blossom with their input.

I pity John and all those seeming cynics who feel that good was only ever in the past, and who fear whatever the future may have to bring.

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Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

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