Monday, September 10, 2007

Immigrant Song

It's a little late to be piling on Bush, Kennedy and the bipartisan group of senators who (in the words of Thomas Sowell) believe that America's immigration policy should be set in Mexico. But it is still timely to bring it up because the immigration issue is a spin-off of the essential hatred of American culture that bills itself as multiculturalism.

It's not a question of hating other cultures, or looking down on them, or treating other peoples with anything less than respect. If someone is coming here to live, however, it must be assumed that there is something he doesn't like about his own homeland, relative to the U.S. This being the case, whatever it was, we ask that he try not to bring it with him.

Embrace your new country. And learn its language, which by the way happens to be English.

If I ever move to Mexico, I won't expect everyone else around me to learn my language. I promise.

Yet the Democrats fall all over themselves to broadcast a debate in Spanish. Ambitious as always, they're not content to showcase the woefulness of their political thought only in one language.

Yes, we are a nation of immigrants. However, we have never before tolerated so much lawless immigration. In times past, it was controlled. Also, in times past, an immigrant would have to learn English if he were to fit in. It wasn't on New York City to put up road signs in Gaelic, or Italian, or German, or Polish, or Russian, or Yiddish. It was on Irish, Italians, Germans, Poles, Russians, and Jews to learn English. They came here. We didn't go there.

A common language is important. It ruins a country when its people don't identify with it. The Austrian Empire limped into the 20th Century harboring dozens of ethnicities and languages, but didn't survive World War I, mostly because of ethnic hatreds and lack of a feeling of commonality. Serbs thought of themselves as Serbs, Albanians as Albanians, Hungarians as Hungarians, etc. -- few thought of themselves as subjects of the Hapsburgs first, and their own ethnic group second.

The Roman Empire itself vanished in large part because of an ethnic group in their midst -- the Goths -- who did not speak Latin, had no particular love of Roman institutions, and could not be assimilated. In a supreme irony, the Eastern Roman emperor Valens had allowed them into the empire because he felt they would be useful for labor and military conscription. The Goths vanquished the Romans in battle, and slew Valens -- and the Romans spent the last hundred years of their existence bribing the Goths to behave themselves, with intermittently poor results. Sometimes the Goths would sack Rome. Other times, they'd just sit around comparing different varieties of black fingernail polish.

So here's a clue: don't let into your country great numbers of people who have no particular love for it.

You might be asking yourself: if allowing unbridled immigration is bad for America, why were liberal Democrats and Bush Republicans united in favor of it? Simple. Because:

1. Democrats can't see beyond the next election.
2. Republicans can't see beyond the next stock report.

When Democrats see illegal immigrants, they see new votes and new clients for the welfare state. Republicans see cheap labor. "Cheap", however, is relative. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation points out that American taxpayers subsidize much of this labor by paying for the government services received by low-skilled Hispanic workers, including medical costs and food stamps. Republicans are pro-business, and thus have no objection to businesses being subsidized by the taxpayer. It's a good deal for the businesses. For the taxpayer, maybe not so much.

As a general rule, beware of bipartisanship. It's something that ought to be good -- we could sure use some in our foreign policy, for example -- but usually, when Republicans and Democrats agree on something, taxpayers should hide their wallets. The bill was defeated only when conservatives exploited one of the Republicans' most endearing traits: their cravenness. It took a lot of phone calls, threatening not to vote for them, not to contribute money to their party -- and this had to be done twice, because Republicans are slow learners and move their lips when they read.

To legal immigrants, we ought to say: Welcome! We don't care what color you are, or what language you spoke in your homeland, but welcome to America! Obey our laws. Learn our language. Get a job. Buy a house. Vote in our elections. Take your kids to Little League practice. Become an American. This land is your land.

To illegal immigrants, we ought to insist: go back, Jack, do it again. Follow the rules, this time.

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