Friday, February 29, 2008

Ask The NeoCon, Part VI

Reacting to yesterday's post about Illinois parents protesting public school English-language testing, reader OBloodyHell commented (emphasis in original):
I think you actually dodge the real issue here, Carl. The reality is, this is an Hispanic-driven issue, I believe.

Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but my perception is that this is driven almost entirely by people who speak Spanish as a native language -- not Germans, not Italians, not French (I . . .ignore Quebec in that, this is about the issue in the USA, not Canada).

This is about people who have come here, often either chased out of their own country (as Cuban refugees, mostly in south Florida) or voluntarily and often illegally, as much of Texas and the Southwest. . .

The PC crap has unfortunately taught many of them that the land was "stolen" from them by the Americans -- as though Mexico really belonged to the Spanish there, instead of the native populations, by this reasoning. Uh-huh. . .

America's future economy depends on its ability to continue creating IP for the rest of the world. It's one thing we are damned effective at -- and there is not a nation on earth that can hope to challenge us for supremacy at that -- precisely because of this melting pot quality -- we freely accept other cultures into our own, and adopt the best parts of those adopted cultures into the whole. This is the heart and soul of our dominance in IP -- because if it plays here -- to our polyglot culture -- Then it will play *anywhere*.

If the USA breaks itself apart, then there will be a long, hard time ahead as each of those parts finds out what they are good at... because it's not likely to be IP creation, and that is where an awful lot of future wealth is going to come from for humanity as a whole.
Guilty. I dodged it deliberately. In drafting the post, I considered at great length whether to finger Hispanics in particular. Ultimately, I chose not to do so--and elided that portion of Burt Prelutsky's quote that did.

Why? A few reasons:
  1. As you say, the problem isn't immigration, it's illegal immigration. So right away, one would have to narrow "Hispanic" to the awkward phrase "illegally-immigrated Hispanics."

  2. Much of the problem is the way of the modern world. When I was young, there were delis and konditorei in the Yorkville section of Manhattan where one could be understood more quickly when ordering in German. But that community assimilated quickly; few German-speakers, and none of those stores, remain. Today's values downplay a commitment to rapid assimilation in favor of greater self-expression--a factor not limited to Hispanics.

  3. The PC "crap" isn't confined to "illegally-immigrated Hispanics." Put differently, the left will enable multi-culti bilingualism regardless of the language spoken--note, for example, that Illinois translated its recent ELL pronouncement into Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu, Vietnamese and Gujarati, whatever that is.

  4. I have some experience with Asian communities in the DC area--Korean and Vietnamese--and have encountered some similar assimilation resistance . . . although nothing like the insularity of some Hispanics in, say, Miami, where I spent last weekend.

  5. I'm no racist. But conservatives, especially, those trying to debate in the public space, have to be careful of being pigeon-holed by progressives. Rather than being tasked by an editor, I have the luxury of selecting my own topics--and so avoid what I don't know and what could be mis-characterized. Call it self-censorship; I prefer to think I'm choosing my battles. And I'm no expert on immigration or Hispanics.

  6. I agree completely about IP and its role in America's economy and competitiveness, as I wrote three years ago:
    America doesn't have all the answers. Instead we minimize central planning and account for incentives, thereby unleashing 280 million possible solutions. Because we began as a relatively classless society, Americans can more easily advance income levels. And, as The Economist observed, unlike Europe where "bankruptcy is stigmatised; in some countries it disqualifies people from starting another company," America's consumer-oriented bankruptcy laws (despite the current Bankruptcy reform bill) mean that Americans can try, fail, and try again.
    [Though it's a decade old, I recommend The Economist article linked above.]

    I'm too lazy to track down the cite, but I once read that the national statistic best correlated with the health of the computer industry was not eduction level or income but the strength of a country's bankruptcy law. And, as you said, present and future global wealth depend on the uninterrupted flow of new ideas. But that truth applies equally to Hispanics, illegal immigrants or not.
Conclusion: My favorite Mexican joke, about the old Don who bitterly resents the 19th Century loss of so much territory to the United States. "And the worst part," he says, "is that you Gringos stole the half with all the paved roads."


MaxedOutMama said...

A lot of good points here, Carl.

Last weekend I went to the supermarket. It is one of those with a bank branch inside, and I went to make a deposit. I got involved in a discussion with the staff (it was very slow). They started it, not me. They were all of Hispanic origin, and you should have heard it. They were talking about Europe and France, and how immigrants couldn't move ahead there. About how the US was the only country in which you could really make a life for yourself - that you could come in and "be American". Which is very, very true.

Then the disparaging comments about Mexico, etc. They were laughing about the SocGen scandal and the riots in France in recent years.

I think that the Hispanic ideologists greatly misunderstand this population. The only ones the radical ideology appeals to are illegals who are recent arrivals. The bulk of the population shares the uber-patriotism common among all American immigrant populations, because of the contrast between the old culture and the new.

It is an irony that the America-hating population is university-centered and elitist as all hell.

My personal belief is that the extreme left deliberately is blocking reasonable legalization in order to try and keep this group politically marginalized. It is a bad mistake for our country, which does need some legal immigration.

But this recent spate of illegal immigration has to stop. We have way too many, and most of the problems that the extreme left claims we must solve with government programs (uninsured, low wages) are centered on a massive influx of illegal immigrants who cannot truly make a living and cannot assimilate.

OBloodyHell said...

> As you say, the problem isn't immigration, it's illegal immigration.

Not exactly. I concur that illegals are large part of it, certainly -- but there is much of it in leftist teaching, which encourages crap like "La Raza" etc., which appeals to a certain percentage of the populace by telling them, as Leftists always do these days, that
a) they can have something for nothing
b) that the Eeeevil White Man (personified in Bush & co) OWES it to them because it was stolen from "their ancestors" (who themselves "stole" it from the indiginous population, once more).

The latter sort of reasoning is particularly dangerous -- it's the sort of reasoning used to justify the invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland by Hitler. It's the sort of reasoning which justifies in the minds of so many Arabs their hatred of Israel (never mind that the land was stolen from the ancestors of the Jews -- after they were *given it* -- long before the ancestors of the modern Arabs were even Islamic, much less "Arabs")

In other words, that latter idea is one of the more pernicious memes in existence -- "your great-great-great grandaddy stole it from my GGGGdaddy, so I'm going to kill you and take it back".

At some point you can trace anything back to "Ugh stole it from Grul, so that gives me the right to kill you and take it back" Claims to land really have no business going back generations. If your grandfather did not have the capacity to take it back from whoever took it from his father, then it's time *you* gave up and forgot about it, and got on with life.

> When I was young, there were delis and konditorei in the Yorkville section of Manhattan where one could be understood more quickly when ordering in German. But that community assimilated quickly; few German-speakers, and none of those stores, remain.

I think the world is a better place when, to some extent they do -- an "authentic" German deli is a good thing to have -- I just think that the clientele as well as the operator(s) there should, by now, be at least as, if not more, fluent in English -- and should be more interested in the football game last night than the soccer game yesterday afternoon.

> The PC "crap" isn't confined to "illegally-immigrated Hispanics."

Largely true, but, to make it stick, you really do need to have a large enough percentage of individuals "just like you" to ignore the surrounding cultural forces. It's also no doubt relevant that the only classically "white" group which is increasing in numbers these days are Mormons -- so areas with large numbers of immigrants are gaining on the local populace, generally.

> I have some experience with Asian communities in the DC area--Korean and Vietnamese--and have encountered some similar assimilation resistance

Well, I believe this is typical Oriental xenophobia. I don't think the roots of the behavior are the same, and I think that they still ack that learning the dominant culture is still of high value. Most Orientals (sorry, I refuse to use the idiot PC "asian" term. The Orient is a specific region of Asia. I refer to people whose ancestors derived from that area or very nearby. Not Siberians, Not Indians, Not Arabs.) have an insularity much like the Jews -- their social patterns discourage marriage outside the group -- but the people in question still assimilate with the culture they live among.

> But that truth applies equally to Hispanics, illegal immigrants or not.

The focus is the polyglot culture -- we have people from just about every nation in the world here -- both recent and distant immigrants. If one subculture succeeds in "breaking off" and ignoring assimilation, though, it will threaten to fractionalize the US -- literally -- into regions and sub-regions, with their own rules and mores. Eventually, it may well lead to another civil war, which likely will go either of two disastrous ways -- either it will succeed, and the whole country will split apart, or it will fail, but succeed in instituting what is by my minds one of the scariest political despotisms in human history. I most certainly do NOT want to see an "Imperial America", with all the paper trappings of freedom but no real freedom at all. I think it egregiously telling that there is a public "security cam" in the bell tower of Liberty Hall in Philly. The irony of that appears lost on many. The potential for a Surveillance State to exist in America's future is quite high.

The point remains -- we need to rid ourselves of this PC multi-culti pseudo-egalitarian crap, but there is little sign of it at this point. It's dangerous and decidedly UNAmerican - it is anathema to everything which has made and will keep this nation great.

Carl said...

I agree with M_O_M and nearly everything OBH wrote. Multi-culti political correctness is subduing the United Kingdom, having already claimed Canada and Yugoslavia. We can't allow such thinking to dominate here as OBH explains. But I remain unwilling to identify Hispanics as the prime villain for the reasons set forth above.