When pondering our obsession with immigration, I’m reminded of how people in the ridiculous dystopian film Idiocracy were watering their crops with an energy drink called Brawndo. And even though the crops weren’t growing, the suggestion to try water instead was met with the following conditioned response in the drink’s defense: “It’s got what plants crave! It’s got electrolytes!” No one knew what electrolytes were. No one could explain why they were in Brawndo. It was all sloganeering.
And so it is with immigration. Why do we have immigration? “Because it’s got what America craves! It’s got people!” But why does the United States, the world’s third most populous country, need more people? “Because they’re in immigration! It’s got what America craves!”
The problem with a blanket advocacy of “immigration” is that, as with “ideology,” it is a category, not a creed. If someone proclaimed, “We need ideology!” we should ask, will any ideology do? Will liberalism, conservatism, libertarianism, Nazism, Marxism, or socialism all serve equally well? Likewise, we should ask about immigration: Would importing 10 million liberals, conservatives, libertarians, Nazis, Marxists, or socialists all serve the United States equally well? (Mind you, the majority of today’s new immigrants are socialist-minded.) Would importing 10 million Russian nationalists, Chinese nationalists, Iranian nationalists, or Mexican nationalists be as wise as having 10 million more American nationalists? Hey, who needs discernment?
No one, apparently, when in the grip of a certain simplistic dogma of our time, “immigrationism.” This is the belief that immigration is always good, always necessary, and always above reproach — at least in Western nations. Nobody ever seems to ask why Japan has no immigration.
Nobody, for instance, asks where Japan will get the needed skilled workers, even though this is a popular question posed in the wake of the Swiss vote to limit their demographic upheaval. In answering this question, note that a nation — in the true sense of the word — is an extension of the tribe, which itself is an extension of the family. Now, what if your family needs to have pipes fixed and no one within your home has the requisite skills? You hire someone with the necessary expertise, pay him his fee, and then he leaves when the job is done.
You don’t adopt a plumber.
In other words, work visas will suffice.
Yet much of what justifies immigration is purely ideological. For example, there is a certain argument made by certain political partisans, often, it seems, because they think it makes them sound clever, cosmopolitan, and cool. It is that people of European heritage came to this continent and dominated its native peoples, so it’s merely karma if the same now happens to us. The cry is, “What about the Indians?!” Two things leap to mind here. First, how does allowing our nation to be Balkanized and to descend into tyranny help the Indians? A falling tide grounds all boats. Second, this hate-America-first position is the prattle of a child, someone having a temper tantrum and talking about how he hates mommy and will run away from home. But it’s all just theoretical. It’s easy to look forward to our 476, to Rome’s impending fall, when sitting in your warm house with a stuffed refrigerator on your equally stuffed derrière and sending your puerile Internet messages on the latest iPad. But the reality of Goths breaking down your door would shatter that fantasy world fast.
Speaking of the Indians, some have the notion that “we” (and the critics are talking about white folks here) aren’t the first Americans, anyway. But as Sitting Bull grandson Ernie LaPointe mentioned after Barack Obama cited the legendary Indian as a great American hero in his children’s book Of Thee I Sing, Sitting Bull did not consider himself an American; he was a Lakota. No doubt. Remember that the word “America” is of European origin — derived from Italian Amerigo Vespucci’s name — and these United States were a product of a founding document crafted by European-descent people. You can debate whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. But it is a factual thing.
Nonetheless, it is true that “we” dominated the Indians. And the Etruscans for a time dominated the Romans, who later dominated other groups on the Italian peninsula and ultimately were dominated by “barbarians” in the West and Muslims in the East. The Aztecs dominated other tribes, as did Shaka Zulu in Africa. All sorts of European groups were dominated and subsumed as well, which is why you don’t hear about Goth, Frank, Lombard, Alan, Burgundian, Gaul, and Frisii lobbying groups. Heck, the painfully politically correct documentary series The West pointed out that the Lakota justified their dominance of other tribes to the U.S. government by saying that they were only doing what “we” were doing. This is true. A modern-day Lakota featured in the series framed their conquest this way (I’m paraphrasing), “We were very good at what we did.” This is also true.
And the Europeans were better.
I could leave it at that, were I content to operate by the principle might makes right. But since it’s more true that right makes might, let’s delve further.
Since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” should we humans just commit mass suicide to atone for our manifold trespasses, with the West leading by example? Better virtue shorn than a goodness evil born? Sure, we shouldn’t forget that most all civilizations found their genesis in blood and conquest. And we should remember, as Genesis informs, that God brings good out of bad.
The point is that we have a civilization here, now, today, and the question is always the same: is it worth preserving? No? Then, fine, scrap it. But you’d better be sure of your judgment, not only because dead civilizations, like dead men, stay dead, but because something will take your civilization’s place. And that something will not be forged by seraphim and cherubim; it will be something very human and, though I repeat myself, very flawed.
And if the answer is yes, our civilization is worth preserving? Then you take the necessary measures to do so. And to the hate-America-first crowd you say: If death is preferable to enjoying the fruits of a painfully human past, then you lead by example and drink the hemlock. Leave the rest of us to do the work of adults.
Of course, any culture can be improved. But thinking that cultural relativists — who can’t effectively differentiate between good and evil because they’ve convinced themselves everything is gray — are equal to this task is like thinking that a dietary relativist could improve your diet. Since the latter would be blind to the laws (the truth) of human nutrition and would then have nothing but taste as a guide, he just might steer you toward junk food — and maybe worse. Those colorful berries on that bush are awfully pretty, you know.
The real lesson to be learned from North America’s second great migration (the first being the Paleoindians’ arrival approximately 20,000 years ago) is this: Say what you will about the Indians, they fought to preserve their culture. They didn’t invite millions of unassimilable foreigners into their lands, give them special privileges, and then justify it all by saying that they were just here to do jobs Indians wouldn’t do (like colonize Indians).
A discussion of immigration today is nothing less than a debate about what your nation is going to be tomorrow. Will it be relegated to the history books like the Alans, Angles, Franks, Frisii, and Goths, or will it continue to write history? Is it worthy to do so? These are legitimate questions that should be tackled by legitimate thinkers, not people who hide a visceral hatred of Western civilization inside a Trojan horse proclaiming the equality of all peoples.