Monday, June 17, 2002

Can you be skeptical of immigration without being a "hate monger"? Send this entry to: Spurl Ma.gnolia Digg Newsvine Reddit

Can you be skeptical of immigration without being a "hate monger"? I had to roll my eyes when I saw this article in the The New Republic about German nationalism. Steve Sailer's thoughts mirror my own. Can you oppose immigration and assimilation of an alien ethnos without being a bigot? And can you favor assimilation without being a bigot? The only option seems this: Allow immigration of anyone who wants to come to your country and allow them to preserve their culture-lock & stock & gun barrel. The author, John B. Judis asks:
The party further demanded that all foreigners adhere to "the values of our Christian culture"--a demand, in effect, that Germany's Muslim Turks, Bosnians, and North Africans abandon their own culture and religion.
Well, if that religion is Islamic fundamentalism and the culture propagates ideals of female subjugation, than by all means, Germanize them so that they can have the blood of 6 million Jews (and a few million Gypsies, Poles, etc.) on their hands rather than yearning for the death of living breathing 21st century Jews as they would possibly prefer. I enjoy The New Republic a great deal-but one thing I casually ignore is their Israel coverage-because they tend to follow a rather predictable line. The very Islamic extremism that the editors of The New Republic would likely condemn in Israel must now be accepted under the umbrella of Western civil libertarianism in Germany. As I've said before-the Jewish state has a right to self-determination. Jews in Israel know that extending the right of return to the Arabs would spell the death knell of their state, their people (the Israeli sabra culture) and perhaps their very lives. They are fastidious in keeping their non-Jewish minority segregated socially. What if Germans feared the birthrate of their Turkish "guests" and started to enact walls between German and Kurdish marriages to make sure that Germany remains German? I understand that Germany has a particular stain on its reputation. And yet-do the sins of the father pass to his descendents? If a German takes pride in the literature Goethe, the music of Beethoveen and the militarily brilliance of Arminius, yes, they should most certainly not forget that their ancestors' attempt to liquidate an ancient people like cattle being taken to slaughter. Similarly, though I'm an immigrant, as an American citizenship-I partake of the legacy of the cleansing of this continent (genocide?) of indigenous peoples so that I and my descendents could make their own lives on their bones. And yet the past should only guide and inform us-it should not haunt and bind us. So it should be for the Germans. Godless comments:

Similarly, though I'm an immigrant, as an American citizenship-I partake of the legacy of the cleansing of this continent (genocide?) of indigenous peoples so that I and my descendents could make their own lives on their bones.

Do you? I don't agree with this. I am partaking of what the modern US has to offer, but I certainly don't accept any guilt for slavery or the deaths of the Native Americans (who were largely killed by illness). I wasn't involved and my ancestors weren't complicit, but even if they were I wouldn't owe a debt of any kind. After all, do the descendants of American slaves owe a debt to the people (primarily non-black) who developed the technology responsible for their standard of living? Does Italy owe a debt to Northern Europe for killing and enslaving people during the expansion of the Roman Empire? Do the Chinese owe a debt to the Middle East for the depredations of the Mongols? Etcetera, etcetera.... My point is that if you start assigning blame for the actions of long dead ancestors, there's more than enough to go around. Perhaps more importantly, I remain unconvinced that the losers in these conflicts would have been any more gracious in victory than the winners. Razib responds.... I agree with what you say to this extent: I don't think that dead people have rights that can be passed to their descendents. I oppose the slavery reparations movement for this reason-while accepting that Japanese American citizens deserve some recompense because the victims are still alive (the same thing with Holocaust survivors). You bring up a good point-how do you judge the past-by today's standards or the past's standards? My last name is Khan, and I take some pride in it. And yet, one of Genghis Khan's most famous statements about the joy of conquest was something along the lines of: "To kill people, take their property, see and enjoy the pain you have caused their families, and rape their women as a final gesture of power." On the other hand, the Pax Mongolica brought a lot of benefits-and they were certainly no less brutal than their "civilized" victims, they simply didn't have the power of the pen in hindsight to vilify the Chinese or Arabs in a like fashion. It's easy to ascribe and than clean away blame. As some of the readers of this website have noted-modern religion has the concept of the God unfolding his nature toward humanity, a teleological upward progression in morality ensuing. I don't believe in God-but I do accept that something like this occurs. The bronze age Greeks practiced human sacrifice-a practice their classical descendents found abhorrent. The Romans, after decimating the Gaulish countryside and ethnically cleansing whole districts, proceeded to ban human sacrifice (which is why druids were purged from Roman lands). Later, in the 18th century in England the concept that slavery was morally reprehensible spread to the point that it was beyond the pale by the 20th. So-I think it reasonable to judge the enslavement and extermination of Tasmanians in the 19th century more harshly than the extermination of the Amelekites by the Israelites 3,000 years ago. How does this apply to the Native Americans? The U.S. government dispossessed the native peoples not only through sheer demographic inevitability, but also by breaking its own laws and acting in the interests of its own expedience. This is the government founded in 1776 as a reaction against the excesses of European despotism. True, disease would almost certainly have marginalized the Native Americans in any case, but biological warfare was also practiced against native tribes by the U.S. government. Unlike the nations of Latin America-the United States was founded by free settlers fleeing the tyranny of Europe. So the fact that its founding also resulted in the destruction of an entire cultural-complex is somewhat disturbing. While I don't judge the past by the present-I can't but help echoing values like freedom, justice and equality back toward the American past. You are right when you say that Native Americans wouldn't have behaved any differently in the reverse situation. Rather than arguing for indigenous moral superiority-my guilt is rather predicated more on the idea that American values should be held to a higher standard. I am skeptical that liberty and law are "natural" to the human condition-so awareness of injustice can't but help to keep us from sliding back toward a less liberal state.

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