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26. September 2010

Is it xenophobia? The case for culture

Filed under: immigration,multiculturalism,philosophy,politics — admin @ 14:56

One of the major insults the Left enjoys throwing at conservatives is that we’re xenophobic.  Every time the question of amnesty, border control, assimilation, and immigration is raised, it seems the Democrats (and even some high-ranking Republicans) go for the throat, loudly proclaiming that our only reason for serious immigration reform is a deeply-rooted racism, a fear and hatred of other cultures–especially brown and black ones–and a selfishness which keeps us from embracing the poor.  Unfortunately, this packs quite an emotional punch: much of the active American public are quick to take action against conservatives solely based upon this concept.

But before addressing the concept of conservative xenophobia, we need to have a clear understanding of Leftism.  According to Dictionary.com, Leftism is “A descriptive term for liberal, radical, or revolutionary political views, particularly the view that there are unacceptable social inequalities in the present order of society.  Communists and socialists, as well as moderate liberals, come under the term left-wing.”  In totality, and especially in regard to the issue of massive and illegal immigration, Leftists are concerned that the welfare of non-citizens is sub-par, and so Leftists want to allow them access to the wealth and political power of our United States.  It is this redistributionary stance regarding wealth and power that makes the Leftist a Leftist, and differs sharply from a conservative viewpoint on immigration, which values the immigrant solely based upon their contribution to the American dream by becoming a true-blooded American.

Leftism is morally predicated by the (false) idea that individual wealth cannot be the product of morality, but rather occurs more out of happenstance and blind luck than blood, sweat and tears.  Leftism loses its moral high ground without this presumption, as the arbitrary redistribution of wealth then becomes corruption and thievery instead of justice, as it forcefully takes what was morally accumulated.  And to be sure, some elements of wealth-building require that you know the right people and play your cards the right way, and some people acquire wealth immorally (which is one reason we have law).  But soberly-minded people know that a population’s macrosocial wealth doesn’t simply create itself: societal wealth is created by people, not by the printing of money, but by the legitimate labor of moral individuals.  And in order for those individuals to produce and maintain wealth in a free society, the individuals must be of a certain quality.

I say this for a couple of reasons.  First, it would be safe to assume that any society which sought wealth through the cheating and manipulation of others would undoubtedly mire itself in an abyss of nonproduction, and it would also be safe to assume that in order for cheating and manipulation to occur, you must have cheaters and manipulators.  While the United States of America is certainly not free of economic corruption, it ranks very highly on a global scale as far as its economic legitimacy is concerned (at least, until these past few administrations).  And for those unconvinced that wealth is produced by moral, laboring people, consider how rampant corruption stifles productivity in Mexico, Afghanistan, and Somalia.  The very existence of these countries allows us to argue that wealth is the product of specific people and their specific culture.

But wealth is not all Leftists wish to redistribute through mass immigration.  Safety and social harmony–other American features which entice immigrants–are very similar to wealth in that they are created by people, but not just any people who happen into safety and harmony.  No, social engineering would be of no value to the Leftist if harmony were a random drawing of cards, so we must all agree that harmony results from something very different than luck.  If we are to be honest about the source of safety and harmony, both we and Leftists must recognize that like wealth, these outcomes are also a direct result of a specific people, with a specific culture, with specific values.

To suggest that cultural values have no bearing upon social harmony would be tantamount to saying that ideas have no effect upon behaviors, something which the Left certainly cannot believe, considering their intense focus on our educational system and their unwavering fight against racist thoughts.  And while Leftists may claim that foreign nations have higher rates of crime due to poverty, and that the immigrant with access to our opportunity will not engage in crime, this also cannot be true: the Washington Post noted very recently that while American poverty and joblessness increased in 2010, our crime rates actually fell.  And even aside from that, The Atlantic even reported that our Section 8 housing program, which is supposed to stifle crime by moving people from ghettos into middle-class neighborhoods, simply spread murder and rape across suburban America.  Clearly, wealth and environment cannot be the sole causes of social discord.

So if we can state that this wealth, this safety, and this harmony are not accidents, but are the direct results of correct moral implementation through culture, then we can also conclude that cultural values also explain why Mexico is Mexico: because it is full of Mexicans and the laws they created for themselves within which they work.  It is not controversial to suggest that a country is a reflection of the people in it, nor is it controversial to suggest that legal frameworks which people create may cause problems.  Would we expect Mogadishu to maintain the same turbulence if the entire population was replaced with the Japanese?  Or Would we expect Tokyo to maintain its safety if replaced with Somalians (for an example of intraracial cultural differences, look at how Japan’s neighbor, South Korea, is mired in corruption)? 

We must ask ourselves: if we can determine that a nation is only as good as two things, the cultural people within them and the laws within which that culture interacts, is it so bigoted to assume that upsetting a cultural balance and restructuring democratic elections might dramatically recalibrate the wealth, safety, and harmony of the nation itself, especially if the immigrants are coming from a drastically less civilized nation?  Not to suggest that there aren’t good potential Americans in every nation, but still–this statistical compatibility is something we should consider as we did before the passing of the Hart-Cellar Act.

Now, some will argue that an immigrant’s desire to work, wave a flag, and keep out of trouble is grounds enough for citizenship, but this argument is woefully misguided.  America is American because of American values and the people who were willing to sacrifice for them.  We should be comfortable, on some level, to admit that an immigrant who has no interest in learning the language, learning extensively about our founding fathers, and assimilating culturally is also not interested in propagating the American Dream, but rather in pillaging American resources while effectively dismantling the culture which provided them.  If this is the case, the cause of immigration is blatantly parasitic instead of symbiotic.

Finally, we should feel comfortable asking Leftists why–if they are truly not xenophobic–they are not interested in opening both the border and citizenship to any foreign national who can afford a plane ticket or a boat ride.  If they have nothing to fear from foreigners as the fight against xenophobia demands, and a foreigner is exactly as good as an American, then certainly this should be no problem.  But if opening the border isn’t preferable, then refusal must be for one of three reasons: first, that they are afraid of the potential social impact of mass immigration (“xenophobia”).  Second, that they are afraid foreigners will deplete our limited resources (still “xenophobia”).  Third, that certain behavioral characteristics of foreign cultures might be illegal in our country (think, Sudanese polygamous Islamic militia leaders.  And yes–that’s still “xenophobia” and “ethnocentrism”).  Either way, the Leftist loses credibility and the argument changes into something very different, not concerning whether or not to import, but instead concerning the number of immigrants to import, and what kind of immigrants will best fit the propagation of the American Dream.

So what is xenophobia, anyway?  Turns out it’s something everyone possesses, all the time.   But at least conservatives are finally in good company.

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