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December 09, 2007

A Humorless Patch of Words Will Grow Here

There comes a point where you've been up so long that you can't seem to lie down. Which is why I'm up at 3 in the morning reading this brown-panic article from Pat Buchanan that my brother sent me. Townhall should be ashamed to have published it.

Go ahead and read it, although I'll be quoting some of it below. The gist is that diversity equals destruction, and that as the U.S. becomes more "multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic, multilingual" we will go the way of Yugoslavia. It's rather heavy on rhetoric and short on facts.

Buchanan's major error is that he implies a causal connection between diversity and the destruction of society when he's presented no evidence that there is one. He's got a long list of "diverse" countries that have broken up and implies that the cause of the break-up is the diversity.

Even in those cases where the multiple ethnic and religious groups can be said to be the foundation of a break-up (e.g. the Former Yugoslavia), there is a significant intervening factor in the cause of the break-up. There, ethnic groups with a thousand-year history of violence were forced together by larger powers (much as the creation of Iraq after WWI sandwiched the Kurds, Sunni, and Shia together). Here in the U.S., we have no blood-drenched history with any of our immigrant groups, nor are we being forced to share limited territory and political power.

He also relies on quite a revisionist view of U.S. history, presenting the good old days when the U.S. was 90% "European-American" and 90% Christian as a time of national unity. He mentions the immigration of the Irish in the nineteenth, but manages to omit the amount of trouble that caused (I say that with irony as the descendant of one of those Irish Catholics).

Actually, now that I've linked that, I'll just quote a bit to jog your memories and push the whole "everything old is new again" button:

The Know Nothing movement was a nativist American political movement of the 1850s. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by Irish Catholic immigrants, who were often regarded as hostile to American values and controlled by the Pope in Rome. Mainly active from 1854–56, it strove to curb immigration and naturalization, though its efforts met with little success.


The immigration of large numbers of Irish and German Catholics to the U.S. in the 1830–60 period made religious differences between Catholics and Protestants a political issue. The tensions reflected European battles between Catholics and Protestants, but were much less intense. Violence occasionally erupted over elections.

Now, I think it's rude, often just an attempt to shut down debate, and just plain distasteful to call nativist or call racist, but I've got to say, Buchanan spiked my detector with this:

Last week, we learned that in the last seven years 10.3 million people, almost all from the Third World, entered the United States, more than half illegally. The nation that was one-tenth minority in 1960 is now one-third minority. European-Americans will soon be a minority in the nation, as they are today in California, Texas and most large American cities.

And when that day comes, what then will unite us as a people?

Certainly not religious faith, for the last 40 years has seen a large influx of Muslims, the rise of a rabid secularism and the break-up of Christian churches -- the Episcopalians most recently -- over issues of morality: abortion, civil unions, homosexual bishops, assisted suicide, stem cell research, Darwin, creationism. No longer are we united by a common language, as the fastest growing radio and TV stations are Hispanic.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't be assimilating as fast as our little Borg nanoprobes will let us (okay, maybe I am getting tired). I am saying that there's every reason to expect that I have more unity with non-European-Americans than I do with Pat Buchanan, who is ostensibly of my race and religion. And it's interesting that he lumps all those "issues of morality" in there, especially since the Hispanic folks he fears so much are more likely to agree with him than not on those topics.

This also struck me as an extremely curious, perhaps unique, way of arguing against diversity:

There came a new diversity when the English came to the Red Man's continent in 1607 and Africans were brought as slaves in 1619. From that diversity came the near annihilation of American Indians and a racial divide that led to the American Civil War, bloodiest in the West in the 19th century.

Yeah, I'm definitely getting tired now, so I'm just going to leave that with a big, fat, lazy WTF?

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 07:20 AM

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