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February 16, 2017

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I don't dismiss white majoritarianism as trivial, but I, as a white, oppose its morphing into an American superiority that trivializes other, more world-centric views as somehow irrelevant or heretical.

If whites become a "minority," so what? Not only is it because whites aren't breeding, but, more importantly, it's a biological adaptation to the sun, not some "ethnicity" or religion. Too many whites are, to quote my friends of color, "stuck on stupid" over this alleged "cultural" inanity.

That we in "uhhhmuhhrriKKKuh" haven't yet gotten beyond this is proof how petty some of us are.

The author makes a number of excellent points. More on those shortly. Meanwhile, here are some interesting, and in some cases counterintuitive, insights from the New York Times. Note that Hillary Clinton lost voter share, compared to Obama, not only among Latinos and African Americans, but also among Whites, in key swing states.

That Obama is Black, yet scored better among Whites than Hillary, says something about an election dynamic which must have transcended race (though racism, whether borderline or fundamental, certainly features as a trait among a significant number of Trump supporters).

That Obama outperformed Hillary among Hispanics, in an election year when the anti-Hispanic rhetoric by Trump and his supporters reached heights of crudity alien to contemporary mainstream American culture, again suggests a dynamic which transcends ethnic calculus.

From the New York Times:

A comparison of national exit polls from 2008, 2012 and 2016 shows that Hispanic turnout grew slightly, from 9 percent of the total vote in 2008 to 10 percent in 2012 to 11 percent in 2016. But any gain that might have accrued to Clinton from the increase was eliminated by the fact that her margin of victory among Latinos, 66 percent, was 5 points below Obama’s haul in 2012.

A detailed analysis of exit polls in four key states that helped deliver the election to Donald Trump — Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — produced interesting findings not only about Hispanics, but also African-Americans — who are less supportive of liberal immigration policies than other core Democratic constituencies — and whites. In each of these states, opposition to immigration was higher than the national average.

Take Clinton’s performance in Florida. She should have benefited from the drop in the white share of the state’s electorate from 67 percent in 2012 to 62 percent in 2016. She did not, however, because her margin among whites, 32-64, fell significantly below that of Obama, 37-61. Black turnout grew modestly from 13 percent in 2012 to 14 percent in 2016, but Clinton’s margin among African Americans, 84-8, fell well below Obama’s, 99-1.

The same pattern held for Michigan, where the white share of the electorate fell from 77 percent in 2012 to 75 percent in 2016, but Clinton lost the white vote in Michigan by 21 points, 36-57, while Obama lost it by 11 points, 44-55.

The patterns are not the same in all the Trump states. In Pennsylvania, for example, the white vote, which went 56-40 for Trump over Clinton, increased from 78 percent in 2012 to 81 percent in 2016. This boosted Trump’s statewide totals so that he carried Pennsylvania by 68,236 votes out of 5.97 million cast. An additional factor in Clinton’s defeat there was a decline in black turnout from 13 percent of the electorate in 2012 to 10 percent in 2016.

Wisconsin stands out because there the racial and ethnic makeup of the electorate remained virtually the same from 2012 to 2016. The state shifted from blue to red for one reason: the swing among whites toward Trump. Trump won 53 percent of white Wisconsin voters to Clinton’s 42 percent, an 11-point margin, compared to the 3-point spread between Mitt Romney and Obama, 51-48.

Overall, public opinion on immigration — particularly the views of those opposed to immigration — played a crucial role in the outcome of the 2016 election. Among the 13 percent of voters who identified immigration as the most important issue, Trump won, 64-33.

This data demonstrates a key element in the politics of immigration.

National polls show majorities in support of granting legal status or citizenship to undocumented immigrants. The problem for those calling for the enactment of liberal policies, however, is that immigration is a voting issue for a minority of the electorate. And among those who say immigration is their top issue, opponents outnumber supporters by nearly two to one. In this respect, immigration is similar to gun control — both mobilize opponents more than supporters.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/16/opinion/the-democrats-immigration-problem.html?referer=http://news360.com/article/390813497">http://news360.com/article/390813497">https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/16/opinion/the-democrats-immigration-problem.html?referer=http://news360.com/article/390813497


Sorry, that link was poor. This should work:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/16/opinion/the-democrats-immigration-problem.html

Thank you for this post, Rogue. I've been thinking about racial sovereignty and it feels like you hit the nail on the head.

Racial sovereignty of white Americans seems to provide a better analytical frame than "racism" or even "white supremacy"--at least from the side of voters. As much as Clinton was "business as usual," that also implied a racially-integrated government which pursued policies which undermine white sovereignty (by ameliorating concerns of marginalized colored communities).

I think we will soon see the shortcomings of white nativism; I am intrigued to see how it will evolve in a new white majoritarianism. It all just feels so cyclical.

Regarding the previous comment, I think that "racial sovereignty of White America" provides a better analytical component than analytical frame.

Undoubtedly it shouldn't be ignored. But 63 million out of 136 million popular votes (including 7.8 million cast for neither Trump nor Clinton) were cast for Trump. Were the majority cast by racial sovereignty advocates?

What about those who voted Republican out of party solidarity? Those who voted for Trump simply because they hated Hillary Clinton rather than loved Trump (quite common among the thousands of Republicans I've contacted as a political fundraiser)? Those who voted against the status quo and for change? Those taken in by Trump's populist economic message? Those who consider illegal immigrants primarily as economic competitors rather than as ethnic threats?

In the 13 swing states that actually decided the results, Trump won the popular vote. In 2012, at the height of the Great Recession, a Black presidential candidate won the popular vote in those swing states by 3.6 percent. In 2016 Hillary Clinton lost those states by -1.8 percent; a shift of -5.4 percent And more voters participated in the 2016 election.

http://cookpolitical.com/story/10174


P.S. The Wasserman PDF provides the most succinct and easy to read format for the data referenced above.

P.P.S. Okay, 2012 wasn't quite the "height" of the Great Recession, but unemployment in the month preceding the presidential election was about 8 percent. And Mitt Romney was about as White as they come; and if his comment about the supposedly feckless 47 percent was imbued with racist overtones, it should have motivated America's White majority to vote Romney. Instead, Obama won by a landslide.

Romney too ran as a successful businessman. So he shares several Trump attributes: he's conspicuously White, a wealthy businessman. And he took a "far right" position on illegal immigration, sharply criticizing Rick Perry; he promoted the "Arizona model"; and he advocated building a high tech fence along the entire 2,000 mile southern border:

http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Mitt_Romney_Immigration.htm

Trump even called Romney's self deportationn policy "mean spirited" and "crazy":

https://www.google.com/amp/www.breitbart.com/video/2015/11/12/trump-romneys-self-deportation-policy-was-mean-spirited-doesnt-support-restricting-legal-immigration-further/amp/

Yet, when Trump briefly considered Romney for a cabinet position, many Trump supporters I talked to said that if it happened, they would no longer support Trump. This was a big deal for them!

I don't think liberals should underestimate the populist economic component of Trump's platform, however specious and inconsistent, in his appeal. At one point Trump was publicly promising to welcome Bernie Sanders supporters. Many Trumpsters hate the Republican establishment and don't even consider Trump to be a Republican, despite the fact that he ran as one and put RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in as his chief of staff.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_massacre_of_1871

Not sure of RC's source, but immigrants as a percentage of the U.S. population were higher in 1870, 1890, and 1910, according to Census data:

http://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/data-hub/charts/immigrant-population-over-time?width=1000&height=850&iframe=true

Not trying to nitpick, just wanted to put the "unprecedented" comment in historical context. Besides which, if you go back early enough, you find that nearly 100 percent of Americans were immigrants. Trump is fond of saying that a nation can't exist without borders, but for roughly the first 150 years of America's history, immigration was as simple as getting on a boat and (part of the time) passing a basic medical exam. There was no visa system or general immigration quotas until after WW I, the 19th century ban on Chinese immigrants notwithstanding.


None of these comments address Rogue's question: who can give an argument for multiculturalism working using historical facts. The question wasn't about the election.

Multiculturalism denies society common norms to agree on such as: are we in favor of monotheism or democracy? Try running any organization with multiple bosses.

Trump is as legitimate as any president we have had???
You and many news feeds are all the same. Such BS!!
Remove me from your "new feeds" left wing propaganda.

Jim, the point is that an eagle cant fly with just one "wing".
And just reading "Trump's breaking news" site is like trying to fly with just a "Right Wing".

"Buzzard capitalism" -- excellent line in another perceptive column. MAGA was a prominent example of an intrinsically racist movement.

The complete and utter evisceration of the Democratic Party at the state level since '08 is best explained as a reaction to the Obaman presidency. You can't convince me its policy which keep republicans in charge. They stopped engaging in that years ago. The shit which conservatives argue wouldn't stand peer review-not because academics are liberal but because it's bad science.

Part of the problem with "racism" or "white supremacy" is it implies intent. I don't think it really matters why people voted for trump because, in the end, their vote granted authority to the Republican Party to implement its right-wing agenda. At some point outcomes have to matter more than intentions.

Oh, and what is there right wing agenda? Is it inflected with ethnic-nationalist Christian identity? In the same way that trumps "populism" will very clearly target marginalized communities to bolster social privileges held by cishet white American men? Yeah. It is.

Which explains why white voters (collectively) were way more excited about Trump than Romney. One would protect white men from neoliberalism and the other wouldn't. Which also explains why he won a higher percentage of minority votes--left-wing voters from marginalized communities didn't show up for Clinton like Obama.

https://www.google.com/amp/www.forbes.com/sites/omribenshahar/2016/11/17/the-non-voters-who-decided-the-election-trump-won-because-of-lower-democratic-turnout/amp/?client=safari

Finally, to Rogue's point: yeah, we're facing a crisis about the future of America. But, just like in 1865, or 1933, when white Americans finish their in-fighting over how to run the country, we'll return to a new concensus on the limitations of "multiculturalism." At least a quarter of muslims in this country are of african descent and yet the "Muslim ban" is (primarily) about Arab nations. They used to be seen as white and, collectively, we're not sure anymore. Once these concerns are settled we'll come up with new definitions which include the descendants of some non-WASP immigrants and excludes those deemed as permanently colored.

Or, maybe we'll get lucky, and the end of white sovereignty is really upon us. Because if the demographic transition which is supposed to occur actually does, there is no way this country survives as a republican democracy and keeps white political sovereignty.

Fun fact: the Democratic Party hasn't won a majority of the white vote in an election since (at least) 1976--at what point can we call the Republican Party a white majoritarian party? Since they can only win by having a majority of white voters support them? The only black folks elected in the Republican Party depend on white voters for elections in a way no democrat does.

Which party is actually representative of the future of America? Not that the dems are great--but stop defending people who perpetuate structural racism unless you're ready to defend structural racism.

https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/04120035/Demog2.png

I believe in what I call "cultural Darwinism" that one could compare to the cuisine in New Orleans or the intermixing of the races in Hawaii.

When a culture or ethnicity starts to wall itself off from outside influences, it stagnates, withers, and eventually dies off. This is because the walling off creates an environment in which the "recessive" and negative influences within that culture or ethnicity create and reinforce a negative "downward spiral" where nothing new or invigorating occurs--and the cultures or ethnicities that embrace diversification and sophistication from outside influences then grow and prosper from these "new ideas."

My version of Cultural Darwinism has its basis in something I read 25+years ago in Chicago that dealt with the difference between Tolerance and Acceptance and has informed my thinking ever since. As best I can remember, it goes like this...

Tolerance means that if one had a chance to change a person, condition, or situation, they would.

Acceptance means that one would change nothing about a person, condition, or situation.

The difference between open-minded and closed-minded is both small and a very slippery slope, indeed. Intolerance often comes from the best of intentions.


I see that Colin Woodward's "American Nations" book was brought up here a couple years ago http://www.roguecolumnist.com/rogue_columnist/2015/10/where-arizona-fits.html I recently read it and it seems to make sense, even if some cities seem to be outliers or enclaves (Cincinnati and Milwaukee were cited to me when I asked the author about it).

I bring this up because it does seem to explain a lot of what's going on politically and culturally, even if it's a bit rough around the edges. In the "Where Arizona Fits" post most people were arguing about superficial reasons why particular cities or states don't fit together in the same "nation" while ignoring that the whole book's premise is cultural. It's about the values people have and pass on to their children and neighbors, and how they vote, not what their buildings look like or the food they eat. The entrenched established colonial culture persists to this day, and it's becoming more self-selecting due to better information about what the people and places are really like.

At the request of "e Draco":

RC: "History shows no example of a nation that survives long as the kind of polyglot entity for which many progressives long. It shows many examples of the unsustainability of such experiments."

I would probably have stopped the sentence earlier: "History shows no example of a nation that survives long."

That's perhaps an exaggeration, but not far off. Nationhood is defined by governmental framework, not geography. England isn't a country, since it merged in 1707 to become part of the United Kingdom (unquestionably a melting pot of several once distinct cultures). France became a Republic after the United States came into existence. Russia was once ruled by Vikings.

Foreign invasions are common. Every incorporation into a new empire changes the culture of both the empire and the newly incorporated nation. Every change of governmental framework, whether imposed from without or from within, is evidence of instability. Today's cultural honogeneities resulted from the mix and assimilation of foreign elements, as territory was added and immigration and intermixing occurred.

Multicultural empires are the norm, rather than the exception. That includes the Roman, Persian, and Ottoman empires, outside the main seats of power. Even early Islam, at its most militant, fundamentalist, and expansionist, was multicultural.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_by_date_of_formation

Damn, I hate this text editor.

"e Draco" = e dravo

"honogeneities" = homogeneities.

Etc.

How about giving back all the stolen territory to the Mexicans? Seriously, there is no reason,in my opinion, to cater to white racist and cultural chauvinism.

Incidentally, while America has always been a majority White nation, the cultural definition of White has changed.

For example, Italians weren't always considered White:

https://www.google.com/amp/fusion.net/story/213123/on-columbus-day-lets-remember-that-italians-werent-always-white-in-america/amp/

The Immigration Act of 1924 enacted severe quotas on Italian immigrants, and the advocates of the law used racist eugenics arguments to justify that:

"In the 10 years following 1900, about 200,000 Italians immigrated annually. With the imposition of the 1924 quota, 4,000 per year were allowed."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Act_of_1924

Note that given the smaller population of America in the first decade of the 20th century, the hordes of Italians were an "invasion" on a scale to compare with Mexican immigration in the last decade of the century. The same complaints of failure to assimilate, linguistically and culturally, were made then, too.

Hattie wrote: "How about giving back all the stolen territory to the Mexicans?"

Except that "the Mexicans" were originally the Spanish, who stole it from the Indians. And the Indians stole it from each other, as empires expanded and dissolved. The original owners, if there were any, no longer exist.

Any one care to predict what will the United States look like in 2027?

U.S. stole Mexican territory. Mexico is not Spain.

There are many in their white majoritarianism, enjoying the many benefits of white "privilege," who both actively and passively support the various "white power" movements and their ideologies. Many support these under some banner (cloak) of "religion."
You all know how I despise such hypocrisy.

What's more than ironic is that most "white" ethnicities came from Barbarians, Vandals, Goths, Huns, etcetera--who came from Asia. Tose Asians came from Africa.

As for the science many of these evangelicals abhor, a great deal of that came from the Islamic world.

But in their ideologically-addled and handicapped state, many of these white "culture" storm-troopers willfully ignore how interconnected and interdependent this planet truly is.

LoL, nobody talks about the elephant in the room. The entire discussion of white minority is predicated on the current acceptance of the Mexican illegal and central american illegal populations remaining and continuing to grow through pull along immigration and natural growth.

If 12-15 million of them are gone, this will be a different country.

Interestingly, it will severely damage the low end housing market in Maricopa County, and indeed in a lot of rural America and inland California.

But whatever, the die is cast.

As Jon likes to notice, immigration moved from here to the heartland, and the heartland is now in the process of rejecting the new settlers.

Pence kissed the ring, and took up the anti mantle, and Sessions confirmation essentially finalized it.

All that it awaits is the exit by millions in a gradual and unsettling fashion.

But without real legal standing, all of those Maldef lawyers are wasting their time.

And so it goes.

It will slow down growth in America, but as was noticed by a hero of the environment, Ed Abbey, unlimited growth is the method of a cancer cell.

He thought unlimited immigration from points south would be a disaster as well.

So much ruin in this nation.

Abbey wanted to stop Mexicans at the border give them a gun and send them back into Mexico for a revolution against political corruption.

Reading Ken above makes me think the political evolutionary process suggests as I indicated before. Putin let's Donald have half.

And when the rest of the world understands the intolerance and hate in "uhhmurriKKKuhh" from the white majoritans, these same white majoritans will have to pay higher wages to get those menial, grunt-level jobs done. The big question is, how many of these "fiscal conservatives" will embrace this shot to their collective wallets? That will be amusing....

Whites are projected to remain the largest single race in America long after they constitute less than 50 percent of the population. That's because the minorities who will constitute a majority of the population are composed of different groups.

For example, even by 2060, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that Whites will number about 285 million. The next largest group will be African Americans, at 182 million. Latinos are projected to be a distant third place, at 119 million. So, local variations notwithstanding, most of the faces associated with any single race will be White ones. See Table 2 of the PDF available here:

http://www.census.gov/library/publications/2015/demo/p25-1143.html

Sorry, it's hard to read wide tables on a cellphone. By 2060 the projections are:

Whites, 182 million
Latinos, 119 million.
African Americans, 60 million.

The point remains the same, except that Latinos, not African Americans, are in second place.

Incidentally, Whites in 2014 numbered 198 million. So the Census Bureau projects a slight decline in absolute numbers.

Incidentally, when I write "White" I refer to single race non-Hispanic Whites. There are plenty of White Latinos. But it's less complicated to use the term in its common, everyday, sense.

This leads to a further conclusion: the claim of pending minority status for Whites depends on the exclusion of White Latinos.

For example, in 2016, Census projects a total population of 417 million. Of that, 182 million, or 44 percent, are non-Hispanic Whites. But if you include Hispanic Whites as well, then Census projects 285 million Whites, or 68 percent. So Whites remain a majority of the population as far as the Census Bureau projects.

Does this settle the matter? Not quite. Census polls use the racial self-classification of respondents. There are an indeterminate number of individuals classifying themselves as White even though they are technically Mestizos -- mixed Spanish (White) and Indian.

Academic studies attempting to analyze the racial makeup of Mexicans vary widely in the percentage of the population classified as White. The Mexican Census has not asked the race of respondents since 1921.

https://lobertrindsay.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/races-of-mexico/

And the children of Spaniards (Hispanic?) recently from Spain and Black Americans?
It's all psychotic bullshit. We are earthlings, or "manunkind" things left behind by Aliens. And Walls are about killing. The Hunger Games are here. RU ready? Get your Survivor Manuel at B&N.


The Roman Empire was multicultural in that once they defeated the local major domo the defeated tribe was allowed to keep their customs and keep their gods as long as they upheld Roman Law and at least public acknowledged the supremacy of Roman deities and, of course paid Rome its taxes. Otherwise the locals were in complete control… It was good colonial policy, used quite successfully by the British to manage their empire.

The story of Jesus is illustrative. When the Pharisees wanted to rid themselves of a trouble maker they needed the approval of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who was responsible for seeing Roman law was carried out and served as the chief judiciary authority of the province. Capital offenses needed Roman approval.

Rome brought about a remarkable transformation of the western world because they made laws uniform throughout the empire, reduced the authority of local kings and made enforcement of laws more consistent and more equitable- a boon for commercial trade because it reduced uncertainty which is risk and carries a high cost. The Roman Empire succeeded as well as it did because it crushed multiculturalism.

Concern Troll wrote: "The entire discussion of white minority is predicated on the current acceptance of the Mexican illegal and central american illegal populations remaining and continuing to grow through pull along immigration and natural growth. If 12-15 million of them are gone, this will be a different country."

According to Census, in 2014 there were 121 million minorities in the United States. If there are 15 million illegals, that's only 12 percent of minorities. (See Table 2 at the link above.)

Even assuming that they have a higher average reproductive rate than other minorities, their removal would only push back the day when non-Hispanic Whites become a minority of the population.

But isn't this fantasy anyway?

"The notion that raids have been stepped up under Trump has been advanced both by the White House, to show that Trump is keeping a promise, and by advocates of those who have been targeted, to illustrate what they call the new president's heavy-handed tactics. But statistical evidence has not come in to show that enforcement has surged under the new Trump administration or that actual deportations are up. A similar series of raids under Obama in March 2015 resulted in the arrest of more than 2,000 criminals, the government said at the time."

https://www.google.com/amp/www.sfgate.com/news/politics/amp/AP-FACT-CHECK-The-audacity-of-hype-10942483.php

Obama deported more illegal immigrants than any other president, 2.5 million from the start of his first term through 2015. But the illegal population remained the same because more arrived to replace the deportees.

The record year for deportations was 2013, when 435,000 were removed. The number of apprehensions at the border that year (which was well below the record for border apprehensions) was 414,000. But presumably, many more came in undetected that year.

http://www.snopes.com/obama-deported-more-people/

And how many of Obama's deportees were caught at the border? How do you track down 15 million illegals whose physical presence is lacking and who have furthermore camouflaged themselves in a society to which they have at least partially assimilated?

e dravo wrote: "The Roman Empire was multicultural in that once they defeated the local major domo the defeated tribe was allowed to keep their customs and keep their gods as long as they upheld Roman Law and at least public acknowledged the supremacy of Roman deities and, of course paid Rome its taxes. Otherwise the locals were in complete control…"

Good points. Usually, the local aristocracy intermarried with Roman provincial administrators, also. This encouraged parallel/hybrid multiculturalism. And while the aristocracy may have learned Latin, most of the local population didn't (there was no compulsory general education). Instead of replacing the local language, a slow process of bastardization occurred. Certainly the later spread of Christianity, and the concentration of learning among monasteries (where Latin was the de facto written language) had more to do with the eventual romanization of the local language than Roman provincial government did.

But e dravo then concluded; "The Roman Empire succeeded as well as it did because it crushed multiculturalism."

Huh? You already enumerated freedom of worship, freedom of customs, and local control. To that I added polyglotism.

If customs, religion, language, and local control were allowed, how did Rome crush multiculturalism? The enforcement of a Roman code of laws doesn't, any more than American jurisprudence can be said to"crush multiculturalism".

A side note: Trump and Putin will not let McCain continue his assaults on them. They will find a way to neutralize him.

I just think this continued emphasis on keeping some kind of "white" heritage is rather useless, unless this "heritage" has to do with respecting others rights to be who they want to be. Whites saying "Just follow the laws" is often a convenient excuse to control others. I'm talking about accepting others as they are and learning from them because we all can learn something from each other no matter what our nationality, ethnicity, or legal status.

The ones exercising their right to be who they want to be should have every right to do that as long as they, in exercising said right(s), do not infringe, impinge, or prevent others expression of freedom. Laws often only begin to address the above because things like intolerance, ostracism, scorn, and hate can't be legislated or codified as illegal.

Statistics are only numbers and don't reflect attitudes about the emotional and mental barriers we humans create against each other as some sort of bad one-upmanship and pompousness charade.

While traditions are good, when they are used to build walls between different races, ethnicities, and groups, the effect is to control, which I believe is the true antithesis of love and goodwill.

So all of this idea about whiteness is really just a method of dividing us as a species.

Bradley Dranka wrote: "Whites saying "Just follow the laws" is often a convenient excuse to control others."

All statutory laws are an attempt to control behavior. Their purpose is to restrict behavior, to discourage deviations, and to further restrict the liberty of those who violate the norms which the laws are supposed to embody.

Bradley Dranka wrote: "The ones exercising their right to be who they want to be should have every right to do that as long as they, in exercising said right(s), do not infringe, impinge, or prevent others expression of freedom."

Very libertarian. But how then do you justify the taxation and redistribution of income?

How do you justify laws that prevent private businesses from determining which customers they cater to? If someone wants to withhold a wedding cake made with their own hands, rather than put dolls of two men in tuxedos holding hands on the top, because it isn't who they want to be and offends their values, well, can't the customer find a business that will cater to them or else do their own cake decorating?

Both of these examples demonstrate that the core of your argument revolves around the concept of rights. Not moral rights, but legal rights as defined by federal and state constitutions, statutory law, and the case law which interprets and accepts or rejects them.

Is unregulated immigration a right? Not according to the laws of most nations. It used to be, in America and elsewhere. Contrary to Donald Trump's assertion, you can have a country without borders. America was such a country for its first 150 years. There was no visa system and (the Chinese Exclusion Act notwithstanding) no immigration quotas, until after WW I.

Now personally, I think very good arguments can be made supporting taxation and redistribution of income. Jim Crow laws are a very obvious example of government infringement of constitutional rights.

But there is (please forgive me I'm not trying to be provocative) something oddly inconsistent in your comments. On the one hand, you make a vague generalization impugning the motives of Whites as Whites. On the other hand, you say that the concept of race shouldn't divide us. Yet, your language uses race as a wedge to divide and criticize. Can you have it both ways?

Ken Atherton, you wrote: those who violate the norms which the laws are supposed to embody.

I believe the whites create "norms" that are NOT norms for other races, ethnicities, etc., to perpetuate whites' "calling" the societal shots. This is social "hegemony" and is a fair-weather, self-serving bullying exercise of freedom that impinges on "others" freedom to be themselves.

You then write: But how then do you justify the taxation and redistribution of income?
How do you justify laws that prevent private businesses from determining which customers they cater to? If someone wants to withhold a wedding cake made with their own hands, rather than put dolls of two men in tuxedos holding hands on the top, because it isn't who they want to be and offends their values, well, can't the customer find a business that will cater to them or else do their own cake decorating?

Taxation and redistribution are the price, I believe, to be paid by us for living in a nation SO THAT everyone CAN have the opportunity to express their freedom--and the price the wealthy should "give back" to those who made them so wealthy--a tithe, if you will.

You then wrote: Both of these examples demonstrate that the core of your argument revolves around the concept of rights. Not moral rights, but legal rights as defined by federal and state constitutions, statutory law, and the case law which interprets and accepts or rejects them.

My argument revolves around MORAL, HUMAN rights, not LEGAL rights which I contend that are employed by the controlling white majority to control behavior they disapprove of. Moral and humanistic rights should be there for everyone, but, in our intolerant and bigoted society, are seen as threats to be controlled by legislation and executive fiat. Moral and humanistic rights being available to everyone are products of acceptance, whereas tolerance, in eyeing to change things in a negative, backward way, seeks to roll back rights--both moral and enshrined.

You follow with: Is unregulated immigration a right? Not according to the laws of most nations. It used to be, in America and elsewhere. Contrary to Donald Trump's assertion, you can have a country without borders. America was such a country for its first 150 years. There was no visa system and (the Chinese Exclusion Act notwithstanding) no immigration quotas, until after WW I.

America proclaims itself the "shining light on the hill." We also loudly tout "American Exceptionalism." HOW MUCH of that "exceptionalism" is directly due to immigration? Comparing the U.S. open borders--and the need to make them parallel "other nations" immigration policies while simultaneously pounding our chests over our "exceptionalism" is disingenuous and deliberately misleading. While there may need to be "protections" about immigration, those absolutely need to be fair and moral--or America is hypocritical and a liar about being some "exceptional," "shining light on the hill," "one nation under GOD."

I made MY case, and I think it's morally sound, about redistribution of income.

You close with: But there is (please forgive me I'm not trying to be provocative) something oddly inconsistent in your comments. On the one hand, you make a vague generalization impugning the motives of Whites as Whites. On the other hand, you say that the concept of race shouldn't divide us. Yet, your language uses race as a wedge to divide and criticize. Can you have it both ways?

There is no passive-aggressiveness or inconsistencies in what I say. You're exactly right that I condemn the immorality of whites (which I don't call a race because of the polyglot of ethnicities that they came from and continue to be made up of) in trying to "save" their heritage by continuing the charade of some kind of existential "threat." I don't believe in "races," or being racist, because there is only ONE race--the human, worldwide RACE.

Statistics can be helpful, but using them up and down, back and forth, inside-outside, and left to right often doesn't address the "gut check" issues of morality and decency we need to employ when dealing with our fellow man.

Ken Atherton, you wrote: How do you justify laws that prevent private businesses from determining which customers they cater to? If someone wants to withhold a wedding cake made with their own hands, rather than put dolls of two men in tuxedos holding hands on the top, because it isn't who they want to be and offends their values, well, can't the customer find a business that will cater to them or else do their own cake decorating?

These businesses are in the public forum serving the general public. They are NOT private clubs. Thus, they are subject to the non-discrimination laws of the United States that govern public entities.

Ken Atherton, I am a socialist at heat because I believe many of the ills of the United States--and the world, as well--have been perpetuated by a white American brand of capitalism that glorifies and rewards greed, avarice, mean-spirited one-upmanship and brinkmanship macho bullying, malicious Machiaveliianism, and a general taking before giving mentality.

Morality, decency and goodwill have seldom been at the forefront of our dealings with the world, being all too often accorded places well down the list in our overly profit-oriented motivations.

I also strongly feel a much more cynical and chauvinistic leadership will only make this dog-eat-dog attitude more insidious--and will ultimately presage disaster for the U.S.

Moral rights must certainly be the basis for legal rights, otherwise laws would be arbitrary, wouldn't they? But that begs the question: whose moral rights, as defined by whom?

There is at least a faint whiff of the Orwellian in proclaiming a libertarian definition of rights in which everyone is free to act as they wish provided that their actions do not constitute fraud or coercion, only to follow this up by proclaiming that these rights are actually subject to restriction on the basis of a nebulous "public good", enforced against some to the benefit of others, by whatever political faction (right or left) happens to hold power at the time.

While I respect the libertarian view, I regard it as naive, insofar as it fails to take into account the coercive factors of "free market" economic systems. When concentrated economic power allows a small group of owners to dictate the basic terms of existence (e.g., food, shelter medical care, wages, working conditions) to others, that too is a form of coercion.

Collectively blaming "Whites" (which ones?), which you explicitly define as those sharing a particular skin color, is surely every bit as discriminatory as anything you criticize.

It's also not very practical, from a political view, in a society where any progressive political solution to social ills will require the good will and cooperation of the largest groups, including Whites.

Slavery and wars of aggression based on nationalist or tribal loyalties are by no means historically limited to Europe and America.

They have been perpetrated by the Chinese, Japanese, Mongols, Africans (both northern and sub-Saharan), Indian (Aztec, Inca), and many more. Every inhabited continent has seen slavery and wars of aggression, imposed not only by foreign powers but by those native to the region.

The largest currently existing bastion of slavery is in India and African countries, not Europe or America:

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/oct/17/world/la-fg-wn-slavery-africa-20131017

While profit from capitalism has some good, way too much (the love of money is the root of all evil) creates problems as well. That's why I believe in taxes--and a bit more.

Maybe this encapsulates my feelings perfectly...

And everybody wanted to be free
Laws and rules should keep it that way
Hey hey hey

Everybody wants to be happy
Everybody wants to be warm
And be loved and liked and wanted
And have some kind of home
But getting it is work
And keeping it is tough
But destroying it's the easy bit
We've all got the magic touch.

It's from a song called "The Rainmaker," by a KC rock group called the Rainmakers.

I didn't use either of the terms "fraud or coercion" to describe one's exercise of freedom. My sentiment was exercising one's freedom while having the self-control and respect (as well as acceptance) for others so that your exercise of rights DID NOT IMPINGE OR RESTRICT the others' right(s) to their freedom. Live and let live. Act responsibly and accountably when exercising your freedom.

As far as my condemning whites, I condemn those who try to define white heritage as some kind of nirvana that they use to act as if other cultures are inferior and less relevant. I think everyone knows of the "white power" groups that employ this as some sort of justification for their hate. That they wrap themselves in God only adds to my detesting them. These ideas are present (in varying degrees) in virtually every conservative state in the U.S.--and these ideas have insinuated themselves into their politics. Just look on the Southern Poverty Law Center's hate group listing.

Very good article! I scratch my head a little when RC gets into the topic of immigration. He goes to great lengths to say how much he reviles Donald Trump generally, but on the topic of immigration, I suspect he is secretly largely in agreement with the new president and his policy mentor (or Grim Reaper), Steve Bannon. I say this based on the fact that RC is not afraid to go obliquely against the liberal grain when discussing this topic, but doesn't tip his hand to say what exactly he believes. A couple of examples are http://www.roguecolumnist.com/rogue_columnist/2015/12/why-do-they-hate-us.html#more (in which he discusses the dangerous nature of our relationship with the Muslim world and the portion of it in our country) and http://www.roguecolumnist.com/rogue_columnist/2016/04/stop-making-sense.html#more (in which he admits Trump occasionally makes good foreign policy points and might have a good point or two on immigration. Also in that post I, The Intellectual Assassin and others extensively debate immigration and American exceptionalism in the comments). I love reading RC's historical articles and one thing that comes through clearly in those is his nostalgia for the country and city of his youth: an America that was in it's heyday as a world superpower and industrial powerhouse, very wealthy but having a large and growing middle class and surprising income equality. It was also in the midst of a native population "baby boom" and on the tail end of decades of very limited immigration. In Phoenix, with it's safe, leafy, walkable neighborhoods and commercial districts and healthy economy, the only sizable minorities were the largely segregated and politically marginalized Mexicans and Native Americans. It is not a stretch, I think, to say that RC is a believer in MAGA (make Arizona great again). I'm sure he wouldn't say the U.S. and AZ were perfect back then (Phoenix 101 documents lots of warts too), but it is impossible to be certain that that idyllic time and place would have existed under different conditions.

To lay my cards on the table, I am an immigration restrictionist and Trump's immigration policies are where I find myself most in agreement with him. His immigration policy speech in Phoenix was the most unconventional, thorough statement on the topic ever given by a national political candidate. It is worth reading if you haven't already.
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-donald-trump-immigration-speech-transcript-20160831-snap-htmlstory.html Some pundits at the time said that this is the day that Trump won the presidency. I didn't agree then, but in hindsight, they may have been right.

I guess you could call me a white majoritarian, but as RC qualifies it, not a white supremacist, white nationalist, racist, or whatever names are hurled. I think the grand experiment the U.S. and western Europe has been conducting over the last 50 or so years is playing with fire. America has certainly had periods of heavy immigration before, with plenty of handwringing and prejudice over it at the time and concern about bringing too many new cultures in too quickly. It seems kind of quant now, since it was a matter of which western European country they came from or what branch of Christianity they followed. This time we are bringing much of our unprecedented quantity of immigrants from countries that have no common culture with the West. Many of the societies these folks come from couldn't be more different from ours economically, politically, religiously, legally, family relationally or whatever area you want to compare. Europe is ahead of us on this road and their results aren't encouraging. Their mostly Muslim immigrants have low rates of employment and assimilation. This creates the perfect conditions for breeding terrorists, not to mention the small but lethal number who immigrate specifically planning to wage Jihad. Apart from the terrorism threat, it is an open question whether most of their newcomers and their numerous offspring will ever buy into the democratic and liberal values of Europe and given enough time and demographic change that those will even continue to be their countries dominant values. Here in the U.S., we have a better history of welcoming and assimilating our immigrants. Still, I think there is a limit to how many people we can effectively integrate, which is probably well below our current level.

I recently read a good rhetorical question by Mickey Kaus, which I will quote here: " “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society,” said Daniel P. Moynihan in his finest try for Bartlett’s.** Does anyone really doubt this? If businessmen can make millions babbling about corporate “culture” — IfReddit can have a culture — why can’t we talk about the cultures from which immigrants come? Maybe they assimilate over time, maybe they don’t. But we can’t assume that everyone and all cultures automatically assimilate at some sort of fixed pace. Thought experiment: What if the entire population of Central America, India, Bangladesh, Russia and Western China –some 1.8 billion people — miraculously moves to the U.S. in a month. Screen them for criminals and terrorists. Don’t change any U.S. laws to accomodate them. Construct plenty of housing and schools and roads in advance. In two years the country wouldn’t look anything like the country we know now, of course. Do you think it would it retain the things we now value about America? That it would be a better place? Good. I don’t either. Now we are just haggling over the size and pace of the inflow."

It is a glaring omission to talk about attitudes towards immigration without discussing politics. I think it would be naive to believe that Democrats and liberals beliefs aren't influenced by the fact that immigrants vote overwhelmingly Democratic . It was assumed by Democrats that Obama's "coalition of the ascendant" would lock in democratic presidential victory in perpetuity, that is until Trump threw a monkey wrench into their electoral plan. Democrats love mass immigration because when immigrants become voters, they vote for them and Republicans suicidally go along because the business interests that have controlled the party, before Trump at least, like the cheap labor.

I agree that immigration was a significant factor in Trump's victory, but probably not as big of a factor as his economic populism, consolidating the evangelical and catholic votes and not being Hillary Clinton.

Just out of curiosity, how do we preserve a white majority in this country? Melanin codes?

There's something called the Constitution and it was written during a time called the Enlightenment. It is the foundation of our secular culture and government. There's no mention in it about some people being better than other people except for that awkward formulation about counting slaves in state populations. Obviously, it took a long time to realize its ideals. In 1965, we finally decided that immigration itself cannot be ethnically coded. Since then, the world has gotten significantly smaller. Virtually every ER room in America has a doctor from India and a nurse from The Philippines. Silicon Valley has Asian software engineers who have made us the global leader in new technologies. This nation's grunt labor is done by Latino immigrants who work their asses off in a way the resident population no longer does.

Our culture has been immeasurably enriched by blacks in the arts (imagine American culture without its signature contribution: jazz). They comprise a disproportionate percentage of our professional athletes, and we always seem to take pride when they bring back bushels of medals from Olympic games. But for the American right, their primary utility is in ginning up a vile racial tribalism where the white working class is invited to believe that blacks are virtually domestic terrorists and our cities are war zones. This has made the Republican Party politically successful. It is hardly something to be proud of, however.

We are not going back to Mayberry. That's over. Moreover, nostalgia itself is not a plan. Yes, I miss the old cultural unities, but I can't see how you encode anything so amorphous as cultural identity into our nation's laws. If you want to make America great again, read a book. Better yet, introduce yourself to your neighbors, and stop driving everywhere. What ails this country is its insane whininess, and its chief exemplar is Donald Trump, a man-child who somehow sees himself as a victim because other people occasionally note how pathologically self-glorifying and bullying he is.

We are better than Donald Trump. I hope most of the readers of this blog are better than the Republican Party and it's double game of celebrating cutthroat capitalism and cultural stasis. Fasten your seatbelts because the future cannot be stopped. Right-wingers can still celebrate their culture watching Fox News and playing with guns. That won't change. But America, this pained and agonizing work in progress, will.

Gee, 1.8 billion people dropped into a country of 320 million people? That's the kind of thought experiment that doesn't require much thought--either by the person asking the question or the person answering. And "haggling" over the size and pace is exactly the point. By the way, the supposed 12-15 million illegals already here seem to be assimilating OK.

Whites became the dominant culture because 99% of the earliest "settlers" of North America were white Anglo-Saxons. It was named New England--not New Arabia or New China. As the dominant culture it has either absorbed, incorporated, or obliterated all that came before or since. That's what dominant cultures do.

The melting pot analogy, while imperfect in some ways, is still valid. We get into our Japanese cars and drive to the nearest Mexican restaurant, while listening to jazz and reggae on the way. People from every ethnic background intermarry. And yet, it's still America and the majority of us are still "white". Not many racially "pure" Aryans--and thank God for that.

The question I have is, when Der Trump's Brownshirts round up the 12-15 million (those numbers seem kinda arbitrary to me, but still...), and sends them back to wherever, does that mean the steelworkers in the Rust Belt get their union jobs back? How about the coal miners? No? Well, will they move out here and pick lettuce then? Or work as gardeners and busboys? I understand the work is hard and the pay is ridiculous, and as for benefits--ha! But at least there's all that sunshine and fresh air.

Oh, and it can't be said often enough: Trump's "victory" (while losing by 3 million votes) came in large part because of Comey's interference, Russian meddling, and good old Republican voter suppression.

Beautiful and incisive words, soleri. Especially with regard to those who support vastly restrict immigration, I'm glad an such a sage voice as yours has pointed out their passive-aggressive, self-serving, immoral accountability-dodging rejection of those things that made America "exceptional." They want it both ways--and that is a fantasy.

Too many white supremacists and people like steve bannon (small letters for a small man) cling to some idea of a white "heritage." This is some kind of mantra to demonize and marginalize other cultures and peoples as "lesser" than them. What a bunch of malarkey!

When we get past our willfully ignorant fixation on skin color, maybe we can then look at each other as equal and deserving of respect--and live up to our potential as "human" beings.

Jon7190, thanks for the input from the other side, because it's important to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Trump and his zombies trash the world

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n04/sidney-blumenthal/a-short-history-of-the-trump-family?utm_source=LRB+online+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20170214+online&utm_content=usca_nonsubs

https://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Survival-Guide-Complete-Protection/dp/1400049628

I suspect RC is absolutely appalled by Trump's immigration policies and it would take a tortuous interpretation of his articles to suggest otherwise. In the 1800's Protestant yankees no doubt leveled the same claim of irreconcilable cultural differentness against Irish Catholic, southern European, Mexican and Chinese immigrants as Know Nothing Republicans do today against immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America, and particularly Muslims.

I am a Buddhist in Bangkok trying to understand the intense hatred often displayed between the three branches of Monotheism religion: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The three monotheistic sects are founded upon the same holy book, hold the same afterlife beliefs and follow the same holy rules which they call commandments. Over the centuries each sect has inflicted atrocities in varying degrees against the others. It appears to be all about power and the wedge of cultural or religious differentness as the excuse used to incite the masses, most who have lived an isolated tribal existence, against each other.

There are two other facets of this white majoritarianism I find offensive: the call for "others" to assimilate and this white smokescreen of American exceptionalism.

In the first, many whites expect and demand that "foreigners," mainly, Mexicans, speak English. We find this at its most fevered pitch in Arizona's education system--and Arizona's conservative political leaders' virulent opposition toward "Mexican studies." But when many of these same whites go overseas, they are loud and boorish in their arrogance, Hence, the term, "ugly American."

I also believe the touting of an American exceptionalism by the majority whites is an attempt to somehow justify that "their" culture should be "excepted" from having to assimilate into the larger world's culture. This is really just a refusal to accept the ideas of change and acceptance of "others." This shows up, especially since the trump ascension, in our refusal as a country to be bound by international diplomatic or cultural norms. We think we stand supreme, when this arrogance is only signaling to the world our collective white majoritarianism stupidity--much like the far-right's refusal to accept global warming (climate change is a deliberate attempt to confuse: the climate is always changing).

We are no better or worse than any other group of humans, but if we continue shooting off our collective mouth to marginalize and discredit the rest of the world, we'll only wind up shooting ourselves in the foot.

Bradley Dranka wrote: "I also believe the touting of an American exceptionalism by the majority whites is an attempt to somehow justify that "their" culture should be "excepted" from having to assimilate into the larger world's culture."

Could you elaborate a little so I understand better what your point is? What is the World's culture? What are it's characteristics and what would the USA assimilating to it look like?

B. Franklin wrote: "Gee, 1.8 billion people dropped into a country of 320 million people? That's the kind of thought experiment that doesn't require much thought--either by the person asking the question or the person answering. And "haggling" over the size and pace is exactly the point."

Right, 1.8 billion is an ridiculously huge number, but I left the quote as it is because it is simply making a point that there is an upper number that everyone would agree would be too much immigration. That point is not as obvious as you might think because many, probably a majority, of people don't think much at all about legal immigration and you certainly would have a hard time finding a person on the left acknowledging that there is even a theoretical upper limit. My understanding of the general liberal thinking on the subject is that not only is more immigration always better, but citizens of other countries have a right to move here if they want to. Please correct me if I am wrong about that.

The melting pot of America is a familiar but great concept and is part of the ideal most people have in their head with The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, great little Italian restaurants, etc. The point of restrictionism is that we want numbers that maintain and encourage the melting pot but don't overwhelm it. Human nature is such that people tend to want to live around people of their own culture. I think the right number would be something below the amount that produces local immigrant communities that are so large that immigrants and their children can live all parts of their life without having to have any significant contact with the outside culture. The melting pot is not just about foreign things becoming part of our culture but also our culture becoming part of their life.

soleri wrote: "There's something called the Constitution and it was written during a time called the Enlightenment. It is the foundation of our secular culture and government. There's no mention in it about some people being better than other people"

Of course the Constitution (and the Declaration of Independence) are the foundation for our society and our government. The ideals enshrined in them are what we want all our citizens and prospective citizens to embrace and live by. That's really the bottom line, isn't it? Most immigrants come from places with governments that don't have anything like our Constitution and its protection of rights. We should want immigrants that will become productive citizens and enthusiastically uphold our constitution and laws. All that should be pretty uncontroversial.

What is controversial is how to ensure that. I agree with you that past immigrants, and our original INvoluntary immigrants, have contributed valuably to our culture. Individually, many fine, all-star new citizens have come from every country (and that grunt labor Latinos work their asses off!). I truly believe that all men are created equal, as the Declaration says. What I can't sign onto is that all cultures are equal. They all have virtues, but not all are equally good at producing large numbers of people that will integrate well into a pluralistic, tolerant, law-enforcing, minimally-corrupt capitalist society. We have at least five decades of experience now admitting people from just about every country in the world. The government is very good at keeping statistics, when it wants to. The government has, or should have, records on which immigrants or their children have been convicted of crimes, who has employment and pays how much in taxes, who graduates from school, who is on assistance programs, etc. It would be simply a matter of statistical analysis to determine which countries send people who are, as a group, more productive and less crime-prone. Then, within the level of the overall amount of immigration and the blend of skilled or unskilled workers that we want, admit more from the countries with the most successful emigrates and less from the others. The goal should be a rational, intentional, fraud-free process designed to admit those with the most chance of success and who will best benefit our country and its citizens.

By the way, on the topic of the Constitution, it says almost nothing about immigration directly. All of our immigration law is based on a complex mix of congressional statute and judicial rulings.

jon7190 wrote: "America has certainly had periods of heavy immigration before, with plenty of handwringing and prejudice over it at the time and concern about bringing too many new cultures in too quickly. It seems kind of quant now, since it was a matter of which western European country they came from or what branch of Christianity they followed. This time we are bringing much of our unprecedented quantity of immigrants from countries that have no common culture with the West."

Several points. First, many immigrants from Western Europe historically came from countries with non-democratic governments (e.g., monarchies of the sort America was created to escape). So, they too came from alien political cultures. They also brought radical political philosophies with them, such as Marxism and anarchism. Many of the foreign radicals rounded up and deported from the United States after WW I were Germans.

Second, Eastern Europeans came to America in droves at the turn of the last century. Again, alien cultures. Many did unpopular jobs like meatpacking work. Upton Sinclair documents much of this in his novel The Jungle.

Third, many recent immigrants (if one includes illegals) came from Latin America, most notably Mexico and Central America. Roman Catholicism is overwhelmingly the religion of these immigrants. Mexico, though plagued by narco-corruption, is a constitutional democracy. So it isn't as though these immigrants are coming from the moon.

"In 2014, Mexican immigrants accounted for approximately 28 percent of the 42.4 million foreign born in the United States, making them by far the largest immigrant group in the country. India, closely trailed by China (including Hong Kong but not Taiwan), and the Philippines were the next largest countries of origin, accounting for about 5 percent each. El Salvador, Vietnam, Cuba, and Korea (3 percent each), as well as the Dominican Republic and Guatemala (2 percent each), rounded out the top ten. Together, immigrants from these ten countries represented close to 60 percent of the U.S. immigrant population in 2014."

http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states

From which it can be inferred that immigrants from other countries individually contribute two percent or less to the total. Middle Eastern immigrants are a tiny fraction of the total. The website provides extensive data by country, region, and time frame.

Also note that many immigrants from non-democratic countries like Cuba, Vietnam, etc. are political refugees seeking asylum. The vast bulk of Middle Eastern immigrants are Christians from Iraq seeking to escape political violence targeting them for their religion, not Muslims.

Jon7190,

I think many whites believe that, in America's exceptionalism, their "white" culture (which I defined as being descended from the Islamic world in science, from the Asiatic "hordes" in biology, and from many other influences) is "superior" to other cultures--and for this reason should "stand alone" and apart from "assimilating" into the larger world and its stew of a culture.

This, when whites expect and demand that immigrants learn their (English) language and the whites "customs."

As far as a "world" culture, that is probably indefinable--other than to say it is in a constant state of flux, much like the clouds on the planet Jupiter. The Great Red Spot may be definable, much as America, but it sits and moves within that larger mass of Jupiter's constantly shifting mass of clouds.

To think one is "better" and "more relevant" than another part of the world is arrogance--and a form or stupidity.

Jon1790

You write that some cultures are better than others. Once again, there is no way to make an amorphous concept Constitutionally acceptable. I will mention in passing the example of Khizr Khan, the Pakistani immigrant who lost his son in the Iraq debacle. When he pulled out his pocket-sized Constitution at the DNC, it was clear his reverence for America far surpassed that of the pathological narcissist Republicans had just nominated for president. America is not a culture, as Milo Yiannopoulos should make clear to conservatives. It is reverence for its founding ideals. As an example, equality of all human beings. It is also the ideal of checked power. We don't elect dictators in this country. Until recently, at least.

It has long been a complaint on the left that conservatism carries aspects of a blood-and-soil cult, that it uncomfortably reminiscent of older fascist ideologies. This is now, sadly, a disturbing trend in advanced democracies. Let's be clear: the uptick of anti-Semitism we currently see in America relates directly to this phenomenon. What you're really advocating here is not "culture". It's tribalism. And that tribalism is utterly antithetical to our founding ideals.

Your essay is good, Jon Talton, but where did you get the idea that anyone thinks that "white majoritarianism" (as you so gracefully put it) has been receiving "glib dismissal"?

To a large degree it's been described as clear white racism… Nobody has been diminishing the danger.

If you were calling for preserving 18th century Enlightenment VALUES set forth by (mostly) white Christian men, then I agree with you totally… But the reality is that Trump supporters don't give a damn about Enlightenment values -- they want the white skin of Enlightenment thinkers but not their thoughts.

Jon1790 writes:"My understanding of the general liberal thinking on the subject is that not only is more immigration always better, but citizens of other countries have a right to move here if they want to. Please correct me if I am wrong about that."

As a matter of fact, I've never heard any of my liberal friends say anything remotely like that. However, I do understand that that's exactly the sort of thing that a particular kind of conservative is dead certain that "all liberals" believe.

Of course it is possible that I've spent my life surrounded by faux liberals, sent by George Soros to undermine the American Way of Life.

Most of the conversations my liberal cadre has about immigration center on the fact that we have millions of jobs that "real" Americans just won't do--at least not for the "right to work" wages that are offered for them. And then we move on to speculate what our country, trademarked as "the land of the free and the home of the brave", will look like when the Sleeper Agent in Chief starts rounding up 11 million people, many of whom have been here for decades. Then we mumble about things like compassion, the unknown social costs of tearing families apart, and the Constitutional implications of having Russia's Puppet in the White House, before ordering another round to drown our sorrows in...

There are apparent facts that support the increase of readers buying 1984. The sale should include a free DVD of the Manchurian Candidate.

soleri wrote: " America is not a culture, as Milo Yiannopoulos should make clear to conservatives. It is reverence for its founding ideals. As an example, equality of all human beings. It is also the ideal of checked power. We don't elect dictators in this country. Until recently, at least."

The second paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence starts as follows: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

The difference between American ideals and American culture: the country began as an agricultural nation whose largest plantations were worked by slaves. Land was taken by force from Native Americans and Mexicans because they were classified as inferior (inherently, culturally, or both), or at least as belonging (figuratively speaking) to other tribes in competition with our own. That is to say, racism and nationalism were endemic to American culture from the beginning, as they were, indeed, to most cultures. The word "barbarian" comes from a Greek word meaning non-Greek.

None of which is to recommend tribalism. But the international, intercultural philosophy that defines today's enlightened set is fairly recent.

Even socialists, when faced with WW I, reverted to nationalist loyalties in supporting the war efforts of their own countries. As far as I know, only the Bolsheviks maintained the concept of international solidarity and an immediate end to the war.

As far as checked power is concerned, the election of President Trump didn't change the Constitution or the essence of American government. Unlike Nazi Germany, where the Enabling Act gave Hitler legislative as well as executive control, Trump has no more powers than Obama did. The mere fact that he is, personally, of an autocratic bent, doesn't change that. Autocratic tendencies among American presidents are scarcely unheard of. Neither are racist tendencies. As for anti-Semitism, try the Nixon tapes for a taste of the real thing.

soleri,

America is not a culture, but it has a culture which has been developing since before we were even a country. Naturally our original culture was British, with a little bit of Dutch. Not old country British, but influenced by those englishmen adventurous, desperate, or ambitious enough to want to leave the mother country and be part of something new. Those hardy souls developed a strong sense of independence, strong enough to fight a long underdog war against the biggest superpower of the day. Personally, I think that independent sense is ingrained deep in the American psyche and is why we are loath to hand over any sovereignty to international organizations (as Bradley pointed out in his comments).  These independence-minded, adventurous types, being until recently British, had a knack for the rule of law. That combined with their generally Judaeo-Christian sensibilities and Enlightenment thinking, they produced what is today the oldest active constitution and the foundation for arguably the most successful, prosperous democratic republic in the world and a magnet to people worldwide who think they could make a better life here. I think the core of that original culture survives today and is a big part in our success as a nation over the years. It's not about race to me, it's about valuing what got us here and being careful and deliberate in how we change our country.

Khzir Khan gave a great emotional speech and certainly zinged Trump. That short speech was the most memorable of the convention. Trump being Trump and blind to political landmines stepped on it good. The fact that their son died fighting for his country obscured the fact that the gold star father's points about Trump and the constitution were non sensical. 1. Trump's ill-considered Muslim ban proposal was not proposed to be a permanent ban, so one couldn't extrapolate from it that the Khan's would never have been able to come to America 2. It is not clear what policies Trump proposed that would violate liberty or equal protection for people in this country 3. There is nothing in the Constitution that would prevent congress, if it were so inclined, from passing a law permanently barring Muslims from immigrating to the U.S.

I am not sure I understood your point about Milo Yiannopoulos. Not being an American, I can't see how his particular brand of zanniness has anything to say about our country.

Your point about tribalism sounded interesting. Could you elaborate a bit on that? It sounds a little like patriotism. What would you say is the difference?

As a quick reference and what should be a warm memory from last year's election, here is Khzir Khan's 6 minute speech:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzkkk-oJ6bo

Ken Atherton,

I've enjoyed your posts. You've made excellent points, I particularly appreciated you pointing out that the Europe of 100+ years ago was a far different place that it is today. It's easy to forget that there were plenty of challenges during the last great immigration wave. I think the point still holds that Europe, even then, differs culturally less from the U.S. than most countries on other continents, though obviously the differences increase the further east you go. Even if many Europeans a hundred years ago didn't share much in common with us politically, any Christian of whatever variety would have felt less foreign here than people coming from the Middle East, Asia or Africa. Catholicism was not a common religion in the U.S. until large numbers of Irish and Italians were here and there was a lot of concern and bigotry about that then. The doctrine and practice differences between Protestant and Catholic are minor compared to the differences between either of those and Islam or eastern religions.

Europe today does have a bigger challenge than we do. As you point out, Mexico next door is our largest sending country and it is fortunate for us that the political and cultural differences are not nearly as extreme as they are with the Middle East and north Africa, which send the overwhelming majority of immigrants to Europe. Europe's dilemma is made worse by their low birth rate, which makes them need immigrants even more than we do.

You wrote: "The vast bulk of Middle Eastern immigrants are Christians from Iraq seeking to escape political violence targeting them for their religion, not Muslims"

This is interesting, could you post a link for that stat?

Your point about the dark side of the American success story is well taken. Manifest Destiny drove us take as much of the continent as we could, and we wouldn't let less developed societies or less militarily powerful countries stand in the way of that. Much of that history is not morally excusable, but it should be pointed out, as you kind of alluded to, that we have a tendency to evaluate historical people and decisions through the lens of modern ethics. If anyone wants to hash out that concept more, I'm game.


Thanks for challenging that stat, jon7190. My assertion (based on hazy memory, not online research), was a bit off. It does seem that Iraq accounts for the largest portion of immigrants *from any single country* on Trump's seven country ban:

"Of the seven banned countries, Iraq has produced far and away the largest number of resettled refugees, at around 140,000 over 10 years."

But that wasn't what I asserted. And fewer of those Iraqi refugees are Christian than I thought:

"Refugees from Iraq from 2007 to 2017 are about 33 percent Christian, although Christians make up about 1 percent of the Iraqi population. In other words, Iraqi refugees are about 33 times as likely to be Christian as the Iraqi population generally."

Both from:

http://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/2/6/14516520/refugee-asylum-demographics-muslim-christian

But refugees are a small percentage of all legal immigrants. In 2013 Pew estimated based on a Rand survey that Christians account for the majority of legal immigrants, followed by uncommitteds like agnostics and atheists.

"Over the same period, the estimated share of legal Muslim immigrants entering the U.S. each year has roughly doubled, from about 5% of legal immigrants in 1992 to about 10% in 2012."

http://www.pewforum.org/2013/05/17/the-religious-affiliation-of-us-immigrants/

Jon7190 wrote: "There is nothing in the Constitution that would prevent congress, if it were so inclined, from passing a law permanently barring Muslims from immigrating to the U.S."

What about this portion of the First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

The interpretation of this clause with respect to the hypothetical law you suggest possible would be up to the courts, and ultimately (without question, for it would be accepted for consideration) the U.S. Supreme Court.

I think that on its face the Constitution very clearly prohibits such a law.

Incidentally, I'll reciprocate your compliment by noting what an articulate and thought provoking smoothie you are. The maxim about flies, vinegar, and honey is clearly not lost to you. I hope you'll stick around here, since your brand of well spoken and civil dissidence adds a piquant flavor to the RC mix.

Ken, thank you for the gracious words!

I'm no lawyer or expert on Constitutional law, just an interested citizen. Any amount of study of some of the controversial cases out there makes it obvious that judges will find in the Constitution whatever they want to find. Such a law would obviously get tested and who knows the outcome. 

My reading of the first amendment is that neither the establishment clause or the free exercise clause would apply. The establishment clause prevents the federal government from making one denomination or religion the official state endorsed and supported religion, like England had and still has and like many of the states were able to have even after the Constitution. That's all. It has since been more broadly interpreted by many judges to mean that any level of government can't favor one religion over another or disenfranchise the non-religious. That priciple has only ever been applied to residents of the U.S., as the Constitution does. How it would apply to issueing permanent residency to people who aren't even here yet is an open question. It would need to be a very well written law that made exceptions to avoid negatively impacting those here now and for allowing a certain number of refugees in emergency situations and things like that. Clearly the government would need to make an excellent case for a compelling interest in excluding new Muslim immigration such as the terrorism risk or the incompatibility of sharia law with the Constitution. It would, as always, come down to what five people who happen to be on the supreme court at the time thought.

Obviously this is a hypothetical that will never, ever happen. Such a law may be within the letter of the Constitution, but not the spirit or the spirit of openness of the American people.

Here's an excellent article discussing the legal ramifications of a Muslim ban, whether strictly Executive or congressional. A brief excerpt with a link:

Eric Posner, a professor at the respected University of Chicago Law School and specialist in executive power, says there is precedent to support a Trump-style ban on Muslim immigrants. He estimates the odds are about "50/50" that the Supreme Court would uphold Trump's plan, were it ever enacted. Trump's proposal is "just a terrible idea" that "violates important values" and does not "enhance security," Posner says, but as a legal matter, it may be constitutional.

https://www.google.com/amp/www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/amp/legal-scholar-trump-s-muslim-ban-may-be-constitutional-n484981

Frankly, a bit surprising to me.

I'm not sure that I can agree with the assertion by a certain commenter that Western Science necessarily descends from an Islamic source, historically.

While Islamic culture did indeed experience a golden age of sorts, it must be acknowledged that their scholars largely built on what their conquerors had looted from the corpse of the Roman/Byzantine empire as they slowly carved it apart piecemeal over the centuries.

Thus, it's not so much that Western science issues from Islam, but merely experienced a bit of an Islamic interlude, with the ultimate source still being a Western one.

J.D., The Romans built on the Greeks. What the Byzantines built on, to the extent that it came from the West, came from Greece either directly or through the Romans.

But the Greeks built extensively, in the fields of mathematics and astronomy, on the Babylonians, who were from Mesopotamia, a region centered in Iraq, though including parts of Syria. However, this was long before the advent of Islam.

But to this it must be added that Persian mathematicians like Muhammad al-Khwarizmi, Omar Khayyam, and Sharad al-Tusi created the bases for modern algebra, algebraic geometry, and function theory, at a time when Islamic science was experiencing a golden age, while European science was lost or stagnant.

At any rate many cultures have contributed to science and they all built off of something else, though the Babylonians seem to have been true pioneers in some respects. Most of those that built on other's work nevertheless added valuable original contributions.

Here's a worthwhile overview of Babylonian contributions and time frames. See particularly the section headed Influence:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonian_mathematics

Also:

"..some of the great names, the Greek mathematicians who would shape the course of Greek geometry.

"The first, and one of the greatest names, is Thales of Miletus, a mathematician living in the 6th century BCE. He is regarded as the father of geometry and began the process of using deduction from first principles. It is believed that he travelled to Egypt and Babylon, picking up geometric techniques from these cultures, and he certainly would have had access to their work."

https://explorable.com/greek-geometry

Interesting thread, thanks to Jon and all commenters for much food for thought.

I think immigration is hard because most people are okay with some level of immigration. Most or almost all of the hard-liners I have read or talked to will still say they are not opposed to legal immigration -- it does not seem to be a common stance to say there should be no immigration, period, legal or illegal.

But, there are probably billions of nice, safe, hard-working, pleasant people out there in the world who'd love the chance to be Americans and logistically society can probably only handle a tiny fraction of them immigrating. And yet immigrants are a boon economically to a low-birth-rate society -- that's one of the real reasons Europe has allowed so much immigration, since few countries have the skills and commitment to national identity necessary to maintain a decent economy while not having enough children and yet still keeping out the "other" quite assiduously, as Japan has managed to do thus far.

How much is ideal, how much is too much, etc?

I don't have the answers but it's nice to have a thoughtful discussion about it.

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