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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Immigration & Discontents pt. 2

Jack Kemp

Here's another later section from the article:

Promoting the Concept of Western Civil Society Within Immigrant Enclaves
Another initiative to consider is one aimed at developing concepts of Western civil society within the new immigrant communities. A major problem to address is the fact that the great majority of today's immigrants come from countries with no historical experience of democratic pluralism; instead, their homelands had authoritarian governments, strong traditions of ethnic and religious conformity, and little respect for the rights of ethnic, religious, and political minorities. And many come from societies with no tradition of church/state separation. While some immigrants are refugees from minority communities, most are members of the dominant culture. The new immigrants come to America not as freethinking individualists with open perspectives but as thoroughly socialized citizens who often unquestioningly reflect the norms and values of their native lands; they know no others. Many immigrants are past school age so that public education, including a proposed renewed emphasis on civic education, at present a reality for no one, would still bypass them. Certainly no one could make a credible argument that the absurdly random bits and pieces of knowledge (for the most part historical trivia) that immigrants must learn to pass a citizenship test constitute anything approaching a meaningful learning experience.

The new immigrants did not learn American political and social values at home, and, for the most part, they remain within a cultural frame of mind that does not even recognize their importance. They do not feel its lack. They came to the Unites States primarily to escape economic privation, not to flee tyranny or religious persecution. Immigrants from politically corrupt and authoritarian Mexico, brutal, dictatorial China, and the police states and fascist theocracies that comprise virtually every society within the Muslim world all fall into this category. It is incumbent on government at the state and local levels, ideally with the generous support of the corporate and foundation sectors, to develop large-scale and long-lasting initiatives to build understanding of and respect for Western ideals of civil society in the new immigrant communities. Without such ambitious initiatives, it may take more than one generation to break the stranglehold of the Old World.

End excerpts.

An addendum from Jack:

Yes, precisely because this article has someone with a former hidebound liberal position is why it is powerful. Another article written by conservative, Jewish or Christian, would be literally preaching to the choir. I want to take the argument to people who that fear Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. The essay talks of an accumulative effect over time changing the author's mind - and the fall of the Twin Towers. He is a "September 12th Conservative." You and I are "September 10th Conservatives." This essay's author can speak to those who believe leftist utopian fantasies as a former one of them. In fact, he - and Buchanan - are teaching me how to talk to liberals respecting the hope/emotion of their original positions but then detailing the negative effects in today's world.

In 1983, I was starting a new job and left my home early, stopping at a neighborhood shoe shine stand (they had them in those days). Sitting down next to an old Jewish socialist, he started to talk to me as if I were his old friend from a leftist rally and complained about the "racism" of opposition to the black candidate for Mayor of Chicago (who did get elected) Harold Washington. I thought this was strange. Chicago is 600 miles away and I wasn't too concerned about the election, but I knew a liberal hypocrite when I saw one.

"You live in this (largely Jewish) neighborhood?," I asked him. At 8 am in the morning, this was a rhetorical question. He knew I was asking him if he was so passionate about the black candidate, why didn't he live in black neighborhood. It was then that he admitted he used to live in the Bronx but had to move when young black men had mugged him a number of times. But he still wouldn't give up his unlived ideals, then adding, "But I believe anyone should be allowed to run for any office anywhere regardless of race!" To this I replied by asked him, "How about an Arab becoming the Prime Minister of Israel?"

The old man looked at me in stunned, silent disbelief. It was as if, by my taking his words to their rational utopian conclusion, I had picked up a two by four board and hit him squarely between the eyes. He sat there unable to mouth any comeback. Today's Jewish liberals, reading Chomsky and listening to much more openly radical high school and college teachers, would have a reply for me to continue the argument, but not he. In fact, in my visit to Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park in NY, I saw a young man with a Star of David around his neck standing some 100 feet from a protester with a sign equating a Star of David with a Nazi swastika. The sign did not charge the Muslims who killed Coptic Christians in Egypt as racists. I couldn't get a clear photo of that sign because a young woman was standing in front of it, synchronizing her high end phone with his via a data wire. The major components of the cell phone were invented in Israel, by the way.


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