[Breaker: Insularity replaces assimilation]
One reason there’s not much of a debate about the mass immigration
that has swept into the country during the last 30 years is that most
of the eggheads who expound on immigration harbor the fond illusion
that the immigrants will assimilate—that is, learn the English
language, adopt Western and American values, and live, work, and conduct
themselves like everybody else in the country. That, of course, is
pretty much what earlier generations of immigrants did, and the result
has been satisfactory for everyone.
But that’s not what present-day immigrants are doing. They are
not behaving the way the eggheads—and the lawmakers who listened
to them—anticipated. Not only does the United States now sport
such quaint Third World customs as child marriage, female genital mutilation,
and alien religions that are little more than voodoo and black magic.
Language is one of the major bonds that holds a nation together and
distinguishes it from other nations. It is also one of the easiest
things for immigrants to adopt in the process of assimilation. And
if immigrants don’t adopt the language of their new country,
it is very likely they have not assimilated and do not intend to assimilate.
In the case of recent immigrants to this country, it is now pretty
clear they are not assimilating and have no plans to get on with it.
This week The Washington Times published a story about the language
enclaves developing in the United States precisely because of unassimilated
immigrants. It turns out that some 300 different languages are now
spoken in this country, and as of 1990 some 31.6 million people who
speak them. That is one-seventh of the entire population, and that
was 10 years ago. Today there are a lot more.
“The changes,” the story tells us, “are reducing
the prevalence and primacy of English in American life and culture.
More than ever, modern America is multilingual.” You do not really
need newspapers to tell you that. Go to the bank in most metropolitan
areas, and the teller machine asks you in which language you want to
do business. Churches, shopping centers, and many stores and restaurants
sport signs and ads in languages other than the mother tongue.
Immigration is the overwhelming reason for the sprouting of the linguistic
jungle in America, but there are also other forces at work. For one
thing, as the article notes, “Immigrant communities in some states
have become so large and insular that greater numbers of people find
no need to learn English.” Little Havana in Miami is the example
the story offers, but it is not alone.
Indeed, this points to the whole problem with mass immigration that
brings in too many people too fast. When immigrants can have their
own languages—and their customs and values—reinforced by
large numbers of people like themselves from the same places, they
do not need to assimilate. Instead, they form their own communities
and enclaves, and the surrounding society has to assimilate to them.
Add to that the general weakening of the social disciplines in American
culture over the last 30 years and what you have is not assimilation
of immigrants but what may be the impending disintegration of the cultural—and
maybe eventually the political—bonds of the nation. Affirmative
action, laws that outlaw discrimination, bilingual education, and similar
pea-brained notions have made it almost impossible for native or assimilated
Americans to enforce their culture and language on newcomers.
The Times article also points out that the immigrants themselves
often do not much care about adapting to their new homeland and its
language and folkways. “There has been a widely reported surge
in the growth of special ethnic language schools teaching Persian,
Hindi, Mandarin, Korean, Farsi, Czech and other languages to immigrant
offer a way for immigrant parents to instill in their youngsters the
parents’ native culture and traditions, while keeping their offspring
from total assimilation into U.S. culture.”
That’s swell, of course. Everyone should grow up learning the
traditions and culture their parents teach them. An even better way
to learn it is for the immigrants to go back to their own countries
and teach their kids there.
But what the linguistic anarchy now descending on the local schools,
governments, economies, and culture of the nation means is that there
is less and less pressure on new immigrants to assimilate at all, and
more and more pressure on Americans already here to adapt themselves
to what the immigrants prefer. And, as that occurs, there are fewer
and fewer American leaders—eggheads or lawmakers—interested
in trying to halt the flow of immigration or the massive injection
of alien tongues and folkways into the disintegrating American civilization.
This article is excerpted from Shots Fired:
Sam Francis on America’s
Culture War (FGF Books, 2007.) It was originally published by
Creators Syndicate on June 2, 2000.
Samuel Francis Classics archives
The Samuel Francis Classics are copyright © 2008
by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfbooks.com.
All rights reserved.
Political pundit Samuel Francis was an author
and syndicated columnist. A former deputy editorial page editor for The
Washington Times, he received the Distinguished Writing Award
for Editorial Writing from the American Society of Newspaper Editors
in both 1989 and 1990.
Shots Fired: Sam Francis on America’s Culture War, a collection of some
of Mr. Francis' writing and speeches,
was published by FGF Books, a division of the Fitzgerald
Griffin Foundation. See www.shotsfired.us
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